Essential Oils Blog

Plant Therapy’s Favorite Holiday Recipes Giveaway #5

I have always found Christmas and the Holidays to be such a magical time of year. Even though the weather outside can be very frightful, especially here in Idaho, there is a certain warmth in the frosty air. People seem friendlier, colors are brighter, there is music everywhere, and there is a certain sense of togetherness that can only be felt around Christmas.

But what’s the BEST part of the holidays?…

From the time I was a child, I have always loved giving gifts! When I was young, my Grandpa would give me $20 to go Christmas shopping for my family. It always made me feel like I had hit the jackpot and I could spoil my family with their greatest desires — as long as those desires could be found at my local dollar store. The joy of finding that “perfect gift” far surpassed the feeling of opening my own presents on Christmas morning. I will never forget the look on my youngest brother’s face when he opened a toy car in his favorite color or my Mom’s reaction to an “I heart Mom” mug.

As an adult, I still love the joy and excitement of giving gifts to my loved ones. Whenever possible I challenge myself to hand-make presents that come from the heart and that I know each individual will enjoy. While I have always had brothers, thanks to my amazing husband I now have more sisters than I can count on one hand. Gift giving to these lovely ladies is so much fun and has opened up a whole new world of handmade gifts.

This year, we all plan to spend the Holidays together, so I thought it would be fun to create a cute, girly, stocking stuffer for each of them.

~ DIY Lip Gloss ~

What you will need:

What you will do:

  1. In a double boiler melt down all ingredients with the exception of the mica powder and essential oils.
  2. Remove from heat and stir in the mica powder. I used a teaspoon of mica but you can use more if you want the color to be more prominent.
  3. Stir in 10-20 drops of Blood Orange Essential Oil (or the essential oil of your choice).
  4. Using a transfer pipette, move the mixture to the lip gloss tubes and assemble.
  5. Once cooled, apply to the lips for a sparkling glossy look.

Happy Holidays!

ENTER HERE!  

Plant Therapy’s Favorite Holiday Recipes Giveaway #5

Plant Therapy’s Favorite Holiday Recipes Giveaway #4

By: Ellen Brenner, Certified Aromatherapist

During this season of celebration, we take time for giving and gathering with loved ones.

But there’s a problem:  At the same time, it can also mean less time for respite and restoration of ourselves, leading to a sense of depletion. Yet, if we can give ourselves the time to gather our energy, we can gain a much greater sense of well-being, even during the hustle and bustle.

Improve You Life in Just 20 Minutes?

Meditation allows us that necessary timeout to calm our conscious mind and tap into our core essence so that we may nourish ourselves from our own inner source of strength. Research has shown just 20 minutes a day can have a positive impact on our health, down to the genetic level, by boosting the immune response and reducing the inflammation response which are both linked to stress.  Even short, single sessions yield positive results.[1] You may wish to read “M Is For Meditation” for more about the positive effects of meditation and how to get started with some simple steps.

I can’t emphasize this enough:  

Aromatherapy excels in helping to calm the mind and soothe the spirit, making it a perfect partner for meditation. In thinking about a special synergy for this season, I was inspired by the gifts of the Magi. Also known as wise men, who hailed from the Eastern Mediterranean and Western Asia, Magi make appearances in ancient texts across many spiritual traditions.[2] The story, of course, with which we are most familiar this time of year is the visit of the Magi to Jesus upon his birth to present the precious gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

Inspired by these historically prized offerings, this modern-day synergy of aromatic essences is rich in scent for the spirit.

~ Meditation of the Magi ~

2 drops Davana (Gold) Artemisia pallens

2 drops Myrrh Commiphora myrrha

1 drop Frankincense Carteri CO2 Boswellia carteri

 

Why Do These Oils Matter? 

The aromatics of the essences in this synergy have been used throughout time in sacred ceremonies across many spiritual traditions. This synergy is calming to the conscious mind while supporting introspection, meditation and prayer, and restoration of our mind, body, and spirit. These essences can support us in strengthening our spiritual selves through connection to higher consciousness and higher information while keeping us grounded in our bodies.

Use this synergy according to your personal preference. For inhalation, add 5 drops to a Diffuser, 15 drops to an Aromatherapy Inhaler, or 1 drop to an Aromatherapy Diffuser Locket.

You may also choose to apply topically as an anointing blend or perfume creating a 1-2% dilution (3-6 drops) in 10 ml rollerball bottle with Jojoba Carrier Oil or carrier oil of your choice.

Cautions: Not KidSafe®. Avoid during breastfeeding and pregnancy.

 


ENTER HERE!  

Plant Therapy’s Favorite Holiday Recipes Giveaway #4

Sources:

Keim, Joni, and Ruah Bull. Aromatherapy & Subtle Energy Techniques: Compassionate Healing with Essential Oils. CreateSpace, 2015.

Lawless, Julia. Aromatherapy and the Mind. HarperCollins Publishers. 2014. Kindle Edition.

Shutes, Jade. The Dynamics of Blending: a Guide to Blending and Reference Manual for Essential Oils and Base Materials. NW College for Herbal and Aromatic Studies, 2011.

Worwood, Valerie Ann. The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy: over 800 Natural, Nontoxic, and Fragrant Recipes to Create Health, Beauty, and Safe Home and Work Environments. New World Library, 2016.

[1] Quinn, Corina. “Reset Your Health.” Yoga Journal June 2014: 22.

[2] “Magi.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 31 Aug. 2017, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magi.

 

Un Mane-ageable: How to Groom a Beard

No-Shave November. Movember. Any excuse NOT to shave for a month.

Guys, this one’s for you.

November is the time when men put their razors down and let their facial hair grow wild, natural – and sometimes a little unruly.

Plant Therapy President Chris Jones, who knows a thing or two about beards.

But first, a quick backstory…

Traditionally, No Shave November and Movember are month-long campaigns aimed to increase awareness of men’s health issues, including prostate cancer, testicular cancer, mental health, and suicide prevention. Whether you just want a fabulous statement-making mustache or the thick, warm beard of a mountain man, November is the perfect time to grow awareness for an important cause. 

But there’s a catch…

It’s not as simple as just skipping your morning shave all month; to keep that mane more manageable, you need more than just a soapy scrub in the shower. Head-turning and admirable facial hair happens when you add some of Plant Therapy’s All-Natural Beard Oil to your stock of grooming supplies. Beard oil moisturizes hair follicles and the skin beneath it, tames fly-aways, eliminates flakes, and keeps those whiskers healthy, clean, and looking great!

Plant Therapy’s complete Beard Set

Plant Therapy offers two distinct beard oils: Smokey Lumberjack and Urban Fresh. Smokey Lumberjack features the essential oils of Patchouli and Cedarwood for a deep, smokey scent. Urban Fresh – with Tea Tree, Eucalyptus, and Lemon – has a bold, fresh smell that is easy to love.  The longer you put off adding Plant Therapy’s Beard Oil to your morning routine, the dustier, flakier, and shaggier that facial hair will get. Don’t let your collar get covered in unattractive ‘beard-drift’. Instead, keep it kissably soft and smelling ridiculously good with beard oil, and consider pairing the oil with Plant Therapy’s Beard Balm to take that face to the next level.

How can you actually use this?

Check out our beard sets for tips on making your beard the absolute best it can be! Be one with your beard. 

Plant Therapy’s Favorite Holiday Recipes Giveaway #3

 

Around September, I have a lot of ideas for my perfect Christmas – ideas of grandeur and everything in its perfect place and decorated like a Wayfair photoshoot. The reality is, my Christmases are more like a “nailed it” picture. I do have fun putting up all my decorations, and I love baking. My attempts are far from perfect, although my  grandkids appreciate them. I will leave perfection to those who dwell on that, and I will dwell on the things that make my Christmases special.

I have an inexpensive nutcracker collection of all sizes and types. The kids love to look at them, talk about them, and rearrange them. I have decorations up for a month, and every time the grandkids go home after a visit,  I see that  the nutcrackers have been arranged differently. I have to smile. I think of those little hands and imaginations, and of my love for those little people.

With Christmas comes wonderful, delectable scents from the kitchen. I love to make cinnamon rolls, cookies, and rocky road candy. Earlier in the year, we make fresh pressed apple juice from our apples so that we have plenty for the Christmas season to enjoy spiced cider and to give some away. I think of Christmases past, and my mom making wonderful traditional cookies and mincemeat empanadas. My son now makes tamales with his little girls, and he said he’d teach me how this year. We’ve come full circle.

A few years ago, I made these cute nativity hand puppets. We have a simple little production with our grandkids while the parents watch. Each child gets a puppet and Grandpa reads the Christmas story while they act it out. It’s sweet and funny and it’s possible that the person with the sheep may be tripping over the wise man, or Mary (or the person with the Mary puppet) might be crying. It’s a surprise every year and I can’t wait. I know that time flies and they are little for just a short while. I will cherish every moment like I did when their parents were little.

I’d like to invite you into our little get together. Pour a cup of cider, grab a cushion and get ready for the show of a lifetime! Or at least the show of my lifetime. It’s a good one….

Here is a recipe to make your holidays more memorable and hopefully more comfortable during the dry Winter months.

 

Skin Nourishing Body Oil

8 drops Amyris Amyris balsamifera

6 drops  Palmarosa Cymbopogon martini var motia

6 drops  Bergamot Citrus bergamia

4 drops  Spearmint Mentha spicata

2 ounces DermiSoothe Carrier Oil Blend

Mix essential oils into DermiSoothe and apply to dry areas of the body.

 

My wish for you is to have a  memorable, loving and peaceful Holiday season.

 

ENTER HERE!  

Plant Therapy’s Favorite Holiday Recipes Giveaway #3

Plant Therapy’s Favorite Holiday Recipes Giveaway #2

 

Having three sisters and three brothers, getting together with the family is quite a fun experience any time of year. It is a tradition of ours to all go cut down our own Christmas trees. With the seven siblings, each with their spouse and kids, we now have quite a group. Sometimes we go the day before Thanksgiving or a day or two after, depending on everyone’s schedule. We go and get our permits ahead of time so that we are ready bright and early in the morning.

With an early start,  it is donuts and juice in the cars and trucks on the way up to the mountains. Once getting to the mountains, we suit up, as most of the time it is snowing and cold. It is so worth it. After searching for multiple trees – one for each family that goes and Mom and Dad’s – it is hours later when we break for lunch, which is usually sandwiches made from leftover turkey and some chips. After eating lunch, some return to tree hunting, while others play in the snow and some ride on ATV’s. Once all the trees are found and gathered, we get together at the cars and drink hot chocolate that was made early that morning to warm us up. Upon returning with our treasures to Mom and Dad’s, we diffuse a KidSafe blend and make clothespin diffusers or ornaments for the tree. One of the things that we will be diffusing this year is Sweet Goodness.

 

Sweet Goodness

3 drops of Lemon Essential Oil

3 drops of Marjoram Sweet Essential Oil

Just a simple blend of sweet goodness that is KidSafe®.

 

ENTER HERE!  

Plant Therapy’s Favorite Holiday Recipes Giveaway #2

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Plant Therapy’s Favorite Holiday Recipes Giveaway #1

By: Brodie Lapray, Certified Aromatherapist

 

Christmas is my favorite time of year. I love Christmas decorations and how beautiful they make my home. I also enjoy the music, the lights, and of course all the goodies. I spend a lot of time baking with my kids around the holidays. Call me crazy, but I love snow and how it makes everything so beautiful. I love to play outside in the snow with my kids.

On Christmas Eve we get to spend time with the whole family, some of whom we only see once a year. Then it’s off to bed in new pajamas to wait for Santa. Christmas morning is the only day of the year when I’m excited to see my kids sneaking into my room at 4 am to inform me that Santa has come and asking if I could please get up. Christmas to me is spending time with the ones I love and making memories together.

Santa’s Cookies Body Butter is easy to make and smells like cookies. With over 24 hours of super-rich hydration, this deeply nourishing whipped body butter leaves your skin feeling moisturized and replenished. It also makes a great gift for Christmas, if you can give it away after smelling it.

 

Santa’s Cookies Body Butter

What you will need:

What you will do:

  1. Place all ingredients except the essential oils in a double boiler or glass bowl over simmering water.
  2. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until completely melted.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in the essential oils.
  4. Place in fridge for 1 hour, or in the freezer for 30 minutes.
  5. Using a hand mixer, whip for 10 minutes or until fluffy.
  6. Return to the fridge for 15 minutes.
  7. Store in a glass jar with a lid and keep in a cool place, as it may get too soft if it gets too warm.

 

From our home to yours, Happy Holidays!

 

ENTER HERE!  

Plant Therapy’s Favorite Holiday Recipes Giveaway #1

Creating An Aromatherapy Life Crisis Care Kit

By Ellen Brenner, Certified Aromatherapist


In a recent blog, “Lessons from Irma for Weathering Life’s Storms,” we discussed the many ways to help sustain our inner world when storms crop up creating crisis in our external environment.

As you may recall, with Hurricane Irma’s impending arrival, I evacuated within a small window of opportunity, northward and inland from my home on the Gulf Coast of Florida. Given the short time frame, and the need to travel lightly, I only brought with me what felt most necessary for sustaining life away from home, and for starting over should my home be irretrievably impacted. Fortunately, the worst did not come to pass.

When weathering life’s storms, aromatherapy can play a significant supporting role in helping you get through. It can be especially profound for our mental and emotional states as we navigate the uncertain road ahead. You may be wondering what I brought along from my aromatherapy stock and supplies. I promised to answer that question here in its own blog and the answers may surprise you.

As an aromatherapy practitioner, with professional training, I have a large stock of essential oils and extracts. Part of my role is not only to create synergies, but also to blend on demand to support what is needed to help bring balance to mind, body and spirit.

Like you, I treasure my supply and the role each and every aromatic essence plays in supporting our wellness. I also trust my instinct and ability to create restorative remedies. But, when push came to shove, I had two hours and 2 suitcases to take what I needed overall from my home on the road.

What to take from my aromatherapy stash to support myself and others? With the clock ticking down, there was no way to bring everything. And, bringing everything would not only bog me down, it wouldn’t be beneficial.

When you are experiencing crisis, it can leave you feeling drained and stressed. And, with so many details to handle, it can make it hard to focus. If you are also on the road and on the run, recalling your well worn recipes under duress can be difficult. And, the possibility of no power could create a recipe for disaster.

One of the items getting carried into the car was a standard, portable First Aid Kit with bandages and other supplies. That inspired me to create a companion Aromatherapy Life Crisis Kit unique to this situation.

And, it was imperative that I keep it simple.

In a moment of clarity, I realized I had on hand many of Plant Therapy’s synergies, as well as blendable bases for dilution, that I could grab to go as a readily available and accessible solution.

I created this Aromatherapy Life Crisis Kit to support the uniques needs and uncertainties for this particular situation.  I did not know if we would make it all the way to Atlanta, or how long it would take. I didn’t know what conditions we would find on the road, or what the weather conditions would be along the way and after we arrived. I  didn’t know how long I would be away. What I did know was these selections would allow me to support most situations for myself and others as the needs arose.

 

Neutral Carriers for Blending

4 oz Fractionated Coconut Carrier Oil

8 oz Olive Lotion – Unscented Base

4 oz Organic Healing Balm

4 oz Castile Soap Unscented

4 oz Aloe Vera Jelly Unscented

4 oz  Neutral Grain Alcohol (Everclear) 151 Proof

 

Containers and Other Supplies

Personal Aromatherapy Inhalers

1 oz PET Plastic bottles

1 oz PET Plastic jars

Disposable gloves

Blank Labels

 

Pre-Blended Synergies 

These are the synergies I chose especially to help soothe mind and body. While I packed these synergies specific to this situation,  in general, these selections could support the stressors brought by many of life’s storms.  Just be sure you are familiar with any cautions the synergies might carry and any contraindications you or others may have due to your unique health situations. Note: If you have children, you could substitute KidSafe synergies for use for both the little ones and adults alike. 

You may note that some of these synergies may overlap slightly in the type of support they offer. I wanted a choice of options for myself and others not knowing which might work best in unknown situations, as well as the option to rotate.

Blues Buster ™ — to uplift my mood and support my emotional wellbeing

Brain Aid ™ — to help clear brain fog when I needed to focus

Citrus Burst ™ — uplifting and refreshing to the senses and the air

DiGiZen ™ — for an upset tummy when life has you outside of your nourishing norms

Germ Fighter® — when life has knocked you off base, your immune system needs support from seasonal threats

Invigor Aid ™ — help for fighting fatigue from sleepless night and relentless tension

Let It Go ™ — because sometimes you literally have to lock the door, leave your life behind, and go

Meditation ™ — to calm the conscious mind and clear the way for contemplation

Muscle Aid ™ — to soothe those sore, achy muscles that come from over exertion

Rapid Relief ™ — to reduce the perception of pain when your body feels wrecked

Relax ™ — for both body and mind even in the midst of chaos

Sleep Aid ™ — just a little extra support to slip into slumber

Tension Relief ™ — to tackle tension around the head and neck

Tranquil ™ — to help reduce a sense of anxiousness

Worry Free ™ — to calm, comfort and help reduce nervous tension

 

All items were placed in self-sealing plastic bags, and then, inside an insulated, soft sided portable cooler for ease in carrying and in case we hit heavy rains or flooding. This also created a place for everything and having everything in its own place so I could easily access what I needed time and again while my mind was in a muddle.

May your own journey be smooth sailing. Should you find yourself weathering a life storm, I hope you may take inspiration for creating your own Aromatherapy Life Crisis Kit unique for your own needs.

October Oils of the Month – Bergamot Mint and Caraways Seed CO2

It certainly was not a trick this month, but a treat! Plant Therapy sent out two products! Bergamot Mint and Caraway CO2 were the features for October.

Bergamot Mint is a KidSafe essential oil that might have a surprising scent to you. It smells similar to Lavender essential oil, with a touch of mint and citrus. Much of the research point to it being a relaxing and calming oil. Although in the Mint family, Bergamot Mint is a gentler oil and is KidSafe. It can be used for respiratory issues, congestion, sore muscles or joints due to over-exertion, and for nausea.This calming oil from India, distilled from leaves, would be great in DIY body care products such as lotions, soaps and in candles. It is cooling and soothing and a great choice as a balancing blend for agitated emotions.

The other feature this month Caraway Seed CO2, also KidSafe, is a treat for rye lovers! One whiff of this will remind you of a loaf of fresh rye bread. It is a warming and fortifying CO2. It can help settle a queasy or crampy tummy and would be great in a blend with Peppermint for such issues. It also would mix well with oils like Bergamot, Cypress or Balm Mint Bush for a respiratory blend.

You can use these two separately or you might want to try this recipe which could help with intestinal issues or congestion.

 

Tummy and Congestion Helper

4 drops of Bergamot Mint

3 drops of Caraway Seed CO2

10 ml Fractionated Coconut Oil (or carrier of choice)

Pour essential oils into an empty 10 ml roller bottle and then top off with carrier oil. Gently shake or tip back and forth to mix. Apply to the abdomen for nausea or chest for congestion.

We hope that you enjoy your double treat this month and put these to good use!

 

Download  Bergamot Mint Product Template Sheet HERE:

 

 

Download Caraway Seed Product Template Sheet HERE:

 

DIY Bath Fizzies

calming-the-child-bath-lifestyle-photo-2

I recently have seen a lot of recipes for bath fizzies. I became so excited because I remember using these when I was little! I wanted to see how my children would react the first time they saw them, and was a little afraid they would love them so much they would want to use all of them (which they did)!

The thing I loved most about this recipe was how you could use essential oils! How perfect is that! Not only do you get amazing bath fizzies, but you get to make them therapeutic too! I decided that I wanted a batch for when I need to relax. My children needed a batch for when they needed to CALM down. And my family needed a batch for when we were sick.

Bath Fizzies:

Dry Ingredients:

  • 1 cup baking soda
  • 1/2 cup citric acid
  • 1/2 cup corn starch
  • 1/4 oats

Mix dry ingredients together until completely combined and smooth. (I ground up oats in my blender and added about 1/4 cup of that too. It protects the skin from irritants and helps soothe skin that’s itchy or irritated.)

Wet Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 Tbsp of Almond Oil (softens and re-conditions the skin)
  • 3/4 Tbsp of purified water
  • 1/2 – 1 tsp of Essential Oil

-Worry Free/Relax: Lavender, Relax, Tranquil, Worry Free, or Peppermint (I love the tingly sensation)

-Calming for Children: Calming the Child, Lavender, or Nighty Night

-Sick family: Germ Destroyer or Sniffle Stopper

-Skin problems: Soft Skin, Skin Soother, or Silky Soft

-Aches: Muscle Aid, Rapid Relief, Growing Pains, or Tame The Pain

  • 1/4 tsp of Meadowfoam  Carrier Oil (preserves the oils)
  • 1/2 tsp of Borax (an emulsifier)
  • witch hazel in a spray bottle (you will have to put it in a spray bottle)
  • natural colorant if desired (I left mine white)

Whisk all of the wet ingredients and Borax together in a large bowl.form in hand (2)

Drizzle slowly onto the dry ingredients and blend thoroughly.

Mix with your hands until all of the ingredients are combined.

Lightly spray the mixture 2-3 times with witch hazel.

form in hand (1) The mixture should just start to hold together when pressed in your hand, like slightly moist fine sand. If it’s not sticking together, spray a little more witch hazel.

Pack TIGHTLY into molds. I ordered these fun ones off of Amazon.com, but you could use anything really.  Even a small (1/4 cup) measuring cup.  packed in forms (2)

Let the bath fizzies dry and harden overnight before you pick them up.

 packed in forms (1)

You did all this hard (OK maybe not that hard) work, now it is time to take a fizzie and go relax in the bath!

 

*UPDATE

My children are loving the bath fizzies! They usually fight over who gets to put it in the bath. The are always wanting more than one! The best part about these fizzies though is how soft my children’s skin is becoming. My almost 18 month old usually has really bumpy skin, maybe eczema. Since we have been using these bath fizzies, yes just these past few days, his skin has become sooooo soft! I love rubbing his little arms when he comes out of the bath!

I am so excited that not only are these fun and my kids love them, but they are making their skin so much healthier! Thank you bath fizzies!

This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Plant Therapy and it’s representatives are not intending to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Lessons from Irma for Weathering Life’s Storms

By Ellen Brenner, Certified Aromatherapist


I began the drafting this post from Atlanta, Georgia where I evacuated from my home on the Gulf Coast of Florida, which was located in the path of historic Hurricane Irma. As I finish this blog more than a month later, I am grateful to have escaped all but some displacement, stress and inconveniences.

Others were not as fortunate, and as I finish this blog there are still many suffering not only from Irma, but also from Harvey and Maria.  And, while the East has been drenched, the West has been parched with folks there suffering terribly from the raging wildfires. I want to acknowledge their significantly more serious situations and note that I am simply sharing what I learned from my own personal experience in the hope that it may help should your life’s journey suddenly become stormy. As always, with a life crisis, do not hesitate to access professional support as needed.

While I have been exposed to hurricanes, and hurricane season, for a number of years (a Floridian fact of life) this one felt different. Irma intensified quickly and, then, she didn’t set her compass for a distinct location until the last minute. Instead, she led us on a wild chase as we raced to do what we could and must to avoid her destructive forces from a direct hit of unknown determination.

When you live in certain locations, planning and preparing for the possibility of a hurricane comes with the territory. But, for myself, and for many, the intensity and unpredictability of Irma caused chaos creating a storm within us mirroring the force of nature coming at us.

Two critical lessons I have learned about the healing process after a crisis both start from the inside out.

The first practice is to pause to restore and rebalance. The other is to savor that solitude so I may hear my soul speak.

It is only in this quiet space, with my whole self, that the lessons I seek reveal themselves for next steps in my life journey. What this looks like, for me, is to support mind, body and spirit in a restful and introspective state while opening myself to higher consciousness. In this way my spirit can show my mind the information I need to see through my sense of intuition.

Once I reach the part of my being that is  internal, I am then able to ask of the Eternal,  “What am I meant to learn/know?” After doing so, I let that thought go from my conscious mind, before I drift into a mindful meditation trusting the answer will return to me when I am ready to receive it. Sometimes, it is immediate and sometimes the information arrives much later at an unexpected moment when my mind is again quiet. But, it always comes as a sense of clarity where I can “clearly see” consciously what I couldn’t before.

Here is what came to me.

While Irma was her own event, she also acted as a natural life metaphor bringing me the following message. What worked well in weathering this storm, would also serve well in weathering any other stressful life crisis suddenly blowing in to buffet our sensibilities and our unbalance our sense of being in the world.

In that spirit, here are the Lessons from Irma for Weathering Life’s Storms that I wanted to share. I hope you will bear with me as this blog is a bit longer than usual. Irma had a lot to say.

Looking back, for me, there were three distinct stages of the crisis that sustained intense levels stress over a period of several weeks. Each meted out and merited its own message.

 

The Arrival of Seriously Significant Storm

Prep and Plan But Be Prepared to Change – over a series of hours and days, it seemed that no matter which way I planned to go to get out the way, Irma’s path followed my every move. This required discarding the plan and making new preps sometimes on the spot multiple times in day. When the wind keeps changing directions it is important to be resilient.

 

You Can Run, But Nature Runs It’s Course – at the last possible go time, driving what is normally a seven-hour distance northward and inland to Atlanta seemed the best course of action. And, then, Irma locked in her GPS to follow. We ended up at a safer distance from the intensity and a direct hit, but there was going to be no total escape from the storm. Eventually, you are going to have to turn and face the circumstances.

 

Do Not Hesitate to Ask for Help – there are many people who love me, but assumed I had it handled. What we needed was a place to stay out of the way. When we thought of whom to ask, we hesitated because of the last-minute imposition. Yet, when we called, she was relieved. She had heard we were going in another direction, but that plan had been scrapped the day before while things were moving quickly. She was ready to help. Don’t assume someone knows what you need. Help them help you if they are able.

 

Don’t Take In the Alarm of Others – while busy planning, re-planning and rebooting those plans, I was trying my level best to stay calm and focused. In that time, I received an incredible amount of messages from folks who were anxious on my behalf. What they mostly transmitted, however, was simply a sense of alarm without specific support that was rational, reasonable or doable. Absorbing all that anxious energy finally sent my own anxiety over the edge taking  me off course into a melt down for a short period of precious time. While there a hurricane around you, you do not have to bring the storm into your soul.

 

Choose Your Planning Partners Wisely – it is simply impossible to think of everything yourself. Look to those who know you best, and whom you know will come through with concise and sound information specific for you and your situation. For me, this was my best friend, who was also my roommate, and who was evacuating with me. In spite of the stress, we worked in sync keeping a synergy to our energy so we could do more than we thought possible. My Mom, from across the country, dispensed some insightful advice through the distance to help sort out some simple solutions to smooth the way and sooth the stress. Carefully choose  whom to take along for the ride so you may depend on their ability to help navigate the crisis.  

 

Focus on What is Immediately Important – I always thought I knew everything I would pack and take if we ever had a hurricane on the way. For the all the reasons outlined above this was not my reality. While I did not know which direction I would be heading, what I did know was I needed to be nimble. What that meant was I needed to be able to carry what I brought to manage within my abilities. That realization helped me quickly focus on what was would literally fit into two suitcases, a small tote and my handbag. Turning the lock in the front door, and leaving my car behind as I left, I felt confident I could create a new life from the few things I carried. Letting go of what was helped me lighten the load while traveling toward the unknown. 

Note: As an aside, you may be wondering what I brought from my precious stash of essential oils and supplies.  I wrote about this in an upcoming  companion blog. I thought  the lessons I learned there merited their own mention. Look for this followup to publish shortly. In the meantime, you will find some supportive synergies for this blog below.

 

Find The Time to Keep Your Gas Tank Full – growing up in earthquake country this was a mantra my Dad had drilled into me. You never knew when there would be any kind of personal or environmental emergency and so  it is important to be prepared. Irma’s direction for landfall in Florida became apparent as one day drew to a close. By early the next morning, the gas stations in the local area were drying up. I had just filled up my tank the day before for the week ahead and was never so glad I had listened to my Dad. Just as importantly, it was the close of a holiday weekend. I had spent the last few days relaxing and restoring my body, mind and spirit. Having been rested rather than run down was never more important for being able to take the trip ahead. Taking the time to top off your tank of energy reserves ensures you don’t get unexpectedly stuck or sidelined.

 

What Can Seem Impossible Can Be Possible – if you had told me that we were going to make an arduous trek in the car over 16 hours in one day, I might not have even tried. With my spinal cord injury, and my friend only 8 weeks post major surgery, the notion would have seemed daunting for the two of us. We knew the trip in traffic would take longer than the normal 7 hours and so started out early on a day we hoped we had timed to miss the worst of it. We were wrong. Taking turns resting and driving we crawled forward mostly in middle lane to see and steer around any upcoming chaos coming our way. Staying focused on navigating the road right in front of us kept the fear at bay for how far we had yet to go. After we safely arrived, we were both dumbfounded at the distance we had covered. A significant journey forward happens one step at a time, with lots of stops and starts, and by focusing your navigation on what is immediately in front of you. 

 

Anchoring While Weathering the Storm

Restore Your Power Supply At Every Opportunity – once we arrived in Atlanta, we had two full days to rest, restore and replenish ourselves and our supplies and we took full advantage of the opportunity.  Irma arrived on at our doorstep in the evening of day three downgraded to a tropical storm.

While Florida would have weathered that reduced intensity well, this was Atlanta’s first ever experience which she was not built to withstand.  Predictions that the high winds would topple massive amounts of old growth trees taking out the power lines on the way down proved correct.  (As an aside the dark humor of my mind kept me humming in my head the old Vicki Lawrence song “That’s the night the lights went out in Georgia.”) When you find even small pockets of time, take that time to prepare for the next wave by restoring to shore yourself up again. 

 

Ration Your Energy Between Recharges – the unparalleled force of the storm winds left behind an unprecedented power outage for most of the population of the Atlanta region, as well as other areas of the state. And, backup crews were already handling a one-two punch in Texas after Hurricane Harvey and in Florida following Hurricane Irma.

What that meant for Atlanta was that time and patience were going to have to prevail. For three days we were faced with no electricity to power our sources of outside information including, most importantly, our phones. So, we powered down to battery saver mode and also to the off position so we need only recharge our phones rarely by way of car charger because we also needed to reserve our gasoline. While you are weathering the storm it is important to conserve what energy you have left lest you become totally run down and offline. 

 

Mind Your Mind – sometimes , when we are in crisis mode, our worst enemy is our own mind. We can whip up a host of worries, or we create peace by managing our mindfulness. Repetitive negative thinking creates distress in the mind and stress in the body.  Below are the practices that helped me steer back on course when I drifted toward doubt and worry. Ruminating on what may or may not be down the road is a waste of much needed energy.

  • Draw On Your Inner Reserves –powering down my connection to outside world cleared the way to cultivate calm in my inner world. Being oddly out of touch also created longer time lags I didn’t always take in my day-to-day world. Here was an opportunity for more spacious periods of meditation especially important at this time get in touch with my own innate wisdom.

 

  • Stay in the Present – when I was connected to the TV and phone, what was coming through was a barrage of gloom and doom. This created a sustained sense of anxiety and a stressful sense of needing to know about things I could not control nor deal with at present: Is the power out at home? How is traffic getting back? Did the water crest the bridge cutting off the route home? Is my roof leaking like the neighbors’ homes? These were all important questions, but without answers days in advance.  With the power out I just needed to focus on what was important in that moment.

 

  • Gratitude Helps Get You Through – when my mind did wander to the worst case scenario, I would start to feel overwhelmed. So, I refocused my mind on large and small mercies. I was safe. I had a place to stay. A comfortable bed in my own room. Hot water. Temperatures in the area were cool. My best friend was with me. Folks were looking in on us and helping how they could. My things were insured. I had what was most important with me. I had work I enjoyed and family and friends I love. I could start again.

 

  • Use Your Imagination For Visualization when I found myself imagining the worst, it only created worry. Instead, I would visualize what I wanted to see as a good outcome. I also used my mind’s eye to see peaceful pictures that would soothe the spirit. Regardless of what I would find later, I had to the power to choose to change the channel on the pictures I was seeing in the present time.

 

Small Mercies Can Help You Feel Whole – at one rest stop along the way, I got a good look at myself in the mirror. After three days of panicky prepping, a poor night’s sleep, a quick and early departure and many demanding hours on the road, I indeed looked and felt like an evacuee. My clothes had been grabbed for comfort not style and now felt grubby. My hair was dirty and in disarray. I had been sweaty from the heat and stress.  And, I was exhausted and undernourished from snacks at short gas station stops.

By the time we finally reached Atlanta,  I couldn’t have felt further away from my own sense of humanity. I nearly cried with relief when I discovered there was a tub in the guest bath, complete with Epsom salts and bath gel so I could take an aromatic bath to ease my bones and spirit before sleep. When you are under duress some things, no matter how small they may seem, can contribute to your sense of self when you need it most.

On that note:

  • Little Luxuries Are Important –bringing only things that I could carry meant keeping it simple for my toiletries.  Yet, as I was grabbing to go , I also instinctively popped in two little luxuries that would fit – the sumptuous face serum and cream set I had just purchased. It wasn’t about the money. It was the intuitive need to have something nice to help support my sense of self when things seemed down.

 

  • Pack More Underwear Than You Think You Will Need. Seriously. I’m not sure there is a life lesson here except that your mother was right. I underestimated how long I would be away and what my circumstances would be in Atlanta. When the power finally came back on there in the middle of the night — bringing back to life the washer and dryer — it was literally just in time for me to refresh my supply to shore up my sensibilities.

 

The Aftermath of The Storm

Make Way for Your Own Disaster Relief – After a week away, when I finally arrived home, I found myself feeling like washed up debris from the storm surge. My natural energy flow was spent and my spirit felt scattered to the four winds. My thought patterns were short-circuited making it hard to concentrate and recall things.

With my brain not fully functioning, I had to keep asking what day it was and couldn’t complete thoughts and sentences. Emotionally, I was torn between wanting to put everything away and be back to “normal,”  or to keep everything packed “just in case.” In talking with several others, this shared experience seemed a common occurrence that was taking some time and support to shake off.

I recalled, on our way north to Atlanta, the only vehicles heading south were the convoys of military and power repairmen setting up to be in position for the aftermath of the storm’s wrath. On the return trip home we were again accompanied on the road by more convoys of military and power repair trucks, as well as disaster relief organizations.  Over the next few weeks, they were everywhere getting the population back on the grid and  it was a timely reminder that I needed to do the same to get myself up and running personally. It is vital in the aftermath to take the time to attend to whatever restoration and rejuvenation you need to shore up your sense of wellbeing in your whole being.

Over the next several days, the sky was blue and clear. I slept, took hot showers, ate hot meals, gathered groceries and the gardeners came on schedule. Though I was starting to feel a sense of grounding, I needed a greater sense of support.

As always, aromatherapy can be of great comfort during times of crisis  to support restoration, self care and repair.

Below are the synergies I rotated through my diffuser, during the post-crisis mode, that helped me the most to decompress. For a look at what I brought with my on the road as an aromatherapy crisis care kit, please look for the follow up blog coming shortly.

After the Storm Synergy

2 drops Fragonia Taxandria fragrans
2 drops Eucalyptus Dives* Eucalyptus dives
1 drop Lemon Myrtle* Backhousia citriodora

*These were released as part of Plant Therapy’s Oil of the Month Program. Check back to see if they will stocked for general sale. 

This synergy helped me rebalance in my energy flow, uplift my spirit, focus my thoughts, gently jump-start my sense of vitality, clear the air and my respiratory system, and ward of some threatening scratchiness and sniffle that were threatening.

Additionally, Plant Therapy had just released their new Chakra Synergy line to help create balance in our wellbeing. I chose the following:

Grounded Foundation – this helped me to pull my scattered energy back into my body and rebalance and reground while help to soothe the spirit. I used it with the affirmation “I am safe. All is well.”

Self Manifestation — though sometimes we have no control over which way the winds will blow us, we are empowered in how we deal with the storm. I used this synergy with meditation to replenish this sacred center of empowerment to reaffirm and remember that I can do more than I ever thought possible.

 

My wish for you is that your journey always be smooth. Should you run into stormy weather, my hope is that you will find some inspiration in these “Lessons from Irma for Weathering Life’s Storms.” Knowing our own situations and needs are unique,  I would love hear back from you on what you have learned in working your way through your own life’s storms. You never know who you might help!