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Tag Archives: mind

Essential Oils and ADHD

Essential oils are great support for so many ailments we battle each day – which you probably already know if you’ve been reading out blog! But did you know these amazing all-natural oils can also provide relief for symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder, or ADHD?

If the term ADHD sounds familiar, it’s likely because approximately 11% of all U.S. children have been diagnosed with it at some point in their young lives. That’s 6.4 million kids – one out of every 11. About 60% of children with ADHD become adults who have ADHD, which is about 4% of the adult population [1]. Maybe your own child has ADHD, your spouse or significant other, maybe your neighbor or co-worker’s children. The point is, ADHD is a pretty prevalent brain-based syndrome. It can cause real every-day challenges for both children and adults. These challenges can include controlling impulses and hyperactivity, staying organized, maintaining concentration and motivation, the ability to learn, and being able to enjoy regular deep and restful sleep. Relationships with others may suffer as well, since some people with ADHD struggle with their social skills.

So, essential oils can help?

Many essential oil’s primary properties include helping to increase focus, stay alert, and calm down the mind and body. These oils can be an amazing compliment to treatments already in place for an individual with ADHD (such as behavioral management, family training, and/or prescribed medication). However, whether you are a parent, an educator, an adult with ADHD, or anyone else interested in using essential oils for ADHD, approach cautiously. Since there is a very limited amount of research done on this topic, you should always consult with a physician before making any kind of changes to a treatment plan.

The most frequently cited case study done on ADHD and essential oils comes from the late Dr. Terry S. Friedmann, M.D., A.B.H.M. For a two year period (1999-2001), Dr. Friedmann experimented with oils on a group of 40 children, half of whom had an ADHD diagnosis, and half of whom did not (the “control” group). Each day, the children were asked to inhale essential oils when they began to feel “scattered.” For each essential oil Dr. Friedmann was testing, the children used it for 30 days. Ultimately, the study concluded that certain essential oils really did make a significant impact on the symptoms of ADHD. In particular, Lavender, Cedarwood, and Vetiver oils were used and Vetiver made the most notable success in improving performance [2].

Where should I start?

First, let’s take a moment to appreciate Plant Therapy’s unique blend of bright and uplifting essential oils that make up our A+ Attention Synergy. Perfect to help calm an overactive body while bringing focus and clarity, this synergy is a great place to start for anyone looking to support an individual with ADHD.  A+ Attention is part of our KidSafe line of products, which means that each essential oil used in this synergy is totally safe for young children.

To use, just add 5 to 10 drops to a personal aromatherapy inhaler. There’s really no beating the convenience and ease of using a personal aromatherapy inhaler – it’s perfect to take to work or to pack in a child’s backpack so they can use it whenever they feel like they need it (but please check with the school first! Your district may have a policy about bringing essential oils to school, so check with the child’s teacher or administration). Or, dilute A+ Attention with a carrier oil (2-4%) and apply topically to the chest, back of neck, and wrists.

Another great option to support individuals with ADHD is our Clarity Synergy. The essential oils used in this blend have therapeutic benefits that enhance focus and memory. For any task requiring sustained mental effort, Clarity may be just what you need. Use it in the same ways directed above, but keep in mind that this is not part of our KidSafe line.

If you’re looking to try single oils for ADHD support, here are a few suggestions to start you off.

Remember, no two people are exactly the same. What may work well for one person may not work the same for another. The oils listed here are those known to be either calming for the mind and body or can improve mental clarity and boost memory.

  • Chamomile Roman – Soothing, comforting, and famous for its calming properties, this is an especially great choice if you’re looking for an oil to help get deep, refreshing sleep.
  • Lavender – Surprised? Of course not! Lavender is such a powerhouse oil with an incredibly wide range of therapeutic properties! It pops up all over the place. If you have an ailment, there’s a good likelihood that Lavender is on the list to help you get through it. For ADHD support, Lavender is known to reduce feelings of nervousness, bring calm to the mind, and, like Chamomile Roman, help the user to get a peaceful night of sleep.
  • Vetiver – While also a fantastic choice for promoting sleep, this oil was notably found most effective during Dr. Friedmann’s study. Further, it can help calm the ‘mind chatter’ that prevents the mind from focusing, leading to an increase in concentration.
  • Cedarwood – This is a great choice for creating a positive atmosphere and warding off negative thinking. It has a woody, rich scent known to calm the mind and balance emotions.
  • Frankincense – The soothing properties of Frankincense may be exactly what’s needed to help calm an overactive mind and body. Plus, it is also a great support to the immune system!

Try out these recipes for your diffuser or personal aromatherapy inhaler to enjoy their awesome therapeutic benefits!

Focus Blend 1

3 drops Frankincense Carteri

2 drops Lavender

2 drops Lime or Mandarin

Focus Blend 2

3 drops Balsam Fir

2 drops Frankincense Carteri

2 drops Grapefruit Pink

1 drop Orange Sweet

ADHD and essential oils – what do you think? Have you ever tried oils to support yourself or someone else with ADHD? Let us know in the comments below!




[1] Adult ADHD. Anxiety and Depression Association of America. Retrieved from

[2] Friedmann, T. S. Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).


From Surviving to Thriving with the Power of Essential Oils

By Ellen Brenner, Certified Aromatherapist

If you’ve followed my blogs, you are likely familiar with my backstory. Unhappily successful executive desperately wants to jump off the rapidly racing treadmill, is too afraid, and literally and figuratively gets run off the road in a life-threatening, life-altering blink-of-an-eye moment. Wakes up, literally and figuratively, to a new reality of re-learning how to move more step-wise through life in search of restoration and revitalization.

 That’s pretty much the skinny. So, why am I rehashing this again? 

Because it has been 10 years since the traumatic event that launched me onto this part of my life’s journey. I mark this milestone as the rebirth of my authentic self. And, truly, it has taken the entirety of that decade to really gain a more profound perspective about this phase of my path.

When we can free ourselves from the muck by re-focusing from the life-altering to the life-affirming, we can shift from surviving to thriving and find our own sense of optimal well-being.

The key to gaining my well-being was getting myself unstuck in order to find my way forward. So, in honor of that process and progress, I want to share what I have learned about getting out of my own way. My hope is that my story helps others who also want to be on their own way after a traumatic event.

 And, here is the short story.

After any type of trauma we can become mired in a mental morass that may keep us from moving forward. When we can free ourselves from the muck by re-focusing from the life-altering to the life-affirming, we can shift from surviving to thriving and find our own sense of optimal well-being.

 So, let’s talk about that.

Trauma affects us on all three levels of our existence: mind, body and spirit.  It rocks our whole being and upends how we know to be in the world. With physical trauma, modern medicine has rendered many miracles, of which I am one.[1] Yet, when we experience a traumatic illness or injury, it challenges the very definition of clinical recovery — returning to our former state of health and functionality. [2]

We contend with acute and chronic changes to our physical state; such as functional limitations; our emotional state, including a sense of loss, fear, anger, stress and anxiety; and our spiritual state, including questions about the very purpose of our existence. And, we may feel challenged about how to integrate these changes into our very core essence.[3]

These are the things I have experienced in my own personal journey. I have also learned they are a commonly shared experience calling for recognition and research in the clinical community in order to better support those who have survived traumatic illness and injury. [4] [5]

When we experience a trauma, we often see our lives as before and after. The thing that happened could be my story if I stopped there. An ending to what I saw as my life before. We see this with folks who define their sense of self by their condition long after the thing that happened.

Moving a step beyond, we can also become mired down in the longer-term aftermath, stopping at the sense of surviving.  What I wanted was to move beyond these first two stages to a sense of thriving. And, it was the thing that happened that pushed me off that perpetual treadmill propelling onto a new trajectory to get unstuck from the muck.

Please understand, while I perceived this perspective early on in my mind, it hasn’t been simply a flip-of-a-switch, but rather a lot of work rewiring into the deep recesses of my being that formerly framed how I lived my life.  For me, that part of my journey has taken me nearly a decade of delving deeper into self-care, self-love, and self-acceptance, to truly let it seep down to the level of my soul.

Getting Stuck in the Surviving Stage.

Because, initially, I didn’t know how to be in my new world, I kept trying to retreat into the old by holding onto my former ways to be who I thought I should be. So, I tried to wrap myself in a super hero cape and carry on. In reality, I was trying to fly with a false security blanket that was not keeping me safe. On the surface I projected a sense of being fine. Sitting just slightly below the surface was a swirling storm of disordered emotions holding back my healing. Here’s just a sample:

Not fully accepting what had happened and what I needed to happen to support my healing: I would push too hard  and too fast to be “before Ellen” and the Universe pushed back delaying my healing through several setbacks. “I don’t have time for this. I need to get back to work.”

A sense of cheating death and potential doom. When every doctor ever looks at my medical history it goes like this: Looks at chart.  Looks at me. Looks at chart again. Looks at me in stunned disbelief. Then, says, “Wow! No one usually survives and/or walks away from that.” Me to self: “Whoa! What the heck? That’s a heavy load and that’s scary.

Which leads to guilt. I did not feel I deserved to fully experience my feelings about loss and fear. “Why me and not others? Others have it worse. I should be grateful and not complain.”

 Then, existential pressure. I felt like I had been given the gift of a do-over and wanted to get it right. As an over achiever,  I handled this like a burden not wanting to mess it up, rather than seeing that experience as a blessing. “Why did I survive? What am I meant to do?” I must make this meaningful.”

So… I just totally disconnected.  My emotions were too messy and scary and I didn’t have the skills to know how to process them. I also did not understand they were part of the package.

I thought I was giving off the vibe of “I’m fine. Really. I am sincerely grateful for what I have and just want to move forward.” However, I learned that I was actually giving off the vibe of numbing out.  Rather than dealing with the mental and spiritual aspects of what happened, I was creating further distress by divorcing myself from what I felt. Because what I felt about what happened was scary and I was the girl who stood on her own two feet.

By focusing solely on my physical needs while neglecting my emotional and spiritual needs, I was creating a fragmentation in caring for my whole person. I was fighting the forces of nature and the factors of my own functional facility. And, I was trying to get back on the treadmill I knew, rather than facing the future.

My fear of moving forward caused me to get worse, not better. This literally caused a  repetitive replay of taking one step forward and two steps back in my functional ability. Treading water. Trying to survive. Wanting more, but not seeing how that was possible. What I wasn’t seeing was how I was standing in my own way, based on what I believed.

And then, the traumatic event finally went from breakdown to breakthrough. But, rather than happening after the immediate injury, it happened in an instant two years later.

In my struggle to push back and perform at previous levels from before, I hurt myself significantly for the second time in two years after the initial accident. It was enough to scare my rehabilitation specialists. The miracle workers had successfully put my body back together three times, and each incident had its own challenges. This time, while I had been slow to grasp the gravity of my situation, I was finally scared straight.

That was my “aha” moment: It was time to seek support for my mind and spirit, as well as my body, so that my whole being could heal.

This is what I learned.

While I wanted to keep a positive outlook, I was not dealing with the challenging emotions associated with the trauma because I believed they served no purpose. I thought they would drag me back, but in actuality, they were causing me to be stuck.

With the help of a gifted healer to support my mental, emotional and spiritual needs, I learned what you believe and what you feel are different tracks of your being. One is an aspect of your mental state and the other arises from your emotional state. When they are not in alignment, it can create a sense of dissonance or disharmony.

Because of my inability to cope, my mind managed to disconnect from the trauma that had occurred, creating a state of dissociation. I wasn’t experiencing my feelings, but they were there below the surface creating significant disturbances.

I learned how to begin to untangle the two. I learned that life-long beliefs could be changed, especially if they are keeping us unhealthy. And, I learned to experience my negative emotions while feeling safe so they could be exorcised.

Perhaps, most significantly, I learned when we try to recover our old life, to the day before the thing happened, we are trying to go backward. This keeps us stuck in the surviving stage, or even relapsing further as I did in the thing-that-happened stage. But, when we choose to reclaim our lives, we can begin to move forward from surviving to thriving.
Moving from Surviving to Thriving

The clinical miracle workers had worked their magic. But I wanted to more fully experience reclaiming my life, even if I moved forward by fractions.

The mind matters. Much of what was holding me back was myself in my own mind. Letting go of negative thought patterns and self-limiting belief systems helps liberate our spirits and better supports the ability of our bodies.

Engaging in conscious wellness has been vital to restoring  whole-being balance. When our mind, body, and spirit are in balance we can better reclaim our lives. Holistic healing arts such as yoga, massage, energy work, acupuncture, meditation and aromatherapy have played a vital role in bridging the span between the limits of functional recovery and the unlimited potential of reaching my own level of optimal well-being.

Like many aspects of tending to our well-being, this has been a practice grounded in awareness and an ongoing series of conscious choices about my mindset one step after the next. And I have learned to call in the professional and personal support as needed all along the way.

The closer I came to mastering my mind, the easier it became to release the shackles that bound me from flying free. My outlook became sunnier, my emotions more centered. Work flowed more freely, and I was able to do more physically.

Where there was once resistance to the changes from fear, there is now more resilience to changes on the go, allowing me to bend and bounce while I re-balance and grow.

But, let me be real here. It has taken me almost 10 years to own my pathway. And that includes the before the thing that happened, the thing that happened, and the after the thing that happened as my journey in its entirety so far.

I don’t want to give the impression “I’ve arrived,” or I have reached “enlightenment.” I am just hoping to leave some lights on for others along the way from what I’ve learned so far. What I can say for sure: Learning these lessons has helped me realize my potential and my purpose and created a greater sense of wholeness and health.

Aromatherapy as an Essential Companion

Today, I am grateful I am able to blend my professional and personal passions with aromatherapy to create a synergy of support for myself, as well as others.

Aromatherapy came into my life many years ago in the “before” part of my journey creating the gateway to accessing natural healing arts.  Since then, aromatherapy has been a constant companion in my self-care. When the “after” came, especially after my “aha” moment, I incorporated aromatherapy in my healing journey, every step of the way, to help bridge that the gap in moving forward from surviving to thriving.

Aromatic essences excel in supporting challenging mental states while soothing the emotions. They can help to ease discomfort experienced in the physical body. And, they can help restore the spirit.  Most significantly, aromatherapy blends wonderfully into all of my self-care and self-balancing practices expanding the essential experience.

Here are just a few links you might find helpful about how to incorporate aromatherapy in your healing journey:

Food for Thought

Take a Breath and Cool Your Jets

M is for Meditation

An Achilles Heel to Healing

What Does Holistic Have to Do With Our Health

What Exactly is Subtle Aromatherapy

Chakra Synergies for Self Care

Essential Oil Well-being: Be Gentle, Be Generous, Be Grateful

New You from the Inside Out

And, here is a synergy to especially support moving forward from Surviving to Thriving

For me, this synergy embodies all the attributes I seek in moving from surviving to thriving. It can be used to support us in letting go of what was, assist us in moving forward to reclaim our lives, and sustain us in our capacity to thrive.

This can be inhaled by placing in a diffuser, or a personal inhaler. Because the scent resonates so deeply with me, I also like to dilute it to 2% in a 10 ml roller ball bottle and wear it on my pulse points to gently waft over me as my own personal restorative perfume.


2 drops Black Pepper Piper nigrum

1 drop Sandalwood Indian Santalum album

1 drop Orange Blood Citrus sinensis

1 drop Peru Balsam Myroxylon balsamum

The intention of this synergy is to help us restore our overall sense of balance and well-being. It helps us to ground, strengthen and replenish our spirits while encouraging a sense of peace, calm and serenity for the mind. It uplifts the heart and promotes a sense acceptance, compassion and  optimism.

It supports the clearing of blocked energy and encourages healing on all levels of our being. And it helps us let go of challenging emotions such as fear, anger and frustration while promoting a sense of  courage, self-confidence and self-empowerment.

From my heart to yours, I wish you peace and empowerment on your journey from surviving to thriving.  May your whole being thrive in the light of your own personal optimal well-being.



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

Shutes, Jade. The Dynamics of Blending: A Guide to Blending . Willow Springs, NC: NW College for Herbal and Aromatic Studies, 2011. Print.

[1] The National Action Plan for Cancer Survivorship. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , 29 Apr. 2009,

[2] Richomond, Therese S, et al. “Journey towards Recovery Following Physical Trauma.”Journal of Advanced Nursing, vol. 32, no. 6, 2000, pp. 1341–1347.,

[3] Richomond, Therese S, et al. “Journey towards Recovery Following Physical Trauma.”Journal of Advanced Nursing, vol. 32, no. 6, 2000, pp. 1341–1347.,

[4] Richomond, Therese S, et al. “Journey towards Recovery Following Physical Trauma.”Journal of Advanced Nursing, vol. 32, no. 6, 2000, pp. 1341–1347.,

[5] The National Action Plan for Cancer Survivorship. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , 29 Apr. 2009,

Essential Oil Well-being: Be Gentle, Be Generous, Be Grateful

By Ellen Brenner, Certified Aromatherapist

Essential well-being. Where mind, body, and spirit meet aromatherapy.

Essential Wellbeing: Where mind, body and spirit meet aromatherapy.

As you may know, from reading my previous blogs, the catalyst for my own healing journey started with a traumatic injury. I mention this here because, in retrospect, there is actually a prequel to that moment in time.

Prior to the accident, I did not live a healthy life. I lived the idea of the “American Dream.” Marriage, dream house, well-educated, big job, nice car, travel to amazing places. Regardless of what it took for me, and what it took out of me, I persisted in how life was “meant to be.”

This led to living life in a persistently unhealthy way.

While I wasn’t always unhappy, the underlying threads holding together the fabric of my health were fraying.  Always battling my weight. Never enough sleep. Not enough energy for physical activity. No time for creative outlets. False energy in caffeine and sugar to keep up the go, go, go pace. And, I was living in a chronic state of stress to where I often didn’t even notice it wasn’t normal. As a result, I was also living with multiple chronic conditions caused by inflammation and autoimmune responses that my physicians at the highest levels of academic medicine couldn’t keep in check.

 I was heading for a health crisis.

One of my most insightful physicians led the integrative medicine department at the university medical center where I worked. She explained the connections between my mind, body and spirit, their impact on my health, and the effects of the life I was living on my whole being. She pushed me to make changes and warned of an imminent and more intensive break down to my health. This was also the physician who first incorporated aromatherapy into my wellness plan when she prescribed the sleep hygiene routine with lavender discussed in Slipping Into Slumber.

Lavender essential oil and salt baths can help relax the senses.

Newly divorced, and dealing with a new boss creating a hostile work environment, I didn’t heed her warnings. I couldn’t see how to make changes while my senses remained in fight or flight status and I continued to flail out of fear of failure. What I didn’t realize was I was failing myself, and my health was failing because of my inability to focus on feeling well. And then, I received word that I would require urgent surgery for what seemed an unexpected issue with an extended recovery period. During that rest period, I came to the conclusion that the solution was to simply surgically remove everything else that was unhealthy and, then, I would be well.

I was wrong.

It was indeed critical that I extricate myself from the influences of the extreme external stressors such as the ex-husband from an emotionally abusive marriage, the current hostile job environment, and the health issue requiring surgery. But what I failed to realize was the work that remained within in order to address the aftermath, as well as to correct my course so I could become well. So, l continued dashing down my life path, which I thought I had cleared of ongoing danger, until the night a horse ran right across my literal path as I drove down a dark and rainy road.

That was the catalyst that literally and figuratively hurtled me off my path that night. With it came the realization I had received the gift of a “do-over.” What I knew for sure was I wanted to do whatever it took to enhance my overall well-being. And, so, while I worked on my physical rehabilitation, I learned I also needed to work on my mind and spirit to truly begin to walk in wellness.

Working from Within

For me, there was no single “aha” moment of revelation illuminating the way in living color while working in those areas of my being that lie beneath. Instead, there has been exploration, experience and evolving — often with gifted healers to help guide the way. The process is active and it is intentional. It can take constant adjustment, like standing in a boat riding the waves, sometimes standing still, sometimes gently rocking, and sometimes getting tossed about.

Plant Therapy essential oils help heal from within.

I also learned there is no arrival at state of perfection in the practice of conscious wellness. Instead, I see the path toward optimal well-being as state of awareness in which we make a series of choices about what works best for us in mindful moments that make needed self-care a priority. An approach that nourishes our mind, body and spirit so that our whole being can flourish by bringing ourselves into a better state of balance.

In addition to the conventional care I required, I added many natural healing techniques to enhance the healing process for my whole being. Massage, gentle yoga, acupuncture, meditation, energy work, and of course, aromatherapy. I continue with these practices today to help sustain my well-being, and help me back on course when I wander off. And, in many ways I much healthier than I was in the years “before.”

Growing Well

As I continue to walk this path, what has came to me most recently is that rather than “getting well,” I am “growing well.”

Like in nature, essential oils can help people grow well. And, this is an important distinction. Rather than passively waiting for a return to health, growing well is a more active, engaged and empowered process in my healing journey. It implies the intention of tending to yourself. Tilling deeper into the soil to turn over old thought patterns and remove blocks that are depleting our well-being. Plant and nourish new seeds so your whole being can better flourish.

In nature, plants produce essential oils to support their ability to flourish. We can incorporate the natural gifts of these aromatic essences into our own self-care routines to support our own ability to grow well. On its own, aromatherapy shines in supporting our practice of growing well by nurturing our mind and nourishing our spirit. Incorporated into our self-care routines, aromatic essences create a synergy that enhances and expands the experience.

There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to finding which practices work for you. What is important is finding what fits best for your unique needs.

If you are looking for some inspiration, you might like to start with the articles linked below. Each suggests some self care routines synergistically supported by aromatherapy.

Regardless of which road you choose to travel toward growing well, one thing I have learned for sure:  It is vital to tend to yourself with loving care. Like the planting of new seeds, we reap what we sow, and what we want is well-being that grows in a nourished and balanced environment, sprouting from a nurtured mind and spirit.

With this in mind, I have outlined below what I have come to call “My Three Be G’s for Growing Well” along with some aromatherapy options that you may consider to support you in sustaining that space for yourself.

My Three Be G’s for Growing Well

Be Gentle

  • Let go of expectation — don’t set time frames, measurements, or any other types of metrics to beat. If you need to see how far you have come, you can take a look back to where you started.
  • Invite, don’t push — be at peace with yourself, not at war.
  • Be resilient — be soft enough in your stance; flex, bend, and bounce back. 

Be Generous

  • Give yourself the gift of time for self-care and for the process to play out. Don’t set a timer on your forward progress.
  • Self-care is not selfish. It is putting on your own oxygen mask first to be prepared for what comes and where you are needed next.
  • You are a gift and you have gifts to share. Being well enough to share your gifts also allows you to be in your purpose.

Be Grateful 

  • Rather than battle your body, be grateful for what it endures on your behalf. Thank yourself, don’t berate yourself.
  • Frustration and irritation create blocks in the road.
  • Being sidelined by illness or injury is never a blessing. But, the time created can be used to re-calibrate, restore and renew. Use it well.

Be Gentle, Be Generous and Be Grateful can serve as affirmations to gently remind ourselves to come back to a positive place in our journey to grow well. When we combine these with aromatherapy, we can create an aromatic anchor to help bring us back when we find we have wandered away simply by inhaling our chosen scent. For this reason, and as always, it is important to choose what you feel best supports your own sensibilities.

When supporting emotional or spiritual needs, inhalation is the best approach. You could add 15 drops to a personal aromatherapy inhaler, add about 5 drops per 100 mL of water to your diffuser, add 1 or 2 drops total to aromatherapy jewelry, or create up to a 2% dilution and apply to pulse points with a roller bottle to smell (6 drops essential oils to 10 ml carrier oil).

I have included a recipe below, as well as some ready-made synergies to help inspire you on your way as you choose your own path to growing well.

A Suggested Synergy to Make:

Flourishing Spirit

3 drops Ho Wood Cinnamomum camphora

1 drop Elemi Canarium luzonicum

1 drop Spearmint Mentha spicata

Evoking the sweetness of life, Flourishing Spirit can create a feeling of infusing the spirit with an expansive sense of wellbeing. Soothing, calming and uplifting, the scent can support feelings contentment and compassion while gently encouraging balance to mind, body and spirit to fortify our vitality and instill a sense of renewed vibrancy.

Cautions: None known when diluted properly.  It is recommended that spearmint be diluted to 1.7% or less when applied topically on its own. For purposes of this blend, you will be well within range if the total blend is diluted 2% as recommended for topical application.

Plant Therapy's Chakra Synergy essential oils promote balance, inner peace and happiness. Or, Choose a Ready Made Synergy:

Loving Compassion — From Plant Therapy’s Chakra Synergy line, this comforting and calming synergy helps to nourish the heart center and spirit. This scent invites positive energy and encourages a joyful outlook promoting unconditional love, compassion and acceptance, including for ourselves.

Calming the Child — a staff and customer favorite from the KidSafe® line, this synergy is fantastic for folks of all ages in need of some soothing to the senses. Calming and uplifting, this synergy supports a sense of serenity with its happy, sweet scent.

Tell us what you think! How do you intend to: Be Gentle, Be Generous and Be Grateful? Let us know in the comments below. 

Natural Brain Boosters

Natural Brain Boosters

Do you have goals set for this new year? Maybe you have your heart set on learning something new or following a personal passion; maybe your sights are set on getting a raise at work or acing that final exam.

Unfortunately, sometimes our goals require a lot more motivation and focus than we can seem to muster. During those long days at work or hours spent spilled over a textbook, time seems to slow down, making us feel foggy, unfocused, and exhausted. Our mind searches for any kind of stimulation to perk up. Giving into those distractions only moves us further away from achieving what we want. Don’t let your goals get derailed every time your mind loses focus on the task at hand! Stay sharp with the help of essential oils known to help boost your cognitive abilities.

For a quick fix for a foggy brain, you can count on Plant Therapy’s unique blend of brain-boosting essential oils in Brain Aid Synergy.  A few deep inhalations of this citrusy, herbaceous, woodsy, and minty aroma will invigorate your mind to keep it going strong all day long. Our Certified Aromatherapists created this blend to awaken your mind when mental fatigue is slowing you down. The essential oils in this blend can profoundly change the way your brain is processing information, which in turn helps you to remember more and keep you laser-focused on your task.

For kids with busy brains who struggle concentrating, Plant Therapy’s KidSafe A+ Attention is a calming and balancing blend of oils that safely and naturally keep them focused.

Single Oils Good For Brain Power

There are also some wonderful single oils that will help you regain clear-headedness and motivation. Rosemary 1,8-Cineole is one of the most popular oils for brain power and is known to help long-term memory. The compound that makes Rosemary so distinctive is 1,8-cineole, which aids a brain chemical linked to learning and memory.

Basil Linalool is also an excellent choice if you’re looking to improve focus and refresh your mind. Besides being a popular culinary herb, Basil also helps restore mental alertness when inhaled. It clears the brain fog. The refreshing aroma of Basil also reduces excitability, helping you settle down and focus better on a singular task.

Likewise, to ward off a dwindling attention span, Cedarwood Atlas is known to support focus and quiet a racing mind with its grounding, rich, earthy aroma.

And last but not least, Peppermint is also a powerful brain energizer that stimulates the mind, supports memory, focus, concentration, and mental performance. Fragrant and familiar, Peppermint will wake up the mind and help boost your productivity.

Usage Tips:

I like to carry personal Aromatherapy Inhalers. These compact inhalers are small enough to carry with you in your pocket or purse. Add a few drops of Brain Aid Synergy, and reach for it anytime you need a boost of brainpower!

Another great option is to diffuse Brain Aid (or other mind-sharpening oils). I like to use my Diffuse on the Move, plugged into my laptop when I’m working on an important project.

We want to hear from you! What essential oils help give your mind an extra boost? And what are your goals this year that will require some extra brain power? Comment below, and let’s help support one another to be awesome!

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!

My Top Three Essential Oils for Whole Being Balance

By Ellen Brenner, Certified Aromatherapist

Recently, we discussed the practice of holistic care in “What Does Holistic Have to Do with Our Health.” Essentially, we are caring for mind, body and spirit to bring balance to our whole being for a greater state of wellbeing.

You may recall from “Food for Thought, that our mind, body and spirit are interconnected. Depending on our state of mind, our body and spirit are impacted in chemical messages from the brain created by stress. This distress of the mind, especially over the long-term, can lead to dis-ease due to our body’s inability to compensate and re-balance.

Aromatherapy, in particular, the practice of holistic aromatherapy, is the perfect partner for helping to support harmony on all three levels of our existence. When we can find balance within ourselves and our environment,  we can experience a greater sense of optimal wellbeing.

Each essential oil and extract has its own therapeutic profile and value, often with multiple core applications.

And, often, we blend synergies from a selection of essential oils to create the holistic profile we are seeking as we did to accompany self-balancing activities outlined in Balancing Our Whole Being.”

There are, however, some essential oils and extracts that are just excellent at equally supporting and entire being.

I find myself reaching over and again for three in particular when I want well-rounded and robust support to bring my being back into balance.

The three I love the most for holistic use are: Bergamot, Fragonia and Blue Yarrow. Oh my goodness, do I love the gifts of these oils.

On their own, they are wonderful to bring equilibrium to mind, body and spirit. Mixed in other synergies, they enhance the holistic value. In my opinion, blended together, they create something extraordinary.

Below, you will find why I consider these my top three essences as my very favorites for holistic support on all three levels — mind, body and spirit.

In addition, I have included one of my very favorite blends with the added benefit of a soothing bath. I find this one of the best ways to find balance from within for my whole being.

As always, I  encourage you to consider options that match your own unique needs.


Bergamot Citrus bergamia  (bergapten free)

Bergamot is a favorite for its array of uses and its sunny scent. Bergamot is an incredibly uplifting, calming and balancing essential oil.

It is especially helpful when you feel off balance due to nervous tension and when you need to invite in more positive thinking and energy.

Mind:  Balancing to emotions. Uplifting and calming.  Promotes positive thinking while helping to release negative emotions.

Body: Supports the body in returning to a state of relaxation. Soothes the nervous system and smooths nervous tension held in the tissues.

Spirit: Helps to harmonize the spirit, especially when affected by strong, negative emotions. Supports the ability to receive positive energy and helps our natural energy to flow smoothly.



Fragonia Taxandria fragrans

Fragonia is highly valued for its uniquely balanced composition. It, too, has a wide array of core therapeutic uses and has a soft, refreshing scent.

It is especially helpful for letting go of old emotional thought patterns and negative energy blocks that are impacting your balance and wellbeing.

Mind:  Helps to release old emotional patterns. Calming and uplifting, it helps to reduce worry and nervous tension.

Body:  Balancing to the nervous system. Relaxing and relieving to nervous tension creating discomfort in the body.

Spirit:  Helps to release deep-seated blocks in the energy flow caused by old wounds. Strengthening to the spirit.



Blue Yarrow – Achillea millefolium

Blue yarrow has been prized throughout time for its ability to support wounds on all levels. Though it provides powerful support, it is gentle in nature.

Its “blue” constituents are especially helpful to bring a cooling sense of balance to  heated conditions of mind, body and spirit.

Mind:  Supports emotional equilibrium. Helps to calm worry and nervous tension.

Body: Calming to the nervous system. Relaxing and relieving for nervous tension held in the tissues.

Spirit:  Powerful support in releasing blocks created by repressed strong, negative emotions. Helps to support a smooth natural energy flow. Balanced between opposing energies, it helps to equalize these energies in our own being.


Balancing Bath Blend

2 drops Bergamot  Citrus bergamia

2 drops Fragonia Taxandria fragrans

1 drop Blue Yarrow Achillea millefolium

Mix with 2 T natural, unscented body wash

Add 1/2 c of Epsom Salts and mix.

Add to your warm bath and soak for 20 minutes.

Bringing the best of the abilities from my top three oils for whole being balance. This is an especially wonderful immersion experience before bedtime. 



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

Lawless, Julia. The Encyclopedia of Essential Oils: The Complete Guide to the Use of Aromatic Oils in Aromatherapy, Herbalism, Health & Well-being. New York: Fall River, 2014. Print.

Mojay, Gabriel. Aromatherapy for Healing the Spirit: A Guide to Restoring Emotional and Mental Balance through Essential Oils. London: Gaia, 2005. Print.

Shutes, Jade. The Dynamics of Blending: A Guide to Blending . Willow Springs, NC: NW College for Herbal and Aromatic Studies, 2011. Print.

Zeck, Robbi. The Blossoming Heart: Aromatherapy for Healing and Transformation. East Ivanhoe, Victoria: Aroma Tours, 2004. Print.

An Achilles Heel to Healing

By: Ellen Brenner, Certified Aromatherapist


We are told “when life gets tough, the tough get going.”

What does that really mean? Generally, we interpret that to mean we “toughen up” to persist in working through adversity.

Most often, persistence is a trait we are taught to admire. But, is it a trait that helps us be whole? What if this persistent state of armoring is actually an Achilles Heel to our healing?

Greek mythology depicts Achilles as one of its greatest warriors during the Trojan War. Yet, for all his armor and strength, he was killed by a poisoned arrow that found its mark on his heel. That vulnerable spot came to be known as the Achilles Heel. Even one who is heroically strong can meet his downfall through a poisoned weak spot.[1]

In the modern world, we are often met with constant sources of stress that can feel like an army of arrows flinging at us. We armor up and soldier on to persist on our path while trying to prevent or push back the adversity coming at us.

By definition persistence is “the firm or obstinate continuance in a course of action in spite of difficulty or opposition.” [2]

Yet, when we heroically persist in armoring up, we also create a rigid pattern of holding that can impact our overall wellbeing on all levels. This very armor against stress tends to repress its toxic effects binding it into our whole being and creating our own poisoned Achilles Heel.

Emotionally, physically and energetically, continued persistence can put us in a state of fighting a continuous battle, which can eventually erode our strength and stamina. This unrelenting sense of distress can create dis-ease on all levels by impacting our ability find a healing balance.


As we read in “Food for Food for Thought,” and “Take and Breath and Cool Your Jets,” distress of the mind, unchecked, also creates a stress response in the body. In therapeutic bodywork, we say your issues are in your tissues. You know that feeling of discomfort from the knots in your shoulders and neck where many hold their stress. This is the body armored and ready for battle. But, this unrelenting state of distress also can lead to chronic and serious conditions through the stress cocktail that impacts our body’s ability to find a healing balance.

In energy work, we say this sense of armoring, or holding, creates blocks in the natural energy flow of our subtle body. From this perspective, left unreleased, these blocks can become a deeply suppressed source of dis-ease that eventually manifest as physical health conditions, most especially where weak spots have developed.

In my own healing journey, a colleague recently pointed out my persistence in working to heal a chronic lower back condition. In fact, I was so persistent, that I tried pushing forward with the same therapeutic modality for a year.  And, though I made some progress, I wasn’t making a breakthrough.

In retrospect, I needed another approach, but I was not willing to flex to some other options because I was certain this was the answer if I just gave it enough effort and time. Yet, the more I persisted the more frustrated I became with my body leading to some distress in the mind, creating more stress in the body, which affected the pain I was experiencing through a state of dis-ease and back to the frustration and stress of the mind. What a cycle, huh?

The breakthrough came, when I eventually broke down. A few months ago I “suddenly” had an issue with intense acute back pain that impacted my ability to fully function. What I thought had been under management morphed into requiring much more intensive therapeutic work. I had missed the message in my persistence to progress.

What also made itself known was a major jump in my blood pressure into a very high and concerning range indicating I was holding stress under my “can do” persistent armor. My acupuncture physician had also been warning that my liver meridian was way out of balance indicating a holding of anger and resentment. Whether you practice western or eastern medicine (or both like me), the modalities were in agreement. I was holding in frustration that was turning toxic.

The very act of persistence became my Achilles Heel, blocking my continued healing of lingering issues, and creating new chronic conditions.

While we never want to be sidelined by injury or illness, if it happens it is always an opportunity to stop and “take a look.” What I discovered about myself was that I persisted in getting through the last nine years, after the life-altering accident, by armoring up and toughing it out. In fact, those were skills I likely learned early in life and had sourced within to get through. And, they did in fact get me to a certain point. But, now, it was time to let go of persistence and learn something new that would take me farther in my journey.

So, then, what else can we do when the stressors of life are zinging at us?

We learn to bounce through resilience vs. battling through persistence.

Researchers have found that healthy people are more resilient in nature and that resilience is a key factor in greatly improving the healing process. From a wellness perspective, psychologists define resilience as the “the ability to recover readily from illness, depression, adversity, or the like; buoyancy.”[3]

As it relates to our wellbeing, researchers have this to say:

Resilience is the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats or significant sources of stress. It means “bouncing back” from difficult experiences.” [4]

Key factors identified in resiliency are the ability to keep a positive outlook, manage our emotions, and adapt. “Even after misfortune, resilient people are blessed with such an outlook that they are able to change course and soldier on.” [5]

Rather than pushing forward through adversity with the obstinate rigidity of persistence, the practice of resilience is a softening of our stance allowing us the flexibility to regroup and respond.

Here was a novel concept. I could armor up, absorb the reverberations of the stress I was creating, experiencing holding in as my personal poison — or, I could relax into a buoyant stance, taking care with self-care after the fact to ensure I had not overlooked any arrows to my heel.

Aromatherapy excels in supporting this softening of our being so necessary to a healthy resilience. So often, when I open my spirit to working on a certain place of healing in my being, the absolute perfectly necessary essential oil shows up in my space to support me just at precisely the right time. Blue Yarrow is no exception. It came to me at just the right time to help calm the mind, relax the body and soothe the soul.

Blue Yarrow, Achillea Millefolium, is named for Achilles. The herb was traditionally used in battles for wounded warriors. [6] And, so for those of us who have learned to battle forward through persistence, blue yarrow is wonderful companion in learning to remove the self-inflicted stress poison of own Achilles Heel.

Blue Yarrow essential oil also is considered wound healing for blocks in our natural energy flow created by deeply repressed negative emotions, such as the anger, rage and frustration that so often accompany chronic stress and impact our overall wellbeing.[7]

It can be used when you need greater emotional support and insight during significant life changes, when you feel challenged by your weak spots, and when you seek stay balanced while keeping your sense of integrity.[8] Blue Yarrow has also been used in ancient cultures to promote intuition and divination.[9]


If you are having a day, week, month or moment that feels like you are coming in from a battlefield, blue yarrow is a wonderful support to any self-care routine you have that allows you to slow down, soften up and relieve your stress as practice resiliency. If you would like some ideas for some mindfulness approaches that would support steps toward a resiliency practice, to start, take a look at “Take a Breath and Cool Your Jets” and “M is for Meditation.”

Below are two of my new favorite mini-master blends working with blue yarrow to support my journey toward a softer stance and bouncing back. I like them both in personal inhalers to have with me on the go. You can triple the blend to use them that way, or you can use as is in your diffuser.


Blue Bliss

2 drops bergamot

2 drops coriander

1 drop blue yarrow

This is a great blend for calming the mind, body and spirit. It is clearing and cleansing, especially for repressed emotions such as tension, frustration and anger, and helping to balance our natural energy flow. It encourages optimism and enthusiasm, while uplifting and calming to mind, body and spirit.


Blue Skies

2 drops elemi

2 drops grapefruit, pink

1 drop blue yarrow

I love this blend as support for healing meditation. It is grounding and strengthening while opening our mind to our intuition and the Divine with greater clarity and inspiration. Helps to clear and move deeply held, negative energy blocks such tension and frustration. Promotes a sense of peace while uplifting and the mind and spirit.



[1] “Achilles’ Heel.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 09 Feb. 2017.

[2] Persistence.” Google. n.d. Web. 06 Mar. 2017.

[3] “Resilience.”, n.d. Web. 06 Mar. 2017.

[4] “The Road to Resilience.” Pardon Our Interruption. American Psychological Association, n.d. Web. 09 Feb. 2017.

[5] “Resilience.” Psychology Today. Psychology Today, n.d. Web. 7 Feb. 2017.

[6] “Achillea Millefolium.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 06 Mar. 2017. Web. 09 Mar. 2017.

[7] Mojay, Gabriel. Aromatherapy for Healing the Spirit: Restoring Emotional and Mental Balance through Essential Oils. London: Gaia, 1999. Print.

[8] Zeck, Robbi. The Blossoming Heart: Aromatherapy for Healing and Transformation. East Ivanhoe, Victoria: Aroma Tours, 2004. Print.

[9] Achillea Millefolium.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 06 Mar. 2017. Web. 09 Mar. 2017.

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

Shutes, Jade. The Dynamics of Blending: A Guide to Aromatic Medicine Making. Willow Springs, NC: NW College for Herbal and Aromatic Studies, 2011. Print.


Winter Solstice for the Spirit

By: Ellen Brenner, Certified Aromatherapist


The advent of the Winter Solstice is a deeply profound period for me on many fronts. Steeped in the rich symbolism of rebirth and reawakening, it has become important to me to recognize this point in time by creating a restorative ritual that allows me to go deeply inward as a means of continually moving forward.

This year’s Winter Solstice occurs on December 21st marking the shortest day and the longest night of the annual cycle of dawn to darkness. And, for some, this longer descent into darkness can trigger a plunge in spirits.

For many years, when I worked in Chicago, I took the train from the suburbs into the city to work. During the icy, cold grip of winter, I departed in the dark and returned home after dark. A California girl by birth and nature, my spirit mourned the loss of light to the night.

BuWinter Solstice for the Soult, then, I had an awakening and I came to see the Winter Solstice as light at the end of the tunnel. For this longest day of night marked the milestone when we would again march toward the light. I rejoiced that the dawn of a new day meant we had turned again toward the much-needed sun for my soul. Rather than fear the dark, I had faith that every day would be a bit better than the last.

Ancient civilizations recognized this turning point toward the gradual return of the light as a time of reawakening and rebirth heralding a time of new beginnings. Because the coming deep winter months also required preparation for a period of survival on less sustenance, the Winter Solstice was also known as the hibernal solstice, and celebrated as the last joyous feast day until spring.[1]

For me, the Winter Solstice follows my birthday in early December and, what I refer to as, my re-birthday in early February, acknowledging not the trauma of the accident, but the impetus through which I was reborn to my authentic self.  This period, provides the perfect time for introspection – a searching inward toward the innate wisdom of my own core essence in preparation for my spirit to open more fully to receive the coming light.

I create  mindfulness rituals for myself especially focused on restoring, renewing and reawakening my spirit. This involves quieting mind, body and spirit, creating affirmations and meditation. With the arrival of the Winter Solstice, I also take time to express gratitude for where I’ve been, where I am, and the Divine connection that nourishes my spirit and has supported my journey so far. I also set intentions, in my mind’s eye, of where I see myself next and how I wish to be.


Creating You Own Restorative Ritual

If the idea of creating time for a restorative inward reflection this Winter Solstice resonates with you, you will find below an array of options below to help inspire your own introspection ritual. The idea is  to pick a practice, or practices, along with an aromatic  approach that works for you personally, or to create you very own, so that you may honor the movement of time and light in support your own sense of reawakening and renewal.

I hope you find these helpful and wish you joy on your journey. As we say at the end of yoga “namaste.” There are many beautiful interpretations. But, here, I will leave you with one of my favorites.


“The light in me honors the light in you.”


1) Practices for Quieting the Mind

We’ve discussed these mindfulness practices throughout the past year.  For review, some blogs you may find helpful, include:


2) Aromatherapy to Support the Spirit.

This is the blend I created especially to support a divine awakening within my own spirit. I share it with you here as an offering if it resonates with your own sense of reflection, restoration and renewal.

Given the purpose, I chose to blend intuitively letting my senses and nose lead. Once, I sensed the synergy connect with my spirit, I checked the implications with my sources on subtle aromatherapy. I am always amazed and affirmed how when I listen to my inner knowing, the messages I need will come through.


Winter Solstice in a Frosty Forest

(This blend is KidSafe)

2 drops coriander

1 drop balsam fir

1 drop bergamot

1 drop chamomile, roman


Support for the Spirit:

Grounds and promotes a sense of security. Clearing and cleansing, while helping to calm and relax the conscious mind. Invites positive energy and optimism while encouraging confidence and motivation.  Encourages intuition and insight and helps to manifest.

Supports the healing process on all levels, especially wounds of the heart. Helps to clear emotional blocks and supports the transformation of challenging emotions to promote balance.

Strengthens connection to a higher consciousness. Allows us to better receive and communicate spiritual truth.  Encourages Divine love and compassion to move through our being. Connects us to the collective wisdom of the world around us.


In addition to the blend’s support for the spirit, it also is soothing to the mind and body. This helpful to keep in mind if you want to experience the multi-purpose effects on all levels of your being.


For the Mind 

Uplifts, while calming and clarifying.  Relaxes and soothes, inviting a sense of peace. Restorative for mental and emotional fatigue.

For the Body

Relaxes nervous tension held in the body.  Helps to release and soothe overworked and tired eases muscles. Restorative and balancing.


3) Aromatic Applications to Support your Ritual.

  • Diffuser add 5 -8 drops
  • Inhaler – add 15 drops
  • Bath Soak – add 5 drops to natural body wash and mix. Add ½ cup Epsom salts. Add to warm bath. Soak and relax for 20 minutes.
  • Massage Oil—add 18 drops to 1 oz (2% dilution) of jojoba or other carrier.
  • Body Lotion – add 9 drops to 1 oz unscented body lotion (1 %)
  • Roller Bottle – add 6 drops to 10 ml carrier (2%). Apply to pulse points.
  • Room/Linen Mist – add 9 drops to 1 oz (1%) pure grain alcohol, such as Everclear.



[1] “Winter Solstice.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 01 Dec. 2016.

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

Shutes, Jade. “The Dynamics of Blending: A Guide to Blending and Reference Manual for Essential Oils and Base Materials.” N.p.: East-West School for Herbal and Aromatic Studies. N.d. Print.



An Attitude of Gratitude

By: Ellen Brenner, Certified Aromatherapist



I have a confession to make …

I have been a bit grumpy lately. Not outright, and not outwardly to others, but out of character for me. The munchkins in my mind have been mighty reactive lately. I have been easily irritable and paltry on patience.

“Wait. What?” Didn’t I just post a two-part blog on A Cup of Compassion? Yes, I did. And, this is where having a practice of living a compassionate life helps. Because others don’t need to be exposed to my grumpy gremlins. So, while inwardly, my mind might be sparking at so many small things, I did my very best to keep my mouth from outwardly speaking in a snit to others.

In retrospect, and through introspection, I understand where my patience veered off the peaceful path. First, there are some deep waters bubbling to the surface that clearly need my attention. Second, I had not been as diligent with my self-care routines for mind, body and spirit because I let myself get too busy for more than a few days. But, when I am very busy is when I most need to take care.

So, I was in dire need of an attitude adjustment.

And, I got one.

As I was confessing and venting my maddening muddle headedness to my acupuncture physician, she simply asked:

“What are you grateful for?”

The question stopped me short. And, immediately created a shift.

What am I grateful for?


While I lay on the table for my treatment, I used the time to meditate on gratitude. And, this change in my focus changed how I felt my body. My sense of stress cleared way for a calming sense of peace.

An attitude of gratitude, not only reframes our perspective, it helps bring us back from the brink of repetitive negative thinking.  In Food for Thought, we discussed how chronic negative thoughts can impact not only the wellbeing of our mind, but also our body and spirit.


What are you grateful for?

This subtle change can create a substantial shift  to help reframe our focus from negative thinking to the positive potential. It is one way to get ourselves to mindfulness in the moment from a mindless myriad of thoughts.

But, I want to be clear here … focusing on what you are grateful for is not to meant to be used as a diminishment of your feelings. When you are feeling blue, or angry, or anxious and you or someone says “yeah, but you should be grateful for …. “ this can invalidate your  emotions. And, while how you feel and how you think may be linked, they are actually separate streams of your being.

After I broke my neck, and before I did work to mend my mind and spirit, I had an enormous amount of stress and trauma suffusing my whole being. And, when I mentioned this, I can’t tell you the number of people who patted me on the arm and simply said “well, you should be grateful you are alive.” Well, ummmm, yes. Actually, I was. Very much so.

But, I was struggling while moving forward in a new reality. So, I stuffed the feelings down and slapped a smile on my face because I thought that was expected of the kind of “can do girl” I am. And, that caused some delays in healing my overall wellbeing. Faith, gratitude and positive thinking were vital to my recovery, but dealing with what lay beneath was critical. Two streams of being dealt with simultaneously.

What we are talking about here is simply a another practice of positive thinking for every day things and our every day being so that negative thoughts don’t become chronic negative emotions, and so that any immediate tension in our mind does not feed distress throughout our body.

What are you grateful for?

Researchers have found those focused on gratitude are happier and more optimistic,  have a greater sense of wellbeing, less visits to the doctor’s office, and enhanced relationships. Focusing on gratitude is another form of mindfulness – focusing on the now and what we do have, rather than waiting until a later date for something else externally to make us happy. [1] Studies in positive psychology have also shown a regular practice of gratitude reduces stress, enhances immunity, and promotes a healthier lifestyle. [2]

With Thanksgiving under our belts, we have been reminded to reflect on our blessings. But, rather than one day, this presents a perfect opportunity to create a personal practice of gratitude, not only for now, but for our ongoing essential wellbeing.

We don’t need to make a big splash, just a simple subtle shift will suffice. As always, using essential oils in your practice can significantly support your whole being creating your own personal aromatic blessings.

Here are some suggestions for how you might incorporate an attitude of gratitude into your daily self-care routine.




As we discussed in in Food for Thought Part II, we can choose a scent, unique to our own needs, to create an aromatic anchor. When we inhale this scent, continually thinking of a positive thought, our brain creates an association.

Later, we can simply sniff the scent to break a negative thinking pattern and bring our mind to our positive thought, also known as an affirmation. In this case, our affirmation would be something for which we are grateful.

Affirmations are always stated positively and in the present tense.


“I am grateful for ______________” (fill in the blank).

Inhale while while you are repeating the affirmation to yourself.

Affirmation Blend

This can work well with a single scent and an personal inhaler to carry with you. In her book “The Blossoming Heart,” Robbi Zeck recommends melissa to support affirmations of gratitude. [3] You can, however, choose whichever scent is meaningful, uplifting and positive for you.




Intentions  are another way of keeping us grounded.  They can help bring us back to our center if we find ourselves adrift in our thoughts.

You can use a statement of gratitude to set your intention for the day upon waking, and to help turn off of negative thoughts prior to sleep.





Intention Blend

This blend helps create a sense of bliss for me, which is the state I want to reach and experience. The combination of this blend with a gratitude intention can help support the mind, body and spirit in reaching a relaxed state. It can be used equally morning and night, and throughout the day either in your diffuser or personal inhaler.

This blend is Kidsafe.

2 drops ho wood

2 drops kunzea

1 drop sandalwood




You can create a gratitude meditation – a form of mindfulness focused on a positive phrase. When I do a relaxation mediation I often focus on phrases such as peace and calm. Or a phrase such as “all is well.

In a gratitude meditation, I might use “I am grateful for_______” to center my mind as I focus gently on my breath inhaling and exhaling. If you need help getting started, see “M is for Meditation” for some simple steps.



Meditation Blend

I love this blend for helping to mellow the mind for meditation. These can inspire a sense of peace and calm, while opening the mind for reflection.

2 drops ho wood

1 drop blue cypress

1 drop buddha wood*

1 drop ginger co2

  • This was a featured Oil of the Month. If you do not have it, you can increase blue cypress to 2 drops.




For folks who like to make lists, keep a journal, or simply write down their thoughts, a gratitude journal could fill the bill. It doesn’t need to be elaborate, and the entries don’t need to be extraordinary.

Just the simple act of writing down our gratitude thoughts can reinforce our feelings, help us progress toward healthier goals and provide more clarity to the positive things happening in our lives. [4]



Positive Thinking Blend

I love this blend for  unwinding a sense of restlessness in the mind and inspiring a sense of hope to heart and soul. This could be diffused to support your practice of positive thinking.

This blend is KidSafe if you use bergaptine free bergamot such as the one Plant Therapy carries. 

3 drops of bergamot

3 drops of copaiba balsam

3 drops of sandalwood


What am I grateful for? 

While I can’t say I am grateful for the car accident that interrupted my life, I AM grateful for the opportunity to reshape the trajectory of my life into what is most important to me.

I am grateful for the entire journey that brought me back to natural healing where my passions and ability allow me to express myself in creative, healing ways that help others while creating balance in my own wellbeing.

I am grateful for my loved ones who have supported me in being my authentic me, whether they always saw me as me, or supported me in coming back to me.

And, I am so very grateful for Plant Therapy, and all of you, for creating and sustaining an amazing community, inside and out, in which to gather, share and support in our learning, healing and life journeys.


What are you grateful for?



[1] Publications, Harvard Health. “In Praise of Gratitude – Harvard Health.”Harvard Health. Harvard Medical School, Nov. 2011. Web. 30 Oct. 2016.

[2] Heubeck, Elizabeth. “Boost Your Health With a Dose of Gratitude.” WebMD. WebMD, 11 Jan. 2006. Web. 30 Oct. 2016.

[3]Zeck, Robbi. The Blossoming Heart: Aromatherapy for Healing and Transformation. East Ivanhoe, Victoria, Australia: Aroma Tours, 2014. Print.

[4] Carter, Sherrie Bourg, Psy.D. “The Benefits of Adding Gratitude to Your Attitude.” Psychology Today. Psychology Today, 25 Nov. 2013. Web. 08 Nov. 2016.

A Cup of Compassion — Part II

By: Ellen Brenner, Certified Aromatherapist


Now that we have some simple steps fill our own Cup of Compassion from Part I, let’s discuss the benefits of practicing a compassionate life when the world around us may not always feel so kind. In the world of natural health, we say “we get a healing when we give a healing.” And, so, we enhance our own wellbeing by working to enhance the wellbeing of the world around us.

And, it is indeed a practice. At times, it can be a struggle. Like any practice, it requires an intention and a striving to stay grounded in that intention with gentle persistence. Without an intention to live a compassionate life, I find I can just get buffeted around by unkindness around me. I absorb that energy and become reactive.

This triggers the fight or flight condition and my stress levels increase. The more I feel unmoored from a compassionate heart, the more negative thoughts are able to rule my mind creating stories about others and heightening my sense of anxiousness as I enter into a sense of defensiveness and self-protection. And, then, I become part of the problem by contributing my crabbiness in a reactive mode as I flail around in choppy waters.

But, when I empower myself, by making the conscious choice to stay in a proactive mode of positivity, I feel much more anchored and sheltered in the calm of potential storms.

If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him.” — Mahatma Gandhi

heart-light-web-sizeSo, with wisdom handed down from gifted healers and thought leaders who have been part of my healing journey, I have developed a personal practice of living a compassionate life. Not only does it help me stay well within, I am hopeful it contributes to the wellbeing of the world around me. And, because we are human, this is never a perfect practice. Support is important. And, as always, I find aromatherapy to be my perfect partner by helping to calm my mind and body, as well as inspiring a deep sense of peace within.

Be The Ripple in the Pond

 If I am a pebble in the pond, what is the energy I am putting out there? In Food for Thought, we learned how negative thoughts can influence our wellbeing. How I am feeling inside can affect how I react and interact.

Not only am I balancing the wellbeing of myself, I create the opportunity to positively impact the moment I interact with others. It can simply be that vibe we feel when we cross paths.

A big part of my healing journey is learning to be peaceful within. Equanimity – calmness of mind in stressful situations – does not come naturally to me. It had to be cultivated. In fact, if I allow it, folks who are unkind can really flip my switches from the flow of happy juice to stress cocktail.

In Take a Breath and Cool Your Jets, we learned how stress starts in the mind and contributes to serious health conditions. Am I in the “fight or flight” mode of the stress response when I am out and about? Or, are I am radiating a peaceful energy of calm, kindness, and compassion?

Years ago, When I was an undergraduate in a psychology class, I was assigned to a smile experiment. It involved making eye contact with everyone I passed – on campus, at the mall, in a restaurant, at the store – just in every day life –and smiling and recording responses. I was astounded at the number of people who smiled back with genuine pleasure, and often, with surprise. It made such an impression on me, that it is still a habit I practice today. I am still often amazed at how it changes the energy around me, while it charges my own.

Choose To Let It Go

If I carry around perceived or felt hurts or slights, I am taking on the negative energy put out by others. This can be hard for sensitive folks like me.

Trust me, I can be taken way out of my Zen Zone if I feel my wellbeing is being threatened either intentionally or through negligence. And, I’m not talking about turning the other cheek when it comes to big societal ills. Those are discussions for another time and another approach.

What I am talking about are the everyday concerns. Someone didn’t say thank you. A co-worker was brusque. Your spouse came home grumpy. Your friend was late for a night out. Am I going to react, take on that energy, and let it weigh me down? If I do, I am giving away my own power over my own wellbeing.

I can choose how I am going to react and respond. This is where taking a few deep breaths to turn off that fight or flight stress response can be helpful. That also gives me time to calm my reaction and change the dialogue in my head from “wow she is really being a witch today, to “wow, she is not herself at all today, I wonder what is wrong?” Just that compassionate change in my mindset, creates a more peaceful change in my body. Not only am I letting go of the issue, I am letting go of the tension I feel.

Meet Them With Compassion

This doesn’t meant accepting bad behavior. But, sometimes it means either walking away and discussing at another time if merited, or meeting them with compassion and seeing what happens.

At the health practice where I spend some time, our patients are often grumpy, short on patience, and sometimes, just short of rude when they first come to us. But, I have been on that side of the aisle. They are also hurting, stressed, overwhelmed, fearful and frustrated. I believe their healing experience starts with the energy and interactions they feel when they walk through the front door. So, my goal is to meet them with compassion. A smile when they come in, kindness while they are there, and hug (for the huggers) when they leave. It’s amazing how much most of them relax. This creates a healing environment for their wellbeing, and my own inner being benefits from more peaceful exchanges that can literally change from barking at me to laughing with me.

The point is, we don’t know what folks around us are experiencing and we don’t know their stories. We don’t know if something just happened, or if something terrible is going on in their lives. The day I held my beloved canine companion of 15 years in my lap as she passed over to the Rainbow Bridge was absolutely heartbreaking. As I moved through the world in a dismal fog for days after, who knows what I projected around me and the stories people may have told themselves in reaction. Maybe I didn’t park correctly, or perhaps I accidentally cut someone off in the grocery line. Or, maybe I just didn’t smile when I ordered my coffee in the drive through. What I do remember is the folks who didn’t know my story, but met me with kindness anyway and how much that helped to sooth and smooth my heartache.

Reflect the Glow for Good

 I have always been drawn to dragonflies. And, they seem to be drawn to me. Many years ago, I looked up their symbolic meaning and learned that the dragonfly represents the power to reflect light and energy out into the world for the good of others. This resonated with me deeply as I was pursuing my path in the natural healing arts. I adopted the dragonfly as my spiritual reminder of this message of empowerment for impacting those around me in a positive way. Every time a see a dragonfly, I am reminded I have the power and the choice to reflect a glow for good both professionally and personally.

Yes, there are cranky and crabby folks out there. But, there also those filled with grace and kindness. And, that is whom I choose to focus on and absorb the energy to be redirected for my next interaction.

Recently, I was leaving a store just as the skies opened up in a drowning drenching. Of course, I did not have my umbrella with me and my car was parked across a large lot. Just in the moment I was exiting the store to be confronted by this dilemma, a gentleman was just arriving at the doors with his wife under a giant umbrella for two. As she was passing me into the store, without missing a beat, he said “you go ahead honey, I am going to escort this young lady to her car.” And with that, he had already pivoted toward the parking lot, placed the umbrella over my head and simply said “which way is your car, Miss?”

I can’t even describe the rush of gratitude and goodwill I felt at that moment by such a seemingly simple act of compassion on his part, but I simply smiled (probably beamed) and carried on to my car with my unexpected escort. And, I carried that warm glow the rest of the day, basking in it and letting if affect my mood and outlook on the world as I passed by a multitude of other in my daily rounds. More importantly, I am reminded, no matter how much of a rush I am in, it only takes a moment to extend a simple act of kindness to others who could benefit from an assist. I may be flitting around like a dragonfly, but in that moment, I can still reflect positive vibes and an act of kindness.

So, I admit, living a compassionate life isn’t always an easy practice. But, a practice it is. It is a conscious choice to be the ripple in the pond, let things go, meet folks with compassion, and reflect the glow for good. I mentioned how aromatherapy is my perfect partner, and I’ve created synergies to support these sensibilities depending on the situation. These can be used in a diffuser or tripled to carry with you in a personal inhaler.


Balance Blend

2 drops geranium bourbon

2 drops neroli

1 drop orange, sweet

This is my go-to, when I need a little boost to balance my being by letting go of strong turbulent emotions


Bliss Blend

2 drops ho wood

2 drops kunzea

1 drop sandalwood

Relaxing and grounding to the mind, body and spirit. This blend is often helpful to set a blissful mood.


Zen Zone

2 drops bergamot

1 drop blue cypress

1 drop davana

1 drop sandalwood

Relaxing, centering, uplifting and calming. I like this blend to help me return to a place of peace.


I know I feel better by doing better for those around me. It is really my choice. Do I want to continually drink the poison of the stress cocktail, or do I want to bathe my being in happy juice? I know when I experience inner peace, I am more able to transmit that back out into the world. And, I can create that by being the calm in the storm. When I do, while all may not be right with the world, all is right with my world right now. And, perhaps, just a bit of that helps another looking for their own piece of peace.


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