On Thanksgiving Day, many people in America are reflecting on what they are thankful for. Take a moment right now to think of some small thing you are thankful for. It doesn’t have to be the best, most amazing thing in your life. Literally anything you enjoy or are glad to have will work! If you’re having trouble, look around you and find something you like in your environment - a colored leaf, a comfy blanket, or a piece of food. From a scientific perspective, gratitude is important because it tells your brain that the pathways to the things that make you feel happy and fulfilled are important, and they become easier to follow. That has benefits for your stress levels, relationships, and overall health.
What does gratitude do from an energetic perspective? Take a breath and really sink into the feeling of gratitude. Right now. I don’t mean a specific thankfulness directed at a person who made that thing possible for you, although that is also important. For now just focus on the feeling of gratitude in your own energy sphere, the appreciation of this joy or blessing. Notice what happens in your body. For me, it feels like my chest warms and lifts while my shoulders and back relax and sink down. Gratitude is grounding. It allows you to be present in the moment and in your own body. Gratitude is also opening. It bumps you out of the hamster-mind, constantly worrying about the future or the past, and into an authentic connection with yourself and the world around you.
Gratitude is the beginning of a prayer. Prayerfulness for me begins with a sense of wonder and beauty. In places of natural beauty (and they exist everywhere!) I’m sometimes overwhelmed by the thought “Wow! How lucky am I to live in a world where this beauty exists? Thank you!” Awareness of our blessings, of the blessedness of life, is also an invitation for more blessings. And more awareness of those blessings, which lead to more blessings, and so on. To me, this is the essence of manifestation. Noticing that you are in a world full of wonderful and joyous things and believing that other wonderful and joyous things will happen. But it doesn't work without gratitude for what is already in your world.
So once again, take a breath. Sink into that feeling. Lift into the love that is a natural companion of gratitude. And from that place, begin your day.
I want to make a note here to recognize that for many people in America, Thanksgiving is a time of grief, not gratitude. Native Americans are reflecting on the grievous and unanswered injustices that are often glossed-over by our feel-good pilgrim story about this day. I encourage you to learn more about the past and how modern Americans are still being affected by colonization, and how you can help. I am grateful that these stories are being told. I invite you to find a way to honor the memory of those massacred eastern tribes, as part of your day of celebration and gratitude. As incongruous as that might sound, we live in a complicated world and grief and gratitude can sit at the same table. You might consider donating or engaging your family in conversation about how our votes and actions affect Native Americans today, and educating others about the violence still being done to Native peoples in America.
I am grateful for each and every one of you doing small and huge things to make this world more just and more loving. Blessed be.
In this season, we are astounded by the beauty of release. I’m talking about the leaves painting themselves in a palette of reds, golds, yellows, and oranges. Outside my window is a huge maple tree. Most of the canopy is green, but the lower edges are just starting to turn a beautiful burnt-orange. In its shade, my partner planted a tiny ornamental maple with feathery leaves that have just blazed into crimson. Down the street, a row of three young alders turned from green to canary-yellow almost overnight. And once they turn they begin to fall, blanketing the ground with bright colors that slowly fade to brown. This layer of mulch feeds the all-important microbes that keep soils healthy enough to support the growth of these wonderful trees. As they decompose, the leaves release vital nutrients into the soil that will feed a rush of new growth in the spring. Although the leaves were valuable to the tree during summer, gathering carbon from the air and making sugar from the sunlight, if they stayed all winter they would collect snow, weighing down and breaking the branches. So the tree lets them go. Having collected enough sugar and shown in brilliant color, each leaf simply waits for the sigh of a breeze that will help it to release from the twig and twirl down to the ground, fulfilling another part of the life-death-life cycle of the earth.
So I invite you, in this season of release, to notice if there is something in your life that is ready to die. What has served its purpose? What was once sweet food but is now extra weight? Is there something catching your attention with a canary-yellow flag that says “I’m ready to go!” Just notice. And if you’re ready, maybe take a breath. And if you’re ready, let it out with a sigh that helps this one thing release and twirl gently down to the earth.
Spring may be the obvious time for cleansing, as the season of renewal, or even January, following a New Year’s Resolution. Fall is an often overlooked yet excellent time to cleanse. In the transition from the excess energy and activity of summer to a more subdued and internal focus in the winter months, it’s important to take a pause to assess what you really want to bring with you and what you’re ready to release. A focused, short-term change in diet and habit can do just that. Not to mention giving your body a major advantage when it comes to winter colds and all that delicious holiday dessert!
"These days of seasonal change around the equinox are a perfect time to cleanse your body and lighten yourself for fall’s work. Like early spring, autumn is a good time for cleansing, but afterwards your diet may be fuller, richer, and more heat-producing than in spring, in order to carry you through the chill of late autumn and winter.” - Staying Healthy With the Seasons, Elson M Haas, M.D.
In Chinese Five Element Theory, autumn corresponds with the metal element. Metal is associated with the lungs and the ability of discernment. It’s also associated with the processes of grief and letting go. First we come to a mental stillness to be able to see what no longer serves us, then we are able to release it to make room for something new. Inhale. Exhale. Transformation.
Because it is a harvest season cleanse, this is not the time for a juice fast or salad-only diet. Cleansing instead means eliminating the things that put stress on your body’s systems. Alcohol, caffeine, meat and dairy, gluten, and sugar are some common culprits, but there may be other things that you know from experience or intuition that your body would like a break from.
“Fall is a time of evolution through reduction… With fall comes a sense of gathering in, stocking up, mingled with a sense of loss as the light begins to fade and the fair chills. Yin waxes as Yang wanes… It is a time of eliminating what is unnecessary, storing up only what is needed for winter.” Between Heaven and Earth, H. Benfield, L.Ac. and E. Korngold, L.Ac.
At the same time, we want to add in a lot of the things your body craves - I mean the things that truly nourish it on a cellular level, not the ice cream your brain decided you MUST have. Just tell your brain there will be more ice cream later, and listen to the deeper voices of your gut and liver. Chances are, they are craving things like green veggies, fermented foods, and nourishing herbs.
To have a positive experience and a greater likelihood of meeting your goals, it’s important to add things in instead of just taking them out. That’s also where you can make a huge impact on your specific goals, even if you are following a packaged program or diet, such as the Purium cleanse I typically recommend. The benefits of cleanses can be really varied, and you get to choose what to focus on.
You can customize your cleanse to focus on the body systems you may need more support with. For example, adding lots of fermented foods such as sauerkraut and kombucha during your cleanse will improve your gut flora - and consequently your digestion, elimination, and immunity. Or you can add in targeted supplements, herbs, and oils for the adrenals, liver, skin, or whatever would benefit you most.
But it’s about more than just the body - there is also huge mental, emotional, and energetic benefit to occasional cleansing. It’s a great time to notice what habits and thought patterns are with you throughout your day, especially around things like food and alcohol. Taking a break from alcohol, caffeine, and sugar can give you clarity on what role those substances play in your life, and what role you’d like them to have.
I highly recommend taking the time to sauna or take a nice bath with essential oils a couple times during your cleanse. In addition to the wonderful health benefits, a soak or sauna can feel like a real treat and help you view your cleanse as a special time of self-care, rather than a period of deprivation.
Social engagements can be tough when you’re following a strict diet, although not impossible if you plan ahead. Try to give yourself some time off from larger groups or going out to restaurants. Instead, you can focus on projects you’re excited about at home, or doing other self-care activities you enjoy. Adding a movement or meditation routine can be a lovely compliment to a cleanse, and might even create a habit that sticks with you after you go back to your normal routine.
“It’s time to clear away finished projects and open up to the inner wisdom that you can experience in activities like contemplation, writing, reading, and nurturing you family as part of your preparation for the depths of winter.” - Staying Healthy With the Seasons, Elson M Haas, M.D.
If you’re excited about cleansing and want to learn more, contact me! I’m happy to guide you through choosing a cleanse program and customizing it to meet your goals. Be Well <3
I have been working a lot on making energy work more accessible and easy - especially the basic energy hygiene everyone can benefit from doing regularly. That's why I developed an essential oil energy work class and four easy-to-use oil blends that essentially do the work for you! A bit about these blends: I developed them for people like you to have a quick and easy way to do the basic energetic maintenance we all need. The oils work quickly and effectively, whether you have any experience with energy work or not! Each one is charged with reiki energy to give it extra "oomph." And since I couldn't just leave it at that, I have also chosen a qigong movement with the same effect as each blend, which will come with written instructions, and later I'll add videos on my website. These are the formulas I have been using over and over again with my clients. It became obvious that everyone could benefit from them, so I have made them available through this online store and at events in Portland.
So, what is energy hygiene? I broke it into four main categories:
Cleansing: As we move through the world we pick up physical and energetic "dirt". I'm assuming you take a shower regularly, but when was the last time you cleaned your aura? Whether it's negative energy or simply not yours, a lot of unnecessary stuff in your energy field can really bog you down and make you feel tired, unfocused, or sick. There are many cleansing methods out there. A simple one is just to use your hands and intention to "brush off" the air around your body. My oil solution is a spray of ocean water with clary sage and rosemary. It's gentle enough to use several times a day. I use it in my space and on myself in between clients.
Boundaries: Now that you've gotten rid of all that energetic dirt, you're feeling great and you don't want to pick up any more! That's where boundaries come in. That just means strengthening the edges of your aura so what's "yours" and "not yours" are more clearly defined. This can also help with interpersonal interactions (ever have that friend or coworker who always wants to dump on you or vent? Nuh-uh! Not with healthy boundaries!). The recipe for this blend came from Desiree Mangandog - I highly recommend checking out her work! - and consists of equal parts melaleuca (Tea Tree) and petitgrain (bitter orange leaf) in coconut oil. Roll it on your chest daily for a boundaries makeover.
Grounding: Oh my gosh grounding is so important! It's the first and last thing I do with each client and I make sure to ground myself several times a day. That simply means that I remember that I am in a body which is part of the earth and that I am connected to and supported by the earth at every moment. It can look like visualizing roots or a cord going down into the earth from your body, or simply deep breathing and patting your edges to become fully present, less anxious, and more aware. My oil blend mixes doTerra's grounding blend, Balance, with cedarwood and vetiver to really sink and root your energy field.
Nourishing: Sometimes you just need a moment to feel good. That can take the form of a hug or a sweet treat or a beautiful flower, or anything that brings you into the enjoyment of the present moment. It's especially important after doing any major clearing to take the time to fill your aura with positive energy! For this purpose I developed the Blue Cedar Signature Blend. It's Cedarwood and Blue tansy - the two oils I named my practice after - with a drop of frankincense in coconut or jojoba oil.
January 2018 is just around the corner! Are you planning to make resolutions this year? Or are you daunted by the entire idea of resolutions and discouraged by how few make it into February? Scroll down for my New Years Ritual, and this year could be different!
As the new year begins, it's a great time to harness the energy of new growth. That's why we make resolutions and plans for new projects. I offer you this simple ritual to tap in to that energy with success. You will need paper and a pen and essential oils of sandalwood, peppermint, lemon, and bergamot. You can inhale them from the bottle or add a drop of each to a diffuser as you go. If you don't have the oils you can still do this ritual without them!
Is increased wellness one of your goals for 2018? If so, I want to support you. Whether you're hoping to find relief from physical issues, resolve emotional problems, or just start each day from a place of grounded presence, You don't have to do it alone! My gentle practice of reiki with essential oils, meditation, and movement, can give you the tools you need to grow, and clear the blocks that are holding you back form total wellness. Book Now!
These two recipes are serious cold fighters. This is for when the preventative measures have failed and you need something beyond Echinacea but don't want a bunch of synthetic junk from the pharmacy. I'm talking old-fashioned grandma remedies. I’m talking hold-your-nose, one-big-gulp, and oh-god-what-is-that-taste sort of remedies. In short, unpleasant and effective. While these two concoctions are certainly not delicious, they do work and the momentary unpleasantness is worth the relief if you’ve got a sore throat or sinus congestion.
1. Sore Throat, Skedadle!
Stir together one drop (or less) of certified pure, therapeutic grade oregano essential oil and one tablespoon or more of honey. Prepare a large spoonful of coconut or olive oil as a chaser as well as some water. Eat as much of the honey as you can, following with the oil, then water. DON’T drink water before the oil, it will make it worse. Trust me.
The oil burns and tastes terrible (see photographic evidence) but my sore throat went away for several hours. You can repeat this up to three times a day.
This garlic is no longer raw, but it’s still quite strong. It makes a great topping for soup, salad, or stir fry. Garlic has long been lauded for its health benefits, especially in strengthening the immune system and stopping colds and infections. Eat as much as you (or the people around you) can stand!
Fall is here. That means pumpkin spice, colored leaves, shorter days, and sniffles, coughs, and colds. All that wind and cold we see in the weather outside might be wreaking havoc inside you as well! According to Chinese medicine, “wind” and “cold” are two pathogenic forces that can contribute to illness when allowed to enter the body. In addition, we are often indoors in close proximity to other disease-carrying humans during the fall and winter. It’s important to take steps to strengthen your body’s immune system as well as eliminate as many risk factors as possible during this time of year. That way you can actually enjoy the family gatherings, good food, and crisp weather!
Wash Your Hands: You’ve heard it before, but I’ll say it again, washing your hands is the single best way to prevent the spread of disease. Even if you’re in the habit of regular hand washing you might not know that it takes a full 20 seconds of rubbing with soap and water to remove all the pathogens from the entire surface of your hands. It feels like a long time when you’re standing at the sink, but a few extra seconds could save you days of misery! Add a few drops of OnGuard to your liquid soap for added cleansing. If you’re not able to get to a sink, doTerra now has a convenient all-natural hand sanitizing spray with OnGuard oil, alcohol, and moisturizing apple extract that kills 99% of pathogens.
Don’t Smoke: Unless you just woke up from a five-decade nap, you know that smoking is bad for you. Specifically, nicotine suppresses the immune system and smoke of any kind can cause inflammation and irritation of the bronchial tubes. Especially if you’ve been exposed to illnesses or have other risk factors, avoid inhaling toxins!
Sleep and Rest: Get plenty of rest! Even minor sleep deprivation can put strain on your body, making you more susceptible to illness. Stress does the same, so spend some time during your waking hours resting, meditating, or doing a relaxing activity that you enjoy. You can also diffuse essential oils to help you sleep and balance your mood throughout the day.
Wear a Scarf: In Chinese medicine, wind entering the body through the back of the neck is a common way people get sick. Protect your “wind pool” (GV20) by wearing a scarf or turtle neck when outside. You should also avoid putting cold or penetrating oils such as peppermint and wintergreen on the back of your neck if you’re going outside, and instead use warm and protecting oils such as the Protective Blend (OnGuard) or arborvitae.
Take Your Vitamins: One of the best ways to avoid getting sick is to give your body all the nutrients, minerals, and energy it needs to stay healthy. I take the Lifelong Vitality Pack supplements from doTerra every day! These supplements are special because the nutrients are delivered in a form and amount that your body can actually process and use, unlike most supplements that go straight through you and provide little benefit. Ecinacea is a good herbal supplement to add this time of year as well, whether in a tincture, capsule, or tea.
Be Good to Your Gut: The digestive system contains 70% of our immune cells and is extremely important to overall health. Taking a daily probiotic supplement (such as PB Assist from doTerra) and eating yogurt, sauerkraut, kombucha, and other fermented foods will keep your microbiome in good shape all winter, helping you fend off colds and those heavy holiday meals.
Essential Oil Immune Boosters: doTerra’s Protective Blend (OnGuard) has amazing benefits not only to eliminate environmental threats, but also to support your body’s natural defenses. There are a number of products made with this powerful blend of wild orange, clove bud, cinnamon, eucalyptus, and rosemary for use around the home, on your body, and even internally. Diffusing this blend will help purify the air if someone in your home is sick. You can make up a dilution in a roller bottle to apply to the feet, back of neck, and acupoints. I also like to take 1-3 gelcaps of OnGuard+ for a few days if I know I’ve been exposed or I feel like something is coming on. Other oils to use include cinnamon, eucalyptus, rosemary, black pepper, thyme, arborvitae, lemon, frankincense, and the Cellular Complex (DDR Prime).
Acupoints for Immune Support: There are many acupoints you can stimulate to improve immune function, I have only listed a few here. You can use firm pressure, gentle rubbing, or a drop of essential oil with light pressure and intention to activate these points.
LI4 - Converging Valley - located on the back of hand between the thumb and finger, where the muscle is highest when they are pressed together. Overall tonic point for the body and immune system, also good for headaches and constipation. Oils: melaluca, frankincense.
LU7 - Broken Sequence - to locate this point, lock your hands together at the thumbs and find the point where your pointer finger lands on the top of the wrist bone. Good for immunity and the lungs. Oils: eucalyptus, rosemary.
LI11 - Curve Pool - located on the outside end of the elbow crease when arm is bent. Good for the immune system, fever, and elimination. Oils: rosemary, lemon, lavender.
ST36 - Three Leg Measure - located 4 fingers below the bottom of kneecap, on the outside of the shin bone. Overall tonic point, especially for digestion, energy, and immunity. Oils: ginger, rosemary, black pepper, melaluca.
You can also try this acupressure routine to stimulate several more points with self-massage. Share what keeps you healthy in the comments!
Disclaimer: These statements have not been verified by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, prevent or treat any illness.
I have a major sweet tooth. Almost every time I go to the store lately I buy a box of gluten-free cookies. Sometimes I'm not even sure how they got in my cart. It just happens. Of course, once they're in the house it's a given those cookies will be eaten in a matter of days, if not hours. So to save myself from the processed sugar and flour and ensuing symptoms, I have to find ways to feed my inner cookie monster with healthier options. I'm not much of a baker, so I am delighted when I can find a recipe that is simple, easy, and made with whole, healthy ingredients that actually tastes good!
These cookies are a fun healthy-ish way to satisfy a sweet tooth in the middle of sugar-crazy Halloween season, and it's a great way to use that spirulina powder that's been languishing in the back of your cupboard.
Original recipe for superfood holiday cookies at Healthy Crush.
Preheat oven to 350.
Mix all ingredients except spirulina, cacao nibs, and berries in a food processor or bowl until it forms a dough. Add enough spirulina to get the desired color. Some brands are more fishy-tasting than others. I recommend Purium for a nearly flavorless powder - ask me about Purium gift cards.
Roll 1tbsp of dough in your hands to form a ball and press it onto a greased cookie sheet. Press cacao nibs and goji berries to form scary faces or any other ghoulish thing you can imagine!
Bake 8-12 minutes until edges begin to brown. Let cool for 10 minutes. Enjoy! Makes one dozen cookies.
I will be offering mini sessions at this event on Friday the 6th. Come get a taste of what I do!
AND I'll be extending my new-client summer special to anyone who attends! Where else can you get a $30 full reiki session? Nowhere. Just come.
Blue Tansy is one of the two oils (along with Cedarwood) that inspired the name Blue Cedar, so I was over the moon when my favorite oil company, doTerra, announced it among their new floral oils this month. Blue Tansy is a very rare and precious oil that is unfortunately often sold in adulterated, synthetic, or diluted forms. It is made by steam distillation of Blue Tansy flowers from Morocco. The intense blue color only occurs after distillation, when chamazuline is produced. It can dye some fabrics and will turn your skin blue for a few hours, so this is one to dilute! It is very therapeutic topically at a 15% dilution ratio.
Primary Chemical Components:
Anti-inflammatory, analgesic, antibacterial, antiviral, anti fungal, antihistamine, and expectorant.
Blue tansy is the oil of the Wood element in 5-Element Chinese Medicine, which corresponds to the Liver organ system. The liver process and regulates our emotions as well as our blood. In our society, the Liver system is often overworked and undernourished due to the toxins we take in and the stress we take on, which can lead to problems in all parts of the body and especially the emotions, eyes, and blood. Blue tansy is nourishing and calming to the Liver system when inhaled or applied to acupoints.
Uses for Blue Tansy Oil
Skin: Blue tansy is often used in facial products to help reduce the appearance of blemishes - just be aware of that blue color! Use at night or add one drop to your facial moisturizer.
Mood: I most often use blue tansy to regulate mood and anxiety. It's in doTerra’s grounding blend and is wonderful for releasing mental tension, stress and anger. Diffuse with cedarwood or other woody/earthy oils.
Aches and pains: this oil also helps you release physical tension when massaged topically (dilute!) into sore or tired muscles and joints. doTerra’s soothing blend contains this oil, or you can make your own blend with some fir, rosemary, lavender, wintergreen, or peppermint.
Sinuses: because of its antihistamine and soothing properties, blue tansy is a great oil to diffuse in the spring for itchy eyes/nose and sneezing, or for sinus-related headaches. You can also apply it topically on the chest, back of neck, or on acupoint LI 20 (on the outer corners of the nostrils).
Liver Qi: As a general tonic point for the Liver Organ System, apply blue tansy to LV 3 (on the top of the foot where the bones leading to the big and second toes meet). The blue tansy smudge in this photo shows you where!
A few considerations:
Especially if you have increased risk of seizures, consult your doctor before using blue tansy. Please be sure to buy this oil from a reputable company because the real stuff is very rare. And as I mentioned earlier, the blue color may stain fabrics and skin. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
Want to learn how blue tansy oil can help you achieve your wellness goals? Book and appointment and find out! Comment below with other uses for blue tansy.