A New Year

I’ve been looking forward to this new year. If you’ve read my other posts, you know the last year has been rough and draining. Several of my friends have had hard times, too – losses of many different kinds.

To me it seems a little odd that January 1 should be a beginning. It’s not the solstice or equinox, or a quarter or cross-quarter, or commemoration of an event. It’s not an observable beginning of any sort, just a random day of which somebody said, “This is the beginning of the year.” But we western peoples been observing it as such for many generations, so I guess that counts for something, for us at least. If you observe the Gregorian calendar, then January 1 is the beginning of a new year.

We need new starts. They keep us from burying ourselves in accumulated muck and “bad vibes”. If we can say, “TODAY I start new”, then we have the energy to dig ourselves out and, well, start new. A lot of people say that’s something we should do daily, and I don’t disagree, but that can also become burying muck if it’s just a ritual. So it helps to have something external, something that doesn’t happen every day, to give us inspiration.

I’m certainly in a clearing-away-and-starting-anew phase of my life. I’m looking at all the pieces and considering whether that’s something that should stay or go. I’m looking at what’s missing, what I’ve wanted and haven’t done. I could probably fill three lives with what I want to do, what I’d like to accomplish. Some of it is for others, some of it is for me, and some of it is for God. Some of it I have the skills/talent/knowledge/ability to do, some of it I’ve never been good at.

We have a very good pastor at our church. We’ve been blessed with good pastors, and certainly blessed with this one. At the new year, he likes to review our church’s mission and purpose statement and the basic tools for accomplishing those things as a church. It’s helpful and centering to go over those things on a periodic basis – bringing us back to where we want to go, and the meaning of our existence as a church and as part of the body of Christ. Hopefully, if you have a religious affiliation your group also has a mission and purpose that lives.

So I’m in the middle of looking at my life, at where I want it to go, who I want it to serve, and how.

The Jewish festival of Chanukah (Hanukkah) is called the Festival of Lights. This year it began on Christmas and ended on New Year’s Day. The Hebrew word Chanukah means “dedication”. Our pastor talked about that, and it really resonated with me. Lately I’ve just been drifting along, but it’s time to rededicate myself to my purpose – which means also finding out what that purpose might be at this point in my life. We have different purposes at different stages of life, so it’s a good thing to review if your life is starting to feel a little stale or out-of-balance. Are you drifting off your path?

I’ll ask you the same questions I’m asking myself:

  • Who do you want to serve?
  • What way(s) can you serve?
  • How are you going to get that done?

Here are some oils I’m using. I don’t use them all at once, just one at a time:
Frankincense (to help connect with God, center myself in Him) and Northern Lights Black Spruce (for the high frequency, to bring mine up). Blends are (in alphabetical order) Grounding, Highest Potential, Hope, Inspiration, Light the Fire, Live with Passion, Present Time, and Release. I’ll probably hit a few more as things develop.

But I think the most important thing I can do is spend time with God – reading His Book, praying, and listening. Nothing can take the place of those things.

Wishing you a blessed new year! May your purpose enliven your heart. May God guide your steps.

Blessings!

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Oils for Introverts

You’d think I would have figured it out before now.  I mean, I’m no spring chicken.  The signs were all there:

  • Stress when in a group of more than two or three people
  • Total exhaustion when I return home from shopping in town
  • Parties and family gatherings faced with dread instead of joy
  • In meetings and classes I’d rather sit in a quiet corner and observe, instead of participate in even happy, lively conversations

I could go on and on.  But it didn’t actually register until I was telling my husband about feeling completely drained from being in a room full of people (church – with people I actually like!).  He laughed and called me his “little introvert”.  A light dinged (hey – it’s all vibration – light can ding!).  Of course!  That explains it!

Part of self-care is knowing what type of care your self needs, and choosing to honor that.  I go to the smaller church service when I can.  I avoid – and no longer feel guilty about missing – the larger, “special” services.  I say “thank you, no” to party invitations, and suggest getting together with the hosts separately another time to visit.

But there are some things I simply can’t avoid.  I need to shop where I can get the fresh foods we choose to eat.  I want to worship with music, and use the gift that God gave me with others for their worship. I want to experience my grandchildren’s birthdays and holidays when I can.

So what is the solution?  Essential oils to the rescue!

I find that Gary Young’s Great Day Protocol is a good way to start.  It takes Valor (*sigh* – I hope someday we get true Valor back.  In the meantime, Valor II or frankincense is okay here.), Harmony, Joy, and White Angelica.  The full protocol can be found here: https://www.youngliving.com/blog/achieve-more-with-gary-youngs-great-day-essential-oils-protocol, but basically it’s a drop of Valor on your wrists, Harmony on the solar plexus, Joy on your heart (and I like to put some on the sacral chakra area, too), and White Angelica on the shoulders and brushed through your body’s field, all done with intention.  This grounds and helps focus my energies, and protects from negative energies.  It’s like putting on my own little energetic body armor.

When I need a “touch-up” or am running a little late, White Angelica is my go-to.

I also have made a personal perfume of rose, ylang-ylang, myrrh, and cassia, with plenty of V6 (diluting oil).  Cassia is like cinnamon’s rowdier cousin.  Where cinnamon politely asks if you would like a cup of tea, cassia hands you a beer and turns the music up.  It’s not for everyone, and use caution as it is a pretty “hot” oil.  For me, this blend acknowledges  and honors all the parts of me and helps to keep me “in myself”.  You will need to discover your own personal blend, one that fits and honors all the parts of you.

What about the days that go too long, or if I was too scattered in the morning to protect my field?  First aid, so to speak.

Several things can help.  I find a drop of frankincense on my brainstem (back of the neck, just under the scull bone) reduces anxiety immensely.  Sometimes I need to reapply it a couple of times before things settle down.  Joy or Forgiveness on the heart helps, too.

You can also diffuse one of these oils: White Angelica, Sacred Mountain, Northern Lights Black Spruce or Idaho Blue Spruce,  Orange or Citrus Fresh, Acceptance.

I keep a spray bottle with pure water that has just a few drops of White Angelica and Sacred Mountain in equal amounts in my home office.  For a quick resetting of energies, I can shake that and spritz the air.

Actually, there are dozens of oils that can help.  These are my go-to oils right now, but flip through your desk reference for other possibilities.  Open your bottles and smell one oil at a time and see how it makes you feel, and get a few to try the next time you are “under assault”.  When you find one that is effective for you, study its composition in your desk reference, then look for other similar oils to try.  Take notes.

We introverts may not be the life of the party or the leader everyone wants to be around.  That’s okay – we can support those people and be the glue that holds things together behind the scenes.  We can all achieve more if we discover and make use of our strengths.

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On the road out of darkness

It’s been months since I last wrote to you.  It’s been a long and difficult time.

Mom had dementia, and we didn’t know it but she also had lung cancer.

First, dementia.  I highly recommend EVERYONE read The 36 Hour Day, by Nancy L. Mace and Peter V. Rabins.  If I had read it sooner I would have been alerted to Mom’s dementia years ago, and possibly been able to get her care to slow the progress.  At the least, I could have been better support for her.

Once that diagnosis was made, we decided Mom needed to be near us and not 2 days away.  She could no longer live alone, because she simply wasn’t able to take care of herself any longer.  She wasn’t able to cook or shop, she had trouble with the telephone and TV remote, and she was afraid and confused.  She needed someone to care for her.  I knew I couldn’t permanently care for her, and I wanted her close so I could keep tabs on her facility and visit her often.  So my angel of a husband started researching places close to home and prepared our house to make room for a long stay.

She stayed with us about 4 1/2 months before we were able to get her into the place of our choice.  That’s a pretty short wait-time.  We were so incredibly blessed to be able to get her into a brand new facility, with excellent care and wonderful people.  In her more lucid moments she loved it there.

But she got a urinary tract infection (UTI – very common in older folks, and frequently the cause of bizarre behavior in them, which I didn’t know before all this happened).  The antibiotic caused a loss of appetite, which caused weakness, which led to a serious fall.  She never quite recovered from that.  The hospital stay checking her out from the fall revealed the lung cancer, and she was gone less than 6 weeks after that.

I’m grateful that her passing was peaceful and she wasn’t in pain.  I’m grateful her last birthday (which we didn’t know would be her last) was so joyful – she was petted and made much of, got to go to church (which she loved to do), got three different birthday cakes, had balloons and cards, got the present she wanted, and spent quality time with her granddaughter and great-grandchildren (and me). I’m grateful that my dad, her ex-husband but still friend, was able to come see her the last week of her life and that they had a wonderful, loving visit. I’m grateful that I was able to stay with her during her last two days, that we had loving visitors stop by.  The morning of the day she died, she sort of woke up, so I said, “hi”.  She said “hi” back.  I told her “I love you”, and she said “I love you” back to me.  Those were her last words.

I still don’t really believe she is gone.  I see or hear of things I want to share with her, I want to call and tell her about them, but I can’t.  In truth, the person I want to call has been gone for years, but still there was a remnant of her there until the end of her life – something that was still “her” that didn’t go away.  But I can’t reach that anymore.

I’ve been told that the grief, the sense of loss, doesn’t ever really go away.  You just learn to live with it.  The one thing that really brings me comfort is that she came to Christ before this all started.  I know I’ll see her again someday.  But for now, I really miss her.

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