Tuesday, October 30, 2012

here is my book

My first review: "I have long been turned off by essential oils because the claims made about them seem to have little science behind them. I'm slowly becoming more interested and I found this book to be a great resource. I like that the author provides her sources and I ordered some of the other books that she recommends. I highly recommend it for beginners."

The hard copy is here: https://www.createspace.com/4028564 and you can get it on Kindle for half-price. An alternate title could have been How and Why Essential Oils Work and Which Ones You Want. In a nutshell, they work because plants produce more than 4,000 chemical varieties to protect themselves from viruses, bacteria, fungi, and to help themselves pollinate. Luckily for us, our bodies love those chemicals and can use them for the same purposes (pharmaceutical companies use them to create the medicine we rely on). My mom kicked 20-year-strong annual ragweed allergies this year with green myrtle & niaouli essential oils. My kids and I are sleeping better thanks to roman chamomile and lemon. My emotions are deepening from helichrysum, and I've now got a plan if any of my loved ones have to deal with MRSA or staph infection during a hospital stay. Basil has been hugely helpful for my anxiety.

You have to buy oils from reputable sources, though, and I go into that in the book. (Most of them will not give you potent results, including Young Living and Aura Cacia - so if you've got any kicking around your house, use them for air freshening.) The best company is Veriditas Botanicals, which has a number of great blends for common ailments: http://www.veriditasbotanicals.com/wellness.html

Tea tree and lavender remain your best all-encompassing top hitters, if you want two to start with. Putting two drops of each on your wrists or feet every morning will get you through the cold & flu season with much, much higher immune resistance and much, much shorter illness periods (if you get sick, which I guarantee will happen with less frequency if you use eos daily, up the dosing to 3-4x a day until the symptoms are gone - it usually takes me 48 hours to kick something that family members suffer 2-3 weeks from). Lavender also takes your parasympathetic nervous system out of fight-or-flight, so it's great for making your day a lot calmer.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

the "upward" path

Yesterday I had a great two-hour coffee with a friend whose life story parallels mine in many ways. Divorce, neglect, feeling crazy in the head still sometimes, a few years out of all of it. We both read loads of books about healing and self-awareness, and just want to be better, in both senses of the phrase.

We were sharing how hard we are on ourselves, how scared we can feel about making mistakes, how we want to fix our broken minds, how we want to grow. I said "I keep wanting to force my heart open more because I know that's what needs to happen for my kids and Nate to be loved better, and for me to be connected to everyone. But I know you can't pry your own heart open."

As I was leaving the coffee shop, I saw this on the board outside and stopped.

I texted her the photo and said "We don't need to worry about fixing our brains, or forcing our hearts open - we just need to fill them up." She texted back that we had just done that with each other.

Today in class, I doodled the heart-with-lines three times in the margins of my notes, thinking Man, that symbol is so helpful for me I could almost get a tattoo of it. I don't have to worry about anything other than filling myself up with the receiving and giving of love!!! This is The Answer - to "How can I heal?," and "What does God want from me?," and "Why are we alive?"

This is the center of all of the theology out there. This is what all of the world's religions are trying to say. This is my response to all of that "spiritual discipline" and striving. Don't worry about praying, don't worry about reading your holy scriptures, don't worry about meditating, don't worry about doing, outside of filling up. (Maybe prayer or reading or meditating does fill you up, but that's the only good impulse for doing any of it. If you're doing it out of obedience, just quit.)

My professor spent the class talking about personalities and spiritual development. At the very end, he spoke about the maturization process. "It's like three lines: underdeveloped, normal, and developed." He drew this as he spoke.

I smiled and went up after class to draw a heart over it.

Filling it up is how we mature, spiritually, in our personalities, in every way. I fill my heart up with the love of my beloved, kisses from my kids, beauty wherever I can see it, nature however I can feel her, the gentle energy of friends who continue to wait for my trust to heal even more. What fills your heart up? That's where God is.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

dense and apparent

So it is not hard to understand
where God's body is, it is
everywhere and everything; shore and the vast
fields of water, the accidental and the intended
over here, over there. And I bow down
participate and attentive

it is so dense and apparent. And all the same I am still

I would be good - oh, I would be upright and good.
To what purpose? 
Hope of heaven? Not that. But to enter
the other kingdom: grace, and imagination,

and the multiple sympathies: to be as a leaf, a rose,
a dolphin, a wave rising... I want

to be worthy of - what? Glory? Yes, unimaginable glory.

O Lord of melons, of mercy, though I am
not ready, nor worthy, I am climbing toward you.

- Mary Oliver

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


And who do you
think you are sauntering along
five feet up in the air, the ocean a blue fire
around your ankles, the sun
on your face on your shoulders its golden mouth whispering
(so it seems) you! you! you!

- Mary Oliver

Sunday, October 7, 2012

bits of akathist

for calling me into being
showing me the beauty of the universe
spreading out before me heaven and earth
like the pages in a book of eternal wisdom
for eternity in this fleeting world
for mercies, seen and unseen
through every sigh of my sorrow
for every step of my life's journey
for every moment, glory to You.

blessed are you, nurturing earth, in your fleeting loveliness, which wakens our yearning for happiness that will last for ever, in the land where beauty grows not old

(by Gregory Petrov, who wrote this in a prison camp in 1940 shortly before dying)

Saturday, October 6, 2012

more strategic sunshine

I was having a rough self-image day last week - it's a constant battle, as I'm guessing any woman in our culture could tell you. I sat down underneath the thickest old tree I've found in Nashville - and that is saying something, because there are trees all over here that pre-date the Civil War - on Belmont’s front lawn, to read a few more pages of My Name is Asher Lev before class. It was a description of a nude drawing scene, something I did five years ago when I was pregnant to be brave, seen in my loneliness, and to help out the students with a unique form to practice with. 

     I read the words The girl sat very still, bathed in sunlight, and as I did, the sun came out from behind the clouds and poured onto me through the tree’s branches and leaves. That was all I needed - I felt beautiful and loved.
      It might be a little narcissistic that I'm constantly noticing reflections of my worth in the world around me. To a certain degree, because of having been hurt, I'm only open to channels that don't require vulnerability, though I'm slowly coming back around to humans. I think, though, that everyone needs this kind of selfish sight. Every patch of sun that falls on you is special, whether it's perfectly timed or not. 
     "How lovely it is to be your guest," my friend Jenny quoted from the Eastern Orthodox Akathist of Thanksgiving when we were talking about this today. How lovely it is, also, to be your pretty girl.