Tag Archives: meditation

So… Frankincense.

frankincense

Last week I was in Pennsylvania to be on Good Day Fox Philly with Allie, which was surreal, and more on that another day. In between filming segments, I was going on and on about Frankincense essential oil, which I’ve been doing a lot of lately, and yes, I was getting some eye rolls because my claims are a little out there. When I’m in PA, everyone thinks I’m this big hippie, which is funny, because my hippie friends in CT think I’m the most mainstream person in their lives.

But, I don’t care, the stuff has literally been life changing for me, and I don’t claim to be sane.

So, what’s so great about this stuff? Let me tell you a little story…

As an entrepreneurial-type, I get hit up a lot to sell stuff. Mary Kay, Market America, that kind of thing. I always kind of roll my eyes, because it’s just never felt right to me. I know a lot of people make a good living selling that stuff, and I don’t judge, it’s just not stuff that I feel comfortable pushing people to buy, so I always politely decline.

When I got a message from my cousin recently, that he’s selling essential oils (doTerra), and that he thought I’d be a good candidate to be a reseller as well, I gave him my typical response, and said I’d take the samples, because I’ve always liked essential oils (clary sage really helped me get through natural childbirth), but I have no interest in being a reseller.

So, he sent the samples.

At that time, I was thisclose to launching my online store for my graphic design business. I’ve been talking about it and working on it for about a year. It was taking me forever to finish. I was my own worst enemy. I kept revising and re-revising. My head felt clouded and stressed. I was worried that once I launched, my life was going to change for the worst. I worried that I’d be so busy running that business that I wouldn’t have time for anything else. I’ve been a designer for 11 years now, so I’m kind of not that wowed by it anymore. BUT, ultimately, it’s good money, and I have a family to provide for, so I felt I needed to grow up and just do it, fulfillment be damned.

Being a pretty crazy meditator, I kept focusing on gaining clarity. Clarity, clarity clarity. Just unfog my brain so I can think clearly and ultimately run my life/career from a balanced perspective. It was coming here and there a little bit, but mostly I felt like I just couldn’t quite find what I was looking for. I didn’t even know what I was looking for, but I knew there was something in the back of my mind, waiting for me to find it. It was pretty frustrating, to be honest.

The essential oil samples arrived. I liked them. A lot. At home, alone every day, I would just sit there and breath the frankincense, non-stop. There was just something about that smell that just seemed to reach into my core and grab me. I was like an addict, it was crazy.

One morning, sitting on the floor meditating, breathing it in, I was overcome with something similar to a vision. Thoughts suddenly just filled my entire brain, it was like a voice telling me, “you don’t have to launch that graphic design website. You don’t want to, and why should you? You’ve been working as a business owner for 10 years, you know how to do it right, and you can do anything you want. You can do it on your own terms. There’s plenty of room for another successful entrepreneur in any field you choose”. It was staggering. THERE WAS MY CLARITY!!!! It was something I was so certain of, immediately, all my wishy-washiness was GONE! I became ecstatic, and honestly, a lot of that ecstasy is still running through me. It was an epiphany, and those are awesome, and should be listened to.

SO, (not to brag or anything) after working conflictedly for a year on a website that was never finished, I dove in, made skincare products (which I’ve been dabbling with and giving away to friends over the past few months), and opened my Etsy shop. It took me two weeks to design all the packaging, make all the products, and set up the website. Two weeks. I was like a girl en fuego. Now, a little over 4 weeks later, I’ve made 57 online sales, and 15 in-person sales. I’m set up to sell at several local shows/events in town here, and have 5 offers to sell in retail establishments. This is the kind of turn-around I’ve been wishing for my whole life.

All in all, after reading about the benefits of frankincense, I am convinced that all of this positive change was a result using it. I think it would have taken me at least another year of hard core reflection to even come close to the decisions that I came to in a few days. So, I don’t mind if people roll their eyes at me, because I feel like the proof is clear.

There’s my frankincense story. And to be honest, since trying out some other oils, I’ve had similar results. Patchouli gets rid of my nervous stomach. Rosemary gives me confidence and gets rid of self destructive thoughts and guilt. Grapefruit makes me feel like life’s just one big party. Seriously. It’s pretty awesome. I’ve successfully fought off several colds that went around my house, without Airborne. I could go on and on.

I did end up signing up as a reseller as well. The investment to do so is very low, compared to a lot of the multi-level marketing programs I’ve researched in the past, and the discounts you get on the oils are substantial, so at the very least, that’s enough for me. (I am in no way being paid by doTerra to write about any of this stuff, although that would be nice. Anyone want to pay me?)

So, if you’d like to learn more about frankincense, here are some interesting links.

http://doterralife.wordpress.com/2011/07/01/fabulous-frankincense-the-king-of-essential-oils/

http://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/essential-oils/health-benefits-of-frankincense-essential-oil.html

http://www.naturalhealth365.com/natural_healing/frankincense.html

If you’d be interested in checking out doTerra, which are super high quality, can safely be ingested, applied directly to skin with no adverse reactions, here’s that:

http://doterra.com

And for the science-minded: http://modernessentialoils.com/Resources/SAB_Compendium.pdf (particularly interesting is the part on page 3 about Vanderbilt University Medical Center).

And if you have any questions, or want to share a similar experience, please chime in!

xo,
Mere

The Shame Game

CS Lewis on shame.

There is a very nice mom at our bus stop.  One morning, out of the blue, she looked very, deeply, deeeeeeply sad.  I wondered if something really terrible happened.  I honestly have never seen anyone quite so affected.  It was alarming, awkward, and uncomfortable (I’m being honest).

After that I didn’t see her around much, and her husband was taking the kids to school. So, today when I picked up Brooke, she was there, and I realized it felt like it had been a really long time since I’d seen her.

I walked up to her and she smiled and greeted me, along with the other moms.  Someone said to her, “I’m glad you’re feeling better”.  She nodded, then announced very calmly and shamelessly, with a big smile to the rest of the group, that she had been in the hospital for a week, for depression.

We were all so clearly taken off guard by her blunt, unapologetic, unembarrassed confession.  Some of us just clammed up.  Others tried to fill the awkward silence with words of encouragement and offers to help. It was alarming, awkward, and uncomfortable, again.

Thinking about that now, I’m just really wishing we could all just speak openly, without fear of embarrassment of such personal things.  Without shame and worry that it could be received with shock, embarrassment, awkwardness.

My opinion of her hasn’t changed at all from what it was before.  I pretty much could tell she was a bit of a wild card from the get go.  No harm was done to our relationship.

In fact, now I know something about her that will make me feel less awkward, and more caring when I’m around her.

I don’t need to worry about whether she’s judging me now, because she shared something deeply personal.

If we all have dirt on each other, because we all share our dirt without shame, and consequently continue to treat each other with ever-deepening respect, the world just becomes a more peaceful, graceful, comfortable place.

Maybe if it became more common to blab about our personal business freely, a natural side affect would be that people naturally become better at accepting one another.  Who knows?

xoxo, Mere

PS: I really thought hard about writing this, because she is my neighbor, and I don’t believe in humiliating anyone for blog content, so I wasn’t sure if I should “out” her.  BUT, after I read the words I wrote, I realized that if someone wrote something like this about me, I would feel proud.  So, that’s why I’m writing this, at the risk of her someday reading it about herself, because I really admire her honesty.

I do also want to mention that she’s from Western Africa, and I’m really curious to see if it’s more common for people to speak openly about their problems in the culture she comes from.  It’s no secret that some cultures are more sensitive than others.  New England is definitely a play-your-cards-close-to-your-chest kind of place.  She’s a brave one.

In honor of my favorite Veteran (a day late).

My dad in Vietnam, creating happiness from a shitty situation.

Let your soul be seen, your heart be heard

Do something earth shatteringly beautiful today.

You possess the joy, the love and happiness already.

Let your self be loud.  Your heart beats wild and free.

Your voice is a bird that longs to sing.

There is a message that the earth and sky need to hear.

Let those who will hear it, be near.

Find a trance-like state of bliss.  You are human, and this can be achieved.

Your inner wisdom speaks volumes if you allow it.  It comes from somewhere else.  Listen to it.

Life is a gift, there is magic there if you let it filter through you.

Celebrate death.  It is not the end.  There are no endings.

Look through your tears, and find immense peace.  It is there for you.

No one else can do what you can do. Take comfort in that knowledge, and share it with us.

(The photo was taken by my Uncle Bill, who was my dad’s best friend in Vietnam, and who introduced him to my mom.  Thanks Uncle Bill!).

What’s Working

I haven’t posted anything about health in a while.  When this blog started back in November, I was in the throws of having recently lost my job, and 6 days later, starting symptoms of thyroiditis.

Thyroiditis was dominating my thoughts at that time, and with good reason, it was causing a deafeningly-loud whooshing sound in my right ear.  It was enough to drive a person mad, and I began clamoring for an answer to what was causing it, and more importantly, how to make it stop, IMMEDIATELY!

That began my journey, which eventually led me to read a book, and now I’m in a pretty good place with it all.  It went away, for the most part.  And it happened so gradually that I almost didn’t even notice.

Today I began to really think; out of all the things I tried (and I did a lot: working out, going sober, elimination diets, meditation, acupuncture, chiropractic, massage) what were the ones that really WORKED?

The answer?  The most effective thing was to stop working on it.  I pretty much just stopped thinking about it. I also worked hard on eliminating any negative feelings about anything. ANYTHING.  So no worrying.  No brooding.  NO BLAMING (the key).

When a friend complains about work being boring, my first thought was to get annoyed at my job, because yes, it sucks sometimes!  Instead I’d put a good spin on it and say, yes, work is a great place to catch up on your daydreaming and web surfing.

It just makes me feel lighter to laugh at the crap that sucks, which relaxes my muscles in my face and neck, which allows my ear to drain more freely (ew).

I also give some credit to my HerbaSway teas.  There’s a lot of antioxidants in those, it’s gotta be helping. :)

I still drink wine, eat cheese, sometimes forget to eat, and drink coffee.

I do those things when I feel like it.

I don’t hold back if I don’t want to,
because I trust that my body will talk to me when it wants me to stop.

And then I’ll rest until I feel better.

And everything will be fine. Always. :)

On that note…

Still tired, but now relaxed.

I think I just ended my grouchy morning.  If you can relate at all to feeling confused about some choice that’s looming over you, or some dilemma you can’t quite figure out how to resolve, you might want to try this meditation.  It’s not quite as dippy-hippie as the last one I posted, which is a really awesome one, but some might be a little uncomfortable with the new age-ish vibe.  This is a great one for getting your head and your heart in the same place.

You will do this today…

Today I will boss you around and tell you what to do.

For the past few months, I’ve been discovering the amazing benefits of meditation.  I’m going to be very real with you, I’ve been on a mission my whole life to feel something better than average.  As a kid I wanted to visit some kind of magical land, or discover something that no one else knew about.  As an adult, that pretty much morphed into a drinking hobby.  Now that I’m a grown ass woman, with kids, responsibilities, and a really annoying new (but temporary) illness, I’ve realized that drinking is not beneficial, even if it’s as harmless as a hobby.  So, what’s a higher level of consciousness-seeking gal like me to do?  Meditate, of course!

I challenge you to go through this guided meditation today, and tell me you don’t feel incredibly amazing afterward.  You might not have the luxury of a quiet room with no one around, but maybe you can plug in your headphones at work and stare blankly at an email while you zone out and pretend to read it.  Or maybe you have a whole passel of loud babies screaming at you, so either get them involved, or put it on your phone and use your headphones, or wait until someone comes home from work and have them give you 30 minutes to yourself.  I promise you, it’s well worth the effort it takes to carve out 30 minutes of peacefulness.

A Zen Moment – Strength

Om

So many of us are constantly faced with the feeling that we’re not thin enough. Don’t eat too many sweets, don’t eat a lot of fat, don’t eat carbs, work out, etc. This is old news. What’s surprising to me is that we don’t talk a whole lot about becoming strong. Inner strength is so important on such a core level. We can’t do anything without strength. We can’t carry our kids, we can’t handle stressful situations properly, we can’t really make any kind of positive changes in our lives without it. But yet, we still focus so intently on the issue of weight, and we’re seemingly always saying we struggle with our weight.

Wouldn’t it make sense that if we can make a few small changes that take just a few minutes out of our day? We could make ourselves physically and mentally stonger, and then things like self discipline and healthy food choices would just sort of naturally become part of our daily lives, and ultimately either make us skinnier, OR make us happy with the beautiful body we’ve been given.

I’m really not a big fan of drastic changes (anymore). I’ve done the drastic thing, and it’s exciting and all, but ultimately if anything starts dominating your thoughts and actions, things get thrown out of balance and eventually fall apart. So, I don’t really suggest that you completely change your life, but here a few things I like to do every morning to help myself feel comfortable with changing myself for the better, and give me inner and outer strength to face the challenges of the day in a positive way.

- Sit on a pillow on the floor. Either put your hands together, prayer-style over your heart, or put them palms up on your knees, or flat on the ground, depending on what’s most comfortable. Close your eyes, try to focus on your third eye chakra (the middle of your forehead), and take deep breaths. Pose the question in your mind, what do I need to hear today? Just wait, do that for a while, maybe 5 minutes. Any time a thought pops into your head, just sort of listen to it, and let it pass.

- Pick up a couple of hand weights, and do a few exercises. Doesn’t have to be anything crazy, but it wakes up your muscles and helps them get a little stronger. If you do it every day, you’ll be surprised how quickly you can feel your muscles getting a little buffer. This is a really great website that helps you figure out which exercises work best for specific areas you’d like to work on: http://www.divine.ca/en/fitness-and-nutrition/exercise-finder/c_266/.

- Hold a hot drink, look out the window, or go outside for a few minutes, take deep breaths, relax and feel grateful for the day ahead. Think about how you’d like today to be a little different, better than yesterday.

- Hold your hands over your throat, and say to yourself, I am strong, and I am willing to change. Ask for some inner strength and for some inspiration and motivation to do something cool today.

Some of these things might sound a little hokey, but most of us either have a few minutes alone in the morning where no one’s going to see or judge us for being weird, or, we’ve got some kids with us, and they’re totally weirder than you are, so there’s no need to be bashful.

The Pursuit of Perfection

I’m bringing messy back.

My whole life, I always thought of myself as a bit of a screw up.  I was raised in a very strict household, where things always had to be spotless and neat.  I never quite understood the importance of all that, and figured when I grew up I’d be more laid back, which I am.  I’m no germ-phobe.  I actually kind of enjoy seeing toys strewn around the house, it makes it feel homey.  I pretty much like the way I am.  So, no problem, right?  Wrong.

While I’m comfortable with this philosophy on cleanliness, there’s always been this bee-atch hanging out on my shoulder, telling me I’m lazy, unorganized and sloppy.  She remembers my mom’s perfect house, and reminds me that my sister’s house is perfect, just like mom’s.  Why is your house so dumpy?  Why do you enjoy buying from thrift stores?  Don’t you know successful people buy from Pottery Barn?  Why are you such a screw up?  When are you going to learn, when are you going to get your self together, why aren’t you like EVERYBODY ELSE?

This year, I’ve been smacked in the face with a wake up call.  It’s precisely that kind of thinking that caused me to become sick with an autoimmune disorder.  If you do a little Googling, you’ll find that most of these disorders are thought to be caused, or made worse from stress. Coming down with an illness caused me to do some introspection and meditation, and when you meditate, you start to see the connections of things.  I began to see that this internal abuse was going on almost constantly.  It was making me feel stressed and worthless, not good enough to deserve the finer things in life.  My reaction to that, was to run myself ragged, desperately trying to be someone who this person on my shoulder would approve of. I became exhausted physically and emotionally, and eventually, I got sick.

I realize now, all that worrying and trying to be a better housewife (for lack of a better term) was futile, that’s just not who I am, and that’s ok.  My house is older.  It can be really hard to make an older house look spotless, they have “character”.  I like character, that’s why I bought the house, therefore, I accept my dingy-looking floors. I know they’re clean enough. So, bee-atch on my shoulder, get the heck off, and don’t come back.  You’re not welcome in my house anymore, and I feel a whole lot lighter and happier when you’re gone.