How I am taking action to fill myself up, be diligent in self-care and align my heart and my head...
My beautiful teacher, Elena Brower, recently spoke about this in her New Year Practice You video. The importance of daily ritual is something that can keeps us regularly checking in with ourselves in mindful ways. A ritual can vary in length and activity, what matters most is its consistency of practice. For me, morning meditation is it. However, what I am desperately wanting to add in is a physical yoga practice that leads into meditation. For a while I thought this meant that I have to be up and ready, in my yoga clothes and sweating by the end. Elena pointed out that for her, there are days when she wakes up tired, so this could mean a Yoga Nidra practice which leads into meditation. When she said this, I had a moment of realizing it’s more about tuning into my physical being rather than pushing myself physically. Perhaps it is because I come from a power yoga background, but I have long associated a formal “yoga practice” to be one that is more physical in nature and closer to traditional exercise. This is not in alignment with my heart. Instead, my daily ritual will be to arise around the same time each day, unroll my mat, move my body however it feels necessary and then sit for my mediation. And, in my pajamas, no yoga pants (or bra) required. My hope is that this will take the expectation out of it and open the doorway for exploration and inquiry to come in.
I of course recognize that the difficulty of this, is as a mama whose child’s wake up time is unpredictable, things could have the tendency to waiver. So, I am also making a commitment to myself to wake up a little earlier and go to bed a little earlier. And, if Audrey wakes up first, so be it. I will remain flexible in both how I practice and how long it happens. I also maintain that in order for my daughter to truly know the value of self-care she must mostly see it in action.
And while there will also be daily mid-day rituals I am looking to cultivate, my next focus will be end of day. Shutting down intelligently and mindfully. Turning off all input and sitting with myself to ask the simple question "How did I do today?" Not to judge but to simply observe. Journaling will be a big part of this time and it is my goal to leave each day with my own words in my head.
Clear Boundaries on Time
The other day Justin and I set a clear and precise schedule for how we will be spending our time each day. This is something that neither of us have been great at in the past, but recognize our need to be better organized and have stronger clarity of time spent. Ange Peters talks about this a lot, and has taught me to recognize that time is in fact currency. We get to choose how we spend it, who we give it to and ultimately what kind of return we are looking for with how we invest it.
This also includes only spending time doing the things that feed me and that I love. No longer do I believe that we must fill our time doing things because it is what we are "supposed" to do. I understand fully the requirements of obligation and being an adult, however I am going to only seek ways to do that while also nurturing my inner child.
I have always wanted to make space and room for anything to happen but I am now realizing that by setting my own clock, I am actually offering a kind of freedom where my life truly belongs to me. So, there will be boundaries on my time, how I spend it and what I spend it doing. Which leads right into the next…
This is something I began to talk about at the end of this last year, and am continuing to cultivate. That small computer in my hand takes up so much more time and offers much more distraction than is healthy. I am a firm believer that to some degree, the majority of us are addicted to our phones. I am. And while I often need it for my work, I admittedly spend a lot more time scrolling and browsing than is necessary.
For me, I am realizing more and more that I must balance my consumption with my creation. Our phones give us this false sense of relief without realizing that we are continuing to consume and consume and consume, thereby depleting our own inner resources and attention. Instead, it is my mission to be continually mindful of how much I am creating vs. how much I am consuming. So, I am setting hard boundaries on my social media and screen time and making sure that I have more to to both create and put out into the world more than what I take.
One of the things I have been realizing lately is that I am hungry to learn. It’s not that I have not always loved learning, but the past few years I have definitely done more of the teaching and I am including mothering in this. I haven’t had a thirst to push past my own boundaries of what I know in quite a while, and I am ready to get back to my studentship in a much more profound way. I am not yet sure what this looks like, but I know that one of my biggest interests of late is in looking back to the tradition of yoga and studying some of the older lineages. Rod Stryker has been a big presence in my practice lately and so it may mean going to study with him, or at the very least continuing to make him, and other areas of yoga where I am not so familiar, a regular part of my practice.
I am also continuing to explore and delve into essential oils, aromatherapy and integrative and holistic practices. This is an area that makes my heart soar and I plan to continue to honor it throughout the course of this next year. I also firmly believe that the greatest teachers are first students and so I plan on this being the strongest course of action in terms of growing my business, both in yoga and essential oils. I am going to invest in my own wisdom and knowledge.
In all honesty, this is something I have not been very good at in my life. It’s not that I don’t have friends or people I love, but I am extremely comfortable being alone. However, the older I get and the more I think about what I want for Audrey and for our family, I truly want a community of friends to surround ourselves with in the best of times and the hardest of times. My effort in reaching out has always been something I struggle with, so this year I am being much more concerted in my efforts to both make new friends and continue to be in contact with old ones. I am just now at 36 beginning to understand that none of us can do this on our own and that we all need each other to be in regular contact with one another so that we can learn from one another.
Justin and I have specifically set aside time each month for each of us to have friend time as well as a time to gather with community. Two Mondays each month are dedicated to an evening where one of us goes out to hang, as adults only, and with a friend. So...expect a call!
Open Sky Mind
This is another takeaway from Elena’s Practice You webinar. The idea that once or twice this year, we will take time to travel alone, to cultivate open sky mind where we are with ourselves and only ourselves for a while. This ties perfectly into both diligent studentship and my entire reason for doing all of this work. We must be able to fill ourselves up from the inside, readily, lovingly and wholeheartedly. For a long time, the thought of leaving my family for even a weekend to go explore on my own, or attend a retreat, was just too scary. My heart truly longs to be with them each and every day for as long as my life exists. However, I am now realizing the clarity that this kind of daring will bring me and it is now one of my top priorities to, within the next few weeks, book a solo trip somewhere. Likely it will be in the form of a retreat, perhaps starting with just a weekend in time, but it will a place that I travel to and from alone and give myself the freedom to have an open sky mind.
With all of this in my sights, my work this year is in aligning my head with my heart and to continually fill my cup, over and over and over again. One of my friends said recently “Humanity is an experiment and we can make it beautiful”. I am choosing to make mine beautiful by experiencing the joy of my own inner beauty, so that I may better share it with the world. This is my new year, this is my work.
Passion - Inspiring Blend
balances spice and herbal essential oils. Included in the blend is Damiana, a very rare essential oil rich in 1,8-cineole and alpha pinene, which is renowned for its renewing properties. Combining Cinnamon Bark, Ginger, Cardamom, Clove, and Damiana creates a chemical profile with high concentrations of phenols and ethers to provide warming and renewing benefits. Diffuse doTERRA Passion at your work desk to help spark creativity.
Passion is a blend formulated to assist individuals who are lacking inner passion and perhaps need to find the motivation to take risks and confidently face their fears. We often feel a lack of passion when we feel limited in our work and creativity. This blend helps to ignite the heart and the spirit towards moving for what uplifts and inspires creativity and joy, both in work and in life.
Cardamom - The Oil of Objectivity
Cinnamon - The Oil of Sexual Harmony
Ginger - The Oil of Empowerment
Clove - The Oil of Boundaries
Sandalwood - The Oil of Sacred Devotion
Jasmine - The Oil of Sexual Purity & Balance
How to Use:
* Diffuse in the morning to start the day feeling energized and enthusiastic
* Apply to pulse points and heart throughout the day to feel inspired and passionate
* Diffuse at work to spark creativity, clarity and wonder
Stronger - Protective Blend
Stronger Protective Blend evokes feelings of wellness and vitality when needed most. Featuring Cedarwood, Litsea, Frankincense, and Rose in a gentle and convenient format combined with Fractionated Coconut Oil, this uniquely supportive blend is perfect for sensitive skin and provides a sense of resiliency when needed most. Litsea, one of the main ingredients in Stronger, helps to keep skin healthy looking and clean while promoting positive feelings. The bright and uplifting aroma of Stronger is refreshing to the senses and works as the perfect blend for daily resiliency or when you are not feeling your best. With the powerful rejuvenating benefits of wood and floral oils, Stronger works as the perfect every day skin health essential oil blend.
Cedarwood - The Oil of Community
Litsea - The Oil of Manifestation
Frankincense - The Oil of Truth
Rose - The Oil of Divine Love
How to Use:
* When environmental threats are high, use Stronger to promote feelings of wellness and vitality.
* Roll onto hands, knees and feet after a long day of activity
* Soothing to occasional skin irritations, Stronger is a great blend to have on hand during play and extensive activities.
* Because of the Rose and Frankincense oil in it, Stronger is great to help soothe and comfort distressed skin.
Both of these blends are available HERE
Hands down, one the most important things to me as a mother is helping my child navigate her own emotions, intelligently, honestly and lovingly. It has taken me a long time to come into my own emotional awareness, and while I wouldn't change anything about my experience, I would love to be a steady guiding force for my daughter when it comes to cultivating her ability to be with her emotions in a healthy way.
It is my belief that we don't think or speak about emotional integrity and intelligence enough in our culture. We often regard feelings as secondary or attatch shame to emotions that are, in reality, incredibly human. How we feel is always changing of course, and it requires a ton of work to stay present with ourselves in this way, but I believe it is necessary work. In 2018, several studies showed that depression and anxiety are on the rise, often in teens and young adults. According to a report by ABC News, "The CDC says one in five children ages 3 through 17 — about 15 million — have a diagnosable mental, emotional or behavioral disorder in a given year. But only 20 percent of them get diagnosed or receive care."
Emotional Intelligence is the "capacity to be aware of, control, and express one's emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically". I am on a mission as a mother and as a human to help all people of all ages become more Emotionally Intelligent.
For me, essential oils are one option and tool to help create that intelligence. Since our emotional state has the power to affect how we perceive the world, I believe in the importance of having tangible tools and techniques on hand to help navigate our emotions. Having the ability to take action, reach for a specific blend of essential oils and take the time to do some deep breathing is a seemingly small act of self-care with big impact.
When we do this, we say to ourselves
A. I am having some big feelings right now
B. We take a moment to name those feelings and
C. We can take action.
Perhaps we take a few deep breaths and utilize the aromatherapeutic benefits of an oil or blend, or combine the act of reaching for an oil with another act of self care such as yoga, meditation, exercise, journaling, etc. By even taking the time to do any of this, we are saying to ourselves that our own emotional awareness matters and is important. What and how we feel is integrative and directly connected to our physical health.
So you can imagine my joy when doTERRA came out with a collection designed specifically for children and young adults. My daughter is only 3.5 years old but has her own Kids Collection already. She knows which oils are for calming down at night, which are for when she feels sad and which ones help her body. She is now beginning to say out loud when she is sad, or angry or frustrated or happy. We celebrate all of her feelings with her and we help her take action when she is able to articulate what she needs and wants. My hope as her mom is that she will grow up with the freedom to be aware of, control and express her emotions so that she may be able to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically...aka have strong Emotional Intelligence.
So this week, I will be featuring the Kids Collection in my Free Online Oils Class, this Thursday at 11am EST. I will also be posting each day about two different Emotional Aromatherapy blends: One for the adults, one for kids. I hope that you follow along with me this week. My hope as a wellness advocate and as a human is to help each of us, myself included, cultivate our own emotional intelligence so we may be stronger for ourselves and stronger for each other.
"It is only with the heart that one can see rightly. What is essential is invisible to the eye" - The Little Prince
This quote perfectly sums up how I feel about using essential oils for emotional support. While often as humans we look for the things that can be seen and measured, I am a true believer that so much of what matters in life is in what cannot be seen or measured. I also believe that our emotional health is of the utmost importance, as most of our actions, whether we realize it or not, are taken based on our emotional state. When we create clarity around our inner workings within ourselves, we create clarity in the vision that we have for our life.
I look at essential oils as the tool that we can reach for to 1. Name our present emotional state and 2. Take a solid steps towards inspiring action for how we want to proceed. It matters what we reach for. We can reach for our yoga mats or our meditation cushions. We can reach for drugs and alcohol or even food. For me, essential oils are my tool of choice and what I reach for to ignite action in the form of self-care led by self-love.
So in today's class, I spoke specifically about emotional support during the winter months and how to use essential oils as tools to keep ourselves well and uplifted. Having some personal experience with what this time of year can do to our inner worlds, I have experienced dramatic and profound results from using oils in this way. My hope is that I can help to support any of you who find yourselves struggling emotionally this time of year as well.
Below I am going to list the top four oils for this season. These are the ones where if you having nothing else, they will powerfully carry you through the season and help to support positive emotions. You can also join my Facebook Group HERE and watch the class and ask questions.
Here are the top Oils for Winter: *Note all of this comes from Emotions & Essential Oils*
Lavender - The Oil of Calm and Communication
Lavender aids verbal expression and calming the mind. Specifically, it calms the insecurities that are felt when one risks their true thoughts and feelings. Lavender addresses a deep fear of being seen and heard. It encourages emotional honesty and insists that one speak their innermost thoughts and desires. It is through open communication that an individual has the potential to experience unconditional love, acceptance and peace of mind. With Lavender, one is free to share their True Self with others.
Lemongrass - The Oil of Cleansing
Lemongrass is a powerful cleanser of energy. it dispels feelings of despondency, despair and lethargy. Lemongrass assists individuals in entering a healing mode or cleansing state. In this state, one easily lets go of old, limiting beliefs, toxic energies and negativity. Lemongrass teaches individuals to move forward without hesitation. It asks them to commit to a healing path where change is a regular occurance.
Peppermint - The Oil of a Buoyant Heart
Peppermint brings joy and buoyancy to the heart and soul. It invigorates body, mind and spirit and reminds individuals that life can be happy, and they don't have to be controlled by fear. It lifts an individual out of their emotional trials for a short reprieve. When individuals use peppermint, they feel as though they are gliding through life. It assists in staying on the surface of emotional issues like floating on top of water.
Rosemary - The Oil of Knowledge & Transition
Rosemary assists in the development of true knowledge and true intellect. It teaches that one can be instructed from a far greater space of understanding than the human mind. It challenges individuals to look deeper than they normally would and ask more soul-searching questions so that they may receive more inspired answers. It invites individuals to trust in a higher, more intelligent power than themselves. It supports them in feeling confident and assured during times of great change in understanding and perspective. Rosemary roots them in the true knowledge that surpasses all understanding.
"What is essential is invisible to the eye". I cannot give you facts and figures about exactly how and why these oils work the way they do. If you are only looking for black and white answers, then perhaps these are not your tools, and I respect that. However, if you believe and work with the understanding that it is with our hearts that we we can truly see things rightly, then I invite you to explore using these tools even further. I believe wholeheartedly that what we reach for when it comes to caring (or not) for our emotional selves, matters immensely. That small action of choice has a big impact, which cannot be seen and measured, only felt. I wish you health and happiness this winter and immeasurable loving support.
is a Mama, Wife, Teacher, Writer and Creator of One OM at a time. She has been teaching and studying yoga since 2008 and has taught at studios in Syracuse, Boston and New York City. For two years her hOMe was wherever she, her husband Justin, their daughter Audrey and pug Oscar find themselves as they traveled for Justin's job on the national tour of Matilda the Musical. This way of living has really taught Sara that yoga and mediation requires nothing more than some time and a space for your mat. You can find Sara teaching regular classes in NYC, workshops and retreats all over the country as well as in her very own online studio right here!