|Please see the class announcement at the end of this E-news!|
Exploring the relationship between mothering and personal growth
I had a very interesting conversation with someone recently about emotions…specifically, the perspective that you can choose your emotional response to something rather than believing that you have no control over your response, that it is shaped by your personality and your history. However, if you “choose” your emotional response, that is, you respond with an edited version of your original impulse, does that mean that your response is less than authentic? Why do I bring this up in the context of mothering?
Let’s first take a step back. People have such different impressions of how they were mothered, and by whom (ahh, the complexities of large or blended families!) that it is not a good idea to introduce the topic of mothering with an idea that everyone had a good experience with their mother, or that their experience was similar to yours. It can actually be a very “touchy” subject! I learned this by sharing one of our descriptions of our Mexican Lime essential oil…it offers “emotional mothering”…with a visitor to my Shining Sun Aromatherapy studio. Her immediate reaction was to reject experiencing the Lime essence, as she had had a very difficult relationship with her mother her whole life. And while it allowed us to broach the concept that using that essence might be a positive step in healing that relationship, her initial comment also brought home to me the mixed and sometimes difficult relationships many people associate with the word “Mother”.
Another step back. When I was in the corporate world, I conducted research in the area of human resources for a major public accounting firm. One of the studies I did was on mentoring…exploring how it happened, its benefits and pitfalls, and whether men and women were equally mentored in our firm. What I discovered was that a narrow definition of mentoring did not provide the understanding, or the possibilities, that a broader definition offered. I explored traditional mentoring (a senior level person looking out for, providing developmental opportunities for, someone who was at a staff level significantly junior to them), peer mentoring, and, lo and behold, even upward mentoring…where a more junior person provided some of the feedback or support generally associated with traditional mentoring to someone at least one organizational level above them, and sometimes more. This really stretched the understanding of upper management when I presented this aspect of the research. But, as we discussed it, they became really excited about the expanded possibilities a broader view of mentoring revealed. Looking back, I realize that “mentoring” was just a way of expressing “mothering” in a way that was more acceptable in a corporate setting. But that experience of the benefits of creating a broader understanding helped me to look at the concept of mothering the same way.
As often happens when I am thinking deeply about a concept or situation, related information starts crossing my path. I love how the Universe works!! Recently, a FaceBook friend shared a beautiful piece by a foundation in New Zealand called Sacred Dreams. Within the wisdom offered in that post was one gem on mothering, offered in the context “Mastering the Art of Dis-entanglement”. It used to be easy for her to get triggered…[This personal] story made for a tremulous existence, one that was continually shaken by how the world was responding to her. The story is changing as she entered deeper into her heart, her soul, her womb, her mind. Every pain and heart-break became an opening to enter deeper. She reached the place of origin of many wounds. She touched them softly, lovingly, kissed them tenderly. In her inner journeys, she’s found this place of tranquility, where she’s always safe, always loved. This place is her mother-centre ~ one that loves every single bit of her. She’s practicing living awareness from this space, while old wounds try to take her down the familiar path. She practices keeping her heart open, even in the deepest pain. This wise space teaches her to sit out the triggered wounds rather than act from them. – Sukhvinder Sircar
The “mother-centre” described above …female or male, we all have it… can be a source of guidance and support for us. Self-mothering, in a way, not something often considered. Also, I think this quote addresses the concern raised in the conversation I referenced in the opening paragraph of this e-news…whether choosing our emotional response to something is less than “authentic”. I think the perspective offered by Sacred Dreams demonstrates that holding onto our “authenticity” (and believe me, I am hugely about being authentic) can mean holding ourselves back from growing…intellectually, emotionally and spiritually. I remember once, many years ago, when someone wanted me to consider an experience that was very much outside of my comfort zone, I kept thinking “this isn’t me”. I honestly do not remember what that experience was, but I clearly remember the lesson…I decided to give it a try, and was amazed to learn that it was more “me” than I ever dreamed possible. And though it wasn’t consistent with the “old me”, it WAS like the “new me” who emerged from that experience…I had grown.
So, I will leave you with that little story that has stayed with me all of these years, and also some suggestions, in addition to the Mexican Lime (great on the soles of the feet) that will help broaden your perspective on the concept of mothering, and assist you in accessing that “mother-centre” source of wisdom, so that, even if you don’t have other positive “mother” figures in your life, you can effectively “self-mother”.
Rosemary verbenone: This beautiful essence is about remembering, and deeply exploring our memories in the context of our greater self-knowledge as we learn and grow. What we may find is that we have an incomplete memory or one that, from an adult perspective, takes on a different meaning. Rosemary verbenone helps you discern which memories to hold in your heart, which to “update” in terms of your broader, more mature understanding, and which to let go, as they no longer serve you. This can be a very freeing process.
Davana: This ancient beauty is all about healing through expansion…greater compassion for self and others; greater understanding of how life works. She helps you to challenge beliefs that may no longer serve you, and are limiting you.
Exotic Basil: Expands your perceptions of self, others, and your physical environment, which yields many opportunities for change, new directions, and growth.
Oak Moss: I find this exceptional for doing deep heart work, and it would be perfect to access that mother-centre discussed above. And, it smells divine, evoking the mystery and power of our connection to Mother Earth.
Chamomile (Blue/Green); This gorgeous essence will take you to the depths of your emotions, with calm acceptance of what was and a grounded vision of what will be. She supports you in making new choices by softening and neutralizing your “triggers” and creating an awareness of other, more authentic ways of understanding and responding to situations and opportunities.
PS: This is an announcement about an upcoming, two-day, private Level 1 Certification Class in Medicinal Aromatherapy to be held at my Shining Sun Aromatherapy studio in Santa Fe. This client is open to having others join us, and we are considering these possible dates: July 2-3; August 28-29; or September 11-12.
if you are interested in joining us, please contact me ASAP about the date or dates most convenient for you. The tuition is $575, and I will offer the $25 early registration discount to anyone who responds by June 7th. Call 928-300-5090 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for questions or to register.
|Two important notices: First, Shining Sun Aromatherapy is the Santa Fe practice of Audre Gutierrez. The content of this newsletter is born from her experiences, education, research and intuition. It is hoped that the information contained herein will support you in making personal choices that enhance your health, happiness and well-being. Please feel free to share our communications or selected content more widely, however, if you do, please give attribution to Audre Gutierrez/Shining Sun Aromatherapy. Thank you! Second, you are currently on my mailing list for communications from Shining Sun Aromatherapy via website opt-in, signing up at an event we hosted or participated in, or by purchasing essential oils/products from me. I hope you will choose to remain in communication with us, as new and exciting things are happening at Shining Sun Aromatherapy, however, I will certainly understand if you decide to “opt out”, as we all have to maintain our focus on things that are most important to us. |
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Santa Fe, NM 87506
Energies seem to be swirling around at an unprecedented pace…relationships, health, community, work, political, social, local, global. If you are not feeling them, you are either very, very fortunate or very isolated. I honestly do not know anyone who isn’t feeling upended in one or more aspects of their life.
As we have just passed a marriage milestone…10 years as of 7/18/18…Leonardo and I were recently talking about how much we have weathered as a couple…and while we have made it through (with flying colors, I might add) situations that could have torn our relationship apart, they did not. So, with that backdrop, we had a good conversation about the pace and nature of current circumstances and how to navigate most gracefully and effectively.
I read to him a few passages from a book I have been reading (a few pages most nights) for a couple of years. It is the diary of a saint, Maria Faustina Kowalska, who lived in the early 1900s. While her words are couched in the language of Christianity, if that is not your path, I think there is still value in considering their wisdom within the context of a power greater than our human selves…whether that is your higher self, The Universe, Nature, Source, Fate or any other divine, spiritual or supernatural ideology you subscribe to.
Here are some of her thoughts, as captured in her diary in the spring of 1938, shortly before her death.
O Christ, if You Yourself did not support the soul, how much could it do of itself? We are strong, but with Your strength we are holy…
And…The enemy’s greatest efforts will not thwart the smallest detail of what the Lord has decreed. No matter if there are times when the work seems to be completely destroyed; it is then that the work is being all the more consolidated.
I personally have felt torn apart by the misery and inhumanity of the treatment of those seeking asylum at our southern border. I was really struggling with the images and the feelings and reality of what was happening to these unfortunate parents and children. Reading and meditating upon her words “it is then that the work is being all the more consolidated” restored my sense of peace and fortitude. This, in turn, allowed me to address, with renewed energy and purpose, my day to day responsibilities, as well as my broader responsibility to my fellow humans, and the treatment and condition of the Earth and all of her beings.
What does being centered mean? And, importantly, why does it help us “regroup” and renew our sense of purpose and hope? Interestingly, one of our students, Linda C., explored this in her Level II certification paper on Fir, Balsam (it is included in our book, Voices of Light, Voices of Love…Messages from the Plants and Trees). Here is a brief excerpt from what she shared:
Another time, while sitting with her [Fir, Balsam], she let me feel how it feels to have roots that go into the ground. This, too, was an amazing and new feeing for me. In many circles, one hears the words, “ground yourself.” Or, “you need to be grounded for this, so center your self and get grounded. By quieting myself, I thought I had been grounding myself. But all I really had been was internally less frenetic.
I felt, with Fir, Balsam, what it was truly like to be grounded. I felt connected to the earth, tightly connected to the earth, which was also providing food to me. I was separate, but I was not separate from the earth. I was held firmly and strongly to one place on the planet. There was no here or there to go to, or to wonder or worry about . This was my place to be and to know. No questions, no insecurities, just steadfastly anchored to this place on the planet. It was a strong, safe, contented feeling.
I had grown up in one town, moved to another for school, moved to another after graduation to look for a job, then back to another to look for another job. I had no idea what it felt like to be part of one place on earth. What a feeling of belonging.
So, from this perspective…from the perspective of a tree…being centered is about not being separate, about belonging. It is about not worrying, questioning or being insecure, but being accepting of what is and putting your heart and energy into doing and being your best in the situation at hand. It is also about trusting that the Universe is unfolding exactly as it should…which does not mean that you sit back and let things “happen” to you, but that you exercise your free will…one of the most important aspects of human existence…and become the player you were meant to be in the situation that is occurring within and around you.
As Linda C. profoundly experienced, tree essences are incredible at helping us to get grounded/centered…and to stand tall and find strength in our holiness and sovereignty. So essences like Fir, Balsam; Pine, Red; Spruce, White and Pine, Ponderosa can support us in finding our center (clarify beliefs; reaffirm core values, etc.) and acting purposefully from it. Root essences such as Spikenard, Vetiver and Angelica Root, are helpful, as well. Spikenard has the additional property of helping us tune into the unseen world, while Vetiver helps purify…releasing those beliefs or patterns that do not serve purposeful, centered living. And, finally, Angelica Root (botanical name, angelica archangelica…that gives you a clue), brings in the wisdom, protection and inspiration of the angelic realm.
So, let the chaos and discord be the impetus to claim your divine purpose, and allow the essences to support you in meeting the challenges of these times with clarity and courage.
Sending lots of love and a sense of peace,
Please feel free to share this post on social media or otherwise…your attribution of this content to Audre Gutierrez, Shining Sun Aromatherapy is appreciated.
The basic nature of essential oils is to be in harmony and to bring harmony. They are also wonderful additions to a surprising number and variety of professions or practices. I think you will be surprised at the interesting and powerful ways our Essences are enhancing all sorts of business endeavors! But first, a few announcements:
Level 1 Certification Class in Medicinal Aromatherapy
I will retire from teaching group Level 1 classes at the end of this year. My last Level 1 Class will be held September 10-11, 2016 at my Shining Sun Aromatherapy studio just north of Santa Fe, NM. To qualify for the early registration price of $450, I must receive the full amount by August 10th. After that date, the price goes to $475, and must be paid in full at the time of registration. I have room for about 5 more people; right now, I have no more auditor openings, but if you have your WOTE Level 1 certification and want to audit in September (and you have not already registered with me), please send me an email noting your interest, and I will put you on the “waiting list”. Life does happen, as we all know. Details about the Level 1 Foundational course are available on my website, www.shiningsunaromatherapy.com/level-i-classes/ I am still doing Skype classes, mentoring, and private Level 1 classes.
Voices of Light, Voices of Love…Messages from the Plants and Trees by Audre Gutierrez, Barry Kapp and Cynthia Olivera de Kapp
Has a plant or tree ever spoken to you, or moved you to a deeper place of self-knowing? This book shares the transformational experiences of our students as they journeyed with an essential oil of their choice as part of the WOTE Level 1 Medicinal Aromatherapy certification process. By their own account, these students have been forever changed by their experience. By sharing some of the heart-touching messages and profound wisdom they received from 19 different essences, our hope is that you will be, too! Priced at $29.95; it will also be available on Amazon.
We are grateful for the support we have received from honored colleagues in the global aromatherapy community. For example:
…For those who wish to retrace the intimate steps by which the authors have explored…their relation with essential oils, this book is a treasure trove. – Kurt Schnaubelt, PhD, Pacific Institute of Aromatherapy
Many gifts await you in this beautiful book that can be read over and over again…Your heart will be nourished by this unique and loving interpretation of plants and essential oils. – Robbi Zeck, ND, Author of the Blossoming Heart, Aromatherapy for Healing and Transformation
This is unlike any offering we are aware of in the aromatherapy literature, and we are very excited to bring this information to light! I am currently accepting pre-publication orders of this beautiful and moving book; we expect delivery of a limited first run in August or September. Please call or email me if you are interested in securing one or more copies.
July’s Essential Thought from Shining Sun Aromatherapy: “Works Well With Others”
Growing up, I always heard the phrase “Plays well with others” as a way teachers and caregivers described children who were able to get along and function well in groups; when I got older, the phrase changed to “Works well with others”, which was important in both college and in employment. As a practicing aromatherapist and educator in the field of aromatherapy, I see how pertinent both of these concepts are in truly understanding how essential oils work with humans on all three levels…physical, emotional and spiritual.
Essential oils have a very unique and powerful ability to facilitate and enhance other modalities without overpowering them. As is their nature, they work in harmony with each other, and with other ways of healing, supporting and creating. This is something that I find very special about the essences, but not much is said about it in the aromatherapy literature.
I am often asked “Is it ok to use more than one essence at a time? Won’t they conflict with each other?” Or, “If I use more than one essence, how will I know which one ‘worked’”? These are ways of understanding the world that bear little resemblance to nature or to how healing with natural medicines occurs. While there are some limited situations where essential oils may be “contra-indicated”…that is, they are not recommended for use with another treatment type or with a certain condition or with a certain pharmaceutical drug…for the most part they work remarkably well with each other, and with many diverse modalities and practices, as well.
Working Well Together
Our philosophy with regard to using multiple oils at one time (layering) to treat a condition or situation is that they work very powerfully and effectively together; typically, the essences selected the essences address both the presenting symptoms, as well as known or suspected contributing factors or root causes. For example, say that an individual experiences migraine headaches shortly before or during their menstrual period, and has done so for years. I might suggest Marjoram (cineole) and Peppermint for headache pain (both are anti-spasmodic and analgesic (pain-killing) in nature, and I might suggest Geranium and Clary Sage for hormonal balance. These would all complement each other and address the migraines from different angles.
We also use multiple oils at the same time to address a variety of concerns; a person might be working with Birch (Yellow) and Spike Lavender for their sprained hand, Cardamom Seed (Green) and Basil (Sweet) for digestive issues and Myrtle (linalool) for balancing their thyroid. I have seen people literally be aghast at the thought of using all of these essences at the same time, or within a twelve-hour period. We, as a culture, have been so conditioned by western medicine to think of drug interactions, the idea of different plant medicines working harmoniously with each other, as a general rule, is hard for some people “to wrap their heads around.” And yet, serious drug interactions (which I had personal and frightening experience with many years ago) are a reality, and are not well-understood or well-managed in western medicine.
When my father was alive, he used to have a shoebox with 10-15 different drug bottles in it, prescribed by four or five different doctors. I know for a fact that his doctors did not confer with each other on how harmoniously these drugs would work together. Now, that is something to be aghast about. And I was. But when I tried to address this situation with my father, my concerns fell on deaf ears. My father refused to question his doctors, for in his mind, everything they said was “gospel”. Also, he would never have “bothered” the doctor to ask if a newly prescribed medication was compatible with the laundry list of drugs he was already taking, prescribed by other doctors in other practices. I think his trust was outsized and misplaced.
Complementing Other Modalities/Professions
It is literally fascinating to see the beautiful symmetry of the essences with so many other modalities or practices. I did a “laundry list” of situations I am personally familiar with where essences have been successfully integrated with other professions, and here is what I came up with (we’ll start with the more obvious ones first…so stay with me…there are some pretty creative and exciting combinations here):
- Massage: Essences can be used directly on the areas of concern, and integrated into the massage… not just drops on a face towel or in the massage lotion.
- Yoga: An essential oil can be diffused in the practice area; many instructors apply an oil like Frankincense or Lavender on participants’ feet or crown chakras during savasana — Corpse pose — at the end of a yoga session.
- Chiropractic healing: Essences can be used during a session to help relax tense muscles and facilitate manipulation and/or after a session to relieve any soreness or tightness.
- Sound Healing with a didgeridoo: The essence can be dripped into the bottom opening; the aroma then emanates from the instrument when it is blown in a sound healing session. One of our clients does powerful healing in this way, and his choice is Wild Chamomile for its calming, soothing effect.
- Sound Healing with crystal bowls or gongs: Essences which are heart-opening or calming in nature can be applied to the participants and/or diffused in the room.
- Vibrational Healing with Tuning Forks or Reiki: The vibration of the essences, in concert with the vibration of the forks or Reiki, is really profound. A local healer recently shared at my Aromatherapy Meet Up about the amazing reaction a client had to her use of the tuning forks with appropriate essences on each meridian.
- Meditation: The essences facilitate and enhance the experience of the person meditating; they can be diffused into the room or, preferably, applied to the participant.
- Acupuncture: Suitable essences (i.e., those whose properties support the healing intention) can be applied to the area where the needle will be inserted, or the needle can be dipped in the essence before insertion.
- Natural creams and salves: One of my students has a beautiful line of personal care products that she has created. While, at first, she wondered how moving to a higher grade of essences for her products would impact her bottom line, she was excited to tell me that she could use significantly less of our essences in her products, because they are so pure and powerful. Also, her clients reported better results! The higher quality really made a positive difference in the effectiveness of her products, and actually made them less costly to produce!
- Physical Therapy: Essences can be used during a session to help relax tense muscles or after a session to relieve any soreness or tightness.
- Hypnotherapy: Essences can relax the person being hypnotized and facilitate a deep trance.
The following collaborations may be a little less “obvious”, but they are working very well for the owners of these businesses:
- Space Organizer/De-cluttering: One of my students is an excellent personal and business organizer…she expertly helped me clear out my “junk” room and made my hall closet functional again! Many of her clients have emotional attachments to the things they have finally decided to “let go”, so she finds essences like Mugwort, Lavender, Peppermint and citruses really good for helping them with the letting go part, reducing the stress of the change, and uplifting them up mentally and emotionally.
- Artistic Creation: Music, painting, sculpting, dancing, pottery making, writing, etc. are enhanced by using essential oils to help open the heart, access our higher self, or access our inner child. Essences can also be used in the material…paint, clay, etc….to minimize any toxicity in the substances used and to leave the finished piece with a special energy and aroma (which recedes over time…the energy does not) that can enhance the experience of the person viewing or using the piece.
- Nutritional Counseling: A number of the essences can be used for the emotional side of eating too little or eating too much; other essences can be used for their high satiety value. For example, Black Cumin is 21% protein; it helps satisfy hunger and is energizing. Spearmint essential oil topically applied or in water helps curb cravings.
- Jewelry: A friend who creates wonderful jewelry combined her love of our oils and the benefit she has received from them with her passion for jewelry-making. She now makes a variety of necklaces that gently emanate an essential oil of the wearer’s choice.
- Psychotherapy: A friend and student who is an excellent therapist has greatly enhanced her practice by working with essences chosen to help with particular emotional issues experienced by a client, as well as relaxing and soothing them to enhance the benefits of an individual counseling session. She has found many essences, including Bergamot, Cardamom (Green), Laurel Leaf and Frankincense, to be greatly beneficial. The progress of the clients is accelerated, and many choose to purchase essences so that they can use them between sessions.
- Candle-making: A woman who was interested in creating a line of natural candles asked to consult with me about essences she could use to give the candles aromas that would achieve certain goals like Clarity, Joy or Peace. She mentioned that she was going to make all of them colorless, as she hadn’t found any dyes that she felt comfortable using. When I showed her essences like Blue Tansy (beautiful dark blue in color), Blood Orange (brilliant red-orange color) and Emerald Cypress (deep green color), she was excited to realize she could facilitate a particular emotional state as well as have beautiful, natural colors for her candles.
- Aesthetician: A student of mine is an aesthetician in Sedona; one of her “signatures” is to finish her facials with a couple of spritzes of our Neroli (Orange Blossom) Hydrolat. It is heavenly!
- Personal/Business Coaching: One of my Santa Fe friends is a Coach to many incredibly successful and interesting people; she uses the essences to support them in changes they wish to make in their lives and careers…helping them get clearer on their goals, easing the difficulty of significant change, and relieving the stress of very high-powered career choices.
- Hospice work: Essences can greatly ease the transition from this earthly realm for both the person transitioning, and the person’s family/caregivers. Frankincense, Sandalwood, Rose, Laurel Leaf, Blood Orange and Ocean Pine are a few of the many that are so effective for this sacred journey.
- Channeling/Spiritual Guidance/Animal Communication: Essences are highly effective at increasing our ability to communicate with the unseen world, and to access the guidance of the Angelic Realm, the Plants & Trees, the Animal Kingdom, etc. Those who provide this service to others find that using the essences at the start of a session greatly enhances the connection between them and their client, and facilitates their ability to receive information from other sentient beings and the unseen world.
- Nature Adventures/Exploration: One of our advanced students takes clients on a journey with the dolphins; he has found that using the essences greatly enhances the sacredness and depth of this profound experience.
Believe it or not, this list is not exhaustive, but I’m sure you get my point. As I tell my clients, when they call and say “Is there an oil to help me with X condition?”, “It is better to think of it as ‘What oil or oils will help me with X’ ”…because there is always some essence that will offer benefit or resolution in any situation. To extend that idea, there is probably some way essences could benefit any healing modality or profession, if we are just resourceful and creative about considering the options.
Now it’s your turn! I would love to hear from you about other wonderful collaborations with the oils that you have personally experienced or are familiar with. I am sure this already comprehensive list can grow even more. Send me your thoughts, and I will post them on my Face Book page to continue the conversation!
Much love to you,
Audre Gutierrez, Owner, Shining Sun Aromatherapy
I have been getting a number of calls and emails regarding recent statements concerning aromatherapy in social and other media. They vary in content from “myths about essential oils” to “research on essential oils” to blanket generalizations about essential oils. I will discuss what I am calling the Identity Crisis in Aromatherapy later in this newsletter, but first, I would like to share an important announcement regarding my Shining Sun Aromatherapy practice and some upcoming events that I hope you will be able to attend or share with others who might be interested.
Retirement from Level I Teaching after 2016
I will be retiring from teaching the Wisdom of the Earth Level I Certification program after my three classes scheduled in 2016. It is time for me to leverage myself more effectively…so I will continue to teach the 5.5 day WOTE Advanced Aromatherapy Retreat (“Level II”) with Barry and Cynthia Olivera de Kapp which is offered twice a year at our Wisdom of the Earth facility outside of Sedona, AZ; on-line classes and seminars…some to be developed…as well as the Skype Level I, which I have done for some time; and I will do more writing, which I love, including finishing my book on Meditation and Essential Oils and other projects I have considered for some time.
I will miss the joy and enthusiasm of the Level 1 classes, whether at my studio in Santa Fe or at Northcoast Essentials in Arcata, CA. However, I have been teaching Level 1 for over 15 years, and I know our incredible Level I faculty (listed on the Wisdom of the Earth website) will continue their amazing classes that get rave reviews from students all over the country and in Japan. Any of the certified students I have taught will be able to audit Level I classes taught by these WOTE contracted teachers — all of whom have received their Level I and Advanced Retreat certifications, and who are senior members of the WOTE family.
A heart-felt thank you to all of those over the years who have entrusted their training in medicinal aromatherapy to me. Your trust and commitment mean the world to me, and I have been honored to be your teacher. Here are two of my wonderful classes in Santa Fe…I wish I had been more consistent in my picture-taking, as I do not have group pictures for most of my classes!
Upcoming Level I and Level II Classes
March 12-13 Level I in Arcata, CA (Humboldt County, northern CA): I will be teaching the Level I Certification class at Northcoast Essentials Saturday and Sunday, March 12-13, 2016. Times will be the standard times, 9:30-6:00 both days. For more details on the Level I class, please visit my website and read the description and testimonials. There is a registration form you can download, if you decide the time is right for you! Please let me know ASAP if you want to register. I have extended the Early Registration discount until midnight, February 20th. https://shiningsunaromatherapy.com/level-i-classes/
April 12-17 Level II in Cornville, AZ, just outside of Sedona at Wisdom of the Earth. Please see my Shining Sun Aromatherapy website for details. https://shiningsunaromatherapy.com/advanced-classes/ This is a life-changing immersion into the heart and soul of aromatherapy. Still room for a few more students!
June 4-5 Level I in Santa Fe, NM 9:30-6:00 both days. For more details on the Level 1 class, please visit my website and read the description and testimonials. There is a registration form you can download, if you decide the time is right for you! Early registration discount ends May 4th. https://shiningsunaromatherapy.com/level-i-classes/
September 10-11 Level I in Santa Fe, NM LAST LEVEL I I WILL BE TEACHING 9:30-6:00 both days. For more details on the Level 1 class, please visit my website and read the description and testimonials. There is a registration form you can download, if you decide the time is right for you! Early registration discount ends August 10th. https://shiningsunaromatherapy.com/level-i-classes/
The Identity Crisis in Aromatherapy
While I may be engaging in hyperbole just a bit with this title, I do not think that it is an overstatement to say that there are many schools of thought that have co-existed for some time in the world of Aromatherapy. But, like much of American culture these days, what seems to be happening is that these schools of thought are becoming more polarized…that is, “my/our view is right…the others are wrong”. And that is saying it much more politely than I have sometimes seen or heard. Why do I think this?
There seem to be a lot more “declarative statements” now than before. By that, I mean, generalizations stated as fact, with little or no room for other views on the same subject. “Never use an undiluted oil on your skin.” “Never use Mugwort…it is dangerous.” “Never use oils during a pregnancy.” None of these specific “black and white” declarations are substantiated by my training or experience, so I disregard them while still exercising prudence and respect for the power of the oils. Kurt Schnaubelt, an internationally known aromatherapist, scientist, and one of our teachers and mentors, observed in his book The Healing Intelligence of Essential Oils (pg. 76) that ” ‘even the safety of essential oils during pregnancy discussion’ seems to abate due to the stubborn absence of reports of any adverse effects.”
Basically, I think that many of these safety arguments come down to a love versus fear paradigm. There have always been articles circulating the Internet like those that said that Lavender was causing breast development in young boys (my bet is on the growth hormones in so much of our milk and meat products), and that you couldn’t use essential oils on cats because it is toxic for them (tell that to the cat Barry saved who had had a stroke…which the vet was treating with antibiotics). But there seems to be more of it now, stated with greater certainty. To share another quote from Kurt’s powerful book: “To get out from underneath these layers of trumped-up concerns, the whole safety and toxicity discussion needs to be turned upside down. Instead of perpetuating mantras about imaginary dangers, the inherently benign nature of essential oils needs to be recognized.” (pg. 75) I couldn’t agree more.
I don’t think the scientists and non-scientists need to be at odds, with lines drawn in the sand. While science isn’t my “thing”, I believe there can be value in well-designed, well-executed and properly interpreted research on essential oils and their effectiveness with various health conditions. However, sometimes science doesn’t give me a warm, fuzzy feeling. Take the gentleman who came to our Wisdom of the Earth booth years ago at a Holistic Health show…he was doing research at the NIH on Frankincense, as he proudly told us, but, in the name of objectivity, had never smelled Frankincense, nor had he ever experienced it personally (i.e., applied it to his skin). It truly made me wonder what sense he was going to make of the data collected. Also, he said that their research goal was ultimately to find the isolate in Frankincense that made it effective so that it could be patented, synthetically produced, and mass-marketed. He looked at us like we were crazy when we explained to him our view that Frankincense would not work the same in the body if it weren’t in its wholeness, and certainly not if it were synthetic. He shook his head, packed up his things and stormed away from our booth…and we looked at each other and shook our heads as well. Time to agree to disagree.
Or, when you have no idea of the purity of the essence being tested (I have honestly never seen this addressed in an essential oil research report), or even if it truly IS the essence said to be studied (one study I saw years ago used the terms Melissa and Lemon Verbena interchangeably…even though they are totally different plants/oils…they were likely referring to the common name for Melissa, Lemon Balm, but it was incorrectly stated throughout the article); well, such issues raise doubts in my mind, and I, for one, am not going to view the results as gospel. So, I look at everything, including scientific “evidence” to see if it resonates with me; to see if it makes sense, relative to my experience, intuition and training; and to see if it passes the “Audre’s truth” test.
That leads me to another oft debated or denigrated aspect of essential oils, namely, their consciousness, or, as some might describe it, their “aliveness”. Recently, an article by essential oil chemist Rob Pappas which “debunks” a list of “myths” regarding essential oils, has been circulating the Internet. One of these myths concerns those who believe that the essences are alive. As he says: “Sorry to disappoint, but essential oils are not alive. I would like to see anyone go through a 212+ degree distillation process for a few hours and come out alive at the other end, LOL. The plant material is certainly not alive after the distillation, so I am not sure how anyone could believe the the oil is alive.”
Basically, this conflict of views comes down to science versus spirituality, in my humble opinion. And, despite the sometimes acrimonious nature of this “identity crisis”, I do not care to get into shouting matches about whether the oils are sentient beings or not. I do not care to try to convince even one disbelieving person that the plants, trees and essential oils talk to me…and to others. It all comes down to whether we can hear them, and whether we believe what we have heard. I have seen enough of our students have life-changing experiences from meditating with the essences, or spending thirty minutes bonding with a tree or plant, or feeling “called” by a particular essential oil to know that my profound experiences with the oils and the Plant Kingdom are not limited to me. They are repeated time and time again across people, plant species, and geographic locations.
Our (my, Barry and Cynthia’s) forthcoming book, Voices of Light, Voices of Love…Messages from the Plants and Trees offers an incredible array of transformational experiences with the essences/plants and trees that some of our Level I students have documented in their certification papers over the years. These are the kind of accounts you couldn’t make up if you tried…and I know that they were life-changing experiences shared from the truth of their hearts.
While these experiences may not be “fact” or “truth” to some people…they certainly are to me. And I need no one’s approval of that or confirmation of that. It just is. And it is beautiful, and it is life-changing. And it is an honor to engage in cross-species communication with the plants/oils, just as it is with a precious dog or a wild animal.
While some feel the need to hold others hostage to their truth concerning the dangers of essential oils and numerous prohibitions regarding their use, I am happy to take my lead from the plants and trees, my own study and experience, and my own intuition and higher guidance. I believe in honoring the views of others, even if I don’t agree with them, or even if those views do not mirror my experience over the years. I believe in respect and reasonableness, and that is how I will continue to operate.
Wishing you introspection, deep love for the plants and trees, and a respect for the views of others…
Owner, Shining Sun Aromatherapy & Partner, Wisdom of the Earth Essential Oils
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