Chinese New Year was celebrated in the middle of February, so I'm a little late to the keyboard for this analysis.
If you're new to astrology, please note this is Chinese Astrology--a bit different than the conventional style. If you're new to Chinese Astrology, please note this is not Chinese Restaurant Placemat Astrology. I will not be discussing how dogs are loyal and wag their tails. If you're new to me or my writing, please note I'm a little cheeky and shouldn't be taken too seriously.
The Year of the Earth Dog is abundantly earthy. The Dog is inherently an Earth element sign already, so we're really feeling a distinct feel this year. This is in great contrast to the previous two years of Fire. Trying to summarize the feel of an entire year is not easy, but when I speak with most people, looking back at the last two years can certainly be described as "Fiery", particularly regarding politics, but also environmentally, and in many people's home environments as well.
So what does it mean for a year to be extra "Earthy"? Let's examine a few characteristics and how they apply to us as humanity and us as individuals.
Stagnation and Stubbornness
In the world:
Don't hold hope for a radical amount of political evolution or change over the next year (or two). Earth is heavy, dense, deep, unmoving and unchanging. Earth tends to avoid change, to avoid the new and unknown. On a sociopolitical level, people are going to be digging their heels in and avoiding openness to new opinions. You will see folks closing their minds to difference of opinion and sticking to their closely protected truths more than ever before. I will not be surprised to (sadly) see more radicalization and extremism over the next couple of years.
In your self:
On a personal level, keep an eye out for your own tendencies to be stubborn or to operate on an old system of automatic ways of thinking. It may take more effort than usual to keep an open mind when dealing with other perspectives or new ideas. We may feel a sense of stagnation in our lives, like nothing is changing or developing the way we want it to. Instead, we can turn this around and make it work for us. Understand that the feel of this time period is one of gathering and storing, not of putting-out. Work hard with an understanding that rewards may be delayed. Or simply work hard for the sake of working hard--it's good practice! We may also feel stagnated on a physical level. Our bodies will be well-served by lots of gentle movement, particularly out-of-doors. Enjoy things like hiking and walking, stretching, yoga, and muscle-building activities. This is a great year to do work around the house, gardening, and home-improvement projects. Find the key to avoiding stagnancy in grounded activities outdoors and around the home. (And in therapies like acupuncture and massage, of course!)
Stability and dependability
In the world:
As mentioned above, people will be defaulting to old patterns of behavior and avoiding new and evolving ways of thinking. People will seek stability from leaders in places of power, for good or ill. Folks will be seeking out the people who will tell them what they want to hear, to give them that sense of stability they are desiring (and would be better found within than without). People who were already facing hard times financially may have a harder time coping, even without a change in finances. This period is not one to naturally foster a feeling of abundance, but may instead perpetuate a fear of lack. This will be no problem for anyone previously comfortable in their PERCEPTION of their financial situation. But for people and places (like the United Stated of Debt) that place a lot of emphasis on making the numerical ends meet, fear and stress in the financial world may be heightened.
In your self:
We may find ourselves seeking comfort and dependability in general, and especially in times of change or unpredictability. This will take a different flavor depending on where each of us seeks comfort. This will be especially hard on emotional eaters, look out for seeking comfort from food! There will be more of a tendency for that this year (and next) than in the past. Instead, seek comfort in routine: regular and healthy sleeping habits, regular healthy meals, regular exercise. Let your body find its needed comfort and dependability from knowing you are taking good care of it in a regular, scheduled and consistent manner. Don't consider routines boring or predictable. Develop a healthy self-care routine and stick to it, and this year (and next) will pass so much more smoothly because you did.
The Central Pivot
There are different ways of looking at the cycle of the five elements in Chinese theory as it applies to health, astrology and Feng Shui. The elements are merely ways of describing different patterns of feeling and substance in the environment, or "energy" if you prefer. The elements are all changing into another element, affected by each other, and interacting with each other in different, patterned ways. The element of Earth is unique in that it is seen, in some schools of thought, to be a central pivot, around which the other four elements interact.
In the World:
For people who are prone to fear, overthinking, and analyzing global political situations, this may be a challenging time. We are coming out of two Fire years in which there was much polarization, big changes and upheaval. Now we are going to be stuck in a bit of muck, seeming to go nowhere at all with the events that have taken place before. We were all geared up, and are now seeming to spin our wheels and accomplish nothing more than flinging muck around. But this pivot point is just that: a point. A place of pause before we veer off in another direction entirely. Consider this time an essential step in the neverending flow of progress, because that is exactly what it is. We're not stuck, we're merely in transition seen from a narrow point of view. In the grander scale of time passage, we're making just the right amount of progress.
In your self:
Here is where I get to the good stuff! I've focused a lot on negative points of this year, which is essential. To avoid the pitfalls, it's important to know where they're located. But there is a great potential for each of us this year on a personal, individual level. The Fire years we have come out of have been more about the world around us, society, the globe. This year is more about house, home and family. Our small community within arm's reach. And within our individual selves. This can be a dynamic time of personal development and transition. A great time for self-inquiry, to look into who and what we are, and to develop that. A perfect time to deepen ourselves spiritually, to fortify ourselves physically, to craft exactly the person we want to become. This time is the chrysalis dark to shape our being, ready to reemerge into the light when our wings are ready.
Harvest and Harmony
In the World:
Being an Earth year (as is next year, too), topics related to the actual Earth will be prominent. Prepare to hear about food, feast, and famine. Prepare to hear about earthquakes. Societies that have been enjoying stability and security will likely continue doing so. War-torn corners of the Earth and countries previously struggling with environmental disaster will be wrenching our heart-strings. It's not easy for the open-hearted, but the best we can do to help the suffering of others on this scale, at this time, is to continue to develop ourselves. In living our highest potential, we can lift the world, and help limit the damage to innocent bystanders globally in the great economic game.
In your self:
This is a time where we can reap the harvest of past years of self-improvement. For people who have already been on the path of self-care, self-inquiry, and spiritual development, this may be an easy period. All we have to do is stay on the path. There is GREAT potential for self-development if we dive into it this year. Meditate, read, learn, take classes and workshops, journal, pray, spend time in nature--payoff for this kind of work on ourselves will be great. For those new to self-improvement, little will be seen in the way of profit from labor. We are likely to be less patient with the process of healing, weight loss, addiction recovery, etc. It will be harder to begin new ventures, and payoff will not be fast-coming. This period of time, even more than others, is best served carrying out healthy habits merely for the sake of being healthy, rather than for any attachment to outcome. Slow and steady wins this race. Harmony will be found with patience and perseverance.
Stop watching the news.
Wake, eat, sleep and exercise in a consistent manner.
Focus inside yourself and not on others.
Meditate and go for a hike.
Change what you can, disregard what you can't.
Consider the power of self-development, take a class, learn something new, exercise, go camping.
Shed the worries when they arrive, and if it feels uncomfortable, get some outside help to do so.
Focus on family, home, garden, nature.
Enjoy the meditative and calming potential of this year; if you capitalize on the opportunities it presents, this can be a great time of personal growth.
Jason created the following Reiki meditation with the specific focus on opening and calming the lungs. With all the fires currently burning around Oregon, there is little chance to escape the overwhelming amount of ambient smoke.
Regardless of how the smoke is effecting you personally, the focus of this meditation is to relax the lungs, sinuses and airways as it calms the whole nervous system.
With many experiencing a degree of anxiety, the effect has created a soup of psychic shock waves collectively impacting each of our nervous systems. This may cause one to experience stress even if there is no reason for it. Using this meditation will focus of the whole nervous system, soothing the emotional body and calming the mind.
The Reiki Meditation below, recorded in high definition holographic sound, will act as a calming factor to the body and mind, bringing the light of Reiki to any areas which may be suffering from the current situation.
Enjoy a rich environment replete with singing birds, joyful music and divine harp sounds. In addition, Jason added the binaural tones of planet earth (7.83Hz) so, for best result, use with headphones.
May this gift of Reiki bring peace and lightness into your world.
Download your Meditation HERE!
Click above to begin the download. Please be patient with the process as the file is rather large. When recording healing tracks it is necessary to keep the file large and rich with the inaudible tones for these are the tones that actually do the work.
WAV files will not play on iPhones or iPad but will play on most Mp3 players. You can also play them right on your computer. Using headphones is only optional.
A high definition holographic recording like this one is intended to project a living environment to the listener. In this case, bringing you into a Reiki healing experience.
Radiant Family recently took a quick 12 day trip to Japan.
This trip originated in part from our distinct love of travel, and in part from a unique opportunity for Jason to enhance his skills in Reiki Healing by way of instruction from a veteran Japanese Reiki Master, Hiroshi Doi Sensei.
It was a wonderful whirlwind of a trip. I still have yet to unpack and really get settled, but I wanted to write a little about our trip before the to-do list catches up with me and I never get around to it.
So, I have chosen to share a few things in photos, and few words. Keeping in mind my fatigue, the following writing may come out in silly statements, so bear with me.
# 1: Traveling with baby-toddlers is the worst; traveling with baby-toddlers in the best!
Here is a saucy Mr. Pelden wearing his robe in our Ryokan room in the village of Kurama.
Travel with a spicy toddler is distinctly different than travel as a lone adult or couple.
Mr. Baby isn't up for skipping meals, can't just shut out the world and nap on demand, and needs more from us than we would provide ourselves when globetrotting.
Meal-planning, diaper-changing, fitting a stroller on a crowded train. Taking the baby means early nights and early mornings, no romantic dining experiences, more planning and less improvisation. It can be an exhausting juggle of managing a baby's needs and emotions when constantly on the go.
But travel with a baby also means moving slowly when a tree is really very pretty and rocks can be balanced perfectly on a branch. Travel with a baby means unrestrained joy at the sight of a train rushing by. Travel with a baby means filling the subway car with choo-choo sounds and illiciting the glowing smiles of strangers.
Travel with a baby is much like life with a baby in general: uninhibited joy at the smallest marvels of life reminds us that everything can be new and wonderful if our perspective allows it.
# 2: Beauty is everywhere.
Everywhere we would turn, there was another lovely image to frame with our eyes.
Beauty is everywhere, it is just so much easier to take note of in a foreign environment. This is part of the glorious nature of travel: getting out of your accustomed surroundings helps you to see the small lovelies normally taken for granted. Travel is not necessary for this to happen, it simply makes it easier.
# 3: The unplanned route should be a required part of any travel
Here is a lovely single-lane road winding up into the woods that the baby and I went exploring. Whether it was an unexpected wandering walk while the Little Mister napped in his stroller, or taking the wrong exit out of the train station leading us through a neighborhood we didn't plan to explore, the unplanned parts of our travel were often the most treasured. Both when traveling as well as in everyday life, it is important to take time to wander, to take time to explore without a plan, to let surprise enhance your experience of the unexpected.
# 4: Food is communication; eat with respect and reverence.
Japan goes to great lengths to communicate beauty, value, and respect through cuisine. Portions are small (a good lesson to take home, America!), and often artfully laid out. This is conducive to mindful eating. If you only have two bites of one dish, you had better savor it. If you appreciate how lovely it is, perhaps you will slow down and notice every color, contour, and texture as you enjoy each bite.
Our food should demand respect and reverence; it keeps us alive and thriving (or at least it should do so). The fine art of cuisine was a great lesson to bring home with us, and we hope to incorporate this into our cooking and meals at home.
# 5: Nothing says comfort like a warm toilet seat.
Toileting is a phenomenon in Japan.
This is one example. Good luck figuring it all out before you need to flush.
The one universally wonderful aspect of potty time in Japan is the heated seat. Man, oh, man, it was a tough moment returning to L.A. and sitting on that first cold American toilet seat. Warm seats, you will be missed.
# 6: Serenity is sometimes found where you would least expect it.
I am a distinctly introverted person with oddly sensitive hearing. My favorite places generally don't involve crowds of people.
While in Japan, we visited many quiet spots, some isolated spots in nature, yet the most profoundly serene and spiritual place we visited was filled with hundreds and hundreds of tourists and located right in the center of huge Kyoto.
This is the Fushimi Inari Shrine, sometimes called the Temple of 5000 gates due to the more-than 5000 red gates spread throughout the winding paths and many memorials in the shrine complex.
We were both surprised to find this place, packed with people, to be the most memorably serene and rejuvenating of all the places we visited in Japan. Sometimes there is something more potent than the effects of the crowds that gives an honored site the significance it deserves.
# 7: Traveling with a baby makes everything cute.
So...I really had no good reason to throw this one in.
But he was very cute. And held up to the travel very well.
Okay, okay, enough about the baby.
# 8: A trip with intention to honor the location you visit enhances your ability to receive something meaningful from your journey.
Jason has been a practitioner of Reiki Healing for some time now. Our trip to Japan was initially meant to be a pilgrimage of sorts to some of the significant sites in the development of the Reiki Healing tradition. As the trip planning developed, Jason was offered the honor to learn from and be attuned by Hiroshi Doi Sensei in the Gendai Ho school of Reiki. This opportunity has allowed Jason to become the first Master level Gendai Reiki practitioner on the west coast of the U.S.
Obviously, this is a great honor. Therefore, our trip was carried out in a sense of honor and reverence for this ancient healing method that has helped countless people heal over the years.
Taking a journey, a pilgrimage, or even a vacation with a deep sense of respect for the traditions of the location you are visiting lends travel a special dynamic. When you go into a situation appreciating the positive in advance of your experience, you are primed to find more and more things to honor and appreciate. Going into any new environment with an appreciation of the benefits that culture or environment has shared with the world allows you to leave with more than just photos and souvenirs.
In our case, we have come home with a deeper respect for the power of traditional healing methods and a renewed appreciation for the potential for us to help people heal through our work.
If you would like to learn more about Doi Sensei, here is a link to an interview published in a 2014 edition of Reiki News Magazine.
If you would like to learn more about Reiki as a healing method and how it may be a benefit to you, please get in touch with us at Radiant Family.
Our thanks to everyone who has supported our journey and enjoyed following our adventures as they unfold.
Stay tuned for more travel later this year!
The Holidays have passed. I've been pretending they haven't over the past week, letting myself continue to indulge in a sweet treat here and there, saying I'll get back up on the elliptical first thing next week. Really, I will.
And, I will.
Luckily I've never had any trouble exercising; I quite like it.
And, believe it or not, I've also grown to like cleaning up my diet.
Jason and I will periodically shift gears with our dietary habits when we find we've grown too lax, are getting lazy with healthy habits, or have had a couple of weeks of loosening our standards as we do around the holidays.
I don't believe that dramatic diets and cleanses are necessary for health. I believe in the happy medium; I believe in healthy habits and living a wholesome life, and that eating real food is the way to health.
But the occasional "cleanse" is warranted.
Unfortunately, there are substances found in trace amounts in our food, water and air that warrant supporting our naturally-occuring internal cleansing processes. We find optimal health through lending our liver a helping hand here and there, through supporting our kidneys, intestines and lymphatic system.
This is done in part by simply avoiding what we know hinders our health.
Before the holidays, I simply abstained from all refined sugar and added sweeteners of any kind for a month. That is only one exmaple. Other ways of cleaning up can be pledging to eat only organic foods for a while, avoiding processed food, eating only things you cook yourself, and so on.
The other part of cleansing diets is in what we choose to eat, as compared to what we choose to avoid. We can choose to add things into our diet that are beneficial to our health. For example, we may pledge to eat five whole servings of green vegetables a day for a couple of weeks. Or we may add more healthy fats if our diet is generally lacking them.
A popular method of cleansing diet that I have mentioned multiple times before is the juice fast. I have written about it here on our website, and I have spoken to many of my patients about it, many who may be reading this right now.
A juice fast allows the body a respite from unhealthy foods, while also adding a large quantity of antioxidants from freshly juiced organic fruits and vegetables. It is generally done for a matter of days.
When speaking to my patients about it, most are friendly to the idea. One of the most prohibitive and daunting aspects is the preparatory work. The shopping, the chopping, the juicing and the organizing. This can be particularly challenging if you are working a full work day. In the past, Jason and I have actually brought our juicer to work with us out of desperation! It worked, but wasn't ideal.
So I am very happy to share a wonderful solution (if you happen to be local to Grants Pass.) If you don't live in our area, you have my apologies. I am teasing you with a great opportunity that we have in our little town; maybe you are lucky enough to have something similar where you live.
True Juice Organic Juice and Smoothie Bar is offering organic juice cleanses to the public. They make all the juice for you, you simply stop by at a pre-arranged time to pick it up! It really doesn't get any easier than that. Please follow this link to True Juice's event page where you can download an information packet that includes all of the details.
The founder of True Juice and True Food Coach, Karen Daggett Austin, will be providing a free informational class, Juicing 101, for anyone who is interested but has more questions. This class will be held on Saturday, January 14th, from 3:00-5:00pm at True Juice, which is located at 124 NW D Street. For more information, see True Juice's website here, or call them at (541) 441-4541. Learn more about Karen's work as a Certified International Health Coach and Integrative Nutrition Consultant here.
I've never been a fan of New Year's resolutions; I am resolved to be healthy and balanced all year long. That being said, I do believe in the power of making a fresh start. Consider your year ahead, consider how you would like to live it, consider how you would like to feel. Find the places in life where you have the power to make a difference. I would wager that near the top of that list is how you choose to treat your body through your dietary choices. Make the choice to enjoy health. Start your year with a healthy tone by giving your body a fresh start.
Consider a juice cleanse as one way to begin your year of healthy aspirations. Whatever your choice, remember how much power you have over your health through the choices you make every day, and choose to live a life that keeps you healthy, happy and fulfilled.
A New Year's Gift from Jason
Hello family! As we usher in 2017, Radiant Family wanted to share a gift with you as a way of saying thank you for being such a beautiful part of this world.
As a way to ease suffering and promote healing in the world, Jason created a beautiful guided healing meditation. In this divine experience, replete with soothing soundscapes and soft music, Jason leads one through a Reiki healing session for the mind, body, and soul.
Above, baby Pelden receives Reiki for the first time.
The custom audio track is embedded with tones that can be heard as a gentle oscillation in the background. These tones are called binaural beats which sync the brain to the frequency of planet earth (7.83 hz), a very healing energy.
Jason also embedded the silent frequencies of the sun and all the planets in our solar system. Such frequencies open the mind and spirit into an expanse larger than can be imagined. A paradigm vast and open, all reflected in the point of consciousness at the center of our being.
With great joy we thank you for being in this world. May this gift empower and keep clear the path you walk through this new year, that all that is loving and kind come into your life...
Enjoy the Experience
* For best results, use this meditation with headphones. This meditation is not to be used while driving or operating equipment of any kind.
* This healing meditation is for relaxation purposes only and is not intended to treat, cure or diagnose any illness or condition.
* Please note - the file size is rather large at 489 mb and may take some time to download. The file was saved in a WAV format to keep the recording rich and full of data. Compressing a file into an mp3 removes all the inaudible tones recorded in the track. Because almost all healing tones (frequencies) are below the level of human hearing we had to create the track in this format.
Click on the photo below to go directly to the download page and claim your gift.
What is Reiki?
Reiki is a Japanese healing modality, literally meaning universal life force or association with consciousness. Reiki uses laying on of hands to aid in the healing process. In Reiki, the practitioner serves as a conduit of higher love and peace to grace fullness and stability in one's being.
The "energy" of true Reiki is actually not energy but that from which energy comes from. Such presence has its own intelligence which is not separate from the very heart of your being.
Such love is impersonal and devoid of doctrine or belief systems. The general results of a Reiki session are relaxation, peace and a stable grounded feeling within. Some sessions may even result in the physical healing of illness or calming of long term emotional issues.
With repeat sessions, many begin finding a greater synchronicity in life with the falling away of personal limitations.
The founder of Reiki, Dr. Usui, speaks of healing like this:
"Our life is like a stream. Over time the rocks on the bed of the stream (being the body and mind) become covered by silt (sickness or dullness of mind) At this point the water of the stream which is the ever flowing life of the universe is no longer felt. Reiki is like the rubbing of one's hands over the rocks to remove the silt. Once this is done the water of the stream naturally carries the silt away leaving clear rocks and the rushing water.”
Life is meant to be a beautiful place full of open flowing choices and expanse. Reiki is not meant to guide one in any specific direction or replace one belief system with another, but rather uncover that which is already present within. Such a work is the first step in ending the search for happiness to find happiness as our own true Self.
I just clicked the last button and released a really big project out to the whole giant internet. It was a scary moment, and I'm still feeling a little wobbly inside. Or maybe that's just the coffee?
I got myself certified to be a provider of continuing education for fellow acupuncturists and created a 22-part video series on how to work abroad as a practitioner of Chinese Medicine. As is often the case with projects, it took considerably more time and effort than I expected. And now it's done. And that feels good.
What hasn't felt good lately is American politics.
I'm not going to discuss specifics, but even aside from presidential debates, a lot of laws have been passed or proposed lately that have some pretty serious negative consequences. It is challenging to be aware of this and not let it get me down.
But I see the ease in being an active participant in discussion, even a conscious witness of the unfolding of events, with a result in strong feelings.
Ooooh, I don't like that!
Yeah, I sure agree with this!
Wow, I can't believe that just happened....and so on.
It's like political rubbernecking, and it doesn't accomplish anything other than stirred-up emotions.
It's good to be informed, but I'd rather stop and drag someone out of the flames than simply drive by the scene and make a Facebook post about it later on.
So, I'm making productivity my new politics.
It goes something like this:
I am informed about what is going on, and then I file that information away in my noggin.
I save my heart for more important things:
What have I done?
What am I doing?
How am I being a productive member of the society I want to us to have?
Instead of wasting time spiraling into political discourse, despair over current events, or sharing copious opinions on this/that, I am going to actually make things HAPPEN.
So how does this new political system work?
What you think, feel or say doesn't matter.
It's what you do. What you make happen.
Although our happenings are very often shaped by what we feel/say/think, it is more often the case that we talk big, and then go about changing absolutely nothing in our daily lives.
Maybe you feel you don't have much space to change things, no time to do big projects. You have to go to work, watch the kids, clean the house, do the shopping, and carry on. There's not much room for productivity.
But there is, you get a vote. Lots of them, actually, and they're quite powerful. In this political system of productivity, your vote actually matters!
In fact, you're casting votes just about every day without even realizing it.
Every single dollar you spend is a vote!
When you spend money on a particular food, clothing item, in a certain shop, or on a specific activity, you are voting for that thing to thrive.
This applies to your food choices: how was it made, where was it sold?
Consumer goods: big box stores, shopping local, or buying used?
Does your money go to buying more stuff, or are you voting for state park visits, a local winery, a music event?
What is it you want to see more or less of in our world, and how can you vote for that?
What you vote for with your dollars then continues to be produced.
What you don't vote for with your dollars can slowly cease to thrive.
The most powerful vote we all have in this world today is our currency.
Lip service is empty and meaningless.
Spend your dollars like you are consciously casting a vote and empower yourself to actually PRODUCE the world you want to live in.
We have a few new additions here at Radiant Family. We have an awesome new toy...I mean, device...that induces the production of alpha waves in the brain. (More on this later.) We will soon be offering outstanding, high-quality, locally-made skincare products. (More on this later, too.) And we have some essential oils!
Who doesn't have essential oils these days, you ask?
Essential oils have been the popular cure-all home remedy of the past couple years (in large part because they work). But I myself haven't exactly been in looooove with them as many others have. I've had my doubts about the quality of many oils I've seen around. And, while loving their scents, I haven't been blown away by their therapeutic value, other than helping me endure morning sickness.
But now my views have changed! I am finally in looooove with essential oils, but not in the way I would ever had expected.
Being a DIY kinda gal, I like to make my own remedies, my own products, blend my own oils thankyouverymuch. I'm most likely to take the oil of this leaf, combined with this seed, these two barks, and this flower....make my own potion.
But I crossed paths with some essential oils blends made in small batches by one very talented woman, Tara Baumann. Tara's Gear Oils brand essential oils only come in blends, created by her, utilized for very specific effects.
So why have these oils impressed me? For one: the oil blend I felt compelled to try (the Hormone Balancing blend) took away my ice cold hands and feet and helped me shed a little weight. When I stopped the oil, cold hands and feet came back--began the oil again, and back to having warmth. That's all the evidence I need!
For another: they're different than anything I have encountered before. As Jason (being the sensitive one) noted, Tara places so much sincere intention into what she does, it becomes healing-in-a-bottle beyond the individual oils she uses.
I asked Tara herself a few questions in order to let her describe her product and process herself:
How did you get started making Gear Oils? I was a teenager and I had acne. I was trying many different over the counter treatments, but nothing worked. I then started juicing, studying herbology and nutrition, crystal and color therapy, and then aromatherapy. Tea Tree was my go to oil for my skin, but as I learned more I understood that combinations of oils are more effective.
Why do you only make oil blends rather than using any single oils? Because you want a synergy of oils to create a specific healing result. It is similar to cooking a meal. One ingredient may be great, but to have all the food groups that you need, it is the synergy of the ingredients that make that happen. For instance, many people use lavender oil for relaxation, but that is really only one note in the world of aromatherapy. Certain oils have top, middle and low notes, and you need some of each to really make the body sing in tune, so to speak.
Do you have a single source for the individual oils, or how do you find what it is you want to use? Again, I combine the top, middle and low note oils to create the healing effect that I want. The majority of my oils I bring in from a small company with the highest standards and quality control possible. I also make sure all of my oils are 100% therapeutic grade. I was taught how to combine the oils when I went to school for aromatherapy in my 20's. I also apprenticed with a trained and certified aromatherapist while in school to better learn application and safety. I have been in the industry for over 20 years creating blends to help others with this knowledge.
I've never seen any other essential oils using gemstone therapy, how and why did you decide to do so? I used to put my oils on a specific crystal that I would wear for whatever health ailment that I was trying to target. Then I decided to use the crystal therapy and put the particular crystals in the oils to try and "charge" the oil even further, and the results were significant. I saw a powerful change in the healing capacity of my oil blends with myself and with others.
Do you have a favorite example of how your Gear Oils have helped people? My heart goes out to helping children. My favorite story is of a young boy who was being bullied and having anxiety disorders at school. He was also suffering from migraines which made him unable to play with his brothers and be a regular kid. He was taking medications for both of these conditions, but not getting relief and having side effects. His mom started him on the Anxiety Oil and the Migraine Oil. After about a week I saw this little boy, and he came up to me and said, "Mrs. Tara, thank you for your oils, they have saved my life and I can play again." That is a testament to the power of aromatherapy and the powerful healing of plants in an essential oil form combined with crystal and color therapy. Testimonies like those are the sole reason why I continue to do what I do. Really I am only the messenger, and I am humble to help whoever I can with my GEAR OILS, and I am always grateful to do so.
Our biggest, heartfelt thanks to Tara for creating such an incredible line of products.
Next time you're in Radiant Family, be sure to check out our ever-expanding line of Gear Oils. And please refer to Tara's Etsy page here to see her full line of products.
Have you ever tried to create a new habit for the sake of self-improvement, and failed?
Yeah, me too. And why did it fail? Because it was hard, something happened in life to throw you off the path, because we didn't get the results we wanted out of it? Something along these lines, most likely.
And have you ever created a new habit that stuck? What was different? Was it so very easy, did you get exactly the results you wanted, was there no other challenge in life at that time? Or was there some other reason for your success?
Many of us look to improve ourselves here and there. I'd wager most everyone who bothers to read this blog post is interested in self-improvement to some degree.
When I think about my own self-improvement, I'm not measuring my productivity or my body-mass index. If I imagined the best person I could be, who is she? It's not her income, not her waist size, not her ability to get stuff done.
I think of the best person I could be the same way I describe my hopes and dreams for my son. I want to be kind. I want to be patient and non-reactive. I want to be considerate of others and compassionate. And out of these actions comes love for others and great love for myself.
When most folks talk about creating healthy habits, it's usually
2) dietary choices
3) giving up bad habits (cigarettes, alcohol, eating late at night, etc)
Where does the real sticking power for creating a healthy habit come from?
Doing something for 21 days in a row (while also struggling, resenting it, and wishing things were otherwise)?
I'd argue that creating healthy habits, healthy life changes, comes from working on the real stuff.
Making a habit of being non-judgemental.
Making a habit out of being patient.
Making a habit out of being compassionate and caring.
When you do this hard stuff, the self love pours on in, and then it doesn't feel as good to abuse your body. It's harder to eat crap you know is bad for you, to avoid stretching or exercising, or to have another cigarette when you have a real respect for YOU.
If you want to make a new healthy habit stick, try approaching it from this perspective. Don't go on a no-sugar diet because you want to drop a few pounds. Do it because you deserve to feel better. And to believe that you deserve it, first make a habit of being exactly the type of loving, caring, generous person you know you can be.
#1 : Food matters way too much
Just not in the right way.
We plan our day around food. We reward ourselves with food. We look forward to food; we deprive ourselves of food. Sometimes it takes not eating food to recognize just how much food is important to us on a recreational or emotional basis.
But how food really matters is apparently a much lower priority for most of us. Without food, we don't thrive. Food is nourishment, and how well we eat accounts for the majority of how well we feel on a day-to-day, operational basis.
We should be choosing our food based on how well it is nourishing us, not how good it tastes. No one likes this truth, but there it is. Food doesn't have to taste good. It is a luxury that we have such an abundance of spices, sweeteners, salts and fats available to make our foods taste delicious. But is it necessary?
We have become spoiled, so accustomed to avoiding placing anything in our mouth that doesn't taste good to us that we're almost afraid of something less-than-palatable crossing the threshold of our lips.
Think about it, find that it's true on some level for you, too. And then challenge yourself to eat something that "doesn't taste good." Perhaps a salad without dressing or a handful of sprouts: eat it and survive the experience. And find that with practice, you can appreciate the flavor of a food that is serving no other purpose than to nourish you. And make it a habit. (And some would say, you can even grow to appreciate the flavor of typically unpalatable, unseasoned foods.)
#2 : Eat more vegetables
I'm sure there's this one person reading this, thinking "I eat so many vegetables, you have no idea."
Fine, this isn't for you. But, for 99% of us, we could be eating more. It is so easy to find the servings of veggies dwindling in the typical "busy-person" diet. It takes a tiny bit of effort to make a salad, chop up some veggies to steam or saute, or to plan an all-vegetable dinner a couple of nights a week.
But it's worth it. Nutrition powerhouses, these simple vegetables growing from the ground: antioxidants, fiber, simple thought-free food therapy available on a daily basis.
Don't overthink it. Just eat more veggies.
#3 : It's really important to shake things up
Whether or not you are happy with your dietary habits, it can be beneficial to do things differently for a while.
Chinese medicine values eating in harmony with our environment. In the natural environment, we would not have access to the same three balanced meals every day of the year. Instead, there are times of plenty and times of lean. Times of fresh abundant produce and times of preserved foods. Our diet should vary, at least a little.
There are physiological benefits from shaking things up and going on a cleansing diet. An increase in antioxidants and decrease in sugars and fats allows the body to do some housecleaning internally. We can't usually see the multitude of benefits gained by reducing free radicals, but must trust that it's there. Instead, most people are able to judge their benefits by way of increased mental clarity or increased energy (possibly after a day or two of detox adjustment). With or without symptoms to measure, it is unquestionable that our liver needs this support.
This time around, neither Jason nor I experienced any significant changes on our cleansing diet. We both simply felt good in a vague way. Weight loss is another commonly appreciated side effect of a cleansing diet. Of the seven pounds I lost, however, four were immediately gained back upon eating my normal diet. A cleansing diet is not recommended for sustainable weight loss, although it can be a good way to begin the process. (I'll probably be touching on the subject of weight loss on the blog in the coming weeks.)
The biggest gain from shaking up our diet routine was getting back into the healthy dietary habits we value. A refresh, a restart, a renewal. It was well worth the week of effort to do things differently. It doesn't have to be hard, it doesn't have to be extreme, it just has to be done.
It's time....sigh...for a cleanse.
This is the least enthusiastic I've ever been before a cleansing diet/detox/fast. But I know I need it, and I really feel it's the right time.
It's important to wait for the right time, but to also be honest with yourself about when that time is. I'm certain that, if I wanted to, I could come up with some viable reasons not to do a cleanse right now. But I know, I feel it. I see the little poochy belly thing, I've noticed the slipping of sugar into my diet here and there, I've felt it in my joints. So, I've decided it's time.
Poor Jason is along with me for the ride. He does get a choice of course, but he's the "sure, why not, sounds good" kind of husband (lucky me!).
So here is what we are doing:
Cleansing diet for four days
This cleansing diet consists of tons of produce. Cooked or raw, no matter, just lots of it. Fruit and veggies alike, along with a minimal amount of vegetarian oils like olive, sesame, coconut, etc.
No to everything else. No meat, no diary-- NO BUTTER!...sigh. No nuts, no grains, no sugar, alcohol or coffee. Yes to spices and herbal teas. No potatoes, but yes to yams. That's it.
We will be eating a lot of raw fruits, sauteed veggies, salads, and simple soups cooked in vegetable broth. With a little creativity and a lack of laziness, four days of this diet can go by quite smoothly.
We will also be taking certain supplements to aid the body in the massive internal cleaning it has the potential to do when we're not clogging it with chemicals and excess.
We will continue to take our Vitamin D, K2, and Krill Oil supplements as we usually do. We will add in Selenium and B complex. We are also taking two forms of seaweed: Bladderwrack for natural mineral supplementation and thyroid support and Dulse (from the Maine coast) to help bind the nasty foreign bits in circulation (like various heavy metals).
We will also be drinking a lot of water and herbal tea. There will be pitchers of Uber Herbal's Liver Lover tea blend available for us to drink all of the time. You can find Uber Herbal's delicious tea blends at their Etsy shop here, as well as at their tea and toast bar. (Don't talk to me about toast right now!)
Juice fast for two days
Intentionally, this is timed for the weekend. We have piles of produce (I recommend as much locally-grown produce from the Saturday market as you can get, followed by affordable bags of this and that from Trader Joe's). We will continue the supplementation, tea and water, but forgo the solid food for these two days.
Five sixteen ounce fresh juices for two days. This can be a little fruit along with the vegetables, but mostly vegetables. And you have to actually drink it.
My biggest challenge with juice fasts is always in actually drinking all of the juice. If you've done a juice fast, you may know what I mean. At a certain point, it gets easier to just not drink anything. But, drink we must. And, it's only two days.
For inspiration, I recommend watching the film Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead if you haven't seen it. You can watch it online here for free. There are many, many other inspiring films about health and wellness, even about juice cleansing. If you look, inspiration is out there. And it is so very helpful.
In fact, merely writing this article has helped me change my tune about our cleansing diet. I'm bordering on excited, even! After we are finished, I'll be sure to share our experience with you, and share what our next steps will be to keep up our health through good habits.