Looking back into history various ailments were treated with plants and herbs, many of which we still use today (and have gone back to). The very reassuring thing with essential oils is that they are not going to change.
This is a world of constant change. Just when you have learned some new discovery and have gone about making the appropriate changes, the same experts then say they have found something else which is often contradictory to the first discovery. Dietary ‘advancements’ are a classic example … eat no fat because of the cholesterol discovery, now we know it is vital to eat the right fats. Count calories, now we know it depends on what the calories are made up of etc, etc … It’s enough to drive you batty. “eat this … no wait … now don’t eat this but now you should eat this!”. It goes on and on. Remember when we were told that cigarettes weren’t damaging our health!
After spending over 20 years in skin care, the “what’s working, what’s not working” and “what’s new, what’s out” saga has been continual. Over 20 years many products used were only later to be ‘discovered’ to be doing damage, or there was something better. The only thing that remained constant was aromatherapy. Or more specifically … What essential oils do for you now, they will do tomorrow, next year and next century. Yes, you might find new ways of using each oil but because aromatherapy (it was not called aromatherapy or essential oils then) is 4,000 years old, you can be assured it is not going to change now.
Keep this in mind if you are new to essential oils and find learning them seems a bit difficult. Once you know their uses, you can use this information forever, just like it was intended to be passed down from mother to daughter, generation to generation.
Way back in 1981 (I was just 17) I became a skin and beauty therapist. Eventually owning three beauty businesses which gave me access to insider information … but I didn’t like what I saw. I started to question the manufacturers about the ingredients in the products I was recommending and selling. Not happy with the answers I investigated myself.
In the late eighties I discovered aromatherapy (when people didn’t even know what the word meant!). While studying to become a clinical aromatherapist in London I began to see how natural ingredients were more effective and less damaging to your skin and your health. Using my skin as a laboratory I investigated how nutrition and natural therapies can make a positive difference to the health of your skin and body.
Being disillusioned with the beauty industry I could not live a lie any longer and in 1997 we sold-up and left the beauty industry behind and I took a different career path never wanting anything to do with the ‘ugly’ “beauty” industry. But my friends wanted their skin to look like mine and pestered me for my ‘skin secrets’ which lead to a book being written about what I had learned about the beauty industry rip-offs. Titled “If You Want Great Skin, Throw Away Your Cosmetics“, it was published as a hard copy book in 2004 but seems people were not yet ready to hear this information. Seems they loved their fancy jars of stuff too much – seriously. In 2012 it was put it on Amazon Kindle with a new name and to my delight, this time peeps were ready to know this information. Information the beauty industry does NOT want you to know!
When I returned from my six week “celebrating life” holiday to find a garden of dead and dying plants, the watering system we put in place failed, I was devastated. Strong word but you see these were much more than ‘just’ plants. Many of you know that during my healing journey my garden became my magical healing place, where I could be in silence, pottering around, giving myself the time and space to have conversations with myself.
This reminded of my ability to make the most of a situation. Always looking for the positive. “It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.” said Epictetus 135AD, a Greek philosopher who was born a slave, he should know!
My garden’s demise was a good metaphor for for the process, preparation and healing of my body. Let me explain…
I was faced with a garden of dead and dying plants. Dried brown plants without an ounce of life in them which had become a home for pests and undesirable creatures who were determined to make the most of a diseased space. Could this sound a bit like a cancer?
The first thing I did was cry. Then I got angry, really angry. Then I tried to blame someone or something. Then finally I realised I needed to take responsibility for repairing my healing garden. Hmm… sound similar? Sure did this when I was diagnosed!
Next thing I did was to ensure the watering system went on everyday for an hour. I couldn’t bare to go into my garden for the first few days as when I did I found more dead plants which caused me too much pain so I avoided it (also known as “denial”!). Might I add I was also jet-lagged from the overseas flight so I personally didn’t even have the energy to do much else except turn the tap on. (Survival mode)
Then after a bit of internal processing I knew I needed to ‘surgically’ remove all the the dead plants. As I took every cut and dumped them into into the green waste bin I knew I was making way growth (healing).
I also celebrated what was left. (Ah the gift of gratitude. Making everyday count.) What plants survived the harsh dry Australian summer did so because they were very healthy to begin and were strong and hardy. (Luckily my health bank account was high when diagnosed)
What I didn’t do, as much as I really wanted to, was to rush out and purchase new plants. I needed to repair what was left and create a nurturing environment for new growth before planting anything new.
So I made sure all the pests and weeds were removed plus I gave the garden regular organic feeding. (Remove the toxins and give nutrition.)
While doing all this I also discovered hidden joys underneath the dead leaves like new buds and to my delight one of my orchids even grew a double bud which proceeded to flower. When I was cutting away the dead and dried foliage I realised that even in its dead form some of the flowers looked quite beautiful and I even bunched up some dead flowers into an arrangement to remind me to always tend to my garden. Always.
So now in only a few weeks after my return I am again getting immense enjoyment from my magical healing garden and my intention is now to share the beauty and joy that this healing space gives me.
And yet another good part of this story is the local nurseries will do rather well as I replace new plants to fill the spaces where the existing ones haven’t grown back. New opportunities and beauty. Which I also found during my healing journey as my cancer experience did (and still does) provide me with opportunities to see things, do things and learn things that I never would have noticed bc (before cancer).
And the final lesson is that your garden might be able to go without water and care for a short time but just like your health, if you continued to neglect it damage begins, and repairing damage is much harder than maintaining a healthy garden, or body.
I never had a desire to climb a mountain. But I did! I had to.
Climbing a mountain is my analogy for my healing journey. You see even though I’ve been at the top of the mountain (No Evidence of Disease after healing stage four cancer since 2015), I’ve been too scared to let go. I’ve been holding on to the ropes that keep me tethered, not quite believing that I am at the summit. The fear of looking down stopped me seeing how far I have climbed and really appreciating the miracle. But now the fear has gone. I am enjoying being at the top of the mountain and absorbing the view.
My fear has been replaced with a knowing. Knowing that even if I slip down a bit, I know how to get back. This gives me the courage to look back and explore how I got here. Why look back? Because there are many people that I see at base camp, who just like me, never thought they would have to decide whether to climb the mountain or stay at base camp and perish.
Hey I haven’t actually climbed a mountain in reality but I do know that those who have didn’t just decide … “Hey tomorrow looks like a good day to climb the mountain!”. It takes lots of preparation and most importantly a great knowledgeable supportive team. So over the next months, probably years, I’ll be exploring all the stuff that I did and learned on my healing journey so the peeps in base camp can use it to help them on their journey too.
A bit about the awesome photo… It’s not me in the photo but it someone who really has climbed a mountain in the physical world. Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s tallest mountain, was climbed in 2016 by this beautiful peep Lisa Conyers. And again in June 2017. Now if climbing a mountain IS on your to-do list Lisa is going to do it again and take a group. Yell and I’ll put you in touch.