Friday, July 28, 2017

Death of a Dream

Ten of Air from The Gaian Tarot

A little over 19 years ago now my parents, younger sister and niece and my baby sister all moved back to NH from PA, but I was unable to move with them at the time since I was still married and we had two children. There wasn't an easy way to move our family of four there to join everyone, and he didn't want to anyway, so we stayed here. A year later we got divorced and I had to give him custody of our sons since I had nobody to watch them unless all of my income went to childcare, plus he made a lot of threats that I believed he'd follow through on. 

However, from that moment on I kept dreaming of the day that I could move back home and join my family--once my sons were grown up. It was a long wait and every visit home made it harder. Visiting the lakes and mountains, the ocean and all of the wonderful sights that are part of my home state just made me long to go there even more.

Seven years ago, I married a man who loves that area as much as I do and we started to talk about moving back there once the kids were all adults and on their own. It's an area that is very supportive of small businesses and has few large chain stores, and I've always dreamed of having my own shop. We looked on at houses for sale and made plans and spun our dreams, and waited while they all started jobs and college--and even while his younger son had a delay in his education. 

Finally, we started to look forward to selling our house in PA in spring of 2018--and I started making all kinds of plans for what we could do. Then we realized our two youngest are in serious relationships that are likely to lead to marriage and children. Our grandchildren. 

I grew up in NH with my nuclear family being all that I had since my Dad is from Evanston,IL and my Mom is from Troy, NY. I never really knew my grandparents that well despite visiting them twice a year, and I don't know my extended family hardly at all. Since they moved to NH when my sons were so young, they hardly know my side of the family at all. We decided after a long, hard discussion that we're not going to move after all. 

It's not easy to let go of a dream you've held for so long, especially when it means staying in an area that feels toxic to you rather than getting to move to where you really feel at home. After all, we live in a valley that's polluted by toxins from coal mining, industrial waste and now hydrofracturing for natural gas. You can't eat the fish out of the waters here and can't even swim in most of the water despite it being a valley full of rivers and streams. I miss the clean mountain streams at home where you can still drink the water--it's so pure that it's actually bottled for sale. 

But then the other day I pulled into our driveway after work and my stepson and his girlfriend were both parked in front of the house, and as a big smile crossed my face I let out a sigh and felt glad that I was coming home to this house in this place. This is where my family is now. This is where I'll help our kids plan weddings, attend those weddings, and welcome my grandchildren into the world--and that's the more important dream. 

I still want to have my own shop, and have decided that someday I will. For now, my husband and I are working on developing our dreams for here in PA. 

This is the true meaning of the Ten of Air, or Ten of Swords. The reason it's usually drawn in RWS clone decks as being so ghastly compared to the death card is because the death of a dream, plan or goal you've held for a long time always hurts more than any physical death, and it's harder to recover from it to create something new. Still, if you look over the horizon the sun is coming up over the mountains as a new day begins and those mountains present new challenges that can be scaled to see new vistas. New dreams, plans and goals are always possible.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Justice, Karma and Mitakuye Oyasin

Justice card from the Gaian Tarot

In the Justice card from the Gaian Tarot we see a man holding the burning heart and feather symbolic of Ma'at, making him into the scales of Justice as we all are in fact, for it is our actions that determine our Karma in this life. 

On this card, Joanna Powell Colbert featured many plants and animals that are becoming extinct. Something we forget is that if we keep going the way we are, we will also make ourselves extinct. The Lakota Sioux say "mitakuye oyasin", "all my relations" or "we are all related". That's not just a certain tribe or even just the human race--they're referring to all life, for the Native Americans have always understood that all life is related and if things are out of balance then they need to be brought back into balance or we'll all die. We are way too far out of balance today due to "civilization" and the greed that has caused such wasteful consumerism.

A decade ago Deepak Chopra was speaking of what would happen if all of the bees died off, that ALL life would die, whereas if humans died off all the rest of life on this planet would thrive. We are the single most destructive species on this planet, and only we can restore it--not completely, but perhaps enough to stop killing of all of its life. It's abundant, but it's not infinite if we destroy it faster than it can regenerate. 

I do my best to live "green", and I'm working on ways to do better. I thought I was doing well, recycling more than I put in the garbage, using more silverware than plasticware, etc...but I had a real rude awakening when my older niece, who is studying Environmental Science, commented that we really waste a lot in our household. It made me take a harsh look at my waste output. I can't get my husband and stepson to stop theirs, but I'll keep trying and in the meantime I'll keep working on my own. 

I'm watching "zero waste" videos to get ideas, seeing if perhaps there are uses for some of my trash and recycling. So I ask you to join me and take a look around. What more can you do to cut back on your waste? Remember, what you do affects me and what I do affects you--mitakuye oyasin.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Accepting Love

Joie de Vivre Tarot, Nature's Whispers Oracle Cards and AngloSaxon Runes

Over the past couple of days, my daily draws have been giving me readings about accepting love, something I have to admit that is a struggle for me. Although my father was great at being demonstrative and expressing his love, he wasn't home a lot as he was an airline pilot. My mother was not very good at showing her love, and she was the one that was home all of the time. The only way she knew to express love was to take us shopping for stuff or to make stuff for us. To this day, she can't say, "I love you" and the first hug I can remember getting from her was when I was forty-one and getting my third divorce from someone who was very controlling.

So, while I'm wonderful at giving and showing love to others, I struggle with accepting it from them. I actually broke up with a guy because of this back in my teens. We had a summer romance when we met at the time share that each of our families owned a week in, and in that week we fell madly in love with each other, and then we returned home. He wrote me love letters, and I just couldn't accept how he felt about me when he put it in writing. It made me very uncomfortable, so I broke things off with him.

As a healer, I give generously of my time and energy to others, but I struggle to allow it for myself. I have bought things rather than put that money towards a much-needed chiropractic treatment and massage, for example, because those would be giving myself the gift of loving care--kind of like giving myself a hug rather than stuff. It's also hard for me to allow time to sit in meditation rather than to be doing "something more constructive". 

I'm working on a reset of my emotional programming through Shadow Work and Inner Child Work, combining Tarot, self-coaching and Reiki. Again, allowing this to be a priority for my time has taken effort and discipline, but now that I'm doing it, I find it enjoyable. As I do this work, it gets easier to allow myself to love myself enough to keep healing, and I have less of an inner void to fill, thereby I have less of a need for stuff and am actually working to pare down what I have. It's also allowing me to make my continuing education a priority so that I'm able to focus more on my studies. So if you see me around less on social media, you know why--that was a way I distracted myself and kept myself from allowing self-love to flourish in my life so that my life can flourish even more. 

I encourage you to ask what you can do to allow more love to flow in your life. What can you heal and how can you do so? Seek and you shall find the answers. 😊 ❤️

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

A Good Human Being

I was reflecting the other day about what it means to be a good human being. There are so many religions in the world that all have teachings and guidelines for what that means, and all are very similar--but being religious doesn't necessarily make someone a good human being. I've said before that there are those who you'd never know were Christians if they didn't tell you so--that can apply to many other religions. 

And then there are those whose religions teach them that they must eradicate all who don't believe as they do, and doing so makes them "better"--as they spread hatred and intolerance rather than love, all in the name of God.

So, in the end, what makes one a good human being? I don't care what your talk is, it's your walk that makes you a good human being. If you spend hours in meditation but walk past someone who is struggling, then you're not a good human being--yet even if you don't believe in God but you stop to help others or do volunteer work, then you're a good human being. 

It's funny, but I saw an article once about the Dalai Lama, it must have been for one of his visits to the US, that stated he was a better Christian than most Christians--as if Christianity was the only path that led one to walk in peace and love. There is this misconception that is spread in places of worship that only one religion, one way of doing things, leads us to walk such a path of good...and that as long as you're attending your place of worship, then you're a good person, you really don't have to do anything else. But that's not true.

I also see it amongst those in the spiritual community, the Lightworkers. Many are vegetarian or vegan, Democrats, and as judgmental as those in the religions they've eschewed for being so dogmatic. If you eat meat or vote Republican, then you're not as spiritual as them, because how could you be and eat meat and vote that way? 

I don't care what someone believes, or says they believe. I don't care which way anyone votes. I don't care how rich or poor they are, what kind of car they drive, how big or small their house and how much or how little stuff they have, for none of that is what tells me how good of a person they are--it's what they do in their daily lives. Do they take a moment to hold a door for someone who is struggling with an awkward load--or lend them a hand? Do they smile at a stranger? Are they kind to everyone they meet no matter what type of day they're having? Those are the things that matter to me. That's what makes a good human being. 

Monday, May 15, 2017

What Does It Mean to Be a Reiki Master?

There's a misconception implied with the word "Master" when one says "Reiki Master", for it doesn't mean that one is somehow a guru or a master of anything. I do not master, or control, Reiki...rather, I let it master, or guide, me and my life. 

Because I'm a Reiki Master, I do my best everyday to be mindful of how I walk the world. I smile at everyone, I go out of my way to help others without wanting anything in return. I spend time in prayer and meditation. Or perhaps I was called to become a Reiki Master because I was already doing these things. 

I know that it helps me to ground and center every day. I know that since I made the commitment to dedicate my life to Spirit and to Reiki, and became a Reiki Master/Teacher, that wonderful things happen in my life every day...but again, I was already finding that to be true. After all, Reiki led me to my wonderful husband who I met at a Reiki Share seven years ago when we were both Reiki II Practitioners. We became Reiki Master/Teachers together. We laughed during our two month whirlwind romance about how we were moving at the speed of spirit. (Yes, we got married on the two month anniversary of our first date...and that first date was seven years ago today.)

One difference I have noticed with getting that final attunement is that I can handle more energy flowing through me. It helps when I'm out in crowds or at psychic/spirit fairs. I'm clairsentient and an empath, and I find it helps a lot to have gotten my third level because having that channel opened further allows more energy to flow through me rather than into me, so I'm able to remain more balanced and grounded at all times. 

I know that when I relax and trust in Spirit, my life moves more smoothly, I'm less stressed and all of my problems get resolved. I send Reiki to them, and it all works out in wonderful ways. So, being a Reiki Master has nothing to do with mastering anything, rather it has more to do with having faith and allowing Reiki to work through me, following its guidance and trusting in its wisdom. 

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Meeting Challenges

Raven's Prophecy Tarot, Dreamtime Reading Cards & Anglo Saxon Runes

I started a new part time job a few weeks ago, driving a shuttle van for a company that had to get an overflow parking lot for some of its employees. The shift was perfect and I love to drive, and I couldn't believe that they actually pay me to do this job! It was supposed to entail driving a 12-passenger van, but I had lucked out and that was in the shop so I started it driving the rental "van", a Ford Expedition...still bigger than most things I've driven lately, but a regular vehicle, not a huge van. 

There are two other guys who split the week on the morning shift while I drive all week on the afternoon shift, and they've kept telling me how much I'd hate the van in comparison because it wasn't as comfortable and it's much bigger than we need for this. I've heard that for the whole month I've been there, so it was with trepidation that I heard we were getting the van back today and was asked to come in to help pick it up and drop off the rental. 

Adding to my fear is the fact that we have to back this van up into its spot at night if we can because there's a lot of traffic into that area in the morning that makes it hard to back it out. That was hard enough for me with the Expedition because I've never been good at backing any vehicle up...and amazingly, that wasn't one of the questions when I was hired, or I probably wouldn't have the job! 

As a matter of fact, my first day driving with the guy who showed me the ropes, when I had to back the Expedition into the spot for the van and it took me a few tries, he said, "I take it you're not a backer-upper." Keen observation! No, I'm not...I do back up out of my garage, but that's it, and I've wrecked one car doing that by backing it into the retaining wall beside the driveway. I'm more of a backer-outer, definitely not a backer-inner. He let me know it would be okay if I couldn't back it in, he'd rather I pull in than find me there in the morning still trying to get it straight in the spot. 

I decided that after 38 years of not being able to back into a spot, it was time to master this skill. Lo and behold, I've done it! I even occasionally back my car into a spot now! But ah...that 12-passenger van...that was still scary. Just the thought of driving it, especially as today was a very windy day--the kind that has knocked down trees in our area--made me very nervous. But, those cards in the picture at the top are from my daily draw! It's about successfully releasing your fears and negative emotions and enjoying the journey, or road. 

So again, I decided to meet the new challenges presented by this and I backed it up twice while I was on the mail run that we do because at two of the buildings, it looked easier to back in than it did to back out. I did a couple of practices in the lower parking lot as well...and by the time I parked it at the end of my shift, I actually backed it in straight between the lines! time you're faced with a challenge that fills you with trepidation, decide that if others can do it you can too--and you might just amaze yourself with what you find that you can do! 

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Metaphysics--How Do You Define Your Practice?

I planned to do a discussion around a similar idea relating to what being a Reiki Master means to me, but then a friend did a vlog post by this title and I decided to do a video response to him...and I must say, it was much easier to discuss this in a video than to write it all out! I hope you enjoy this brief video. 

Thursday, April 20, 2017

I Believe In Tarot

This was a Tag done by another Tarot reader on You Tube, and I thought it was a really interesting one, to just talk about our beliefs about Tarot. This is short, it's a subject (along with all things metaphysical) that I could talk about all night long...but I kept it concise, just talking about my core beliefs regarding Tarot and how/why it works.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Surrendering Over to Spirit

I've been job hunting for a bit now so that we'll have a steady income while my husband gets established with his business and our income from that steadies out and while my own business builds. Once in a while, you've got to do what you've got to do so that you can do what you want to do! 😉

Anyway, I wasn't having a lot of luck finding a job and when I did they didn't work out for me. One was supposedly customer service, but it turned out to be more phone sales instead and I discovered that a call center isn't the place for me! I'm not willing to make myself sick to get a paycheck and that's what was happening, and since then I've discovered from others that all call centers are pretty much the same. So, back to looking for administrative assistant work! 

In the meantime, I was listening to Colette Baron-Reid's videos that she was doing to lead into her new Oracle School, and she was talking again about her journey from being an addict to where she is now, and how what changed her life so dramatically was surrendering to God/Spirit/All That Is. She mentioned that kneeling in prayer or supplicating in surrender wasn't humiliation, it was an act of humility. It was a reminder that I needed.

I stretch every morning and one of my stretches is the supplication pose, and I used to do a conscious surrender but it's been a while since I've done so. Instead I've been doing one of many gratitudes then. I decided to change it and start doing as she said and saying, "Thy Will be done through me, use me as an instrument of Your work and guide me to where I need to be." I started that on Thursday, did it Friday, took the weekend off because we painted at my in-laws' house, then did it again last Monday--and out of the blue I got an email later that day asking if I was still interested in a job I'd applied for several months before and had never heard anything further about...and suddenly, here it was! 

Now, the other amazing thing is that in debating about schedules in looking for work, both first and second shifts had pros and cons for me and my family. First shift means working when businesses are open so you have to take time off to do anything, and also that our dogs are crated all week long while everyone's at work or college (we still have one adult son living here). Second shift means that I go to work as my husband is coming home, so the dogs are with someone all day and able to be loose, and I can go do things during business hours if needed, but he and I become ships passing by each other. 

So, what shift was this job? A mid shift of early afternoon to mid-evening! And it's driving a shuttle van for a company, so I'll be getting paid to drive people around and talk to them! Honestly, I couldn't have designed something better for myself. It's low-stress, still allows me to stick to my morning routine and to be home at night with my husband. The dogs will occasionally need to be crated for a couple of hours, but not all day and almost's a win/win for all of us. 

I don't believe in coincidence. The woman who hired me explained why it was so long between when I applied and when I was contacted, changes that happened along the way that actually created this perfect shift, and Spirit offered it up when I finally was ready and surrendered. So if you need help, you feel like you're drowning in your life and you want to send out an SOS, I suggest you Surrender Over to Spirit and be open for miracles to unfold. 

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

My Journey with The Tower

Image from The Druidcraft Tarot

Back in 2006 I was dating a wonderful man (actually, we'd handfasted by the old way), owned my own house and car, but was working a sales job and struggling to keep my bills paid. I did a reading to see how it would all turn out, laying out a Celtic Cross for an overview and outcome of my situation, and in the final outcome position I got The Tower. 

My view of The Tower then was pretty grim as I understood it only as a card of loss and destruction, losing everything, which is actually exactly what happened. Both my house and my car were repossessed within about a month of each other, and that wonderful man I was handfasted to had to help me out drastically. He was living with his sick elderly father to help him out, but he bought me a car and moved me in with him and his father. I had to live in the basement because his father was Catholic and old-fashioned and to him we weren't married (we never told him about the handfasting). Eventually Gene and I got married legally, his father was put in a care center, and Gene was diagnosed with cancer. I lost him and his father within six months of each other in 2007. It was a very long journey with the loss and destruction of The Tower, and I hated getting that card in readings! 

However, things always do work out for the best. I still own that lovely home, I've made it my own, and I've remarried to a wonderful man. My life has changed dramatically and I am far from being the person I was when I did that a very good way. I've learned and grown a lot.

I've come to a better understanding of The Tower and now I tell people that their lives are about to get shaken and stirred, and it might be scary for a while as you go through some massive changes, but in the end all will work out and you'll be in a better place. I think of it now as "the snow globe card". 

Sunday, March 19, 2017

How To Choose The Right Essential Oils For You--Part III

In the last two posts I covered what to look for in essential oils and then what brands I've tried (except for my #1 choice) and what I did and didn't like about them. This week I'll finally answer which are my favorite essential oil brands to use. I'm actually not choosing just one, but three that I'll rank and give the reasons why. 

My #3 choice is Young Living. The con is that it's an MLM, but if you want to build a business around essential oils and work with an MLM, they're the best, hands down. They are the brand I use as a measuring stick for all others for quality. However, I've chosen to move away from working with an MLM and while I'm still a distributor with them right now, I don't sell or actively promote them and haven't even made any purchases in several months. My one year isn't up yet, but I won't be renewing when it is later this year.

My #2 choice is Birch Hill Happenings. While they lack slightly in potency compared to my #1 and #3 choices, the price, variety and availability is there as is personal service. I can't rate them on sustainability, but that's why there are only a few things I order here. They are where I source my carrier oils and I use their Amaranthine Massage Blend for my face (that's one of my secrets for why I don't look my age and have a healthy glow). I'll also still use them to source some of the essential oil singles that I can't get through Floracopeia and also for some of their synergy blends that I love.

Now, my #1 choice? Floracopeia because I love the purity and potency of their oils as well as the price, and that they're not an MLM. I'm not an affiliate at this time, because while they do have an affiliate program that you can join, at this time it's only for their courses, not products. If you're a retailer, you can apply for a wholesale account with them for their products.  

I also chose Floracopeia because of the way they choose their sources, using small artisan producers who use eco-friendly practices, most of which are organic or wild-crafted sustainably. They actually do travel around the world to meet with them, and they support several eco projects around the world where they source their plants. They're a small company owned by David and Sara Crow who are well-respected and well-known as experts in their field and are teachers of plant medicine, herbology and aromatherapy. In addition to essential oils they also carry flower essences and a whole line of natural skin and body care, and I trust those products to be less toxic than the skin and hair products sold by either MLM company. 

On top of it all, Floracopeia has the best customer service I've ever encountered in my life. My very first order from them was for my two go-to oils to test a company by, lavender and peppermint, and when I opened it I found that one of the oils (turned out to be the lavender) was all over both oils inside the bubblewrap bag enclosing them, despite all of the very careful packaging to protect them. When I was able to open the bottles and explore them a couple of days later, I discovered that I was missing quite a bit of lavender oil out of my bottle and then a piece of the neck of the bottle fell into my hand when I was trying to get a drop out. [Ironically, despite the fact that it had leaked all over the place, it was hard to get a drop out at will!] 

I immediately emailed their customer service department and sent pictures of the bottle and they sent out a replacement of the entire order (!) plus a free roll-on of their Centered Essential Oil blend (!!), which is heavenly! Most companies only replace the damaged item, never have I had any company in any industry go to this level. I'm impressed. 

I have since received another order from them and all was well. The only con so far, honestly, is their orifice reducers and I'm still working on learning to use them to get a proper drop of oil out, but then, that was an issue with the standard ones at first too, and differs slightly with each brand. 

The bottles and orifice reducers are different than what every other company uses, and I love the style of the bottles and the fact that more can fit into a small space. The pro of that is that my bag for carrying essential oils fits ten 5 ml bottles, but only four 15 ml bottles, from other companies. Because of their design, I can carry ten 15 ml bottles of essential oils from Floracopeia and four of their 15 ml flower essences (those are in traditional styled bottles).

So now, it's up to you. I've added one more voice of personal experiences and choices to the information available out there on the world wide web, and a great company to add to your list of choices. In the end, only you can explore, compare and decide what works best for you as far as quality, price and selection. Happy oiling! 

Saturday, March 11, 2017

How to Choose the Right Essential Oils for You--Part II

Last week, I talked about some of the primary things you need to know about choosing a high-quality effective and safe essential oil company, and this week I'm going to go into a bit more detail of what sets some of the companies I've used apart from the others, which ones I've used or at least gotten to check out in person, and what I have and haven't liked about certain brands.

As I mentioned, there have been some brands who had the purity I sought, and some even have exemplary testing methods, but I was disappointed when I actually tried their oils because I didn't feel they were effective enough since they lacked volatility...meaning that I can hardly smell them, and if you can't smell an oil very well then it feels very weak. Even some that seemed to have enough volatility lacked some effectiveness.

The first brands I tried were the normal Aura Cacia and NOW brands that you can find at health food stores because I really didn't know much. Both are cheap and definitely lack purity. NOW brand is a food-grade essential oil brand and Aura Cacia is one I used for comparison for purity because you can smell the chemicals in it. 

The first brand that I used that is actually supposed to be a pure, therapeutic grade essential oil and truly began my education was dōTERRA. Although I left for different reasons, I'm glad that I did leave this company since it's ethics are questionable and so is its purity. First is the CPTG claim, which is untrue. There is no such thing. For more details about that, read this blog post. Then there's the claims about some of their oils, like peppermint--theirs smells like a candy cane, which means that it's what is called a "complete distillation", or a food-grade peppermint being sold as a first distillation therapeutic grade peppermint. Then there's the fact that they're re-bottling essential oils and selling them at prices similar to Young Living who grows, distills and bottles their own because they're an MLM (more on that in a moment).

Next I tried a few brands, one of which was Ananda Apothecary. I had to send them back because although they passed smell tests, when I added one to my water bottle it tasted like gasoline. (Yes, I use mine internally because of my training from the MLMs who follow the French Aromatherapy methods, so purity is even more important--though honestly, all usage of essential oils is internal because what you breathe in and what you apply to your skin go straight into your bloodstream.) Anyway, ugh! I'll give credit to their customer service for taking back all of my opened bottles of oil and crediting me in full for them. Another brand I used for a while was Birch Hill Happenings, a small re-bottling company owned by a very nice couple. Their purity is definitely there, but again their peppermint smells just a little less herbal than a first distillation ought to smell and I found their Blue Muscle Mend not to be as effective as dōTERRA's Deep Blue or Young Living's Cool Azul. I will say that most of their oils had a better, fuller bouquet than dōTERRA's and they were the brand I used for a while after leaving there. They have really good customer service and are both friendly and quick to respond. They also have fast shipping. 

Then I joined Young Living. Now, I have to give them credit for both purity and potency, and I love a lot of what they're doing. My biggest qualm is that they are an MLM and it's only worth paying the high price for such oils if you're going to make a business out of selling them. They have become the standard by which I have judged all others when comparing for both smell and effectiveness. I love their sustainability. My other issue is with things like the fact that their lavender is grown on a farm here in the US and many of their other essential oils are grown on farms that might not be in the most ideal locations for harvesting them for their therapeutic benefits, especially since many are here in the US. 

So, I started looking for a really good company again. I read many blogs that compared a lot of companies in order to speed up my process and save myself a lot of money (which is why I'm writing this, to add to that and help others do the same if I can). I tried Rocky Mountain Oils because they were highly recommended by several bloggers, but I was truly disappointed by their potency. They test better than most companies and the purity is there, but potency is important too, even more so if you're going to dilute your oils (more on that in a future post). I also wasn't real happy that many of their blends are diluted since I prefer to purchase the synergy blend and dilute my own if I'm going to do so. My skin isn't that sensitive, so I tend to use many singles and blends neat or to use them internally, so I don't like carrier oils already mixed in--at least give me the option (like my #1 choice does). 

I also checked out Organic Swiss Aromatics, another company recommended by an aromatherapist's blog and it's owned by an aromatherapist who is a respected author and expert in the industry, and again I was disappointed in the lack of potency. Another very popular company whose oils I got to "meet" because a friend of mine uses them, but was again disappointed in, was Edens Garden. Again, it was the potency that was a let down for me, though they've been lauded by Dr. Robert Pappas for being the best non-MLM essential oil company. All of these have reasonable and fast shipping, and I haven't tried their customer service.

A word on MLMs in general: honestly, I feel all of them sell over-priced products because the "freebies" they "give away" and the fantastic trips they send distributors of certain levels on have to be paid for somehow, as do the commissions they pay everyone, and you're paying for that with every single product you purchase. So, while they're a wonderful way to start a business, and you can write off everything you buy if you do so, you have to be prepared to build your life around using and selling these products. Personally, I'm not a salesperson and this model just doesn't work for me...and I don't care how they try to say it, you're constantly trying to sell the products. Also, in my experience, most have really slow and expensive shipping! 

So, what company did I choose? This is already long, so I'll write one final blog post and reveal that answer and my reasons. I'll actually give my top three recommendations and then it's up to you to try some companies and decide for yourself!

Sunday, March 5, 2017

My Singing Bowl Collection Video

How to Choose the Right Essential Oils for You--Part I

Often when I get into conversations about essential oils with people who are enthusiastic about them, I hear that they buy them wherever they find them...the local health food store, metaphysical shop, or even Walmart...and this saddens me because it demonstrates the lack of good education that many have before starting to use something therapeutically that can cause a lot of good--or a lot of harm.

Yes, essential oils can cause a lot of harm if you're not using really good ones or don't know how to use them properly, and it's not that hard in today's Information Age to get to know more about them. There are plenty of books, blogs and websites out there without having to become an aromatherapist.

I have to admit, I didn't know a lot when I first started out either, and was guilty of what has become a pet peeve...but that's why I'm writing this series of posts. I want to add to the good information that's out there and help educate people about essential oils now that I've worked with them for several years, and especially since I know from experience what benefits can be derived from using really good essential oils. It's been an expensive, but worthwhile, journey and education!

So, the first thing you need to know is that the essential oil industry is not regulated by laws, and that there's a lot of misleading labeling out there...and even a lot of misleading education. It starts with how "100% Therapeutic Grade Essential Oil" is defined. If it has at least 5% of 100% therapeutic grade essential oil in the bottle, it can legally be labeled as such. Wait, what?! Yep, the rest can be chemical residue, fillers, pesticides and herbicides, etc.  

Next thing to know is that adulteration is HUGE in this industry because of the lack of regulation, and GS/MS testing doesn't really mean a lot. Most essential oil companies are re-bottlers who depend upon the honesty of the suppliers they obtain their oils from and many don't do in-house testing once they receive their oils to re-bottle with their labels. Often what happens is that they get sent the GS/MS certification for one batch, but get sent another and they have no idea if they don't do in-house testing and/or have close and solid business partnerships with their suppliers.

Last, there are two things to look for in a high quality therapeutic essential oil that lead to how effectively it works: purity and potency. Purity obviously refers to how pure and unadulterated the essential oil is, but potency can be more confusing. Part of the potency of an essential oil is its volatility, and that contributes to the strength of the essential oil...and is where a lot of essential oils that were high in purity fell short for me out of the several that I've tried, and I've tried several brands over the course of the past 6-7 years since I first started exploring essential oils. I'll start going into details of that journey in my next post, but you can see some of the brands I've considered high quality in the picture at the top of this post. Along the way, I'll share what I consider the pros and cons of MLM essential oil companies, the differences between the top two of those, and finally the company I've chosen to use.

I'm not an expert, but I've read and experimented a lot and my next step will be to become a certified aromatherapist. However, I wanted to share what I have learned in order to help others make better educated choices along their own journey, for the right company for me might not be the right company for you and you'll have to do some of your own exploration to find out what is right for you. At the end of my last post, I'll also include links to some other great blogs for even more education. Enjoy your jump down the rabbit hole!

Saturday, March 4, 2017

All-Purpose Anti-Inflammatory Recipe

My husband had the misfortune to get a really bad respiratory virus that's going around and after suffering for a week he discovered a recipe for Turmeric Milk, aka Golden Milk. Most recipes called for some form of milk however, either regular cow's milk or dairy alternatives like coconut or almond milk. We didn't have any of those on hand since I'm casein intolerant and I don't like the thickeners like carageenan and guar gum that you find in most dairy alternatives as they cause leaky gut syndrome and I also already have that, thereby I don't ingest things that will make it worse.

He came up with this alternative using what we do have on hand: coconut water and coconut oil because fat is one of the things that you need for turmeric to absorb better and thereby be more effective, along with black pepper. So, without further ado, here's his recipe:

1 cup coconut water, heated (microwave or pan)

1/4 tsp coconut oil (more is not better)
1 tsp honey
pinch of black pepper
1 drop of cinnamon oil or 1/4 tsp cinnamon spice
1 tsp turmeric (very important: add it last to mix best)

The first night he drank it, it broke a low grade fever he had and his cough went away. I've been drinking it and find it helps my chronic sinus congestion and I no longer need to use Nasacort every night. I'm also not in as much chronic pain in my hips. I also have not caught any of the various viruses that my friends are currently suffering from and have added this to my preventative routine along with echinacea and the immune blend of essential oils that I use at this time of year when so many illnesses are going around. 

The taste can take some getting used to. He doesn't like it, but I do...I find it has kind of a warm, comforting taste that I enjoy. So give it a try, and Zum Wohl!

Saturday, February 25, 2017

What 3 Spiritual Tools Could You Not Live Without?

This was a good question posed by Leisa at the Tarot Alchemist, and I did a video response to it, but I also wanted to pose and answer it in my blog for discussion. 

My answer is my collection of decks (Tarot, Oracle and Lenormand) and all of my divination tools, my crystals and my singing bowl collection. 

So, what are yours? You can be as specific as you want, either category like I did or specific choices like a particular deck, crystal, etc. Please, comment below or do a video like I did! 

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Do Your Compare Yourself To Other Readers?

It's easy to doubt yourself as a reader, especially if you listen to someone else's reading and think they knocked it out of the park better than you could, or a sitter tells you that So-And-So gave them the most amazing reading of their life a couple of years ago when they were out of town and they've never found another reader that good. 

When I was reading on the psychic reader line, I got a lot of "well five other readers told me...and know you're telling me this, we'll see who's right." Or, "everyone keeps telling me that, but it never happens". Oh yes, those things will make you question yourself at times! But I learned to trust the message I got. (See this post for the reason the latter can happen.)

However, one thing I've learned is to never compare myself to other readers. I currently live in an area where there are a lot of us and have many fellow professional readers as friends. We even refer people to each other if someone is looking for something specific that another one of us specializes in, like animal communication readings, and we do readings for each other...sometimes just for fun. For a while I also ran a Meetup group for Tarot and Oracle readers, and as part of the meetings we'd do readings for each other to stretch our skills and experience different styles of reading, as well as to get newbies comfortable with their own skills since no books were allowed to be consulted.

Because of all of this, what I've learned is that we all see something different when we look at the cards, and everyone has a different style or even a different way of interpreting. For example, one fellow professional told me that she doesn't even know the book meanings for the cards, they just talk to her--literally. There are also different types of readers, because there are those who are truly psychics and mediums (as I suspect of the women mentioned) who use the cards as a tool to comfort their clients, and there are those (like me) who use the cards for our own comfort in tapping into our gifts...and every shade in between. 

So, don't worry if you see someone in a conversation thread or a video get a different interpretation of a card or spread than you do or feel you would, trust that whatever YOU get is the right message at the right time. It's my belief that Spirit sends us the right people, whether sitter or reader, at the right time to deliver what needs to be said at that time...and that there's no wrong message. 

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Count Your Blessings

I started a new job a few weeks ago after five years of working from home on a psychic hotline. I had burned out on that and so I searched for a full time job, found one I loved and then realized that I was allergic to it. Go figure, my allergy to wool that makes my skin itch if I wear it also makes it so that I can't breathe if my lungs wear the wool fiber dust produced in copious amounts in a store that sells Persian rugs. Sigh. So, when I was healed and could search again, all that I could find was a job doing customer service in a call center...and all I've done since starting is to complain.

I've been complaining about the job, the rules, the hours, the training, the trainer, my fellow students, the hours I'll be working after training...everything about it. As usual, Spirit decided to surround me with messages, LOL!

The biggest was this one: 

"Most people do not realize that as they continue to find things to complain about, they disallow their own physical well-being. Many do not realize that before they were complaining about an aching body or a chronic disease, they were complaining about many other things first. It does not matter if the object of your complain is about someone you are angry with, behavior in others that you believe is wrong, or something wrong with your own physical body. Complaining is complaining, and it disallows improvement." --Abraham

Funny, but since I've started my job there, my physical complaints have also grown. Yep...Spirit gave me a smack me upside the head!  So, I still don't like it, but I keep hoping that it will get better as I actually start the job. I also keep reminding myself of the positives. Have I totally stopped complaining? Nope, I'm still stuck in the human condition...but I have been catching myself and turning it around, and when I find my thoughts turning negative, I work to find the positives. 

This job will allow us to get caught up on things, and then Steve and I can take some training courses we've been wanting to take. We'll have the money for some extras and even for a vacation. We can do the rest of the work on this house to prepare it for the market so that when we're ready we can sell it and move northeast. 

If I stop complaining and count my blessings, I can breathe and I'm in less pain physically and emotionally. The more I count my blessings, the more blessings I'll have, and I know that from experience. It's Law of Attraction 101, "What you focus on is what you get." So what blessings do you have in your life, and what would you like more of in your life? 

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Living in the Moment

You see this advice all of the time, along with memes about it and advice from all of the self-help gurus, about how important it is not to live in the past or the future, rather that we need to live in the present, the here and now. However, being human means we carry memories of our past and have dreams for our futures, so that's not always so easy to do. Maybe that's why there are all of those reminders around. 😉

Sometimes it can be harder than others. Just a few days ago (2/2/17) was the 10 year anniversary of the day I married my late husband, and the 9 year anniversary of the day I scattered his ashes. From the time we changed from being friends to dating, we only had two years and three weeks...such a short time. We only legally married to get him on my insurance and get treatment for him because we knew he was sick and we had a guess that it was cancer. We were right, and he was Stage IV with laryngeal cancer by the time we got him to a doctor...probably by the time we got married...and eight months later he was gone. I'm remarried, have been for over six years now, but it was still a hard day for me because one thing I'll tell you is love never dies, but you do live on and can even love again.

That day was a catalyst for me, though. I thanked him and let him know that I'm very grateful for the time we had together, and that after 20 years of being a lone wolf, he let me in so that I was there for him during that time. (We realized once he was diagnosed that it was the sore throat that began the week after we started dating.) Nothing happens by accident. Then I let it go. I realized that I can't spend the rest of this year thinking about a decade ago. 

Today my 83 year old father is going to the hospital because he's been sick all week and now he feels there's fluid in his lungs, and I can't go see him because he lives over 14 hours away. Part of me is scared because my dad is rarely sick, and it's even more rare for him to go to the hospital. I know what can happen, but I can't dwell on that. I also know he's in great health for his age and wants to live for at least another 12 years. He's active and takes good care of himself...all should be well, so I'm staying in today and looking forward to my next trip home to see him and the rest of my family.

I need to live in the here and now, appreciate all that I've been through, remember it all fondly, and live in full appreciation of today. Breathe it in, enjoy it, savor it no matter what is happening, because we really don't know what tomorrow brings and we can't dwell on it. We can't turn the clock back and we can't move it forward.

Yes, dream of the future and the things you want to achieve, build and accomplish because that gives us something to work and build toward today. Those are the carrots you can dangle in front of you on a bad day at work or at home. But appreciate the moments that you're living in now because those are what builds your tomorrows--even the bad ones because we learn and gain strength from those. 

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Redefining Success

Have you been watching any of the Tiny House shows on TV? It seems that every time I turn around there's a new one, and now there's a show called Unplugged. It seems there's a big trend these days towards simplifying one's life.

I grew up in the 70s and 80s when everyone was getting bigger houses, bigger cars, more stuff..."keeping up with the Joneses" was THE thing to do. Nobody knew who the Joneses were, just that we were all trying to keep up with them, and that meant buying more stuff, including living on credit cards and loans because we couldn't afford all of that stuff, so we had to make small payments on it and stay in debt. The more you had, the more successful you showed yourself to be.

I remember at one point in my teens, right after my parents had just finished a very large remodeling project on the house we owned then, overhearing them discussing that each had considered suicide so that the other would own the house free and clear and be able to pay off their debts. My father earned a good income as an airline pilot, so it's not like we were poor and shouldn't be able to afford it all...they just had a lot of debt from auto loans, credit cards and now the loan on the house for the construction because greedy banks loved people like them who had good credit and good incomes and encouraged them to overstretch themselves. I'm just glad neither of them decided to actually act on those sad thoughts.

Now I see the pendulum swinging the other way and a lot of people, mostly younger but not all, choosing to downsize their lives and get rid of all of that extra stuff, choosing quality over quantity and smaller over bigger. It's making me look around at my own house and all of the stuff I I really need all of this? (The books and my card decks are a yes, the rest is what I'm questioning. 😉)

I think it's great to see this change in what success means, and healthier for people. Now success is defined by how much freedom and quality of life you enjoy and people are starting to actually LIVE again.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Decluttering My Life

I'm facing a transition in my life, going back to work as an employee outside of the home for the first time in about five years, and it's made me start thinking about the way I wish to spend the time I'll have at home moving forward. Since there will be less of it, I'll be valuing it more and so I've done some decluttering of the distractions that I've been wanting to remove for my life.

I've removed the Facebook and Messenger apps from my phone, along with the Amazon, eBay, Etsy, Solitaire and Word Search apps. I've been spending way too much useless time on my phone doing these things than I wish. I've also canceled my group and my membership in Meetup because I just won't have the time and energy to do any such things, and if there's something I do wish to attend, it will be available on Facebook.

I've done similar clearings before by canceling my accounts on Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram. Why do I wish to limit my interaction on social media and the apps on my phone? Because it has occurred to me that before I was so distracted by such things I actually lived a happy and full life, reading and hanging out with friends. Now I actually have books that have been collecting unread on my shelves over the past eight years, whereas for the rest of my life those all would have been read more than once as well as all of the new ones being read. It used to be that you had a hard time prying a book out of my hands and lately it's hard to pry my phone out of my hands instead while books sit unread beside me on the table and on my book shelves. 

So, the time I do have before and after work and on my days off will be precious to me. It's sad that it has taken this as the impetus to value my time more, but so it is. It will be time for study, meditation, working out, relaxation...and yes, time for clients because I'm still running and building my business. I see this time of other employment as a necessary bridge to the future my husband and I wish to build, and that will leave very little time for empty distractions. 

And now that I've decluttered my time, it will be time to go to work on doing some further decluttering of my's time to declutter and simplify all of my life!