Monday, November 3, 2014

Making a Difference

This semester, my life has been changing. As a professor, I still live in terms of semesters. The rhythm of my life is set by the school year, so each new semester is a wonderful chance to start anew.

During the summer, I suffered a deep depression, worse than I'd felt in awhile. I was feeling suicidal, though also didn't want to feel that way. Several things have shifted for me recently. The first being a huge re-focusing of my spirituality toward something that reaches and feeds my soul, and the next getting back into natural, herbal healing and committing to wellness.

Wellness is a scary concept, because it is so loaded. It can be used as a weapon against people who don't fit the culture's current definition of health, but for me, it's about feeling spiritually, emotionally, and physically better. Able to function, to get out of bed, to get through the day. I've always loved herbs, and teas, tinctures, infusions, and essential oils have always been part of my doula practice, but now that I'm finally getting more settled back here in the Midwest, I have invested in some herbs and, best of all, essential oils, my favorite form of herbs and other plants.

I wake up feeling like shit a lot. It’s pretty common with fibromyalgia to feel worse in the morning. Same with plantar fasciitis, and I frequently wake up with a headache. It being cold & flu season, I’ve also been waking up congested and even more achey than normal. I’m pushing my usual echinacea tea that I’ve always relied on to give my immune system a push, but the last few months, I’ve been using essential oils to help fight off any colds lingering around, but also to help handle my pain and migraines.
Now I love pharmaceuticals. They have literally saved my life, and I don’t have any plans to abandon my daily meds, but as my aforementioned list of complaints suggest, they help my problems, but don’t leave me pain-free and never ill. Nor do the essential oils, but DAMN. They make a HUGE difference.
This morning was one of the worst pain days I’ve had in a very long time. 
Enter these:

Deep Relief, a blend of Peppermint, Wintergreen, Copal, and Palo Santo essential oils as well as others, in a convenient roll-on tube, already diluted with carrier oils, is great for pain. It does just what it says. It offers deep relief. I put this anywhere I need it, from my feet, my legs, my shoulders, the back of my neck.
Thieves is regularly being diffused in my house (a diffuser uses ultrasonic technology to break up the mixture of essential oils and water into extremely fine microparticles and disperses the ingredients in essential oils into the air. It provides an excellent method of calming and moisturizing to build a healthy, natural, and pure living environment), and this is by far my favorite oil. was created based on research about four thieves in France who covered themselves with cloves, rosemary, and other aromatics while robbing plague victims. This proprietary essential oil blend was university tested for its cleansing abilities. It is highly effective in supporting the immune system and good health. It’s such an effective crowd-pleaser that Young Living, the brand of essential oils I use, has an entire line of Thieves products. I also like to put Thieves on my feet, or even a drop in my tea. Mmmm!
Raven is a blend I actually got free with my monthly order in September. There are always really amazing deals, and I’ve received at least 5 oils free so far. I am SO GLAD I have it, because when I started worrying last week that I was getting sick, I popped a roller fitment onto the bottle and oiled up my chest. It’s better than Vaporub! It’s a blend of Ravensara, lemon, wintergreen, peppermint, and Eucalyptus.
ImmuPower is another powerhouse in this line-up. I won’t lie. It smells very strong. It’s a blend of Hyssop, mountain savory, cistus, ravensara, frankincense, oregano, clove, cumin, and idaho tansy. The cumin gives it a pretty strong smell. I put this on my feet every morning and night before I put my socks. I use this as a guide for where to put the oils:

Finally, from this photo, is Breathe Again in its convenient roll-on. This blend contains four powerful eucalyptus oils: Eucalyptus staigeriana, Eucalyptus globulus, Eucalyptus radiata, and Young Living’s original Ecuador single, Eucalyptus blue, and a few other oils. It is amazing, and I put it behind my ears or on my chest. It really clears my sinuses, and it doesn’t have that greasy feeling nor petroleum base that Vaporub does.
Not pictured is my other favorite oil: M-Grain. You can probably guess what this does. With Basil, marjoram, lavender, peppermint, Roman chamomile, and helichrysum, this is very powerful against migraines and it has worked to end migraines that even my meds couldn’t tackle. I see this oil as an absolute miracle for me. I have some in diluted in a roll-on, and if I wake up with a migraine, or the sense that I might get one, I immediately roll it on the back of my neck and my temples, drink a big glass of water and diffuse some peppermint in the air. Every time I’ve done this in the last few months, the migraine has gone away. And that’s without medicine. It’s amazing. And it also allows me to hoard my medicine (since my stingy insurance company only pays for 9 pills a month).
Ok, if you read through all of that, bless you. I’m sharing it because I know how many friends I have on here who also deal with chronic pain, chronic illness, etc. I wouldn’t babble on about this stuff if I didn’t love it and feel like it worked for me.
The other amazing thing about these oils? They’re allowing me to work from home and devote more time to my writing, because, as an independent distributor, I earn commission from sharing the oils. I first joined Young Living as a wholesale member so I could get oils I buy anyway at a cheaper price (think Costco membership, but this is a one-time fee). I use oils not only for health and wellness, but also A LOT in my pagan spiritual practice, so whether I was a distributor or not, I go through a lot of oils a month, and earn lots of points back just on my purchases. However, when I started using them, I wanted to start telling people how amazing the oils had been in my life, and that sharing led to other people signing up and seeing how the oils could help them. That’s amazing to me.
Wholesale members get a 24% discount, which saves you a ton of money.
So right now there is a really special awesome deal I have for you.
I have two enrollment vouchers for $20 off any starter kit, which means, you get a great discount on a Premium Starter Kit, which is the starter kit I most highly recommend.
The Premium Starter kit comes with a diffuser, and 11 oils & blends, a handful of sample packs, and much more.
The Basic Starter Kit comes with a Stress Away oil, one of my favorites (I diffuse it in my car during my commute every day!) two NingXia samples, and samples of several other oils. 
The Basic Plus Starter Kit comes with all that, plus a diffuser, which is a great deal.
There are other starter kits that come with a lot more (I highly recommend the premium starter kit that comes with the complete Everyday Oils collection).
Anyway, if you’re interested in signing up, click on over here and then shoot me a message so I can send you the voucher code!
You will not only be helping yourself, you’ll also be helping me continue to work from home (a necessity with my chronic pain and illness) and devote more time to my writing.
Thanks for reading, and pass this deal along to anyone you think might be interested. There are only 2 vouchers, and they’ll go fast, and they expire in December, so let me know ASAP!
I really believe that these oils have changed my life, and I believe they can change your life, too!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Exercise Gratitude

My sister-in-law has a sign in her house that says Choose Happiness. It initially bothered me, because I thought, Sure, easy to say, but there are so many things in our lives that we CAN'T choose, and it's ok to be upset about them! This is true, but it ignores the truth inherent in the sign: we cannot choose what happens to us, but we can choose how we respond to it, and the attitude and energy we bring into a space.

It would be easy for me to be upset today. I work 12 hours a day an hour away from home. I'm an adjunct professor, so I have no office, not even a cubicle. When I have time between classes, there is nowhere for me to go except for a noisy hallway. My first class begins at 8am, and I am not a morning person. It is a struggle to get to bed and to fall asleep at night, and it is a very big challenge to wake up and get out of bed and get moving in the morning.

But ever since I picked up a few extra classes, I've been spending my time between classes in outdoor space reading, meditating, relaxing, journaling, and having "me" time. Now that it's getting colder, I've had to spend that time in my car, but today as I was lying in the front seat, the driver's side fully reclined, the sun room shade open and the window cracked to catch a breeze, I stared up at the beautiful blue sky and fluffy white clouds and silhouettes of trees still covered in gorgeous autumn foliage. The sound of dry leaves blowing across the pavement, and my brand new Young Living Orb diffuser releasing bursts of Stress Away into the air. I felt so happy. I meditated for two minutes. I listened to a witchy podcast. I closed my eyes and rested, and I felt so grateful for this time.

It's easy to be upset dwelling on all the things I don't have--and believe me, last week I was deeply entrenched in depression--but in this season of Samhain, as I look ahead to the upcoming year, I want to commit to choosing happiness and exercising gratitude.

Check this out: I have to be thrilled at how lucky I am for this: my mother dogsits for my dear pup on the days I teach, so he doesn't have to be alone longer than his bladder can stand. I typically go to her house to pick him up straight from work and have dinner and hang out with my parents. Well, tonight she and my dad were going to a concert, so I assumed I'd grab some takeout and head home, but she'd gotten me my favorite takeout, and it was still hot when I arrived! I ate supper, then took a long bath in their whirlpool tub and now I feel so blissed out!

I lead a very lucky life. I will strive to remember this more often.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Welcome & a Samhain spread

Welcome to my little corner of the web! I've been itching to get back to blogging, and Samhain season seemed like the perfect time for a fresh start, seeing as it's Witch's New Year.

I've kept a lot of blogs over the years, sometimes more successfully than others. I'm currently in a season of regrowth, and I wanted to record this journey with you in hopes that you might find it helpful and illuminating.

The last few months, I’ve really been getting back into tarot, and it brings me so much joy, not to mention a lot of great things to think about! 
I’m still devastated at not being able to find my favorite deck, The Collective Tarot (now out of print), and losing it put me off the cards entirely for awhile, but I’ve decided I can’t let that hold me back any longer.

One thing that has really strengthened my intuition and deepened the stories I get from the cards is incorporating the use of essential oils in my readings. All my decks are consecrated and blessed, and I usually draw a pentagram in frankincense oil on the box as I’m blessing it, but I’ve started rubbing oil on my forehead and wrists before I shuffle the deck and lay out a spread.

The oil with the highest spiritual vibration for me at this moment is Young Living’s 3 Wise Men. It’s a blend of Sandalwood (Santalum album), juniper (Juniperus osteosperma and J.scopulorum), frankincense (Boswellia carteri), spruce (Picea mariana) and myrrh (Commiphora myrrha) in a base of almond oil, so I can rub it directly onto my skin, and I have found that it really promotes a sense of reverence and spirituality. Plus I love the aroma, and I’ve used it often enough now that it signals to my brain, “ok, this is a spiritual moment,” and helps me ease into the proper frame of mine.
I have used standard grocery store brand oils before, with much less success, and you can’t beat the blends from Young Living. (If you're interested in getting your own oils to help deepen your spiritual practice, let me know! I have a 20% off coupon to share that is quite the deal!)

The spreads pictured here are two different Samhain spreads suggested by Kelly-Ann Maddox of The Four Queens on YouTube. 
The first one above is just a mini three card spread, and I used my newest deck, the Emily Dickinson tarot from Factory Hollow Press. This deck is gorgeous, but I fear it might be more of a novelty deck. It’s definitely not recommended for a beginner, as there are no instructions and the minor arcana have different names than the traditional deck. I got a lot out of my reading because I’m a poetry scholar, so I know Dickinson’s work intimately, and the cards draw on resonances in her poems, letters, and life, so in order to gain the most from it, you really need to know her work. 
The next few spreads are from the Medieval Scapini deck, which is the first deck I ever owned. I love its creepy imagery for a more detailed Samhain reading.
Both readings have been just incredibly illuminating for me, and I’m thrilled I’m getting back into tarot!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Skype Job Interview

Friday I have a job interview over Skype. I'm very excited for the interview, but I'm nervous, too, because I've never used Skype for professional purposes. I looked up a lot of Skype interview tips online, and found a lot of good advice that I'm going to aggregate here.

  • Dress from head-to-toe like you are going to a job interview. Don't throw a blazer on over pjs, for example. Feeling fully professional will help you come across that way. My friend Sara said you should look your absolute best for a Skype interview.
  • Do a test run to make sure the technology works, and that you're comfortable. If possible, hook the computer up directly to the internet, rather than relying on wi-fi. Close all other programs.
  • Look directly at the camera, because then it will look like you are looking them in the eye.
  • Make sure your Skype username is professional (mine is my first initial and my last name)
  • Consider your surroundings. Don't try to Skype in a noisy location, or with a lot of clutter in the background. If possible, stick to a neutral wall behind you. I'm going to set up a staging area in my bedroom, so I can close the door and keep out my cats, and have a plain beige wall behind me.
  • Sit back farther from the camera so they can see your hands, too. Body language is so important, so don't make yourself just a talking head.
  • Make sure you have good lighting in the room. Play around with lamps and overhead lighting to make sure you look your best.
  • Avoid patterned clothing, which tends to come across as too loud on screen. I'm hoping to wear a dark blazer with a pop of color shirt underneath.
  • It's easy to talk over people in Skype conversations, so make sure the other person is done speaking before you reply.
I have not had many job interviews, because most of my work has been part of my graduate school funding, so I was just given the job. I honestly don't think I realized how lucky I was until now.

I want this job so badly. If all goes well, it could be the last job interview (barring promotions) I ever have, and that idea is miraculously comforting, and also nerve wrecking. 

Have you ever had a Skype interview? 

Wish me luck!