Opening the Conversation
1. Where it all started:
Let me take you all back in time to when I was, oh, about eleven years old. I was obsessed with a series of books called Sunfire and I was especially obsessed with one called Cassie. Anyway, long story short, that book had me captivated with the ideas of beading moccasins, subsisting on corn meal, and, perhaps most of all, creating poultices to heal wounds. I can remember sitting in the sand outside of a cottage in Newport, Rhode Island, weaving long seagrass together and mashing random plants on a slab of slate, certain I was concocting some healing wonder. Obviously, I was not.
Still, those seeds were planted and never really fully went away.
A few years ago, my husband and I were watching a documentary and, in it, they spoke of a birch tree and how it has been used since ancient times for pain– that it contains the same compounds we use in aspirin. My fascination was rekindled and I confessed to my husband that I had always been interested in the healing powers of plants and herbs and that I wished I knew more about them. He may have been more amused than intrigued, but he encouraged me to pursue it and research it, then.
2. Read, read, and read some more.
I’m a tad skeptical by nature (though I won’t claim to be “the world’s greatest skeptic.”) I can also be cynical in some circumstances. Still, I won’t deny that I was fascinated to read some of the tales about successes people were having with herbs and essential oils. Quite frankly. some of them sounded downright… miraculous! And that’s what made me cynical.
I never doubted the power of plants, however. I mean– I’ve known since I was a child that peppermint soothed a queasy tummy and ginger helped keep nausea at bay. Wintergreen relieves pain and inflammation and has long been used in certain pain creams. Some of my family members joke that I recommend peppermint tea for almost anything that ails you.
So, when I considered possibly branching out beyond herbal teas, I knew I needed to read. And, as much as I love a good anecdotal story, I needed to read material from SCIENTISTS and AROMATHERAPISTS. Sure, I kept reading the accounts from my friends and fellow bloggers and that was interesting enough. But it wasn’t enough to convince me that I wanted to slather these things all over my body.
My number one recommendation if you, too, like to “know your stuff” before dipping your toe in? Be sure you’re reading some impartial research. Deliberately seek out the works of people who are NOT affiliated with a particular company. Here’s the thing– I have a brand I love most of all, too. But I don’t blindly trust everything they publish. Anytime someone stands to gain money from you following their specific advice, it pays to be a tad skeptical. Their words might turn out to be true! But it’s better to do a little research and be sure.
3. Making mistakes, despite my research.
So, here’s where I get all upfront and honest with you all– although I had read, read, and read some more, I still did some things with my essential oils that I now regret. I’ll tell you more about those as time goes on, but I think it’s important to admit that I’m definitely in the “do the best you can until you know better” camp on this one (<– thanks, Maya Angelou.) I engaged in a couple of potentially risky usage behaviors, thankfully on myself and not my children, that I now choose to avoid. The good news about that is this– I’m not incredibly judgy about how people use their oils. I mean, there are things that make me a bit nervous, but I also know that I made some choices that would probably make others cringe. Learning is fluid and what I know today may not be all that I know tomorrow. And that’s okay.
4. Why talk about it?
Essential oils have blown up in crazy ways. I am 100% positive that some of you reading this are sick.to.death of hearing about them. I get that. And, you know what? I’m totally cool with you ignoring any of the posts I write on the topic. I am definitely not here to waste your time or add noise to the conversation.
But I do want to share some of the successes we’ve seen. I will warn you– mine are not stories of miracles. Mine are stories of our lives being made better thanks to essential oils. Most of my happiest successes actually involve the synergy of natural healing and modern medicine. I have not completely overhauled our lives. The ibuprofen is still in our medicine cabinet! I still have a bottle of peroxide on the shelf. And I still make my peppermint tea with herbal tea bags.
Maybe a few of you are more like me– you love the idea of learning something new and you welcome adding something beneficial into your life, but you’re not looking to abandon everything else. You’re not looking for a whole new lifestyle or a new marketing job. You just want to explore and experience what essential oils can perhaps do for you.
And if that statement rings at all true for you? Then you’re in a safe place. Let’s chat about some stuff, free from brand names and sales pitches, and see where it leads us, okay?
Let me know what YOU want to know. And we’ll dive in.
(Note: If you love and are passionate about a certain brand of oils, that’s awesome! Glad you found a good fit. Feel free to share your experiences using oils, but please do not mention brands or solicit sales here. Any comments doing so will be deleted or I’ll ask you to edit it. Thanks for understanding!)