My kid is pretty clever, spends too much time on screens that we don’t adequately regulate, scores average or above average on standardized tests, is generally liked by his peers, and still doesn’t fall into that magical perfect harmony when it comes to the bell curve of ease in school. Up to his first year in preschool (he had two different schools), he was the most popular kid (What?!), gentle, and often asked his peers how he could help when they had fallen, for example.
We started to notice that he doesn’t fall into that perfect bell curve when he moved from the play-based preschool to the academic-focused pre-k, and we were called because he punched a kid in school. Turns out the class had 14 boys and 4 girls and a very inexperienced teacher. When he moved to kindergarten, we got a similar call. When we dug deeper, we found out that our kid was stuck in a corner while the hordes of children were coming in from an activity. So, we did as good parents ought to, and we sent him to professionals. We have now been to no less than 10 professionals to try to “fix our kid.”
Our kid doesn’t need fixing. He is PERFECT the way he is. Our SYSTEMS need fixing. Last year, a very difficult year, I was introduced to Dr. Ross Greene and his thinking in Collaborative and Proactive Solutions. This infographic is a great summary of what he has researched and teaches.
Check out the link too, put out by a Canadian group. It’s a great toolkit for educators. In the scenarios I mentioned, there were stressors that created anxiety and shame in my kid and he reacted thus. It was the environment that created the thought, the feeling, and then the action in my developing kid.
Dr. Greene says often, “Kids do well if they can.”
That means the onus is ON US to create environments where kids can thrive. That means the onus is on us to create environments where kids can do their best thinking, to have great feelings, to do amazing actions.
Encased in chemicals. Endocrine disrupting chemicals. That is your kids’ pajamas. And, if you are my age, my pajamas as a kid too.
I don’t often truly understand the Chemical Life we live. How those 80,000 approved chemicals truly affect my – our – day today.
This came to light, for me, the other day when a friend shared an already viral video on Facebook. A mom was actually just shopping in your typical all-in-one grocery store, and she pointed out all the “flame resistant” pajamas. I actually never really thought about it before, what made these PJs so flame resistant? Another friend of mine noted how grossed out she had always been by these, and now considering their origin, I absolutely concur.
Here’s the thing – house fires are scary, and kids on fire is a scary thing. So, from what I can piece together with about an hour or two of internet research is that some time, long, long ago, we decided those were too scary to leave to chance. So, we started adding chemicals to all sorts of things – pajamas, couches, and more. But, like so many things with chemicals, we trusted in the chemicals ability to keep us safe rather than check to see if it interfered with anything else. That coupled with narrow sited choices and some choices just by chance that then became the norm, we went with these chemicals to keep us safe. In some cases, just because California did.
It’s like the story of the pot roast. It’s part urban legend and part truth (for example, this actually happened with my mom). Daughter cuts off the end of the pot roast and mom looks on, “Honey, why are you doing that?” “Because you did,” responds diligent daughter. “Oh, honey, I did that so the roast would fit in the pan. Yours fits as is,” responds clarifying mother. Granted, chopping off the end of a roast is far less daunting than ruining your health through ill-effects of chemicals. However, the point remains. How often do we do things because that’s the way another generation did? Too often I would argue, and it is now getting in the way of our health.
Video mom comes up with a great simple solution – avoid pajamas and buy loungewear instead. And, one final to-do: always read your labels. We read them when we discuss essential oils, regular “medicine”, food, and don’t forget your clothes too.
A Flame Retardant That Came With Its Own Threat to Health: https://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/04/us/a-flame-retardant-that-came-with-its-own-threat-to-health.html
Potential disruption of endocrine system: Flame retardants can mimic estrogens, 3-D images show: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130819102716.htm
Endocrine Disruption and Flame-Retardant Chemicals: PBDE-99 Effects on Rat Sexual Development: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1367877/
Are brominated flame retardants endocrine disruptors?: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12850103
How to find flame-resistant pajamas for kids, without toxic chemicals: https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/on-parenting/how-to-find-flame-resistant-pajamas-for-kids-without-toxic-chemicals/2017/11/08/fe587216-c32d-11e7-afe9-4f60b5a6c4a0_story.html?utm_term=.b7f27121afde
Today started with recording my essential oil master class, twice. I didn’t get the Zoom link sent to my attendee in time, so the recording would have to do. Zoom has a beautiful way of doing teleconferences, on the cheap. You can get up to 40 minutes free, and have most of the features that make that program great. And, you can do this without having some mystical Cisco account.
I have found though, that Keynote does a much crisper, cleaner job of recording slide shows. So, even though you don’t get the picture in picture with my face, you get a better presentation. So, the morning and after lunch was spent tidying up the recording, making the actual video in iMovie, and uploading it to YouTube. Sign up for my newsletter (left or right) and get access to all sorts of fun things.
Once I got those things done, I was determined to go to the pool. Levi has been asking for this for a long time, and I just didn’t want to spend the money. Husband and I shifted some things around, and I made it a goal to go at least once this week. My desire to play and work on my money story at 1:20 pm PST was not lost on me.
So, play we did. We are back home now, changed, drying, and enjoying some individual screen time. I am writing. The kiddo is playing a bumble bee game in Roblox. For an hour and a half, though, we played. We floated, practiced swimming, we looked for rings. We dodged fellow pool-goers, and we even swam some laps.
Community pools fascinate me. I didn’t really grow up with one. I grew up with free swimming access by way of my grandparents, my aunt and uncle who live on Lake Superior, or the local beaches in my hometown. The idea that one pays to swim is a strange one, but in the city for quick access, that indeed is what we do.
I’m okay with paying, as the pool is well-staffed with young lifeguards, and it is kept clean. The community pool dynamic, though, offers a slice of a microcosm that I think is fun to acknowledge.
First, the diversity of people is wider than most places we frequent. There are varied ages, ethnic backgrounds, and maybe varied education levels. We all congregate in this shared place. Typically there is one or two obvious goals: play and exercise. Today, there were two or three groups of boys who looked like they were between 13 and 16 playing basketball in the water. There was a boy of about 10 and his sister of about 8 or 9 playing together by tossing a ball and splashing each other. There were several moms with babies, floating and playing in the water. And more. This brings me to point number two, there was no disagreement between parties. That is, the boy and girl didn’t interact with the basketball players. The moms and kids stayed to themselves. There was a quiet choreography as we all shared the shallow end, dodging, smiling and nodding, and playing nice.
I’ve observed this trend, specifically in the pool, on more than one occasion. I’ve observed this at community ponds/lakes where sometimes there is a lifeguard on duty, and sometimes not. It’s probably a visible trend on the playground too, but I haven’t specifically noticed that. There seems to be something about pool play, where maybe because of the heightened danger, that people seem to be more respectful. Maybe it’s just our local pool that is walking distance to our house?
I don’t know what the answer is to my observable trend. But, on this day, this full moon, lunar eclipse Friday, I wanted to acknowledge how easy people were at being kind. And, I’d like to invite you to pass it along. Remember, kindness is free, so give it away.
Two people I love shared this dated opinion. So, now I feel like I must respond. It is an opinion piece called “What Has America Become“, and is written by a man named Ken Huber. It was printed in the Iosco County Herald on June 9, 2010. The current originating Facebook post shows it as being shared in 2013. I note this because the copied image is without the date, and by posting it three years later, and then being repeatedly shared 5 years after that, it has a timeless quality that isn’t actually wholly relevant to today.
Mr. Huber complains that America has become the land of the double standard, and he continues to list a series of ironies he feels are unfair. You must understand that I live on the “left coast“, where my progressive politics color my views.
He has a list of complaints, where he sees Congress and Progressives getting their way and ruining our country. He even goes on to claim that “communists” and “Socialists” threats are just rebranded progressives. He complains about unfair border policies and lack of God in schools. If I shall opine for a moment, this sounds like complaints from an old, angry, white man, whose privilege is coming under question, and he doesn’t like how it feels.
Well, if Progressives are so bad, what do they believe? Check out this “Progressive Manifesto“, where ThinkProgress defines four tenants of freedom, opportunity, responsibility, and cooperation. Progressivism has a history that goes back more than 100 years, with a definition more akin to “[an association] with science, rationality and an approach to government and society reliant on knowledge and empirical methods”. (NPR 2016)
So Progressives want to think critically, using verifiable facts to create policy?
Mr. Huber essentially complains that he can’t be racist, we are letting too many people into our country, and we have to restrict personal liberties because he believes his God would want it that way.
Domestic violence rudely entered our lives on July 19, 2007. Today, you would be 40, having had your birthday just two months ago. Eleven years ago, I hope I called you on your birthday. Ten years ago, I didn’t know that would be the last birthday you would celebrate. Eleven years ago, on July 20, I became educated on the reach of domestic violence.
A year ago, I spent the day with a new friend. She’s a PR professional expanding her local reach. The day ended with a light dinner at her sponsored table for an event. The event was “Roots of Resilience”, the annual fundraiser for SAFE of Columbia County.
Before that fateful day, I knew of domestic violence in abstract terms. I remember an SNL skit that laughed at Bill and Hillary’s relationship, suggesting that he was the victim. (1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have been victims of [some form of] physical violence by an intimate partner within their lifetime. ) I knew of domestic violence with other bad jokes of men in “wife beater” tank tops, the illusion that only uneducated, poor, white men are the perpetrators of abuse. The truth is grayer. The truth shows us that domestic violence crosses all demographics: race, socio-economic, education. Though poor economies can raise the effects of abuse, economics is not a cause of domestic violence.
The Wheel of Power and Control
When I got home from your funeral, I spent a little time educating myself on domestic violence. Learning some of the harsh truths and taking the time to understand patterns of control. In a sense, I find I am hypersensitive to language when I hear things that sound like controlling behavior. I found this widely shared image that helped put things in perspective for me. I wish I had known about it before you died. Maybe we could have had a conversation about what you needed to feel safe in your relationships.
Help Us Really Hear
One of the reasons I think we didn’t talk about all those things is that the busy-ness of our lives – we let it get in the way. We don’t listen to each other. We don’t really hear each other. We allow bad behavior to be swept under the rug instead of standing up to abuses and intolerance. We all have our own lives to lead and live, after all.
In honor of the 1 and 3 women and 1 and 4 men, I encourage you to stand up to oppression far and wide. Start saying, “NO!” You will not tolerate that racist slur, that minimization, that gas lighting. It’s not right, it’s hurtful, and it doesn’t help those we love.
This post was started on May 13, 2017. That would have been Cristi’s 39th birthday. At the time of publishing, we both would be in our 5th decade. I will celebrate the lessons I’ve been gifted through this grief and awareness.
I was talking to a friend recently, and she was helping me dig deeper into why going green is important to me. I found it was hard for me to describe, as it’s kind of like breathing. In my writing the other day, I was able to clarify for myself. Going green is like teaching our kids not to hit. We do this because we accept and agree that our kids hitting other kids is wrong. It hurts the other child, physically and emotionally, and that’s not right. Going green ensures we have a lifestyle that doesn’t hit each other. That’s the grossest way I can think to describe why this is important. So, going green is the safest, kindest way, we can ensure we don’t hurt each other and future generations.
What does this mean? We know that all sorts of chemicals in our daily use increase the risk of cancer. We know that our industry, our car driving, our polluting the air causes breathing difficulties. We know that industry and agriculture that runs off into our waters causes our drinking water to be contaminated to the point it is not healthy to drink, that is, we get sick. We know that contamination sometimes contains lead which stunts the growth and brain development of children. Sometimes that contamination contains chemicals that cause cancer or other illnesses.
We know that cancer is expensive to treat, sometimes fast progressing, a disease that cripples the people who have it and the families that support the people with it. We know that making people sick prevents them from living their best selves.
I believe that we are given certain things in our lives that help makes us stronger. I believe we all have lessons to learn. I also believe that once we learn those lessons, we have a responsibility to (attempt) to teach others (peers or future generations) our lessons so they can make new, different, and more interesting mistakes.
Causing cancer, or illness, in others is a mistake and we know how to solve it – at least part of it. When, as a society, we do things – use chemicals in our home that runoff in the water, make the air hard to breathe, deplete living things in the water, and ruin our soil – we are making a mistake. We are making a mistake that kills people and makes their lives hard to live. We are the child hitting the other child to the point the other child is in tears and can no longer have fun playing a game.
This game, this game is the game of life, and I believe we all deserve to be able to show up as our best selves with our best feet forward to play our best. When, as a society, we intentionally make choices that cripple other people’s choices, we are ruining their chances of playing the game. We are hitting those people, just as the child who hits another.
In 1776, Thomas Jefferson wrote in the American Declaration of Independence, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
Our social contract says it’s not okay to hit other people. Clearly, when you hit me, you are infringing upon my right to life and my right to the pursuit of happiness. To clarify that boundary, it has been said by many that, “Your rights end where my nose begins.” In 1882, John B. Finch orated on this matter when discussing prohibition, that is we have the right to eat and drink what we please until that drinking causes us to hit another.
There are so many things in our world that permeate our beings, things that go beneath the surface of our physical bodies, beyond a fist to the nose. As such, we need to expand our understanding of our social contract to include breathing clean air, drinking clean water, and growing clean food in the clean soil. While it is not another person directly hitting us, when these things enter our bodies – beyond our noses – they cause damage. For example, an industry making a thing and polluting our environment causes us to get sick, their right to commerce conflicts with my right to life. That can be reduced to barbarism. You do not have a right to step into my right to life.
That’s why I promote a green life – because it is our right to life, our right to our pursuit of happiness.
Valentine’s Day is here and that probably means one of two things. Either you are excited for a fun romantic date out with your loved one or you’re preparing for Galentine’s. (My “Galentine’s” will be co-leading a book discussion on Brené Brown’s Braving the Wilderness.) Did you read my newsletter this month? Well, I talked a lot about self-care, so another thing you can do for Valentine’s is to simply love yourself. When I get home from the book discussion, after I put the kiddo in bed, after I get ready for tomorrow, I fully plan on turning on a favorite show and a favorite diffuser blend while I pamper myself. This is one of my favorite things to do. Here are more ways for you to explore “Pamper Days”:
Epsom Salt Bath: This will help detox and destress you from your everyday life plus it will help soothe your muscles. I gave my feet an Epsom salt bath last week after the kiddo’s birthday party.
Sugar Lip Scrub: Growing up, I had the most terrible chapped lips that were always peeling so this is something I like to do on a routine basis to help my lips stay smooth and soft.
Clay Facial Mask: This is made with Bentonite clay which has a ton of nourishing properties for your skin to get you back to glowing.
Strawberry-Lime Sugar Scrub: This is one that will make your skin as soft as a baby’s bottom. It also helps your skin feel bright and fresh.
Bergamot Foot Mask: Feet should not be out of mind just because they might be out of sight. Don’t forget to show them a little love too.
Let’s talk about research for a hot minute. It took me 12 years to get my bachelor’s degree. I ended my time, transferred to Portland State University, submerged in 400 level courses where we looked at primary sources for – well – everything. Something in my view changed, and I cared less about secondary sources, and now, whenever I read something, I’m scrounging for their primary sources where they formulated their opinions.
This thinking, now ingrained in my soul, was shaken to its core while helping my fifth grader with his homework the other week. He was working on a research project. (The fifth grade got a sink or swim project in research, you know, thrown in the deep end, then given a life raft.) We worked on this over a course of several weeks, doing research first, then weeks later putting it together in his presentation. My darling fifth grader, when I probed him for his sources, said, “I don’t know, I guess I just knew it. I don’t know how it got in my head.”
It’s moments like these that test my patience and help me grow as a person. I’m sure my deep sigh, intake of breath, is an alert that momma is not pleased. I tried so hard to say in the nicest way possible that he got the information from somewhere, though I am sure irritation and a little disgust eked through. He is surviving, and I think it’s okay to show our distasteful emotions so children know adults have them too. Showing these emotions also alerts both of us a boundary has been breached! After we worked through it, he remembered all the sources, and we were able to properly document his project.
That said, if you’re following me on Facebook, you may be wondering – where the heck is your sourcing Michelle? You say all these things, what did you just miraculously materialize the info? Short answer – no. Yet, I don’t make space to source my posts within the posts. So, I’m going to give you my annotated bibliography here.
The Sources I Use
I have curated this collection of sources for the last three to four years. Some of these are secondary, yet still useful. I am always on the hunt for primary sources to better describe how the chemistry works with our human bodies. Here is my list of current essential oil education research.
Emotions & Essential Oils: a Reference Guide for Emotional Healing, 6th Edition (Enlighten Healing, LLC, 2017)
Though I got into the oils because of how they can positively support my health, I turn to the emotional aspect even more. This concise book works through all the single oils and blends I use describing their emotional aspects with a short story, a summary of positive and negative effects, and handy tables and indexes to guide my research.
Essentials of the Earth, 7th Edition (EoEBooks, 2017)
This small, spiral bound book works like an encyclopedia of oils and issues. Everything is in alphabetical order, it’s concise, and gives a range of oils to use for any issue. This also has a corresponding app for your phone.
Fritz, Stephanie, Essential Oils for Pregnancy, Birth & Babies, 2nd Edition (Gently Born Productions, 2015)
In my oil community, this gem is the go-to resource for anything pregnancy related. Stephanie goes through the oils, how they can support all phases of pregnancy and postpartum. If you know someone expecting, definitely check out this book.
Gillerman, Hope, Essential Oils Every Day: Rituals and Remedies for Healing, Happiness, and Beauty (HarperCollins, 2016)
Essential Oils Every Day is new to me, acquired from my local bookstore (Powell’s). I am enjoying learning through this very different resource than I have previously acquired. She goes through different oils offering various blends and use ideas with some wisdom along the way on how to generally use essential oils.
Lawless, Julie, The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential Oils: The Complete Guide to the Use of Oils in Aromatherapy and Herbalism (Element Books, 1995)
I purchased this book at my local bookstore (Powell’s) while acquiring a few others. I chose to get this older version, Julia had a newer version, because I wanted to show that the way we talk about essential oils has a few decades of history under its belt. This book, this encyclopedia has beautiful drawings and images of the oils and their respective plants. She offers good summaries of a variety of oils and interesting ways to use them.
Mangandog, Desiree, LAc, MSTOM, I Am Fabulous: Blends for Emotional Well-Being (Bear Nature, LLC / DNA Essentials Inc., 2017)
Are you stuck? Feeling down? Hoping to get more magic in your life? Desiree, a student of Chinese medicine for over 13 years, has compiled this book of blends to address a myriad of emotions we experience daily. Check out her protocols and blends. For more information, see all her offerings at www.desireemangandog.com.
Modern Essentials: a Contemporary Guide to the Therapeutic Use of Essential Oils, 7th Edition (AromaTools, 2015)
This was my first essential oil book purchase. I was drawn to its amazing summary of oil history, how they are produced and tested, and its beautiful index of issues, wonderfully cross-referenced. In between, the publishers go through all the oils I use starting with singles and then blends. This is by far my favorite book as an all-in-one reference for the oils I use daily, some background on their chemical makeup, and some amazing insights on how the oils can support my physical and emotional health.
Schnaubelt, Kurt, PhD, The Healing Intelligence of Essential Oils: The Science of Advanced Aromatherapy (Healing Arts Press, 2011)
This was my first purchase outside my oil community. This book does a great job of explaining why I’m okay with using oils internally, topically (and neat sometimes), and aromatically. Dr. Schnaubelt breaks up his book in sections where he discusses understanding the language of plants, exploring authentic essential oils, and healing with essential oils. The latter portion is great if you’re looking for general protocols and guidance.
The Essential Life: A Simple Guide to Living the Wellness Lifestyle, 2nd Edition (Total Wellness Publishing, 2015)
Total Wellness Publishing launched their first edition in 2014 or early 2015. I gave that copy away! This is an amazing compliment to the Modern Essentials book and offers more for those more motivated by beautiful pictures. This book breaks down oil use by body system and offers a lot of uses for around the house. It is an amazing resource and one of my go-tos as I conduct this “a year of oils” campaign.
Worwood, Valerie Ann, The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy, 25th Anniversary Edition (New World Library, 2016)
I picked up this resource to engage more third-party ideas of how to use oils. I wanted another voice to explain different ways of diluting, different use, and get a sense of oils not in my collection. I have not been disappointed. Valerie does an incredible comprehensive job of detailing all the many ways we can use essential oils and offering many blends and protocols for anything you could think of.
Monday night initiated the 2018 Empowered Life series. This event, unlike the others, was a paid event. We were blessed to hear the insights and knowledge of Desiree Mangandog. This was the first time I saw her live, though I finally acquired her book during the 2017 Convention.
Desiree has quite the loving, inspired reputation among my essential oil community. She is known to assess the energy of a room, immediately. As such, I loved how she started this “Healers Workshop” with diving right into our auric field.
Desiree walked us through various ways to shore up our boundaries, in a healthful, managed way, while being open to creating our own loving tribe just for us. All the while sprinkling in her wisdom gleaned from years of study.
She walked us through managing our auric field to learning about the energy hooks we receive and leave on those we encounter. We did a beautiful exercise of removing those energy hooks, repairing the cracks, and reinforcing our boundaries. We left with a three-week protocol to establish our boundary so we can share our gifts and love with the world. I applied this blend of petitgrain and melaleuca multiple times Tuesday.
In teaching us how to clear things – she went through the thinking that we need to 1) clear out the bad, 2) be open to the good, and 3) harmonize. The last piece, she repeated, often, was essential to support good rhythmic flow.
Desiree walked us through how the ego affects us. I loved that we spent a little bit of time here discussing symptoms to look for when the ego is bruised, such as: worrying about our bodies, time, or what’s going on around us (environment). She encouraged us to be mission-centered, believing in and staying connected with the divine (infinite love, wisdom, gifts). Previously when she presented here, she stopped addressing source as God because she sensed the attendees weren’t open to it. Monday, she simply said, “I don’t work that way, and I don’t understand that thinking.” I was endeared how she called the elephant out with her beliefs and how they might conflict with those in the room.
We also spent time removing limitations, though she cautioned we may have a tough time on Tuesday. I did do this protocol during the event, so was sure to apply helichrysum multiple times to offset any challenges. While discussing limitations, she brought up a common oil use of wild orange. We oilers often cling to its emotional properties, the oil of abundance. She cautioned us though – if we are submerged in limitations when we use wild orange, we may be inviting an abundance of limitations. So, clear your limitations first, then use your wild orange for abundance.
So many blends, and so many protocols for getting in touch with the divine, clearing residual energies, listening to our hearts, and more. This workshop was well worth the $30 (ish) price tag. (The event time/location is usually free). We walked away with so much information. After I finish checking over this post, I’ll be making my own labels to get my stash of rollers ready for when I need them.
In anything, especially network marketing, when you are a part of a thing, you are often a part of a larger thing. The larger essential oil community I belong to hosts monthly events in downtown Portland. On the third Monday of the month, we have free education to help us all learn more about essential oils. The 2018 topics and dates are set, and I am so excited. These events get better and better every year! Let’s live this empowered life, together!
I Am Empowered: A Healer’s Workshop
Desiree Manandog, MS
Natural Solutions for Empowered, Healthy Living
Aisha Harley & Josie Schmidt, ND
Taming the Tiger: The Trinity of Frankincense, Copaiba, Siberian Fir
Josie Schmidt, ND; Will Wan, MSOM, LAc; Micaela Coria-Carew, ND, LAc
Home Detox: Simple, Healthy Home & Personal Care Solutions
Stephanie king, BS, Exercise Science, Personal Trainer
Microbiome & Gut Health
Rachel Hess, LMT, ND
Cancer: Integrative Care for the Body, Mind & Soul
JoDee M Anderson, MD, MEd; Elizabeth McElligott, ND
Addiction & Recovery
Oils for Healing Trauma: From Stress to PTSD
Louise Rose, ND
Unlocking the Mighty Mitochondria: Enhancing Brain Health & Function
Jennifer Tufenkian, ND