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Post Event Recap

For the fourth year in a row, I have sold my wares at the Essential Wellness Holiday Bazaar. This bazaar caters to the essential oil community, which proves a pretty good platform to sell my essential oil holders. In other venues, people tend to scratch their heads. 

With all that was sold, we only have 15 oil holders left in stock. Here’s my plan: once those are sold out a redesign will happen. My husband and I have been crafting and creating these together for four years now. And, it is time that I learn the tools of the trade and bring them to you myself. I’ll still retain him for the heavy lifting, teaching, and quality control, but we need to shift our work structure. So, buy up those last remaining oil holders, because once they are gone, they won’t be recreated exactly like that. 

I also unveiled print versions of my “Leave ’em” cards. They have been for sale in my shop as a download for the better part of this last year. Some are clean, some have some vulgar language. The idea is that you get to spread a little joy to someone who you think needs it. All you do is leave them a card with the message you choose. I have some stock leftover last night, so the new cards will be $1 each, stacks of 8 are $7, and the downloads are still just $5. 

Finally, I showcased my brand new 2019 Celestial Planner. I am really excited about this workbook, and I think you will be too. If you are interested in aligning your life in flow with the moon, this workbook is for you. Follow the moon through the signs, use the guided phase-based journal prompts, and take note throughout the month, ending with reflective questions every month. I believe this tool will give you space to completely uplevel in this next year. An introductory price of $18 for a print copy and $15 for your digital download. Get yours today! 

Once you’ve downloaded your planner and your inventory, be sure to set aside 36 minutes and fill out the inventory with my guided video where I walk you through all 12 aspects of the circle. 

Download the inventory, block the time, and follow along! 
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Reframe the Behavior

“Kids do well if they can,” Dr. Ross Greene

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. 

Toolkit: https://self-reg.ca/toolkit2017/

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Your Kids’ Pajamas

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. 

Some References for You

  • Children’s Sleepwear Regulations: https://www.cpsc.gov/Business–Manufacturing/Business-Education/Business-Guidance/Childrens-Sleepwear-Regulations
  • 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

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Crowdsource Our Candidates

Do you know who you will vote for in the midterm elections? The voter pamphlet will come out next week if you are in Oregon. Let’s get a jump on our candidates, the issues, and what various stances on the subjects are. 

Help me fill out this Google Sheet of Oregon Candidates. Together, we can help each other make informed choices when it comes to those who should be representing us in office. 

For a list of the issues, check out this sheet

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Not Blacking Out

I received a few requests by Facebook messenger last night to “black out” my profile. The last one I received was just a few weeks prior, and before that maybe a year. The thinking is that women, in solidarity, will simply black out their profile picture to show “men” what a world without women is like. 

I paused considering – first – where did this come from? Second, how many men on my friends list actually scroll through their friends’ list on any given day, and would they notice all the little black squares? I am not convinced… (Another thought on blackout days.)

So, what I chose to do instead was post an address to Dr. Christine Blasey Ford that another friend posted. I figured a few of my like-minded women friends would appreciate the suggestion to act in a positive way. 

What I got was a triggering post, escalated by two family members staunch in beliefs friends and I have moved beyond, in conjunction with our own healing. And, those friends called out the staunch beliefs in polite and impolite ways – expressing anger, rage, frustration, and general fed-upness. 

So, why would any of this be triggering? Because we live in a rape culture. Triggering, maybe? Maybe. Consider this. A rape culture is defined as “a society or environment whose prevailing social attitudes have the effect of normalizing or trivializing sexual assault and abuse.” Consider this, when men come forward, 30 years after sexual abuse by a priest has been committed, they are considered brave. (*Caveat, more than 20 years ago, I recognize this wasn’t the case.) When women come forward that they were raped, abused, or any other sexual act done onto them without consent, they are called liars.

Do you see the double standard? 

Here are more examples. These came from Southern Connecticut State University.

  • Blaming the victim (“She asked for it!”)
  • Trivializing sexual assault (“Boys will be boys!”)
  • Sexually explicit jokes
  • Tolerance of sexual harassment
  • Inflating false rape report statistics
  • Publicly scrutinizing a victim’s dress, mental state, motives, and history
  • Gratuitous gendered violence in movies and television (see Molly Ringwald’s take on Sixteen Candles)
  • Defining “manhood” as dominant and sexually aggressive
  • Defining “womanhood” as submissive and sexually passive
  • Pressure on men to “score”
  • Pressure on women to not appear “cold”
  • Assuming only promiscuous women get raped
  • Assuming that men don’t get raped or that only “weak” men get raped
  • Refusing to take rape accusations seriously
  • Teaching women to avoid getting raped

How can we move beyond a Rape Culture then? Let’s try two simple steps.

  1. Believe victims – I know we selectively honor “guilty until proven innocent”, and yes, the proof is important, AND we need to stop making the perpetrator the victim. Believe the women and men, and find corroborating evidence. 
  2. Teach and honor consent – stop making our kids hug and kiss relatives, honor how people want to be touched, and respect it. (Teach Consent breaks it down as: ask, listen, respect. They have a lot of great tools on their website.)

So, I’m not blacking out today. Today, I am going to say to you, “Stand up. Speak your truth. And, don’t back down.” Now, pardon me, I have to write my thank you note to Dr. Christine Blasey Ford for doing the same. 

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Statistical Ramblings

“82% of women who earn over 100,000 dollars per year do it through a home-based business.” 

Friends returned from a network marketing conference, and they shared this ideal statistic. I love how sexy it sounds, and believable. I imagine corporate boardrooms, and I’ve seen a few, where the attendees are dominated by men. Women, while rising in the ranks, are still outnumbered. I don’t need a statistic to back up what I had perceived. 

As a mother, I found working the traditional 9-5 job very stressful. Not only was the job stressful with shifting management and culture, but the simple going to work and going home, with dropping off the kiddo and picking him up, added in ordinate amounts of stress. I know many moms who work crappy part-time jobs or defer to the home-based business to bring in extra money for their family or for themselves, one reason is to avoid all that stress! That is, a crappy part-time job is better than the commute, and fighting to have to be home for your kids.

So, when I was told this statistic a few months ago, I just believed it. Of course 80%+ of all those making six figures would be in a home based business. It just made logical sense. 

Except, there is one problem. I can’t recreate the statistic. I found a LinkedIn blog post (I am not calling it an article as an article suggests an editorial review) that sourced a quack “doctor” as the source. Near the end of the post, the author had many sources, but none tied directly to the statistic referenced. She did mention the Direct Selling Association and the Census.

So, I checked out both. 

Both have an amazing array of posters, statistics, and information collected. But, I could not pair down the occupations on the Census website to list “direct sales”, “home based”, or even “network marketing”. The closest I got was finding the sector choice between employed by other and self-employed. The interesting statistic here is that women outpace men in self-employment, by 200% with 1.4 million women claiming this sector. I also found that in 2016, Just over 6.6 million women made over 100,000 per year. Though, nothing tied the two together. 

I am ranting on this statistic because I am sad that the event organizer didn’t ask his attendees to fact-check their speeches. I am sad that my friends didn’t fact check it before sharing it with me. I’m sad it took me so long to fact check it! In an age of fake news and disillusionment, we owe it to ourselves to be vigilant in our constructive thinking. 

I will end with a toast to all the self-employed women out there keeping it real, doing their own thing, making their dreams come true. And, if they are a mother or mentor on top of that, cheers to modeling behavior for the next generation of people. 

Resources

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Daily Writing: A Summer Day

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. 

Sign up for my bi-weekly newsletter, and I will send a gift to you - my balance tips!

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. 

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Election Review

I first voted in 1996. For the 2000 election, I wanted to create a chart that described the candidates, so there was an easy comparison. At the time AOL Time Warner had done one that was pretty good, along with a few others. (Must’ve been a collective consciousness to inform the electorate.) There was talk, constantly, of the lesser of two evils. 

In 2004, after the second presidential election I participated in was decided by the courts (remember the Florida Chads?), we had another narrow battle of donkey vs elephant. In 2008, the margin wasn’t as slim, but the vitriol spewed took a bent not quite heard in some time. (See 270towin for past election details.) No longer were the candidates simply white males. Now, we had white women and a black man participating, and the tones changed. Threats cut deeper and more below the belt. We continued to showcase our lack of civility and our desire to … just get nasty. 

In 2012, the first black president won again, and then in 2016, the country seemingly revolted. Or, the Russians interfered and manipulated our populace. (You did see how if you’re liberal, you saw one Facebook feed, and if you were more conservative, you saw another, right?) Regardless of the reason, we have a need to be more aware of what’s going on around us, raise our critical questions, and talk civilly to our neighbors about the issues that are important to us. We have to learn how to hold disagreements. We have to learn to hear when people are “advocating at the top of [their] lungs that which [we] would spend a lifetime opposing at the top of [ours]” (The American President, 1995). 

Well, this year, we have midterm elections, on top of necessary local politics. As a citizen of this country, it is YOUR job to stay informed of issues that dictate your life. You don’t stay informed? You should lose your right to complain. Did you know that typically, since I began voting in 1996, about half of all eligible Americans vote? In 1996, it was a whopping 49% (down from the previous year). In 2016, it had risen to 55%. Only HALF. Half of all people who can exercise their civic duty and makes a choice for this country actually do so. It doesn’t matter to me that we have 200,000 registered, a stunning landmark for sure. We are still only exciting around 50% across the whole nation to exercise their civic duty. This is a problem. Especially since voter turnout is usually higher in presidential elections. And, it’s the small elections that matter a lot. 

Your mayors, commissioners, and county boards decide your immediate life. Your states dictate how your schools will run and how your roads will be updated. They set the tone for your immediate culture, what is important to you. At the national level, we should be choosing those we feel best to represent all the best we have to offer. 

Now, the trick is, we need people to run for office that we can feel passionate about choosing. So often, since I started voting in 1996, those around me complain more and more about terrible choices and the lesser of two evils. You don’t like the choices? Then YOU should run for office. If you are a Democratic woman, connect with your local Emerge branch and they will even TRAIN you to run for office. 

If we learned ANYTHING from the last election is that WE have been too complacent. We have been sitting on our laurels NOT talking about the things important to us, and we are now, I daresay, represented by a fool. A fool we collectively chose, no matter who you voted for. Because I guarantee there were many you didn’t talk about politics to, because they were too controversial and you didn’t want to raise a fuss. I am a part of that you, as well. There are many family members and friends I dared not talk politics for fear of injury or misunderstanding.

This is one of the reasons I started my listening campaign. Check it out if you want to learn more.

I will leave you, though, with this tool. The New York Times has put together a comprehensive map of which electoral voting precincts voted in which way. (The only thing that would make this map better is if it were distorted for the population.) 

I’m not sure how I will continue to write about politics, but it is becoming quite clear to me at the time of this writing that this is something I must do. So, stay tuned. Be a part of the conversation. Host a dinner party. But, above all, hold your tongue when someone says something you disagree with and really try to hear what they are saying. I promise you there is a kernel of truth there that is important. And, if you don’t even try to find that kernel of truth, we will have another shit election like the last 20 years of elections I’ve participated in. Let’s change this. We have it in our power to do so. 

Deconstructing Privi​leg​e

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. 

What Mr. Huber is missing is that he has lived on the top of privilege his whole life. What he is seeing is all people are created equal with unalienable rights coming to claim their rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. And, that means the white, property-owning male has to share the stage. 

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Astrology, Essential Oils, and Minerals

Sunday, my friend Marjan and I held a class in her home. The topic: astrology, essential oils, and minerals. Let’s back up a little bit… 

I have been interested in astrology pretty much my whole life. Knowing my sun sign is in Pisces, I’ve read, often, that I’m drawn to mysticism, and drawn I am. I actually believe that all beliefs hold truth, and our job is to in part make sense of it for us. There are lessons for us to learn. 

Many years separated my seeking out of astrology knowledge, however, until a friend found an astrologer she resonated with. And, I found myself clamoring back on the bandwagon. I have so loved this journey of planning in tune with the celestial bodies around us. It adds a dimension of connectedness to my world that I really cannot get enough of. 

That same friend said, “Michelle, you should pair astrology with oils.” I flat out said, “No.” Why? Because it’s too complicated. You can’t distill an oil for a person based on their sign. Each person’s astrological markup is as unique as their fingerprint. So, it would be doing a disservice to someone to say that they should use Lavender because they are Gemini and must like to communicate. 

I did, however, put it on my to-do list – for next year. 

Then, we went on vacation. And, we did all the vacation things. Which for me, it meant that I let my scheduled things go on social media. Engage in some soft touches with people regards to all the things I do. But, mostly, it was me trying to be present on vacation, something I think too few of us actually do (practice mindfulness). 

And, then, I got a text from Marjan – will you help do an essential oil and astrology class. I can’t figure out the oils, she said, but I can do the minerals. And, she fumbled through my schedule, which for some reason didn’t work the way it was supposed to, and picked a day one week from the text where I actually had other plans. Suddenly, we were doing this in sort of one of the most inconvenient ways possible! (Not really, but it wasn’t the scheduled flow I had “planned”.) 

So, we did it. I jump started my research. I got some inspiration. And, we packed about 20 lovely women in her little living room to discuss astrology, essential oils, and minerals. And, I finally made my blend. 

Because astrology is complex, quite simply there are a lot of influences at work, I decided to find a list of oils for each sign that would support the lighter qualities of that sign. Then, I thought we could build blends based on our sun, rising, and moon signs. So, this is what I had to choose from for me. 

I am a sun Pisces, Aries rising, with my moon in Libra. 

Pisces

Lighter attribute and keywords

Sympathy, compassion, universality, intuitiveness, inspiration, renunciation, sacrifice

Suggested oils

Passion, Lavender, Sandalwood, Patchouli, Rose

Aries

Lighter attribute and keywords

Leadership, self-esteem, initiative, activity, pioneering, ambition, enterprise, courageous, energetic, impulsive, optimistic, egotistical, innovative, original, strong drive, leader, enthusiastic, extroverted, competitive, self-reliant, self-assured

Suggested oils

Cassia, Bergamot, Jasmine, Slim & Sassy, Black Pepper, Frankincense, Lemon, Rosemary, Marjoram

Libra

Lighter attribute and keywords

Affability, balance, harmony, companionship, charm, social grace, justice, courtesy, hopefulness, artistic ability, attractiveness, fairness

Suggested oils

Balance, Basil, Bergamot, Black Pepper, Frankincense, Melissa

My Process

So, when I went to make mine, which I had preloaded with minerals (Citrine, Tourmaline, Turquoise, Amethyst, and Aquamarine), I pulled out the oils for each sign I resonated with. I think I started with: Bergamot, Jasmine, Black Pepper, Frankincense, Basil, Melissa, Lavender, Sandalwood, and Patchouli. There was some doubling up of my chosen oils, for example, both Libra and Aries had Black Pepper as a choice.

Whenever I make an oil blend, at this point, I am largely guided by my intuition. What do I think would smell good? What do I want to feel? And, then I choose one, ask those questions again, and add, “What would go well with what I already have?” And, I proceed until I am done. And, I always hope I don’t overdo it. This is what I came up with: 

  • 33 drops Sandalwood
  • 5 drops Bergamot
  • 2 drops Black Pepper
  • 2 drops Melissa
  • 2 drops Basil
  • 10 drops Lavender
  • Filled the 10ml roller bottle with fractionated coconut oil and sweet almond oil 

Want to learn more about how I did this? Let’s connect in person and chat. 

Schedule Appointment