Posted on

Start with Women

Packed train from the 2017 Women’s March

Go green. Sustainability. Stable state system. Equitable. Environmentally friendly. So many buzz words, what does it all mean? It means our world is aching, we have sores all over the place, and we are crying for healing. I believe for that healing to work, we must start with women.

Why

First, why do we care? Why do we care about “going green” and sustainability and all of this? I care because I care about being a good steward. As a mother, I wouldn’t leave my house littered with broken glass, toxic smelling things, and donuts all over the house. If I did this, my family would have cut feet, be unable to breathe, and die of heart related diseases. I wouldn’t be responsible for my son or be healthfully supporting my husband. And, I certainly wouldn’t be helping myself.

I define sustainability around the “triple bottom line”. That is, we balance three things in equilibrium. We balance people, planet, and profits. Another way to word this is economy (profits), environment (planet or place), and equity (people) are balanced together. They are all a part of a three-legged stool, and if one leg is shorter than another, the whole thing falls over. If one of these factors is out of balance, our balance sheet doesn’t balance.

I’ve written about this before. And, I will write about this again. Until we have achieved sustainability in a majority of countries, we will still need to hear this message.

Every time I write about sustainability, I peel back more layers. When my aunt gave me the book 50 Ways You Can Save the Planet I was introduced to the environmental layer of measuring the health of our world. When carbon offsets were introduced, it was a market based approach to merge both the environmental and economic layers of sustainability for business. This allowed companies to take another stab at showing up as responsible to our world. And, when we mention things like equal pay we are introducing the layer of equity, or people, in one attempt to balance the people portion of the balance sheet.

Women are the Canary

I will argue that we need to look at women as the canary in the coal mine. This should be our current litmus test on whether or not we are on the road to sustainability. And, we owe it to ourselves and future generations to be on the road to sustainability.

It’s 2018, and though the wage gap is closing (by how much depends on the resource you use), in many cases, the gap is still about 20%. That is, women still make about 80% of what men make, and yes, in the same industry. So, women are not equal when it comes to monetary possessions, or economy.

So, with less money, women age, and then outlive their partners. With less money, they are more at risk to be in poverty. Aging, is already rife with challenges. Add the burden of fewer resources, and I have to question, are we setting women up for success as they age? We can and should do better as a wealthy society, ensuring those who have “paid” into systems are taken care of regardless if they outlive partners.

When we are connected, when our social capital is high, we have less disease, less depression, and longer lives. Robert Putnam, in his 1995 (reprint 2000) book Bowling Alone described our decline in social capital, in detail. And he noted how it’s related to many of our noted ills in society. A follow-up book, Better Together, breaks down how we are better together. While all relationships and social networks can benefit from higher social capital, I believe women being more connected have a cornerstone importance to change our society to a more sustainable world.

Connect Women First

We need to connect women first. Reconnect women to each other, and then I believe we will have a ripple effect of connectedness across gender, age, and social class.

Relearn Basics

To start this, we need to reconnect with the basics. We need to relearn how to truly listen. We need to get back in touch with that which brings us joy. And, we need to lead with love.

Listen

Steven Covey said that people often listen with the intent to respond. That is, in conversation, we aren’t truly listening. We aren’t practicing empathy – truly joining someone in their emotional journey, the kind of support we really need. We might be sympathetic, noting their emotion, but then we follow it up with advice. Brené Brown talks about this is a short empathy video, where she reminds us that sympathy usually starts with “at least…”

Truly listening means sitting with someone withholding judgement, truly trying to hear their story, to understand, and join them on their emotional journey.

Live in Joy

Another key point I believe women need to focus on is living in intention, and specifically in joy. I will speak from a women approaching 40, 10+ years a mother, and 10+ years a wife. This is my lens.

It was so easy to get into the role of get up, make the bed, get the food, clean the things, and do it all over again once my son was born. Caring for an infant, and then a toddler, and then a school aged child, routines became set. That routine lead itself to forgetting, where self-forgetting became easy. Forgetting my self-care for others’ care became easy. There was (is) always something else to do. Then, one day, in a mini-retreat, I made a joy list. I compared that joy list to the things I was doing every day. The two were wildly different. I made the commitment to myself to live more in intentions that brought me joy. Doing so, I was more easily able to show up with joy for myself, and then for those I care for. Namely, my husband, and my son.

Live in Love

Now that we are living in joy and truly know how to listen, our next ask is to show up with love. We are listening to our sisters, we understand their stories better, and now we can show up with deeper empathy and compassion to truly walk with them in their path. All these steps will build our social capital. Build our connections to each other. Bring us closer together.

Share with others

By bringing us closer together, sharing this vision with others, because we want to. I do believe we need to, but let’s do this because we want to. When we come together from a place of healing, we will create a stronger fabric of social capital among each other. When we have that strong fabric, knit together, we will better be able to solve the problems the world has thrown at us.

Call to Action

I am calling for a rise of the feminine. Let us come together, do this together. Be together. Truly, we are better together, and together we can do so much.

Resources

Better Together, by Robert D. Putnam & Lewis M. Feldstein, 2003

Bowling Alone, by Robert D. Putnam, 2000

Empathy Animation, voice by Brené Brown, 2013, https://youtu.be/1Evwgu369Jw

Gap between men’s and women’s life expectancy no longer closing, data suggests, Sep 27, 2017, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/09/27/gap-mens-womens-life-expectancy-no-longer-closing-data-suggests/

Gender Disparities in Health and Mortality, 2007, http://www.prb.org/Publications/Articles/2007/genderdispa9e5b7bddc5c

Gender wage gap just shrank for the first time in a decade, the, Sep 15, 2017, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2017/09/15/the-gender-wage-gap-just-shrank-for-the-first-time-in-a-decade/?utm_term=.a9e5b7bddc5c

In which countries do women outlive men by more than a decade?, May 20, 2016, https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2016/05/countries-where-women-outlive-meowed-spouses

Life Expectancy at Birth (in years), by Gender, 2009, https://www.kff.org/other/state-indicator/life-expectancy-by-gender/?currentTimeframe=0&sortModel=%7B%22colId%22:%22Location%22,%22sort%22:%22asc%22%7D

Narrowing, but persistent, gender gap in pay, the, April 3, 2017, http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/04/03/gender-pay-gap-facts/

Simple Truth about the Gender Pay Gap, the, 2016, https://www.aauw.org/research/the-simple-truth-about-the-gender-pay-gap/

Social Security for Widowed Spouses in Retirement, https://www.nasi.org/learn/socialsecurity/widowed-spouses

Why is life expectancy longer for women than it is for men?, https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/why-is-life-ex-of-marriage/

Women, Men and the New Economics of Marriage, Jan 19, 2010, http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2010/01/19/women-men-and-the-new-economics-of-marriage/

SaveSave

SaveSave

Posted on

Tips on Being Green: Start with Waste Reduction

We need new system design.

Sustainability has been important to me as long as I can remember. I started the journey when I was young, with a book my Aunt sent my family: 50 Ways You Can Save the Planet. Until then, I had no idea the planet needed saving. Since, I’ve paired down that focusing on educating people about the environment is one of the reasons I’m here, on this planet.

Why

Why do we need to educate ourselves on the environment? Because in our hurried society, we are so busy taking care of basic needs that we either forgot, we’re not taught, or a combination, of all the things that we need. The rampant fires, the rising waters, the continued pollution are all reasons why we need more environmental education.

Handily, a friend, in the food buying club world, asked for recent resources on how to do green. Thinking about this, I realized that I don’t turn to too many outside sources anymore.

While it’s good to stay up to date on recent bloggers, I have found that following a few basic principles are more key to living a green life.

And, funny enough, I got on this topic with my husband the other day. Husband never really understood why I preach a green, organic life. In a fit, I expressed, exasperatedly, it comes down to keeping our basic life resources clean so that our kids and their kids can drink from the tap without fear of contamination. So our kids and their kids can walk outside without a gas mask because the air is so polluted. So our kids and their kids can use the earth without fear it’s so contaminated with pollutants they cannot grow healthy food.

Whole Life

The bottom line it’s about a whole life thinking. Thinking in terms of what we need every day and shaping our health around that.

Systems Thinking

It is a simple systems concept, from start to finish. If we reduce the amount of things we take in, we will reduce our output.

Reduce Input

So, what does that mean in the day-to-day? Let’s take a look at the kitchen. In the kitchen we prepare food, we cook food, we consume food, we clean containers that helped with the whole thing, and we store all the unfinished bits. When we reduce our input, we are using reusable containers, for one. When we wash our dishes, we are using chemical-free agents to do our cleaning, so we reduce our input of more chemicals in the ground and through the water filtration process. When we reduce our input into systems, we are reducing our waste. So, we are recycling and composting as much as we can, based on where we live.

Reduce output

A natural consequence of reducing our input will be reducing our output. When we use durable plates and silverware, we simply don’t have to throw away as much. When we use reusable containers for our food waste, we aren’t throwing away plastic bags that held a sandwich. When we buy in bulk, we also have less packaging to throw away or recycle. Coming from this aspect, once you start picking away, one at a time, places where you used to throw something away and you’ve replaced it with a durable good, you’ve already started reducing your waste footprint on the world, and you’ve started being more sustainable.

Whole Foods

A huge place this waste is found is in food. Have you noticed how much packaging it takes to get our food? I’ve seen Kiwis in plastic clam shell containers, not to mention everything on the inside aisles of a grocery store.

An easy way to reduce the amount of output you have is to eat whole foods. Buy apples instead of applesauce. Buy fresh corn instead of canned. Buy heads of lettuce instead of lettuce in tubs. Learn to make your own food with whole ingredients instead of buying cans of soup, sauce, and everything in between. Even if you just pick one thing, you will have begun the waste reduction towards a more sustainable world.

I’m not typically a fan of fad diets, but we have found where they have shifted us into better health after letting go of foods that aggravate sensitivities. A few years ago, we began eating in the “Whole 30” way. Basically, we eat a chunk of meat surrounded by vegetables. Whole 30 advocates argue that the added chemicals to our food is making us sick, so eliminate those, and you’ll feel better. Whether you’re eating paleo, keto, or a vegetarian diet – generally speaking, you’ll be eating more whole foods. Whole fruits, whole vegetables, not preprocessed in some plant. The more you get into these diets, you may find yourself making your own broth, roasting whole chickens, and tending after your own hens to get your own eggs out of your own backyard. All of these steps will simply reduce waste in your home. The bonus being, you’ll eat better too!

New System Design

Another important aspect to sustainability is design. Running on carbon stealing, over built, waste inducing design will not solve our world’s problems.

You can never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.

~ Buckminster Fuller

We need a new way of thinking about things. Paying attention to new technologies (new ways of designing buildings), participating in politics to update codes (seriously, why is greywater illegal?), and buying the new technologies as you can afford it (can’t wait to get my Tesla!). All these things will help move us towards a greener world.

What Will You Do?

So, the next question is – what will you do? First, assess where you are.

My favorite assessment is “My Footprint”. It’s gotten a facelift since the last time I took it, and it’s still quite informative. Full disclosure – here’s the link to my results: http://myfootprint.org/en/your_results/?id=3357605. On my family’s lifestyle, it would take 3.08 earths to sustain us. While this is much lower than the country’s average, seriously 3.08 earths? I only know of one we can access, today.

Try both of these quizzes. My Footprint is great for adults and covers a range of systems that keep us going (http://myfootprint.org), and this Scholastic quiz (for kids) breaks down kid-friendly ways to reduce your impact (http://www.scholastic.com/downtoearth/quiz/howgreenareyou/).

Now that you’ve assessed how green you are, what is an easy first step you can take? Where will you reduce your impact? What change do you want to see? Please share your quiz results in the comments below!

Posted on

One Year Bullet Journaling, a Reflection

Here’s an example of typical planning: bullet journal, essential oils, computer.

One year and 12 days ago, I decided to drop my current planning, return my not-yet received Moleskine annual planner, and dive into the Bullet Journaling system. And, now I won’t look back. The Bullet Journal system is the most inclusive, most flexible, most straightforward way of organizing my life that I have ever used. And, it’s just an idea of how to organize in lists. Thank you Ryder Carroll.

From left: an Escher inspired planner, We’Moon 2005, We’Moon 2006, and for 2006-2007 a $3 academic planner. The latter got me through my wedding and pregnancy!

I have planned things in planners since high school, my first planners being At-a-Glance day planners from the local grocery store, knock offs of Franklin Covey’s system. I later used prettier things with thicker pages, or things that integrated art and moon signs. Eventually, I just dropped into Franklin Covey’s entire system. I used that system for almost ten years, spending around $100 every year updating calendar pages, purchasing new covers (the clearance synthetics I purchased never last longer than a year), rulers, plastic carrying cases, and more. And, then, life shifted.

The largest collection of Franklin Covey planners and various binders used through the years.
Franklin Covey, 2012-2016

I was fired because I questioned my boss on her choices, regularly. And, my wavering self-confidence faltered even more. Every time I looked at the Franklin Covey planners, it reminded me of plans I didn’t have, work I didn’t have, confidence I didn’t have. So, I needed to make a change.

First, I used the Passion Planner. And, then, after six months, I abandoned it. There were many things I liked about the system (size, story, goal focus), but I didn’t stick with it. I had heard good things about Moleskine, so rashly, I purchased their annual diary for $24 and had it shipped to my door. My husband’s review regularity piqued at the back of my mind, so I did a quick search: compare Moleskine’s Calendar to Passion Planner.

What I got was Kara Benz’s review of the Leuchtturm dot grid journal compared to the Moleskine. Immediately, I was struck by her efficient review that hit all the things important to me: how does the paper feel, how does it open up, what’s included in the packaging, and (most importantly) how does the pen react to the paper. She described ghosting, not bleeding, she explained, briefly, her favorite pens used. And, she gave a nod to the bullet journal system. “The bullet what?” I thought. And, I was off on a Google search web that I hadn’t experienced in a very long time.

Ryder’s video didn’t quite cut it for me, but Buzz Feed peeled back more layers, and I was sold.

From left: former sketchbook, current sketchbook, sketchbook journals, and then bullet journals, ending with “regular” journals on the right.

Before I tried to find this Leuchtturm journal, I decided to use what I have. I had some inexpensive sketch journals, purchased several years before, that were blank and awaiting their next use. I finished one journal in two days, and started fresh. This 8.5×5.5 sized journal only lasted two months. This wasn’t going to do, perusing the newly opened art store in my neighborhood, I was shocked to find the Leuchtturm journals, on display, in the front window! I didn’t have to wait for shipping! The beautiful dot grid system, the slight organization (index and page numbers), and the free-flowing pages awaiting whatever I wanted to put on them… I was sold, again. That journal only lasted three months. How could I use a 249 page journal in three months? The next one lasted almost five months, but I didn’t keep up with it like I desired during our summer vacation. And, at that point, I knew I was tired of transferring collections. Luckily, Queen Bee Creations had just created a Traveler’s Notebook that fit my Leuchtturm, and my system is now complete. For the time being.

This is how I Bullet Journal:

  • Monthly Log – gridded that separates into important notes, all day events, morning, afternoon, and evening.
  • Weekly Log – I need a week at a glance to see how the pieces fit together.
  • Daily Logs – repeating and/or amending what was written on the weekly log. This piece is perhaps the most important to me. I do not write ahead very far because I have phone calls, classes, and meetings in which I take notes. And, I can take a lot of notes. One weekend seminar can yield 40 pages written in notes, with barely a thought.
  • Monthly Trackers – monthly goal setting, planning for events, and other general notes.

In a separate journal, I am holding my collections, I was quickly tired of rewriting them, these in depth things that needed to be added to, not rewritten. Some collections I have include:

  • Top 10 oil uses
  • Garden planning
  • NaNoWriMo tracking – from daily word counts to character sheets

I expect my “collection” journal to last a year or more, and in between I will use between 3-5 journals for daily planning.

What is your favorite way to manage your day?

SaveSaveSaveSave

Posted on

The Gadget Age

My preferred gadgets include my computer, my phone, my iPad, my journal, all the writing instruments, coffee, essential oils, and diffusers aplenty.

The year was 1995 or 1996, and I was taking a communications class in high school. We had the opportunity to use video editing equipment, we produced a morning news show, and we even had software that allowed us to make our own 3D graphics. We upgraded our gadgets from pencil and ink to computers.

Toy Story had come out just 6 or 7 years before. In 1994, Disney made waves with the ballroom, in the cartoon Beauty in the Beast, that was completely rendered with a computer. The “realistic” detail these 1s and 0s were able to employ were magical to watch. Some conversations questioned whether or not cartoonists would have jobs after this revolution came to its fruition. Schoolmates were wowing us by making a 3D ball rotate, getting the shadows rendered appropriately, and to uplevel their skills? They made a goblet, and they poured water out in a sharp-edged realm with no walls or floors. It felt like we were on the cusp of something amazing, and growing up with technology, our home computers, video games, computers controlling cars, it was all going to be amazing.

Today, I have the opportunity to coach people, primarily women, on their technology. I go into their homes, and I teach them how to use their computers, their phones, their tablets, and all the applications within, and show them how these things work together. Every single one of these women are smart, educated, and creative. They’ve led teams, taught students, they use technology to schedule and manage clients, and above all there is confusion. There is confusion, I believe, because none of these things really truly work together. We are making oodles of new gadgets every single day. Let’s stop calling them computer programs, web apps, or apps for our phones. Let’s stop calling these watches, computers, and phones even that – and let’s call them what they truly are: gadgets.

We have gadgeted the gadget, and we wonder why we are so confused with our technology. We have gadgets to check our spelling, to execute spelling, to put words to a form, to reshape those words, to take pictures, to edit the pictures, send the pictures, bookletize the pictures, we share all that, and in the sharing mediums there are similar gadgets to do all those things all over again. We hook them up wirelessly or with cords and we share things via airwaves or by email or messenger, and we never know which gadget is the right one at the time because we never have enough time to spend to get to know the now gadget when the next gadget comes out.

Technocrats idealize our technology, praising all these gadgets for making our lives easier. I am here to tell you, just like with the vacuum cleaner, our houses are no cleaner, our lives or no easier. In fact, I argue that we are even more confused. I have told people that in 1999 when I was working one of my first jobs, I listed 5 or so computer applications (ahem, I mean gadgets) on my resume. Now, I list well over 30.

Every job wants you to know their preferred database (ahem, I mean gadget) for use when there are hundreds to choose from. Every car goes through various upgrades of gadgets. Sometimes you even have to relearn how to start the car! Every computer software program goes through gadget upgrades that change where close buttons and print icons are. The older we get, the less well we handle that kind of small change, and the change only increases every year. Every year, we get more software engineers to design more software related gadgets, and the confusion only continues.

What do you think? Does this resonate with you? Are we at a stage where we’ve out-gadgeted ourselves? How do you cope with the alarming number of gadgets in your life? (I didn’t even mention kitchen gadgets or garage gadgets, which you could fairly add to this mix.)

Other Thinking on the Matter

http://switchandshift.com/stop-confusing-innovation-with-technology
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Information_Age
http://searchcio.techtarget.com/definition/Information-Age
Posted on

How to use the new dōTERRA Website

Did you know that dōTERRA has built a new interface for buying the oils we love? Though it’s pretty easy to log in, change can bring a tinge of confusion. So, I thought I’d do a quick rundown in case the confusion rests with you.

If you find yourself with this email:

Then, congratulations! You are on the new system. Your login has been simplified, though I appreciate it might take some getting used to.

First, bookmark www.doterra.com. Second, when you want to order your next favorite oil, all you do is go to dōTERA’s main website and click on the word “login” in the upper right-hand corner. Enter your Member ID and password. If you need help with either of these, and you’re on my team, contact me. Or, you can always call ((800) 411-8151) or email (service@doterra.com) dōTERRA Customer Service.

Next, you see the shop screen. You can edit your existing Loyalty Reward Purchases (LRP, our monthly auto-ship so you never miss your vitamins!).

Yes! I have three LRP orders right now. No, I don’t order all these things every month. Each “cart” serves as a placeholder for things I want (like an inventory check) or my monthly order. I touch these once or twice a month to make sure things are as they should be, but mostly I let them go until I am ready to buy my oils.

Just click “edit” on the order you want to change. The “quick add” box is below your existing items in your cart, now. The process buttons are on the right. Hopefully, you will enjoy the larger, cleaner interface.

I like to keep tabs of the points I have. If you do too, you’ll find that in “account profile”. You will notice that where the “login” link was, it has been replaced with your name and a down arrow. “Account profile” is one of the options to select, when you click on the down arrow.

That’s all there is to know about using the new system. Please contact me if you have any questions!

Happy ordering!

Posted on

PCOS and Me

I was (clinically) diagnosed a few years ago with Poly-cystic Ovarian Syndrome. I had been working to get a diagnosis for almost 20 years. Suddenly, the protocol changed, and I got the diagnosis I thought I wanted.

But what did it mean for my care? Nothing changed with my healthcare providers. I added it as a note to my medical record. We didn’t do any more tests. No further counseling, support, advice, was given. Okay, you have this diagnosis, it explains some things, have a great day.

All I knew is that my untested hormones were likely out of whack, and it could be used to explain some things I don’t like about myself. (Yes, Byron Katie, I’ll get to that work later.)

But what was I supposed to do with that information? Where were my hormones supposed to be? How does PCOS come into my life? Why do I have it? Should I care? What should I do about it?

When I got the diagnosis, I also had my oils. There are two blends for women that I immediately began using. They are known to support hormone regulation, and I had a supposed hormone disruption.

One of my oil team members recently found an expert on PCOS! So, I did the webinar, and then I was able to participate in an intro call. Sara, of Conceive with Joy, works with women affected by PCOS. Largely, she focuses on women who want to conceive. Yet, all women who need healing, she would be open to talking to, to see if she could support.

I couldn’t believe how much relief I got in a 45-minute call. Sara validated where healthcare has failed me. She validated that I deserve to have another way of living. She validated that there is hope on the other side.

We started with a meditation. There was no prompt, it just was. I applied melaleuca, and later told Sara I did so. Melaleuca is the oil of energetic boundaries. This helps me to keep healthy boundaries and open to hearing new things.  We practiced clear, deep breathing, taking intentional moments to make ourselves present to the call. Of course, social media, computers in general, and phones were all off or silenced. Across the land, we were connected. We expressed gratitude for both showing up, and we came back into awareness.

We talked about PCOS symptoms. We talked about the true test for knowing (get the testosterone checked!). We talked about things that I’ve experienced outside of PCOS that could be related. We talked about trauma, and how trauma can be something traumatic, or at the time it could be something mundane, not fully taking in how its affecting our every day. We talked about how memories are stored and where healing could happen.

Sara got her start as a doula, and she has been loving on women and healing women for close to ten years. She has the heart and compassion to lead women through a PCOS healing journey. I cannot wait until I can work with her.

Posted on

Life of Toxicity

Do you read my essential oil newsletter? In it, I talk a lot about removing toxins. I talk about removing toxins from our bodies, from our homes, and even suggest removing them from our minds (toxic energy). But, why? Let me take you on a journey, starting with lunch with a friend, recently.

We were talking about our respective businesses in health, and she started to ask me about how to make laundry less toxic, and what essential oils can be used. I had to pause and take a step back. The oils are awesome, helpful, and can do so many things, certainly, but we must step backward first.

  • What kind of clothing are you wearing? Synthetics? Natural fibers? Both?
  • What kind of detergent are you using? Dye-filled, additive-filled, or natural?
  • Are you using dryer sheets? Did you know they have carcinogenic effects? Have you tried wool dryer balls instead?
  • Have you considered washing natural fibers separate from synthetics, keeping like materials together?

After those things are remedied, then the use of essential oils is a great compliment. Sure, you can use the oils beforehand, but their effect will be greater once the toxic-daily-routine is minimized.

Now, let’s take a look at how my awareness was raised. I was in my early twenties, living at home with my sister and my parents. We were all working adults. And, one of my favorite things to do with my sister was spending our limited disposable income at fun stores at the mall. We’d then, after collecting our purchases, race home, as much as we were willing to speed. No one wanted a ticket! One of our favorite things to do was get peachy-smelling lotions from a favorite store in the mall. A store, that in their title, was named after being natural.

Once home, I’d bathe as I normally do, and, then, I would luxuriate in this sweet smelling lotion. Soon, I noticed that I had a rash over my entire body! Little red bumps that were so populous, my whole body looked red. The last time this happened was when I prayed to God to be allergic to the nasty penicillin I had to have, when 5 years old. I powered through though. I wanted that sweet smelling lotion on my body. I noticed that after a day or two of doing the same thing, the rash lessened. But, triggers were going off in my brain – this can’t be right! Shortly, I abandoned the sweet smelling lotion because I did not like giving myself a rash to smell good.

A few years later, I was diagnosed with eczema. The doctor wanted to make sure my career wasn’t beholden to daily chemical use, like a photographer who develops film, because that would put my skin in a constant state of stress. That was my introduction to sensitization. Once you have eczema, an autoimmune disorder that creates flaky, irritated skin, you don’t go back. You don’t undo eczema. You only manage the symptoms.

So, how do you manage the symptoms? You remove toxins from your daily life. For me, it began with body soap, lotion, shampoo, conditioner, and laundry soap. Getting as pure as possible meant abandoning the brands that were on the shelf, and only if desperate buying the “free and clear” varieties. Getting as pure as possible sometimes meant making my own things. Though, now, I prefer to pay someone to make soap. (Check out my friend Kristina’s soap! It’s only the basics.)

What I was (and still am) experiencing is a term called chemical sensitization. Chemical sensitization means the more exposed to a chemical you are, the more sensitive (or reactive) your body can be to it. I saw the same thing when my slow-to-potty-train son broke out in the same kind of rash after a night of soaked pull-ups. This led to an UNKNOWN diagnosis for his allergies, because he didn’t check positive for eczema. And, for some reason, we cannot do all the tests for all the chemicals. (We have been exposed to more than 80,000 chemicals and counting, and we do not understand the ramifications of all these things.)

We are living a life of toxicity. So many inputs, every single day, and we don’t know how they all interact. It was all these thoughts and more that surfaced when my friend asked how she should deal with her laundry. If you need a first step, pick a natural laundry soap. My favorite oil company makes one. My second favorite is by Biokleen.

What is one thing you can do today to remove toxins from your home?

Posted on

Everything in its perfect time

Selfie in front of the south end of the Salt Palace Convention Center. This place would be our second home for 5 days.

It is Monday, September 11. This is the 16-year “anniversary” of a terrorist attack on the United States when the World Trade Center came crumbling down after planes strategically smashed into it.

Today is also my first day back from an epic summer vacation and an amazing convention at dōTERRA. Upon leaving, careless teenagers threw fireworks into a canyon on a beloved hiking trail, which ignited over 34,000 acres. The speed at which the flames spread was alarming, sad, and scary. I could sit in the comfort of my Portland home and only be affected by the smoke, which made it very difficult to breathe. I was not affected by an evacuation order, but I wondered if it would come close. Just days before my husband and I discussed renewing our hiking along some of those very same trails. And, with a heavy heart, I reminded myself that everything happens in its perfect timing, no matter how sad.

I took that thinking with me to the convention last week, and it did not disappoint. Some funny, silly, frustrating, amazing things happened, and through it all, I reminded myself that everything happens in its perfect timing.

Space was combined because the Utah Jazz had an amazing season. So, the planned construction of Salt Lake City’s arena was delayed. That meant more lines, more waiting, and more patience required. The day we registered, I was hoping for quick lines, as was my previous experience. It took an hour to register, and I panicked that I would miss my scheduled and paid for tour. I did not miss my tour. An employee kindly guided my momentarily panicked being to where I needed to go and ensured I got to see what I got to see. I spoke my mind to someone who I deemed entitled (reminding people of boundaries). I gave suggestions for a smoother flow. I met a new friend, who I saw briefly every day afterward. I smelled the most amazing warehouse.

The next day, we missed hearing Rachel Platten sing Fight Song, but we spent time together, and we were reminded of how other people live very different lives than us. In a moment of desiring to stock our room with cheap wine, we were reminded, perfectly, of the need to ask, sometimes, “Are you safe?” (See dōTERRA’s partnership with Operation Underground Railroad.)

We, as a team, got to know each other a little better, we opened our hearts a little more, we learned a whole lot, and we reconnected with our purpose, just a little bit deeper. Together, we watched others be vulnerable, and we touched our truths one more time.

Are you thinking, seriously, all this at an essential oil convention? YES! All this at an essential oil convention. Stay tuned for more updates. Make sure you’re on my mailing list to receive a breakdown of the 9 new oils.

Much love to you my dear friends. Remember, everything happens in its perfect time.

SaveSave

Posted on

10 Years – a Quiet Reflection

My son’s age is a constant reminder of how long I’ve been without my sister, Cristi. This year, he turned ten. This year is the tenth year of her not being here. This day is the tenth year of her not being there, though we found out ten years ago tomorrow.

Every time I think about this, I think about an image of a 29-year-old woman on the brink of blowing up her career (for good), touching all the lives of the students she worked with, and the laughter she brought to my family. Forever frozen in time, and now we only have her memory to hang on to.

We are back, traveling again, celebrating family, sites, and death. Two of the deaths we are going to celebrate are the lives of my grandparents, my maternal grandmother, and grandfather. We will have a memorial around the family farm, celebrating their lives, their legacy. At the same time, our immediate family will hold tight to the memory of our sister, daughter, friend, who died ten years ago, much too soon.

In the midst of this intimate memorial will be nearly 4 generations of people. People who wouldn’t be here or have come together without my grandparents. And, then, of course, there will be the people who couldn’t make it. Maybe it was money or time, or in the case of Cristi, maybe it was because a life was taken too soon. We will celebrate. We may cry. We will share stories. We will laugh.

Then, we will depart and go back to our regularly scheduled lives. Some of our travels will take us to exciting new adventures. Some of our adventures will take us to the normal routines of daily life. Wake up, go to work, go to school, get dressed, eat a meal. We go on living while the dead do what dead people do according to your respective beliefs.

I was raised in the Catholic church. My husband and I are raising our son with Christian (Protestant) – Catholic views. Yet, I hope for an afterlife that is kinder and more loving than that which these religions preach. I dream of an afterlife where our loved ones are walking with us, guiding us, our guardian angels. I dream of an afterlife where we’ve made pacts with each other, and we are each others soul mates. Where we are learning some spiritual lesson, every day, and we have the support of those around us. There is no accident when it comes to where we are.

In this moment, I am writing this at a yummy café near where my mother’s new job is. Near where high school friends are employed and helped me with certain esthetician tasks. Near where I’m meeting another old friend for lunch. Near where I’ll meet up with my family at a beloved fabric store (that happens to be having a tent sale today). None of these things happened the way I envisioned. And, it’s all working out perfectly. I will take this sign on this tenth anniversary of my sister’s death that no matter the heartache we’ve had or is to come, everything is unfolding as it should.

Posted on

Connecting Women: Why This is Our First Priority

I’ve written about this before, but this is a topic so near to me that I think uncovering and unpacking the layers is relevant, important, and necessary. When I go back to what it is I do, connecting women and holding space for women is the common theme. So, why is that so important?

Connecting to Sustainability

Years ago, I identified that my goal is to educate people on the importance of a sustainable society. This was a beautiful moment because it allowed me openness to opportunities that had just been created and were now available to me. I was able to declare Sustainable Urban Development as my minor at Portland State. I was able to travel to Italy on a Sustainability Study Abroad. I was able to co-author a book on Sustainability. Because my bucket job explorations in sustainability didn’t lead to a paid gig, I kept unpacking what sustainability meant for me.

The Triple Bottom Line is the common definition I use. It’s easy to understand, wrap our heads around, and generally gets the point across. I’ve called it the Three Es, until this new definition. It means that you balance three things equally instead of just one.

In business, the norm is to balance the books. You know if a company is making a profit, or not. You balance the profit books, the economic books. In the Triple Bottom Line definition, you add two books: people (equity) and planet/place (environment). With how we’ve measured environmental success, this piece is easy to measure. We know if we are polluting the environment more than cleaning it up. We know if we are cutting down more trees than planting. We know if our food is contaminated, or not. We know if our water is contaminated, or not.

Connecting people

But people, that’s where things get messy. Because people are messy. We bring all of our junk, or baggage, to the table – no matter what the table is – work, family, volunteering. If we had a bad day at work, it’s often hard to hide it from our families. If family life is stressful, it affects our concentration at work. We are a society that likes easy things, so we don’t deal with the people aspect because it is hard.

And, the hard thing is exactly what we need to deal with. If we want our society to be a better place tomorrow than it is today, we have to tackle the hard thing. I want society to be a better place. I want my son to grow up with kindness, compassion, and opportunity within a setting of health, wellness, wealth, and awesome choices. I want the next generation to have even better opportunities. If we collectively want that, and I think we do, then we have to work together to figure out people.

Connecting with Women

I am focusing on women for many reasons. I am a women. I was raised by a women, who served our family as a single mother using social services, until she remarried. I have sisters. One sister is the mother of a special needs child. One sister was killed by her boyfriend. That is, one sister was a victim of domestic violence.

I watch all the women in my circle: gay, straight, single, parents, black, hispanic, white – and they all have spaces where they need support. Many women I see are not the sole breadwinners of their families, and that directly affects choices they make. Some women face exclusions that I, as a white women, cannot relate to, and it’s unfair and unnecessary.

So, I see a need for us, women, to come together like we never have before. I see a need for us to cross race, political, and economic lines and see the potential in each of us. I see space for us to thrive together.

When women support each other in joy, we do amazing things. We love. We share. We are kind. We show up with compassion. We gift, and we support. I want to create a society that honors the feminine to bring these necessary things back into our world, massively. Join me. Let’s connect.