I gathered up my herbs and such to make my tea today. It is cool, wet and dreary outside which I love, but bittersweet today because seems to echo my mood. I am going through some pain right now, the pain of a loss greater that I have ever felt before. This is grief. Almost every part of me wants to find a distraction, something to numb it or to pretend it is not there. I wave in and out of letting the avoidance take over and the necessity of allowing myself to walk through it. It is exhausting but I know for sure that God will bring me to a peace and warmth on the other side. So my tea today is chamomile, orange and ginger. Chamomile to calm my grief induced anxiety. Ginger to add spice and tame my nervous stomach. And sweet orange because well, it just makes me happy. The taste and smell always has. So as I sit and drink my tea staring at the drooping but vibrant wet leaves through the window, I take a moment to step outside my sorrow and be grateful. Is it gloomy where you are?
I have been thinking a lot lately how many toxins we come in contact with every day. Let's start with plastic. Pretty much all of our food is packaged and therefore touching plastic. Then we cook it and put the left overs in plastic tupperware. Our cleaning products, shampoo, deodorant, lotions, all contain many ingredients that our body needs to filter out once they enter. Then there is all the preservatives in our food, the coatings and pesticides on our produce and more. I feel like I can tell when my body is overloaded with toxins and needs a good cleansing. I feel foggy brained, sluggish, and irritable. We truly are what we eat! Of course eating clean real food and only natural cleaning and personal care products is going to greatly reduce your toxic intake. But there is something simple we can easily do to help our bodies with this task daily. A few drops of Lemon Essential Oil in your water will help your body with the cleansing it needs to do every day. BUT you need to make sure you are drinking it in a GLASS bottle not a plastic bottle! This is important because these powerful essential oils will pull the toxins out of your plastic bottle and right into your water that you are drinking! So only use glass with essential oils. Lemon is also great for increasing circulation, as an antibacterial gargle, a cleaner, and is one of the oils in the amazing allergy relief blend of Lemon, Lavender and Peppermint. You can also use it to refresh your laundry if you forget and leave it in the washer too long (which my family does all the time!) It is also wonderfully uplifting and one of the most affordable oils available!
P.S. I am not a doctor and this is not intended to treat or cure any illnesses. I am just sharing what works for my family. I receive a commission on sales from doTERRA oils. I have researched extensively and found them to be the best and would only recommend what I value and trust for my family.
You may have noticed, that I have been writing lately about how much I am learning from my child. As a first time parent it is fascinating to me how much they change your perspective on life and yourself. Living in the country of middle Tennessee is also an inspiration for me. Surrounded by history and dilapidated texture of a very different time. In my experience, the values here in the south are ever so slightly more reminiscent of the values of the past than they are on the 2 coasts where I have lived before. As I go forward I will be talking more about what I we can learn from the children in our lives, as well as from history. So often these days I feel like we are not learning from the past. It is almost as if our progress in technology and the like has made us somewhat arrogant; thinking that we are invincible as a species and a planet.
That we can overcome any medical issue with a vaccine or surgery, that we can outsmart nature. It is not working. One in every three people will develop cancer in their lifetime. Our planet's resources will not last much longer with the way we abuse them. We need change. I believe we can learn from our history, and from our children. I believe if we choose everyday to acknowledge the things that innocence, imagination and history can teach us, and to make one small change in how we do our daily life, we can work together toward a better, more holistic life of wellness, inspiration and progress. I hope you will join me as I stumble through a journey of change.
Winter Gardening and Permaculture
I love the Farmer's Market. And I am grateful that here in Middle TN we have one year round. We get some cold winters but it only gets in to the teens in terms of temperature a few times and we don't get a lot of snow. I met some really cool people this week that own the Earth Advocates Research Farm in Summertown, TN about an hour from where I live. He told me about his business and gave me some tips for my garden as well. I am going to share with you what he told me as well as talk a bit about permaculture and what they are doing at his Farm.
Gardening in the Winter
First, he told me that here in Middle TN we can keep gardening all the way through the winter! He says that they get something almost every week out of their garden all year round. They only have to cover the beds with a protective cover a few times when the temps to into the teens, but other than that if you plant the right things, your garden will still produce all winter. A few of the plants that are capable of producing in winter are broccoli, cabbage, onions, even spinach! At this point you want to start with started plants though and not sends, it is too late for seeds but he says if you plant starters now you will still get crops this winter.
An Easy to Make Garden Bed
I told him I needed to rebuild my beds. Our yard is sloped so I have to do beds, and the wood has been there a long time and is rotting out. It is pretty bad. I was going to just wait until spring and not do anything for my fall garden but he gave me an idea! He said to get those cement blocks from the hardware store, Lowes or Home Depot, and line my garden beds with those. This way you can even plant in the holes too! You do want to take the time to level the ground they are on but other than that it is just placing them next to each other and making a box. Very cool idea!
At his farm they are doing "Ethnobotanical Research and trials of unusual, reliable, neglect-tolerant Permacutlture plants for middle TN." They then will sell the plants as well. I bought some Oregano and Apple Mint from them that I just love. My mom recently did a Permaculture certification so I was introduced to this several months ago and am just fascinated by it. If you don't know what Permaculture is here is the Wikipedia definition:
"Permaculture is a branch of ecological design, ecological engineering, environmental design, construction and integrated water resources management that develops sustainable architecture, regenerative and self-maintained habitat and agricultural systems modeled from natural ecosystems.["
I will have a lot more to say on this topic in the coming months as I think as artists this is very important for us. Permaculture has the potential to be something that the world can embrace if we can make it just as appealing as its non-sustainable alternatives. I think creativity is a key factor in that. The Earth needs our creativity in caring for it so I encourage you to research more on your own if you are interested or stay tuned for more of my own thoughts!
Melaleuca, or Tea Tree Oil is one of my favorite essential oils. I actually used to not like the smell, but now I really do. It has so many uses that make it a staple to have in your home. Personally I use it daily on my face for acne. I apply it neat to my skin in my problem areas. Sometimes I will smooth it on with a little coconut oil as well. Always test your skin sensitivity first, especially before applying undiluted to your face. I have never had any problems with it unless I was using a brand that is not pure.
You can also use it to clean cuts and abrasions, it is great as a mouthwash too. Mix with some coconut oil and swish around as long as you can, at least a few minutes. This combination is a perfect mouthwash! You can add a little peppermint if you like too.
Melaleuca is also one of the few substances that can break through biofilm. Biofilm is the sludge that protects organisms like bacteria. So a great use for Melaleuca is in conjunction with something like Oregano which is a powerful antibiotic. Melaleuca breaks the biofilm and the Oregano kills the bacteria! Use the combination on your feet with a little coconut. (Oregano is very powerful and a hot oil so be very careful with Oregano and only apply to the feet with coconut oil and use care with children) t is amazing what the tools that God gave us to help heal ourselves in nature can do. I am continually amazed as I study and discover more and more....
Disclaimer for "the man": I am not a doctor and am not diagnosing or curing any diseases just sharing what works for me and my family. =)
Today Fiona had a tummy ache. She eats a lot of beans and broccoli which is fantastic, but sometimes gives her a bit of a tummy ache! She was literally screaming. I think she might be in some phase where she is uber sensitive to the sensations of her developing body because she is so dramatic about everything from a splinter to a hang nail! This can get a little exhausting for mommy, so I am always excited to find ways to help her though these terribly dramatic situations with a simple natural solution.
Anyway so I gave her some probiotics ( I use Udi’s infant powder and put it in some water for her). Then I rubbed a drop of my peppermint essential oil mixed coconut oil (Costco has a great huge tub of organic extra virgin for $14 will last you forever) on her feet. Literally within 30 seconds she was fine. From screaming to fine in 30 seconds flat. Essential oils on your feet for those of you that don’t know will service all the cells in your body within 30 seconds. There are pressure points on your feet that go to every organ in your body. It is called reflexology if you want to explore it more. My mother is certified in it so you can do extensive study on it, but you can get a simple chart online in many places easily to just use while doing yourself and your family’s feet with essential oils.
I was so amazed that this actually worked that well! My husband affectionately makes fun of me and my natural ways by saying that essential oils are for leprechauns and unicorns. Can’t really deny results like that though baby! I am so excited to continue to learn daily about new ways to help my family!
My Fiona just started Preschool and it is fall so that means germ fest!! She used to be sick at least once a month. She has not been sick now in 4 months! How did this happen you ask? Four Theives is a powerful essential oil that boosts your immune system and helps you fight off viruses, bacterial infections, it energizes and uplifts you, and it smells like Christmas! How can you beat that! On kids you want to dilute it with a carrier oil, I love Coconut Oil, it is antiviral itself so that always helps. But you can use Almond oil as well. Costco has a great big tub of organic extra virgin coconut oil for $14. It will last you a long time! So with my daughter I rub coconut oil on her feet first, then I put ONE DROP of Four Theives on my hand and then rub into her feet. You can put cotton socks on them after the oil if you can't get them to stay put long enough for it to absorb. If they are wiggle worms like my Fiona, you will need to! It includes Cinnamon and Clove which are hot oils so you want to make sure you are always diluting this oil especially on kids skin. It also is good to to a small test area first to make sure there is no reaction.
On yourself or other adults, you can do a couple drops, and you can repeat a few times a day when you are sick, and I recommend twice a week during cold season for preventative. The essential oils will build up in your system and help keep your immune system strong all year long.
P.S. I am not a doctor and can not diagnose or treat your illnesses, I am just sharing what works for me. :)
I love yoga. It is like exercise without having to exercise to me. It is uplifting at the same time as it is challenging. Right up my alley! I have been thinking about some poses that are good for us as creatives. Something that might help us in a time where we need some inspiration, when we need to hit pause, step away from the computer and refresh. The first thing that comes to mind is Child's Pose. I talk a lot about what we can learn from children, and here is one more thing. In this pose you are laying face down on the ground, knees up to your chest, and your head is down with forehead touching the floor. For me this pose shuts our the world around me, the stressfulness, the distractions. It allows me to feel like I can be in my own world, just like as a child. I an let my imagination go since I have eliminated all distractions. Close your eyes and put yourself anywhere you would like to be, and see what happens from there! Your imagination can surprise you at times, it can bring you a creative present you were not expecting, if you give it the chance and the right environment. Namaste. To enhance your creativity even more you can diffuse an uplifting essential oil such as peppermint or lemon. If you are feeling overwhelmed then try lavendar or bergamot to relieve your stress; 2 of my all time favorite smells especially when mixed together.
Welcome to my new journey I am calling Holistic & Inspired.
So what does wellness or holistic living have to do with photography you ask? Good question ;) As creative people wellness is very important. When trying to be creative, especially on demand like we have to do when we run a business, feeling your best is really helpful. If you feel run down and tired, or are sick, or just plain don't feel good, it is harder to pull out your best creative work!
My mom raised me to use natural remedies whenever possible and to respect our earth and the great healing resources God gave us. These days I feel this is more important than ever to try to be self sustainable as well as be aware of keeping ourselves and our families healthy.
If you are interested in this too, follow along and I will bring you some thoughts on things have learned along the way. I will also take you on my journey to further my knowledge and experience. I have a little girl just starting preschool (germfest!) and a husband with a chronic disease that I am fighting to help with him every day. If you are interested in any particular topics or concerns please contact us and let me know!
xoxo Meghan Aileen