Earth Day Essentials

“Smell is a potent wizard that transports us across thousands of miles and all the years we have lived” – Helen Keller

Each year on the 22nd of April, nearly a billion people spanning 192 countries participate in some form of Earth Day event.   What started in 1970 as a modern environmental movement with 20 million people has multiplied into mass activism.

This year’s theme: Environmental and Climate Change Literacy.    According to Earthday.org, the world’s largest environmental advocacy group, the mission is simple:  To diversify, educate, and activate the environmental movement worldwide.

In honor of Earth Day, we will explore the wonders of volatile aromatic compounds, also known as essential oils.

What is an Essential Oil?

By definition, essential oils are the volatile liquids (aromatic compounds) distilled from plants including the seeds, bark, leaves, stems, roots, flowers, and fruits.   Science estimates there are currently over 390,000 plant species in the world.  Of this vast number of plant species, an estimated 10 percent of these plants are oil-producing.

History provides accounts of essential oil use for beautification and purification dating back to the Egyptians.  Accounts show that King Tutankhamen’s tomb included 35 alabaster jars for essential oils.   Biblical accounts show that Frankincense and Myrrh were given to the Christ child.  Even Hippocrates, the Father of Medicine, was sited for his belief in using plants as medicine.

As a doTERRA Wellness Advocate, I have the privilege of educating people all around the world on the numerous health and wellness benefits that stem from the use of Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade (CPTG) essential oils.   It is important to note that not all essential oils are created equally.   Because of doTERRA’s rigorous third-party testing, they ensure the highest levels of purity and potency.  This is very important when it comes to using essential oils internally.  Let’s explore a little further how to use these miracles of nature!

 Essential Oils Usage

Aromatic

Some essential oils induce uplifting or invigorating effects, while others are more calming. Diffusion is one of the simplest methods for using essential oils aromatically. You can achieve the same health benefits by simply placing a few drops of essential oil in the palm of your hand that is then cupped around the nose as you breathe deeply.

  • Apply oil to a cotton ball and place in the air vents of your vehicle
  • Mix oils in a spray bottle with water and mist over furniture, carpet, or linens
  • Add oil to a batch of laundry or to dryer sheets
  • Use in household surface cleaners (try this 10 day challenge)

Topical

Topical application is a very effective method for applying essential oils. Because essential oils have low molecular weights and are lipid soluble, they easily penetrate the skin. Once absorbed, they stay in the applied area for a localized benefit.

To decrease the likelihood of developing a skin sensitivity, especially on young or sensitive skin, it is advisable to use a carrier oil (such as Fractionated Coconut Oil) to dilute more potent oils and when trying an oil for the first time. The recommend dilution ratio is typically one drop of essential oil to three drops of carrier oil.

Other Effective Methods of Topical Application 

  • Add a few drops of oil to a warm bath
  • Make a hot or cold compress by soaking a towel or cloth in water, adding essential oils, and then applying to the desired area
  • Add oil to a lotion or moisturizer and then apply to skin

Internal

Certain essential oils have a rich culinary history and can be used as dietary supplements supporting a variety of healthy conditions. When you sprinkle cinnamon on your oatmeal, sip a mug of peppermint tea, or add fresh basil leaves to your spaghetti, you are actually consuming some volatile aromatic essential oil compounds.

Essential oil contributes many health benefits as well as flavoring and aroma properties to foods. When in their concentrated form, essential oils can be used as dietary supplements for more targeted and potent health benefits. Internal use is a very safe and effective method of application because of the sophisticated physiologic processes of our bodies.

When ingested, essential oils directly enter the blood stream via the gastrointestinal tract, where they are transported throughout the rest of the body. Essential oils are lipid soluble so they are readily transported to all organs of the body, including the brain. Then, like all things we consume, essential oils are metabolized by the liver and other organs and are then excreted.

Effective Methods of Internal Application

  • Use oils in recipes for cooking or baking to replace fresh or dried herbs and spices
  • Remember that essential oils are much more potent than dried or fresh herbs and spices, so start with a very small amount
  • For more potent oils, it may be better to administer them by toothpicks (dip the end of a clean toothpick into the oil and then add to the food) rather than drops
  • Add essential oils to water, smoothies, milk, tea, or other drinks
  • Take essential oils internally in a veggie capsule or add to a small amount of applesauce or yogurt

What are the benefits of using doTERRA essential oils?

The benefits of using Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade (CPTG) essential oils include:

  • Physical– doTERRA essential oils boast a wealth of physical health benefits including respiratory and immune support, stress and tension relief, as well as aiding in restful sleep.  They promote feelings of well-being and balanced mood,  aid in digestion and metabolism, and support increased cellular function.  They help increase positive feelings, improve the appearance of the skin, and help protect against environmental and seasonal threats.
  • Emotional- Using essential oils can be overwhelmingly therapeutic in nature, especially when it comes to healing emotions.   Whether you are holding on to unresolved feelings, past trauma, or any number of negative emotions, essential oils help support the healing process by releasing limiting beliefs and helping mend a broken heart.
  • Spiritual– Using essential oils is often a profound experience.  Not only do they support you on a physical and emotional level, but they help establish a soul connection.   There is a unique mystery about the use of essential oils, dating back to the earliest of civilizations.  How profound to have this community with nature and experience peaceful and tranquil feelings.  Essential oils help increase our spiritual awareness, and inspire us to connect with our life’s true purpose.

There are a vast number of reasons for exploring the world of essential oils.    I made a personal decision to explore alternative ways of coping with anxiety which has been my companion since age 18.   I will never forget the first time I used lavender essential oil.  I recall specifically the impact it had on my nervous system, and it planted a seed that would one day grow into a profound passion.

We will take a look at specific oils and their health benefits in future posts, so if there is a particular oils you would like to explore, please leave a note in the comments. Additionally, if you have doTERRA oils you love using, share a tip with all of us!  To experience the benefits of Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade essential oils  learn more about the StandinLove community here.    I would love to support you on your health and wellness journey!

Happy Earth Day and cheers to Abundant Health

Jennifer Miller is a Las Vegas based writer, DoTERRA wellness advocate, and BeadforLife community partner and is the founder of Stand In Love.org  -a platform for sharing her core values:
Serving People | Inspiring Ideas | Living Your Purpose

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Say Yes to the River

The river is everywhere.  – Hermann Hesse, Siddhartha

Rivers inspire.  Rivers give way and rivers give life.

Rivers are part of the life-giving water cycle:  incessantly moving, shaping, and transforming.   Cleansing rivers have beginnings and ends, like the famous Jordan River,   washing away the sins of ancient believers emptying them into the Dead Sea where life ceases to exist.   Powerful rivers, like the Colorado River, channel wild, rushing water and carve beautiful canyons and deep valleys.  Melodic rivers, like famed Czech composer Antonin Dvorak’s Serenade in E Major, relax our senses and guide us into calming, soothing waters.

A river is like an opportunity,  beckoning our hearts to listen.   Like rivers, opportunities come in all shapes and sizes.

I heard the concept of saying yes to the river by CEO and cofounder of Beadforlife, Devin Hibbard, during a recent podcast interview with MergeLane cofounder, Sue Heilbronner.   Her firm discovers, invests in, and accelerates great women and the companies they run.

Saying yes to the river for Hibbard meant heeding the call to begin a heartfelt journey with BeadforLife- a global NGO whose mission is providing sustainable opportunities for women to lift their families from poverty by creating a circle of exchange that enriches everyone.    Women in Uganda create beautifully hand-crafted paper beaded jewelry and engaged volunteers and advocates create markets for the sale of their goods.  Proceeds are directly reinvested into program expansion initiatives.

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Beifa Nighty, places finishing touches on the Radiance Collection Necklace.                                By: http://www.standinlove.org

In 2004, Devin,  Torkin Wakefield-Devin’s mother and former peace corps volunteer-and Ginny Jordan, said yes to the river that is now known as BeadforLife.  What started 12 years ago as an intention-setting meditation has grown into an active,  global movement placing entrepreneurial training directly into the hands of the world’s most impoverished women. The scale and depth of this work is unprecedented as evidenced by the recent expansion into six African nations outside Uganda including Burundi, Rwanda, and Kenya.  This hands-on, mobile classroom approach, aptly dubbed the Street Business School, provides tailored business training through a successful network of implementing partners. Devin’s ambition and belief underlie her goal of reaching one million women by 2027.

Challenges

Saying yes to the river does not come without challenges as Hibbard points out.  “We are and continue to be a learning organization”, she shared when asked how an entrepreneur without formal “business” training has achieved this level of success in her organization.  She added,  “We felt like this was something the world wanted us to do…and athough we didn’t have the right CVs to pull it off, we said ‘who are we to say no to the universe when it is giving us something’.”

Hibbard combines a passion for social entrepreneurship and international development with a network of engaged supporters,  worldwide donors, and a team of devoted colleagues working in Kampala, Uganda, and Boulder, Colorado, the nonprofits’ U.S. location.

Devin is not the only one who says yes to the river, exercising courage and plunging feet first into the deep, often unknown future.  The Street Business School encourages its participants to say yes to the river– the river of fresh opportunities where chances at renewed life replace the familiarity of poverty, dependence, and social exclusion.  The members of Street Business School, often rural subsistence farmers living on $0.60 a day, are challenged to trust not only the program’s leadership and it’s initiatives, but also- themselves.

Belief

Saying yes to the river for a vast majority of BeadforLife members means learning to read and write, and courageously stepping into a mobile classroom environment joined by neighbors and strangers from familiar socio-economic backgrounds as well as women who have successfully transitioned from poverty to economic independence.  The program graduates serve as mentors while lending credibility to the program’s effectiveness.

BeadforLife resembles a braided river,  whose multiple channels connect flowing streams of believing, compassionate individuals.  The river’s source- LOVE.

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Ariel view of New Zealand’s braided Dart river located in picturesque Glenorchy.                   By: http://www.standinlove.org

When was the last time you thought about saying yes to the river?

Rift Valley Wonderland 

Raw. Unsaturated. Palpable. Just a few words describing Murchison Falls National Park, the cradle of civilization I had the unique opportunity to visit this past weekend with Devin and her 9 year old son Nile- or “Simmy”, as he is called here in Uganda by close friends.

As a first time safari goer, my eyes were wide open from start to finish!

We left Kampala just as the sun was rising, which is 7 am daily due to the location on the equator, in effort to escape rush hour traffic jams that are part of daily life here. Exiting the outskirts of the densely populated town of Kampala amidst Boda Bodas, crammed matatus, and locals walking to work for the day, I captured the sight of mothers carrying sleeping babies strapped snugly to their backs with bold, brightlypatterned cloth….women young and old balancing heavy loads of produce on top of their heads…. Bustling exchanges at the local trading centers… And insanely hectic roundabouts at which masses of unregulated forms of transport converge like a load of laundry mixing and intermingling a short while before being spit out in a particular direction by flow and force. The ubiquitous smell of burning charcoal in the air and chickens announcing the start of a fresh day.  I absolutely love mornings in Uganda. It is surely my favorite part of the day.

Our rented vehicle and driver, Moses, safely transported us to the Wangkwar gate on the northern perimeter of the park. Our journey to Murchison passed through war – ravaged villages like Luweero, where years of political unrest under Idi Amin’s rule created the feeling of a ghost town. It was in Luweero district around 1986 that Museveni, who had been hiding in Tanzania, launched an attack with a mobilized army to successfully overthrow Amin’s regime in Uganda.
Traveling north through Kutuugo, Nakasongola, and Kyriandongo, we felt the continual rise in temperature, especially while stopped at road construction with windows rolled up to avoid dust from the vehicles. Our first stopping point, Karuma Falls, marked the crossing of the Victoria Nile. The Nile River served as a military stronghold during many years of insurrection, and created a distinct border blockade between Northern and southern Uganda. Travel was prohibited from both sides separating families and calling a deadly halt to tourism in the region. We enjoyed a short rest under a shade tree, entertained by a group of Olive baboons!

7 1/2 hours into our drive, we reached our destination: the Wangkwar Gate. Paid the park fees, vehicle entrance fees, and popped the top of our bare bones Land Cruiser for an authentic African Safari adventure! I was elated!!

We set sail on one of the many game tracks…cool crisp air blowing in my face as I held tightly on to the metal bars standing up balancing under a popped-top roof. This was indeed a most welcome respite from the long day’s journey. The African savannah grasslands stretched out for miles and miles in every direction. Palm trees and the eponymous umbrella acacia trees standing in solitude with vast skyline as a backdrop. Egrets spreading their Snow White wings in flight, and groups of African Kob leaping across the track like dancing ballerinas. It was as if we were alone in this vast space, enjoying moments of stillness with nature.

The landscape at Murchison Falls is breathtaking, nearly intoxicating. Warthogs- aka- “Pumbas” snorted about with their tusks and coarse whiskers chomping through the grass, while cape Buffaloes with birds taking a ride on their backs gathered near the swampy sections. It was like an interactive children’s book on wild animals- every turn on the track a turn of a page introducing yet another new face!

And then… I met my first love of Murchison …. The Rothschild Giraffe. His elegantly elongated neck held upright at all times to support the taxing load of his 25 lb heart! Two horned females weighing 700kg+ endure a 14 month gestation period. Males, which have 3 horns, weigh in at 1,100kg +. The spots on a Rothschild stop at the base of his leg joint, giving the impression that his lower legs have been dipped in white chocolate! Seeing baby giraffes run after their mothers in the wild is captivating! Stop and observe long enough, and you will catch a glimpse of their 45 cm long purple tongue snatching a bite to eat off the “whistling- tone ” acacia tree.

The second day, we jumped back on the truck and raced to the ferry crossing before sunrise to hit the tracks again. Eagerly anticipating the start of a new day and another game drive, I slept on and off and found myself awake in the middle of the night laughing at the deep guttural grunting sounds of hippos who were munching on the grass just outside our safari tent! There’s a reason they are called “hungry hungry hippos”!
Nauseous from the anti-malarial taken on an empty stomach that morning, I requested we stop for a few minutes so I could collect my balance from the standing and shaking around caused by the heavily pot- holed game tracks. Dramamine and pepto to the rescue! Our hired park ranger guide, Sarah, received a call that we were very near a pride of lions spotted by another ranger! “What a perfect place to stop with vertigo”, I thought to myself … ” I’m sure his will help to make me feel better!” … ( joking)

We pulled up to a thicket, peered inside of a triangular shaped window formed by the bush and witnessed a couple of lion cubs with their mother resting and stretching. Moses turned the car off and we had a stop over to enjoy the company of lions camouflaged in the bush. Little did we know we would have a second encounter the next morning near the same area on the Victoria and Queen circuit. A huge male lay resting on his side, paws stretched out and looking confident and completely undisturbed by the multitude of safari vans now approaching with cameras flashing and binocs focusing, hoping to steal a glance of this park predator! I decided to crawl out of the truck on to a fixed metal bar rack towards the hood of the truck to get a closer view and more zoomed in photographs. Suddenly, the male propped up his head and displayed his dominance and full mane of hair enrobing his enormous feline face. Still in a seated position, my blood began to pump with a bit more vigor. Feeling a sense of courageousness, I asked Moses if he would take a photo of me and Simmy. Moses proceeded to open the safari truck door, step onto the tall grass and managed to disturb the lions in the thicket – to the male lion’s immediate left side.

” Rrrrr——aaaaaaa——rrrrrrr-hhhhhhhh!” Shouted the lion in dissatisfaction from behind the bush with mouth stretched open wide! Moses jumped into the front seat, shut the door quickly, while I scrambled to get myself off the exposed rooftop bars and back into the vehicle’s interior. Trying to get through this narrow space in a contorted manner while anxious was like being a small child afraid on the top of a set of monkey bars…. Totally freaked and wanting off ASAP!

Pulse check: 180BPM.

Exhilarating?

Yes.

Worthwhile?

You bet!

Next to a charging elephant later that day, this was surely a highlight of the trip. It made me realize once again that we are not in control. It also helped me gain a deeper appreciation of the conservation work that is being done to protect creatures in Murchison National Park from atrocities like those during Idi Amin’s rule when he reduced the 15,000 + population of elephants to under 2,000. They are slowly rehabilitating and repopulating various animals found here thanks to peace and dedicated conservation work.

I came to Uganda to learn from it’s people and the environment. Both have taught me many valuable lessons I will carry with me for a lifetime. I hope you feel as though you shared a bit in this adventure with me!

Xxx