• Winter Blooms...a late Rose

    Winter Blooms...a late Rose

    Happy New Year!  We made it!

    This is the time of year when all I see on the net is related to cleanses, detoxes, and starting anew.  While it's fun to see what everyone else is doing, sometimes I laugh when I realize that it's just another day.  And I LOVE this time of year!!!

    You see, it's the meaning we put behind "a new YEAR" that makes all the difference.

    Intention.

    It's a chance to do something new.  To break a habit.  To make a change. To set goals to be realized. To cross off our list of last years accomplishments.

    It's a chance to begin again, a magical perception of Time that allows us to create something new.

    *******

    While I don't do any cleanses or detoxing until Spring, due to the fact that our bodies are in storage mode in the winter time, I LOVE using this creative energy of newness to plan, create, dream, plant seeds, and think about what I want to manifest in the upcoming year.  As a seed lies dormant in the frozen ground, waiting to sprout in the spring, we all can dream dreams to manifest in our futures.

    I typically use vision boards to do this, and have used them for years whenever I know I want to bring in something, but am not sure what it is...I use intuition and higher guidance to manifest what I am dreaming. Having a creative flair, images are a great way to express when we don't have the words in our awareness.

    It's also a creative way to manifest what we are dreaming. By seeing the images (I hang my boards where I can see them daily) we can bring into fruition what we hope to see in our lives.

    *******

    In my Winter Bliss Box this season, I have included a Vision Board Ritual in my two Rituals that I send to you with your Bliss Box.  I have posted it in my ritual section on my site, because I feel that they are so powerful, I wanted to share it with everyone.  Find the Vision Board Ritual here.  Check out my Bliss Boxes here.  Please also note that with this Bliss Box I am offering customized flower essences!!!! I'm so excited about this!

    *******

    Like the winter seeds ~ I am dreaming and planning, and comtemplating on starting anew

    (more about upcoming announcements and exciting changes coming soon!!)

    *******

    I am going to leave you with this amazing quote, it's actually pinned right above my screen, I have had it for 20 years, from when I was formally studying modern poetry....

    As I look outside at my rose bush, picture above, a late blooming rose cluster startles me from a sleepy winter landscape...for me, it ties back in the concept of time, and awakens me to our true manifesting abilities.

    From Theodore Roetke's  "A Walk in Late Summer"

    "A late rose ravages the casual eye,

    A blaze of being on a central stem.

    It lies upon us to undo the lie

    Of living merely in the realm of time.

    *******

    Happy New Year.

  • What Love and Unity Means to Me...Happy Anniversary!

    What Love and Unity Means to Me...Happy Anniversary!

    As I excitedly fill my Christmas orders, I have been reflecting on my humble beginnings.  Last year at this time, I had my first market, and gave out my first products with the Love and Unity Wellness label at Christmas time!  I fulfilled a couple of bulk Christmas items for others to give as gifts as well.  Here I am again... and it still feels awesome!  I love giving gifts, especially handmade ones...I know that not everyone will love them, but the feedback that I consistently get, is that there are many who do!  Which is why I have repeat gift orders this year!!  Thanks folks!!

    Serendipitously, a couple of days ago at my local co-op, I ran into someone that unbeknownst to her has had a silent influence upon my work.  She was at my very first Christmas market 6 or 7 years ago when I made products under my previous name, Jen's Healthy Handmade.  We swapped amazing gold plated earings for a bunch of products.  About a year ago, I ran into her at the same Co-op, I run into many people at Wheatsville--it's so fun!  Anyways, long story short, she told me that she STILL had my cream that I had given her and it was still good (in the fridge)!  I was shocked, a water based facial cream all natural, still good after so long?  Wow.  But, what impacted me the most, was that she told me her and her daughter called it their "Love" cream, and it was a special cream they used for self care.  I was really blown away, especially by the timing of it all.

    I received that message when I was still debating launching a product-self care line, I had a small baby plus two others, and had lots of doubts.  I was really trying to make my work authentic to who I was, am, and importantly strive to be.  This ripple effect really impacted me and I decided to go for it.  Here I am a year later, no regrets, heart full with the little ways I get to support people each day.

    What I've learned is that anything can be medicine.  It doesn't have to be complicated.  Intention MATTERS. Healing happens in so many ways and for so many reasons, but especially when we decide to heal.  I have really enjoyed seeing some simple products that I make have big impacts on people.  They aren't by any means strong herbs, they are tonic and gentle and good for anyone...and yet, they are fascilitating healing and support.  The self-care rituals are another way people can take their healing a step deeper.  Again, intention matters.

    I put lots of love and attention to intention, (say that 10 times), during the process of making my remedies and products.  I believe we are made of energy and vibration, in the same idea of Emoto's work with water, in that we hold and transmit ideas and feelings all the time.  This is very much in line with my current study of Yogananda and Lynne McTaggart's work, see her book the Power of Eight, and her global intention meditation experiments (https://lynnemctaggart.com/intention-experiments/).   I posted about it on FB, but I was able to attend virtually a mass Peace Intention meditation focused on the Middle East in mid-November.  I was able to see 9 different live streams all over the Middle East, and D.C., and Lynne in England.  It was amazing to see Muslims, Jewish Israelis, and Westerners come together for a peace intention for war-torn Yemen. See here for more information https://lynnemctaggart.com/when-a-simple-prayer-can-stop-a-bullet/

    It's easy to feel completely hopeless when things are happening out of our control.  But we have power.  We can unite and make a difference, even if it's only for 10 minutes.  I imagine if millions of us united for a single purpose what the effects would be... I truly hope to become more active in this global mass meditation movement, as there are many. How we feel, and what we do matters.

    But the power of word, thought, and intention has been expressed in all mystical and spiritual philosphies and religions.  The Word was God, etc.The idea that if we transmute hate into Love can have a ripple effect upon our own life, and everyone we meet is the foundation of Love and Unity Wellness.  We never know how we will impact someone, rarely do we find out how much...and it's a true blessing when we do. 

    While it seems silly to think that organic and sustainable herbal remedies and bodycare can make a big impact, but it can.  If a loving thought can, then so can a body care product infused with loving intention, used lovingly with a self care--read self Love ritual. Combining Plant Intelligence with loving self-intention is a combination that really works.  The truth is that no matter what we do, big or small, for the positive of ourselves and other...it makes a difference.  We know the difference between thinking hateful thoughts and loving thoughts--we feel it in our hearts and throughout our bodies.

    Any loving action is a step in the right direction, no matter how small we think it is...repeated every day, that's a big impact.  Imagine if you woke up every day and looked at yourself in the mirror and said "Hello, Lovely, you are an amazing and beautiful Being of Light/Child of God".  How would that impact your health?  I think that I just challenged myself.  Who's with me!!

    So here's to you, lovely reader of this blog post, that you can have more love and unity in your life.  That blessings flow to you and everyone around you.  That you can raise your vibration and heart, rippling out to the entire planet, raising us all up in Love.  Because that is what we need in order to overcome, move forward, and expand.  We are ALL ONE.

  • Peachalicious...and other late Spring adventures

    Peachalicious...and other late Spring adventures

    Well, we're officially in Summer, here in Austin, Texas....  It's been a heat wave, with numerous days of one hundred degree heat....  Between the pools, rivers, sprinklers, and birthday parties I have been hosting, I found that the heat has been getting to me lately, being a Mid-Atlantic girl, and I have been craving water, and cooler weather, just as the The Season is getting into full swing....

    I found myself needing, begging for, and politely requesting some peach leaves to bottle up as we head into our long, hot, and dry summer here in the Deep South....So, I gathered some peach leaf from some kind organic gardening neighbors.... I have also been growing and/or collecting Mimosa flower, mulberry, blackberry, Bee Balm, Mullein flowers, Roses, and you guessed it... Peaches!!

    As I bottled up my Mulberry Peach leaf Elixir to brew...I had more leaf...but I wanted the Peaches!  The ubiquitous Summer fruit, that grows here in Central Texas, has been alluding me because it is hard to come by organically grown.... But, I found an organic farmer who had some trees still producing within driving distance...and came home with 26 pounds of Peaches and Blackberries!!!  

    Enter Peach Leaf and Fruit Cordial (See Above).  This awesome brew will be available mid-summer, when my wanderings in the cooler lands are through, and I return home to August in Austin.  Can you tell I'm hot??  I must be carrying a baby around or something....

    Peach leaf is cooling, the all hands on deck of herbal remedies for the summer!  I hadn't made the effort to bottle it before, as I usually have Rose on hand, my favorite flower, and that usually will suffice for my overheating needs and that combined with Lavender, Aloe, and some Apple Cider Vinegar...my Apothecary needs are met.

    This year I am happy to expand into the land of the Peach!  It is cooling, mildly relaxing, moistening, and is traditionally used to help support the body with coughs, stomach upset, sensitive irritated skin, overheating and over excitement, and much much more.  Besides all of this, it tastes so delicious...and most of our harvest is simply being eaten...ripe, juicy peaches...fresh fruit in season...which equals perfection!! 

    My favorite image is of my one year old wandering around a peach farm eating a warm, fresh peach in pure bliss.  Becoming more aware of seasonal foods and medicine by far has been the most healing lifestyle change I have ever made...try it...you'll see what I mean, and you know, maybe you'll turn in to a farm groupie!!

    Stay tuned for our Summer Seasonal offerings...being bottled up as I type, well sort of, and ready to ship out this week!! Update on the product blog in a few days!!  I'm super excited about this season's offerings as I have (finally) gotten together for large production---my Herbal First Aid Kits/The Outdoor Mama's Best Friend... ready to roll including a super cute kit bag....

  • Spring Dreams

    Spring Dreams

    Oh Spring, with your cool,

    wet, warm, Impossible buds!

    Rising from the mists

    **************************

    Spring is the most exciting time of the year for most herbalists and gardeners, generally speaking.  The promise of the unknown, and the budding curiosity: what friends will I see this season?  When new plants pop up unexpectedly, demonstrating the miracle of the natural world it's like little miracles manifesting everywhere I look.  This brings forth my childlike curiosity and delight!  This exciting time has kept me busy, infusing fresh plant oils, all from the garden and wild herb sections of my property.  Elixirs, vinegars, glycerites, and tinctures, oh my!  

    I thought I'd have my Spring offerings ready to go come Spring Equinox, but it's taken me months to figure out what to offer. I had been processing and making my spring tonics, but deciding what "to put out there" was difficult.  I was originally focusing on the usual Spring offerings around and about, typical detox herbs and spring greens tonics... but that wasn't settling in.  As I took a big step back to get a feel for the bigger picture, as life unfolded in our community here and in the rest of the country, I started to understand why.

    As I put my finger on the pulse of our community after the school shooting in Florida, and local package bombs here in Austin, it was difficult.  Everything felt delicate, like a new bloom.  Delicate, like glass.  People were, and still are, frazzled, sensitive, angry, scared, and a little raw.  This energy was effecting me, and I felt really tired and drained.  As I felt into the situation, as the flowers started to bloom... my thoughts came to flower essences, and my heart beamed with excitement...the perfect offering for Spring. 

    Flower essences are geared for healing the emotions.  Similar to homeopathy in that they do not actually contain the physical medicine of the substance, here we are referring to flowers, but they contain energetic plant medicine.  (Dr. Edward Bach pioneered the modern approach of this medicine.) I also use drop dosages of flower tinctures like this also, very little actual medicine but enough that can nudge someone towards the healing and resolution of emotions.  I often infuse elixirs, tinctures, and skin care remedies with flower essences to enhance healing as emotional imbalances often underlie our health issues. 

    I knew this was the right direction as I gained more energy and momentum.  I started focusing on my all time favorite, Rose.  Rose symbolizes pure Love to me, soft and gentle, yet with strong boundaries and self care.  Rose demands respect and yet transmits this eternal adoration attracting both the childlike innocance and the deeply sensual.  Most of my self love and self care elixirs, sprays, and body care products contain a little bit of Rose in some form.  I was enjoying her blooms and soaking up her calming gentle healing balms.  

    My signature offering this spring is my Rose Elixir, and yes, it tastes as sweet as the rose smells. Infused with fresh early spring roses, flower essences, and more, it is a gentle reminder to love yourself and others.  To soak up everything that spring offers us: the chance to begin again, to heal, stand in gentle strength and bring in a world of possibilities into our lives.

    These challenging social and cultural times we are living in are asking us to heal, the look inward, to change.  Instead of pointing fingers, we must ask ourselves, what can I do?  What in my life needs to heal, be released, or incorporated back in? 

    What new life is budding within me that needs to come forth?

    We all have our own journey and yet collectively we're in this together. 

    Out of Love, not anger; unity, not division will we find our truths.

    So, as Spring blooms, bringing with it all possibilities for hope and change, I plant seeds, and carefully tend young plants, harvesting only what needs to be, and leaving most of it untouched. 

    Offering appreciation, respect, and gratitude to the earth, and plant spirits, and the keepers of the land is a way to live in harmony with all so that we all can heal.

  • Grrr...attitude

    I often find myself on a penduluum, swinging back and forth between frustration with the state of something and the way I think it should be.  Getting mad at myself for being frustrated and then swinging back into a state of where I want to be which is more loving and optimistic!  I do drive myself crazy sometimes. Today I was loving one of my Christmas presents, a set of moccasins, but unfortuneately NOT made by Native Americans, but made, I lamented as I looked at the label, in the Dominican Republic.  

    Slave labor?  I pondered the welfare of the workers in that shoe factory and wondered (with frustration) about their lives.  Torn.  I knew my options both in the moment and for future shoe choices.  Frustrated with the reality of factory conditions around the world, to give me my affordable shoes, I lamented.  Given my financial status, I knew what my real options were... that whole money thing again.

    But then my thoughts started shifting to gratitude towards the workers, the factory, and everyone involved.  I thanked them and sent them thanks over the energetic wires.  It actually caught me by surprise!  And then my attitude shifted also, and I thought, well...I am keeping my gift of the shoes, so what can I do? I can write/call/email the company and inquire and demand fair living wages and safe working conditions for their factory.  I could take it further, but for now, that was the plan.

    I then wondered what would happen if I did this all the time? What would happen if every time I was frustrated with someone and something, I magically turned into a gratitude fairy and waved my magic wand and thought good thoughts towards them?  Would healing occur?

    It would.  It would heal me, and for sure putting more positive energy into the energy field would impact everyone, perhaps even those beings I was sending the gratitude towards.  Making this shift gave me the emotional space to come up with a solution to my problem...instead of losing energy being angry, I could actually spend my precious resources attempting to make a positive change in this situation.

    Now, I know that "just think positive thoughts" is a total insult to those who are truly disadvantaged and disenfranchised, and working for 2$ a day.  I have seen this first hand, worked with women trafficked from Bangladesh to Kolkata, India, and forced into sexual slavery...they were rescued from hospitals, usually close to dying, by the Sisters of Charity and how I came into contact with them....thinking "positive thoughts" isn't going to give them their lives back.  But that being said, from the vantage point of someone who isn't in that situation, it can be totally overwhelming to see the suffering in the world and not be completely overwhelmed, paralyzed, and completely unable to process and or do something about what you are experiencing.  

    Sitting in anger, as I have been known to do...because I refuse to look away... doesn't empower me to do anything other than be angry.  If I transform it, however, and use it to fuel level-headed problem solving, then I can do something about what I see as injustice, and help make the world a better place, at least just a little.

    Just because I'm a research geek, like totally, here's a study to back up my claims...http://www.worldpeacegroup.org/washington_crime_study.html It's been around for awhile and referenced a lot...and I always love it because I am from D.C. and can vouch for the crime rates being a topic of discussion during those years.  Another group I follow closely is the Hearthmath Institute.  They are doing some really cool research with heart resonance and it's effects.

    Here's to making the shift...from GRRR...to gratitude, and making the world a better place!

    Cheers!

  • Winter Wellness

    So often we're told "what to do" with our health...and like clockwork, on January 1st, we're hit with the detox, cleanse, in with the new...mantra.  In attempting to live authentically--according to my body and soul-- these popular programs just don't work for me.

    For some of us, we look forward to Winter, a last ditch effort to finally get some rest.  Our bodies know this, and for those that push ourselves through the year, we actually collapse with a holiday break.  The LAST thing we need is to cleanse, detox, and further stress out our fried systems.  The wisdom of the herbalists, Western and Ayurveda especially, echo these tendencies--that this is the time of year to buckle down, dig deep, let ourselves sleep with the shorter days, and recover our vitality. NOT the time to force our bodies (in winter storage mode) to cleanse and purge.

    Here I was, December 31st, suddenly plagued with a bad back, so bad, actually, that I could barely walk.  It was New Years Eve, and we were recovering from the holidays (sick kids, I was run down and fighting an infection from suddenly starting up a product line again, etc) and suddenly I was crawling across the living room floor to my husband, crying of course, in a pool of self-pity--way to go 2017... I was ending this one with a bang!  I had just showered and hyper-extended my spine while stretching in the shower... and after trying more yoga to fix it...it was clear something was wrong...but of course, this was no where near normal. 

    I had reached my limits.

    Of course there was a series of events leading up to this moment...I reflected on this: 7 months postpartum, a car accident 2 months after baby was born with a side impact on my door, months of chiropractic care, a sneaking suspicion something was wrong but I couldn't quite figure it out.... then I went to my chiropractor and she agreed...the Diastasis Recti was causing my back pain... the muscles in my abdomen were separated and I was suffering.  Now I knew what I had to do, though, and I was finally going to heal.

    There it was, my New Years Resolution: to heal my belly and my back, not to have back surgery in 20 years, to reclaim my body, even just a little.  This was going to take at least 6 weeks, working every day, and realistically it would take months. I had to completely relearn posture, sitting, standing, sleeping, and most importantly, bending over.  This was just the beginning.  A daunting task, but I had no other choice: my quality of life depended on this healing.

    I let myself nap every chance I could, oftentimes I would simply pass out nursing, uncontrollably.  My body needed to sleep, heal, and recover from months (well 8 years counting all the children) of sleep deprivation, going back to school twice, life stress, and now, recent events that led to me feeling completely spent.

    This was Winter, my free pass...I didn't feel guilty for napping on a cold rainy day (you know the two we had here in Central Texas lol!).  My daughter got sick at school, and while I didn't enjoy this, I was somehow grateful I could stay home and help her heal...napping when I could, snuggling with my three year old and baby, and making soups, healing syrups and teas, and bootleg liposomal vitamin C.  (Ebook/online class on how to support your family's health while sick! COMING SOON!).

    Let your body and heart determine what you "should be doing"...ask, and it will give you the answer, even if you don't necessarily like the answer. Don't be scared to follow the wisdom of the healers, take your rest when you need it this season: sleep, snuggle, and recover.  Live with the Seasons. Eat well.  If you do a cleanse, watch your body's reactions closely...stop if it isn't working for you.

    Remember the seasons for cleansing are typically Fall and Spring, and your body is more ready at these times.  Exercise when your body tells you to, but don't force it.  It is in rebuilding/nurture mode...follow nature and your heart...and you will be ready for that Spring cleanse in no time!!

    In Winter, it is possible to be well....  Here at Love and Unity Wellness, we are also offering our Winter Self-Care Packs as a way to love yourself and help yourself heal.  I personally love the Winter Sweet Sugar Scrub followed by the Blissful Body Butter.  A complete ritual would start with a hot bath, with the Warming Bath Salts... this is Pure love and self care, in a bottle.  Sip a cup of tea in the bath, and well... what more can we say!!