Guest Post // Kellye Rae: Awareness is the Answer
When Tiff reached out to me to write a post about essential oils, I was floored. Firstly, because I fangirl over Tiff and Di, on a regular basis, so to be asked was an honor. But also, because essential oils are such a huge part of my life, and I love sharing them with others.
I sat down to write, and ideas started flowing. Tiff prefaced that the blog was focusing on peace, breath, and grounding for the month of December, and boy, did I have oil recommendations for that. I could come up with 20 different oils recommendations, and 30 different PubMed articles to prove their effectiveness. As an independent distributor of oils, this was right up my alley, and it was second nature to put on my ‘teaching cap’ and teach about these ‘magic oils’.
But, as I sat down to write, I felt like a fraud. When I started making points about our oil blend, Peace & Calming, and how it will change your life, I felt like a hypocrite. It’s one thing to teach someone, and it’s another to lead them by example. And, looking at my life at the moment, you would definitely question the effectiveness of these oils. Nearly 30, and going through my second divorce. (Yes, you read that right). Carrying the burden of single-mother, bread-winner, home-keeper, disciplinarian, taxi driver, chef, errand runner, butt-wiper, and still trying to get in time for myself, it had me breaking down in my bedroom at least once a week. I’m thankful for the village around me, but single mom life is still so overwhelming at times. I watch myself lash out, and respond in less than loving ways to my child, to my loved ones, and to myself.
So, each time I sat down to write, I stared at the white screen on my computer and believed the lie that I wasn’t capable. I wasn’t worthy of telling others ways to help calm their hearts, and bring peace into their lives. Because, mine just keeps falling apart.
Then, one moment at lunch, I felt God solemnly speak to my heart. Two lines that keep playing in my head over and over again:
“Comparison is the thief of joy”
“Essential Oils aren’t the answer, awareness is”
Simple sentences, packed with so much revelation that I began to sort through. The first one, I had heard a million times, and the second, going against everything a marketing consultant would tell me to say, since my livelihood depends on these precious oils.
I began to look at the times where I was so overwhelmed with what daily life and motherhood expected of me. I replayed the times I got lost in my own emotions, and then watched myself respond to those emotions in a less than desirable way. What was the reason? It came to me so quickly.
You see, when my daughter gets emotional, I tell her to take a moment, and take deep breaths. Without fail, it works like a charm. She will inhale and exhale until she realizes her toddler sized mental breakdown over the wrong yogurt flavor on the breakfast table is “da-matic”.
Research shows, that breathing steadies the mind and slows our stress response. When Jerusalem takes that time to slow her heart rate, and calm her mind through her breathing, she is allowing her brain the space to become aware of her emotions, whereas before she was merely responding to them.
That was the missing link for me. I looked at my life, and realized I had so many tools for emotional support, but they did me no good just sitting there. I have moments where my hormones are rampant and I don’t remember to use oils. Moments where my blood sugar drops, and I don’t remember to eat food. Moments where my mind is racing, and I don’t remember to get on my yoga mat and breathe. I end up offending people, and hurting myself. Jerusalem has me to remind her and guide her through what to do in moments of stress, but who is there to tell me?
“Essential oils aren’t the answer, awareness is”
So, what can we do to become more aware? What can we do to remind ourselves to take time to observe, so we can reach for the things our bodies need to keep us off the path towards insanity.
Download the Pacifica App: This has been the best thing I could ever do for my awareness (besides therapy once a week, but this is way cheaper). The description reads, “Daily tools for stress and anxiety alongside a supportive community, based on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy & Meditation”
I’ll be honest, I was really thorough with it in the beginning. Constantly checking in with my mood, thoughts, and goals. It will take you through breathing techniques, and reversing thought patterns that are honestly so helpful.
I don’t keep as good of a record anymore, but the “How are you feeling?” reminder that pops up on my phone screen multiple times a day is enough to cause me to grab my favorite essential oil, take deep breaths, and re-center my thoughts.
Now that have that reminder to be aware, how can we stay off the path to insanity and reach peace?
Eat Good Food & Sleep: This summer, when my whole world came crashing to a halt (reality show will be called “Newlywed goes back to single motherhood overnight), had me in the middle of an extreme emotional breakdown. I went a while without eating or sleeping. Friends came to my rescue and brought smoothies, salads, and sleeping pills. What I quickly realized, was the low points seemed so low because my body was so deficient in the things it needed to function, everything just went into a crisis mode response. Once I got a good meal, and a few hours of sleep, things didn’t trigger me as heavily as they did before. I started setting reminders on my phone like “Eat, you skinny witch” (sub out a letter there, if you please) and nightly alarms to turn off the tv, and go to bed.
Getting your blood sugar stabilized, and your mind rested will do wonders for your mental health.
I’ve never been a naturally athletic person (my sport in high school was show choir, but if you’ve tried to sing, dance, and smile at the same time, you would argue that it takes some athleticism). I had tried kickboxing, weight lifting, and CrossFit throughout college, but I couldn’t find something something I actually enjoyed. When I was pregnant with Jerusalem, I attended prenatal yoga to find some relief for sciatica and hip pain. I instantly felt connected to it, and it has been a go to for physical exercise ever since.
Find an activity that you enjoy, and try to do it daily. Allow it to be a stress reliever, release those endorphins, and be surprised with how your mood positively responds.
Inhale an Essential Oil:
Now the hippie lady is finally talking oils! Hear my heart when I say essential oils aren’t the answer, awareness is. I believe in them with my whole heart. I was just falling into the trap of unhealthy emotional responses, because I wasn’t taking the time to stop and remind myself to use them. I wasn’t experiencing the therapeutic properties of them if they were just sitting on the shelf. But, when I use them, they are divine. “There’s an oil for that” is what we say amongst the community, but the reality is, there is.
If you are a newbie to essential oils, they are extracted through different parts of plants, through a process called distillation. With that said, I don’t think there is any coincidence that God placed His kids in a garden. He does everything with such intention and purpose, I think He created the Garden with intention that Adam & Eve would have everything they would need on a physical, mental, emotional and spiritual level.
Essential oils are different than your fatty oils (think olive oil, coconut oil) because they have molecules that are small enough to penetrate our cells. Fatty oils do not circulate within the plant, but essential oils do, carrying oxygen and nutrient to the cells. When we apply essential oils, they can actually enter our blood stream and cross the blood-brain barrier. They can actually stimulate parts of the brain that impact our emotions, and uplift our spirit.
I like to twist open the lid, and inhale straight from the bottle. Those deep breaths are slowing your mind, slowing your heart rate, and the aromatic properties of the oil are supporting all those funky emotions. It works every time.
My favorite oils for emotional support are Frankincense, Peace & Calming, Joy, and Vetiver. Set a few reminders on your phone throughout the day, pick an oil, and take 10 deep breaths. A great way to start the day, is have an oil setting on your nightstand, and reach for it first thing. Take deep breaths, and decide internally how you want your day to go. I also like to run a diffuser at night with Lavender to deepen my sleep, because I know my mood the next day really depends on the sleep I got the night before.
Another favorite is a blend exclusive to Young Living called Valor. I have found (with becoming more aware) that a lot of my unhealthy responses to people come from a place of insecurity. The uses for this oil (comes straight from the YL website) says “Empowerment, Confidence, Energy Balance”. My favorite testimony from our home comes from a season when Jerusalem was so having a hard time with school. Every day, she would cry and refuse to go in. She is usually a pretty confident kid, but for some reason, she couldn’t muster up the courage to go to a new class. I applied Valor on her spine and earlobes one morning, after weeks of tears and frustrations. After about 15 minutes, she started shouting ‘MOM!! I really can do it! I can go to school!” in the car. That day, she walked herself into class for the first time with no tears. You can bet your buns, we use that oil on the daily now.
I researched several companies before landing on Young Living. I found that because the FDA doesn't regulate them, many companies can advertise them as ‘pure’ essential oils, if only a small portion of the bottle is actually pure. They will add fillers and synthetic fragrances in to cheapen the price. It’s unfortunate, because a lot of people grab a bottle of essential oil in the grocery store, hoping to experiences the effects, and feel nothing. This is because, they are basically just sniffing a perfume, void of any therapeutic properties. Young Living uses nothing but the oil extracted from the plant, and is very hands on in the harvest, distillation, and bottling process, promising nothing can adulterate that precious, precious oil.
Not only did I trust their purity of oils, they made my life so simple every month. I was spending time buying supplements for my workouts from one website, non toxic makeup from a small company in Iowa, non toxic face products from a small health food store in the city, and constantly online researching the next ‘green’ product I could get my hands on. Young Living was a one stop shop for everything I needed, toxic free, and straight to my doorstep. Their supplements and skin care are infused with essential oils, which is seriously a one of kind concept.
The reality is, I’m not in a place where I could write a self help book from the standpoint of, “here is what I did to overcome and succeed”. But, I can offer help to those in the midst of it, because I am in the midst of it.
I truly believe there is such healing for our mental and physical selves when we are vulnerable and open. Gone are the days where I pretend to be perfect and have my life together. I refuse to buy into the comparison that social media brings that my life has to be perfectly painted to the world. If comparison is the thief of joy, and I’m on a journey to true inner happiness, I’m not going to present myself as the expert, but humble myself, and join hands with those who want to journey together. I’ll set that phone reminder with you, take deep breaths with you, and walk towards a more grounded, peaceful life with you.
My favorite resources (available on Amazon):
Releasing Emotional Patterns with Essential Oils by Carolyn Mein, D.C.
Healing Oils of the Bible by Dr. David Stewart
The Chemistry of Essential Oils by Dr. David Stewart
Get in touch with Kellye: