26 August 2014

Lavender: A Universal Panacea

Lavender Field, 5 x 7 inches, graphite + watercolor, Suzanne McDermott

I cannot imagine life without Lavender

By now all the Lavender in Provence has been harvested.

I once visited the Lavender capital of the world. That's Digne, or Digne-les-Bains, also the capital of Alpes-de-Haute-Provence. Their annual Lavender Festival ended yesterday. I'd wanted to visit Digne for many years.

When I finally got the chance, it was November. I boarded the Chemin de Fer and chugged up the side of the Maritime Alps on what started as a beautiful day on the coast. As we climbed into the mountains, the first snow of the season began to fall. Lovely.

By the time we reached Digne, the air was chilled and everything was wet. Lavender season had long passed. No lavender to be found. Everything but a small café was closed and I'll remember that café for having the single most expensive cup of tea I've ever purchased.

Still, I slogged through the slush and rain in search of an historic house I never found and eventually worked my way back to the station for the ride down the mountain with my sopping socks slung over the radiator.

It was a wet adventure but at least I can say that I've been there. Several days later, I did find great Lavender oil at the market in Antibes so all was not lost.

Somewhere in between Twiggy and Jean Shrimpton, Yardley of London put Lavender on my pre-teen radar. I have not lived without it since. It was a large presence in Guerlain's far more sophisticated Jicky which is why I must have loved that perfume so. For years, I used the Crabtree + Evelyn Lavender Water but that formula was retired in 2012.

No worries. Now, I take my Lavender straight, no filler, no alcohol, no additives. Just the purest essential oil.

If my ashes can't be scattered at sea, a field of Lavender will do.
‘As Rosemary is to the Spirit, so Lavender is to the Soul.‘
— Anonymous
What? No Lavender plants?

I keep a little bottle of Lavender oil at my desk and in my purse at all times. And by my bedside, too.

I had a terrible burn last week and part of my treatment is aloe vera mixed with Lavender and Melaleuca oils. Melaleuca (Tea Tree) Oil is antibacterial and Lavender is analgesic, antiseptic and a skin regenerator.

Lavender is also a great sedative which is why a little bottle lives by my bedside. It helps me fall to sleep when I need a little nudge.

Some people make wonderful food with Lavender. That would not be me but whenever people do this, whatever the food is tends to look and taste particularly lovely.

Lavender makes my clothes smell great (I add it to my detergent and put drops of oil on cloth in the dryer. Lavender also keeps moths away.

But the very best thing about Lavender (for me) is that it smells so good and makes me feel so happy! Oh, did I mention that Lavender is an anti-depressent? It's that, too.

There are plenty more uses, but that's enough for now.

Click here to try a bottle of dōTERRA Lavender Oil. For me, it's the best Lavender to be found outside of Provence.

Or, better yet, pick up a starter set of dōTERRA oils with their Introductory Kit of Lavender, Lemon and Peppermint.

Click here if you'd like my help with an order.

Want to learn more? Click here to sign up for a free 10-day Introduction to Essential Oils course.

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19 August 2014

One way to train your mind

Ice Floe, Watercolor, 6 x 6 inches, $95

répétez s’il vous plaît

All situations are passing memory.

That's the First Absolute Bodhicitta Slogan and plenty to turn over in your consciousness for the next week (or for the rest of your life.)

We get stuck so easily. I see it happen all the time with drawing and watercolor. A person hones in on one little section of a drawing and worries it to death. With a watercolor, someone will try to fix a section before the watercolor has had a chance to do its thing and kills the whole painting.

It's simple to point out these behaviors of mind in the learning and practice of drawing and watercolor because those habitual behavioral tendencies present themselves right there on the page.

It's more difficult to check the habitual negative thoughts and ingrained patterns of reactions in the course of our everyday interactions.

One great thing about living at this very moment in time is that we have so many available tools to help us evolve into the radiant beings we are waiting to shine.

If you'd like to learn more about the ancient Tibetan Buddhist approach to mind training with slogans like the one above, click here for the Wikipedia entry on Lojong.
"It's not a matter of simply parroting these slogans once we've developed familiarity with them we have to use them to bring about a real change in our outlook. Words and phrases can have a positive or a negative impact on us, depending on their content. If we really think about these slogans and understand their profound subtleties, they will help to maintain our bodhisattva attitude and interrupt our negative flow of thoughts. According to the lojong teachings, we cannot underestimate the power of these sayings. Every time we remember a slogan, it will automatically help us not to react to things in our usual habitual way."
—Traleg Kyabgon, The Practice of Lojong: Cultivating Compassion through Training the Mind

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12 August 2014

Creative Supplements

Suzanne McDermott, Strike, as in sudden success
Watercolor, 8 x 8

Supplements I love

A creative life requires a strong life force and healthy living.

There are various components to healthy living but one of the most important is eating right and supplementing what we eat with that which makes our nutrition complete. Especially as we age.

I made a list of the supplements I take for a friend of mine last week. I've decided to share that here with you. This is part one of a Stuff I Love series.

I spend an entire segment in my coaching program on supplements I take and why, what brands of supplements I recommend and why.

No, I am not a doctor. (But you knew that!) No, I am not "qualified" to make medical recommendations. Yes, I like to share about what works for me and about products I love. Yes, we are all different with different needs, especially when it comes to vitamin supplements.

Still, I'm sharing what works for me (it changes over the years, with introduction of new products and with particular health concerns I experience.)

My dad was big into Gaylord Hauser, Adele Davis, Euell Gibbons. He swam a mile a day, walked everywhere he could and dragged me along jogging through the park and down the beach. Healthy food, good supplements and fit living is and always has been an integral part of my life.

That being said, I can't possibly go into all of the reasons I take and like all of the supplements I do, I can only say that I've spent hours and hours and hours researching, trying and noticing results from the stuff in my stores.

For example, MegaFood multi vitamins are whole food based, you can take them on an empty stomach and not excrete a bit. I'll never buy another brand of multivitamin.

After many years of using their products, I trust Jarrow Formulas completely.

For a B12 supplement, I would only take the Deva sublingual brand. (see store list.) That's after many hours of reading and comparing and a couple of years of personal use.

I'm taking a Ginko Biloba supplement to address my tinnitus. The jury's still out but I'm giving it a go.

I tried taking Lutein for my eyes and damn if I didn't notice an almost immediate improvement. Also, I learned about NeoCell products for Collagen and Hyalauronic Acid supplement and my hair and nails have responded miraculously.

Ester C is the only way to go for proper Vitamin C absorption.

I'm super picky about the brands of supplements I use and do extensive research on the production companies.

Anyway, I've made up an Amazon store with my recommendations. Take my suggestions or leave them. I wouldn't take anything that I hadn't researched thoroughly, and I research thoroughly.

Details of each an every one of the products I recommend are for a more extensive platform at some future date or as part of one of my coaching courses. For now, you can just browse and learn and try for yourself.

Have fun!
I believe that you can, by taking some simple and inexpensive measures, lead a longer life and extend your years of well-being. My most important recommendation is that you take vitamins every day in optimum amounts to supplement the vitamins that you receive in your food. —Linus Pauling
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