Clearing, Cleaning and Cleansing

Spring is on the horizon, the perfect season for clearing, cleaning, cleansing and throwing it away. Giving us a jump-start in this direction was the full moon in Virgo this past Sunday.  This is the planet in charge of structure and putting things in order, including ourselves. It’s not just cluttered drawers and closets that need clearing out, there’s a whole cadre of categories that are in need of “throwing it away.”

The Home ~ Though we may ignore it, we know when things need to be cleared out of closets, drawers, basements, attics, etc.  Perhaps it’s our office or the car that’s sorted with grime and or clutter. When we clear our physical spaces, it allows more mental space, for a clearer mind. Spring is the perfect season to throw it away or give it away, all those things that are taking up space in our physical world that we no longer use, want, or that no longer addresses who and where we are today. If you’re ready to seriously de-clutter, be careful to not go overboard. If you share a space with others, don’t assume it’s okay to thin their herd.  What may mean nothing to you could have great value to them. It’s wise to be both considerate and strategic on how you de-clutter. It will offer an opportunity to refresh and realign the energy in your space and within you.

The Body ~ Spring is the perfect season for internal cleansing. We are soon approaching the Spring Equinox, a time of the year for renewal, for clearing out the accumulation in our bodies from the winter season.  We can assist this process by including bitters into our diet, eating dandelion, chicory, plenty of fruits and increasing the intake of fresh, green juices into our diet.  The seasonal remedies of our grandparents, castor oil, cod liver oil, Swedish bitters and other home remedies worked back then and they are valuable now.  Cleansing the body is an uplifting and proactive way of welcoming spring and rejuvenating ourselves.

Many will “catch” a cold, in other words, will begin an internal cleansing. The mucous coming out of the body is the body’s natural way of cleaning out.  Instead of trying to suppress this cleansing with medications, assist this natural process by drinking plenty of fresh green juices, citrus juices and water to help flush out all the gook that has been storing up. Yes, it can be a bit snotty, but in the end your body will thank you.

The outer body needs clearing to. Exfoliating is a rejuvenating way to clear and reveal the silky, smooth skin under all the accumulated, dead skin cells. Exfoliation also stimulates the lymphatic system. Follow up exfoliation with smooth, hydrating moisturizers.

The Mind ~ During winter we may not be aware of the many subtle ways in which we hibernate. Winter is a time for resting, ruminating and planning, but we may gather a bit of mind clutter during that time with thoughts, ideas and perceptions that don’t serve us. Spring is a great time to let go of the mind clutter weighing us down. We may seek the help of a support group or therapist to guide us with freeing and clearing our minds and finding peace. Exercising can also help with mind clutter – aerobics, yoga, tai-chi, bicycling etc. and connecting with a spiritual practice can help release mind clutter.

Social Media ~ I recently took just two days off from social media and I can’t begin to tell you the level relief I felt, and the space in my head (peace) from not habitually checking my digital devices to see, to respond, assess and process image after image and idea after idea. For someone who is “required” to be on social media for work and who is in the habit of being there, taking that little break was a welcome reminder of the good old days of living only in the real world, leaving the virtual world behind. If you’re feeling overwhelmed with mind clutter, clocking out from social media for a spell can be very helpful with becoming centered again, of checking in and being present with the real you and your ‘real’ world. Perhaps you’re not on social media but there’s some other activity that you habitually partake in that’s draining you. Consider taking a break from it and experience the peace of mind.

Spirit ~ Last but not least, spiritual clutter. If your heart is not centered at this time, “spring can really hang you up the most”. It’s more difficult to hide inside the home or inside of ourselves once spring arrives. But nature knows best. Spring may just be the ticket we need to free ourselves from spiritual stagnation.

Consider spending time in nature. Go to the park or botanic gardens. Or if you’re able, take a trip to a place where nature abounds. It could be just an hour’s drive outside the city or hop on a plane to someplace that inspires. Just don’t forget, your spirit needs space too. Perhaps you already live around nature and instead you need a cultural excursion. Do that! Take some time alone away from all the many things, people and ways we distract ourselves from checking in with what’s really going on with us. Tap in and address what you’re truly feeling in a meaningful way, follow your soul’s call and give it what it needs.

Clear, clean, cleanse and throw it away ~ all that does not serve your highest good. In-joy spring!

Come Bathe With Me

Speaking with a friend, I was surprised when she shared that she couldn’t remember the last time she’d taken a bath. She said that it had been years, that she only takes showers. I couldn’t imagine that. As a child living in the south, we didn’t have showers, we only had bathtubs. And when we moved to NY, I never wanted to take a bath again. I thought baths were passé and showers were cool and hip. But my mom would insist we take baths too. Perhaps that’s why as an adult I returned to the pleasure of bathing.

These days, showering seems to have replaced the bathing experience in most people’s lives. I wonder if it’s just a city thing? Urban dwellers tend to live more hectic lives and people believe they are too busy for baths. Lost is the concept that bathing is a very ancient remedy that would mitigate the stress of our modern lifestyles.  It’s a magically therapeutic experience. Many ancient cultures took bathing to its heights with luxurious public bath houses.

My friend admitted that one reason she didn’t take baths is that she didn’t like her tub. That certainly could be a deterrent, just as a beautiful tub beacons. Your average hotels will have tubs that are just meant to stand in for showering. But the hotel that it is encouraging its guests to bathe, to relax will typically have a stand-alone tub that is not connected with a shower; and I take full advantage of such a design.

I once stayed at the Hotel Nikko, a Japanese owned hotel. In addition to everything else that was absolutely exceptional and exquisite, they had a soaking tub, an ofuro. For those who are unfamiliar, a soaking tub is shorter and deeper than American made tubs. The impact is that the depth of the water slows down your heartbeat causing a deeper form of relaxation. It was a very special experience.

There have been many a moment when I’ve found myself standing in the shower, warm water spraying down on my body, and I realize how very  tired I am.  I then wonder why am I standing there, when I could be laying down, in a tub of warm, fragrant water?  And in some instances, I have just stopped and turned off the shower and ran a bath instead. I never regret doing that, switching gears for my well being. Laying down in warm to hot water is a far more relaxing experience than standing up in a shower. It naturally slows you down and gives you permission to lay back and unwind. Yet, many forgo this rejuvenating treat.  Water is healing, water renews, it is the elixir of life and it is my firm belief that every woman should sit in water and soak from time to time. The same goes for men. Everyone in the family can benefit from a bath, from babies to elders.

I am curious to know why aren’t people taking more baths? It seems with the level of stress that many are experiencing this would be a very accessible remedy. Please share with me your preference, shower or bath and why.  And of course I encourage to naturally enhance your bathing experience using Anu Essentials botanically based Body Care.  I do!

Anu Essentials Botanical Soaps

The End of The Line

It has not been easy for me to admit this to myself, let alone anyone else. But I can no longer delay informing you that after much consideration I have decided to discontinue the Anu Essentials Line of Hair Products with the exception of the Hair Oils. Our botanically infused Hair Oils have been handmade by yours truly since 1980 and will continue on.

In the current stock there are just a dozen or so of the Deep Conditioner and a couple of dozen of the Nourishing Gel Shampoo and Moisture Rich Conditioner. But due to a recent delivery there is enough Leave-In-Conditioner, Luscious Curling Cream and Soft Set Gel to last through the spring and summer. Yes, I know. I’m more heart broken than you can imagine over this reality. But at this point I must cut my losses.

My focus now is on my true love, botanical elements (herbs and essential oils) and all the ways I can infuse them into our lives. This includes Body Care, Essential Oil remedies (soon to come) mood enhancers that include our Refresh and Spiritual Spritzers, Perfumes and semi-precious, gem stone jewels. We will also be offering unique home and environment fragrances to enliven, cleanse and enhance your breathing space. It is our plan to expand in all the above categories.

As one who has been studying the healing arts for many years, I have studied Chinese Medicine, I am a Certified Yoga Instructor, and Reiki Practitioner, the desire to heal is a part of my DNA.  The infusion of herbal based beauty and environmental care products of Anu Essentials are an extension of my desire to offer natural healing solutions that beautify and inspire. I will be turning 60 years young this month and what better time than now to fulfill my soul’s desire to heal and beautify using the gifts from God, via nature?

Anu Prestonia – Yoga photo session, summer 2016

I would like offer my heart felt appreciation to all those who have supported Anu Essentials line of Natural Hair Products over these four years. We encourage you to stock up on the Hair Products you like most, while they last. I have! Due to the quality and cost of manufacturing the products, there will be no sale or reduction of prices.

Last but not least, Great News!!! We are very excited to inform you that in the coming days, we will be launching a new Anu Essentials website.  Stay tune.  And Many Thanks!

 

 

Touch, Heal and Love Yourself

With Valentine’s Day on the horizon, I have been thinking about the touch of love. For many women (and men) Valentines season can be a painful reminder of being without that loving touch. Even for those who have a spouse or partner, being touched in a meaningful way can be an element lacking in the relationship. Because there’s the unfortunate truth that there are many who do not  know how to touch others, or how to receive being touched or how to lovingly touch themselves. So often the hunger for touch is ignored or even buried. This very essential need can and should be addressed and we are responsible for taking care of ourselves, our needs.

Being touched is one of the most affirming and healing aspects of this physical world. A cruel study revealed that babies who are not touched (other than to be fed and bathed) simply died. The power and radiance that comes from our hands is far greater than most of us realize. The great news is that there are plenty of wonderful options to address our needs as humans to be touched and I’m here to share some of them with you. And let me assure you I wouldn’t ask you to do anything I haven’t done myself.  I practice these rituals of self care on a regular basis and I’ve had every healing arts modality that I’ve listed below.  Each one leaves you feeling the magnificence of how we could all feel daily, if we lived in a world that put spirit above dollars. Welcome to healing.

First up, Touch Yourself  ~ The easiest and most accessible way to be touched is to use our own hands. Ever notice that as soon as you hurt yourself, the first thing you do is reflectively place your hand on that area? We do this because even though we may not be consciously aware of it, we intuitively know that our hands are healing tools. I suggest that you search your heart and mind to find out if you are in need of being touched and if so, allow yourself to address this need. Here are just some of my suggestions.

Tap In ~We can show ourselves some love by caressing our own bodies. Any time  you are unable to be with a lover and your needs arise, be your own lover! That’s right!  Who better than you can know what you truly want and need? Well actually a healing arts professional might be able to better assess your true needs;  that information is a little further down the page. In the meantime, since you’re always with you, this is the least time consuming option, you won’t have to travel anywhere to be with yourself, you are already there. And since it’s likely that you won’t charge yourself anything, this is the least expensive way to receive that loving and healing touch.  It can be difficult to make this decision if you haven’t been practicing self care on a regular basis.  But remember there is a part of you that longs to be taken care of.  Make the commitment, explore and enjoy.

Self Care ~ My favorite and easiest touching ritual is bathing. No, not showering, but getting in a tub of deliciously warm water. After relaxing in this elixir of life, begin washing your body sans a wash clothe. Instead of using a clothe, use just soap and your naked hands. There will be some tender parts of your anatomy that will delight in the feel your hands.

Be mindful, be intentional and truly be present to what you are doing. Feel the beauty of your hands on your body. After bathing the body, an exfoliation treatment can awaken the skin, making the body feel more alive, more radiant as exfoliation stimulates your lymph system. Follow up the exfoliation with a soothing cream. When you apply the cream focus 100% of your mind on what you’re doing. Imagine how lovingly you would apply that cream or butter to a baby you love and then baby yourself in the same way.  If the thought of a baby caring for a baby doesn’t inspire you, then touch yourself the way you’d want a lover to touch you, and enjoy it. Have your favorite music playing, a delightful fragrances burning and scrumptious chocolates and divine wine at the ready. You’re going to fall in love you!!!

Sexual Healing ~ My other suggestion for self-care is for you to offer sexual pleasure to yourself. Some women and men know how to please themselves and others may have no clue. If you know how to please yourself, during this Valentine’s season take this opportunity to go there. It may be the release you truly need, ahhhh… But if you have no clue on how to sexually please yourself, remember we’re in the information age… research! Consider taking a class. There are wonderful, insightful, and fun classes being taught at places like Babeland here in NY. If you’d rather more privacy, seek a highly praised book on this topic. One of my favorites books on this matter is by famed African American Gynecologist, Hilda Hutcherson, entitled, “What Your Mother Never Told You About S-e-x.” You might consider watching a how-to video or a steamy, foreign film. Call up your sexiest friend and ask him or her for some tips on this subject. They will be delighted to share with you and excited you’re finally getting your glow on. You can do this. Decide to find a way to stimulate yourself. Perhaps dancing gets you in the mood. Whatever it is that gets you going, get going.

Healing Hands ~ As a one who has studied Chinese Medicine for a bit, is a certified yoga instructor and Reiki practitioner, I truly believe in the power of the healing arts. Being touched by a professional who respects and loves their work does not fall under the banner of being sensual.  Nevertheless, the senses are subtly engaged by the relaxing music, the burning incense, or the essentials oils being applied. I highly recommend booking an appointment for one of the healing arts as a means of being touched. It’s a curative and sacred touch, but that might be just what the doctor ordered. The benefits are just amazing and you’ll want to thank me when it’s all said and done. So let me tell you now, you’re welcome!  Don’t worry if you’re unable to book on February14th, that’s probably one of the  busiest days for spas and not the best day for you to receive the attentiveness you deserve. Since everyday is a good day to love yourself, book your treatment for a the day or two after or as soon as you are able. Just do it!

 Healing Arts Options

Massage – There’s nothing like a good massage to renew you and make your feel relaxed, restored, renewed from head to toes.

Acupuncture – Is one of the oldest and best healing practices available in our modern times. This ancient healing modality is my first option after massage when something ails me. But having it just for a tune up is also very calming and healing. Two of my favorite acupuncturists are Elizabeth Healy and Bishara Wilson.

Manicure and pedicure – With added on services like a leg massage or chair massage, your mani-pedi might just do the trick. Even hand massages at a good nail spa can offer great relaxation. They are just wonderful.

Reiki – A Japanese form of hands on healing that will allow you to relax so deeply. You will feel submerged into a world of peace and calm. Please feel free to contact me to book this service.

Cranial Sacral Massage (head massage) OMG, talk about relaxing, you’ll be in heaven wondering when it’s over, why you have to come back to earth. Cranial Sacral Massage

Facial –I truly enjoy the way a facial feels and beautiful glow after the treatment. The fragrant botanicals used for facials, naturally heightens the entire experience. My two favs skin specialist are Skin by Mamie McDonald and Tres Belle Spa.

Reflexology (foot massage) – When booking spa appointments, many people forego this wonderful healing service. But all of our body’s organs have a region in the feet that are readily accessed via reflexology, making it a worth-while investment.

Thai Massage – There are so many types of massage therapies, but a Thai massage is like a having someone do yoga for you, using your body. As the massage therapist moves your limbs in graceful, stretching and circular ways, you wonder how you can do this more often.

Ayurveda – Hailing from India, Ayurveda is the oldest holistic healing therapy in the world. There are many different Ayurveda therapies. My favorite spa for Ayurveda treatments here on the east coast is the Kripalu Yoga Retreat located in the Berkshires. Kripalu specializes in Ayurveda and their treatments are simply, divine.

Yoga – Take a restorative yoga class.  In restorative yoga it’s all about relaxation.  It’s for beginners or those who just want a chill yoga class. There’s no competition, you don’t need fashion savvy yoga clothing.  All you need to bring is a willingness to go within. There’s a small, intimate class taught by Dianne Scott at the Joy of Living Yoga, right around the corner from Khamit Kinks on Bond Street.

How Do I Love Myself ~ So there you have it, more than a few ways to show yourself the love you deserve and may want from another. As the great Buddhist Monk Thích Nhât Hanh reminds us “we must truly love ourselves in order to be able to love another.”  Check out this beautiful video by Thich Nhat Hanh called How Do I Love Myself.

Happy Valentine’s Day Beautiful Ones!

 

 

 

 

Reveal Your Inner Beauty

This new moon cycle is headed towards a full moon in the planet Venus. This is the planet that influences love, relationships, beauty, the arts and everything lovely. Ahhh, this is great news because that means for the next 30 days or so you will be able to more easily tap into that energy which is in charge of not only external beauty but also the beauty that comes from within.

Beauty is initially observed externally by the eyes, you know, “in the eyes of the beholder”. But as we have all experienced, true beauty comes from within. When you’re in the presence of someone who radiates sweetness, harmony, kindness you know that you’re experiencing a form of  beauty, an element that feels good and that we may forget, is a gift from the Divine, from God.  Those who are naturally born with this disposition are truly blessed.  The rest of us need to work on it.

This is a most auspicious time to make a commitment to transcend energies, behaviors, and habits that are counter to being the embodiment of inner beauty. In other words you can determine for this lunar cycle to bring on the sweetness, harmony and kindness, particularly when you’re not in the mood to do so. That’s when it really counts. Anybody can be sweet when things are going their way and life seems lovely.  But getting down to the true work of invoking inner beauty means conjuring up that sweetness when your friend, spouse, co-worker, and others “seemingly” annoy and anger you. We are able to evolve when we realize no matter what others do, everything we express comes from within us.

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The best way to harness sweetness when circumstances warrant your justification to be angry or to have a bad attitude is to just STOP. Stop the momentum of going down that habitual behavioral road and recognize what has just happened. Look at how you’re feeling and know that you have the ability to make another choice about how you feel and how you respond. Now if you’re driving I’m not saying stop in the middle of the road, I’m saying stop the thoughts that would have you be anything other than understanding, kind, and compassionate. Decide not to curse out the driver that just cut you off.  You’re in your car, he can’t hear you anyway.  Just stop, take a breath, instead of habitually reacting.

Take a long, slow, deep breath in and then exhale, deeply, slowly. Do this several times to gain control over your emotions and your thoughts. Think of how wonderful it would feel if you decided whatever it was that has triggered you, has no control over how you will react. It’s not easy, but you can do it if you put your mind to it. Over time, practice will make it easier for you to catch yourself any time these negative emotions arise. Instead, embody that sweet Venusian energy.

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In many cultures there are deities (goddesses, angels, spirits) that are associated with this energy. They have names like Het Heru, Oshun, Venus, and Aphrodite, all of whom are the embodiment of love, joy, beauty, sensuality and sexuality. Associated with this energy are the color combination of yellow and green ~ yellow roses, peacocks, rose quartz stones and rose oil. Rose oil is famed for its healing properties for the heart (that’s why roses are given to demonstrate love) and can be also be found in many high end skin care products.  Our Sita Perfume is an ode to this energy with rose, sandalwood and patchouli as its accord. Also, our Sultry Body Polishes, Body Butters and Soaps are all scented with rose to get you in the sweetness mode.

Dungeness River Olympic National Park Washington USA
Dungeness River Olympic National Park ~ Washington, USA

So go ahead and call on this energy that flows, that goes with the flow, that moves around obstructions, obstacles, and defuses conflict and combativeness. After all, this energy is said dwell in rivers, which when clean, are ever flowing.  In the end, it’s not enough to look beautiful, outer beauty fades.  We should all strive to be beautiful.  And it is most easy to evoke this good feeling energy by listening to music you love, dancing, socializing, smiling and having fun.  You are in charge of your emotions, so create joy and with observation and contemplation may you be able to more easily access your inner beauty.

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