Mommy – Get Ready To Bloom!

There is no substitute for a mother’s love.  Some have been fortunate to have loving, supportive mothers.  Others lost their moms at a young age, some barely knew their moms or knew them not at all.

Mother’s Day, like many national holidays, can bring up a mixed bag of emotions.  As I wrestle with my mom’s latest illness, I realize the enormous love my mother has had for me and I for her, but I cannot discount the fact that mother/ daughter relationships can be fraught with complications.  In the end, love is the greatest healer.

serenity and yoga practicing at sunset, meditation

We all need to be mothered in one way or another.  One way to heal the mothering energy is to nurture ourselves.  When we nurture ourselves, it’s easier to nurture others  from a pure place. We bathe those in need with unconditional love.  This is the behavior of a healthy, mother energy.  If you’ve had a mom who has impacted your life in a most positive way, I know you count your blessings daily.  For those who have not had that kind of love, I think of you, especially on this occasion and send you Light and Love.  And for those who have recently lost their Mothers, I feel your pain more now than ever…  Mother’s Day can be a great time to put together a memory shrine for your mom no matter when she made her transition.

We have two botanical offerings to help invoke that nurturing energy, our Spiritual Spritzer called Nurturing and our Sea Scape Perfume.  Both are made with real jasmine essential oil and elements from the sea to calm and heal, not just for this special occasion, but for all year round.  Yemanja, Auset, Mother Mary, Privhti we call on you!

Happy Mother’s Day To All!

 

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!

 

 

 

 

The Four Aspects of True Love

It’s daunting to consider that most people know very little about true love, yet it is very thing that we desire most. In the western world it is common to have learned about love from Hollywood, romantic novels or poor examples of relationships. It’s incredible to realize that an ascetic, the Buddha conceived these undeniable teachings on ‘romantic’ love.  Zen Master Thích Nhât Hanh shares with us the teachings of the Buddha on “Being Love”. It seems we have to be love in order to give and receive True Love. In this post I cover “The Four Aspects of True Love”. It is profound philosophy and practice.  This is an excerpt of Thich Nhat Hanh’s lecture on BEING LOVE ~The Four Aspects of Love.

“The teachings of love presented by the Buddha are very clear. True love can only make yourself and others happy.”

Maitri ~ The first aspect of love Maitri means LOVING-KINDNESS. Maitri is defined as the intention of making a person happy; to offer happiness, that is Miatri. But intentions alone are not enough. Maitri is both the intention and the capacity of making one person happy. There are five types of people to offer Maitri 1.ourself 2. the person with whom we have sympathy 3. the person we are very fond of 4. the so-called neutral person 5. the person we dislike, that we believe is responsible for our suffering

And according to the tradition, we have we use ourselves first, as the object of our love; because our capacity to love another person, depends on our capacity of loving our self. If we do not have peace, joy within ourselves, we have nothing to share. We cannot make another person peaceful, happy if we are not peaceful, happy ourselves. And if there is no Maitri your love cannot be called true love. Instead, it will be the kind of love that can only bring sorrow and anger, and that is not true love.

Karuna ~ The second aspect of true love is Karuna, which means compassion, the capacity and willingness of remove, to transform the pain in the person you love, the object of your love. And the object of your love could be yourself. If Karuna is not there, then it’s not love. When we look deeply into the nature of our love, we find out whether there is the element of true love, of compassion there. If compassion does not exist, then it’s not true love. Then it’s the kind of love that can only bring suffering, attachment, slavery, and despair.

Mudita ~ The third element of true love is Mudita, JOY. True love always brings joy to you and the person you love. If your love is not bringing joy to you and the person you love, then it’s not true love. And you’ll have to work to transform it. If you only cry, if the other person also cries, then it’s not true love.

Upeksha ~ The fourth element of love Upkesha means equanimity, it means FREEDOM. Equanimity means no discrimination. When we love someone that person should be able to  retain his or her freedom, to be himself, to be herself should not ever feel that they are in prison, the prison called love. They have space around them to move, they have space within their heart, and this is Upeksha. If your love deprives yourself and or deprives the other person of freedom or space, that’s not true love. So love in such a way you can preserve your freedom and the freedom of the person you love, that is true love, that is Upeksha.

Stopping and Looking Deeply ~ You have to practice looking deeply into love everyday, so that these four elements grow. The more these four elements grow, the happier you will become, the happier the person you love becomes. And if we practice looking deeply we see that one aspect of love, contains the other three aspects. If one of the aspects develops truly, the other three will develop. It is the nature of inter-being. If one of the aspects is missing they will all be missing. If freedom is not there, then loving-kindness is not there, joy is not there, compassion is not there.

~Thích Nhât Hanh ~“The greatest gift you can offer your beloved, is your true presence. To offer your true presence is the first act of love.”

Hear the entire lecture “BEING LOVE

An Abiding Love

I have come to realize that I have an abiding love and reverence for Zen Master, Thích Nhât Hanh.   It’s only been a year or so that I’ve known about this incredible teacher. But he has been gently walking on this earth creating evolutionary and revolutionary transformations in the hearts and minds of millions of people around the world, since the 1960s. He is the man Martin Luther King called “An Apostle of peace and nonviolence.”

Martin Luther King and Thích Nhât Hanh

Some might naturally ask if I’m a Buddhist. No, I have not made such a declaration, studying and practicing the teachings of the Buddha does not require that one become a Buddhist. But what I desire most in my life right now is to master these teachings. Even as a novice, these teachings have enriched my life so greatly by offering simple techniques on how to manage and overcome the inevitable pain that comes with life. Thich Nhat Hanh, also know as Thày (teacher) refers to this pain as suffering.

Thày informs us if we know how to suffer, we suffer less. This was a novel concept for me to wrap my brain around. Who wants  to suffer at all, skillfully or otherwise? But suffering is part of life, you may as well learn how to do it right. I recall a video I saw of the great writer, poet and social critic, James Baldwin in which he pronounced quite emphatically “We live, we suffer, we die”. I though oh my, isn’t there some joy, some happiness in between there somewhere? And if you’ve ever seen James Baldwin smile, you know there is joy in life.

James Baldwin

Thày teaches us that there are a millions reasons to be happy in spite of the suffering we may be experiencing. Then he sets about offering sublime instructions on how to follow the breath as a means of controlling our minds and our emotions. This practice is called mindfulness. In the yogic tradition, the mind is referred to as a drunken monkey, swinging from one thought to the next, without much supervision. The unsupervised wanderings of the mind can take us on a roller coaster ride that just won’t quit, full of regrets of the past and anxieties regarding the future. Never does the mind want to be in the present where one can more readily access the portal to peace, happiness and true love.

Gaining control over our minds and therefore our emotions allows us the ability to skillfully navigate the inevitable pain that comes with life. These teachings have been a most incredible gift. I will be forever grateful  for my friend Lisa Renee who introduced me to the Teaching of the Buddha via Thich Nhat Hanh. Thày’s books and videos on gaining peace and accessing happiness are widely available. If you’re seeking peace, happiness and joy in area in your life, you might consider the teachings of the Buddha as taught by master teacher, Thich Nhat Hanh.  Check out this video by Thày entitled “Awakening The Heart ~ The Practice of Inner Transformation“.

 

 

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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