At StarFish Dance & Yoga, Sarah Shulman and I have been holding a monthly class where we learn to use essential oils for emotional support. Each month we all go home with a small vial of oil that is the perfect one for the feelings and emotions that we are moving through. We pick the oil by smelling the ones that relate to the emotion we are working with. For instance, this month, I was working with worry. I smelled wild orange, tangerine, sandalwood and cilantro. How do we know which is the right one, we literally let our bodies show us. The right oil always makes me want to take a deeper breath and bring my eyes up toward the sky.
The olfactory system includes the nose, the sinuses and the lungs. Air that we breathe enters our circulatory system via the lungs and the brain via receptor sites for the limbic system which is considered the emotional brain. The limbic system is connected to the parts of the brain that control the heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, memory, stress levels & hormone balance.
By allowing our bodies to choose the oil, rather than our minds, we bypass the trial-and-error that happens when we simply choose by reference. We also may be able to bypass preference. Sometimes oils whose fragrance I prefer are not the ones my body picks. And the ones my body chooses have had extraordinary results.
What I brought into class this month was a discovery I made as I have been deepening into meditation. I have recently been experiencing deeper, more peaceful spaces, as I practice quieting my mind and staying with my breath. And right at that moment when I become aware of how relaxed I am, I hear a little voice in my head says, “so, what are we going to worry about?” And from that moment on, all the possible things I could worry about start spilling into my quiet space.
One of the definitions of meditation is “cultivating self” which can also translate into getting to know myself. What I have been getting to know with this worry thing is that I have had what I could call and addiction to being worried. Sometimes there are things that cause concern, but in this case, I could feel myself fabricating something that a second ago had not there. It almost felt like I was opening the window to let in the mosquitoes. And I do this in my meditation because it is what I have done all day long for much of my life.
The mind is in part, a problem solver. I have compassion for the part of me that wants to worry. It is the super responsible me that wants to make sure all the ducks are always in a row. However, a) do I really need to worry about anything and b) while I am meditating? In meditation and in life, worry has become a great distraction from living in the present moment and living in joy.
Although wild orange, tangerine, sandalwood and cilantro are all indicated for “worried” states of mind, they all deal with different aspects of it. Wild Orange is the oil of abundance and quells worries about not having enough. Tangerine is similar (both sweet citrus) but has an added emphasis on being carefree. Sandalwood inspires spiritual devotion and trust in the inner voice. Cilantro, the one I picked, is the oil of releasing control, specifically of others and the environment. It helps to release negative emotions and toxins trapped in the body, heart and soul. When I smelled it, it took me away. I love it and find that is has a citrusy undertone I had not noticed before.
I am using the oil, putting a drop in my hands, rubbing them and inhaling 3 times. I have a small vial in my purse that I go to if I get into a worry loop during the day. I am even eating more cilantro. I am sure the oil is helping me in ways I do not consciously understand because I have felt less worried since using it and am more easily going into deep meditation without distraction. In my daily life, it reminds me that I can choose to put my attention somewhere other than worry. Smelling the oil is another way to focus, like having a mantra or an affirmation.
The positive emotions that cilantro essential oil encourages are cleansing, liberation, detachment, being untroubled, are what I pray for every day. I am more easily slipping into these emotional spaces. Bypassing the conscious mind, I am going right for the goodies, changing my body-mind from the inside out with the gentle support of the oils.
Join us for the next emotional support with essential oils class: go here!