Inner Strength by Aromatherapy Associates

 Best Essential Oil blendsThe Posse is one of those wonderful places where a lot of people, myself included, feel comfortable baring some of our most personal challenges and sharing in a lot of our more personal joys.   This year started out in particularly challenging fashion – I lost my beloved stepsister and then, hard on the heels of it, lost my father to a ripe old age.  Health and other issues have plagued me, as they have so many others…and I have been feeling that sense of ‘quiet desperation’.  I felt weird sharing that info, then I thought ‘waitaminit.  It’s The Posse.”  So I’m sharing, so I can tell you about some stuff that is helping me get through it.

In these weird times, I always turn to aromatherapy.  I scent my sheets with ylang ylang and clary sage and I dab a bit of bigarade on my lightbulbs.  I place a drop of eucalyptus on a washcloth in the shower in the evening and a drop of spearmint in the morning.    I’ve worked with EOs for a long while, trying to perfect a blend that would calm my anxiety and quiet my incipient rage – some blends have been more successful, some have simply put me to sleep …and one, where I jammed a boatload of clary sage, had me twirling around the house, vacuuming in giddy madness!  I’m no chemist – I just throw things together and as Marla, who occasionally guest posts here, has cautioned, EOs are not to be trifled with!

So I was delighted to be sent a sample of Geraldine Howard’s blend, Inner Strength, from her  company, Aromatherapy Associates.  She has been creating aromatherapy products, found in a lot of upscale spas, for 35 years.  Then she was stricken with cancer.  Which, let’s face it, is a mega-stressor.   When she was at her lowest ebb during cancer treatment she sought refuge and protection in her arsenal of essential oils.

Cancer.  Man.  Kinda makes me want to step back and smack myself.  Right now, the worst thing I have going, besides the garden-variety aggro, is a pulled hamstring that makes me walk like a duck and a busted rotor cuff that means I have to watch it when I move my shoulder.  And a headache.  Every day I learn of friends, IRL and virtual, who are struggling with life-threatening illnesses, fighting to keep their  children whole, experiencing challenges that make mine look so ..paltry.  But you know what?  My challenges are the only ones I can struggle through, and so I do.  And this gorgeous blend really has bolstered my own Inner Strength, to help me through my own Drama.  And it’s helped me pull myself together enough to be able to give others a hand as well!  And, in that weird way of the world, Helping Others helps calm myself right the heck down.   I can see Geraldine showering with this, or dabbing it on her wrists, before going for whatever godawful tests they had next in store for her.  Or dabbing it on a handkerchief and huffing like mad during treatment.  And wearing it like a suit of armor, to keep herself strong.  I would.  I do.  Even for my little weird issues.

In my opinion notes are particularly important in aromatherapy.  Each essential oil has its own healing properties and while one could mix up any old thing and probably not blow up the kitchen, it seems they work best when used in  appropriate harmony.  And with respect.   I am thrilled to let Geraldine work her magic with these notes:

Clary sage and frankincense which help focus the mind and calm the thoughts

Cardamom and rosemary to help fortify physical strength (did you know the Romans used rosemary under mattress bedding to calm nightmares?)

Rose and vetivert to calm and heal

and Geranium (one of my favorites) for emotional balance and stimulate circulation.

 

I wore this all day today.  I wore this all day yesterday.  It is keeping me out of Stateville.  I love that.  It’s a bath/shower oil but can easily be worn as a perfume, though I tend to prefer my EOs in the spa-like setting that water always invokes.  I have a friend who is undergoing some serious challenges right now…we had lunch a few days ago and I dabbed a bit on her – but I didn’t tell her what it was.  All through lunch she kept huffing her wrist, saying “wow.  this makes me feel so………calm!”

Mother’s Day is coming up.  I would’ve gotten this for my mother in a nanosecond.  She would’ve loved its beautiful, calming nature – perhaps she could’ve used this instead of Nervine and scotch, but that was in another time.    But my mom’s time has come and gone these 20 years.  So I’m going to give a sample to one of you!  Tell me what you do to calm yourself.  Aromatherapy?  Scotch?  Exercise?  Scotch?  I confess to doing all of those! LOL !!  Carmine, who is adding to my stress by trying to kill the chickens, will pull a feather out of random.org’s hat and the winner will get a carded 3ml sample!

 

My samples were provided by Aromatherapy Associates.  the Bath and Shower Oil is $63/55ml  at Aromatherapy Associates and 10% of the proceeds will be given to The Defense Against Cancer Foundation that is helping pioneer new treatments.  Geraldine is currently a patient in this program.  You can read more about it here.

I think it’s what’s on tap for my shower tonight.  Maybe tomorrow, too!

 

And by the way, in addition to the Aromatherapy, exercise and Scotch (just joking about the scotch, really.  I’m a bourbon gal)………one of my greatest joys and sources of strength are my friends.   I have some amazing friends who have cared for and looked after me as I go through my challenges.  Beautiful flowers, lovely books, a (very) patient ear.  A shoulder to cry on.  Folks to giggle with.  It’s gotten me through so much.  And you.  The Posse.  The Posse is definitely a (collective) ‘friend’.  You’re a friend to me and to us all as we, each and every one of us, traverse Life.    I wish all of us:   you, me and Geraldine the very, very best!

 

63 Comments
Tara May 2, 2013

I am so sorry to hear of your losses and difficulties. It seems the older I get the more acutely I am aware of the fragility of life and the great number of challenges we all face. A very large life change is barreling down on me like a Mack truck and I am unfortunately not handling it as gracefully as I had hoped, but the show must go on all the same. I am so looking forward to LA Scentsation next week! I need some fun in my life!

Dina C. May 2, 2013

Like some others have shared, I also have bouts of melancholy and anxiety. I lost my dad to cancer 20+ years ago -- he was only 52. It's a sad fact of life that the longer we live, the more heartaches we encounter. I just have to remember that the joys increase as well. I soothe my soul with prayer, singing, yoga, naps, escapist things like reading novels and watching TV shows, and hot scented baths. I've had acupuncture in the past that was really helpful for a herniated disk in my lower back, so I affirm that it can be a great alternative medicine resource. Thanks so much for sharing from your heart. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

FearsMice May 2, 2013

Blast it! my mascara's running... Responding to the soul-baring courage with which so many of you are facing your troubles seems impossible; I'm all tongue-tied and awkward... Please just know that I seek healing and blessings for you all. My two rescue kitties are a great comfort to me, as is gardening: playing in the dirt is somehow restorative. And yanking up weeds is so satisfying! I plan to try some of the aromatherapies mentioned here for help with sleep, which is a recurring problem for me. A hot bath with EOs sounds blissful. Finally, thank you so much, Musette, for this post -- it came just when I needed it. Be well, everyone.

rosiegreen62 May 1, 2013

Musette, thank you for sharing your life with us. I first started getting into perfume a few years ago during a very difficult patch in my life. I am so thankful to have found all the virtual friends in the perfume community and enjoy trying new things that I wouldn't otherwise hear about. I would love to see a picture of Carmine, rotties are one of my favorite dogs. To relax I do lots of different things depending on the need. Weeding, walking the dog, a large rescue bouvier mix named Pearl. Listening to music, quiet evenings listening to the birds, very hot baths with essential oils. We all have trials but friends and small pleasures help get us through. Thank you for the generous draw.

poodle May 1, 2013

I am so sorry to hear that you are going through some tough times, Musette. Hopefully there's light at the end of the tunnel for you and things will start to brighten up soon. I've had my share of bad times and bad luck since just after Thanksgiving so I can relate. Elderly parents can be challenging. I've tried anything and everything to calm my nerves and help me through. Like Rosarita, I too have had some hair loss issues in the past 7 months due to hormone hell. I've also had other issues that my doctor has no idea how to help me with so I have turned to herbal supplements and aromatherapy as well. I've also been trying self hypnosis and meditation. When all else fails, a good bottle of wine sometimes helps. Or something stronger. My mom always said that we each have our own crosses to bear and I guess she's right.

susan May 1, 2013

I calm myself with glorious television - The Bachelor/ette, The Vampire Diaries, Game of Thrones... getting drawn into a compelling story really releases tension for me somehow.

Jennifer Counts May 1, 2013

I'm so sorry for your losses, Ms. M. *hugs* I've been interested in aromatherapy for a while and enjoy experimenting with essential oils. I've mostly used them for skin care applications and perfume experiments (one of which I'm test driving today.. lol), but I'm fascinated with all applications for EOs. One night I mixed up some lavender, rose absolute, and vanilla (and maybe chamomile, but I don't remember and didn't write down what I did) with some jojoba oil during a week when I wasn't sleeping well. I put some of the blend on before I went to bed and had the best sleep I'd had all week.

Maureen May 1, 2013

Music and dancing help me with depression, exercise with anxiety and, oddly, playing scrabble on my kindle calms me down sometimes. Reading your posts make me LOL sometimes, which is calming too. I have never tried aromatherapy, besides some Bath & Body works Sandalwood & Rose, which, of course, they discontinued. I would love to try this Innner Strength. Thanks for the draw and your wonderful posts.

Tiara May 1, 2013

That should have come with a warning to grab a tissues first! One minute I'm laughing about the scotch (my mother's own choice) and the next I'm tearing up. Life is a serious of ups and downs, although lately more downs but I'm hoping that means more ups coming soon. "Old age is no place sissies" rings truer every year. Nice to know we're not alone. Chaos (original) and Dior Homme (also original) are soothing. Chaos starts out a bit frantic but quickly settles in and I huff away for hours. I especially like Homme at bed time. I'd love to know what put you to sleep -- now that's some aroma therapy I'd pay big bucks to experience!

Merlin May 1, 2013

I remember reading an article in which the writer said that whenever someone pointed out how well someone is coping in dire circumstances she felt guilty about how hard she was having to struggle with more minor issues. I think its important to have perspective about ones own difficulties, but also to respect them. As you so well put it - my difficulties are the only ones I can struggle through. I have difficulties with depression and anxiety and have found (like Rosarita) that Debussy is helpful. Earlier on, when I was worse, I found Paginini to be very calming. But, when I feel depleted and unmotivated I use Rammstein to get myself going! While rose oil is supposed to be good for depression my early experiments with it were not very rewarding. More recently I have found lavender to be very helpful. It is relaxing and also helps when I get hay-fever. I'm not sure if anyone has used the Badger balms but I have found them to be quite effective: especially the calming one in the green tin. They are basically beeswax and shea butter balms with a variety of EOs added in. Last of all, I finally found my ultimate comforting perfume last year. Chergui somehow reaches right into me -

HemlockSillage May 1, 2013

Dear lady, you break my heart, make me laugh and inspire me. You are amazing. Never met you in person, but my image of you is that of a beautiful force of nature. I think of your painting, writing, gardening, running a business. . .and remember your tender images of your family, your father. I'd be willing to bet lots the people in your life know that you love them fiercely, wholeheartedly. You'll hold them in your heart forever. Thanks for sharing glimpses with us. Today is my grandpa's birthday, or the day he picked to celebrate it. He died at 92 that he admitted, not knowing his exact birthdate, just spring of 1899. I still miss him, decades after he's been gone. He was unconditional love for me. He smelled of tobacco and hair oil, and musty old man. I hope he's in the great beyond, playing tunes on his harmonica, sharing a drink and a laugh with your dad. Ok, enough mushiness. Mrs. M--may you find renewal in tubfulls of EO scented water or extra strength in Mitsuoko armor (or Diorissimo armor) and lean on Carmine's escapades with the chickens for a laugh. (We want photos!) Savor the moist dirt of your garden in your hands, life springing forth. . .and please, please keep telling us about your adventures. Be well.

Jamie May 1, 2013

This is such a brave post. I appreciate your honesty and vulnerability. It's beautiful-- in the face of loss and chronic health struggles-- to see such a sense of gratitude and appreciation and resiliency. I like how you shared some of the things that refresh you, restore you, and heal you. Thank you for sharing a part of your journey with me-- with us. Only recently, I discovered the beauty of perfume and this community. And now I have something new to explore! So much to learn and discover... These posts are all around really great.

Michelle May 1, 2013

You are such a courageous, wonderful woman! Thank you for writing this. I've always thought of EOs as our little plant friends who help us in whatever way is needed to get us through...fragrant and magical elixirs to strengthen, calm and heal. Strangely, your post is hitting the crux of my work life. I recently earned a PhD in biophysics & have been doing research with potential cancer therapeutics. But my heart, soul & some personal experience (last year partner had cancer, surgeries, complications & many, many weeks in hospital...saved his life, but the only "good" treatment was the aromatherapy foot rubs) is pushing me towards work with fragrance and/or plants and natural products. Should energy go into learning new things to fight the bad, or to accentuate the positive? I'm pretty burned out and just kinda going through the motions right now, hoping I will soon regain equilibrium and get some energy and drive back for what happens next. Blessings to you, darling Musette!

Beth May 1, 2013

Musette, lovely post. You are right, we all have to deal with what we have to deal with. Knowing other people have it worse helps put our own mountain into perspective, but we still have to climb it. I deal with customer complaints and everything else that's a major problem in any other department all day, and having my dog with me at work certainly helps. Perfume is another joy that can take me out of the moment. But I'd love to try the essential oil. Anything that can bring calm to my day, would be great!

fleurdelys May 1, 2013

I send my best wishes to you and to Geraldine. As much as I love fragrance, I know zip about aromatherapy. Sounds like it's time I start learning! Thanks for entering me in the drawing. P.S. I've had chronic pain from a rotator cuff injury, and acupuncture worked for me. Recommended it to my cousin too; she has a more recent R.C. injury, and was over the moon about how much better she felt.

Martha May 1, 2013

Dear Musette - As usual, I love your post. I've not really delved into aromatherapy, but perfume functions that way for me at times. It boils down to how our brains handle all that gets thrown at us. The way I perceive aromatherapy is that the scents facilitate/prompt neurotransmitters, hormones, etc. in our brains. These days, I look for things that are relatively benign yet effective. It seems like aromatherapy would fit the bill. So, I'd love to try Inner Strength. About your shoulder, have you ever given any thought to Rolfing? I'm currently going through the 10 series, the standard treatment regimen, that is, and am rather surprised at the positive results I'm getting. My back, arms, entire body, have been so out of whack that I avoided massage therapy for relief because it hurt too much. These Rolfing sessions are putting things back into order. Maybe you would be helped, too, by this therapy. Just a thought.

Jan Last May 1, 2013

Musette, one of the posse people sent me some "buttons", little fired clay pieces you can soak your EO in, put about the house in the appropriate places, the aroma slowly seeps out and when it becomes faint, you throw it in the dishwasher and voilà! new again, to soak in another EO. As Emily stated, there is strength in numbers, and as you all were here for me during my last month of misery, I will be here for you, as well. We are all friends who have never met. So....we will be thinking of you today, and sending positive energy your way.

Ann May 1, 2013

Darling M, what a beautiful, bittersweet post! I have been thinking of you and praying for you for a while now, and am glad you are now able to share what you've been through. Our wonderful Posse readers are a great comfort, aren't they? Must try some of those EOs you speak of. Sending you big, comforting hugs!

dremybluz May 1, 2013

Your posts either have me rolling on the floor in laughter or cying like a big old baby like most of us can be a times. It is always a joy to read whatever you have posted. Last June, a freaky fall into a steel fire safety door at the hospital left me with a shattered left humerus that is still on the mend after 2 big surgeries.Life can be no fun when all you can do is spend 9 months sitting or sleeping in a recliner because of strict medical orders concerning this blasted arm. At Christmas my 83 year old Mom was diagnosed with stage 3 necrotizing lymphoma. i am thankful for having the possee to read everyda, my many favorite bottles of perfume to snuggle with, my four crazy dogs and my soulmate of 14 years to keep me calmed, settled or sane. Thanks for you and the rest of the Possee for always being there for all of us in this big extended family.

Jackie b May 1, 2013

Hi, your post today made me stop. In my tracks. I have had no tragedies or huge dramas and yet still manage to feel down sometimes, and lie awake imagining the worst! Lavender and marjoram pillow spray helps. Though once I put too much lavender on, and my husband and I lay and stared at the ceiling for ages...it's a stimulant in large amounts! Duh! Also taking care of my animals also help me keep grounded. BTW as an ex dancer, I know that hamstrings take ages to heal, you will get there. All the best to The Peeps!

Nancy H. May 1, 2013

Hi Musette, I use hot baths, meditation, cuddling with my cats, and visualization (imagine someone massaging your hands, feet, or um ... whatever). Hey, how about posting a picture of Carmine? I have not figured out if he is feline, canine, or one weird little human.

Isabelle May 1, 2013

Oh, Musette ! Your post really moved me. I feel I've been where you are - enduring loss and stress and trying your hardest to keep going - and the fact is : it's hard. Don't forget to give yourself permission to feel how you feel : there is no saying you should feel less because other people's challenges seem bigger than yours. The strength some people bring forth in their fight against cancer or other health issues can seem humbling, but really it should inspire us (I discovered qualities in my mother I didn't know she possessed when she faced cancer then death. Even now the example she set for me is a comfort). I hope this bad series of events you are facing will stop soon, and I send you good vibrations. Exercise is a good stress-reliever for me, but cooking is even more frequent. Kneadind bread is particularly helpful when I need to work through an issue. Creating recipes for new dishes involves and distracts me in a nice way. Then sharing the results with other people is uplifting. As I live alone, I often end up baking cakes or "special" breads I bring to work and share with my colleagues.

Illdone May 1, 2013

Dear, dear Musette. First let me tell you how I've always appreciated your sense of humor. Whatever the subject it always comes through in your posts. People with a wonderfull sense of humor often are the ones that had to endure a lot. I'm not going to post a long list of losses I endured the past 3 years but sometimes it can be a lot and you have to continue working, functioning,. Breefly, it can be hard sometimes, sending you transatlantic strength to keep up with it all Consolation can be a very cheap thrill, ofcourse there are many fragrances that help or console but I found that opening a window very early in the morning and just taking a very deep breath is just the most wonderfull thing to start the day. It might be freezing or the dawn of a sunny day but when I inhale the freshness or frostiness of a new morning it reminds me of the "itsy- bitsy-spider theme. Even if the previous day washed you out, you can climb up the waterspout again. Rosarita, as a woman having hair-issues is hard. I have an aunt and a best friend suffering of Alopecia hair loss disease, both had a stand still of the disease at some point but they managed to find a new hairdo that made everything quite elegant. Both my friend and aunt are stunning women that now feel self-assured again. Don't stress too much about it, you 'll find a way to find a great look again. XX,

australianperfumejunkies May 1, 2013

Cancer sucks, You though Musette are the best! Go see the Suzanne R Banks site http://www.suzannerbanks.com.au/ for some excellent EO recipes and advice Can't wait to meet you next week IRL. Portia xx

Emily S May 1, 2013

Musette, I am very comforted by this post and sympathize with you deeply. I lost my father at the end of March (one month and one day ago today) to pancreatic cancer. It was a long struggle. My fragrances and a couple of the friends I've made on Perfume Posse and on MUA have been very helpful in the process of healing. In some ways fragrance is an escape inviting us away from our troubles when we need a distraction, and in some ways it is a way to help us with the courage dive head-first into our troubles-- a suit of armor, as you said. And it's a whole bunch of other wonderful things too, but those are some of my fragrance collection's biggest roles right now. Thank you for sharing this post. Take care.

Susan J. May 1, 2013

I light a candle, put on music and have a some wine to calm myself. Music has gotten me through tough times. It helps to know others have shared similar experiences. Helping others out with their struggles make me feel stronger and more capable too.

Elena May 1, 2013

Exercise is my best anti-depressant and my biggest social outlet. I love an intense work out where I'm dripping sweat and kinda nauseous from doing sprints, but even a good walk with my dogs can help fix whatever ails me. Hope you're able to get that hamstring taken care of and feeling better soon.

Kandice May 1, 2013

Thanks for such a great article. I have used aromatherapy for years for headaches, sadness, stress, etc., but I never thought to use it for strength. What a wonderful idea! I could have used this quite a few times in the past 10 years! These days I still use aromatherapy, but I also use restorative yoga, meditation, and relaxing music.....plus a nuzzle from my kitty always seems to help. Thanks for giving us the opportunity to share in this!

rosarita May 1, 2013

Dear Musette, I'm crying as I read this. I'm so sorry for your losses and struggles and I'm glad you've found a smell that helps. I got into perfume by searching for a way to stay in the moment during a very stressful time; I don't want to elaborate but over a two year period I lost almost half my hair. Anyway, my brain was all over the place all the time and I decided to take a few minutes everyday and just focus my five senses. I would get out a beautiful silk scarf, put on some perfume, play some Debussy, take a bite of some good chocolate and really study a photo or flower or something. During those five minutes I would concentrate on the feel of the silk, the smell of the perfume.....etc. It really helped. I still do that little ritual from time to time. Thinking of you with love, Ms A.