The Mindful Use of Essential Oils

Remember the old days of essential oils? A residue-encrusted oil burner and a night light. I loved mine. What I didn’t love was the nasty smell when you left it too long and it burned dry. That acrid aroma could fill your room for days. Well, thankfully things have changed. A lot. I was re-introduced to oils a couple of years ago and the difference between my new experience with the one I had a couple of decades ago couldn’t be greater. For starters, gone are those burners. Now I use a diffuser which releases the oils into the air in a fine mist of water vapour. You can tell the difference immediately. The diffuser creates a clean, pure smell. Nothing burning or acrid – just clean water droplets and pure oils. Secondly, I have moved from cheap and cheerful oils from any old place to DoTERRA oils and I couldn’t be happier with my choice. These oils smell like nothing you’ve smelled before. They are so unbelievably pure and potent. A single drop goes a very long way. And, having done a ton of research I can honestly say that I can find no evidence that this company isn’t truly operating from the heart, ploughing money into initiatives and schemes that improve the lives of so many people living in impoverished communities and traditional cultures. DoTERRA seek to utilise traditional methods for harvesting the plants used to make the oils where possible and aim to empower families and communities.
However, while all of this may be true and while I could go on and on about the efficacy of these oils and the sensational blends that DoTERRA make which enhance mood and meditation, support wellbeing and relieve anxiety, what I have actually learnt while I have been exploring and studying these oils has been a total surprise.
– essential oils force me to slow down
– my body intuitively knows how to select an oil to support me
At the beginning, while working and parenting and teaching and juggling all the usual stresses of modern living I was so thankful to have these beautiful new tools in my possession but I didn’t really have time to savour them. Peppermint, good for headaches. Slap. Lavender, great to help you sleep. Rub. Zengest, good for digestion. Roll. I used them all day, but it was definitely more of an apply-and-go kind of situation. The only oil which I really took time over in the early weeks was Frankincense which I used every morning before I began my meditation. And, unsurprisingly, this was the oil which I developed the deepest relationship with. I assumed it was because the oil itself gave a richer experience. What I didn’t realise was that similarly intense experience lay around the corner when I slowed down enough to give all the oils the time they deserve.
Being forced into isolation due to a global pandemic certainly helped with that slowing down but, in all honesty, I had begun to see even before then that these plant powers cannot be rushed. So, it’s a two-way relationship; the oils require me to slow down in order to fully experience them and, using them well helps me slow down further.
The two best ways of using these top-quality essential oils is topically (applied to the skin) and through inhalation. A few drops can be put in a diffuser which releases them into the air in a fine mist of water vapour. This technique is a great way of using more than one oil at once and the art of blending base and top note aromas is a real art. But simply inhaling them from the bottle or from a drop in the palm of the hand is extremely effective. I have learnt that deep, mindful inhalations work far better than a quick sniff. The scent will stay in the nose for a while, sometimes an hour or more depending on the oil, releasing its goodness with each breath. I visit my oil collection continually throughout the day and spend a few moments breathing them in. I use them in my morning routine, for hayfever and respiratory issues, to combat anxiety and spikes in stress or overwhelm, when I step on my yoga mat and before I go to bed. Each of those visits is an opportunity for mindful presence, for moments of grounding and centering, an opportunity to come home to myself. The layers of aromas in these oils are both potent and subtle. Taking some time with them allows an ongoing relationship to develop, discovering more and more subtle notes within them and recognising more and more subtle shifts within ourselves, in mood, emotional balance and energy. In order to form this relationship, we need time, presence and awareness. DoTERRA’s essential oils are a gift for deepening a mindful way of living, a slower more meditative lifestyle that encourages you to truly Be Here Now.
Having deepened my mindful use of my essential oils, the second surprising thing which I discovered is the intuitive way in which I am drawn to a particular oil. I know this sound a bit woo-woo but believe me this is one of the most interesting and exciting things about this exploration and learning. I discovered this when I received a couple of oils which I really didn’t like the smell of. I felt disappointed and wondered what I was ever going to do with them. However, knowing that they had properties which would be beneficial to me, I persevered, inhaling them often until something really surprising happened. Not only did I begin to warm to the aromas, I began to crave them, re-visiting them again and again with ever increasing excitement. Here’s an example. Being really drawn to the grounding properties of the tree oils I ordered a bottle of Cedarwood. I hadn’t realised just how smoky this oil is and from the first opening I found it overwhelmingly so and couldn’t imagine how I would ever use an oil this strong. But, over the next few days I kept going back until, all of a sudden, there was a strange tipping point. Now I couldn’t get enough of it. I began inhaling it deeply, absolutely adoring the calming, rooting sensation which it gave me. I experimented with blending it in my diffuser, discovering that it worked wonderfully with Wild Orange and Lemongrass, giving the room both a deeply earthed and an uplifting energy. Now, I can honestly say that Cedarwood is one of my favourite oils; rich, earthy and smoky and a real go-to when I need to calm a frantic mind.
Some oils give up their secrets much more slowly than others. Lavender wears its heart on its sleeve – swiftly and single-pointedly getting to work. Its pure, clear aroma and sensationally soothing qualities induce a relaxed state that is almost loud it is so obvious. Peppermint also cuts through the crap with its powerful, uplifting and cleansing scent. The trio of oils in DoTERRA’s yoga collection, however, are such softly intricate blends that it has taken me weeks to explore their subtleties and power. But my body knows. When I let my inner wisdom take over, I can rest assured that my intuition will guide me to the oil I need right then. Sometimes it’s clear what I need; an energy boost, a quelling of anxiety, help sleeping. But often I just close my eyes and let my inner being direct me and the oils respond. Listening within and choosing an oil allows deep learning to unfold. You can read all the books and watch all the wonderful DoTERRA videos about sourcing, oil usage and benefits but getting to know them yourself on an energetic level brings a whole new depth of relationship.
For me this is a joyful and long-term journey of discovery, exploration and learning with the benefits to the health and wellbeing of me and my family almost being an added bonus. If you would like to join me on the journey and embrace these plant power-houses then get in touch.