This Today from the Daily OM

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The Black Sheep

BY MADISYN TAYLOR

When we move beyond comparisons and accept our differences, we appreciate the significance of our upbringing and socialization in each of our unique life's journey.

Many of us have had an experience in which we felt like the lone black sheep in a vast sea of white sheep. For some of us, however, this sense of not belonging runs more deeply and spans a period of many years. It is possible to feel like the black sheep in families and peer groups that are supportive, as well as in those that are not. Even if we receive no overt criticism regarding our values, there will likely be times when it seems that relatives and friends are humoring us or waiting for us to grow out of a phase. Sometimes we may even think we have been adopted because we are so different from our family members. These feelings are not a sign that we have failed in some way to connect with others. Rather, they should be perceived as the natural result of our willingness to articulate our individuality. 

Many black sheep respond to the separateness they feel by pulling back from the very people to whom they might otherwise feel closest and embracing a different group with whom they enjoy a greater degree of commonality. But if you feel that your very nature has set you apart from your peers and relatives, consider that you chose long ago to be raised by a specific family and to come together with specific people so that you could have certain experiences that would contribute to your ongoing evolution. You may be much more sensitive than the people around you or more artistic, aware, spiritual, or imaginative. The disparate temperament of your values and those of your family or peers need not be a catalyst for interpersonal conflict. If you can move beyond comparisons and accept these differences, you will come to appreciate the significant role your upbringing and socialization have played in your life's unique journey. 

In time, most black sheep learn to embrace their differences and be thankful for those aspects of their individuality that set them apart from others. We cannot expect that our peers and relatives will suddenly choose to embrace our values and offer us the precise form of support we need. But we can acknowledge the importance of these individuals by devoting a portion of our energy to keeping these relationships healthy while continuing to define our own identities apart from them.

Winter Lift: Salts and Herbs for Cleansing and Purification

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Herbs and salts blend well: I have a few favorite recipes, but this one called. I was looking to break up some winter drudgery and slog. I saged the house and put bowls of this blend in a few spaces. Consider, as well, taking a bath—and adding some epsom and rose quartz.

This blend: Celtic sea salt (I sometimes use Himalayan pink), rose, chamomile, sweetgrass, sage, bay, lavender, and honeysuckle.

p.s., In history, salt blends have been used to ward off dark spirits, provide protection, purify and cleans. 

Cleansing with Herbs

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In my heart, I am "Bean of the Fields," and a lover of all that grows and teaches. I use herbs for health and wellbeing, psychological support, aura and atmosphere...and cleansing and intention setting. Sweetgrass is a favorite, and today I burn that with honeysuckle. Sweetgrass: Use for purification and cleansing. Honeysuckle: Use for confidence, success and sharpened intuition. 

BodyTalk: What is it?

BodyTalk is a type of holistic therapy which assumes that living organisms have the greatest capability to heal themselves. It combines elements Eastern and Western medicine to assist in personal healing and growth.

"By addressing the entire person rather than one specific issue, BodyTalk provides a “whole-healthcare” system that promotes emotional, physical and physiological well-being. Therapists who practice BodyTalk use a number of techniques, all of which are non-invasive, to help those in treatment tap into the body’s natural system of healing. 

BodyTalk System Theory

This approach, which is sometimes described as acupuncture without needles, purports to listen to the body, engage its ability to heal itself, and enhance communication between bodily systems. 

Based in dynamic systems theory, BodyTalk considers emotional, physical, and environmental influences in order to address the underlying cause of conditions, and using various techniques to activate the brain, restructure the body’s energetic patterns, and promote healing from within. 

Practitioners of the method, known as BodyTalkers, seek to discover which parts of the body’s “electrical system” are malfunctioning. They then make contact with specific points across the body, using their hands to “make repairs.” Tapping, breathing, and other forms of touch are used to stimulate the brain to employ natural healing procedures. The resulting effect is believed to improve the energy balance within the body.

The approach is based on the following principles:

  • The body can heal itself: BodyTalk utilizes what is known as the “innate wisdom” of the body to heal itself in order to recover from any and all types of injury. 
  • Stress impacts overall health: Every experience a person goes through contributes to that person’s state of health. Lifestyle, genetics, history, and environment all impact the body’s functioning. Stresses produced by external factors can interfere with the natural communication systems within the body. This interference prevents the body from functioning at its best and can lead to emotional and physical health issues. 
  • The body communicates via energetic circuitry: Every aspect of our being—cells, atoms, and neurons—are in communication with each other constantly. Each bodily system communicates via energetic circuitry for optimal functioning. Stress can compromise the circuitry systems (the nervous system, for example) and create chronic breakdown of communication within the “bodymind complex.” Practitioners of BodyTalk strive to connect these broken lines and facilitate open communication between all of the elements of the body in order to promote healing from within."

I have found BodyTalk to be an amazing resource for health and wellbeing. For more information or to find a therapist, visit GoodTherapy.Org (link here).

To Tattoo or not to Tattoo?

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For whatever reason, the art of the Tattoo brings some really heated discussion (and sometimes reveals as someone's secret desire unfulfilled). Why is that? What's the scoop?

From Wiki: A tattoo is a form of body modification where a design is made by inserting ink, dyes and pigments, either indelible or temporary, into the dermis layer of the skin to change the pigment. Tattoos fall into three broad categories: purely decorative (with no specific meaning); symbolic (with a specific meaning pertinent to the wearer); pictorial (a depiction of a specific person or item). Tattoos have historically been regarded in the West as 'uncivilized', and over the last 100 years the fashion has been associated mainly with sailors, working men and criminals. By the end of the 20th Century many Western stigmas of the tattoo culture had been dismissed and the practice has become more acceptable and accessible for people of all trades and levels of society.

...but the weirdo "uncivilized" still lingers: like a stinky left over something that creates animosity and separation. Why would it matter so much to some people?

I ask myself this because I got my first tattoo last year: the sketches are pictured above. I was so happy to finally get a tattoo and I LOVE it!—but clearly recall my mother's disgust. Curious? Where does the "disgust" come from? For my mother (someone who considers herself quite open and peaceful), it was time to think. And every year I hear folks say: "oh yes! My daughter and I really want to get one together!!!" or some such, ...but then most don't seem to go do it. 

Anyway. I love my tattoo. It brings me joy each time I see it—and I think of the artist who painted and am awe-fully grateful to her. 

Ditching Plastic

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Here: multicolored tiny tomatoes and raspberries from a local market. Mexico? That's not really my bummer, it's more the wild, terrible and very real REAL-IT-Y of the consequences of our plastic uses. They are HUGE! Do me a favor: walk your house, open the cupboards and cabinets and take note (really, with a pen or pencil or a pad or piece of paper) of all of the plastic that's in your house. Me? I'm so sad that it's impossible for me to purchase foods and products that are not packaged in plastic: and as I un-plastic what I have purchased, I have visions of strangled birds, pile-high dump sites—and the environmental consequences of producing, packaging and disposing. Join me in considering your plastic habit. Join me in making ANY effort to kick it. 

Reviewing Grandmother's Journal

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Ancestry. Our heritage. A part of our meaning here on this planet, in this lifetime—and how- and what-ever beyond we don't know. My grandmother's journal is cloth read with cloth pages. She pins and sews. I have no memory of her (understood she was dead just after my birth, but she actually died when I was eight). I channel her...and wonder. In these pages, I seek to learn her. I reach out. This is her pin, an acorn pendulum and some dried motherwort—I dress her volume of words. Remember.

Embracing the Unexpected

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Spending time with a good friend for many hours, I've recently considered "pattern" and "habit." I also think about control, flexibility and structure: the positives and negatives, the wonderfuls and bummers. Structures is a good thing, but too much structure might just prevent unexpected opportunity. Consider, ponder, decide what's best. Take a risk. Surprises my come via chance and daring.

Memories, nostalgia...and when I began my journey

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Where I began my journey: that would be a seed thought...and a womb phase. What I mean here, is the heart journey of meaning that happens when you first have that "hit" of knowing. Knowing deeply about your cause, how you connect, where you are at home. Here, I consider the view I took in as a young child. A view in a magical place in Southern Vermont. A land that birthed out beauty and natural wonder in every day of every season. The town that had the first eclectic and holistic shop—and I thought: "I want to do that one day." I walked these lands for many years. I knew them to be my teacher. Where are your lands? What are the messages? 

Shadow Boxes: Love and memory

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Old font/type boxes make wonderful shadow boxes! You can find them on Etsy and at some antique and second-hand shops. As times go, fill the slots with little memories.

Here: A 45-year-old stuffed mouse from a childhood collection, a spray case with herbal remedy, a stone collection from a museum, a note from a friend, two images of my daughter, a miniature horoscope book. 

Ideas: Tickets to a show, old passport photos, school pictures, jewelry, broken watches, bottle caps, stickers, oils and ointments, stones and crystals, coins, stamps, art objects, small bottles, miniature books and boxes, folded notes, dried flowers, ribbons and buttons. 

Tea Time • Rebellious Nature

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Without a doubt, these guys make one of the best products out there: I love love love so many of their blends...this one being in my top five. 

I am a happy tea drinker! I love checking out the packaging, finding my special go-to's (like Organic India's Tulsi Sweet Rose! Link here). I also make my own blends—and sometimes model those combinations after these tea lines (and Traditional Medicinals). I know these are BIG companies, but I truly trust their products.

My herb gardens vary, but always have Nettles, Bee Balm, Lemon Balm, Tulsi, Rosemary, Thyme, Chamomile, Horehound, Angelica, Yarrow, Marshmallow, Calendula, Mullein and Echinacea. All of these I tincture, dry and use "fresh" or "cooked" if appropriate. Making your own teas is a rewarding and beautiful experience. I steep them in a ball jar (or some such), so that I can see the flowers swirl and fall. 

Rebellious? When I begin to feel a cold come on, I pull my Joan of Arc, and go to battle. Before I'm "down," I hit the teas and immune boosters HARD (tincture drops throughout the day and night, teas, hot baths, steams.) I eat tons of garlic, cayenne, turmeric, black pepper, and ginger. Truly, I FIGHT A COLD.

p.s., A few months ago, Traditional Medicinals bought Urban Moonshine: I follow Urban's ingredients and use those to kickstart many of our custom blends.