Friday, September 6, 2013

Essential Oils: A Trial Period

I tend to avoid things that are trendy, expensive, and promise too-good-to-be-true results. And, don't shoot me, but I think essential oils falls into this category.


I am willing to try new things if they come recommended by someone close to me. Usually it takes more than one such person to convince me, and often it takes multiple tries on their part, but usually I come around if you insist that your favorite miracle cure works.

Such is the case with peppermint oil. My sister-in-law, Kim, has been using them for... ever, and she has been telling me about that long that peppermint oil is a great external solution for headaches. Safer than Motrin or Tylenol, and effective.

The cost held me off for a while. 

But I get headaches. Not a normal skull hammering, and usually not migraines (though I sometimes get "silent" migraines, but that's a topic for another day), but I get a kind of fatigue-eye-strain-pressure thing in my forehead. I get them a lot. Particularly when I have been at work. I am currently blaming the giant room full of bright fluorescent lights. Glasses to help filter the light will cost me about $150, so... I decided to put on my sunglasses and try peppermint oil.

Said sister-in-law's sister sells Young Living, so I decided to support her, since she's family of family, and I paid her $22 (which I think may be her cost, it's over $28 on the website) and got my little bitty bottle the other day.

Then I went two days without any headaches. Yay! I don't actually get them every day, but they are frequent enough that I decided to take the oil to work with me, just in case. Good thing I did. This afternoon, I realized I was feeling so very tired and the pressure was starting to build in my forehead. I took my PM vitamins (which I'm trying for fatigue which is a nearly constant thing; I'm not sold yet) and remembered I had that oil. Huzzah!

I really did put on my sunglasses, but I also got out the oil. I spread a few drops on my forehead and a few more on my neck, as close as I could get to my hairline, and I went back to work. It took a few minutes, but shortly afterward, I realized the pressure was gone. GONE. Also, a few more minutes later, my skin started to tingle, but not unpleasantly, where the oil was. *Note: The website says to massage the oil in. I didn't do this. It might have been even more effective if I had. 

So the verdict? Well, I don't want to say it's a miracle cure, and I don't want to say that it for sure works for everything, but so far so good. I will be using it again and I will even try the tips from the website for keeping energy up. It is expensive, but if it improves my quality of life, it will be worth it.

I understand that there are many companies hocking essential oils nowadays, but only a few are reputed to be processed in such a way as to be most beneficial. The two I know of that are worth your money are DoTerra and Young Living. Some distributors will give you samples if you ask. 

Here are some tips the Young Living site has specific to peppermint oil:

Product Tips

  • Add a drop of peppermint essential oil to herbal tea to help aid normal digestion.
  • Massage several drops of peppermint essential oil on the abdomen, place a drop on wrists, or inhale to soothe the minor stomach discomfort associated with travel.
  • Rub one drop of peppermint essential oil on the temples, forehead, over the sinuses (careful to avoid contact with your eyes), and on the back of the neck to relieve head pressure.
  • Place 2 drops of peppermint essential oil on the tongue and rub another drop of oil under the nose to help improve concentration and alertness.
  • Apply peppermint essential oil to the back of the neck and shoulders throughout the day to keep energy up.
  • Inhale peppermint essential oil, apply topically to your temples or neck, or put a drop on your tongue or in water to jump-start your morning routine.
  • Diffuse or inhale peppermint essential oil mid-morning to curb the desire to snack.
  • Inhale peppermint essential oil or rub a drop on to your abdomen to soothe minor stomach discomfort.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Notes on Being Mormon: Mythology of the Devil

I had an experience yesterday, which, combined with recently reading Napoleon Hill's "Outwitting the Devil", made me realize a few things.


First, a little background- my religion teaches that Satan started out just the way we started out-- as spiritual children of our Heavenly Father, and that he rebelled and started down the path to evilness and was cast out of the presence of God. 

Second- my religion teaches that we have the power to refuse Satan's temptations and evilness in our lives. 

So this is what I realized: the world, in general, has done a really good job of mythologizing satan. Probably with his encouragement and whispered ideas. Think about this for a minute. In many religions, Satan rules Hell, right? He's almost always perceived as this huge, powerful, terrifying being-- often in a demonic, beast-form with cloven hooves and a spiked tail and horns and the like. Imagine the glee he must feel when people are sold this version of him.

What if I told you the myth is a lie?

What if all along, he's actually been even less powerful than you or me? Oh, he's smart. He's tricky and he's very, very good at camouflaging his lies by hiding them in a bucket of truths. He'll tell you ten truths so you'll believe one lie. I'm not saying he is without power, but I think most of us imagine him as being much more powerful than he really is.

What if we've been duped? What if, instead of a towering, growling horrifying beast, he's just an angry, man-like being? 

My religion also teaches that because of his choices in the pre-existence (pre-Earth life), Satan will never get a body. He will remain in that pre-mortal form forever. While we, having received bodies because we chose to stick with God and Jesus instead of following Satan, will have the opportunity to learn, grow, and become more than what we were. We have the potential to become like God-- resurrected beings. Deep doctrine, I know, but that's what we believe.

As such, we have continued to move forward while Satan fights a losing war. He has won some battles, sure; he's captured some souls, perhaps. There are some who prefer lives of evil and wickedness, and there are many, many others who are inadvertently following Satan-- read the book-- Napoleon Hill makes a very good argument for this-- he calls it "drifting"-- instead of controlling our own thoughts, many of us mortals just exist and let depression or hopelessness or fear or desire control us-- it's a fascinating idea. 

Anyway, I feel rather... empowered by letting go of the myth of the gigantic, steaming, frightening evil that is Satan. He's just a rebellious dude who is angry he won't ever get his way. He won't ever control all the souls of men. He won't ever rule and have all the glory. 

One other note about Mormon doctrine-- we also believe that Jesus and Heavenly Father wanted us to come to Earth, to gain bodies, so that we could exercise our agency (or right to choose). We believe that Satan wanted to remove the agency part of the plan entirely. Think about that. It makes sense, then, that his power lies in controlling as many of us as he can. Convincing people that he offers freedom, he actually binds them with chains of addiction, failure, fear and negativity.

The point is, let's not give Satan more power than he has. Let's not let mythology frighten us. Let's take control of our minds, our actions and our lives. Recognize evil exists, acknowledge the battle going on behind the scenes of the Earth, and choose a side. 

Probably the only thing more dangerous than not recognizing your power over Satan is denying his existence... but that's a topic for another time.