Kid Safe List of Essential Oils

Kid Safe List of Essential Oils.
The following are common oils that are safe to use with kids. This is not an exhaustive list.

These oils are safe to diffuse from 3 months upwards, in a well-ventilated room, for 30 minutes on, 60 minutes off.

For topical application, safe to use for 6 months upwards at no more than 1% dilution. Adults – 2-5% dilution depending on application.

References:

Tisserand, R & Young, R, 2016, “Essential Oil Safety, 2nd edn.,  Elsevier.

Battaglia, S, 2004. “The Complete Guide to Aromatherapy”, Perfect Potion, Australia.

Cedarwood

Atlas cedarwood, Himalayan cedarwood, Virginian cedarwood

Respiratory support, improves circulation

Grounding

Citrus (cold-pressed)

Lemon, sweet orange, grapefruit, lime, bergamot (bergaptene-free)

Energizing, uplifting, aids focus

Clears energies

Conifers

Pines, spruces

Respiratory support, joint and muscle support

Grounding, energising

Chamomile

German chamomile, Roman chamomile, Moroccan chamomile

Calming, sedating, peace

Supports digestive system, supports skin healing, mild analgesic, teething relief

Helps heal the inner child

Frankincense Supports respiratory health, supports immune system, spiritual support
Geranium Skin support, emotional support

Connects with Mother Earth energies

Ginger Digestive support

Warming, increases circulation

Helichryseum Supports skin healing, alleviates bruising

Aids in letting go

Lavender – L. angustifolia Peaceful, calming, sedating

Promotes sleep, supports immune system, supports skin healing

Palmarosa Respiratory support, skin support, immune system support
Rosalina Respiratory support
Rose Self-love, emotional support, spiritual support, call to angels for help
Sandalwood Sedating, calming, respiratory support

Spiritually grounding

Spearmint Digestive support, respiratory support, muscular support, improves circulation

Happiness, sweetness, calming

Tea tree Immune system support, skin healing

Making Aromatherapy Sprays

 

Aromatherapy Sprays are a simple and effective way to use essential oils to cool you down and help refresh yourself physically and energetically. You can also use them to freshen the air in a room, or from an energetic perspective,

clear any lingering negativity.

Here is how you can make Aromatherapy Sprays at home.You will need:

  1. A spray bottle with a spray nozzle. You can purchase these easily online nowadays – some recommended companies in Australia are here and here. I like them because of the affordable pricing and also no minimum order. You can also purchase small spray bottles from most supermarkets too – these are usually aluminum bottles with a trigger spray, about AUD$2.50.
  2. Essential oil(s). You can use a single oil, or a blend of several essential oils. If you are a newbie, start with a single oil, or a blend of 2-3 oils. Make sure you  have no sensitivities to your selected oils. If you are using around babies and children, make sure you are using kid-safe oils. You can find information on this here.
  3. Cooled boiled water or distilled water
  4. A dispersant: oil and water do not mix, so to make sure your mix does not leave you with undispersed droplets of essential oils on sensitive skin, a dispersant is preferable. You can use a “solubaliser” (this is available from the companies I linked in number 1, or some health stores that also sell essential oils), or ethanol/high-proof vodka. For the occasional home user, you can use plain castille soap.
  5. A preservative: this is highly recommended, because water is a great medium for growing nasties like bacteria, mold and fungi. Even distilled water from a brand new bottle, can grow those nasties if left long enough. You can purchase a preservative from one of the companies I linked in number 1. Ethanol/high-proof vodka is also a preservative at 40% of your final product. You can opt not to use a preservative, but be mindful to use your spray within one week, or store in the refridgerator and use within 2-3 weeks. This is where I recommend using a smaller spray bottle, something that is about 50ml, so you don’t end up throwing product away.

Okay, let’s get started!

For a 50ml bottle:

Step 1: Add 20 drops in total of essential oil(s) into the bottle.I have provided some formulas for essential oil blends below.

Step 2: Depending on your choice of Dispersant, add 10-20 drops of solubaliser, OR 2-3 drops of castille soap. If you are using ethanol or high-proof vodka, add 20ml.

Step 3: If you are using a Preservative, follow the instructions for use. Most effective preservatives on the market require 0.5-2% of the total volume, so essentially you would be looking at 5-40 DROPS of preservative in your 50ml bottle. You can find effective preserving systems that are considered natural in the cosmetics industry, so not all preservatives (chemicals) are bad for you! However, cosmetic products that do not have effective preservative systems CAN harbour dangerous bacteria, mold or fungi, and I can tell you antibiotics to treat THOSE are worse than preservatives. If you are using ethanol or high-proof vodka as your solubaliser, it will do the job of preserving your spray, although I would still put a short shelf-life on it.

Step 4: Swirl, then top up with cooled boiled water or distilled water. Put the spray nozzle on, shake well, and spray about you or around your space.

Some Formulas for Essential Oil Blends:

Sleepy night:

10 drops lavender

5 drops bergamot

5 drops geranium

Monster repellent:

5 drops petitgrain

5 drops cedarwood

5 drops lavender

5 drops geranium

Clearing Negativity:

5 drops juniperberry

5 drops peppermint

5 drops lemon

5 drops black pepper

To fill a 100ml bottle, double the recipe above.

*Be aware that some people may be sensitive to alcohol on the skin, so watch out for sensitivities. If you are using alcohol, not spraying directly on sensitive facial skin is a good idea.

SOME FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:
1. Aren’t essential oils antiviral and antibacterial? Won’t they preserve the product?
No, because although their antiviral and antibacterial properties are effective against infections on the skin and in growth mediums, they do not extend to preserving a whole product. Add to the fact that oils and water do not mix, essential oils’ antiviral and antibacterial properties do not extend to the water phase. Using higher concentrations of essential oils, say 20-25% may act to preserve the product, we are then looking at possible skin sensitisation at those levels, as well as the economics and sustainability of it (25% of 50ml is 12.5ml of essential oils!)

2. My oil company says our oils are so pure that they dissolve in water
Pure or not, essential oils are volatile organic compounds made up of mainly hydrogen and carbon atoms. Most of these molecules are hydrophobic – meaning they do not mix with water. SOME parts of the molecules may dissolve in water, but the majority will not. It is why when you leave your oil and water mix for a while, the oil settles at the top of the water. Shaking the crap out of it will help mix it up, but not fully. The oil and water will eventually separate. Shaking it before use each time can minimise skin sensitisation, but if we are using essential oils that are phototoxic, or contain skin-sensitising molecules, we may still get droplets of essential oils on our skin, which may harm us. For example, we use lemon essential oil or limonene compounds in spray products to degrease surfaces. If they are effective enough to degrease surfaces, they are effective enough to affect our skin, which is made up of lipids (fats).

3. My oils are so pure, they cannot cause sensitisation. Some detoxing may occur, but it is not sensitisation.
Skin sensitisation is very real – it can also happen with essential oils that are generally known as safe, like lavender or chamomile. Skin sensitisation can occur in your first use, or it can occur after prolonged and repeated use, safely diluted or not. While purity is important, and skin sensitisation is more likely to occur with adulterated oils or oils that have been poorly stored leading to oxidisation, people have reported sensitisation to pure essential oils. Once sensitisation occurs, it is likely you may not be able to continue using that oil, and in serious cases, it can extend to other essential oils that contain similar chemical constituents as the one you are sensitised to. So my perspective is, keep to safe dilutions, regardless of purity, so you can continue to use those essential oils. You can read more about sensitisation here, here, and here.

4. Can I use honey as a dispersant and preservative?
No. Although honey is antibacterial, its properties do not extend to preserving a product, especially one that contains water. When honey is added to water, it is actually a sugary environment perfect for bacterial growth. While it CAN help disperse essential oils, you will still need a really good preservative. Read this blog as it explains it so much better than I (the bloggist is a cosmetic formulator highly regarded in cosmetic formulation circles).

5. Can I use Epsom salts, glycerine or bicarb soda as a dispersant?
Some older aromatherapy texts do suggest Epsom salts, glycerine or bicarb soda as a dispersant. While these changes the “wetness” of water, meaning they weaken the water bonds so they may “blend” better with essential oils, they are still not effective dispersants. Personally, for home use to make aromatherapy sprays, they may be adequate substitutes, because you are not using high amounts of essential oils and you are not spraying profusely. Just avoid spraying on sensitive facial skin or on children and babies. If you wish to read more about dispersants, this is a good article written in by the Tisserand Institute in partnership with Deborah Kallevig, a cosmetic formulator. The article is specifically about dispersing essential oils in bath water, but it explains beautifully how to effectively (and not) disperse oils in water.

I hope I have not scared you off making aromatherapy sprays, after all of those cautions! It seriously is a simple process, granted more simple than the safety considerations, but I truly wish to leave you with the idea that essential oils are wonderful and therapeutic CHEMICALS that can heal AND harm. Simply be aware of risks, and aim to use essential oils safely, and you are good to go! If you have any questions, feel free to ask/comment, I will do my best to answer.

For a list of Kid-Safe Essential Oils, go here.

Diffusing Essential Oils – 5 Reasons I Don’t Own a Diffuser, and I am a Clinical Aromatherapist

Recently, I was asked a question, “What do you diffuse?”

My answer? I don’t. I don’t even own a diffuser, and I said so to the person who asked the question. They almost fell off their chair.

So here are 5 reasons why I don’t own a diffuser, as I explained to my friend:

  1. I have a toddler. More specifically, my practice of not possessing a diffuser came from before her birth, as I was mindful of limiting the use of essential oils during pregnancy (I was studying my Diploma in Clinical Aromatherapy then, so was exposed to a fair amount of essential oils already). Then, I was cautious about diffusing around a newborn – there was simply so much conflicting information out there about essential oil safety, and as a sleep-deprived new mum, I simply chose to err on the side of caution. What I did find that worked was passive diffusion – this is when you place a drop of an essential on a piece of tissue or cloth, and simply inhale. Or sniff straight from the bottle, or from a necklace diffuser. When I saw how placing one drop of tea tree oil on a muslin cloth, then leaving this close to my baby’s nose when she was asleep, was enough to unblock her nose and expel snot, that was good enough for me. As she got older, she is a curious one, and she climbs everywhere, and I know I would be *that* mother who left water and essential oil in a diffuser where the toddler could get to it and tip it over, or worse, drink that water…. 
  2. I have a cat. Actually, correct that, I have two cats now. And a dog. And chickens that continually insist on walking into the house. And this past week, a duckling. We care for duckling/s indoors about 1-2 times a year. The research on essential oils with animals is still quite limited, and the data out there currently informs that cats lack the liver enzymes to process essential oil constituents, in particular phenolic compounds. Given that I had a rescue kitten go into liver toxicity on me the day I adopted her from a rescuer, because the rescuer had used tea tree oil in water to wipe it down in an attempt to get rid of fleas (recall that oil and water do not mix, so essentially the kitten had undiluted tea tree oil applied to it), I am even more cautious about avoiding using essential oils around my animals. Simply because, I do not know enough about it, I have not studied it, numerous vets have told me essential oils are toxic to cats and birds, and I have no need to use essential oils on my animals when the medications work for us with no side effects.
  3. In clinic work, I select essential oils to use specific to each client on the day of consult. Therefore, I do not diffuse essential oils into the air because I do not know if a client, in particular a new client, would react to particular oils, or whether the oils are contraindicated with a particular issue they are experiencing that day. Often, I will have clients remark that the room smells lovely, even if they are the first client of the day, and the last clinic session was 4 days prior. Essential oil molecules can stay in an unventilated room, in the fabric and carpet of the room, and also in the air, so limiting exposure is part of safety for me. My clinic space is technically a public area for me, and diffusing essential oils in public can cause reactions (see this for a news report on the dangers of diffusing in a public space).
  4. I don’t have the money to spare. Like seriously, currently a good diffuser with a timer costs upwards of A$100. We are a young family living on a farm with budding businesses (no pun intended, haha) – this just is not a priority for now. The reason I would opt for a diffuser with a timer that allows for intermittent diffusing is because current safety recommendations suggest the following (plus, I would be the person who forgets to turn it off): “Intermittent diffusion is much more effective, as well as being safer, than continuous diffusion. Intermittent means 30-60 minutes on, then 30-60 minutes off. This is because our body, especially our nervous system, habituates after this length of time. With continuous diffusion, while benefits do not increase, there is evidence that the body becomes stressed in various ways.” (Tisserand Institute, 2017). This is if you are diffusing for a specific purpose – to treat respiratory conditions or you wish to disinfect the air if there is illness in the house. Low level diffusion, where you can barely smell the essential oil, is fine “anywhere, for any length of time”, according to Tisserand. However, it comes back to me preferring to reduce exposure to essential oils to an “as-needed” basis.
  5. My fifth reason is a bit more complex. In recent years, I am more mindful of how I use essential oils, because sustainability over the resources that go into making the oils is getting to be a concern. Lately, I am also more mindful about my purchases. A diffuser is not something I will use often, given the reasons listed above, so I do not want to add to the consumerism, or to the landfill when it breaks. If I want to freshen the air, I open the doors and windows for fresh air. We live on a farm, with low population density and an abundance of trees, so we are lucky to have fresh, clean air all the time. In  my clinic, I have indoor plants, and I open the windows after treatments. If I need to “disinfect” the air in the house, I boil vinegar on the stove and add spices like cinnamon, clove, black pepper, and bay or eucalyptus leaves (these two are in abundance on our farm!). I also reach for the charcoal disc and incense, or homemade dried herb bundles, if I need to cleanse the house energetically. So, in short, I make do with what I have, and the traditional forms of plant medicine first, before reaching for the essential oils.

    View outside our front door, on a rainy day

So there you have my five reasons for not owning a diffuser. If you already own one, or aim to purchase one, by all means, use a diffuser, because only you will know how or why it would fit in with your home, family and lifestyle. What I do hope, in writing this article, that it may get you to look at how or why casual and continuous diffusing may not be as risk-free as one may think, and how there are other ways we can use plant medicine. If you wish to read more about Plant Medicine beyond essential oils, have a look at this article. As always, I would love to hear your perspective – do you use a diffuser, or not?

 

Essential Oils for Various Energetic Purposes

Before I trained as a Clinical Aromatherapist, I trained as an Energetic Healer, and found essential oils to be powerful allies in supporting energetic shifts. As I cleared and shifted and progressed on my own healing journey, the more sensitive I became to energetics, and the less I needed to use to achieve an effect. Nowadays, inhaling from the bottle is enough to create an energetic shift. During my studies in Clinical Aromatherapy, we were taught the following general dilutions rates: Up to 1% for young children, pregnant women, elderly, and those with complex medical issues; 1-2% for Emotional support; 2-5% for Physical ailments. It is interesting that the recommendations from a safety perspective matched observations from an energetic perspective.

The following is a simple list of essential oils and their energetic purposes. While not comprehensive, these are the oils I tend to use during healing sessions with clients and for myself, as well as in making vibrational blends. Since we are working with the energetic/spiritual properties of these essential oils, small amounts and/or low dilutions are generally sufficient – up to 2%, and I have included some suggestions on how to use the oils too.

 

Essential Oils for Clearing

Rosemary* – traditionally used for Protection and also in Banishing spells

Eucalyptus* – clears space

Black pepper – resonates with the solar plexus (power centre) – good one to add to blends for banishing negativity

Juniperberry – traditionally used for repelling negativity and clearing space

Kaffir lime – clears old energies to allow new beginnings; traditionally used in a bucket of water to wipe down window sills and doorways

Lemon – “sparkles”, clears energies, invites in Abundance ie replaces the old energies with “fresh” energy

Cedarwood – strength and grounding, helps focus on Purpose and Intention

Peppermint – helps speak your Truth, clears energetic blockages from holding your Voice/Truth in

 

HOW TO USE:

  1. Salt scrub – 2% of single oil or blend in a salt and carrier oil base
  2. Bath – 6-8 drops dispersed in a carrier (milk, vegetable oil) for a full bath
  3. Spray – 2% of single oil or blend in a spray bottle. If using with distilled or cooled boiled water, add a dispersant and a preservative. If using vodka, mix the 2% essential oil(s) in 30ml of vodka, leave for 2 weeks and then add water.
  4. Rollerball application – 2% dilution (4 drops of essential oils in total in a 10ml rollerball bottle)

 

 

Essential Oils for Protection

Rosemary* – traditionally used for Protection

Vetiver – strong protective oil, helps send negativity into Earth

Patchouli – grounding oil

Black Pepper – helps protect solar plexus (power centre)

Petitgrain – reconnecting with Higher Self purpose. When we connect with our Higher Self, we raise our vibes so we are naturally protected

 

HOW TO USE:

  1. Spray – 2% of single oil or blend in a spray bottle. If using with distilled or cooled boiled water, add a dispersant and a preservative. If using vodka, mix the 2% essential oil(s) in 30ml of vodka, leave for 2 weeks and then add water
  2. Use a single oil or a blend on a piece of clothing (test first) or with a diffuser pendant

 

 

Essential Oils for Healing

Helichryseum – helps with letting go

Geranium – helps with self-love, nurturing; connects with Mother Earth energies

Rose – Love and Unconditional Love

Chamomile – connects with Inner Child

Kaffir Lime – new beginnings

Petitgrain – Higher Purpose, Connection with the Divine

Myrrh – heals old wounds; resonates with the Wounded Healer archetype

FragoniaTM  – relatively new oil, Australian native; Connects with all aspects of the Feminine

 

HOW TO USE:

  1. Use a single oil or a blend on a piece of clothing (test first) or with a diffuser pendant
  2. Bath – 6-8 drops dispersed in a carrier (milk, vegetable oil) for a full bath
  3. Use during a healing session or ritual
  4. Rollerball application – 2% dilution (4 drops of essential oils in total in a 10ml rollerball bottle)

Please note that the descriptions for the energetic purposes of each essential oil listed is gathered from my own journey of learning and working with essential oils since 2008, both through self-education as well as from clinical aromatherapy training. I do not claim that these are 100% accurate or “truth”; the descriptions may not resonate with everyone – always trust your Intuition and inner guidance.

* These essential oils do have some safety considerations depending on their plant species, and also when used around children. Please check this article for further safety information for using essential oils with children. In general, barring personal medical history, a dilution under 2% is considered safe; however, when in doubt, consult a clinical aromatherapist.

 

Self-Care Series: Caring for Our Spirit with Rituals

 

This is part of my series about self-care - looking after all aspects of our self: our mind, body, emotions, heart and spirit/soul. In this series of blog articles, I’ll be talking about looking after our spirit, or our soul, and the first thing that I recommend in connecting with our spirit is rituals.

What rituals do you do on a daily basis, on a weekly basis, on a monthly basis? The things that are basically comforting for you, that you absolutely love, and absolutely need, to nourish yourself? For me it’s non-negotiable that I have a cup of coffee in the morning. A cup of coffee brewed from coffee grounds - no sugar, no milk. It is what I need to come into my body first thing in the morning, awaken into my body, my physical body, and prepare myself mentally and emotionally and psychologically for the rest of the day.

For some of you it might be your first shower in the morning. You absolutely need that, so that is non-negotiable. Your day just wouldn’t be right if you didn’t engage in that ritual. Think about the daily rituals that you just need to anchor yourself into the here and now.

And then there are the rituals that you do on an “as-needed” basis. I have a ritual that I use especially after working in the clinic - I use a sage stick or an incense stick to clear my auric field. Sometimes I miss it because I don’t need it, or it’s a day where I feel fully in the flow and my vibrations stay high. Some days I really need it because I feel like I’ve picked up a lot from clients or from my own issues, so I need to sage, and clear my energy field.

 

When I first started off in my healing journey I would need “sage” every day, after every client, it was absolutely non-negotiable. So, if you haven’t realised it by now, rituals come and go, and rituals adjust with you as you grow.

So maybe a few years from now, I don’t actually need my morning coffee (cue laughter), I will replace it with an herbal tea. Who knows? But what is important about rituals is that the rituals become a way to slow down, honour your body, honour yourself. And in honouring your body and yourself, you honour your journey, and you connect with your divine self, your soul. Traditionally, the idea of rituals stem from religious or spiritual practices where we connect with the Divine outside of us, and in doing so, we connect with the divine inside of us. So rituals primarily become a way to slow down and connect with the Divine both within and without.

The second important point of rituals is that they are something that you love to do. It connects with your loves, your heart, your soul. The focus is on you. This is especially important if you are the sort of person who gives and gives to other people. If this is you, the rituals that you want to incorporate into your life would be the rituals that are giving back to you, and it isjust for you. To help you cope, to help you function, to help you thrive, whichever it is, but it is about you, it is about connecting with you and self-love.

The third important thing about rituals in my experience, is that it helps us anchor our self, especially when we’re going through shifts. When we go through a consciousness shift, we question ourselves, we doubt ourselves, we wonder what on earth we are doing with our lives – all those questions swirling around in our heads!

Come back to your rituals. Come back to your anchors, the things that you do on a regular basis that remind you of you, that remind you of what you love. Coming back to the rituals and using rituals to anchor ourselves can help support us when we go through those moments of self-doubt, moments of shifts, moments of shedding our old selves. Because, ritual is about connecting with your divine self - with that eternal, unchanging spark within .

So how do you engage in rituals in your life? Are they daily? Weekly? Are they monthly like celebrating the full moon? Celebrating the changes in season like the equinox or the solstices? How do you incorporate rituals into your lives to help you connect with the divine you within?

I would love to hear how you incorporate rituals into your life. Comment here or come find me on my Facebook page, Rae of Light.

Expanding Your Soul to Narrow Your Purpose

Sometimes I know who I am, and what my purpose it, but today is not that day. Today, I wonder what on earth I am doing on this Earth, because I look at what I spend my energies on, and can’t see a focus.

I see clients in my clinic, and help them bring balance to their mind, body, heart and soul. I do this 2-3 days a week.

I make herbal and aromatherapy products, with the aim of supporting clients/customers in their health and wellbeing. I do this 1 day a week.

I live on a farm with my husband and 3 year-old, where we grow our own vegetables, herbs and seasonal fruit, and have our own chickens and ducks. I run a hops business with my husband too, mainly the accounting and administration work. When we have excess produce in season, I make jams, pickles, chutneys and sauces to sell.

Once a month, I run a fermentation workshop, where I teach people how to make their own fermented foods, and incorporate those foods into their daily life and diet. I maintain my own different ferments at home too.

And recently, I have begun making reusable food wraps so I could reduce the use of cling wrap and single-use plastic in my home, and by working with a friend, we are creating a little business to reuse, recycle and reduce fabrics we find at opshops into waxed wraps and reusable produce bags.

Then there is the part of me that wants to study more – herbalism, cosmetic formulation, more healing modalities.

And the underlying guilt which whispers, and sometimes yell, at me to spend more time with my family and friends.

And somewhere in between, I need to look after my own self-care, practising what I teach to my clients in caring for their mind, body, heart and soul.

My limitless Soul wants to see, do, experience, learn (re-learn) so much, my human ego wants it NOW. Human ego, and a lifetime of social, cultural and family messages telling me to focus on ONE thing, and be the Genius in that, be the Huge Amazing Success Story in that ONE thing.

Somewhere in between all that I have to remember that there is a greater picture, of which I may get a glimpse sometimes but more often that not, I am operating on Faith that all that I am doing makes sense, has a purpose; that *I* have a Purpose.

And I do. We all do. But the Journey to See, Hear, Smell, Touch, Taste, and FEEL our Purpose can be a long, meandering, backtracking, lane-jumping, doubling-up journey that misleads you to believe “I’m Here”, but then go “Haha, still more travelling and unpeeling of layers to do!”

It’s a Journey to Expand your Soul, and in that expansion, you get to know your True Self, and DECIDE your Purpose.

 

 

Healing Money Blocks – The Deeper Layers

Over the years, since beginning my work as a healer, I have addressed many of the beliefs surrounding healing work and money – watch this video here for a quick overview. As always, with healing work, there are many layers to unpeel.

Lately, I have been working on healing energetic blockages that have been carried through my lineage, my ancestry, with the main focus on business and money. My money story comes with beliefs like “self-worth” and “being seen”. Looking through my family history, I can see where my great-grandparents, who were landowners in China, fled the Communist regime to arrive in Malaysia, starting again from nothing. Key themes were “sacrifice” and “hard work”, and these are themes that are strong in my Chinese culture too.

That has been my biggest one – the belief that I need to work hard to earn money, and make a living. I was working hard and long hours just to pay bills and feed my family, there wasn’t enough to buy new clothes for me – my “sacrifice” to my family.

This pair of shoes is how bad it got at one stage – these are the pair of shoes I wear daily, on the farm and even to work sometimes.

I live in a First-World country…. What Unconscious messages am I sending out to the Universe?? What belief was I living in terms of self-worth and self-care?

So we have “getting paid money for healing work”, “self-worth”, “being seen”, “hard work” and “sacrifice” as dominant themes in my money story.

Let’s dig deeper. One of the issues I have with money is creditors – people who owe me money in unpaid invoices or they have products on hold but won’t come and pick them up, and this thread links ALL my businesses, including the one I share with my husband. I would feel bad about chasing creditors, or I could see that they are struggling too. So in my world, I have to work hard to have money, and I have people who work hard to chase money too.

I often ask this question when issues like these come up: “Who is the common denominator?”

In this situation, *me*. So I look within, and ask the question, “Why do I struggle with creditors?”

An answer came up recently, and it is so bizarre and weird, but oddly enough, it fits.

My father came from a wealthy family in Johor, a state in Malaysia. His great-grandfather started a business, worked hard, got rich. His son worked in the family business too, and made it even wealthier. And then my grandfather spent it all and mismanaged the business, combined with pressure from “greedy” cousins (so the story goes), so in my mother’s words, “an empire rises and falls in three generations”. Many nuggets of learning here, many beliefs to address!

Anyway, my grandfather passed away when I was 16 years-old, and in clearing his estate, we discovered that my enterprising grandfather, in his later years, was loaning out money with interest. The word “ceti” was used – it’s a Malaysian word for “loan shark”.

I will state it clearly – my grandfather was born into privilege, and in his later years, he used his privilege to make money. I don’t know who he loaned money to, but picture this: my grandfather drove a red sports car, had a “mistress”, and gambled. Did he enable others’ gambling addiction? Perhaps. Did he foster poor money-managing habits? What was his money habits like?

I don’t have those answers. I don’t even know the full picture. My grandfather also gave to charities throughout his life, but the people he loaned money to probably never knew that. That wouldn’t be their thought when he came collecting monies owed.

Shamanic teachings say that thoughts of anger and hatred can turn into curses, and create karmic ties. Is the karma my grandfather created playing out on some level in my own life? I have to say yes, simply because in the past two days, questions of responsible business ownership have been on my mind, in particular offering payment options to customers – do I promote responsible consumerism or consumerism based on fears? Do my products contribute to waste and the landfill, or are they eco-friendly and sustainable? I also see other parallels, including being in position of chasing creditors every month and the relationships that play out in my life.

Why me? Why not either of my brothers or my sister or my cousins?

I don’t know. It has been 5 years since I started looking at healing ancestral blocks, and helping clients heal ancestral ties and karma (see this article I wrote in 2012). If I had a dollar for each time we asked this question, I would be rich 😀

Maybe we simply choose to. And now I choose to heal this karmic patterning so my child(ren) will not carry this pattern in their life.

And I can happily pay for a new pair of shoes for myself without the second-guessing or guilt.

 

Fermented Foods

It’s funny how things play out. I never thought I would be teaching people how to make fermented foods, but that’s how the Universe works sometimes. I had been selling pickles, chutneys, jams and sauces for over a year in my local community, through a popular local community buy, sell group. One day, a program organiser at a local community centre contacted me to organise a workshop for people to learn pickling and jamming and fermentation, and in talking with her, we realised that what would be popular would be fermentation.

I was very surprised, and up for the challenge, as thus far I had only made sauerkraut and yoghurt and apple cider vinegar for our own use. As I planned the workshop, I realised I knew more about fermented foods than I had thought. My journey in healing my body after intensive and extended antibiotic use after contracting Golden Staph in hospital, has now lead me to teaching others how to support their own bodies’ gut health! And I was already excited by recent research that showed the link between gut health and mental health, and in the planning stages, even more information came up. One of the links was my father-in-law telling me he had happened to see an episode on “Trust Me, I am a Doctor” talking about gut health and fermented foods!

I have learnt to listen to signs from the Universe by then, so I went with it.

And that’s how my popular Introduction to Fermented Foods Workshops came about. We were booked out in the first two workshops, and I have now extended to teaching the workshops in other locations – Aminya Adelaide Natural Therapies Academy and the Workers’ Educational Association (WEA) of South Australia - and am planning more workshops for different fermented foods. That is the beauty of fermented foods – there are so many different types coming from different cultures, and it is about cultivating a relationship with different ferments so we find which work best for our bodies and our lifestyles.

I am adamant that this information should be as accessible as possible. Yes, there are many resources online that we can access to learn and teach ourselves, but some people learn better with in-person classes and a hands-on approach. And I am pleased that in working with the community centre and now the other locations where I am teaching the workshops, we have the same aim that education and health is for everyone, not just the privileged or the wealthy who can afford healthy foods. For that end, we keep the costs as low as possible while still respecting my time and efforts (self-worth in action!) as well as the organisers’ time and effort organising and promoting the workshops.

Funnily enough, my aim is one day, I don’t need to run these workshops anymore, as most people know how to make different fermented foods at home for their own health and wellbeing, and share the probiotic cultures around!