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Basic Essential Oils — Tools for your wellness tool box

There is no such thing as a cure all medicine, herb, oil, tonic, elixir, or whatever you call it. I have found in my practice of mindfulness essential oils are great tools. No need to spend a bunch of money on them either. One oil (one that you enjoy most) can be used throughout the day and night.

Ways to use your oils can very person to person. I like to put a drop in my palms and rub them together then deeply inhale when I’m in need of concentration. There are plenty of diffusers on the market to be used anywhere imaginable. However awesome the oils may be for a personal perk-up if you are in an office or shared home, make sure everyone is okay with oil being diffused. Even the best oils can cause reactions in certain individuals and pets. Always ask a doctor before using essential oils on children and those who are immune compromised.  

The aroma of oils can help ease tension, illness, and fatigue if used correctly. You don’t need to buy all the oils mentioned below. Here is a short list of oils I use and why.

Lemon- Lemon is a natural way to ease nausea. It can help you focus during meditation, and is more manageable for sensitive noses.

Lavender- Lavender is a big ingredient in natural sleep aids. My mother would mix it with water for a pillow spray to help us kids go to bed. Be aware there are a few different kinds of lavender. Before you buy a bottle make sure to smell a tester so you get the one you like best.

Tangerine-Tangerine is great for a gentle uplifting scent. Because of its sweet nature and pleasing aroma, it can be used in the office or worn to replace perfume.

Peppermint- Peppermint is known for its power to help headaches and ease tummy trouble. It can also be used on cold compresses to reduce inflammation. I make sure to buy organic peppermint oil that is approved for oral consumption. If I don’t have peppermint tea handy, one drop of oil will produce a similar drink. I also like to put a drop of peppermint on my floss and tooth brush for an extra clean sensation. 

Eucalyptus-Eucalyptus isn’t just for koalas! This oil packs a powerful punch for fighting colds and clearing out sinuses. Put a drop in a tissue to sniff through the day. Or, add a few drops to some plain Epsom salt to melt away.

Rosemary-Rosemary is like Ritalin of essential oils. One sniff will help clear the mind and help you get back to work. However, be aware this is a strong-smelling oil and people may notice it. I like mixing a drop with fragrance free lotion and applying the mixture sparingly to the back of my neck. Blends- Some blends I enjoy are rosemary/peppermint for foggy brain days, use blend in a diffuser. Whenever I get migraines or headaches, I’ll apply peppermint/lavender to cold compresses for pain management. For extra comfort on days my anxiety won’t stop I enjoy lemon/eucalyptus.

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Boys of My Youth

The baby kicked me hard in the stomach as Trump said to the Proud Boys “Stand back, stand by.” Last night Trump acted the way no parent would ever want to see their child behave. Not only did Trump clearly show he is a white supremacist himself, he also showed what wealthy white men can get away with.       

I have no words to describe how angry I currently am with Trump and his supporters. Clearly, they do not see and feel the damage done by systematic injustice, the murder of black bodies, the rape of those who define themselves as female or queer, nor do they see the on going damage their lies cause.

I wrote this essay back in February, 2020. As the United States election heats up, I grow even more annoyed by the letters I received from editors of why they can’t publish this piece. The main reason is they don’t want to touch the hot topic of sexism in the world of Trump and his supporters. While I can’t touch on every reason, I could never support Trump this essay explains one of the big reasons: sexism.  

I hope my child will be born into a world that Trump is no longer a figurehead. No matter what I will teach my child that monsters like Trump are in fact real, and we must fight them. Whether it be through peaceful protest, writing essays, standing up to bullies, or stating creditable facts, we must fight the monsters.

Boys of My Youth

As I sit here writing it is February 7th, 2020 days ago Trump gave what my husband called a “bananas” state of the union address. I didn’t watch it, the speech was clearly designed to be reality T.V. designed by a puppet who clearly only has his rich, white, sexist, friends in mind. One Trump lover, a hate spewing human, was awarded the Medal of Honor. I was shocked that Nancy Pelosi didn’t just rip up the speech, I’m sure if she had a lighter, she would have torched the sucker. She reminded me what it meant to live with shameless little conservative white boys, like the ones I went to school with.

“You’d be a lot cooler if you didn’t talk,” said a chubby boy who sat in front of me during 7th grade English. It wasn’t the first time a boy tried to silence me, or tell me I wasn’t pretty, or even say that boys were always better at things than girls. These were the 1990s when my home was nowhere and two places at once. Living mainly in suburban Minnesota where children with money flaunted it, the rest of us got by. Otherwise I was left to my own devices most of the time in Upstate New York.

Boys in Minnesota shaped me. As a twelve-year-old, my crush was a boy named Corey, like me he played hockey and had a strong unibrow. He never spoke to me, even though I admired him from far away in classes. My boy-crazy friend Leah told me to ask him out. Leah giggled next to me, playing with her short blond hair; she was the only girl in the 7th grade to have boobs. A fact that boys noticed. I was still flat chested with a distain for bras. Leah dialed the number as I held the receiver playing with the curled cord.

“Hello,” his mom answered with a midwestern sound to her ‘O’.

“Can I talk to Corey?” Came out as a whisper.

“Yes, hon,” she said, along with shuffling sounds and Leah’s giggle we could heard, “Some little girl wants to talk to you.”

Leah took over as I felt my face flush with blood, the room seemed to spin.

“Hi, Corey?” Leah was braver than me, she spoke clearly. “It’s Leah, will you go out with Evelyn?”

“No,” was the only word that came out of his mouth. It seemed like he tried to lower his voice an octave. Then the distinct sound of a dial tone took over the connection.

The next school day boys seemed to look in my direction and laugh. Some of them would cover their little mouths and pretend to cough while saying things like “slut” or “whore.” I didn’t fully understand why. That day in gym class, we had to run a mile, which meant running around the school fields twice, a stupid activity that only the athletes liked. Although athletic, I preferred to sit out of gym class and hang out with Leah. Today was different though. I wanted to run, I wanted to beat the boys who were being so horrible. As we lined up to start the run, Tony, a bucked-tooth blond boy with a bowl cut said to me, “Why are your legs so pale? Do you even go outside?” His family went on cruises during vacations, in years to come his skin would turn cancerous from time in the sun. I said nothing and started running.

My goal was to beat Corey, who had his socks pulled up high and gym shorts long, only a slice of his skinny tween legs showed. Most of the run I was even with him, I kept my distance as the boys grouped together as they bounced along. At the end of the mile, I was tied with Corey to finish at the same time. Then from a scratchy little boy voice came the word “Slut!” distracting me as Corey finished before me.

Most of my school years, I faced those same boys, those jocks, who never talked to me, yet bullied me for no reason at all…other than being female. I found myself wondering what had become of such children; boys who always got what they wanted; spoiled “boys will be boys;” simple boys; such as the ones coining the term “Basic Bitch” since they see all women as the same; boys that wear their high school rings into their thirties since they could not hack it in college; boys who believe they hold power because what hangs between their legs; boys who still believe bitches can’t be smarter than them; boys who want to control women.

I sat in my living room on a sunny day, watching water trickle through my indoor fountain. The sparkling light bounced of my lush green plants as vanilla incense burned sweetness into the air. Zen vibrations may have been in the home, but they weren’t in the research I was doing.

Exploring digital trails left over the years by these simple boys I found my answers. Between prolife pictures posted on Facebook pages of them drinking cheap beer were either bragging posts or political support for Donald Trump. “What shitheads,” I said loud enough to make my slumbering cat stir. I found mugshots and court records for some of crimes such as rape, sexual assault, drug charges, fraud, and drunken driving. Mixed in were vintage hockey pictures curated by Minnesota State. A few wedding pictures were sprinkled into what I found; wives with dimples and crooked teeth under the arms of midwestern boys. The ones I grew up with.

The boys of my youth became intolerant men of today.

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Making a Daily Ritual

In my last corporate role, my morning ritual was to be an office fairy. I’d get in early clean and fill the coffee carafe, start my essential oil diffuser, and play peaceful meditation music over my headphones. Only a few people (those who really mattered to me) said it helped them. However, most never noticed.

The truth is I didn’t do it just for them. I did it to help lighten a toxic atmosphere and help my mental wellbeing. Once I went solo on my career as a writer/editor/yoga instructor I found myself creating a new morning ritual at home. This one is very simple. On days warm enough I’ll sit on our three-season front porch and open the door to welcome the day. The cat, Harvey, runs to the door and looks out. I take time to breathe in the air, welcome whatever noise may occur, and greet the day. In cooler temperatures I take time to open the living room window curtains, start a diffuser, and hold Harvey as we look out into the world.

Daily rituals don’t have to be long and drawn out. They can be as simple as saying a mantra each morning before starting work. Rituals can even be as simple as saying a prayer, a gentle stretching routine while getting out of bed, or kissing your loved one first thing when you wake up.

Make your own ritual.

  1. Find the best time when you start your day. If you work nights this maybe in the evening. There are no true rules behind when you should practice your daily ritual, but I’ve found it is best to start the day off right.
  2. Think about what resonates with you. Such as a mantra to chant quietly or mentally, or a physical practice that helps you clear your mind. For me it is opening a door or curtains leaving the night behind me. For you it might be making a cup of tea or your morning shower.
  3. Make it easy. If you are like me you don’t have time for a lengthy morning ritual, no one needs to get stressed out over wellness. If the ritual takes more than a minute, it is too long.
  4. Practice your ritual every dang day…Even if you feel like you can’t.
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Finding Connection with Tali Cohen Shabtai

Tali contacted me about a poem she wrote and translated into multiple languages about a topic in the forefront of my mind. Below is Tali’s work in multiple languages. She reminds us that we are all connected. -Evelyn

To George Floyd

There were abandoned eyes like a Jewish boy in the ghetto.

I write on behalf of all the helpless who suffer in present and throughout human history

From

Injustice and inequality even though they are

Free human being.

with no

Religion

Race

And sex.

-Tali Cohen Shabtai

Tali Cohen Shabtai translated by Dr

Eitan Medini 

Interracial war – in memory of George \ Tali Cohen Shabtai

What do you know ?

I am a jewess!

I came from a land of Uniforms- 

And you expect me to be able 

To fix a world of 

Hostile countries ?

I have absorbed Antisemitism racism 

And forced numerous time

To hug the name of a false 

Homeland  

In the diaspora

Or in the superpowers

For them taking over the maps

They have done very well

With huge population size

Where there aren’t many with the family name as mine

Carrying my nation’s flag 

And my father’s yarmulke .

What do you know about racism?

During history 

Women struggled

Rape and the sexual injuries 

Between the races.

Do you understand?

It’s a very well known War tactic

Conquers arrived to conquer nations

Brutalizing the women to prove their superiority.

Whether it be a black slave woman forced by white men during the black slavery since the early 17th century.

Or, Jews during the Holocaust 

When Jewish women were beaten by the “master race” in early 1933.

A common fate of black and Jews.

What do I know?

The murderer police officer 

Who played with the breathing 

Of George 

He wouldn’t commit suicide as Adolf Hitler did since his knee was more important to him

From end of time of a solitary living soul or of six millions 

Listen to me, I do know!

Guerra Interracial – en memoria de George 

Tali Cohen Shabtai 

Translated from English to Spanish by José Muchnik

(Translated from Hebrew to English by Eitan Medini)

¿Qué sabes?

¡Soy judía!

Vengo de una tierra de

Uniformes

¿Y esperas que yo pueda

Reparar un mundo de

Países hostiles?

Absorbí antisemitismo racismo

Y forzada numerosas veces

A abrazar un nombre falso

Patria

En la diáspora

O en los superpoderes

Los mapas para ellos

Han sido muy bien hechos 

Con enormes poblaciones

Donde

No hay muchos apellidos

Como el mío

Portando la bandera nacional

Y el yarmulke de mi padre.

¿Qué sabes del racismo?

Durante la historia

Un mal que las mujeres combatieron

Es la violación y las

Injurias sexuales.

Entre las razas.

¿Lo entiendes?

Es bien conocido

Táctica de guerra

Conquistadores llegaron para poseer naciones

Violando mujeres para demostrar superioridad.

Si una esclava negra fue forzada por hombres blancos en la negra esclavitud desde el siglo 17.

O durante el Holocausto

Cuando mujeres judías eran violadas por el “master race” 

Año 1933.

Un destino común de negros y judíos.

¿Qué sé? 

El oficial de policía asesino

Que jugó con la respiración

De George

No se suicidaría como Adolf Hitler porque su rodilla era más

Importante para él

Desde el final del tiempo de un alma viva solitaria o de seis millones

Escúchenme, yo sé. 

Tali Cohen Shabtai, es una poeta, nacida en Jerusalén, Israel. Comenzó a escribir poesía a los seis años, publicando sus impresiones en el periódico de la escuela, y cuando tenía quince años en una prestigiosa revista literaria de Israel (“Moznayim”). Ha escrito tres libros de poesía: Purple Diluted in a Black’s Thick, (bilingüe 2007), Protest (bilingüe 2012) y Nine Years Away From You (2018). Los poemas de Tali expresan el exilio espiritual y material, el exilio y su libertad paradojal son sus temas de estudio, su visión cosmopolita se manifiesta en sus escritos. Vivió en Oslo, Noruega y en los EE. UU. Destacada poeta con una lírica especial, “no se libra fácilmente, sino que está sujeta a sus propias reglas”.

Tali obtuvo su licenciatura en el “David Yellin College of Education”. Es miembro de la Asociación de Escritores Hebreos y de la Asociación de Escritores Israelíes en el estado de Israel. En 2014, Cohen Shabtai participó en un film documental noruego sobre la vida de los poetas llamados “The Last Bohemian” – “Den Siste Bohemien”, proyectada en el cine Escandinavo. Traducida a varios idiomas, en 2020, publicará en Noruega su cuarto libro de poesía. 

מלחמה בין-גזעית-לזכר ג’ורג’ \ טלי כהן שבתאי

מה אתה יודע?

אני יהודונת!

אני באה מארץ של 

מדים-

ואתה מצפה שאני אוכל לתקן

עולם של

ארצות יריבות?

ספגתי אנטישמיות

ספגתי גזענות

נאלצתי רבות הפעמים 

לאמץ שם של 

מולדת 

שיקרית בגולה

או במעצמות שהמפה

הטיבה 

עימן במלאי האוכלוסין

היכן

אין הרבה שם משפחה כשלי

הנושא את דגל

הלאום שלי

ושל הכיפה 

של אבי.

מה אתה יודע על גזענות?

במהלך ההיסטוריה

אחד 

מהעוולות עימם 

התמודדו הנשים הוא 

האונס והפגיעות המיניות בין הגזעים. 

אתה מבין?

זוהי טקטיקת מלחמה ידועה, כובשים מגיעים לעם הנכבש ואונסים את הנשים כדי להוכיח עליונות. 

בין אם שפחה שחורה הניכפתה על 

ידי גברים לבנים בעת העבדות של

השחורים 

החל מראשית המאה ה-17.

ובין אם בשואה בה נאנסו

נשים יהודיות על ידי “הגזע העליון” מתחילת שנת 1933.

מן המשותף לשחורים וליהודים.

מה אני יודעת?

השוטר הרוצח, ששיחק 

בנשימה 

של ג’ורג 

לא יתאבד כמו אדלוף היטלר

הלא,הברך שלו 

חשובה לו

יותר

מקץ הימים של נפש חיה אחת או

של שישה מיליון

תקשיב לי,אני יודעת.

Tali Cohen Shabtai, is a poet, she was born in Jerusalem, Israel. She began writing poetry at the age of six, she had been an excellent student of literature. She began her writings by publishing her impressions in the school’s newspaper. Frst of all she published her poetry in a prestigious literary magazine of Israel ‘Moznayim’ when she was fifteen years old.

Tali has written three poetry books: Purple Diluted in a Black’s Thick, (bilingual 2007), Protest (bilingual 2012) and Nine Years Away From You (2018).

Tali’s poems expresses spiritual and physical exile. She is studying her exile and freedom paradox, her cosmopolitan vision is very obvious in her writings. She lived some years in Oslo Norway and in the U.S.A. She is very prominent as a poet with a special lyric, “she doesn’t give herself easily, but subject to her own rules”.

Tali studied at the “David Yellin College of Education” for a bachelor’s degree. She is a member of the Hebrew Writers Association and the Israeli Writers Association in the state of Israel.

In 2014, Cohen Shabtai also participated in a Norwegian documentary about poets’ lives called “The Last Bohemian”- “Den Siste Bohemien”,and screened in the cinema in Scandinavia. By 2020, her fourth book of poetry will be published which will also be published in Norway. Her literary works have been translated into many languages as well.

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Ugly Truths

I have love/hate feelings about online advertisements. Specifically, on social media (I’m a sucker for Instagram advertisements). As a middle-class woman in her mid-thirties companies know I’m in the position to buy items that seem attractive to me. In my last job (online marketing) I used demographics, deceptive language, and creativity to sell products for a failing home shopping channel. At first working with the beauty/health items was fun. I had many moments where I’d be holding an item and say, “Who would buy this?”

The answer is me. I’m the kind of person who buys magnetic eyelashes, a skincare vacuum to suck the dead skin away, and products that tend to break quickly. Advertisers know this about me. I have a high enough education to know better, but the money burning through my pocket.

Yesterday as I mindlessly scrolled through Instagram a video came up on my feed. It was of a long-haired woman in flowing clothing holding a large circular toilet seat made out of wood. The wood was smooth and unfinished with a flower design burned into it. I paused: my algorithms picked up that I like alternative medicine long ago. But, toilet seats? My eyes quickly scanned the video description. Two words caught my eyes yoni steaming.

I’d never heard of yoni steaming, nor could I believe my eyes. During my time working at the television channel I’d worked with sexual health products. I had the idea to write warnings on all the vaginal sprays that contained perfumes. Unless a physician needs you to use an item vaginally things like sprays and suppositories or healing remedies should not be placed inside a human body. Sometimes even sexual lubrications can cause infections.

I texted my friend who is an acupuncturist and healer if she had heard of the practice. “Is it safe?” I asked. She quickly responded, “Yes. It seems safe. I don’t believe all the claims are true.” My brain went to all the products I had to market that also seemed safe. All the guilt of tricking women into buying products that cause infections once again returned. The number of douches, powders, and devices to help women stay “clean” and “tight” is wrong.

 Women’s bodies are still not their own. Men are not controlled like we are. They are not told they are dirty for having a self-cleaning organ. Men do not have yeast infections from sex, men do not face discrimination for buying products like tampons and menstrual pads by being taxed for luxury items. Men are not told they are dirty because they have periods. Men are not ostracized because of a monthly cycle. In the marketing I had to do we looked at women as objects. They must smell good for their men, they must be tight for the man’s pleasure, they must be well groomed to be sexually attractive.

The beauty/health industry is making women sick by trying to control what a vagina must be. Women aren’t dirty naturally; we are human we sweat and have bacteria. In addition, you don’t have to have be born a woman to identify as one, trans women get the same messages cis ones do. They face even harsher judgment from mainstream society because our obsessions with the perfect vagina. How do we break free from archaic group think that people who identify as women are dirty? 

One of the first things I learned in my human physiology course was. When a child is born the baby has a higher number of antibodies because of traveling through the birth canal. All humans have bacteria the difference is the power to procreate those antibodies help babies. As women we should not feel forced into using products to alter our intimate parts. Because of the products we use our natural chemistry can be altered causing yeast infections, exposure to toxins, and UTIs. When I looked further into yoni steaming, I found a similar message that I used to give women. The ritual claimed that steaming your vagina will rejuvenate it, or make you tighter, maybe help you regain fertility, and the claims went on and on. Yikes!

Yoni steaming is the alternative medicines world of telling women they are unclean. The concept is purely ritual, it has been used centuries.  Herbs are placed in a bowl or basin to be burned and the woman either sits on a yoni seat or hovers above to let the steam enter her. This is another tradition where our bodies are controlled for the pleasure of men. I say this because during my research many of the claims were directed at pleasing men sexually. Other claims were to treat infections, help women get pregnant, and help clean out the vagina. All this is done with steam or smoke.

All these claims scare me. The truth is gynecologist aren’t sold on the benefits of yoni steaming since the ritual can cause infection, burns, and exposure to toxins (because herb blends are not regulated anything can be added to them). That pretty yoni seat isn’t as pretty to me now. Although many women may use the device without any harm the claims don’t add up.

 If we look at this on a larger scale the world of beauty and health can get away with murder (with ingredients and devices). Yet, based on advertisements we’d never know as consumers. I implore you as a consumer to not buy into the advertisements you see. Take time and use local library resources to research claims. I know marketers are trying to get your money; protect your dollars and body.

As women we are given so many messages about how to take care of ourselves. Advertisements aim at making you feel less than human and try to trick you into buying solutions. The truth is you are perfect just being you.

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Garlic Tips and Tricks

Delicious Immune Support

It is no secret that I love garlic for the flavor. It adds an extra aroma and taste to dishes, but people forget garlic is a form of plant medicine.  Inside these little bulbs is something called allicin. These sulfenic acids are what boosts the plant to be considered a medicine. The best way to get immune support from this lovely plant is through eating it!

Because I love garlic it is easy for me to put it in everything. Here are a few of my favorite ways to use this plant medicine.

Fermented Garlic in Honey

Honey is the perfect pairing for garlic. Some people suggest pairing minced garlic with a spoonful of honey if you’re fighting of a cold or flu. Of course, that isn’t for the faint of stomach! If you want to mix garlic with honey it is easier on the tummy to ferment it. I found Colorado Hemp Honey to have a great recipe for fermentation. If you use hemp honey, you’ll also gain the benefit of CBD compounds.

Garlic Infused Olive Oil

Don’t be tricked! You can’t just put fresh garlic into oil—and, bingo-bango infused oil. This is because fresh garlic (or any herb) left in oil at room temperature for hours can cause botulism to form. The oil and garlic must be heated and infused together.

I make my infused oil using a crockpot. I normally use a full bulb of peeled garlic and 8oz of olive oil. Placing the garlic on the bottom pour in your oil and cook on low for 8 hours. Make sure to check on your oil every few hours. I have burned a few batches, sometimes it only takes 6-7 hours. Sterilize jars or containers you plan on using. Let the oil cool and take out the garlic cloves, you can use those over the next few days. Once the oil is cooled pour it into your containers. Try to use your oil up in a month or so.

Mix with Sandwich Toppings

If your stomach can handle raw garlic, like mine, add it to everything! I’ve minced garlic and added it to a smooched avocado, and also, I’ve added it to mayonnaise. Garlic is a great addition to any sandwich. You can also take the cooked garlic from making oil, mince it, and mix it for more sensitive stomachs.