I’ve always believed in angels. It’s been comforting for me to think that at any time, something very special was looking out for me. Even during the worst of times or circumstances, I’ve thought that things could have been worse or not turned out as well if my angels had not been there. Silly or naïve? I think not. It feels like a blessing. And, those angels aren’t around just in life and death situations. They’re there for the small and medium-sized aggravations, too.
Just last Sunday morning, I had plans to head to the lovely little town of Randolph, Vermont for an art exhibit. A new Vermont friend and artist has three pieces of art in the show and she was a part of a panel discussion about the art that morning and I wanted to be there.
Randolph is about a forty-five minute drive from Woodstock and I was looking forward to the drive – which is pretty much on a rural Vermont two-lane highway the entire way. On this very cold day, as I started out, I was marveling at how much I could see the landscape during the winter without the leaves on the trees. And passing by fields, I could see tons of animal tracks, and people cross-country skiing and riding in snowmobiles. I was loving it all.
Suddenly, I looked down at my dashboard gauges and saw a light show up that I had never seen before – an exclamation point. What the heck was that? So, I pulled off the side of the road and retrieved my owner’s manual and found out that blinking light meant a change in tire pressure. Because I’d recently had heavy-duty studded snow tires put on, I thought it might have something to do with that – because I hadn’t felt anything weird when driving.
Don’t ask why I didn’t get out and take a look. I just didn’t. – and perhaps that ended up being a good thing. But after I’d driven another mile, then I started feeling something. Lucky for me, I was directly in front of the Barnard Country Store – which happens to be located in an off-the-grid no cell phone reception area. I’d found that out bike riding this past summer and wondered how the people around here managed without cell phones (amazing what we get accustomed to). Before I got out of the car and saw just how flat that brand new snow tire was, I was thinking how lucky I was to have made it to the store where I could use their phone.
I made a call to the national road service company that’s supposed to rescue you when this sort of thing happens and they ended up trying to hook me up with several road trucks – mostly between thirty and fifty miles away. And, on a cold, Sunday morning – nobody they contracted with wanted to come out and change a tire for me. For real? What am I paying for? I called Bob and he was not to be found. At the store, no one knew of anyone who I could call and no one volunteered to change the tire.
Bummer. I was feeling a little teary and knew I was going to miss my friend’s talk and exhibit. When I looked up, I saw someone I knew. Someone I was sure would help me. And, he did. It was Joe – one of the house painters who had just spent a whole month with us. Now, he lives about an hour from the Barnard Country Store but he just happened to be in the area finishing up some work on a nearby home. He’d run over to the store for some coffee at just the perfect time and voila – he was a in a tire-changing mood (or, he at least pretended to be).
It took him less than ten minutes – but it was cold and icy. When he was done, I tried to give him some money. No go. He wouldn’t take it and told me “This is what Vermonters do for others. That’s all.” I talked him into a cup of coffee and we had a chance to chat for a bit about his grandson’s birthday later that afternoon. I sat there feeling grateful.
As I was driving home, I became very aware that those angels had been at work for me just like they always are. At certain times, it can be more obvious. First, when my car made it to the General Store so I would have access to a phone. And, then, when Joe the painter walked through the door – the last person I ever expected to see there.
That was all angel doing going on. I know it. And, I count on them daily.
What about you? Any daily angel happenings going on for you? I bet there are.
Art: Windswept Angel, an original oil palette knife painting by Karen Tarlton
There was a long period in my life when I didn’t think I had enough time for self-care. There was always too much stuff to do or I thought self-care would cost too much if I tried to do it on a regular basis. Or, maybe somewhere deep down where my fingernails grow, I believed I wasn’t sure that I was worth it. Wrong on all accounts.
When I woke up this morning and it was a frosty -12°, I remembered all of those people who asked me after I told them we were moving to Vermont… “Don’t you know it gets cold up there???” Yeah, you bet it does – and, I was wondering why it wasn’t bothering me.
Well today, as cold as it is… the sun is shining AND little tiny, flakes of snow have been falling all day. Nothing that will accumulate. It just adds some beauty to a sunny day. And, believe me, it helps to be in a warm house with a fire going. But even going outside with the right clothing on is really nice, too. I know you flip-flop wearing friends will question that and dare not try it. And, I understand.
One of the things I have been very conscious of – even now more than ever and with the encouragement of my friend – my West Coast sistah – Kat Tansey, who just happens to be creating a wonderful class on practicing self-compassion and choosing to be fit and well, is practicing some extreme self-care and self-compassion. And, yes, I will be sharing more about Kat’s amazing class (I got to be a part of the beta class) when she rolls it out.
I am actually listening to what I need and paying attention to what feels nourishing to me. Imagine that! And, one of the things that has always felt nourishing to me has to do with water and smells. Lucky for me that the woman who built the house we are living in must have really believed in hydrotherapy. She installed a deep soaking tub with special air jets and wave action. The back part of the tub that you lean on can even be set to warm up during a soak to provide even more warmth and to encourage relaxation. In addition, the shower she installed in the master bath is big enough to have friends join us (but, we don’t plan on that happening) with several shower nozzles that do different things. All I know is that when I’m in either the tub or the shower, my entire body feels loved and taken care of. This has truly been a gift – especially after being outdoors on cold days or after taking long hikes or bike rides. Pure heaven.
And, to make it even better, I continue to use special treats to make the whole process even more wonderful. So, I want to share my favorite sea salt bath recipe and also suggest some ways for you to nurture yourself using essential oils. I’ve been doing both for years and now, these rituals are just a part of my life:
Sea Salt Bath Recipe (especially wonderful before you go to bed)
1 cup of non-iodized, organic sea salt
1 cup of epsom salts
1 cup of baking soda
10-15 drops of your favorite therapeutic, organic essential oil or blend
¼ cup of milk or unflavored soy milk
Mix essential oils with milk. Pour all ingredients under running warm water as tub fills.
Dim the lights and light a candle near the tub.
Soak for 15-20 minutes and relax. Rinse off with clean water.
Watch all of your “stuff” just go down the drain.
Important – drink a full glass or more of purified water after you dry off.
Enjoy a peaceful night’s sleep.
Ways to Enjoy Therapeutic, Organic Essential Oils (NO artificial anything!)
Inhalation – Apply 1-2 drops to the palm of the hands and rub together. Cup hands over nose and inhale deeply.
Apply to the pulse points of your body.
Apply to the Energy Centers (Chakras) of your body.
Apply to the soles of your feet – the reflexology points for your body.
Dry Brushing – To stimulate the lymphatic system and the skin, use a natural, cellulose fiber body brush with 2-3 drops of essential oil. Good oils to use for this purpose are grapefruit and rosemary. Apply the oil to the bristles of the brush and then, brush your skin, always brushing in the direction of your heart
Bath – Add 5-12 drops to a tub of warm water. Use the Sea Salt Bath recipe above or adding the oils to a spoonful of honey, a small cup of milk, or to your favorite carrier oil will help to disburse the oil.
Spritzer – To a 4 oz. spray bottle of distilled or purified water, add:
- 8-10 drops for a facial spray
- 30-40 drops for a body spray
- 80-100 drops for a room spray/air freshener
Be sure to shake well before using.
After a shower – Apply 5-6 drops to a damp wash cloth. Rub briskly over the body and allow to air dry.
Diffusing – The very best method for diffusing is by using a forced air diffuser with an electric air pump. No heat is involved. The air is blown into a glass nebulizer that produces a mist of very tiny droplets of essential oil. The fineness of the mist gives the droplets the ability to remain suspended in the air and benefits the aromas diffused. The mist is revitalizing, deodorizing, and fights bacteria and fungus.
Sounds nice, doesn’t it? And, what a way to honor and nourish your body.
Trust me, you’re worth it and making time to love up on yourself will have a big effect on the way you live your life.
As always, I’d love to hear from you if you try any of these suggestions and I’d love to hear about the self-care rituals you practice.
Fall in love with taking care of yourself. Just suppose this was our great quest in life… practicing self-care! Wow!