The best things in life are free, or so the saying goes. And when it comes to our body, we have an incredible, inbuilt way of being able to self regulate and calm our central nervous system, and it’s completely free, it’s called breathing!
When the breath is unsteady, all is unsteady; when the breath is still; all is still. Control the breath carefully. Inhalation gives strength and a controlled body; retention gives steadiness of mind and longevity; exhalation purifies body and spirit. - Goraksha Shataka, an early hatha yoga text, written in around the 10th century in the tantra tradition.
Breathing deeply, with a slow and steady inhalation and exhalation activates our parasympathetic nervous system (PSNS) sometimes known as our ‘rest and digest mode’. And when our PSNS is activated, it slows our heart and breathing rates, lowers blood pressure and promotes digestion. Our body enters a state of relaxation and recovery and helps to bring our autonomic nervous system back into balance. And yet so often we find we do not take advantage of this incredible resource.
Breathwork is an integral part of meditation and yoga practice. And diaphragmatic breathing can have an extremely therapeutic effect. So what is diaphragmatic breathing and how do you do it? For this we turn to the fabulous Aimee Hartley. Aimee has devoted her career to sharing and educating children and adults on the amazing power of breath and good breathing technique.
Learning to breathe fully into the lower abdominal area is the first step to improving your breathing pattern. One technique is called Transformational BreathⓇ. Transformational Breath is an incredibly powerful breathwork and can help relieve symptoms of asthma, unearth repressed emotions and help release feelings of joy! Taken from Aimee’s brilliant book Breathe Well, here is a beginner’s practice to get you started.
Why not introduce aromatherapy into your breath-work and your day. Inhaling essential oils stimulates the olfactory system, the part of the brain connected to smell. Molecules that enter the nose or mouth pass to the lungs, and from there, to other parts of the body. In this way, essential oils can have a subtle, yet holistic effect on the whole body. Zoe Henderson has developed a range of incredible pure essential oil blends to help relieve the stresses of everyday life. Why not visit the Angel Oil website today to shop our products www.angeloil.com
Lots of love, Zoë xx
* Source: Londonpainclinic.com / Breathe Well by Aimee Hartley / Photo Credit: Eugene Zhyvchik @ unsplash
Today is Mother’s Day, which in the UK can quite often get muddled-up with Mothering Sunday, a religious holiday. Although the two are quite different, one marketing led, one founded on returning to your ‘mother’ church, they do share the same desire to return home - to reconnect with the source of our childhood, comfort, security, love, community. And this got me thinking about the role of the ‘feminine’, how we navigate the world and what we can ALL do to draw on the power of the ‘divine feminine’ or ‘sacred feminine’’ at this challenging time to find strength and balance.
So what is ‘divine feminine’? ‘Divine feminine’ we talk about here does not relate to gender - it is not available only to ‘women’, this is about energy - the feminine energy which exists in all of us. We all have masculine (doing and achieving) and feminine (nurture, healing) energy within us and they can’t exist without each other, they should complement each other, like yin and yang. Finding the balance is what we should aim for.
‘The divine feminine is a way of aligning with the vibrant love of the universe and channelling that through your body into creating, connecting, or loving — and it’s accessible to everyone, because no matter what, we all have a body… Divine feminine energy is about uplifting that which has been denigrated in our society.’ Edgar Fabian Frias, multidisciplinary artist, educator and psychotherapist.
The divine feminine has manifested itself across many cultures and traditions over millennia, from Christianity, Hinduism, Judaism, Buddhism and of course, Greek mythology. No matter how we choose to represent the divine feminine, the foundation of this energy remains the same, this energy is about intuition, the softer skills, which in our patriarchal led society can be seen as weak and passive. But we know better than this.
Author, Gabriela Herstick describes the Divine Feminine as a ‘creative and life-giving energy within all of us that gives form to that which we care about and put our energy into… Goddess is the moon, the earth, the sea, the desert, poetry, art, love — it represents that which is felt and not thought.’
We know the strength that comes from compassion and collaboration, from creativity, acceptance and forgiveness. We need to restore the equilibrium between the masculine and the feminine for our own happiness and for the health of our planet. Remember there is power in giving and collaboration just as there is in individual ambition and achievement. Find ways to connect, collaborate and give back with your community, friends and family. Learn to listen to your intuition, recognise how you feel with certain decisions or in different situations. Connect with your heart and find the beauty and joy in the everyday and the ordinary.
And of course, the best way to find and strengthen your sacred feminine energy is to reconnect with nature. Spiritual author Shannon Kaiser says ‘We can instantly connect with the sacred feminine energy by spending time with Mother Earth. In nature, the feminine creative energy runs wild—its physical beauty is visible. Even five minutes of fresh air or a short walk barefoot in the grass can be enough soul food to awaken your divine feminine.’
So why not take some time this Easter to reawaken your sacred feminine and see the changes it makes to the way you experience and interact with the the world.
Lots of love, Zoë xx
* Source: bustle.com / mbg.com / Photo Credit Oliver Pacas @unsplash
So those who know me know I LOVE being in nature. I feel such a powerful connection with nature and the Universe, I feel the ebb and flow, the give and take of energy and source. A lot of my distance healing happens when I’m in nature or close to water as we are all connected, all made of atoms, energy and vibration. Being in nature helps us feel grounded - it reminds us of our place in the scheme of things, it can be a humbling experience.
Nature is so clever in it’s evolution and design. Just think of the intricacy and ingenuity of a wasp's nest, bee’s honeycomb or spider’s web. The wings of a butterfly, the colours of the world’s flora and fauna, animals and birds. We constantly refer back to nature for inspiration in our manmade world.
Trees in particular amaze me, not least because we need them for our survival! The oxygen they provide helps to make our delicate ecosystem habitable for human life. The process of photosynthesis enables the leaves of growing trees to absorb atmospheric carbon dioxide and release oxygen. The tree locks in the carbon until it dies, decays or is burnt. And as their leaves fall and become part of the earth, they lock away more carbon from our atmosphere, helping to create ‘carbon sinks’. As our modern life means we produce greater quantities of carbon, it is even more important we protect our green spaces, especially our rainforests - tropical rainforests store more carbon than other types of forests. Sadly 15 billion trees are lost annually to deforestation.
But there are some fabulous people in this world doing wonderful things to help ensure our ecosystem survives. One Tree Planted is a non-profit organisation focussed on global reforestation. They plant 1 tree for every $1 received. So far they have planted over 40 million trees in more than 43 countries across the globe! I’m happy to report that my essential oil company Angel Oil Ltd has donated to this charity through the production of our packaging.
But trees’ talent doesn’t end there! Trees can actually communicate with each other using clever fungi which grow inside and around their roots. This fungi provides the tree with nutrients and in return receives sugars. By plugging into the fungal network, trees can share resources with each other. It is thought that old trees, otherwise known as ‘Mother Trees’ may provide extra sugars to saplings, giving them a better chance of survival. Other trees who are sick or dying may dump their resources into the network, providing extra resources for other healthier trees nearby. Remarkably, if a tree is attacked it can release chemical signals through its roots, warning it’s neighbour to be prepared!
And of course, trees can help us. They can help us reconnect with the universe and feel grounded when we can tune into their vibrational frequency. One of my favourite things to do with my grandchildren when we are on a walk is to find a big old tree, a ‘Mother Tree’ (or ‘Grandmother Tree’) and stand with our backs to it, our hands behind our back and raised, palms touching the bark, breathing deeply and slowly, tuning in to the tree's frequency.
I have prepared a little meditation for you, to help you feel connected to nature. Click here to listen, I hope you like it.
So next time you take a walk, remember just how incredible the world we live in is and release that gratitude into the universe.
Have a happy and healthy month, see you in April.
Lots of love, Zoë xx
* Source: bbc.com / woodlandtrust.org.uk / 8billiontrees.com / Photo credit: Arnaud Mesureur
“For whatever we lose (like a you or a me), It’s always ourselves we find in the sea.” — E.E. Cummings
Water. We all need it. We need it to feel good and to survive, both as a human being and a civilisation. It’s one thing we ALL have in common, regardless of race, religion, culture or continent. Whether we lead a country or sweep the streets, water is vital.
But beyond the physiological need, water holds a deeper connection. In water we see ourselves reflected back. The seas are ever changing, some days they sparkle, blue and calm, at other times they’re stormy and towering waves crash the shore. Like human emotions they fluctuate and change, they ebb and flow.
There’s something magical about looking out over a vast sea, the expanse of a wide horizon always just out of reach. The hypnotic movement and sounds, the deceptive force that belies a calm surface that draws you near but not without caution, a primordial instinct. The fact that this water has been here since the dawn of time, and will be here long after we have gone.
I’d like to share with you some words from a lovely song by Xavia Rudd called Follow the Sun.
Take a stroll to the nearest water’s edge, remember your place.
Many moons have risen and fallen long, long before you came.
These words remind me that outside the confines of our homes and work and complicated lives, we are all part of something much bigger. Earth’s connection to the moon, the gravitational pull of the tides - we are connected to the Universe, to a place of unfathomable scale and mystery and possibility.
Why not use your daily shower or bath as a time to reconnect to the universe. Use the beautiful cleansing properties of water as a meditation. Here is a short meditation I love to use when I want to wash away cares and worries and feel revitalised and rejuvenated.
Lots of love, Zoë xx
* Source: wellbeing.com / Image: Rahul S unsplash.com
How are you feeling on the flip side of Christmas? For some it can be a very intense time, with lots of social engagements and family visits, and, depending on your nature, this can either be an immensely enjoyable time of year or an incredibly draining one. Some people LOVE an active social calendar and rotation of visitors. For others, frequent quiet time is a necessity.
How much social connectedness a person needs influences how much aloneness they can tolerate - some people are quite happy with ‘alone time’ and find it necessary for restoration and energy or creative and spiritual growth. For others, solitude is not at all enjoyable and can lead to feelings of loneliness. As humans, we have evolved into social beings, emotional connectivity is a core part of being human. Our mental wellbeing benefits from time with other humans, but it’s the quality of this time that really makes the difference. Do you get what you need from your social interactions?
Whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert, developing ways of feeling comfortable being alone is a fabulous tool. It will help you feel connected to the universe, more grounded in yourself and mean it’s not the end of the world if your date cancels or another lockdown descends! So, let’s start with a simple breathing exercise to help relax our parasympathetic nervous system.
Whether your New Year has started off packed, full and busy or quiet and contemplative, remember to find some quality time for yourself, and if it is a quiet start - you are not alone, we are all connected. Have a wonderful January.
Lots of love, Zoë xx
* Source: psychologytoday.com / cbc.ca / Photo credit: Kelly Sikkema via unsplash.com
I hope this email greets you well and happy.
Following on from last month’s topic of gratitude, we enter into November, a month of giving thanks, including;
And it really is a brilliant time for Children. It’s so lovely seeing their faces light up as they watch a fireworks display or toast marshmallows. Getting wrapped up and hunting for conkers, their breath a white stream in the air. And listening to their Christmas lists start to grow - and grow! The joy they experience in these simple pleasures.
But what if WE allowed ourselves to be childlike again and revel in the joy these simple pleasures bring? What if WE opened our eyes and imagination to the possibilities each new day brings? What if we didn’t pre-judge or anticipate, but just went with the flow? What if we allowed ourselves to play?!
I appreciate that this thought might send you into a panic. As adults we are so used to confirming and living by ‘the rules’, that ‘play’ is relegated to something childish and unnecessary and, well, unhelpful. But this simply isn’t true. Play is fabulously helpful and good for you!
Play is fun and can trigger the release of endorphins, the body's natural feel-good chemicals. Endorphins promote an overall sense of well-being and can even temporarily relieve pain. Improve brain function. The social interaction of playing with family and friends can also help ward off stress and depression.*
The good news is playing with your pets counts too! I know the joy playing with Princess Mia brings me. Even if it’s just for five or ten minutes, I find myself lifted out of the day-to-day and it always brings a smile to my face. So, my challenge for you this month is to try to introduce some play to your day!
Now, as much as I LOVE fireworks, and I do, I also feel terribly sorry for all the poor animals who absolutely do not love the loud bangs. Please make sure you keep your animals indoors and take notice of how they are feeling. If you feel that they are stressed, a lovely ear massage can really help to relax them and it’s very easy to do. Gently massage from the base of the ear up to the tip and repeat until you feel they have calmed down.
Don’t forget to join me on Wednesday 24th November for our online group mediation. Click here to register today. Registration is quick, easy and free! Once registered, you will be sent a confirmation email that contains the Zoom link for the meditation, so please do keep the confirmation email safe.
Now, go and have yourselves a fun-filled and thankful November!
Lots of love, Zoë x
Gratitude. It can be a hard thing to feel sometimes. Being grateful isn’t always easy, harder still when it feels like life is just throwing you lemons. The worst is being TOLD you should be grateful, because sometimes you just don’t feel it. Full stop!
When it feels hard it’s usually because we are starting from a position of comparison.
When we compare ourselves or our situation to others we are not focussing on the ‘haves’ that exist in that moment, only what we feel our circumstance is lacking in that moment. This is dangerous ground, as there will ALWAYS be someone with perceived ‘more’ or ‘better’ and that is OK! That’s absolutely fine - good for them. Because I can tell you now, you have all that you need, you just need to know how to see it.
There is a line in a movie my children loved when they were young called Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, it includes the classic line, ‘if you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.’ Ferris Bueller wasn’t wrong. But all too often we are heads down, ploughing on trying to ‘get things done’, that we forget that life is happening around us, we forget to stop and smell the roses! So, let’s do that - right now! When you’ve finished reading this blog, close your eyes, take a breath and settle into the moment. Be aware of how you feel, where you are sitting, what you can hear, smell, feel. You have access to technology that helps keep you connected, electricity and money to pay the bills. You are safe, warm, fed, waterered - you are alive!
Practicing mindfulness can help lead us to gratitude. And this is a good thing. Not just because being grateful can help reframe a negative situation, the act of expressing gratitude can also help us feel better. When we express gratitude and receive the same, our brain releases dopamine and serotonin, the two crucial neurotransmitters responsible for our emotions, and they make us feel 'good'. They enhance our mood immediately, making us feel happy from the inside.*
Here are a few tips to help you find gratitude today:
Lots of love, Zoë xx
* Source: positiveneurology.com / Photo Credit: Gabrielle Henderson unsplash.com
Albert Einstein told us that ‘reality is merely an illusion, although a very persistent one.’ But can what we see, feel and hear really be a figment of our imagination? And how can stepping outside of our ‘reality’ actually improve our experience of it?
First of all we need to understand what the ‘world’ is made of and how we fit into it, in other words, quantum physics! The original, unquestioned assumption that the physical world we experience, was indeed physical, led scientists to search for the ‘point particle’ upon which all life was built. This search, and subsequent experiments, revealed that the foundations of the physical world are actually made of energy - everything is made of energy! Our reality is an energetic one - the solar-system image of electors and protons as little solid orbs whizzing around each other we are so familiar with, does not apply, as energy they have no physical size - more ‘events’ than things.
It is possible that unless some ‘agency’ interferes, particles remain in a probabilistic energy-wave state and reality as we experience it seems to be the results of human consciousness interacting with the quantium levels of existence that are pure waves of energy.*
So if our reality is actually energetic information that the brain receives and translates into an image, then it would follow that we have the opportunity to create our reality! The possibilities are endless - limitless! But where to begin?
First we need to find the right frequency. Ideally we want to reach Theta (4-8 hz). Theta brain waves govern the part of our mind that lies between the conscious and the unconscious, which is when we are at our most creative and conducive to visualiation.
So let’s start with a lovely, short meditation* to ground and relax us:
You are a ball of white light in the middle of your chest. Your eyes are closed.
My dear friend, Tamara Pitelen is trained in the ThetaHealing Technique®. To learn more about Theta Healing and book a session with Tamara, click here.
Lots of love, Zoë xx
PS. Don’t forget our new brand The Blend is now live! Our launch range includes a gorgeous pure organic essential oil rollerball trio formulated to help you find balance, calm and better sleep. And a 100% soy wax and pure essential oil blend meditation candle. Both are available to shop today! And to ensure we are part of the drive for change, we will donate a percentage of profits from the sale of our oils to The Menopause Charity. Click here to learn more and shop our launch products today. Following us on Instagram: @theblend_essentialoils
* Source: esalq.usp.br / deepermeditation.net / getjupiter.com / Photo Credit: Getty Images
Stop thinking so small.
You are the universe in ecstatic motion.
I love this quote. It makes me think anything is possible. And you know what? Anything IS possible. You create your own reality, so why not create something truly fabulous?!
As adults we tend to view creativity as something slightly less worthy of our time and energy than more important, serious grown-up things such as answering emails and clearing out the fridge. To indulge oneself in a spot of daydreaming is simply childish! We see ourselves as either creative or not creative, something we have or don’t have. As adults we have created a construct, a set of rules by which we live and where creativity and play are left for children. How sad! Creativity is for ALL of us and all of us have the ability to create. By tuning into this part of ourselves we can make our reality something wonderful. (It is also good for our health - Engaging in creative behaviours, even something simple like colouring, can improve our brain function, mental health and physical health*).
Creative Visualisation is a method of using your imagination to help create the future and reality you want. It is a specific way of using your imagination, a cognitive process that consists of forming vivid mental images of the reality you want to create. As you consciously change the images you see in your mind, you change your emotions on the subject of the images. The more you SEE and FEEL the future you want, the more you create that reality.
And changing our emotions to a subject is a very important part of the process. The energy we send out we get back, it’s the ‘law of attraction’. If we believe we are not deserving of the life we want, we subconsciously close the door opportunities that come our way and focus only on the negative, which serves only to strengthen long-held misconceptions about ourselves and our capabilities. But if we start to believe that we ARE worthy, we will open ourselves up to all the possibilities the universe has to offer - how exciting!
So, let us put aside our version of reality for a moment - forget the desk, computer, table, the body in which you sit and just take a minute to breathe … You are made of energy, like Rumi said you’re YOU are the universe. Albert Einstein said ‘Everything in life is a vibration’, imagine you are part of this universal energy. Now, what do you want to create? Make it real in your mind - include all the little details of how you want this vision to be in reality - the colours, the textures, the tastes and smells - SEE it and FEEL it, make it REAL in your mind. And keep this vision alive! LIVE this vision every day.
To set you on your way, here is a beautiful meditation exercise from Shakti Gawain’s inspirational book ‘Creative Visualisation: Use the Power of Your Imagination to Create What You Want in Your Life’. Now, go create!
“The universe is unfolding perfectly. I don’t have to hang on. I can relax and let go. I can go with the flow. I trust my own process. I always have everything I need. I have all the love I need within my own heart. I am a lovable and loving person. I am whole in myself. Divine love is guiding me and I am always taken care of. The universe always provides.”
- Shakti Gawain
Lots of love, Zoë xx
PS. Don’t forget our new brand The Blend is now live! Our launch range includes a gorgeous pure organic essential oil rollerball trio formulated to help you find balance, calm and better sleep. And a 100% soy wax and pure essential oil blend meditation candle. Both are available to shop today! And to ensure we are part of the drive for change, we will donate a percentage of profits from the sale of our oils to The Menopause Charity. Click here to learn more and shop our launch products today. Following us on Instagram:
* Source: Forbes.com | Photo credit: Greg Rakozy @ unsplsh.com
13 Million women are going through the menopause right now. Symptoms of peri-menopause can start up to 10 years before menopause, so this is something that affects a lot of women on a daily basis and yet so many women are left uneducated, ill-informed and suffering through symptoms without support, which I find terrible. Why does the stigma around menopause still exist in this day and age and what can we do to help break it down?
Perimenopause is the time during which your body makes the natural transition to menopause, and menopause is when a woman stops having periods. This is a natural process which happens as part of existing as female human beings, much like menstruation. And yet, although conversation and education around menstruation, in the western world at least, has improved considerably over the decades,* the menopause is still seen by many as shameful and simply not to be discussed. But why?
Why? Well, to put it simply, we are obsessed with youth. Rather than accept the transition from one stage of life to the next as a beautiful part of the design, we say ‘Old’ and shut the door. Well not on my watch! I would like to quote the brilliant and absolutely stunning Selma Hayek (54) ‘People have the wrong assumption that the menopause is when a woman stops being sexy.’’For so long the concept of beauty in a woman was leaning completely to youth, and I think “F*** that Shit!” And I couldn’t agree more.
The impact this wall of silence has on women's health, both mentally and physically, and to the economy is shocking. A recent Bloomberg article stated that the findings of a 2019 survey found that around 900,000 in the UK women quit their jobs due to menopause, 900,000 women. And a new report by the Government Equalities Office warns that ‘menopausal employees feel at risk of ridicule and gendered ageism, causing some female employees in their early 50s to call in sick for fear of experiencing symptoms at work. The report estimates that this is costing the economy £7.3m a year in absence-related costs!’ A separate study commissioned for ITV’s Tonight programme found that ‘1 in 4 menopausal women consider quitting their jobs due to their experiences.’
So, what’s being done to help make real change? Naturally Andrew Baily, Governor of the Bank of England ears pricked up when he heard these statistics, and in April this year said that menopause can no longer be ignored. And thankfully, more smart, forward thinking humans are beginning to take a stand against this injustice - The Menopause Charity, of which a number of high-profile women are ambassadors, has called for better education for GPs. The fabulous Labour lawmaker Carolyn Harris has called for a “menopause revolution” with an all-party parliamentary group set up to overhaul “menopause rights, entitlements and education.” Go Carolyn!
And the team at Angel Oil Ltd HQ also want to be part of this ‘menopause revolution’ too! We have created a new brand called The Blend, which will focus on the development of pure essential oil products designed to help relieve symptoms of perimenopause and menopause.
Made by women, for women, our launch product is a gorgeous rollerball trio formulated to help you find balance, calm and better sleep. And we will give a percentage of profits from the sale of our products each month to The Menopause Charity. We aim to launch mid-July, so watch this space! You can also follow us on instagram to keep up to date on how the launch is coming along @theblend_essentialoils
We are very excited about this new brand and hope you’ll support us and be part of the revolution!
Wishing you a wonderful day and thank you.
Lots of love, Zoë xx
*The wonderful Emma Barnett has launched a new book ‘It’s About Bloody Time Period’ where she makes a `...bracing common sense case for full and frank honesty.’
Source: peoplemanagment.co.uk | Bloomberg.com | Style Magazine
Photo credit: Ian Schneider @unsplash
Intuitive healer, horse whisperer and animal communicator who works with the angels to offer healing and guidance to all beings.