Grief is a multifaceted response to the loss of something or someone with which or whom we had a significant connection with.
Grief sends us through a labyrinth of very emotional, behavioral, cognitive, social, spiritual, philosophical, and visceral dimensions. We spend varying lengths of time working through the notable five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, regret, and depression. While we express each stage with different levels of intensity, and not necessarily in any specific order, it seems the common consensus is that only after having moved between all of the stages, do we achieve a more peaceful acceptance of loss.
No matter how many times we have experienced the very hardest losses in life, which for me include the death of my mom at the ugly hand of cancer, and the unfathomable mental anguish that took my niece's life, our game is thrown; our defense is blown. Though we expect to greive, grief and its phases are unpredictably circumstantial. The process ebbs and flows like a river, or it can be as manic as spring weather in the mountains. And sometimes spring can drag on and on before the warmth of summer's acceptance.
But with grief, comes resilience.
While bliss and tragedy swirl around us, we are indispensably born to grieve, and hardwired to reset.
Yesterday, our community simultaneously grieved and celebrated the loss of an incredibly dedicated and passionate teacher, wife, mother, daughter, and colleague. I was honored to stand with my remaining 5th grade team to speak to this dedication, along with her strength, passion, integrity, grit, enthusiasm, spirit, and endless endurance, even through ten years of cancer and treatments that would otherwise break most. She never complained or felt sorry for herself - it was more important for her to continue motivating, coaching, and making those around her feel important, than it was to show her own pain. She more than touched the lives of countless students with her big hugs and even bigger smile over her 22 years of teaching. She had a profound impact on each, which was illustrated by her 5th graders, high schoolers, and graduates who stood to attest her impact. She leaves us with a legacy to carry on.
This is being chalked up as one of my toughest losses and I haven't quite put my finger on why I've grieved in such a profound way. I did not really "know" her well. Never did she share her biggest fears or greatest accomplishments. We never indulged in "girl talk", and we never had time together away from kids. However, we were both working mothers - teaching mothers, and as such, I was always in awe of her energy and high expectations of accountability for her students and her own children. I looked to her for inspiration to step up from simply moving through my days with mediocrity.
It's been a rough couple of months here at the end of the school year for our team and our school of colleagues, but we have had some opportunity to grieve together, support each other, and celebrate what has been left for us because of her. Today we played in our annual Teachers vs. 8th Grade basketball game. In honor of our number one coach, her daughter stepped in to lead our win, while we sported our new jerseys in memory of her Super Fan spirit of teamwork. Here's what it's all about.
Rest in Peace, Mrs. S.
Natural Support for Grief
Essential oils have been a great support to me in many ways. During this period of grieving, I have been incorporating mood-specific blends into my own processing and moving through the stages.
The dōTERRA Mood Matrix illustrates the complex interplay of the emotional and physical components of moods. Our emotional state can be anywhere between No Peace to No Passion, while our physical state can be anywhere between Stressed and Fatigued.
When the two diagrams are overlayed, we have a matrix with our moods categorized into zones.
Essential Oil Recommendations
dōTERRA Essential Oil Blends are designed carefully and specifically for each zone.
Zone I: The Serenity Calming Blend contains Lavender Flower, Sweet Marjoram Leaf, Roman Chamomile Flower, Ylang Ylang Flower, Hawaiian Sandalwood essential oils and Vanilla Bean Absolute. This blend is used to calm the mind, relax the body, and soothe the soul.
Zone II: The Citrus Bliss Invigorating Blend contains Wild Orange Peel, Lemon Peel, Grapefruit Peel, Mandarin Peel, Bergamot Peel, Tangerine Peel, Clementine Peel essential oils and Vanilla Bean Absolute. This blend is energizing and refreshing, uplifting mood.
Zone III: The Elevation Joyful Blend contains Lavandin Flower, Lavender Flower, Hawaiian Sandalwood, Tangerine Peel, Melissa Flower, Ylang Ylang Flower, Elemi Resin, Osmanthus Flower, and Lemon Myrtle Leaf essential oils. This special blend is great for inspiring, encouraging and cheering.
Zone IV: The Balance Grounding Blend contains Spruce Needle/Leaf, Ho Wood, Frankincense Resin, Blue Tansy Flower, and Blue Chamomile Flower essential oils in a base of Fractionated Coconut Oil. This unique blend evokes feelings of tranquility and balance, and is grounding and reassuring.
How To Use The Oils In The Mood Matrix
Order of application and dosage: While each of these oil blends can be used specifically and independently of each other as needed, it is recommended to layer the oils when experiencing the dynamic stages of grief or stress. Two to three drops of each oil is suggested, in the following order: Serenity, Citrus Bliss, Elevation, and Balance.
Location of application: Apply over the area of concern. If you have lower back pain, apply the oils to the lumbar vertebrae. Feeling tightness in your chest? Apply the oils over your heart. Experiencing a headache above your eyebrows? Apply to your forehead. If in doubt, apply the mood matrix oils to the bottoms of your feet or the back of your neck.
Number of applications: How often you apply these oils varies with each individual circumstance. You may only need to perform the mood matrix once or twice a week, or you might require it once or twice a day. It is all relative to individual stress levels.
Aroma of essential oils: Take time when applying each oil blend to inhale them deeply through your nose and exhale through the mouth. Emotions are stored in the limbic system of our brain, which is readily accessible through the olfactory nerve. The only way we can access and release emotions, is through our sense of smell.
Manage Your Moods Naturally
Find these invaluable essential oil blends at www.mydoterra.com/mountaingaia