Self Love and Waking Up from Winter

Winter grabbed hold tighter than I thought. Just this week I realized that I haven’t dry brushed in months.

When winter weather first started back in November, I decided one morning to pass on brushing. It was just too cold to stand around nude and do the morning full-body brush. In the ensuing weeks, as it got colder and colder, I brushed less, until, without even realizing it, I stopped. How did that happen?

Not good. Dry brushing works for me. It not only exfoliates, but it moves lymph through the body, brings blood to the skin, and it just FEELS REALLY GOOD. I’d forgotten how good it feels until three days ago when I remembered what winter made me forget, and I did a morning brush.

I typically follow the morning dry brush with 5 or so minutes of Abhyanga. Abhyanga is an Ayurvedic massage practice using warm oil (I use cold-pressed coconut), which is usually infused with a lymph stimulating essential oil.

I’ve been feeling better ever since. Winter is mean – it makes it hard to be good to myself. But with spring, it all wakes up again, and I get back on track. Another reason to move to the equator, where it’s 80 degrees every day of the year. I’d never stop dry brushing if we lived in Bali. (That’s a heavy hint for my husband.)

I’ve added two items to my all-natural body care that I’d like to commend to you. Brushing your teeth with activated charcoal is a good thing. Charcoal cleans deep, it pulls toxins, makes gums strong, and can even whiten teeth. A popular brand of charcoal teeth cleaner now is Tuxedo. But at $20 a jar, I consider that highway robbery. We’re talking activated charcoal, coconut oil, and any minty essential oil you choose. It’s about $1 worth of product. So, I made my own, and it’s working great.

Take one tablespoon of organic coconut oil (I use Nutiva brand), and melt it at a very low heat. It should only take a minute to melt – you don’t want to cook it. Let it cool a bit, then blend in two tablespoons of activated charcoal, and a few drops of essential oil – tea tree, peppermint, or lemon.

Brush morning a night with this, and be sure to rinse very well afterward. You’ll also have to swish some water through the sink to wash away the charcoal.

My last visit to the dentist was two weeks ago, and I had no new cavities. That’s pretty rare for me. So, this is a confirmed good thing. Try it.

From time to time, I get small breakouts just before my period starts. This is hormonal acne, and it’s hard to beat. I’ve found it’s just best to live with it, unless you get cystic acne: then, I’d see a doctor. Small breakouts like mine are gone in a couple of days. But still, I hate it, but I won’t use any drug store product to deal with it.

I recently discovered organic turmeric essential oil. Turmeric has a powerhouse of anti-inflammatory properties (curcumin is the element in turmeric that does it). I add a small rhizome of turmeric to my morning smoothies. Along with the turmeric, to aid its absorption, I add a small amount of coconut oil and some ground black pepper. But applying it directly to my skin never occurred to me.

Applying turmeric essential oil as a spot treatment during that time of the month has worked for me. It makes the hormonal breakout go away fast. A tiny bit goes a long way. A 10-milliliter bottle costs about $10, and it looks like it’s going to last a long, long time.

All these little practices are a form of basic self-love. Buddhists happily devote ourselves to loving others. But often, we forget to love ourselves. We need to take good care of our bodies if we’re to be of any meaningful service to others. Take the time to love yourself.

Keep it natural.

Live in peace.

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