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Welcome to the Aura Holistic Therapies Blog.

 

A sharing of the feminine through  awarenessness and wellness.

 

 

By Leora Leboff, Jun 20 2016 07:16PM





Today we are in for a celestial treat.


At summer solstice we are also being treated to a Strawberry Moon, a full moon given it’s name by Native American tribes to mark the beginning of the gathering of ripe strawberries (our local Pick Your Own would also agree it’s time!). Despite being rained on as though it was the coming of Armageddon this morning; I can now look out of my office window - the birds are singing, the trees are abundant with lush green leaves and the blue sky is radiant.


We enter summer here in the northern hemisphere, when Mama Earth is at her most fertile. As you read this, be aware of where you are in your menstrual cycle. Are you in your ovulatory or your internal summer season? How does it feel to be in synch with the great Mama? Or are you menstruating, your internal winter, perhaps feeling at odds with the expansiveness of summer?


If you are trying to conceive, it’s a beautiful night to make love, under the full Strawberry Moon.


To support this celestial coupling and this most fertile of seasons, here are three summery and sensual essential oils you might enjoy:


If you’re looking for an aphrodisiac, Jasmine (Jasminum officinalis, Jasmine grandiflorum) may be your first choice. Deeply sensual, warm, rich, sweet and floral in aroma. It’s the oil of seduction, but as Gabriel Mojay (Gabrial Mojay, Aromatherapy for Healing the Spirit) writes, it’s more than simply a sexual stimulant: “Whenever fear and vulnerability, or anxiety and depression cuts us off from our ability to share physical pleasure and affection, jasmine oil can support, reassure, and delight. Its voluptuously warm, joyous fragrance allows the heart to flow again through the river of senses”.



Ylang Ylang (Cananga odorata), another aphrodisiac which “…shields and guides the passion of love and true emotion, whilst allowing a tender awakening of that sensual part of our being and spirit which can embrace all things.” Valerie Worwood’s words in The Fragrant Heavens reflect the sweet fervour Ylang Ylang can elicit. There’s a playfulness about this floral, softly balsamic and slightly heady oil. Where there is a lack of ardour, Ylang Ylang will ease the fear and anxiety and allow sexuality and sensuality to flourish with just a touch of euphoria.


If the rose is “the queen of flowers” (Greek poet Sappho), the damask rose of Bulgaria, must be the empress of roses. The damask rose distilled to produce Rose Otto (Rosa damascena), has an exquisiteness that is only matched by it’s value. For the 50 rose heads required to produce just one drop of oil; that it requires harvesting early in the morning and that there are only 20-40 days of the year when the rose heads can be picked, the result is a highly expensive essential oil. If you are out-priced by the oil, buying it in a dilution of jojoba oil allows affordability.


The aroma oil of rose otto is deeply feminine, softly sweet, slightly spicy and gently floral. It is the aromatic epitome of love. It is an oil that supports the heart, whether in grief or in the throws of emotion, being holding and comforting. It’s also a tonic for the womb and sacral chakra. Descibed as “a gentle aphrodisiac which helps to spiritualise sexual relationships” (P Davis, Subtle Aromatherapy).


Yes, we’re being gifted a strawberry moon at summer solstice, so make love tonight in it’s superlunary glory, and remember to leave the curtains open, letting mama moon’s light in.


Enjoy the oils I’ve described above, maybe tonight, maybe for the next full moon! Consider asking an aromatherapist to make up a blend for you to use, as there’s nothing more sensual than giving and receiving a massage. Think of the magic that could be created?


Blessings.

x









By Leora Leboff, Mar 11 2016 10:26PM



Coping mechanisms at times of personal tragedy or trauma are truly fascinating.


Some of us need to share our thoughts and thought processes; some of us need to remain private; some of us need to internalise; some of us need to create a safe space for others who have undergone similar experiences, maybe by running a support group; some of us go on to educate and work to support others who have experienced similar trauma; some raise money for charity, or even set up their own charity.


Each and every intention that is born out of a trauma or tragedy will come from a place of authenticity and a drive to cope. And each will also play a role in the healing journey of the person involved.


Losing a baby or child is a trauma that illicits many diverse and individual responses.


Support groups are available, some in person, many online and thankfully with the space created by social media there is more and more opportunity for offering or receiving assistance. Within this network sometimes what emerges is a name that unifies those that are coping with the same situation.





Rainbow Babies are those precious souls carried and born following a pregancy or baby loss.


It's utterly beautiful to connect your next precious pregnancy or baby you can actually hold, feed, take home and nurture, to a phenomenon that occurs after a storm has broken and the sunlight that has been allowed in to break the darkness.


And there is such darkness to weather when you've been left with empty arms and a broken heart.


When I googled Rainbow Baby, endless search results came up; there is clearly a huge amount of support that comes with the term - many pages, images and services are on offer to bring comfort to parents.


But what of those who grow up being Rainbow Babies?


They are the much longed-for child, who has grown, has filled their parents lives, has been able to offer cuddles, giggles and hopefully joy.


But, what other weight is being held with this name?


The constant reminder of loss; I am here because my sibling or siblings died. Could this name carry guilt? I live, but my baby brother or sister didn't. Do I want to be recognised by this label that will always refer to the baby before me? Can I not be my own person?


I wasn't aware of the term when I was pregnant with my daughter after losing Baby Harry. I decided to ask her what she thought of the name Rainbow Baby/Child (she's 10 years old) and shared with her its meaning. Her reaction was that it was a lovely name. After this conversation, we had a busy afternoon, a period of time passed, so I tested the water and referred to her again later as my Rainbow Child. This time she began to get upset, and made it clear that she didn't want me to use the term again. It was hard for her to verbalise why her reaction was so strong, but she did ask me to use pet names I've had for her in the past instead. I'm assuming they felt safer.


There is certainly no right and no wrong in using the term Rainbow Baby. The comfort for parents is palpable, but so was the strength of rejection of it by my daughter.


Our methods of coping when faced with recovering from trauma will always remain highly individual.


EFT and Abdominal Massage are therapies that can play a part in helping to ease such trauma and finding peace.


To all who are on their healing journey following baby loss, I wish you peace in your heart.



Blessings

x






By Leora Leboff, Dec 30 2015 07:04PM





As someone who has always enjoyed feel-good quotes, inspirational quotes, a sometimes sharer of such quotes, I have recently found myself questioning more and more of what I read.


It feels as though there is an immense pressure on us to always be positive, always be happy, no matter what; and as much as creating a good sense of self and well-being is an integral part of my professional intention, it's also important to recognise that this is often a huge burden. I mean, what happens if you're not feeling upbeat? If you can't always see the joy in everything around you? Have you failed the positivity test? It sometimes feels as though in the feel-good world, we're setting ourselves up for a fall.


It's just as important to hear those feelings where self-doubt, uncertainty, irritation, sadness or maybe resentment, amongst others, are also present.


In fact the likelihood is they form part of a monthly pattern.


Such feelings can be eased with the right therapy or practice, but acknowledging them is fundamental, rather than sweeping them aside and pretending they're not part of a thought process or deeply entrenched belief.


But how is this linked to your monthly cycle?


Well, our cycle moves through the following phases or seasons:


Menstruation/winter - a time to find your cave and simply stop


Pre-ovulation/spring - when energy may rise, as may ideas


Ovulation/summer - possibly the highest energy you will experience in the month, when you may want to take on the world and possibly be your most creative


Pre-menstruum/autumn - this is the time to start slowing down and become more thoughtful about plans and sometimes the people you spend time with.


I started writing this in my pre-menstrual phase; a time of deep discernment, frankly a time when you don't take any shit. It's often an uncomfortable phase, but once you have formed a friendhsip with your cycle, my word when those emotions can be harnessed in autumn you can put them to the kind of use you could never believe. By the time I publish this I will have started settling in to winter and I may want be gentler in my writing.


With the inention of giving you a helping hand to cultivate this understnding of your cycle, here are some simple suggestions:


1. Chart your cycle - if you are menstruating, your menstrual cycle holds such gold. Seeing the shift in emotions and feelings as you move from season to season.


If you are no longer experiencing a menstrual cycle, try tracking the lunar cycle as see how aligned you are with the phases of the moon.


While charting, notice a pattern forming over the months. When are you most active? Most creative? Most discerning or impatient? When are you craving slowness or stillness?


2. Get to know your inner critic. Give her a name, it truly helps, particularly when "she's" not playing fair. Earlier this year I had a nasty run in with my inner critc, here's how it panned out! This relationship is really rather crucial in the process, as the inner critic tends to have a field day in our autumn phase.


3. Get yourself a gorgous journal. Then write, write, write! Working alongside your charting, it's an opportunity to allow the space for the flesh to be put on the bones of the shifts occuring. Be as self-indulgent as possible. Your journal can be a place to vent, explore, get sweary if it feels right, get real about anything and everything you feel in the moment. When you look back at your entries, chances are it will also hold some gems.


4. Set aside a small amount of time, preferably daily, for self-care. Why not give self abdominal massage a go? Become aquainted with this sacred area of your body, the area where our deepest emotions are often held, our deepest history. It's also a window on how our digestive and womb health responds to our inner and outer world. You may be surprised at the level of self-knowledge that might arise, plus it feels rather yummy once you've got the hang of it!


5. Practice gratitude. Even if life feels utterly shit right now, write down one positive each day. You might consider it negligible, but pop it down in your journal. That little nuggest of gratitude may have a longer term benefit even if it doesn't improve your mood in the moment.


There you have it, 5 simple suggestions. Isn't that great! The pressure is off! Gently recognising your shifts as you move through the month, seeing the patterns that begin to form; who knows as your knowledge of your inner landscape grows, an ease of the goddess within may just emerge. I would take that any day over enforced feel-good positivity.



So, as 2015 exits and 2016 makes its entrance, why not make the decision to use your cycle to recognise when you're firing on all cylinders, when to throw yourself into a project, when it's time to slow down and when it's time to actually stop?


If you feel you would like some support or guidance working though these points, from January I am offering complementary 30 minute Skype or phone consultations, you can contact me here.


In February Kate Codrington and I are holding our first Love Your Belly Workshop of 2016.


We are welcoming another group of women to learn how to harness self-care and a whole lot more. If you would like to reserve a seat/cushion and make the most of the early reduced price you can click here.


Wishing for a peaceful entry into 2016 and a year full of blessings.


x





By Leora Leboff, Mar 23 2015 09:35PM


My friend Trauma? Really?


It's an incredibly hard concept to fathom that companionship can develop with trauma. How can you possibly build a deep and comforting relationship with an event, a feeling, a pain, even a thought that has had such destructive consequences on your whole being?


Trauma is one very powerful force.


You experience the cause, you move through the shock, you may be left with the physical scars, but you're also left with the memory, often developing into Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (in this piece, however, I wont be discussing PTSD). You try everything your conscious self allows to "deal" with it. This could be counselling, psychotherapy, medication, natural remedies, homeopathy, meditiation, healing, whatever you chose as your methods of care. But something remains, you just can't seem to extricate yourself from the repetitive thoughts, the replaying of the experience in your memory, over and over again, until it becomes a narrative.


It becomes your story.


At this point the relationship may shift, it feels as though your story has entered every cell of your body and becomes such an intrinsic part of you that an uneasy friendship starts to form.


It might be a deeply uncomfortable bedfellow, but you begin to find that you can't be without it. It gradually takes on a persona of its own and eventually you find yourself having the urge to say to people "Come and meet my good friend Trauma..."


This friendship has power.


Maybe it gives you an identity, a purpose; you actually feel safe with the discomfort as it shows you're alive.


Beware though, trauma isn't exclusive - trauma hooks up with a bad crowd - the leader being your inner

critic - you know the one who shouts, sometimes far too loud at you, and for women, mostly when you're premenstrual, but she can pop up at any time! Trauma hangs out with her.


Sometimes it consciously doesn't feel right to give up the trauma.


It's too hard to step away from the friendship. How will I be able to feel after breaking up? What's there to replace the strength of the attachment? Maybe I'll actually feel lonely without this companionship. You may even feel an intangible connection that is almost imperceptible but far reaching, perhaps there's a generational or even ancestral link that binds you to your friend?


This relationship can keep you in a cocooned world.


In a world where you don't have to expose your true inner self. I don't mean that self who is holding hands with the trauma, but the one who can fly, who can create, who truly feels life, sees colours in their full brightness, see beauty around them, the one who allows the world to be seen in HD, rather than through a slightly fuzzy-screened 1970s cumbersome tv. That self is kept hidden away.


But what happens when you want the friendship to end...?


I had my story, my own relationship that developed when I lost both parents and my baby all within six months of each other. I recall times, months after, when I had to just cry and cry and cry. I'd momentarily check in with myself - which loss was I crying for? The wrenching sadness of not having Mum? The deep emptiness of losing my baby? The sometimes debilitating disbelief of Dad passing so unexpectedly and suddenly? All traumatic events individually, but squeeze them in to a six month period and you have yourself there some deep dark trauma!


Sometimes I would just be sobbing from the overwhelm of all three. But with each sob, I knew I was where I had to be. Comforted by the trauma; my new friend sat with me as a cried those tears - not just for the losses, but for almost every sadness I had felt throughout my life.


The friendship deepened and sadly pervaded so many areas of my life that it almost stopped me growing. As my personal work on healing the trauma developed, the realisation came, that what had become integral to my being, actually no longer served me.


I spent years trying to free myself from the now unwanted friendship, but the companionship persisted.


We will each have our own methods of breaking off the friendship with trauma.


For me counselling and psychotherapy, and many other forms of treatment each eased feelings and emotions, but the friendship persisted. As my journey continued, Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) or tapping and Abdominal Massage come in to my life. Both of these therapies finally facilitated the much longed-for break up with the wholly unhealthy friendship I had with trauma.





The dichotomy of trauma being an uncomfortable yet deeply reassuring companion is breakable. It is possible to see the beauty again and to fly.


I understand that this will not be everyone's experience and I wish those who do and those who do not identify with this premise, a peaceful journey in your healing.


As I work with these therapies alongside my Aromatherapy practice, I continue to be moved and in awe of how beautifuly they allow someone to be held in their experience. Witnessing shifts, whatever the source, is so incredibly heart-singing. If you would like to get in touch and see how these nurturing and healing therapies can support you please do contact me


For a list of Abdominal-Sacral Massage Therapists click here


For a list of therapists trained in Fertility Massage click here


Blessings


Top artwork: "Moonlight Walk" by Lucy Calhoun

Lower artwork: Lisa Rough




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