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Spring - A Time of Regeneration and Rebirth

by Barbara Payne(more info)

listed in aromatherapy, originally published in issue 63 - April 2001

When I was six, my art teacher gave me a piece of paper and some coloured crayons and said, "You can draw whatever you like today". It was post-war when pencils had to be halved to make two. I could not think of anything to draw! I sat and stared at the paper for what seemed like eternity. Similarly this column was given to me unexpectedly, and the thrill of being handed such a privilege has been stimulating.

I thought about what the reader's thoughts may be when the article is published in spring, a very exciting season: a time of birth and rebirth; the promise of more light as the days lengthen, the showy display of spring flowers and the blackbird's song filling one with the joy of having been given another new beginning.

Are you are ready for that new start, a change, a rebirth? There is no better time to start the process than spring, but we should recognize that the energy needed for any project needs to be nurtured just like our new spring plants.

How can we do this? How can we nourish ourselves without using precious time from other necessary pursuits? Recognizing the need for good food and exercise with plenty of rest is important, but nurturing moments for our inner man can be as brief as going into the garden and smelling the herbs or checking for new growth in the borders. On crisp spring days I often make a tisane or a rose tea, take it into the garden and wrap myself in a big warm blanket. It feels so indulgent, cosy but bracing, and does not cost a penny. I have discovered other ways of living the moment too, using half an hour each day to keep a journal, arranging fresh flowers, paddling in the sea at night under a starlit sky and enjoying music by the light of a candle. These little idiosyncrasies are necessary to me and help me keep focused and appreciative.

You will, I am sure, have your own way of regenerating your reserves; most people do. Nevertheless, many people become automatons and simply work, eat and sleep, going through the motions of being alive but merely existing. I see people like this in my clinic frequently. They have forgotten how to enjoy the moment.

This magazine has explored and continues to explore diverse and wonderful ways of attaining good health holistically, with ideas of how we can aspire to restoration, regeneration and inner peace.

As an aromatherapist, I lean towards essential oils to provide both my clients and myself with needed support. Essential oils can facilitate changes within us, including shifting our moods and our energies to make our lives fuller, richer.

At different times of the year, I have discovered that some essential oils seem to revitalize more than at other times. For this reason, I tend to categorize my essential oils into seasons to derive more from divergent aromas at distinct times of the year.

Spring was the season in medieval times when old stewing herbs which had lain on the floor all winter were taken out and replaced with new, hence the tradition of spring cleaning. The stewing herbs consisted of all manner of sweet scented herbs and you can replicate the same ambiences by using various essential oils in a burner that carry a note of crisp cleanliness such as thyme (Thymus vulgaris), pine (Pinus sylvestris) and rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis). Oils that are sweet and fruity satisfy my need to be energetic and busy during this first season and the oils of lime (Citrus limetta), lemon (Citrus limon) and spearmint (Mentha spicata) fill this lull.

Other ways to utilize these oils are to make blends for the bath, hand cream and body lotion. Simply take a base of your choosing which is unscented, and for every 50mls use 15 drops of essential oil. If you are blending two oils into the mix use 7 drops of one and 8 drops of the other and shake well. Once you have produced these products, it takes hardly any time to use them.

You will find that the above essential oils will energize and refresh you and may motivate your thoughts so that you will begin to explore other routes in which to enliven and reinvent yourself. Allow the aromas to take hold of your imagination and go with the flow of thought. This may sound far-fetched, but all great inventions sprang solely from being positive thoughts in someone's mind.

Does your garden need renovating? Do you need a makeover? Makeovers are big business these days because people have realized their value. Does your home need redecorating, its furniture rearranging or do you need to change your career? All these matters can be worked through using the energies of spring and positive thinking generated by suitable essential oils. Look around you and see how busy nature is. New beginnings indeed.

Explore the process of self-observation. Acceptance of what we are – human beings with good points and foibles – helps to initiate the process of change, if we wish it. If what we are is not what we want, then we need to make changes, to be reborn, taking advantage of new opportunities, creating these even. Conservation work on ourselves invariably retains some of our 'inner man' whilst aiding us to evolve and develop into the remarkable, unique individuals that we are.

The opportunity to communicate with you through this column is a new experience for me. I hope it encourages all those who are 'stuck' and need a new beginning.

It is fifty years since my art lesson taught me to embrace precious moments and cherish opportunities and to use all the colours. Today you have your blank piece of paper, the rest of your life, before you. What are you going to draw?


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About Barbara Payne

Barbara Payne taught clinical aromatherapy in various hospitals in the North of England, for School of Health, University of Hull, and was principal of an IFA and IFPA accredited college of clinical aromatherapy, for many years. She served as an inspector and examiner and was Chair of Education for the ISPA, (now IFPA). Barbara had regular interviews with BBC radio and appeared on national television occasionally and lectured annually for the RHS. Having contributed to Positive Health over many years, Barbara has now decided to retire from her PH Expert Regular Column after Issue 154 in Jan 2009. She can be reached on Tel: 01482 835358;


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