When Mother’s Day Hurt A Little | from an APAS Mama

Mother’s Day. I hated this day for four years, starting with the year I miscarried in 2012. 

APAS Mama

Truth is, I didn’t know why I was hurting because when I was in my early 20s, I did not even want to have kids. But as we go through the natural progression in our lives, in this case, getting married, children immediately come into the picture. 

I thought that having children was easy. But, boy, was I wrong!

When I lost Basti+ the first time, I was devastated.

Statistics say that miscarriages occur in one out of four pregnancies, but no one really talks about it. When I went through my first miscarriage, I almost gave up on my marriage, my career, my everything. I wanted to pack my bags, go home to my Mama and just cocoon myself forever until the pain disappeared. 

But I guess, in some weird way, the pain never really goes away. So here I am, 10 years later and with my two rainbow babies, Santi and Lucia, there is still this heart-shaped hole somewhere in my soul for the love I have for the two boys I lost in 2012 and in 2013, Basti+ and Basti+ (I never really knew their genders because I lost them both in the first trimester but somehow, the heart just knows) –  

I wish that I knew what I know now so that I could have dealt with my suffering better. If you are here, reading this because Mother’s Day hurts so much, please allow me to say these words to you: 

It is not your fault. You are not your uterus. You are not your miscarriages. You are not your disorder. You are loved, no matter what. 

For months, I castigated myself – thinking about where I went wrong or what I could have done better to save my pregnancies. But, I now know that there was really nothing we could have done. We were doing our best at every single point in those pregnancies to the amount of knowledge we had on how to deal with the situation. 

While this thought hurts, I have realized over time that there are just things outside our circle of control. And whenever it is outside our control, it becomes someone else’s business — God’s. We do everything in our power, but there is still a Higher Force at play at the end of the day. 

And you may shout at me now, asking me why this has to happen to you. Or why does God allow so much suffering in your life. 

I understand what you feel, my dear APAS Mama, because I have been in that pit so often. 

I couldn’t give you an answer that can probably assuage your bleeding heart. So instead, I will share what I have learned through this experience and some tips as a life and grief coach.

Because I lost my children, I appreciated life more. 

Because I lost my children, I realized that I do not control the events in my life 100%, and I have to have a little faith.

Because I lost my children, it doesn’t mean that I am not whole. Yes, there is this hole inside me, but I can fill it with love for the children I have lost, even if they are not physically with me. 

Because I lost my children, I understood how life is so fragile and that we should do our best to appreciate every moment we have. 

Because I lost my children, I understood the capacity of the human heart to take in so much pain. And at the same time, transmute it to love. I still had my husband, who was probably hurting as much as I did but just didn’t show it time because he needed to “be strong.”

I would have never figured this out when I was in my grief, but the losses in my life made me into the person I am today.

Because I lost my children, I found my advocacy. It fueled the fire in me to spread awareness about the condition in my book Lost but Found so that other APAS mamas can find an explanation for why they have lost their pregnancies or why they could not conceive. 

Because I lost my children, I found renewed vigor to take a hard look at how I was living (because they say autoimmune disorders are caused by stress) and changed bit by bit. I turned into holistic wellness and became a certified aromatherapist, yoga practitioner, and certified mindfulness and meditation teacher, all geared to attain mind-body-soul wellness and counter stress.

Because I lost my children, I found strength. And love. And submission to things outside of my control. 

Because I lost my children, I found my calling. There was a reason purpose for everything that happened in my life, even if I couldn’t understand it back then. 

Because I lost Basti and Basti, my appreciation for Santi and Lucia is beyond words. Indeed, they are my rainbow after the storm, and I strive to become a better mother. 

Yes, because I lost my children, I found my soul. 

I know that you may not resonate with any of these now, and you may be grieving.

I don’t even know the answer if you would ask me that if had a choice then, would I go through all that shit – maybe. Maybe not. But I have long released attachment to what-could-have-been and chose to move forward.

But Mama, if it feels like you cannot swim anymore and you are sinking, please know this – there are people who love you no matter what. And your children, while they are not physically here, will always, ALL-WAYS, call you their Mama. 

Here are some things that I hope can help today:

  1. Do not be guilty when you feel down today. Your pain is your pain, Mama. Do not be guilty of feeling these emotions. In our society, we have been taught to not break down. To just be strong. To not cry. But one of the most cathartic feelings is letting all the emotions out. To feel when you need to feel. However, we should also be mindful that we do not sink into these feelings and ask for help when needed.
  2. Spend time with people who love you. When I had my miscarriages, I thought I was all alone in my heartache. But later on, I realized that there were so many people who loved me – my family, my friends, and my husband most of all. In my grief, I pushed everyone away. Little did I know that their love could pave the way to my healing.
  3. Prioritize self-care. Taking care of yourself in this season is not selfish, it is VITAL for your mental health. Get a massage, diffuse some of your favorite essential oils, and binge-watch your favorite K-drama. The idea is not to get you from feeling zero to 10 but to raise the notch even just to Level 1.
    I truly hope these help, love! And I am sending all my love to you.

To all of us who have loved and lost, whether a little angel or our dearest Mama, may we all find grace in our pain. To quote one of my favorite authors, Rumi, “The wound is the place where the light gets in.”

Happy Mother’s Day to you all. 

Love,

Balot

P.S. If you would like to connect, let’s meet on Instagram. See you there!

 

How to become a Certified Aromatherapist

I recorded this a year ago and there have been a lot of changes in the industry. So many schools have brought down their rates and many students have benefited from this.

It is exciting to see how the aromatherapy industry prospers in the Philippines. Surely, we would all benefit from having more certified aromatherapists promoting the safe use of essential oils.

Here are some of the schools accredited by NAHA that produce certified aromatherapists:

  1. Aromahead Institute | School of Essential Oil Studies (this is where I graduated from)
  2. Aromatic Studies – I am also a student here for some ad-hoc certifications
  3. Sedona Aromatics – This is a school by a NAHA colleague, Sharon Falsetto. They offer scholarships, too!
  4. Ashi Therapy Ashi Aromatics Inc. – This is by Kelly Azzaro and specializes on Animal Aromatherapy
  5. JennScents Aromaversity – School by NAHA Vice-President, Jenn Pressimone
  6. Essence of Thyme – I saw this school a bit too late but loved their curriculum and they are much cheaper than the other schools, too.
  7. Aromatherapy in Action by Amy Galper – Some of my students enrolled in this certification program when Amy launched it last year.
  8. Aromahut – I also considered this curriculum when I was searching before.

All in all, there are so many certification courses that you can explore. If you want to know more how to become a certified aromatherapist, you can send me a DM via my Instagram account.

Also, if you want to join an organization like NAHA in the future, please do check that the schools you are enrolling in are NAHA-accredited. To check out all the schools accredited by NAHA, you can go here>>

Let me know what you end up with, loves!

Take care!

Introduction to the Chakras

Have you ever heard of the chakras? Do you wonder what they are all about? Here’s a brief intro on these fantastic energy centers in our body.

Chakra is a Sanskrit word meaning spinning wheel. 

These are a system of seven energy centers located along the spine. Each chakra corresponds to an area of the body, a set of behavioral characteristics, and stages of spiritual growth. In my case, I have integrated the Chakra system in my practice as an NLP, yoga & reiki practitioner, a certified aromatherapist, and a mindfulness and meditation teacher. 

Practicing yoga and focusing your energies during different postures can help you align your chakras and get all the wheels spinning in the same direction and speed. In addition, trying to fine-tune and control your chakras through yoga and meditation can help bring balance and peace to your mind, body, and spirit. Also, subtle (or energetic) aromatherapy can help, as different essential oils affect the mind, body, and soul.

There are seven major chakras (there are still more, but we will concentrate on these first), each associated with a different part of the body along the spine, from the perineum to the crown of your head. Each chakra is associated with a particular body location, a color, a central emotional/behavioral issue, and many other personal aspects, including identity, goals, rights, etc.

The seven chakras are:

  • Muladhara or the root chakra 
  • Svadhisthana or the sacral chakra
  • Manipura or the solar plexus chakra
  • Anahata or the heart chakra (my favorite of them all – and my weakest and strongest link, too)
  • Vishuddha or the throat chakra
  • Ajna or the brow/third eye chakra; and
  • Sahasrara or the crown chakra

There are many ways to incorporate the lessons of the chakra in your daily life. In my personal experience and in what I teach, we use holistic practices from reiki to mindfulness and meditation, working with the elements, crystal healing, shadow work, forgiveness rituals, visualizations, yoga asanas, and the like.

 If you are interested in digging deeper into them, joining my waitlist to the Batch 2 of my upcoming group program, Coming Home To Your Center Chakra Masterclass. Register below for the class details – we are starting in June!  

Hope to see you inside, loves!

Here’s a testimonial from one of the Batch 1 students of #CHTYC!

Thank you for introducing me to the world of chakras, meditation, crystals, and aromatherapy. 

I can’t help but share the cards I pulled today. It is telling me again to rest, be patient and things will fall in their places. It really sums up the things I need to manage that going through my mind.

I am also doing a gratitude journal and you are part of it.

Thank you for the classes and lessons you have given. You paved the way for me to learn more about myself and to try practices that will bring me enlightenment and joy.

Please continue to be a guide and light for all those women who need support as they journey through life. 

Rane Joguilon | Operations Head

What You Need to Know Before Slathering on Essential Oils

Essential oils… you see them everywhere nowadays – from a friend who keeps on posting how beneficial these oils are for their children.

Hospitals diffuse essential oils in the emergency room. There is always that wonderful aroma when you pass by some stalls in the malls – it’s no wonder sales for essential oils have skyrocketed in the past years. 

Essential Oils Philippines - How To Use

According to Reuters, the essential oil global business is anticipated to reach $14.6Bn by 2026 from $7.03B last year.

In the Philippines alone, the market is growing so fast that big direct-selling brands have already launched their local offices. This clearly shows the receptiveness of our market to try complementary modalities. 

As a certified aromatherapist, this is good news.

More and more people are acknowledging the potency of essential oils. Year after year, new research has come out to validate the therapeutic action of essential oils.

For example, eucalyptus oil with its high chemical component of 1,8 cineole has high antimicrobial properties as well as offers respiratory support.

Lavender has great potential in addressing anxiety and tea tree oil has anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties, especially in topical application.

With this scientific research, the use of essential oils has transcended from quackery to a viable option for holistic wellness.

I can relate to many mothers out there who have become oilbularyos. We have been barraged with so many diseases and trying out more natural approaches to dealing with these minor ailments is very appealing.

Yes, essential oils are amazing products of nature that can support many of our minor issues.

However,  we need to understand that like everything else under the sun, it needs to be used with the proper knowledge as an inaccurate use of these products may harm someone else, most especially young kids. Not because it is all-natural, it is safe to use on all occasions and in any way we like. 

Here are some guidelines you may want to look into when using essential oils: 

  1. EOs are complementary therapies. It should not be used to cure serious conditions. The FDA does not regulate essential oils as they do for pharmaceuticals and most essential oils have not been clinically studied to produce defined therapeutic actions. If your child has a fever or cough that goes on for days, please bring them to the doctor so that they can be properly diagnosed. If you are severely burned, please do not self-medicate by just applying lavender essential oil and refusing to go to the doctor. Essential oils help the body nudge towards homeostasis (or the perfect balance of your body) and may not help with adverse medical emergencies.  
  2. Know the proper dilution of EOs, especially with young children. Essential oils are potent substances that can cause allergic and contact dermatitis when not used properly. Essential oils should always be used with fatty oils such as almond oil, coconut oil, or grapeseed oil with the proper dilution. Start with the lowest possible dilution and see how it works from there. A good guideline for children above two years old with no skin sensitivity or immune problems is 1% or two drops of essential oils (whether this is a single oil or a total of an essential oil blend) per 10mL of carrier oil. For healthy adults (not pregnant, breastfeeding, or elderly), roller topical blends can start at 3% dilution or six drops in every 10mL. 
  3. Use the oils sparingly and only when needed, especially when used topically. The rule of moderation would also apply to EOs. As I mentioned earlier, not because it is natural, we can already use it any time. Remember that everything is processed by our internal organs, especially our liver and kidneys. If we use essential oils too much and in high dilutions, especially when unnecessary, we risk overloading our internal organs. 
  4. Avoid neat application as much as possible. Neat or undiluted application on the skin should be avoided. EOs are highly volatile substances that consist of chemical components such as limonene (as found in citrus oils), citral (lemongrass), cinnamaldehyde (cinnamon), and linalyl acetate (lavender), among others. Some of these chemical constituents are highly irritating to the skin and need to be applied at very low dilutions.  

Essential oils are wonderful products of nature.

I genuinely believe that they can help support our bodies in achieving vital health. If you want to know more about the safe use of essential oils regardless of the brands you use, please join me at the Holistic Aromatherapy Facebook Group.

5 Brilliant Ways to Use Aromatherapy

Are you new to essential oils?

Don’t know how to use them properly and what is the best mode of application? Well, it’s your lucky day because I will be giving you some tips on how you can incorporate essential oils and other aromatherapy products into your wellness arsenal.

Certified Aromatherapist Philippines and Life Coach

More than just its aroma, essential oils contain chemical constituents that affect us physiologically and psychologically. It can also trigger positive emotions when you associate a particular scent with a good memory.

As I progressed in my practice and dabbled in energy and mindset work, I also learned how we could use essential oils in subtle aromatherapy.

But for today, let us discuss five (5) ways how essential oils can help you daily.

  1. Use to combat stress and fatigue.

    Many essential oils combat stress and fatigue. However, we also need to consider how the user wants to address their concern. Some want to be stimulated or perked up when stressed or fatigued, maybe to push a little bit more to beat a deadline. Others want to take a step back and rest. It is, therefore, essential to go back to the intention. If you want to be revitalized, peppermint and eucalyptus can help clear up brain fog as they are good central nervous system (CNS) stimulants. On the other hand, oils like lavender, patchouli, frankincense, and elemi are good to try if you want to have some form of sedative and calming function. The best route I use for this would be personal inhalers. Check out how to make personal inhalers here.

  2. Inhale for calm when feeling anxious.

    There are several essential oils with anxiolytic function (anti-anxiety). Oils like lavender, sandalwood, citruses like bergamot, and sweet orange show this potential. Tisserand compiled some actions on anxiety – you can click this link to visit his blog. However, we also need to assess the level of anxiety because there is a wide range of anxiety disorders. While essential oils may work on mild symptoms, more serious conditions need thorough evaluation and corresponding treatment plans.

  3. Massage on areas with minor aches and pains.

    I super love essential oils in helping with minor aches and pains. The most common I would experience would be back and shoulder pains and headaches. Some oils with analgesic or pain-relieving actions are peppermint, roman chamomile, lavender, and frankincense. The warmth of oils like ginger and black pepper can also assist in the blood circulation of inflamed areas.

  4. Diffuse during meditation.

    I love diffusing essential oils during meditation and using them to anchor my practice. My ” strategy ” is to condition my mind to be in a safe space whenever I diffuse an oil. During meditation, I love sage, frankincense, patchouli, palo santo, and other grounding oils. But you can use any oil that makes you calm and feel good, too!

  5. Integrate with energetic work.

    I used not to believe in this, but since my spiritual journey started, I have successfully used essential oils for energetic work – manifestation, creativity, abundance. I teach this in my Chakra Masterclass, too (watch out for Batch 2 launch by May) –

There are many other ways to use essential oils, but please do remember to dilute safely and be informed of the possible risks of using these amazing products of nature.

Want to join a community of oily-minded individuals? Join our Facebook group at www.facebook.com/groups/aromatherapyph. You can also visit my YouTube at www.youtube.com/callmebalot or check out more resources here in the blog.

Happy oiling!

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