The Magical Essence of Frankincense, One of the most powerful essential oils

The essential oils can be such powerful catalysts for change and comfort at the end of life, and any time in our lives, really. This story tells of one of the most powerful experiences I had one day while doing my “routine” hospice work.

Douglas, my hospice patient, had been struggling to breathe all night long. In fact, breathing had become the major issue in his life during the last week. He was now wearing an oxygen mask. His daughter Marcia was on one side of his hospital bed, his granddaughter Jenn on the other. They had just tucked him back into bed after a sleepless night on the Hospice Unit.

Later I found out they’d both been giving him permission to let go all night long, for they knew that he was suffering too much.

It was a Monday morning, and I had just listened to my voice mails. One of our palliative care specialist nurses had left me a message saying that Douglas wanted me to come and anoint him with the essential oils as I had done for him last week. As I drove toward the Hospice house on the east side of Puget Sound, I had no idea that I was about to witness one of the most profound experiences I’ve ever had with the essential oils as a spiritual counselor.

Having revamped my schedule for the day, I entered Douglas’s room with my essential oils and a favorite CD of East/West Chants in hand. I felt some power beyond my own guiding me.

Upon entering Douglas’s room, I knew what needed to be done. First, I anointed him with some oils.

Marcia and Jenn made room for me to bless their father and grandfather with the oils. I got out Myrtle, the Believe Blend, and Frankincense. I lifted the oxygen mask and placed some of the Believe Blend around Douglas’s nose. After anointing the area around lungs with the Believe oil, too, I rubbed some Myrtle on his right ribcage and some on his feet. Then I anointed his forehead with Frankincense, my favorite oil. Frankincense, meaning “real incense,” I’ve discovered is also considered the favorite incense of the spirit realm.

The oils almost immediately had an effect. Douglas’s breathing slowed and his whole body began to relax. Next, I went over to the CD player and got the beautiful chants by Cynthia Snodgrass filling the room with their special harmony (Ubi caritas et amor — “Where charity and love are, God is there”). Douglas’s oxygen mask had been removed, and it was Marcia who noticed that Douglas had opened his eyes to look straight up, above his bed.

“He’s going, he’s going!” she exclaimed.

“Well, maybe,” I thought to myself, as one never really knows when and how the dying process will happen, not unlike a birth.

I also found myself praying hard at this point. I recall offering a prayer out loud, too, around Douglas’s bed with his two beloved ones. Before long, Douglas’s breathing had slowed down even more, and it became clear that he was in the final stages of letting go. The three of us witnessing this turn of events were so amazed, it did not even occur to us to leave the room. Within 20 minutes of my entering his room and administering the oils, Douglas had taken his last breath.

After a few minutes of experiencing this sacred time together, one of us finally left the room to go find a nurse. Two hospice staff came into Douglas’s room to help us begin to digest what had just happened. After confirming that Douglas had died, they checked his limbs, noting that there had been none of the mottling that usually happens before a person dies.

In hindsight, I believe Douglas realized that the relaxation offered him by the essential oils gave him an opportunity to let go and make his way over to the next realm. This meant that he could forego the usual process of the body’s slowing down gradually.

Needless to say, this experience with essential oils opened me up to the subtle yet tremendous power that they can have in the end-of-life and dying process. On some level, I have known that the oils possess this kind of magic, since I’ve heard about how they were used in ancient times around death and burial. And Frankincense was what the Three Wise Men brought to Jesus as a gift for him at the time of his birth.

However, one doesn’t have to be dying or experiencing a transition to enjoy the benefits of these oils. I use them on a regular basis, to lift my mood and raise my vibration and mood.

Frankincense is known for its anti-depressant quality and for its ability to connect a person with the spiritual realm; it is also a wonderful tonic for the skin and has anti-tumoral qualities, as well.

I heard about a mother who had a son with a brain tumor. She kept her son’s head wet with Frankincense. Over time, the son was healed by the power of this powerful healing oil that was once considered more valuable than gold. Frankincense has also been known to work its magic with people suffering from Alzheimer’s.

If ever you happen to be with an obstinate person who suffers from Alzheimer’s, simply apply some of this wonderful oil to your own hands and then run your hands through their aura – energy field – in some way. This process will very soon have a calming effect on the headstrong individual.

If you are interested in learning more about the essential oils and transitions, Maria will be leading a class on this on Thursday, April 14 at the Brilliant Moon. Please call them to register: (360) 868-2190.

 


Could the entire world be on hospice?

The brilliance of the Heart

We are at a very interesting time in human history. The New Thought people call this the time of the Shift of the Ages. Many long-term time cycles – to the tune of 26,000 years, are merging together and a great deal of love and light frequency is coming onto the planet. This is why the entire world – and what we’re used to – seems to be “going crazy,” especially when you watch the news.

I’ve coming to see this phenomenon as though the whole world is “on hospice.” We must die to the old so that the new may come in and take shape on the planet. And many so-called “Light-workers” are here, holding the possibility for this. Many religions tell of a time of Great Peace and Healing that’s coming. There is great change at this time, but it is for a good purpose. We are moving toward a much higher and vibrant way of living. In time, Love and Peace will rule the earth, as has been prophesied by the prophets.

Because we are moving through this time of deep change and transformation, we have much to learn from the dying. They have the secrets to help us move through change in a good way. And I outline some of these secrets in my book, The Most Important Day of Your Life: Are You Ready? I will highlight a few of these points here.

I believe that the most important piece here is letting go of judgment: Many people before they die must do some kind of forgiveness work. It’s time to let go of old grudges and resentments.

Since the person is getting ready to leave the planet, if they want to connect with those they love, they must “clear the slate” in some fashion, letting go of old judgments that no longer serve. After all, when we continue to hold these judgments, we’re the ones who hurt, we lose out. And why wait, until we’re on our deathbed to do this? Why not clear the slate whenever we can – whenever we think of it?

The best way to do this is to move from the heady “critical eye” down to the open heart. When we move to the heart, we can let people off the hook, give them the benefit of the doubt. I believe that now is a good time to do that. Rather than carrying around many judgments and grudges, making others out to be the “bad ones,” we can come into the heart and love and honor everyone.

Give them the benefit of the doubt, especially in these times of great change. What if we could see that everyone is actually doing “the best that they can?” And when we send out love in their direction, this is the best Medicine we can send them.

The next important piece to me is there is so much more than meets the eye. This is something I learned through working with hospice. So many mystical things happened to those around me, those who were preparing for death and those who were on the receiving end of it, those who were grieving. I was privy to hearing so many stories that I came to understand that what we can see, feel, and touch, taste and smell on this earth is just the tip of the iceberg.

We truly do not know a lot of what is going on or who is around us, and so it’s best to humble ourselves, realize that we can’t analyze or explain it all, and simply “go with the flow” as much as possible. Life is an adventure, a miracle, really! And the more we see and bless it as that, the more it will bless us.

The third and last point I’d like to make here is the interconnectedness of everything. This relates to the piece I just mentioned, but there is no question in my mind now that on some powerful level, we are connected and there’s a magic that flows through our lives when we can let go and let the magic happen.

I’ve learned that at the Higher Self level – we all have a Higher Self that we are guided by – we are all connected. That’s why, when we pray for someone, they can feel it on some level. I remember how my sister once told me that as she was coming out of her surgery, she sensed and even saw, our dad and myself praying for her.

Do not underestimate the value of praying for someone, or simply holding them with good thoughts in your heart. This is what our pets do for us all the time, I believe.

I will be teaching a class this evening on Joyful Transitions and one on the essential oils and transitions in early February at the Brilliant Moon in Shelton. Please contact them for details: (360) 868-2190.

For those of you feeling “stuck” in your life in any way, I would highly recommend that you look into my energy work – and Auric Clearing in particular – if you’d like to clear out some of that negative energy that’s living in your field. One Auric Clearing could be life transformative! Plus, it’s wonderful preventative health care, too! See details here.

This conversation is to be continued, and we welcome your stories, questions and comments around these topics.

 


What exactly is “nearing death awareness”?

The Last Adventure of Life

This is Maria Dancing Heart’s First Book

While growing up in Japan I used to hear the phrase omukae ga kuru, which means “your Welcome,” or “Welcome Wagon” comes.” This reference is to the spirit or spirits, typically those who are known and loved by the dying person, who come to the dying one, usually just some days or even hours before the person is ready to make the journey to the other side.

Doing the work of helping people make their final transition here in the United States, I learned that this Welcome is not just a Japanese or Buddhist experience, but universal one. Often, dying people are greeted and welcomed by those they love who have already made their transition to the other side. And as you can imagine, it is typically a very comforting, healing, and even energizing experience. I now know that this is known as the “nearing death awareness” phenomenon here in the United States.

Once, on our hospice unit, we were caring for a man who had taken very good care of his mother at the end of her life, some years ago. Now, it was his turn to be making the passage across to the other side. Just a few days before making his transition, he began to experience his mother coming to him from the next realm to say “hello.” Altogether he had three visitations from her before he died. He shared these incidents with the hospice team, and we were all grateful to know he was comforted and guided in this way through his last adventure of life.

The following is a story around this “Being in the presence of someone not alive” theme that I found in a beautiful spiritual book by two hospice nurses. In this book, Maggie Callanan and Patricia Kelley share many mystical things encounters that happened to them while doing hospice work. Final Gifts (1992), is a “must read” for all those who do hospice work.

Martha

Martha was in her early sixties, dying of uterine cancer which had spread throughout her pelvis. A widow, she’d lived for many years with her daughter and family.

Martha’s experience with unseen people was not very dramatic, but her reaction was typical. She wasn’t at all surprised or upset by it, and was even able to express her pleasure at seeing what no one else could see.

Several weeks before she died, Martha said to me, “Do you know who the little girl is?”

“Which little girl?” I asked.

“You know, the one who comes to see me,” she said. “The one the others can’t see.”

Martha described several visitors unseen by others. She knew most of them—her parents and sisters, all of whom were dead—but couldn’t identify a child who appeared with them. That didn’t bother her.

“Don’t worry,” she told me, “I’ll figure it out before I go, or I’ll find out when I get there. Have you seen them?”

“No, I haven’t,” I said. “But I believe that you do. Are they here now?”

“They left a little while ago,” Martha said. “They don’t stay all the time; they just come and go.”

“What is it like when they’re here?” I asked.

“Well, sometimes we talk, but usually I just know that they’re here,” Martha said. “I know that they love me, and that they’ll be here with me when it’s time.”

“When it’s time…?”

“When I die,” Martha said matter-of-factly.

This story can be found on p. 87-88 of Final Gifts. Another magnificent story tells about a dying daughter who was waiting for a  “necessary reconciliation” to happen with her father before her transition. You can read the true story about Theresa on pp. 142 – 143 in Final Gifts. I was given permission to share these stories in my book, The Last Adventure of Life, too, by the authors. I highly recommend both books – and all the stories and reflections shared in them – especially for people caring for their beloved Loved Ones who are aging or near their end of life.

I would very much like this Column to be relevant for you readers. And this “conversation” is to continue, so please share with us your stories, questions and comments around these topics.


Bringing Death Back to Life: A Call to creative transformation for our times

During the last 100 years, says Rabbi Schachter-Shalomi, our culture has “pathologized” death by taking it into the hospital. We have done ourselves a real disservice by separating, or “compartmentalizing” death – and endings – away from life; and this has been taking its toll on our society. There is a tremendous focus on and bias toward youth and beauty, not to mention image; and we have become dishonoring of the aging process and the grief process, too, for that matter.

Furthermore, due to the consciousness shift taking place on the planet, the issues of death, change, endings, and transitions have become even more pronounced. In a sense, at this time we are each going through our own transformative letting go process of one kind or another.

I sometimes say that it’s as if the entire world is on Hospice. And we have so much to learn from those who are going through severe change – like those who are dying, and those who work with the dying. If we can maneuver deep change by letting go of what no longer serves us, I believe this is the key!

Therefore, I would encourage you find new ways to bridge the gap between life and death.

Here are some suggestions I have to get started:

Since everything starts on the energetic level, you might start by visualizing and praying: Invite death, endings, and grief to become a more natural and friendly part of your life. You might even extend this intention out into your family, community, and the American society at large.

Find places and people in your life where and with whom you can speak more openly about these matters. Since aspects of the entire world is “on hospice” these days and many people are going through all sorts of transitions, it need not be so difficult to find ways to talk creatively about endings, letting go – of old ways, beliefs, and the “stuff” that no longer serves us. Sharing and expressing the grief that resides in our being these days is so important, too. I’ll be writing more about the Death Cafe worldwide movement (see www.deathcafe.com) also – a very significant emerging movement for our times.

For some time now hospices, palliative care programs, and midwives all have been helping to create new avenues to integrate life and death back together again. If there is any way you could support these programs or people, I strongly encourage you to do so.

You might consider becoming a volunteer at your local hospice. Hospices are always looking for new volunteers; and I can guarantee that however long your commitment, you will learn so much about yourself and be transformed by such an experience that you will never regret it. It’s a wonderful investment in yourself and your future. See my most recent book, The Most Important Day of Your Life: Are You Ready? to read more about the gifts that I have received through the last 20 years of hospice ministry.

Finally, I invite you to reach out in new and courageous ways to someone in your life who’s going through a transition of some kind. You could begin by praying for them or asking them how you could support them. Consider this a learning opportunity for yourself and see how you might grow from a situation you normally would avoid or choose not get involved in. See yourself being transformed by a new experience!

These are just a few pointers for you to begin thinking in ways that could help you begin a process of transformation with courage at this time. Clearly, change is needed and stands knocking at our doorstep. I encourage us all to open the door and welcome it in!

Also, please let me know other ideas you might have along these lines, to help bring death, and endings, back into our lives – where they belong.

The Rev. Maria Dancing Heart Hoaglund is a United Church of Christ minister, author and longtime hospice and bereavement counselor who has published The Last Adventure of Life: Sacred Resources for Transition and The Most Important Day of Your Life: Are You Ready? She can be reached at dancingheart22@gmail.com. She continues to write and is getting ready to publish her third book in 2016. She is always looking for opportunities and places to speak and teach.

The brilliance of the Heartdeath cafe, Olympia


How Shall We Grieve in Tumultuous Times?

We live in a culture where expressing grief is not honored in meaningful ways. We live in a society that’s awkward around the subject of death & dying, as well as grief. We have “bereavement leaves” in the workplace that last for three or four days.

We use words like you need to “get over it,” and “keep busy,” and maintain a “stiff upper lip.” It’s almost as if we encourage each other to turn a blind eye and ear to our true feelings. So it’s no wonder that we call the expression of grief “grief work.” It is indeed work to express our feelings in our culture where it is not easy to do something that’s actually quite a natural process.

Having acknowledged that, I now would like to invite you to imagine with me what it would be like to be living in a totally different culture, where expressing grief is encouraged and honored. I’ve been reading some material by a woman named Sobonfu Some — her name means “keeper of the rituals” — of West Africa whose tribe, the Dagara tribe in Burkina Faso, actually encourages their people to let go and grieve whatever no longer serves them.

As a child, she remembers when a friend of hers died and she was asked the question, “Have you grieved enough? Have you cried enough?” rather than “Aren’t you finished crying about that yet?” The belief among the Dagara Tribe is that hanging on to old pain makes it grow until it can smother our joy and creativity; it even could have the potential to kill us. So it’s always a good thing to be let go and release. 

Wouldn’t it feel liberating to imagine living in a place like that – to imagine that kind of encouragement and permission to grieve?

I have heard it said that if all the women of the world could cry at once, the world would be healed, we would have peace in an instant! I believe this might be true. Certainly, if all of us who needed to cry and grieve and release “old stuff” could do so when necessary, we probably wouldn’t be fighting each other so much. We wouldn’t play the blaming game, the shaming game so much. Rather, we might take more responsibility for our own pain and work to let it go.

So, as we consider our grief and the memories of those we have loved, I want to invite you to grieve in any way that you can, today and in the days ahead! I want to invite you to be really good to yourselves in these grief-laden, sometimes intensely pain-filled days – even if not in your world, in other parts of the country or in the world at large.

May you find, and even create time to be sad, to look at photographs of your loved one and remember, even cry your eyes out, if you need to. May you honor the things and people and places that your loved one loved, and do things that will help you to honor and remember them. May you find creative, safe ways in which to release your feelings of anger, rage, denial, sorrow, and loneliness – like writing in a journal, going for long walks in the beauty of nature and letting Mother Earth know about your pain, seeking out a support group or a counselor, and really delving into and embracing your pain and sorrow – and all the other emotions that go along with it.

One of the things I find myself doing as a bereavement counselor is giving people permission to grieve the way they need and want to. I’ll never forget a phone call I made years ago to a woman who had just lost someone very significant in her life. She said that her friends were urging her to get out with them and “do things.” But she said that all she felt like doing at the time was to stay in bed and eat ice cream. I suggested to her that probably what she needed to do for at least the next little while was to stay in bed and eat ice cream! If that’s what felt good to her, that’s what she deserved to do for herself. We all sometimes need this encouragement to follow the guidance that our intuition is already bringing us.

When you are dealing with any kind of grief, I recommend doing at the very least the following four things:

  1. Receive the GOOD STUFF that others have for you; and ask for what you need.
  2. Go Inward – this can potentially be a time of great transformation and empowerment for you.
  3. MOVE your Energy. This will help you move your emotions, too. Go outside, or to the gym if you prefer, and get your body moving. This will help your emotions flow, too; plus it will help you simply feel better.
  4. Let your Emotions OUT – however you do it, find creative ways to cry, weep, wail, get angry, express your frustration, whatever you need to do. This will help you feel better, too.

If you go to the “Books” Page of my website, Change with Courage Books Page, you’ll find a Grief Pointers sheet that you may download for free.

This conversation is to be continued, and we welcome your stories, questions and comments around these topics.

Published in Mason County Journal: 10/15/15