Please note: I am a Certified Aromatherapist, Reiki Practitioner, and Intuitive Medium. I am not a licensed healthcare practitioner or mental health therapist. Please see your physician or mental healthcare provider with questions and concerns. Statements made in this blog are not FDA approved and are not intended to diagnose, treat, mitigate disease, or substitute mental healthcare. When working with essential oils, please follow safety best practices and never ingest essential oils.
Julian of Norwich, an English anchoress during the Middle Ages, gifted with several visions or “showings” of Christ, wrote, “Peace and love are ever in us, being and working; but we be not always in peace and in love.”
In this chakra series, we are learning the states of balance and imbalance in each energy center. During a class I taught about this subject last weekend, we discussed how imbalance, or stagnation, in one chakra will undoubtedly affect others up the chain. This week, we focus on the emotional heart and the very powerful flame of anger.
I see a short chain between the solar plexus, heart, and throat chakras – the heart connecting the lower energy with the higher. Resentment, indignation, and anger stewing in the energetic gut (solar plexus), rising to the emotional heart seeking advocacy for its heat but oftentimes creating overwhelming stress, an emotional storm giving form to impassioned feelings erupting in our speech or held silently (throat chakra), hard words directed at others or ourselves. Inflamed rhetoric, even though the impetus may be justified, scorches a path, nonetheless.
Sometimes with energy work, we feel it’s our heart that needs the most care and love, and it does, when the gray mantle of grief is too much to bear. But oftentimes, the feeling of powerlessness manifested in lower chakras affects our emotional heart in such a way that feels like grief – a legacy of victimhood, desires unfulfilled, expectations unmet and seemingly, a part of life lost. Our own, we perceive, as we are still walking.
Unmet expectations. Shattered dreams and deflated hope. This does feel like grief. And in the grieving process, we feel rage at the injustices…any injustices…we feel are out of our control.
Can you be bitter, angry, carry swords of righteous indignation, flip tables over injustices and still find peace in the heart? I don’t know, for certain, I struggle with this one myself, but as Julian of Norwich touches, peace and love are ever in us working, though we may not feel it, sometimes. We all have our seasons. Strong words, no matter how well buttressed by our personal sense of right, still singe as they are crafted and delivered. What, ultimately, does Anger serve?
When I’ve worked energetically with people with a surplus of emotional fire, it feels like grief boiled over. There’s nothing wrong with fire itself; it serves as a helpful and important alchemical agent for change and strengthening, but we have to take care with it. Instead of reacting on impulse, can we recognize the root of our personal hurts, damaged egos, and be honest with ourselves about why we feel this pain? Can we pause further and think about how we might correct the problem and/or the course moving forward with consideration of the bigger picture with tact toward ourselves and others? And if we can’t change the course, can we be wise enough to let it go by either letting it alone or giving it to a higher power? Can we choose to see with the “eyes of the heart”? (Bourgeault)
Love is our natural state; it’s kindness in the heart seeking understanding. It has nothing to do with being right.
Nearly a year ago, I dreamt I was watching a man’s hand sketch the Blessed Mother in sepia, gracefully, quietly. Hearing the pencil scratch across the paper. Then, from all around, through every cell in my body, I heard her implore, “You must love yourself. You must love others.” I woke with profound peace in my heart. What a wonderful gift. We are surrounded with these moments of Grace in our daily lives! And yet, life goes on and we find ourselves embattled in some sort of emotional tug-of-war all over again. It’s hard to remember this peace, sometimes, until we find ourselves exhausted and thirsty from all the running around and soapboxing. But we will be reminded again and again until we understand. What is actually ours to address?
You must love yourself. You must love others. Let your advocacy not seek justification but serve to create a dialogue of understanding with yourself and then others. Explore how it feels in the body to say these words first to yourself:
I understand how you feel
I love you
Thank you for caring
How did this make you feel? What shifts did you notice? Where?
Heart work asks us to recognize and love the root of our impassioned advocacy while also letting go of any expectations of desired results (ego).
Aromatherapy for the Heart Chakra
I prefer oils that help facilitate upper respiratory function – the “breathing” oils, for those moments we need to pause, breathe, and cool or fortify the emotional heart.
Pine (Pinus sylvestris) – According to Peter Holmes (2019), Pine helps increase pre-frontal cortex (PFC) and basal ganglia functioning. Low PFC problems appear as some of the following (from Getting Started with Neurofeedback, by John Demos):
- Short attention span
- Lack of forward thinking/goal planning
- Disorganization and procrastination
- Poor judgement
- Lack of attention to detail
- Trouble learning from mistakes
- Easily distracted
Pine is a wonderful choice for those whose anger stems from a frustration with the self for “not getting it together!” Easy there. Sitting with pine, whether it’s in a pine grove or with the essential oil in diffusion, one usually notices a refreshed mind, perspective, and focus in the moment. Notice how you first encounter pines in the mountains with a hefty list of worries and frustration around so many obligations, expectations, etc. What feels most important when you come down from the mountain? How did your list that could fill a legal pad suddenly shrink to a sticky note? Pine’s gift is self-awareness and much needed objectivity. What needs to change? What habits that have historically not served need to be released or reformed? What strength and sense of perseverance can be culled? How might one start again from a place of self-given grace? Pine helps us simplify this list and organize a way forward. This is brave work that requires emotional strength to support it. Pine is one such supportive ally.
Helichrysum (Helichrysum italicum) – Also known as Immortelle or Everlasting, helichrysum serves as a relaxant across several systems: nervous; cardiovascular; respiratory; and gastrointestinal, among others. Holmes also notes helichrysum’s possible brain dynamic as helping to reduce limbic system hyperfunctioning (2016), which would address feelings of low motivation, sadness, irritability, as well as negativity, blame, and guilt, among others. Similar to to the gifts of frankincense, helichrysum helps to deepen and broaden the breath to help calm and quiet the mind.
Helichrysum is my go-to for clients whose grip on anger may or may not be realized but is felt on an energetic level as exhaustion. As though anger has run its course over and over again without resolution. We may see this in personal/emotional themes that repetitively surface keeping us in their grip, like resentment over lost personal power and other memories that bring one back to a state of shock or loss. Helichrysum’s gift is one of deep emotional healing. As one of its many uses is to help address scarring of the skin, so too can we approach our deep emotional wounds with the help of helichrysum.
Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus) – Stimulating, expansive, cooling, with an energy that inspires upward movement, eucalyptus is renown for its ability to support clear, deep breathing (antitussive, expectorant, mucolytic), cool fevers (antipyretic), and calm pain due to inflammation (analgesic, anti-inflammatory). Holmes notes possible brain dynamics as “increases basal ganglia and prefrontal cortex functioning”. (2016) (See above list for Pine for examples of low PFC functioning).
The gift of eucalyptus is clarity and perspective. It’s said above groves of eucalyptus trees in their native Australia, a blue haze deriving from constituents from its natural oils hovers above the trees like an aura. Its energy inspires a raising of awareness and a clarity only gained through taking a bird’s eye view, so to speak. One might think eucalyptus, then, would be ideal for work in the upper energy centers (third eye and crown), which is certainly an option, but intuitive vision and higher wisdom is seated in the heart and requires patience with the self in order to fully understand the bigger picture. Keep your cool to see clearly.
So, then, what heats or stagnates the emotional heart helps us understand, in part, unresolved issues in the lower energy centers. The energetic heart seeks to help us pause, breathe, understand, and make peace within ourselves which can only inspire the peace we want to see around us.
“Where do we begin?” wrote Julian of Norwich, “Begin with the heart.”
Demos, J. N. (2005). Getting started with neurofeedback. W.W. Norton.
Holmes, P., Majoy, G., Tiffany Carole Pollard, Lev, C., & Camp, M. (2016). Aromatica : a clinical guide to essential oil therapeutics. Singing Dragon.
Holmes, P. (2019). Aromatica Volume 2: A Clinical Guide to Essential Oil Therapeutics. Applications and Profiles. Singing Dragon.
Mojay, G., 2000. Aromatherapy for healing the spirit: Restoring emotional and mental balance with essential oils, Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press.