What do you do when you get a headache?
Where do you turn when you’ve got digestive issues?
What do you do if you feel tension in your neck?
Or if you’ve got a skin rash?
Tylenol? Advil? Google? Or do you just suck it up?
Nothing wrong with painkillers or toughing it out, but since those have become the most common defaults, I’ve started to wonder if we’ve lost something.
Clarissa Estes, in her bestselling book Women Who Run with the Wolves, says that a healthy woman “carries the bundles for healing; she carries everything a woman needs to be and know. She carries the medicine for all things.”
>> In other words, she’s suggesting that you and I were both born with the ability to heal ourselves of everything from a skinned knee to the flu and beyond. <<
So, if that’s the case, then what’s happened to this ability?
Well, it could be that we’ve simply set other priorities. We keep our schedules too full and our stress levels too high. We don’t have time or energy leftover to hone our instinctual skills. We’re bombarded by many external (and very influential) voices (advertisements, big business, pharmaceutical companies) which block out the internal voice that matters most.
Very recently I spent time with a group of women in Mexico.
Their everyday conversation wasn’t about “things to do” or “places to be” but rather on embracing femininity, on the art of being female, and thus, in part, on cultivating this innate gift of healing.
What a beautiful thought, no?
Inspired by these conversations, I came home not with an overly idealized view of life in Mexico, not with a pompous attitude that I’d never need pills or doctors, and not with the intention of pointing fingers or feeding into the divide between women who are considered “health conscious” and those who are not… (there’s already plenty of that!)
But what I did come home with was more faith in myself and the strong desire to rediscover the ways our grandmothers and great grandmothers cared for, soothed, remedied – because no matter which way you look at, that is something it seems we’ve lost.
If that idea sounds empowering to you too, read on. Below is an invitation to start simple and a look at one of my first projects, a cacao butter salve.
Salves of all kinds have been used for generations as healing ointments for the skin – depending on the ingredients, your homemade salve can help rid you of dry skin, itchy skin, acne, rashes, burns, and muscle aches.
Try the basic salve below and then start to experiment with other herbs and oils.
Cacao Butter Salve
1/2 C olive oil
1/4 C coco oil
2-3 TBSP beeswax (I use a grater)
2-3 TBSP cacao butter (again, a grater is helpful)
15-20 drops lavender oil (I get mine here)
15-20 drops tea tree oil
Use a double boiler (or a pan over a boiling pot of water) to melt the first four ingredients together.
To test the consistency, dip the end of a spoon in the mixture. You should noticed that it hardens quickly – if not, add more beeswax and test again.
When you’ve got it to a consistency you like, pour into a small mason jar or other glass container. Allow it to cool a bit before adding 10-15 drops of each essential oil. Cover and allow it to sit out while it hardens, or refrigerate to speed up the process.
Soon enough you’ll find yourself using this cacao butter salve for anything and everything from cracked lips to full body moisturizer (p.s. it obviously makes a great gift too!)
Have fun with it and give me your feedback in the comments below!
Also let me know – do you think as women we have an innate ability to heal? If so, do you think modern day stressors have severed this ability? Is it something you feel inspired to rediscover?