Aroma: the gateway to mindfulness

To be in the Here and Now, to find balance.

Why now? Taking one’s time is the first challenge on the path to inner harmony. It’s tempting, after all, to give up before we’re really getting off the ground. It seems totally counter-intuitive to slow down when our brain and busy schedule tell us the opposite, but a calm mind is actually far better suited for taking on our daily challenges. The key is simple: just give yourself permission to explore the new possibility of making space for stillness. 

If mindfulness is to become a part of our normal way of being, it has to help nurture us and simplify our lives. It can’t be yet another thing demanding our time.

Achieving harmony doesn’t have to be something we dream about. I learned something quite surprising when I started on my journey to mindfulness – there really are countless opportunities to engage this way of being. The secret was within me.

The secret is within you, too. Where? Think about the senses. Think about scent, the often-overlooked gateway to the other senses. It is always available. It is a direct passageway to holding our mind’s attention. For centuries, the pure essences of botanicals have helped us in our journey toward mindfulness – frankincense, myrrh, cedar, lavender and sage can ground, cleanse, center and expand our awareness.

Curious? Hesitant? Resistant? I invite you, wherever you are right now, to just explore. Find the aroma of an essence that you would like to linger with. Now, releasing any judgement, invite yourself to pause, inhale and nudge your awareness to explore your senses.

Gradually expand your awareness to your surroundings and the sound of your breath. Draw in your navel, let out your breath, expand your belly. Breathe in and observe. Engage one by one with your senses and let your attention focus lightly on each one – the sounds, the smells, the feeling of the air on your skin, cooling and warming. Find the sensations that are neutral or most pleasing to you.

Now close your eyes and take five cycles of unhurried breath, letting yourself savor the sensation of breath. Once you have engaged with this process, let yourself pause for a moment. Send a little mental hug of gratitude inside your heart.  

From this practice, I am learning to embrace the imperfection and appreciate the beauty around me. Exploring it in your own way, this practice can have meaningful impact in many areas of life. Ask yourself: what areas of life can you bring more mindful harmony, stillness or expansiveness?  Which essential oils help you expand awareness of your senses, stay present, and nurture yourself?

By allowing yourself this time, you are giving possibility to stillness and peace. Let your Now be ripe with possibility. 

Melissa V. Lampl
Contributor & Founding Member

My background in wellness begin with a BA from Scripps College in Psychology where I focused on the interconnectedness of health, positive psychology, yoga, well-being and mindfulness. My desire in promoting wellness, inner balance and harmony with nature led me to Frontier Co-op and Aura Cacia. I studied aromatherapy at the American College of Healthcare Sciences and am a proud member of Frontier Co-op’s team, serving as an Aromatherapy Educator for the Aura Cacia brand.

Share Your Thoughts


April 20, 2018 - 12:55pm

The biggest obstacle I have in allowing myself enough time for my self care is my training to strategizing about efficiency - I run through a mental check list all the time. What is the best way to accomplish what needs to be done is a constant question. I have to affirm I have the time to practice tai chi or take some cleansing breaths. My rose roll on is one of my favorite ways to slow my world down.

Melissa Lampl

April 20, 2018 - 2:39pm

It really is a change of mindset. My Yin teacher describes this as: “Practicing just being as opposed to doing or needing to accomplish something”.  Having a tool, like aromatherapy is an amazing way to remind our brain, ‘it’s okay to rest, this is good!’ Rose is helping my partner get to sleep at night by inviting calm, it is great to carry with you as a roll on for everyday calm, and a perfect reminder to slow down. Thanks for sharing J W!

Lori S 1912935701

January 21, 2018 - 7:24am

Is it possible that using diffusers can cause a cat to have asthma?

Melissa Lampl

April 20, 2018 - 2:40pm

No. Causes of asthma are complex but mainly biological. Ask your veterinarian about ways to address respiration issues.

Christi C 1931936892

January 10, 2018 - 11:27am

I love essential oils! I would like to pass on some information that i just learned about them!  If you have a cat or other animals be very careful. Most essential oils will poison them which can kill them fairly quickly!  I know there are a few that are ok, so i would recommend researching what you want to use and maybe set it up in a closed room that your pets never go in.

Melissa Lampl

January 10, 2018 - 6:19pm

Hi Christi, thanks for the note. I love my cat and treat her like family. While it is always best to take precautions, and your concern comes from the right place I would like to avoid causing pet owners undue anxiety from web-rumors that I see doing more harm than good. The basis of the bulk of information online is talking about cats and their missing important liver enzymes that humans have causing them more sensitivity to essential oils and inability to digest certain constituents (Court 2013, Van Beusekom 2013). However, with the health and safety of all our furry loved ones in mind, much of what is written is borderline panic-rhetoric spreading unsubstantiated claims. So I would like to address with some ‘Myth Busting’:

I did extensive research over the years and while not so much is written online that is a good reference, I prefer books, I did find a more academic source, put forth by the foremost safety expert on essential oils, Robert Tisserand. Here’s what he had written on the topic: While it is true certain undiluted oils (Nutmeg and Tea Tree specifically) can be very toxic when cats come in direct contact with them, the majority of essential oils are safe for cat owners to use. In other words, use of essential oils does not automatically pose a threat to your feline friend.

Now, I always put safety first! And am a bit of a helicopter cat-mom. Just to err on the side of caution when I diffuse in my home for more than a 20 minute period I always crack a window, I only use diluted essential oils (not neat) on myself, I do not pet my cat after having used Nutmeg or Tea Tree essential oils topically and I make sure essential oils are diluted before using them in home cleaning products. Additionally I do not endorse anything my vet would object to, and also I agree with safety expert Tisserand that one should not douse your cat in “Neat (undiluted) essential oils – ever.  Cats are quite susceptible to toxicity from nutmeg oil and tea tree oil.” (Robert Tisserand)  Other precautions: Always check with a reputable vet first about use of essential oils with pets of any kind.

I have used essential oils in my home on a daily basis for years, and even used vet recommended product containing natural herbal relaxant to support my cat during a long plane ride, which had no side effects besides helping her stay soothed and rested. I have a very healthy cat, and use natural products that do not test on animals and all natural home-made soaps and spray cleaners with my and my kitty’s health and well-being in mind.

May your furry friends be healthy happy and well.

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