Who Is
The Fragrant Muse?

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Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania, United States
I'm a Creative Soul and Happy Person. I have a passion for my Family, Aromatics, Fairy Gardens, Pugs, SoulCollage, Miniature Worlds, Visual Journals.


All contents Property and Copyright(c) of Liz Fulcher/The Fragrant Muse.
All rights reserved.
Please don't use my written word, photography or art without my permission.
Thank you.


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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Wishcasting Wednesday: What Step Do I Wish to Take?

I love Wishcasting Wednesdays.

What began as a blog filler has evolved into an important weekly exercise in my personal growth.  Thank you Jamie Ridler. 

Today Jamie pushes her birdies out of the nest with the  juicy query,
"What step do you wish to take?

step?  What step?! 

Geez Jamie, by asking us what
step we wish to take is tantamount to asking what ACTION we want to take!  GULP.

Okay.  Here goes. 

The next step I wish to take is to
create an online shopping cart for Liz's Garden Aromatherapy.

This may not sound like a big deal to you, but it is a huge deal to me.   Twelve years ago I created a line of essential oils simply as a service to my students so they would have access to good quality essential oils.  I never had any intention to sell them in mass quantities and certainly never online.  God forbid I should actually become prosperous from something I love so much!.

I called the product line Liz's Garden and my husband runs the business, selling to a couple of local shops and the school where I teach aromatherapy.   It is a very modest cottage business, but seems to be growing in spite of any advertising on our part.   For the past few years, my students,  massage clients and other folks frequently ask why we don't sell our products online. 

And the truth is there's been resistance (read: fear) on my part.  My inner perfectionist wants everything to be perfect before I could possible consider something like selling online.  Also, I've been unclear about where to sell my products,..Website? Etsy? Big Cartel? Blog? Ebay?  I have had concerns that it will be too time consuming to properly set up and maintain and maybe I'll be overwhelmed with the technical side of things or it won't be professional and polished enough or that I might not be able to keep up with the demand or I just won't have enough time with my busy massage practice.  Bla Bla Bla.  Excuses are like...well, you get the picture.

Now, as anyone who reads my regular Wishcasting Wednesday knows, I have been blathering on for weeks about wanting to cut down my massage schedule to pursue other avenues of income, and what better avenue then creating a vehicle for selling my oils online.  The time has come to face this blessed bounty that keeps knocking at my door.

So Jamie, and all my fabulous Wishcasting companions, the next step I wish to take, yes really wish to take (not just feel I should take) is to create a shopping page on my website, Liz's Garden Aromatherapy. 

Thank you Jamie for pressing me to take this next step in my journey.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Six Word Saturday ~ 11.21.09

A houseful of kids and dogs!

Both my sons are home, my grandson is visiting and my eldest boy brought his chihuahua who constantly humps my pug.     It's a circus.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Wishcasting Wednesday: What Do I Wish to Embrace?

Photo courtesy of webg33k

I wish to embrace Effortlessness in creating the life I desire.

ef·fort·less:  adj.   Calling for, requiring, or showing little or no effort.  Freedom from difficulty or hardship or effort.

Jamie Ridler Studios

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Reflections on Physical Pain

I always tell my clients that physical pain is important feedback from the body and if you don't listen, it will only get louder.   I recently experienced this firsthand.

Let me say at the outset that I consider myself very lucky.  I put a lot of demands on my dear body and she rarely complains.  

However,  two weeks ago I woke up Monday morning with a small sharp pain under my right scapula.  I figured I'd slept in a weird position and proceeded to ignore it, assuming the discomfort would disappear as I moved through my day.  It didn't.  It grew sharper and took on a burning sensation.  I stretched my back muscles a little and took some Advil.  

Did I ask my husband (an excellent massage therapist) to work on my back?  Nope.
Did I call any one of the dozen other MTs that I know?  Nope.
Did I use my Theracane or lay down on a tennis ball the way I advise my clients to do? Nope.

Stubborn, stubborn, stubborn (with a generous dose of pride thrown in).

By Wednesday (2 days later), I felt like I had a hot poker boring into my back.  The dreaded "referred pain"
began, moving down my right arm in a dull toothache-like sensation settling in my triceps and my forearm.  Turning my head to the right became excruciating.  I couldn't even hug my husband without shooting pain. 

I was experiencing a trigger point, something I see everyday in my massage practice.  This particular fiend was (and still is) located in my Serratus Posterior Superior muscle which lies deep in the upper back. 
Trigger points are discrete, focal, hyperirritable spots located in a taut band of muscle.  The spots are painful on compression (yeowwww!) and palpation can produce referred pain.  Oh yeah, trigger points suck. 

Below is a diagram that clearly illustrates my areas of discomfort.  The X is the trigger point and the red dots are the referred pain zones.  I couldn't have drawn a more exact representation of my experience.

The good news is, today I'm feeling better!   After a week of ignoring my pain, I took action and now wonder why I waited so long.  It is SO important to listen to the body's messages which often begin in a whisper and end up in a very loud holler if ignored.

Yes, today I feel not only less pain, but more energy and a more positive outlook.  I am in the mood to write and work in my art journal.  It's the first day in two weeks that I feel motivated to blog, run errands and straighten up the house. 

For the past week, this has been my consistent, proactive approach:

1) I've had my husband work the soft tissue around my scapula and perform trigger point therapy on the most tender areas.

2) I've been using my Theracane everyday.

3) I've seen my friend Greg the Chiropractor twice.
4) I've been using an essential oil blend of Birch, Black Pepper, Marjoram and Cinnamon on my back. 
5) I've made it a point to get extra sleep and stop for quiet time during the day so I don't overextend my muscles.
6) I've been drinking more water to keep my soft tissue hydrated.

7) I've been using a heating pad.

Upon reflection, I can now see how this unfamiliar experience of pain dominating my body also influenced my personality:
~ I began to binge on refined carbs - perhaps for the increased seratonin?  Of course this only served to make me sleepy and bloated.
~ I avoided the computer.
~ I became irritable with noise like talkative clients, loud music or tv commercials.
~ My patience was short (just ask my poor husband).
~ I had trouble concentrating.
~ I dreaded going to bed (unusual for me...I love my bed)  because I knew the pain would be worse when I was still and that finding a comfortable position would be a challenge.
~ I avoided friends who called and didn't feel at all like socializing.

If f you know someone who suffers from chronic pain, please be aware that it is exhausting.  Gently encourage them to listen to the pain, honor its message and become proactive in their own healing.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Six Word Saturday ~ 11.14.09

Everyone loves to play in leaves!

Can you express your life in six words?  Go to Show My Face.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Interview with Author Anne Marie Bennett

Anne Marie Bennett, 53, is a freelance writer, SoulCollage® facilitator and for the past year, my friend.   

In December of 2001 Anne Marie's life was interrupted by the unexpected and terrifying diagnosis of breast cancer which  transformed into  the gift of an empowering spiritual journey.  Anne Marie shares her inspiring experience in her new book Bright Side of the Road - A Spiritual Journey Through Breast Cancer.

I feel privileged to be on Anne Marie's blog book tour.   I read Bright Side in one sitting finding her story both compelling and uplifting.  This isn't so much a book about cancer as an intimate journal of one's women's discovery of her own power plus a practical resource for caregivers.    Whether your life has been touched by cancer or not, you will be inspired by Anne Marie's story.   

I had so many questions for Anne Marie after reading her book, but limited them to the five below:
1) Liz:  I adore the cover of your book. What can you tell us about the artwork and meaning behind the images?

Anne Marie:  The art on the cover is by Melissa Harris and believe me, I had a hard time choosing which one of her beautiful pieces to use!  I ultimately chose this one because it shows a woman on a journey, but she has stopped for a moment and is celebrating. She is lifting her arms in gratitude.  She is enjoying the moment.  The Butterfly is an animal totem for me, representing my third chakra power center.

2) Liz:  If you were to ask your healed cancer "Who are you? and the cancer were to respond with "I am one who..." what would it say?

Anne Marie:  I kind of look at it as in the past tense. That the cancer was in my body and now it is completely gone. It is a past relationship, definitely!  But it would say:
I am the one who interrupted your life.   I am the one who took away some things you didn't want to let go of: your hair, your libido, your sense of normalcy.  But I am also the one who gave you more than I took away.  I gave you time off from your job.  I gave you time to reprioritize your life. I gave you time to remember who you really are and what is really important to you. Yes, I gave you many days in bed when you were weak and feeling ill.  But ultimately, I gave you the gift of closeness to Spirit, and a renewed relationship with yourself.

3) Liz:  How did your husband cope and support you?
(the image below is Anne Marie's SoulCollage card for her husband Jeff).

Anne Marie:The first thing my husband Jeff said when I told him I had cancer was "We'll get through this together." And that is the stance he maintained throughout my surgeries and treatments. Also, he didn't flinch about anything. He took time off from work to be with me in the hospital, he made me lunch and dinner when I couldn't get out of bed.  He held me close and let me cry. That was the biggest thing for me.  When I apologized once, at the beginning, for crying so much, he said, "Who else's shoulder are you going to cry on?"  And he maintained a sense of humor throughout.  Also, he paid close attention to my doctors at the beginning and keyed in on every positive thing they said.  In short, he kept me focused on the bright side, in many ways, and mostly just by being there for me.

4) Liz:  I know that you receive regular therapeutic massage.  Do you have any advice for massage therapists working with a cancer patient or cancer survivors?

Anne Marie:  My massage therapist, Lucy, was just wonderful with me!  She listened to me, first of all. She asked what I needed, and often.  When I was recovering from my surgeries and couldn't lie on my stomach, she gladly gave me double time on my back.  The advice I would give is to ask what your clients need.  Anything at all that confuses you, just ask.  That healing touch was such a powerful part of my journey. I feel so grateful to her for her gentle curiosity about what I was going through, and about her willingness to do whatever I needed for my own safetly and comfort.

5) Liz:  If you were to have this experience over again, what would you do differently, if anything?

Anne Marie:  This is an interesting question, Liz!  At first I didn't want to answer it because I don't like to consider, of course, that I might actually have to go through this again.  But it's a question worth looking at.  If I had to do it all over again, the only thing I'd do differently is take a few months longer before going back to work. I was lucky enough at that time that I didn't have to work, and I think I went back sooner than I needed to.  Oh, and one more thing. Now that I have SoulCollage in my life, I would use that practice towards healing by making cards about my cancer, and by doing daily readings with my deck.  I didn't discover SoulCollage until 3 years after my treatments, but the cards I made then about the cancer really made a difference in my ultimate healing.


To  learn more about Anne Marie Bennett's book and work as a SoulCollage Facilitator go to:



Wishcasting Wednesday: What Do I Wish to Dare?

I just love Wednesdays.  Even when I don't feel inspired to write, Jamie Ridler and her Wishcasting prompts can get my brain and fingers moving like nothing else.   Today Jamie plays a little little truth or dare with us.  Or shall I say truth and dare!

What Do You Wish to Dare?
I wish to dare to move beyond my current comfort zone
(which seems to shrink a little each year).

What would moving out my comfort zone look like?  It would look like this:

  • Making some time everyday to exercise my body, especially when I "just don't feel like it"
  • Making some time everyday for art, especially when it feels frivolous in the face of   "real work to be done"
  • Making some time everday for quiet meditation and reflection, especially when I'd rather hide my feelings by dinking on the computer
  • Reducing the volume of weekly massages and trusting that the Universe will provide
  • Renewing my passport with the intention of travel to France to experience the distillation of Lavender oil
  • Begin to plan that trip to France!
  • Begin the outline of my should-have-been-written-already book!

      Thursday, November 5, 2009

      How to Bring a Hallozebra to Life

      Bringing a Hallozebra to life is not easy.
        It takes patience and humor.

      First you have to catch it, then you have to avoid its escape.
        They're very quick.

      You contain it by placing it on a high surface so it can't run off.

      It will wiggle, squirm and lower it's head but you musn't give up.

      It helps if you can make it laugh

      and let it admire its own reflection

      Hang in there and you will be rewarded.
      Viola!  A Hallozebra is born!

      Now that you have a Hallozebra, how do you feed it?
      First you take it out on a dark moonlit night...
      (Dressing like the world's oldest high school grad is optional)

       You keep your eyes open for specialized Hallozebra feeders
      who wait behind closed doors with special food.
      They lure them in with unique outdoor features called "porch lights"

      Sometimes the Hallozebra feeders are too lazy busy to come out
      so they leave their food on the front door for self-feeding. 
      Our Hallozebra was polite and took only one.  

      The handler had to try a few to make sure they were okay.

      This is what Hallozebra food looks like.

      We set our Hallowzebra free after it's feeding frenzy.  
      Goodbye Hallozebra!

      I wonder what exciting Hallocreatures
      we will bring to life next year??

      Wednesday, November 4, 2009

      I'm a Guest Blogger Today!

      How thrilling to be asked to be a guest blogger and what an honor to have another blogger trust you with their space!  I am very excited to have my words appear today on the blog of Just Jules.

      This is Jules.  Isn't she pretty?  She's nice too.

      In honor of my first guest appearance, I am sharing a timely and important post called Essential Information which will give loads of information on using essential oils to defend yourself from the nasty colds, flus and general crud that seems so abundant these days.

        So hurry on over to Jule's place and prepare your aromatic defenses...before the swines get you!

      Wishcasting Wednesday: What Do I Wish to Experience?

      Over at Jamie Ridler Studios, Jamie asks us...

      What Do You Wish to Experience?

      I could write a list as long as my arm of all the wonderful things I wish to experience.  However, today I have the feeling that I'm spinning my wheels and going nowhere.  Today I feel I'm running out of time.   Today I feel old and that the best years are behind me.
      Just for today, I wish to experience the knowledge that
      there is a divine order to my life and that
      The Universe is perfect and on time.