I’ve decided to add a little something new here to the Realm of Cranky Fibro Girl, and that is to occasionally share with you things I’ve found that help me to feel a little more comfortable when I”m having a Terrible, Horrible, Very Bad, No Good Day.
So the first treasure I have to share with you comes from my friend, Heidi Fischbach, of Aardvark Essentials: Lotions And Potions For Mixed Up Emotions, both of whom have graciously agreed to visit us here today. Welcome! Thank you both for taking the time to come and visit with us!
1. Could you tell us a little bit about how The Aardvark showed up in your life?
Oh yes. Before he became The Aardvark, he was just an aardvark who visited my dream one night and bit me. That’s right! I’d been trying to give him the slip, having much more important things to worry about thankyouverymuch, and finally, apparently reeeally wanting my attention, he jumped up and bit my hand. Just like freaking that. It definitely made me stop and listen.
I was feeling rather overwhelmed and discouraged at the time. I’d been playing with this idea of making lotions and potions for mixed up emotions for several months. My kitchen table looked like a lab, full of pipettes and droppers and vials in which I mixed and tested out different essential oil blends. My desk and bedside table looked like a messy library, with stacks of books about essential oil mixage and therapeutic qualities of plants. My sink was about as slick as an oil spill, from washing and rewashing utensils I’d used to mix all the oils and butters in the potion base cream.
And then doubt kicked in. “Whoever would want this silliness you so love?” it said. And then exhaustion: “It’s too much work,” it said. And fear: “You will fail. It’s stoopid.”
In the midst of all that, this aardvark appeared, and with that bite he said: “Heidi! You’re looking at everything that’s hard and believing all your thoughts about how you are just one girl and alone and you can’t do this and blah blah blah but, excuse me! It’s just not true. Keep at it. Do eet! Do this thing already!”
And so we did. He and I, with the encouragement and cheering of friends and amazing people, especially the lovely biggifier of little people with big (or little!) dreams, Havi Brooks, and her business partner, Selma the duck, who, incidentally, made it feel not only OK but the most natural thing in the world to take on an imaginary aardvark as a business partner.
The Aardvark–or Mr. Aardvark, or Messieur Aardvark (when he’s looking sophisticated and sporting his monocle), or as some of my customers like to call him, Aardie or Mr. A– balances me out. He’s the smart when I’m confused. He’s in-the-moment –as all animals are– when I’ve gone and lost my senses. He’s the calm to my panic. He is so not easily ruffled. “Enh, what’s a glitch!” he’ll say. He has a thick skin where I am sensitive, and, to top it all off, he has the keenest sense of smell ever.
In a word, the Aardvark is perfect and, as it turns out, my customers adore him. Indeed, a few (ahem!) have admitted to having a crush on him. Recently I got an email from a customer in the Netherlands. She said: “The Aardvark looks even better in person than he does on the website.” Probably she saw him in decked out all a-la-Snoopy in his bomber jacket and flying goggles that he wears to make his world-wide deliveries in the little World War II era propeller plane he flies.
2. Can you tell us a little more about being a “mood detective”?
I’d love to. It’s kind of like this: You have a body. And you have a mind. But they don’t always get along, right? That’s where a mood detective can help.
I started learning to be a mood detective some 20 years ago when desperation and imagination got together for me. They said, “we’ve got to help this girl or she will be lost.”
I had mega body things, including a big eating disorder and a very distorted and negative view of my body. I also had big emotional and mood things. I was anxious all the time. I had fantasies of being dead, which, in my sad state of mind I thought, would surely be better than how things were. In short, I felt at the mercy of very hard things and my body and my mind were at war.
At some point, by some grace, I became curious and I started to look inside for answers, whereas before I’d always–as I think most of us start off doing, especially when we are young–looked to others. I had wanted some teacher to give me The Answer, some expert to just tell me what to do. I wanted someone to save me. I wanted a magic pill.
In the last several years I have begun honing those mood detective skillz in my massage therapy work. I keep noticing that our bodies express our unacknowledged emotions and stuff for us. They try to get our attention. Those kinks in our shoulder? Those achy necks? That pain in the butt? That rumbly upset tummy? They are, in effect, trying to help us. When seen this way, our bodies can become our closest, most dependable allies.
But if someone has no idea how to look inside, how to listen, it can be hard. I help people do that, and “Mood Detective” is my playful name for what I do.
3. What, actually, do you do (as a mood detective)?
Most likely it starts with you telling me why you’ve come: what’s hard… what’s not working… what’s keeping you up at night… where it hurts… since when… basically, what it’s like to be you, in your body, in your life.
I listen and follow your clues. And you start learning how to listen and follow your body’s clues. Bodies are no different than any of us. They want to be heard. To be understood. They want for us to get–really get!–what’s going on inside us.
We don’t listen for many reasons. For one, we don’t know how. We aren’t taught, in school or at home, to listen. Mostly we are taught to have opinions and to make conclusions. And to defend ourselves. Unsurprisingly then, listening is not second nature. Actually, though, it’s quite simple once you set it as an intention. And believe me, once you start experiencing the magic that is listening, you will be setting that intention every day.
Oh my. I really could go on and on about this. I hope that answered your question at least a bit. I am thinking about this a lot these days because it’s something that, until now, I’ve only practiced on myself and with my massage therapy clients. But soon I will begin offering this to people who can’t, for whatever reason, visit me in person. It will also be part of a new, exciting potion thing I’m going to do.
4. What are some ways that you use your lotions and potions?
In the day to day, I use potions in a cream base in my massage therapy practice. I love their non-slippery glide on the skin and my clients love that they feel moisturized but not greasy when they leave.
I use them personally as moisturizer pretty much every day, including on my neck and face. (Especially in winter!) Shea butter and jojoba oil are fantastic and natural botanical substances, full of vitamins and antioxidants. I like the fact that a little goes a long way and that they don’t stain. Warm water and soap will get them off of bed linens or clothes.
In their magical way, which is what sets potions aside from a bazillion other moisturizers, I use them when I need help with the hard stuff. For example, Losing It is great for overwhelm or anxiety, and Night Queen is perfect when I need a shot of confidence. She helps me embody sovereignty. Ease, Please! is for when I feel tied up in knots in my shoulders or in my head; and I’ve Had It! is for when I’m exhausted. Sassypants helps me speak up already; Chocolita is sweetness, minus the sugar; Cha Cha Chai gets my butt in motion; and Up & at ’em! wakes me up and helps me see with new eyes.
Every single Aardvark Essentials potion is created in response to something hard I have struggled with and become curious about.
5. You keep mentioning curiosity. Can you tell us what it has to do with your potions?
Everything. Actually, I’m going to tell you a secret. Curiosity is the most powerful magic in Aardvark Essentials potions. Curiosity allows things to change in a kind, fun and playful way. Once I invoke the magic of curiosity, my awareness about whatever it is –in this case the hard thing– grows. Then, as I notice more about said hard thing in myself, I also start listening for how my clients and friends struggle with that thing. I especially pay attention to what people say after the words “I need ___.”
As I get curiouser, I also get more sensitive to that thing. I start seeing it everywhere! All the while I’m doing a kind of curiosity field work: What is that hard thing really about? Is there something under it? Is it covering something else? How does that hard thing express itself in our bodies? What does it most want? What does that hard thing keep saying over and over again? Clearly, it’s not been heard. Not yet. So I listen. I want to understand. All of that goes into the making of a magic potion.
Then, after all that curiosity field work, it’s finally time to mix essential oils into what becomes an actual magic potion in a material form we can use. Of course, aromatherapy–the use of essential oils for therapeutic effect–is thousands of years old as a healing practice. And not for nothing is it still around. Plants have powerful healing properties, and our sense of smell is the most primal of our senses. When we smell something it bypasses the think-y, rational part of our brain and goes straight for the limbic brain, which is, basically, our emotional processing plant. So yes, scents, in this way, can be used to powerful effect.
6. Can you give us a sneak peek at any new products that might be coming up in the near future?
Yes! Custom-made potions! A number of customers have been asking me to develop a potion just for them, for the specifics of their stuff. So yay! Custom-made potions will be coming up, uh… soonishly. And yes, I definitely foresee mad use of mood detective skillz in the making of them: people will tell me what is happening for them, what they want, what is hard, what smells they love, which ones not so much, etc etc… and then Mr. Aardvark and I will go to work to play concocting a potion with tailor-made, just-for-you magics.
Also, there will be Pulse Point Potions. Indeed, here is a picture! Your dear people, Cranky Fibro Girl, are the first to see! It’s not even on my own website yet.
See how it looks like a perfume? And that’s what anybody that sees you putting it on will think. You, of course, will know that secretly it’s a magic potion, which just happens to also smell great, which just happens to look like perfume, but which helps you with the hard stuff you are getting curious about.
Pulse Point Potions are the same essential oil potion blends you know and have loved in the moisturizing cream base, but in an organic jojoba oil base that you can roll-on your pulse points. Because sometimes you don’t need to moisturize but you still want magics.
Thank you guys so much for coming, and for the sneak peek into what’s coming next at Heidi’s Table. Have a great rest of your Wednesday!
You can find Hedi and The Aardvark at Heidi’s Table —massage table, writing table, potion-concocting table— a place to explore this amazing, sometimes baffling, adventure of being human. In a body. In this our world.