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The Art of Discernment

By Jodi Cohen

A smiling woman in a yellow sweater stands against a purple background, holding her arms out to the sides with her palms facing up. She has long, straight brown hair and is looking directly at the camera.

With my daughter leaving for college in a few short weeks, I am in the process of going through the house and discerning what she will carry with her into her next chapter, what she will discard and what she will continue to hold space for knowing that she might want or need it in the future

In the midst of this physical process of discernment, it struck me that I am wading through a similar process in my own life – evaluating relationships, habits and thought patterns and trying to discern what I will carry forward into my next chapter.

It is both overwhelming and exciting at the same time, for many reasons, but primarily because I haven’t gifted myself the time or space to take this kind of inventory in several decades.

I was so perpetually busy and attached to the idea that busyness and productivity were desirable traits, that I never took the time to pause and ponder exactly what I was rushing to accomplish.

Ironically, I was dreading this downtime.

Brainstorming trips or commitments that could keep me in motion so I wouldn’t have the time to stop and think.

And feel.

It was my own dread of actually feeling my feelings that I so desperately wished to avoid.

I was so afraid that if I stopped to feel I might never be able to start again.

So, I kept moving – with limited discernment – until now.

When I have to stop.

Because my daughter needs me to stop and sort and discern with her.

It’s amazing how you will do things for your children that you would never do for yourself which is unfortunate because this one week that I have spent pausing and discerning has probably been more valuable than all of the decades prior that were spent in constant motion.

It has allowed me to rediscover myself.

To remember what I enjoy.

And say no to what I do not.

It has allowed me to observe how I feel when I am around other people – if their presence feels energizing or draining, supportive or undermining.

For the first time in my life, I am actually tuning into what I want and need, not just blindly adhering to what society dictates I am supposed to want.

It is amazing.

And it has allowed me to drop those excess pounds that no amount of diet or exercise seemed to touch.

The act of discerning and emotionally letting go of what I no longer need to carry into my next chapter has been so cathartic.

And essential oils have played a huge role – giving me the courage to stand and stay in this uncomfortable space, to breathe through and release the intense emotions, and to tap in and listen to my own discerning voice about what to keep and what to eliminate.


Essential Oils for Discernment

Connecting to nature and essential oils derived from plants can help you shift into a balanced state where it is easier to practice discernment

They can also be emotionally supportive and grounding to help you realign as you digest and eliminate on physical, mental and emotional levels. This may explain why Chinese medicine has long incorporated essential oils to clear blocks in specific acupuncture channels and activate the related energetic organ systems.

Essential oils that are particularly helpful for discernment include:

Large Intestine Support

Your large intestine lets go of those things that don’t serve us. Physically, it lets go of waste after your upper digestive system has taken all the necessary nutrients out of the food you eat.  Emotionally, it allows you to let go of patterns of negative thinking, destructive emotions, and spiritual blockages that prevent us from being our best.

Large Intestine Support™ helps you support discernment and release past hurts and negative emotions so that you can move through transitions or changes in life course. Large Intestine Support™ contains grounding oils like Cedarwood, Cypress, Sandalwood, and Myrrh. Cedarwood helps address feelings of disconnection and loneliness and inspires our sense of belonging.  Myrrh provides a connection to the Earth and helps ground both your physical and spiritual energies. Sandalwood also helps us ground and calm agitated emotional states.

In addition, the oils of Peppermint, Frankincense and Myrrh are known to calm heat and stimulate movement and break up stagnation. Cinnamon also has warming energy which helps moves stagnation.  Myrrh also helps support healthy circulation to alleviate stagnation in the blood.

To help enhance your discernment, apply 2- 3 drops of Large Intestine Support™ blend over the large intestine, around the ears or on the bottom of the feet.



Heart™ can helps calm any intense or overwhelming feelings by redirecting you back to a space of love and gratitude. Feelings of love and gratitude can help you pivot out of the intensity of sadness and grief and act as an instant reset.  In fact, an NIH study correlated a focus on gratitude with increased blood flow to the hypothalamus and a reduction in the stress hormone cortisol.  Apply 2-3 drops of Heart™ directly over the heart (left side of chest). During times of intense stress and fatigue, use as often as is needed (every 20 -30 minutes).  During times of normal stress, use 2-3 times daily to calm and uplift the heart and the body.


Lung Support™

Lung Support™ – According to Chinese medicine, feelings of grief and loss are stored in your lungs where they can obstruct ability of your lungs to accept and relinquish, impeding their function of “taking in” and “letting go” of oxygen and feelings. Grief that remains unresolved can become chronic and create disharmony in the lungs, weakening the lung’s function of circulating oxygen around the body. Lung Support™ can help release these feelings of loss and support your ability to transport oxygen from the atmosphere into the capillaries so they can oxygenate blood – and eliminate carbon dioxide from the bloodstream into the atmosphere. Apply 2- 3 drops over the lungs, allowing yourself to deeply exhale any grief as you apply the blend.


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About The Author

Jodi Cohen

Jodi Sternoff Cohen is the founder of Vibrant Blue Oils. An author, speaker, nutritional therapist, and a leading international authority on essential oils, Jodi has helped over 50,000 individuals support their health with essential oils.