Two years ago, I was browsing in a bookstore, and I picked up a book on their bestsellers table. I liked the way the book looked and felt in my hands, and I made a split second decision to buy it just before they closed, completely unaware that what I felt was what the book was about - an item sparking joy in myself. The book was Marie Kondo's The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up
Though the KonMari Method is about following your heart, not necessarily your instincts, I'm so glad I picked up that book!
I love stuff. I love to collect things, especially old things. I love the memories they hold, the connections they remind me of, and the history they contain. I am comforted by always having useful things around in case I need them. It's rare I ever leave my house without a bag (although I do try to challenge myself sometimes).
I am very careful with my things. I always have been, even when I was a child. I still have my baby blanket, in perfect condition! I assign feelings to objects. I don't slam doors or act rough with things because I don't want to hurt them. If I'm inadvertently hard on an item, I always apologize. I don't want it to feel bad!
I tell my car how much I appreciate all her hard work, and make sure she knows that when something breaks, it's not her fault, it's mine. I say hello to my house when I come home, and tell it "I'll see you soon" when I leave.
There was a scene in the TV show The Middle, where one of the characters, Sue Heck (who my car is named after!) describes using her curlers. Each time she used them, she picked them up in a different order so that none of them would feel left out. Her brother thinks she's crazy, but I could totally relate!
I also become very attached to my things. Too attached, sometimes. They hold memories and emotions, and I have a hard time getting rid of things I no longer need, use, or want. I feel tied to them, like I'm throwing out (or donating) a piece of myself. I have, on occasion, asked a friend to remove something of mine that was broken, so I could avoid some of the sadness.
As I read Marie Kondo's book, I continuously thought, "this is so me!"
She wrote of things holding energy, and about how we put our own energy into our things. She speaks about caring for and loving objects. When she explained how to say thank you to things before letting them go, and allowing their energy to be released, it was the first time I had ever clicked with a method of decluttering.
Because, the KonMari Method isn't about cleaning. It's about loving your things, and being surrounded only by the things you love. It's about, "choosing what we want to keep, not what we want to get rid of". It's about finding appreciation in the small things, like how well a spatula flips eggs, or how nice a light shines. It's about mindfully creating an environment that is full of what you love. That might be only the bare necessities, or it might be hundreds of salt and pepper shakers displayed on shelves. It all depends on the person. There are no rules to follow, except to keep what sparks joy inside you, and lovingly release what doesn't.
In the past, I've felt guilty about getting rid of things, especially if they were gifts. Marie Kondo teaches that if we learn something from an object, then it has filled it's purpose with us and it's ok to let it go. If I bought something that made me happy in the moment, it served me and I no longer need to keep it. If someone gave me something and I felt loved in the moment, it's ok to later let it go. If the only lesson I learned was that I shouldn't buy that specific type of shoe, then that was the purpose of buying those shoes and I can let them go. It's not only ok to let them go, Marie Kondo says, "to truly cherish the things that are important to you, you must first discard those that have outlived their purpose".
I recently started watching her show. My favorite quote so far is, "What I really want you to ask yourself, is if it's something you really want to take into your future." I love watching her in action, and her books are helping me change my life.
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I'm taking part in an Instagram Challenge called March Meet the Maker. Joanne Hawker started this challenge in 2016, but I only heard of it this year and jumped in late, just a couple days ago. Joanne set up each day with a different prompt, and makers share photos and stories related to that prompt. Today's prompt is "design process", and since this is my favorite part of my job, I wanted to share more than an Instagram post would allow.
Each type of product I make has a slightly different design process, depending on whether it's a lip balm and I'm creating new scents, or it's an aromatherapy blend where the ingredients are therapeutic, or it's a limited edition body product that is completely new. But they all start the same - an idea. Usually followed by the question, "how can I make this scent with just natural ingredients?"
Over the last couple of months, I've been joining new groups and meeting a lot of new people, especially other women in business. When asked what I do for work, I usually end up stumbling over my words a bit, unable to decide between a few different ways to answer.
I make lip balm is a good, basic answer but not the whole story.
I'm a herbalist* and aromatherapist and I make products is a better description of what I do, but it feels like I'm selling my brand short.
I own a small natural skincare and aromatherapy company is my favorite straightforward answer, but it's often met with questions like these:
"Like day creams and night creams?"
"Do you make under eye serums?"
"Do you have something for these wrinkles, haha?"
I love aromatherapy inhalers.
If you've never heard of them, they are little lip balm-sized tubes with essential oils inside, and they are really cool.
They are my method of choice for using essential oils (for anything that doesn't require topical application). I started making them for myself over a decade ago, using metal refillable tubes with a salt chamber - I'd add the essential oils to the salt and the salt would help "disperse" them**. These were easy to refill, but messy and annoying to clean, so I would end up buying new ones for each blend I made.
I was using a particular blend to shorten a bad cold during a trying time (I was a full-time student, worked part-time, was planning my wedding, and trying to build Wunder Budder on the side - not an easy time for my body to fight illness), and found the blend so helpful that I had to share it...