Spend time reciting the following mantras for each chakra. Then, put on some relaxing music, close your eyes, find stillness, picture the color and location of the chakra in your mind, and feel the flow of the healing energy.
Our bodies are really nothing more than big balls of energy that require balance to stay moving. From our physical bodies, to the function of our mental mind, and the deep feeling emotions in our spirit, we can make connections that encourage us to listen to this energy and empower us to nourish and care for all that we are. If we only focus on our physical health, we may find in time that we suffer mentally and emotionally. Vice versa, if we don't spend enough time making positive choices for our body through proper nutrition, exercise, and environment, we will become mentally unsupported, stressed, and even depressed. Thanks to Eastern philosophies that have recognized the need to bring all aspects of our wellness together, we have been gifted the Chakra system and the tools it takes to keep the energy flowing in ways that help us live our best life. We should take time each day to focus on the health of our seven chakras. Through meditation, aromatherapy, and yoga poses we can find routines that elicit the flow of positive energy, make us aware when things feel "off", and bring us back to the simple ways we can care for ourselves and others. The following meditation is one way we can slow down and listen to our being, reminding us we are whole, and we are connected.
Spend time reciting the following mantras for each chakra. Then, put on some relaxing music, close your eyes, find stillness, picture the color and location of the chakra in your mind, and feel the flow of the healing energy.
Muladhara, the Root Chakra (The Color of Red, Located at the Base of the Spine). I am safe and supported. I am grounded in my life and I have the ability to make others feel safe, secure, and grounded, as well. I am able to meet all of my basic needs, and I am able to move seamlessly with the ebb and flow of life. I do not fear my existence. I am connected to nature, I trust in natural laws, and I know I will always be provided for. I am.
Svadhisthana, the Sacral Chakra (The Color Orange, Located 2 Inches Below the Belly Button). I feel creative. I feel passionate and enjoy the things that bring me pleasure. I feel good about my relationships with others, and strive to make them feel good about their relationships with me. I feel at peace that I have enough, and I am enough. I share my feelings easily and willingly. I feel.
Manipura, the Solar Plexus Chakra (The Color Yellow, Located 2 Inches Above the Belly Button). I can be powerful and strong. I can use my personal power in healthy ways to express my self-worth and feel centered in who I am. I can help others recognize the warrior within and express their power, as well. I can accept the world around me and thrive to live in a place of peace. I trust, respect, and take responsibility for myself. I can.
Anahata, the Heart Chakra (The Color Green, Located in the Center of the Chest). I love and accept myself completely. I love and accept others, using compassion, hope, and trust in my interactions with the world around me. I cultivate joy easily, and my actions of love and kindness are genuine. I deserve to be loved completely and unconditionally for all that I am. I love.
Vishuddha, the Throat Chakra (The Color Blue, Located at the Base of the Neck). I speak my truth and follow my dreams. When I speak, I say what I mean and I mean what I say. I express myself easily and authentically. I know when to speak, and when silence will better serve me and others. I use my words to positively impact the world around me and always weigh the impact of my ideas before I put them into the universe. I speak.
Anja, the Third Eye Chakra (The Color Indigo, Located Between the Eyebrows). I see myself both inside and out. I trust my inner vision and act upon my intuition. I see what cannot be seen, that beyond the physical world. I see others and am open to their thoughts and ideas. I see my past experiences as guides to a better future, and I see the future in a wave of light and love. I see.
Sahasrara, the Crown Chakra (The Color Purple, Located on the Top of the Head). I know I am connected to something greater than myself. I was created with divinity, the same divinity that is present in all of existence, divinity that comes from God. I know who I am in my body is not my true self, for my true self exists beyond the physical form. I live united with others in my knowledge that we are all connected. I know.
Note: My information about Chakras comes heavily from the text "Chakra Healing" by Margarita Alcantara. I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in deepening their base of knowledge on this topic.
"It would seem only fitting that when we first walked through our store space in the fall of 2019, we would find nothing less than the treasures of the past. And when I say treasures, I'm not just talking metaphorically."
It's fair to say, we have an affinity for old buildings with interesting histories. In 2017, we purchased a turn of the century farmhouse outside of Ellsworth, a home we could not be more in love with, even with all of it's lack of right angles, level floors, and hidden secrets behind dated faux-wood paneling. It would seem only fitting that when we first walked through our store space in the fall of 2019, we would find nothing less than the treasures of the past. And when I say treasures, I'm not just talking metaphorically. Old titles, deposit slips, records of the contents of safety deposit boxes, are the actual treasures from village residents of the past. Once we decided we had fallen head-over-heels for yet another historical property, there really was only one thing left to do, so we bought an old bank.
I haven't been able to find a photo of the Citizen's State Bank that opened at this location in the early 1900's, but we have been able to piece together some details from the title history that was handed off to us by the previous owners. We've also found many different names of the residents who used the bank's services on a wealth of old deposit slips that were found in the basement safe. Documents that the previous owners told us they had to use shovels to clear out. What was left behind we gave free reign to take to the Pierce County Historical society, a few friends with interest in vintage papers, and some of the current bank workers in town who have a particular interest in bank history. We kept a nice collection of various documents for ourselves, to use in ways that honor the history of our building.
Citizen's State Bank purchased the land to build it's bank from Christian and Johanna Sorensen for $1500 in October of 1910. It is likely that once the basement safe was in place, the basement was built around it and the floor built over it. On the ground level, the upstairs safe would have been built first, and the remainder of the building built around that. When we had our initial inspection, it was conveyed to us that, because security systems at that time did not exist as we know them today, a bank's security system was super thick, concrete walls, which has created a strong foundation for a building that has the potential to stand for centuries more. The safe's ceilings were erected with almost a dome-like shape. This shape was purposely done so that if a bomb were to go off, the ceiling would not collapse. That information came to me from the brain of a curious 10-year-old .
Citizen's Sate Bank operated until 1930, when it sold out to Bank of Ellsworth, for $3500. It remained a bank until 1969, when it was sold to private investors for $9500. In 1971 it was sold to the Pierce County Veterinary Clinic, organized by Dr. Larry Traynor, for $11,000. From what I can gather, it stayed in their hands until 1999. When people come to the shop now, they often share their memories of the vet clinic, and Dr. Traynor, along with other stories of what used to bring them to downtown Ellsworth; clothing, hardware, groceries; this used to be quite a happening part of town! We're not clear what happened after 1999, until the previous owners purchased the building around 2006 to open a mortgage company that suffered the fate of so many others when the 2012 housing bubble burst. They made a go of a cute consignment shop for a short time before relocating to another part of the state. Before we got here, the building had been being used for storage for about 6 years. We are so fortunate the previous owners took good care of the space, continued to pay their taxes, and make it possible for us to move in with just a few cosmetic upgrades.
What We've Found
From the days of the old bank to the days of consignment, there is no end to the gifts we continue to receive from this building to make our shop unique and tell it's stories. We've discovered creative uses for a number of interesting things we have found. If you've purchased products on our website, you have received a handwritten note written on a blank deposit slip dated from the 1920's in your package. We have a stack of at least 50 of these blank notepads in the basement safe and use them not only for orders, but also as to-do lists and entry forms into our Superfan of the Month drawings. Last May, when we couldn't gather with our neighbors due to the pandemic, we surprised everyone with a May Day gift box left on their porch, wrapped up in linen-covered boxes that were once used to store old bank notes. For Chris' quarantine birthday last April, we wrapped his gift in more old papers we found in the safe. Those same papers were laminated and cut to use for product price tags, and as reusable labels for refill-center product. I am continually amazed at how well these papers have weathered over a century of storage in an otherwise damp, musty basement. They sure did know how to build a safe!
Next time you're in the shop, please don't hesitate to ask us to see our main floor safe-turned-perfect-storage-unit. We love the conversations that are sparked when someone excitedly gets to write their name on one of the old deposit slips. Our community has a rich, beautiful history and we are excited to be a part of this generation's story. Who knows what this building may become in the next 100 years, but we're thrilled to be a part of that conversation well into the future.
"Self-care isn't about taking extraordinary measures to pamper yourself or extraordinary amounts of time set aside for just you. Everyday we do things that bring us a certain amount of joy, and we may not recognize these small acts of kindness to ourselves as self-care."
Here it is, the dreaded February. The shortest and longest month of the year. The month where we all have to TRY to love, it's the theme, but it also seems nearly impossible. The winter gets cold, and long. We ache to see beautiful flowers and sit in the sun, outside. It's the month that we receive the least amount of vitamin D, and the highest instances of depression. It can seem almost impossible to get through some days, much less even think about self care. While we may not be able to take a tropical vacation or spend endless afternoons in a pampering spa setting, when things seem low, it's just the right time to start inching ourselves up, and even the most ordinary moments may be exactly what bring us joy, if we take the time to notice them.
More Than the Extraordinary
Self-care isn't about taking extraordinary measures to pamper yourself or extraordinary amounts of time set aside for just you. Everyday we do things that bring us a certain amount of joy, and we may not recognize these small acts of kindness to ourselves as self-care. I've recently been plagued by a lack of joy. Maybe it's the time of year. Maybe it's because I feel like I've been putting everyone else first. Maybe it's just a low to make the highs feel higher. Whatever it is, I decided to take a respite from only noticing the ways I'm lacking joy, and instead turned this into a challenge to notice the ordinary things I am already doing that make me feel less stressed, more refreshed, renewed, and changed.
Create a Morning Mindset
Most mornings, for a few moments in a quiet space, I set an intention for my day. Speak kindly. Be patient. Don't worry about time. Through this, I've found a steady, calm mind is a gift we can give ourselves everyday. Listen to yourself breathe, take the deepest breath you can and count how long it takes to feel like you can't get one sip more. Release it slowly, counting the same number of breaths it took to bring it in. Let it go until there is nothing left. The breath is the most important gift we are given, it gives us life. Taking time to notice the life within us brings us closer to understanding our relationship to everything around us. It's something we all have in common, and can never take for granted.
There is a yogic philosophy that reminds us in this life we don't truly own anything, everything in our possession is being borrowed until we pass it on for another's purpose. Having too many things to take care of causes a lot of stress for many people and they don't even notice it's happening. Clearing our mind of the need for so many possessions and then taking the time to move them along to serve another purpose is a wonderful way to practice self-care in an ordinary way. The things we wear, decorate with, and use to communicate don't define us. When we are stripped of all of our worldly possessions we can see we are all equal, the same. We have very few needs, yet the things we've accumulated often cause us to need another thing, create another expense, and rob us of another moment we might otherwise spend closer to nature, to the earth, to our families, and to ourselves. Declutter a closet, a drawer, or just pass along something of meaning to someone who will appreciate the significance. Share the story of the item, and let it go, onto it's next life.
To me, there is little that holds my attention longer than envisioning something and bringing it to life. Our minds are creative energy sources capable of seeing things that don't exist. A beautiful painting, a delicious meal, or a perfectly placed vase of fresh flowers can bring joy to us and be shared with others around us. We all have gifts to see things differently and we should not be afraid to allow our unique gifts to become an expression of our joy. Let go of fear of judgement or failure, those things only exist if we allow them to define us. How many times have we decided not to write a poem or sing a song because we didn't think we'd be "good enough"? Let go of the need to be perfect in someone else's eyes and enjoy moments of creativity just for yourself.
Strike a Pose
I mean, anytime, anywhere. While you're waiting for dinner to come out of the oven, while taking in a moment to catch commentary on television, after eating lunch. Take a full body stretch, lunge on one leg, stand on one foot. Sometimes I find myself doing planks next to my kitchen island. Our bodies are meant to move, and we spend a lot of time allowing them to be stagnant. It shouldn't have to be 30 minutes or nothing, it can be a moment. When we stretch or move in an extraordinary way for even an ordinary amount of time we take that moment for ourselves. We test our strength, our flexibility, or our balance, and we may be pleasantly surprised how these moments add up to a greater sense of self, and better knowledge of what we need and what our body is asking us for. The more times we notice, the more we are able to oblige, and the more intuitive we become.
I often walk with my head down, lost in my own thoughts, or mumbling to myself a narrative I will never have the opportunity to share. The more I find myself doing this, the more I become obsessed with my thoughts, and when my thoughts are turning towards negativity, this brings me down even further into a path of self-loathing. I had the opportunity recently to be around a large group of strangers where everyone was having fun. I used those moments to feed my spirit in the joy I could see on someone else's face. To watch a stranger play with their baby, or hug their grandchild is getting a glimpse at a moment they are committing to memory. Another way we see others in ourselves, and ourselves in others. So much of the world's negativity stems from disagreements with strangers, or lacking empathy for someone with a different lifestyle or different beliefs. Taking the time to observe others, watch their faces, expressions, emotions flowing freely, reminds us we are all of the same experience, the human experience. It frees us of the stress we feel when someone sees things differently than us or fails to understand us. We don't need to always agree or understand each other if we are just willing to see each other.
A little movement here, a cup of tea there, taking the time to smell the proverbial bouquet of roses. We rush through many moments thinking they are irrelevant, when they are the moments we need the most. We get ordinary moments of joy everyday, especially in February.
"As much as we can look back on all of the inconveniences, we see even clearer all the positive things that became of this year, amidst, in spite of, and even because of, a global pandemic."
We, like many of you, we went into 2020 with big plans, big goals, and big ideas of what we might find ourselves doing in those weeks and months to come. For many, everything was side-railed. For some, everything they had worked for was lost. For most, reconstructing busy lives into a new normal, a simpler schedule, became the biggest challenge. As I look back, we can, too, recognize the challenges of home school, giving up the idea of participating in big events, and revisiting the way to connect with our customers, neighbors, family members, and friends. As much as we, too, can look back on all of these inconveniences, we see even clearer all the positive things that became of this year, amidst, in spite of, and even because of, a global pandemic.
We Became a Place
After our 3 months of being a pop-up shop there was no going back. We got so comfortable having a dedicated kitchen, a retail space, and the customers...there is so much to love about having a place to connect with customers every day. This building was made for us, and it could not have been a better opportunity. An old bank with old safes, repurposed as storage. Conversation starters. There are things I'd like to change, but being one of the first new retailers on Broadway Street is our way of championing on the redevelopment of a once vibrant business district in the community we love. Some of my favorite moments this year were when people recognized me as the "Soap Shop Lady", and when loyal customers proudly came by with visiting family members to "show off" their local aromatherapy store. Our place becoming that place in this community is really heartwarming.
We Became Essential
We were told to wash our hands, use hand sanitizer, keep our skin healthy, and protect our immune systems. For a long time we were under the impression that our products were pampering and a luxury. 2020 made us realize that's not true. We are needed. The products we make are not a "step up", they are the baseline. We make products people use everyday, and we make them carefully, safely, and to ensure health and wellness. When people didn't want to travel far from home, we had exactly the things they needed for themselves and their families. We became what cheered people up when they couldn't visit with their loved ones, allowing them to send a bit of love through the mail. We became the of the few places they could safely venture to, have a friendly face to talk to, a bright environment to break the monotony of home, and fragrances that take over the senses and change a mood as soon as one walks in the door.
We Became a Team
I have heard that a business runs best with a trifecta; a maker-person, a sales-person, and a money-person. Though it is possible to run a business alone, there comes a time when in order to grow, one must learn to trust. We decided this year is was time to invest in talent, bring in some new perspectives, and give this business some legs of it's own. What better time to take on payroll and marketing consultant costs than in the midst of an unprecedented economic crisis? We don't always get to decide when a dream becomes bigger, but it is our job as entrepreneurs to recognize that we might be holding back when it would feel good to let go. We've experienced at least a bit of growth every year since we started this adventure. Each year we've made decisions on where to invest and where to cut. At year 6, we decided to start paying ourselves a real salary. Here, at year 7, we could have increased that salary...but we couldn't give more time, effort, or energy. Instead, we made that investment in others who could. These are the tough decisions we sometimes make, even in the midst of, and in spite of, unpredictable times. It's hard enough to run a small business in the best of times, but pulling in support and building relationships where it's needed can make a world of difference.
We Became Aware
From the impact of our industry on the environment, to understanding a community that was used to getting their needs met miles away from home, we became more and more aware of how we could make necessary contributions to better the lives of those around us. Just because we opened our refill center quietly, didn't make it less valuable. Just because our neighbors couldn't go to the gym, visit their massage therapist, or take their kids to the library, didn't mean they couldn't get their self-care and mental health restored in a different way. We held classes virtually to bring people together, educated people on the importance of deep breaths and long baths, and invited their families to make appointments for fun, safe experiences for themselves and their kids. We encouraged random acts of kindness, and continued to create new products based on the needs of our growing client base. We also started purchasing more of our business' needs at our local grocery, dollar, art supply, and hardware store. In the slower pace of life, we were able to spend more time listening, learning, and helping in ways we never knew were needed before.
We're looking forward to returning back to a sense of "normal", although, I do believe we are forever changed. Let's admit, life wasn't without flaws in 2019 or 2018. As we take these quiet moments of winter in the new year to reflect on what we wish went differently, we must also give thanks to what we could not have predicted going more perfectly. Happy New Year, friends.