Updated: Mar 7
What I’ve learned: the good, the bad, the slightly embarrassing, and the miraculous.
No, I can’t believe it’s been four years! It’s strange period of time of course, and between lockdowns and world events my sense of time is even more distorted. Also, it’s New Year's and my birthday soon, so I’m feeling very reflective and forward dreaming.
Four years. Four years for a company I never thought I would start, never dreamed of starting, yet here we are. To be honest I probably imagined that the last four years would have involved raising kids, spending time learning to play tennis and taking holidays to Hawaii. Not so. I think one of my favourite things in life is how much it can surprise you. And so I have learned to make room for surprises because the dream that life has for me is often bigger than the one I have for myself, and what isn't in my plans is often where the real miracles are found.
Four years ago Elixirs for Life officially launched online. I had no idea about websites, no idea about e-commerce and no idea about manufacturing products. Now, we ship products every week to you wonderful people all over the world. I remember the first time we got an order from Scotland—I hope this isn’t creepy—but we looked up the address on Google Maps, wondering how on earth someone who lives in a tiny town so far away ever found out about us! Friends of friends, of course, and so little by little we grew. We were not an overnight success—let me tell you! But what I learned is that it’s ok to take your time. And I needed time to figure out a lot of stuff. Systems, accounting, inventory, processing, all the less-than-glamorous things that really create a good foundation in business. I did not go to school for business and so I needed time to understand what needed to be done. One of my first herbology teachers taught me this lesson—you can’t rush what won’t be rushed. Trees take time to grow, bread takes time to rise, and flowers take time to bloom. And so I allowed myself to take my time, but there was still so much to do!
Did you know that all of this started off with a research project? I had a simple question: what are the spiritual properties of plants? In other words, how can plants assist us to achieve greater wholeness on the mental, emotional and spiritual level? This was my curiosity. I had studied traditional medical philosophies (I did go to school for this!) and I saw that they all used plants as the basis for healing. Why are plants such good healers? Well, plants have great chemistry for supporting the physical body, but they were also used to support people on emotional and spiritual levels too (it’s only recently that we separated out physical health from mental, emotional and spiritual health…but that’s another topic for another day). I wanted to know more how different plants work on the deeper levels of us. The information was out there, but it's usually held secret (or it's perhaps it's more accurate to say, held sacred). Medicine women and shamans don’t just give out recipes, and that’s for good reason. Plants are powerful tools, and like any powerful tool, whether they do good or bad depends on the hands they’re in.
I needed to prove my hands were lined up with my heart, clean up those shadows, and metamorphosize my old belief systems. Once I did, the teachers showed up. They showed up with their recipes, secrets and information to share—information that I get to share with you. (More about one of my most important teachers here). They shared so much information with me that I am still working through it all. But I promise, more is coming. Elixirs for Life products are one way I can share their information, but the real goal, or assignment really beyond products is a book (maybe several books—like I said there’s a lot of info!).
It’ll be seven years this spring my research started with less than one hundred plants on a list of curiosities, and grew to a comprehensive review of over 1600 species. Now we have spreadsheets, and growers, and wild-crafters and every day I learn more and more about these wonderful plants. I really can’t wait to share more with you because when you learn about the miracles of the plants that grow all around you, it changes you. It changes the way you look at and walk in the world. It’s changed me. I’ve learned that we are so well supplied with solutions for any problem we could ever encounter because there are miracles literally growing under our feet. I’ve learned that healing happens in an instant. I’ve learned that none of us are alone—ever. I’ve learned that we are all—all forms of life—in this together. And I’ve learned that life is precious gift.
So here’s to year five at Elixirs for Life! May it be filled with more of YOU dear EFL fam, because you are why I’m here! Thank you for your support. Thank you for filling the shop over this last year with joy and laughter. Thank you for inspiring me with your stories, triumphs and creativity. But mostly thank you for letting me into your lives with our products! I consider our products tools. I have the joy of making them, but what’s even better is watching the miracles you create with them in your hands.
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