Is herbal soap without flavor acceptable?

I love to make soaps loaded by herbs. I love to experiment with various combinations, listening to my inner voice and remembering University knowledge. I’ve learned how to infuse herbal energy and active compounds into the soaps effectively and I am happy to apply them on my body. Each time in the shower my lovely soaps remind me the whole adventure from harvesting herbs to final bubbles.

I believe the desire to share passions with close people is natural. So I did and proudly offered my herbal soaps to friends. All of them did the same thing. They skipped a visual survey and immediately began to smell intensively. As if the smell could reveal everything about the quality. One by one they told me the same thing with the same disappointment: “It smells only like soap!”

Looking at my disappointment, they listened to my lecture on the effects of herbs and natural oils I had used, but it was obvious that there is nothing to compensate a lack of proper smell.

Next, I wanted to make the others happier, so I made a lot of various herbal soaps with various added flavors. I did my best and used essential oils labeled “natural”, considering it was a compromise. The others gave me compliments for innovation, but I felt somehow that I was moving away from myself.

Because I am not a big manufacturer, I only make a few soaps for a while, the whole process took a couple of years. I have to admit it now. I lied to myself in trying to be successful in the eyes of my friends. The truth is, that I need to have my soaps full of herbs but with no added flavors, doesn’t matter how much they are “natural”.

Today, I have a bunch of violets on the table ready to become a part of soap soon. They are so beautiful with hidden power for skin treatment and I finally know that I am not allowed to kill their uniqueness by added flavor. And just time will show if such decision is acceptable to more people than just for me.

What do you think?

With love, Ivana

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Happy birthday, Hanka!

The post and the picture are dedicated to my friend Hanka, who celebrated her birthday by successful participation in the Prague Half Marathon few days ago. I have a strong respect for endurance and vitality, which she runs in her running and living as well.

Hanka, I wish you all the best for your birthday! You are entering the year 7 in your life path, so you can expect an important crossroad ahead. You will probably meet a number of opportunities for change, but it’s up to you to decide and accept. I feel a great challenge on the field of work, where change could bring a significant growth.

Seven is also the number of truth. Unfortunately, the truth is often revealed by breaking of myths under which it was long time hidden. It can hurt, but for a healthy future, the truth is a more stable base than a beautiful myth. I believe, you know the core of that truth. After you discover the whole story, you will move forward. And moving forward is another key feature of the seven.

Seven is touching our heart and soul. If it’s done with honesty and open mind, the Universe offers all we need for success and happiness. The seven wants us to stop sticking to old patterns and prejudices, and start opening to the offered gifts. And there are plenty of them!

With love, Ivana

Playing with the Elements, Part 3 – Water

Water is lazy, quiet and cold. Therefore it represents sleep, silence, darkness and even death. Water cannot move on its own. Its movement is always caused by external forces such as gravity or Moon in the case of high and low tides.

So, why we do say that healthy water must flow? And that standing water is an opportunity to grow molds and diseases? Because the external forces of nature and the Universe never stop. And if the water stands, then something acts against those natural or universal forces.

We humans love to act like this. Here are some examples of how we block the natural flow of water in our civilized lives.

On a macro scale, I would mention a boom of concreted riverbed which didn’t respect the original streams and which, a few decades later, cause disastrous floods.

Inside of human body, we often block natural sweating, which is the most effective way to get rid of toxic substances through the largest body organ – the skin. Instead we massively use inappropriate deodorants that block the sweat glands and forbid them natural working, which is the exact parallel to the amount of concrete used in the artificial riverbeds.

I understand that the sweat can smell badly and we live close to each other, especially in cities. On the other hand, the amount and smell of sweat depends on what we drink and eat, how our metabolism works, and how much stress we live in. If we focus more on these improvements, we don’t have to use devastating deodorants, but only light natural versions.

Emotions like sadness or regret require natural flow of tears to overcome difficult situation. But the common social habits often demand to hold tears back. Again, it is close to the parallel with concrete riverbeds. If you block the flow of tears for a long time, there is born a retention tank of emotions that will rupture in future for sure. And then all the pain pours at once.

Sleep is another good example inside the water element. Naturally we are set up to sleep at night, silence and darkness. In such conditions, the body really rests and gains enough strength for the next day. How many of us respect biological clocks and go to sleep with the sun? First I admit that I am a night creature and I don’t want to get up early in the morning. Even though I know it is bad, and it spoils my metabolism and water levels in my body. This is definitely my weakness.

But that’s not all yet. Night sleep should be in silence and in dark. But where to look for them, especially if we live in cities? Unfortunately we live in constant light and sound smog, so darkness and silence become unachievable ideals. And so the water element is spoiled a bit more every day, and thus our physical and emotional health. In the long-term it is definitely worth to invest in the light and soundproofed bedroom.

I prefer to stop with negative examples now and present a few positive tricks how to improve the quality of the water in our lives.

Dreaming is a nice quality inside of water element. And it could be a lucid dreaming even though it seems very useless. Fantasy is an eternal ally of water, so use it as much as possible. You can start with drawing or painting, let be inspired by fantasy rather than reality. No matter of the outcome, the process is beneficial.

Being alone and in silence is always a tool for harmonizing the water element in your life. Therefore, prayer, meditation and relaxation techniques are so effective.

And how about influence of the previous elements?

Fire and water are of course opposites. But the life needs both of them. Water is quiet environment, which needs to get a fiery spark to create a fetus. Water represents woman, waiting for male (fiery) sperm. And do you remember that Air represents socializing? If a man and a woman socialize well, then they create a new life.

Frequent topic is the relation between emotions and mind, i.e. water and air. Take real elements for help. If you don’t saturate water with oxygen enough, your water environment would be dead, even it has appropriate temperature (fire). So using only emotions without oxygen of our minds doesn’t keep us alive. Then we could tend to stay alone, dreaming, without connection to other people. So much water takes the life spark out and we become more dead than alive.

In the case of too much oxygen in water you can see big bubbles, so the water looks more like soda water full of wild whirlwinds, where isn’t even one quiet thing. This is a parallel of overestimated mind and underestimated emotions, which means a stressful life without rest.

And both examples above worked with appropriate temperature. Imagine there is not enough fire, so the water becomes ice. And this represents situation, when emotional person doesn’t put fire into the water. From warm feelings, hardness or even cruelty become.

And that’s why we should maintain balance among the elements. Sometimes is useful to implement small tricks and so to change the sequence of other events.

Next, I will speak about the Earth and the mutual influence with previous elements.

With love,

Ivana

In case you missed Playing with the Elements, Part 2 – AirPlaying with the Elements, Part 1 – Fire

 

Happy birthday!

In these days, a lot of my friends celebrate their birthday and unlike previous years, I will not have the opportunity to celebrate with them. Life is a continuous evolution, and there is nothing more to do than to accept it. So, even at a distance, happy birthday to all of you!

I was born in the Scorpio sign as well, and my birthday is coming next Saturday. As always, around my birthday, I feel some change of energy flow in my life. It is an undefined tension, like when you have a tremor before the show. I have already learned to accept it as a fact and not to worry about it.

But still I am the person of many questions and I like to discover at least the clue to a hidden mystery. Due to a regularity of the energy flow changes around my birthday I have been looking for answers or explanations. The pattern of numbers and tarot cards gives me a kind of understanding what is hidden beneath.

Now, I am going to enter the energy of the Hanged man in the big cycle of Lovers. Briefly it means the energy of dead ends in the area of relationships. Yes, it helps me to accept zero celebrations with my friends this year. And I have felt the necessity to change my friends’ portfolio for some time, but I am a conservative person who doesn’t like to lose what cares about. But again, life is an evolution and we cannot keep everything to block the stream.

The Hanged man card contains a message. You see the world upside down and you have to change your angle of view radically to heal yourself. It is useless to continue on the same path because it doesn’t lead to anywhere. That would be head against the wall.

And this is something difficult to accept, even though I am well aware that the Hanged man card is the shadow that precedes release and abundance. There must to be a sacrifice to bring the result. This is a historical formula that can be applied up today. But still it hurts.

And that’s why my mood is not cheerful and my post lacks a joke. I hope it will improve soon!

But still with love,

Ivana

Dreaming of summer lounging

Fortunately, I live in a relatively safe part of the world, considering weather and socio-political climate. In the middle of Europe we usually do not have hurricanes or tornados. But today, we had a really strong wind here, perhaps the strongest in the last ten years. Power supply was interrupted in many places, many trees suddenly fell down and two of them even ended human lives.

I spent my day safe at home, watching the raging wind behind the window. I felt anxiety for all the people outside, thinking about the nature of this weather.

A strong wind struggles to bridge extremely different pressures in the atmosphere, and the desire to balance is so strong that it takes everything what stands in its way. It is not so different from a human nature. Many people hate conflicts, so they are trying to bridge the enemy pressures among others. They use themselves to prevent the storm of strong words or even real fights. But is it possible to keep the storm in a garage forever?

I am sad for all the trees that have been so suddenly defeated from their roots, and I am naturally sad for the human lives that have been so suddenly ended. But something deeply inside tells me that the storm was like a blow of the truth. It was the unpleasant blow of the unpleasant truth, which is exactly what we usually try to avoid.

We usually prefer to dream of harmony and happiness, even if they do not stand on completely true foundations. I personally do not believe that our life is a journey into paradise in terms of endless lounging. I do believe that the path of life is a sinusoid, where the pulses alternate up and down in the rhythm that G-d has in his hands.

We can only do our best to have love, compassion and strength in our hearts to overcome consequences of the tornados, coming into our lives. And try not to make useless storms.

With love, Ivana

Keep smiling, show emotions!

Living in the virtual world is full of emoticons, and some of them are really weird! It’s easy to push the key on a keyboard and send the picture with a mood because nobody can watch your face and real emotions. Do we really laugh or love as much as the emoticons show?

I don’t have anything against emoticons! I’ve been using them since Windows had not yet existed, and we had to do it with alphanumeric characters only. It has always been a way how to make a cold computer communication more human.

However, it seems to me that we have already come to a strange extreme. We are using emoticons in the virtual world abundantly and often thoughtlessly, while in the real world we carefully hide emotions and, unfortunately, often even in front of ourselves. Are we giving so much effort to make computer communication more human, that we don’t have enough humanity or emotionality for the living outside the keyboard?

So I draw a picture to remind the importance of emotions, all kinds of them. Finally I have seen what I somehow know, that emotions are like water. They are deep and strong, flowing one to another, quietly or in turbulence, usually without warning.  And to survive as humans, we need emotions as much as water. Don’t you think so?

With love, Ivana

Keeping courage

This week I drew a picture for myself, for my own encouragement and clear mind. I took color pencils into my hands and there began a strange heart to be formed, one heart from two opposite parts. There was a wide mixture of feelings – courage with hope, fight with faith, will with love, male with female. And it was their mutual cooperation which created the certainty that even impossible thing could be done.

Cooperation of the opposites is the key. In our everyday life we are naturally attracted into the groups on the basis of similarity. And it is also natural, that individual groups are opposed to each other. Sometimes it is only on a joke level and sometimes it can escalate into more serious fights. The same principle works in the big world of politics and adults as in kindergarten among children. Permanent focus on competition and rivalry gives the impression that nothing else could shape our identity.

And that’s why there must be an earthquake or other disaster from time to time. It’s an opportunity to check if malicious rivalry didn’t yet eliminate pity, mercy and solidarity. If there is still somehow kept the balance between Ego and Heart, if the common humanity is alive.

I pray in order to prefer voice of my heart to the cry of the ego and leave what is not essential. I hope to do it before some kind of disaster come also to my life. Unfortunately there are plenty of them worldwide.

With love, Ivana

P.S. I’ve been already told that the picture looks more like an ass than a heart….