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

Advertisements

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

 

Playing with the Elements, Part 1 – Fire

As I have already mentioned in the article Seasonal clock, I work with four elements on many levels. It keeps me fascinating how several basic principles can be applied to something such complex as life.

Speaking of the 4-element system, the players are fire, air, water and earth. Each of them has its own spirit and each of them is needed. If we learn how to identify them in our lives, we can find a way how to reach balance more easily.

Although many say that water is the main player and without water it would not be life, I will start with the fire because only the fire warms the water to the temperature suitable for living. And this is also a nice example how the elements affect each other and cannot even exist separately.

The fire is the first spark of life and the feeling we are still alive. It is a small flame that may become a torch. Depending on conditions and our will, the torch brings the light and heat as long as we feed it. To keep the fire we need to supply oxygen (the element of air) and fuel, for example wood (the element of earth). On the advanced level, we also need to make the fire safe, having some shelter for it. And this belongs to the earth as well.

The fire represents everything that warms or burns or what brings the light. The fire means interest, curiosity, joy, laugh, activity, competition, excitement, passion, enthusiasm, etc. For simplicity I would call interest as the core of the others. People like the fire, being attracted to it by invisible forces, but they are also afraid of being burned. Then they build the shelters in the name of safety, too tight for life. And then, they complain that there is not enough joy or success in their lives. Or that they miss the sense (light) in their lives.

How to solve it? Anything that arouses your even small interest is a flame whose future you have in your hands. Is there enough oxygen and suitable fuel for it? Which kind of oxygen and fuel is needed for your particular case of interest? And are you willing to feed it? Then just try! No fire is dangerous from the very beginning. And only when you taste and like the first fruits it’s the time to think about the shelter, no earlier. So you avoid many disappointments and energy losses.

The fire itself isn’t positive or negative, it is neutral or better to say natural force whose priority is to shine and warm. No good or evil inside. It is our will and experience which make the fire either a tool or a weapon. Trying to separate from the fire means the same like to separate from the life, dying alive. It is only fair to accept it, just as the fact that accidents happen.

Finally, I must say that having a lack of fire is just as dangerous as having it too much. Imagine how difficult is to keep living in desert, how much suffering it costs. So if you don’t balance the fire of your excitement and desire, your life may turn to desert. In my case, I tend to be too enthusiastic sometimes and forget to eat, drink and even go to toilet. The subject of my deep interest can claim the fire so urgently that simply switches other requirements off, including basic biological functions. So I know that I have to be careful because all kind of addictions work on the same principle.

What to do? If you have too much fire inside, find a way to let it out. It is better to diversify methods and make regular breaks across your activities. Never hold the fire back! You would create a volcano with uncertain date of explosion.

I will bring the fire topic throughout the other elements again, speaking about their mutual influence.

Looking forward to your questions and comments,

Ivana

How to reach perfection?

Everybody knows that being perfect is an illusion, but each of us is trying to get as close as possible. The desire for improvement is natural, and because of this tendency we have a lot of good in our lives.

But there are people who are obsessed with perfection. They usually would not agree and immediately highlight all the imperfections they have and need to improve. As long as they live inside of their obsession and don’t bother others, it is dangerous only to them in terms of mental and later physical health.

What I consider to be a problem is a lot of people who are paralyzed by the obsession. They are standing at the life crossroads and wondering which way leads to perfection. They want to avoid mistakes so much that they prefer thinking instead of acting. These people are always waiting for some UNTIL. Until I get this and that I can’t start doing this or that. They often become collectors of certificates with zero practice.

I believe in the power of practicing. My drawings are best proof of it. People ask me how I blend the colors, if I have special pencils for it. No, I don’t. I have the most common and cheap pencils, but I patiently put on many light layers until the drawing gets rich in color.

And this is my conclusion for today. You can get close to perfection by unlimited range of imperfections. Being imperfect means that you are on the way. Keep doing!

With love, Ivana

Roots: The Safety Zone

There is snowing outside the window and I think about the roots. It freezes and we are looking for the safety zones, where to survive bad weather. People have shelters in their houses and trees in the roots.

Humans also have the roots, and on many levels. As an individual, as a member of the family, tribe, nation, continent and the entire Universe. Every part of our Self has its own safety zone, the roots. They are represented by our past – history, ancestors, relationships, successes and failures. We cannot erase them, but we can learn and change our perspective. Every new beginning includes our entire history. As if you replant the tree – you can find a better environment for it, but do not damage the roots during transport otherwise you damage the entire tree.

Does it mean that we have to store all even traumatic experiences in the roots? No, it doesn’t. Every experience can be used as a fuel for our inner fire. All sun and shadows are endless source of woods for our warmth and hospitality. We have to accept our history as a fact, and then we may not be traumatized by it. The worst thing is to preserve the pain because that part of roots is cold and lifeless. It is a risk factor for our future, frozen can be easily broken.

If the roots are working properly, they are open to receive nutrients and excrete waste products. Unlike trees, we don’t always recognize good nutrients from waste products. Sometimes it takes a long time to understand. Don’t give up! It helps if you understand where your roots on some of your levels are. Where are your safety zones? First, it should be your body and your home. These are places where you should feel free in all manifestations of the spirit. The basic safety zones for the life and growth.

Some people examine factors too deep in the past and don’t care enough about the present. They forget that life is not just the roots. The roots are shelter and source of life, but we cannot live a life locked inside. Like trees, we can hide the power in the roots for winter, but in the spring we have to go out and move forward.