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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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

Knitting socks, second attempt

Thanks to encouragement from Lydia and others I didn’t give up my attempts to knit socks. The second one had much better result. Even though I see some bugs, I am proud of it!

These socks I can wear in the shoes, I have already checked them for a walk. They are thin, but warm. I am very happy with them! And to be honest, I have started to work on my third attempt, hopefully much more perfect.

That is all for today, I just needed to share my joy! Ivana