action without outcome

An anecdote for anyone stuck in a creative rut, or a life rut:

It dawned on me recently that I’ve been doing a lot of marinating about what to do next and not a lot of actual “doing.” I realised it was because I’d been thinking a lot about the outcome I wanted, and not so much about the process, so I decided to do an little life experiment: choose a task, and do it with no care for the outcome.

I decided on 30 days of painting, because it’s meditative and I felt I needed that right now. It’s also been something I’ve wanted to spend time doing at home as a hobby for ages.

I challenged myself, at the very least, to put a brush full of paint on paper AT LEAST, once a day for 30 days. This instantly felt really light when compared to the “goals” I’d been setting myself. Rather than threatening to be another source of guilt if I didn’t complete it, it felt like a permissive “here Ella, you get to spend the next 30 days doing this thing you’ve always wanted to… and better yet, your paintings don’t have to be good because that’s not the point, the point is to put paint to paper daily. That’s it!”

Outcome 1. Some days when I reallly couldn’t be bothered, I’d just add a random layer of colour… On the days where I was more motivated or had more time, I eventually transformed it into something resembling an ocean.

Outcome 1. Some days when I reallly couldn’t be bothered, I’d just add a random layer of colour… On the days where I was more motivated or had more time, I eventually transformed it into something resembling an ocean.

It was my way of tricking myself to be in the moment more. Similar to the way kids do things; with zero pressure behind their actions, just “because.”

I’m onto day 16 and so far, taking action without the burden of an outcome in my mind has been freeing and easy. It feels like I’ve been given permission to play like I did when I was a kid.

Once the paint is all set up, I end up painting more of course, but the leniency of my challenge makes it realistic.

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If all I can do one day is paint one line, no worries. If I paint a whole picture, that’s great — but it really doesn’t matter either way — because that’s not the point. The point is to take action I wouldn’t normally take, by making it dead-easy, yet adding a structure of the 30 day time frame.

So far, action feels good, it feels forward-moving, and motivating. It’s a great self-esteem boost and a healthy focus, and, who knows, it could be the beginning of a whole new chapter… a whole new you even. 

Anyway, I hope this inspires! Happy 30-day-challenge-ing.

An unfinished, not-so-masterpiece (but I had fun doing it)!

An unfinished, not-so-masterpiece (but I had fun doing it)!

10 zero plastic gift ideas and a guide to sustainable gift wrapping

 

Gifts don’t have to be wasteful, nor do they have to be thoughtless last-minute purchases. The trick is to not hit the shops until you know exactly what you want, because as we’ve all experienced — shopping without a plan tends to end up in wasted time and frustration. So, here’s some ideas to get you brainstorming:

Pottery for the planet

Pottery for the planet

Sustainable gift ideas:

o   Ceramic keep cups

o   Stainless water bottle

o   Sustainable/plastic free skincare

o   Indoor plants in a handmade ceramic pot

o   Experiences — spa, massage, wine tours, float tanks, light therapy, free diving course, pottery.

o   Make a wellness basket with your favourite tea, epsom salts and body oils

o   Second hand books

o   An accessory from your favourite curated vintage store

o   Jars of preserves, pickles, or dukkha

o   This beautiful metal tea strainer and some amazing quality tea leaves

Gift wrapping:

Most of us will have at least one of these lying around the house, but if not, vintage shops are a great place to find them. Maybe pick up a shirt or an old vintage scarf for a dollar and repurpose into gift wrapping.

Simone le Blanc

Simone le Blanc

o   Recycled paper

o   Newspaper

o   Old button down shirts from the second hand store (you should be able to find them cheaper than wrapping paper)

o   A vintage scarf

o   An old dish cloth

o   Recycled paper (think brown paper bags from your local bulk food grocer)

For wrapping:

A few ideas to help you get creative with your gift wrapping. Using twine is always a winner, but if you’re feeling extra clever, some leather cord or strips of thrifted fabric can look great too.

o   Twine

o   Leather cord

o   Strips of fabric

To make it beautiful:

If your wrapping is looking a little ‘meh’, stroll around the garden and see if you can find some lavendar or any kind of foliage to tuck under the ribbon. Otherwise, palo santo sticks make pretty decorations and they smell amazing when you burn them too.

o  Dried or fresh flowers and plants

o  Palo santo sticks

o A crystal if you have one

Simone le Blanc

Simone le Blanc

5 eco Sunscreens (that you don’t have to DIY)

While there’s a lot of great natural sunscreen brands out there creating alternatives to the hormone inhibiting chemicals found in most standard brands, sadly a lot of them are still produced in plastic packaging. Below are some sunscreen brands I’ve discovered that are both natural and safe enough for our skin and coral reefs, but also packaged in biodegradable or reusable materials.  

Avasol Responsible Suncare

These guys haven’t cut corners, using cardboard or metal packaging, as well as reef safe ingredients. You’ll find an all natural and water resistant SPF 30 sunscreen in a metal pump bottle on their site, along with refillable pouches so you can continue using the same bottle.

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Butterbean Organics Suncare

These mineral based sunscreens are produced in Florida and made with fair trade, and organic ingredients. Their range features sunscreen sports sticks in cardboard packaging, or metal refillable packaging with refillable packs available. I love the fact that they ship using recyclable materials. 

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EIR NYC

With a shout out from Vogue under her belt, EIR was developed by former extreme athlete and surfer Jun Lee. Understanding the perils of trying to remove zinc from your face, Jun came up with an all-natural and hydrating zinc remover that also acts as an after sun cream. Her products aim to have a minimal impact on the planet with her zincs packaged in cardboard or a metal tin.

Dirty Hippy Cosmetics

Ticking all the boxes, these Australian made sunscreens are vegan, cruelty and toxin free, organic, fair trade and ethically sourced and to make it on this list, they’re also eco-friendly and entirely natural. For those looking for plastic free makeup, they also sell mineral foundation and plastic free mascara too. Check out their range of zero waste skincare here.

All Good Water Resistant Sunscreen Butter SPF 50+

Safe on coral reefs and made with only six ingredients including Zinc. Find it here.

The 7 best podcasts and books I've been listening to lately

What I love about reading most is getting lost in either a story, or someone else’s perception of the world for a while. It’s a nice break from your own mind and sometimes it can even change your mind, (or your life if you’re lucky).

Reading is so enhancing for our lives, but in saying that there’s also invaluable knowledge to be gained simply by listening to ourselves. In a world where the default is to consume over 20,000+ words a day, our minds need idle time to process. Nowadays I try to listen to myself instead of follow a reading routine. When I am reading or listening to podcasts however, this is what you’ll find in my library:

The Expanded Podcast with Lacey Phillips 

Like any other self-realizing pursuit (yoga, meditation, working out, neuroplasticity), manifestation is also a practice that takes repetition.

Lacy Phillips is the founder of Free and Native, an online portal teaching manifestation using her own personally developed method. Steeped in psychology, neuroscience and her energetic gifts, her disillusionment with the ‘think positive’ and superstitious style of manifestation is what compelled her to develop her own modality. The Expanded Podcast was designed to do just that; expand the perception of what’s possible through weekly interviews that delve into the emotional and spiritual side of each interviewee’s journey to get to a more aligned and successful life. She has a knack for asking the hard questions and getting people to open up more than they might in another context.

Rich Roll Podcast

“Pursue what’s in your heart, and the universe will conspire to support you.” 

This is my go-to when I feel like being inspired. Rich was once an out-of-shape corporate type who turned it around in his 40’s, opting for a vegan diet and running ultra-marathons. He now hosts his highly successful podcast and interviews people in the wellness or personal development sphere that are at the top of the game. From meditation teachers, vegan body builders, to ex punk rockers turned hare krishna’s — it’s informative, funny at times and always inspiring.

Braiding Sweetgrass — Robin Wall Kimmerer

“In some Native languages the term for plants translates to “those who take care of us.” 

I joined the book club of my dreams recently organised by Jasmine Christie of Anamundi Studios and this was the first book off the rank. All about indigenous wisdom, scientific knowledge and the teachings of plants, it’s poetically written with anecdotes about her life as a botanist, mother and member of the indigenous Potawatomi nation of Oklahoma. My perception about life and the natural world has been affected from her insights, one of the most impactful being the way language shapes our relationship to the world. Robin Wall Kimmerer’s ancestor’s Algonquian language use verbs instead of nouns to describe nature, positioning nature as a place full of ‘someone’s,’ not ‘things’ and ultimately giving their nation a greater respect for all living things.

Tara Brach’s Podcast and Meditation 

“Clearly recognizing what is happening inside us, and regarding what we see with an open, kind and loving heart, is what I call Radical Acceptance. If we are holding back from any part of our experience, if our heart shuts out any part of who we are and what we feel, we are fueling the fears and feelings of separation that sustain the trance of unworthiness. Radical Acceptance directly dismantles the very foundations of this trance.” 

I use an app called Insight Timer to time and track my morning meditation and spiritual author and psychologist Tara Brach’s meditations are available free of charge there. A gong sounds you in and out of the meditation and Tara’s calming voice guides you throughout. Her Podcast is ideal listening when feeling stuck in your thoughts and needing to ground back into your body. She takes life back to the fundamentals of what’s most important, and very gently brings you back to the present and your higher self. She’s the real deal, someone you can tell put years of work in to become the awakened soul that she is — there’s no ego, or preachy/guru vibes — she just lives, breathes and shares.

What a time to be alone — Chidera Eggerue

“Your purpose transcends desirability. You are here to lead a full life.” 

I feel like this woman is a modern superhero here to slap the archaic beauty standards right out of society. I first found her on Instagram and was struck by her fiercely articulate messages on female empowerment and body acceptance, like “there’s more than one way to be beautiful, it’s not about how perky your boobs are. Impressing men isn’t even a goal worth making. There is literally no wrong way to be a woman… nature doesn’t recognise beauty standards.” It was this that made me curious enough to do a cheeky kindle download and skim through her new-paradigm view of the world.

The Celestine Prophecy — James Redfield

“We must assume every event has significance and contains a message that pertains to our questions...this especially applies to what we used to call bad things...the challenge is to find the silver lining in every event, no matter how negative.” 

As someone that experiences a silly amount of coincidences, I was recommended this book by a friend and didn’t emerge from its pages until I finished it a few days later. It’s a great little fictional read with themes like synchronicity, energy work and intuition woven throughout an Indiana Jones style narrative. This definitely served to colour my perception of life a little differently and give me a better understanding of my own intuition.

The Mind Gut Connection: How hidden conversations within our bodies impacts our mood, our choices, and our overall health — Emeran Mayer

What we sense in our gut will ultimately affect not only the decisions we make about what to eat and drink, but also the people we choose to spend time with and the way we assess critical information as workers, jury members, and leaders.

I haven’t read the whole book yet, but so far it has blown my mind. It becomes apparent when reading that there’s still so much we don’t understand about the intelligence of our bodies. Sharing the latest scientific findings on the relationship between our gut and mind, Emeran Mayer manages to distill all this in a compelling way for a book about human anatomy. My favourite takeaway from this book so far is how the role of our intuition has been completely validated through these findings and have shown that intuition is often a more reliable source than our minds for making decisions.

How to listen to your intuition

Indigenous cultures have kept wisdom that western society has ignored for a long time until recently. Not the wisdom of the intellect, but of the heart and gut, otherwise known as intuition.

The Australian Aboriginal word ‘Dadirri’ translates to a “state of deep listening,” it describes listening to our whole body, not just the mind. It’s said we only use 10% of our brain, so perhaps the remaining wisdom we’re yet to call upon is our intuition.

Otherwise known as a gut feeling, intuition is something that science has begun to acknowledge in recent years. In his book The Mind-Gut Connection published in 2016, Dr. Emeran Mayer writes, “After a long period of neglect the enteric nervous system has been recognised as the ‘second brain.’” Western science is now discovering what indigenous cultures have known for an eternity; that our heart and gut are better guide to navigate our lives when compared to the mind.  

“It’s wrong to assume that only minds think. The body and our emotions have a key role in the way we think and in rational decision making.” 

The problem with ignoring our intuition

When I was travelling Sri Lanka, a friend shared a story that made my jaw hit the floor. In 2004 her friends mother booked tickets for her family of five to go to Thailand. Shortly before they were due to leave, her friends mum had a bad feeling about going, and cancelled the trip. Her friend thought her mum had lost the plot, until news broke that a Tsunami had hit Thailand on the exact dates they planned to travel there.

Our mind as a tangled fishing net

In ancient cultures, intuition is taken just as, if not more seriously than the mind. Sharing what he learnt while spending time with an indigenous culture, English explorer and TV personality Ed Stafford discovers the word ‘Nandipiru,’ used to describe both the human mind and a tangled fishing net.

“They said that the reason western people confuse life so much is that they live in this logical brain, it’s a tool,” Stafford says “Everything is meant to start in the gut. They were trying to tell me that the more you live in your heart the more problems and anxieties and doubts you’ll have, but the moment that you come from an instinctual place, all of that just evaporates.”

He goes on to describe how daily decisions start in our gut and are filtered through the heart before reaching our logical mind. Author of Descartes Error Antonio Damasio similarly states “it’s wrong to assume that only minds think. The body and our emotions have a key role in the way we think and in rational decision making.” 

The gut makes faster connections than the brain can, which explains why it can seem illogical. But listening to our seemingly incoherent gut feelings can in some cases save us from real danger or a bad decision.

“There are 100 million neurons and every class of neurotransmitter in your gut used to process external stimuli and send signals to your brain,” says Damasio. It’s an intelligence similar to that of wild animals that sense a storm or natural disaster coming way before we can.

So how do you know if you’re listening to your intuition or fear?

As I explored the topic of intuition deeper, I was worried I’d get fear and intuition mixed up.

After reflecting and comparing the feeling of fear and my previous experiences of a gut feeling, I found that fear feels presents as a knot in my chest and throat, while a gut feeling is deeper, subtler sensation in the lower belly or evenly throughout my whole body.

After a bit of research, I found others make the same differentiation between the two. I love this article as an example, by The Fearful Adventurer. Torre Deroche writes that the mind can feel like you’re in a room with several radio stations on at once and it can be hard to know which voice to listen to. One station might be playing the news and the other hard rock. Meanwhile, a sports commentator and gentle blues plays in the background. Deroche continues; “Given the urgency of the first three stations, which track do you think will be the easiest to ignore? That’s right. Al Green. Al Green is your intuition. Your intuition is soothing, loving, nurturing, undemanding and dressed in a brown tweed suit. He’ll never be untrue. He loves you – whether times are good or bad or happy or sad…”

How to listen to your intuition

Send your awareness to your body

Unlike the mind, the gut gives definitive answers that can at times seem irrational. We don’t know why we feel this way about a certain decision, but we just do. Becoming more in tune with our gut takes practice and we can do this by sending our awareness to our body more often. In meditation, connecting to our physical body is also a technique used to ground into the present moment. After your awareness is settled there, ask a question and notice if there’s a reaction of some kind in your stomach or around your heart centre. It might sound esoteric, but sayings like “it just felt right,” or “I should’ve listened to my gut” are deeply engrained in our language, even despite the fact we’ve lost this wisdom.

Also, try listening to your gut with small, every day decisions. Studies have shown that shoppers feel better about big purchase decisions when they listened to their intuition rather than slowly working through the pros and cons of buying in their logical mind.

Release your worries

Entering the English language in 1810, the word ‘strategy,’ came about to describe Napolean’s success on the battlefield that made him the emperor of Europe. In his book On War, Carl von Clausewitz boils down his strategy in four steps. First, take examples of experienced and studied history and keep them in the back of mind. Second, free your mind of all preconceptions about the problem you’re solving and what solution might work, this is called ‘presence of mind.’ Third comes the flash of insight itself where a new combination of examples from history connect to give birth to a new solution. Fourth, is the part where you to take action on the new strategy that your intuition has gifted you with. In other words, learn stuff and then it let go so you can make room to be in the present. Presence (a mind so preoccupied with this moment that it isn’t worrying about the past or the future) is the necessary ingredient to call upon our intuition.

The case for optimism on climate change

I thought I’d share this video I watched a while back, because as usual only the bad news is reported and telling people we’re already fucked as a planet isn’t exactly motivating for some people. If Al Gore can find hope and optimism despite knowing all the hard-to-swollow details, then we can too. We live in a critical time, but it’s not too late. I hope this provides some inspiration and fuel to do what you can in your corner of the world, whether it’s through your career, or just your simple day to day choices.

Cultivating community and nurturing your creative genius // a conversation with Jasmine from Anamundi Studio

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Meet the endlessly creative Jasmine Christie, a set and costume designer, florist, writer, and the visionary behind Anamundi Studio. I first met Jasmine at a retail space in Mullumbimby in New South Wales that she artfully upgraded with dried flower arrangements, botanical illustrations and natural objects. Not long after, I went to one of her ‘full moon flowerings,’ an ornate gathering of foraged flowers and candles to hold space for reflection, meditation and setting intention. The circle gets bigger each month, with more people gathering on the lunar timeline to call in what serves them and let go of what doesn’t.  

I caught up with Jasmine between her many other pursuits of book clubs and monthly Black Mail letters, to talk about how she seems to so effortlessly combine her many creative disciplines, how community inspires her, and the importance of setting a solid foundation for creativity to flourish. My favourite thing about these interviews is the privilege of being able to lend someone’s unique perspective and the inspiration that comes from this. I learned a so many valuable things about creativity during this conversation, and I know other creatives looking to forge their own unique path will to:

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Hey Jasmine, thanks so much for chatting to me today. I want to start by asking you to introduce a bit about your background and the path that led you to create Anamundi Studio.

I grew up in a small town and moved to Sydney to study set and costume design for theatre. Then I went and did floristry later. I feel like I fumbled around freelance set design in theatre, film and TV for quite a while and tried every combination of those to try to balance making a living and being creatively satisfied. I feel like I tried all those things and it wasn’t until I had a full time TV job that I actually had the stability to dream of something else and think, “okay now that I know all the things I’ve learnt through these mistakes and lessons, how can I re-make it.” I think the Anamundi concept came when I thought there had be to be way to marry what I was already doing, the skills that I had, and where I want to go. I thought the format is not something that really exists but I felt like it would work. I did actually go to a business coach for a couple of sessions with Loren Trlin and she was good, she cast a very other side of the brain reflections of all the things I was saying quite conceptually. She didn’t question it and said it was all completely achievable and said “lets unpack what that would look like.” Then I went to New York and had an internship with a florist there who had a nature arts focused space called Saipua; it’s Finnish for soap. It started as a soap company and then she went into flowers and then it was more the space was so inspiring. They had this warehouse space in Brooklyn, a ceramic artist down one end and lots of big events like cross cultural dinners, and they had a flower farm upstate where they had events and workshops. Just kind of the flavour of it, I thought “yeah it’s already happening here, it works here.” It wasn’t exactly how I wanted to do it but it was a really good reference. That’s kind of how it started, oh and then I moved to Byron.

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What made you move to Byron?

I was very over Sydney, I was quite miserable there by that stage. I’d been there almost over 10 years and it was just a struggle — I felt like every part of it I’d outgrown, a lot.

What aspects had you outgrown?

I just felt like I was running the same patterns. I tried full time work, I tried freelance, I tried part time working in a shop, I tried retail, I tried everything and I’d done all of those properly but after that I’d run out of options of combinations to try. The only thing I can try now is to do it myself and I just didn’t feel like what I wanted to do myself was going to work there. I just couldn’t afford to do it there, I felt like the lifestyle there was too expensive and I needed space geographically and mentally to do it. This area too because we came here a lot as kids, I didn’t know anyone though I moved up by myself. I came up for two weeks and drove around to suss it out.

I chose Mullumbimby, I felt Mullumbimby had a very strong community and I just thought it’s going to be really welcomed here. So that’s how it started and it all happened really quickly when I came here because I had the framework. The thing that kicked it into gear was I did an exhibition with Sevira, a local ceramic artist, a very established wonderful artist, and I thought “I’m here now, I’ve moved in, I’ve got to start doing what I said I would do.” So I thought I’d do an exhibition and we put that on and it went really well. I did the florals in his vessels, he had vases and I did quite sculptural arrangements in them. The first new moon flowering I did again because there was just no excuse not to do this now, I said “I don’t know anyone but I’ll just put it on.” Also because I was working out of a shop space and gaining access to a community I thought I’ve got enough things now so I can kind of connect the dots. 

I even feel now, because I wear a few different hats, I want to do it all but people have said to me “you need to work on being a specialist not a generalist” I pretty much keep rejecting that idea.

Do you have any thoughts or advice for other creatively multi-disciplined people like yourself, about how to hone it into one creative platform?

That’s still a struggle, of wanting to do it all and yeah, I think the thing was — I brainstormed a lot “what do I love doing, what am I good at doing and what do people expect me to be doing?” and filtering through that. I even feel now, because I wear a few different hats, I want to do it all but people have said to me “you need to work on being a specialist not a generalist” I pretty much keep rejecting that idea, but I do think there’s a really good point to that because it’s moving away from the titles a little bit too. Because formally I’m a set and costume designer with a production background, and a florist — they’re the two things. But I’ve also worked as an art department crew member, a props master and lots of random things. I think once I named Anamundi, I sort of named that and that’s the cross juncture of all these things that I’m doing. I thought it wouldn’t make sense to anyone when I didn’t explain what I was doing but told them to come to an event. But people did just get it, they get that people are multidisciplinary and do different things.  

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If you were in a city like Sydney do you think you’d have a harder time?

Mmm, probably, but I’d probably still do the same events. I think it’s just a time thing, people have a lot more on their plates. I think it’s awesome to do everything, but not necessarily having to show everything all the time and taking it a bit slower. I’m really learning to let ideas marinate a lot longer, I’m learning that I don’t have to put on every single plant-magic-poetry-reading-book-club-dinner. I have kind of a little bit, but I feel like I don’t have to, and just trusting that I have an idea now but I’m very comfortable with the idea that it might not happen for three years. It’s been really nice to create from that place where you have all those ideas and I just sort of wait and see what comes up and you might meet someone and you’re like “uuh that’s funny, that idea I thought I was filing over here but it’s actually asking to be brought to life now.”

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That’s it isn’t it, it’s like having those ideas and if they last the test of time, it’s like these ideas are still relevant.

Yeah totally, it’s about letting them evolve. But I think yeah, naming something is very freeing, because I’m a very fad-ish person — if I decide I don’t’ want to do floristry anymore and I want to do fashion or something, it can still be called Anamundi, because it’s Jasmine’s world in evolution and I think everyone has that ‘brand’ (I hate that word), where they can say what is my unique set of skills and experiences and what can I bring, without being worried about diluting it down to suit what people think it is.

Totally, diluting the expression to fit what’s already there.

Yeah, or fit some sort of commercial version of what it needs to look like.

Yeah I’ve found Anamundi to be really unfiltered, it’s amazing.

Sometimes I think if I add another dimension it might get too sprawly.

I think the concept of being a specialist is interesting because it’s something we’re told and it can sometimes quell that natural urge some people have to just want to do it all.

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I definitely think that that advice of becoming a specialist not a generalist is 100% accurate when you need to start thinking about making money. If you isolate the parts of your business like “that’s going to be my money maker and that’s going to be my…” I think you have to separate them, rather than go “I’m going to do it all for the love of it,” set the foundation somewhere first that’s going to be your foundation to build everything else on. For me that’s weddings. I think it’s important that it’s something you don’t hate and something you quite enjoy. Weddings and a couple of commercial jobs that I know aren’t very ‘Anamundi” but I know I can be a specialist in those pools, I’m the florist or the costume designer for that commercial job. In this funny instance I was also a costume designer for a dress made of flowers so that was very specialist. I really do love doing weddings and once I acknowledged that it was for that purpose and it didn’t necessarily mean I had to be the ‘biggest, bestest wedding florist,’ I got to choose brides or say yes to projects that feel really aligned with the other stuff I’m doing, then it starts to come full circle and it feels really good. 

I do think the point about being a specialist is a really valid point, because otherwise you’ve got no foundation or time for your creative endeavours and you can become really bitter and frustrated because you can’t pay your rent with your creative things. 

Elizabeth Gilbert talks about that in her book Big Magic

Totally! She said it and I was like yes I completely agree with you! Don’t put the pressure on your creative genius to be your money maker and I think if you can separate the two it’s really important. I feel like I’ve done every combination of things, I’ve done the “I’m going to just do theatre all the time,” and you end up hating theatre because it’s not fun anymore and it’s a job — but I think the absolutely blessing is if you can have the job being something that you love or just go “I’m going to wait tables and I’m going to do it in full joy because it’s allowing me to write a play” and you don’t think of it as taking energy away from your creative endeavours because it’s fuelling it.

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How did the name for Anamundi Studio come about? 

I had a list of over 100 words on my phone. I thought I know what I want it to feel like, I thought of words like earth and terra and kindred and folk. The name was Serpentine for a long time, which is so wrong now but it was Serpentine because I liked the snake imagery. Yeah, I just wanted it to sound earthy, I also wanted it to sound kind of classical and to sound tribal at the same time. I saw the phrase ‘anima X mundi’ and thought “that’s cool.” The anima is the idea that nature is spirit, so nature. In indigenous religions that are animistic, mountain is earth and storm is god and that idea that we hear when we hear those dreamtime stories where nature is god, is an animistic religion. There’s also Jungian concepts about anima being the divine feminine, I found that out later actually and thought it was really cool. But Anumundi means worldly universe in Latin, but an ‘axis mundi’ is any north south polar axis, so a church or an obelisk. Any architecture that follows that vertical line is designed like that because it’s the symbol of earth to heaven. So the church, that’s why it has a steeple because it’s that idea that when you go in there it’s going from death to life and that kind of ascension. So anima X mundi, I pushed together.

Community is such a funny buzzword at the moment, but when I think of it, the feelings and words that come to mind are that feeling of being moved by people from totally different worlds coming together to create something.

So the word doesn’t exist?

No it doesn’t exist. Anamundi I define as the central axis where nature, culture & community, soul, universe align in one motion. So if you see kundalini, it’s the same. I love that it looks Latin but the ‘mundi’ sounds like ‘Barrumundi’ and has a kind of Australian essence to it so once I found it, it felt really right.   

You wrote in the most recent issue of Paradiso that “much of our anxiety prevalent in our modern society stems from the natural world.” Were you always connected with nature from a young age or was it something you consciously chose later in life?

I think so, but I think most children are. I think there’s a few memories that come to mind, I was always making things with nature. We were always in the garden and creating with nature a lot. I think my fondest childhood memories were camping, we didn’t go a lot but they made such an impression, that experience of being by a creek or a river and just exploring.  

I’m very passionate about nature, but I think I’m even more passionate about community. In terms of the thing that really stir my soul. Community is such a funny buzzword at the moment, but when I think of it, the feelings and words that come to mind are that feeling of being moved by people from totally different worlds coming together to create something, and that being really celebrated by everyone else. I’m still moved by it. I think it says a lot about the town I grew up in, it was very open. I think of nature as more of a medium like painting or drawing, I just use nature as the communication, the visualisation, the tool… but the cause is community.

I often say I’m very inspired by my mum. She’s someone who doesn’t see demographic, or colour, or age, or gender. She just sees a role in a show and I think that’s really cool. She’ll talk to anyone, like she got her mechanic to play a role in the show and I think when people see that someone else has seen something in them other than being a mechanic, it’s quite touching. I’ve always loved watching people be surprised at what someone has to offer, other than what you think they’ve got to offer.

You’ve also been busy writing Black Mail. How did this idea come about and what’s the feedback been like so far?

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Blackmail was born out of the idea that I felt like I needed to keep contact with the community that was building around these events. I am reluctantly doing Facebook groups and mailing lists, but it actually didn’t really feel authentic. I think what’s more authentic is keeping in touch by something that was more tactile in the same way that the events are a contact experience. So I thought “hey I’m going to do a postal mailing list” and my business brain was like “that’s a really stupid idea, that sounds like a lot of effort.” But I don’t personally respond to mailing lists, they just go to junk mail for me and I thought I would read a letter. I think the mystery behind receiving something in your post box that’s pretty, and thoughtful, and a nice collection of things, it’s coming at odds with the digital consumption we’re doing every day. I think we’ve got enough digital forms, so people are responding really well to it. The people who do really engage with it, really engage with it.

I feel I’ve found a happy relationship with social media that I’ve used it, in a way to build a community but once you’re there, it’s all about who you are as a real person, as a three dimensional, living breathing human being.
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One thing that I’m quietly really warmed by is that up here (same with Sydney), it’s just so ‘social media culture’ and it’s a love-hate thing. I certainly have used it to start and get a community built, but I love that when you actually come on a night of a circle or an event, there’s a lot of people in a normal or digital context and it’s a bit of ‘who’s who’ situation, but no one knows and it doesn’t matter because everyone has to bring a gift and everyone has to do the opening. I feel I’ve found a happy relationship with social media that I’ve used it in a way to build a community but once you’re there, it’s all about who you are as a real person as a three dimensional, living breathing human being. I think that’s a real win for community, that in the end, the real version of you will trump the digital version. I think it will put everyone on an equal footing, that’s one thing I get really excited about.

Also, so many people hang out after the events and I hear about people catching up after the event and that’s exactly the purpose in action, that’s what it’s about. I’d like to work on opening the demographic, as I’m aware that the demographic is of a particular story and I’d love to open it up a bit more. I’m really conscious of bringing men into the equation. Every single circle we’ve done now we’ve had at least two men in the circle. But even the age, demographic and culture I’d like to find ways to blow that open a little more.

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What’s the vision for Anamundi Studio over the next 12 months?

It feels like my ordinary answer to that would be I 100% have a plan, but I actually feel like it is maybe more going with the flow. I think I never expected what’s come up to happen so quickly. All the ideas for plant based dinners and cultural workshops and these kind of things, they were three year goals and I’ve been here seven and a half months and I would say that 9/10 ideas I’ve had, have already happened or are going to happen at the end of the year. So I think I underestimated how fast things could happen up here. But at the same time, I want to put the break on, I don’t want to oversaturate it and I kind of feel I’m happy to be a little bit more surprised about what else might come up, because I’ve ticked my boxes and now I’ve got the luxury of sitting back and seeing what comes.

Aesop have announced they'll be using 97% post-consumer recycled PET plastic in early 2019

I thought going plastic free meant I couldn’t use my favourite Aesop sunscreen anymore, but I was wrong!

I adore Aesop, I love the packaging, the way it smells and the way it works. I discovered their mint flavoured sunscreen and their deodorant spray with vetiver root and coriander seed last year, both of which worked really well. These products are on the higher price point, but most natural sunscreens are around the 30-40 dollar mark, which is how I justified the spend. The deodorant also lasted me about 6 months and kept me smell free unlike other natural deodorants.

In an effort to continue using these beautiful smelling products, I decided to jump on their site and ask the little chat box lady ‘Grace,’ if they use post consumer plastic and to my delight, this is what she said:

“Aesop is committed to reducing the environmental impact of our packaging, and we minimise the use of outer cartons on our products and our preference is to package our products in glass, aluminium or PET (which is the most recyclable type of plastic). Regarding post-consumer plastic, we are aiming to introduce 97% post-consumer recycled PET in our product packaging in early 2019, with around 81% of our 500ml bottles and 100% of our spray deodorant bottles to be made from 97% post-consumer recycled PET.”

So there you have it! In 2019, Aesop will officially be okay to use for those of us that care for the environment. That’s only a few months away now too.

If you’re finding the plastic free life to be void of the nice quality things you used to use, I’m releasing a guide very soon with all my favourite eco-conscious brands, who also hold active ingredients high on their list of values.

Personally, I find the plastic free skincare brands out there to be a bit too ‘earthy’ and lacking in the ingredients that I look for, say Hyalauronic acid moisturisers, or vitamin C cleansers.

Anyway, if you want to be notified when the guide is released, add your email below and I’ll send one to your inbox. I don’t like unwarranted pointless spam either, so at most I’ll send a quarterly newsletter and you can opt out if you get sick of hearing from me.

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the pitfalls of a shampoo bar

For those that saw my review of the Voi shampoo bar, here’s a slightly anticlimactic update:

It straight out ruined my hair.

Even months after I stopped using it, my hair formed waxy dreadlocks at the nape of my neck that took me back to the old days, when mum tackled my knotty pre-schooler locks with a strawberry scented de-tangler spray and a fine tooth comb (agony). Even now, after using nasty deep cleansing shampoo as a short term solution, my hair’s not quite the same. As someone who always had silky hair it feels a lot drier and still more prone to knots.

As you probably gathered, I wouldn’t recommend this solution and truth be told, since my hair is still on the mend, I’ve appointed a couple more plastic bottles of shampoo until I come across a great plastic-free solution. Finding genuinely good alternatives has been my biggest challenge since going plastic free and it’s something I think it’s important to be transparent about, because I don’t want to go recommending things to people that simply don’t work. But as a newly mainstream movement, it’ll take time for better options to become available… and I’ll make sure you know when they do!

If anyone out there has found the perfect solution please comment, I’m all ears!

the hemp revolution // a conversation with the hemp temple

Meet Brittany, Isabella and Anna, the clever and conscious minds behind Byron Bay label, The Hemp Temple. One of the few clothing brands around exclusively using hemp, they design timeless basics for really living in and intended to last beyond drifting trends. The way they operate their business contributes to the growing movement towards a circular economy in which waste, resources, emissions and energy leakage are reduced. As one of the biggest strains on the environment, the fashion industry is in need of a real shift, along with our individual relationships towards buying clothes. Standing as a potential hero that can undo some damage, hemp might offer an all-encompassing solution.

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I learned so many amazing facts about hemp during our chat, was inspired by their commitment to stay authentic in business and also had a good giggle hearing about a the Moroccan romance that apparently went AWOL. Aspiring eco-preneurs will get a lot out of this conversation, as we dive into The Hemp Temple’s undefined early beginnings and follow the adventures that led them to flourish as they are now.

All your designs are made exclusively using hemp, can you share a little bit about why? 

Isabella: Hemp wasn’t out primary fibre when we set everything up. We were mainly using cotton because hemp wasn’t available and we didn’t know much about it. When we came back from setting up our maker and travelling, we started to learn more about the fashion industry and we watched the true cost and learned about how to be sustainable in an unsustainable industry, and the only avenue was really hemp. So we were pestering out maker saying “please find hemp, please find hemp” and he sent us this little sample of hemp. From there we changed all of our designs into hemp and learned more as we went on. If you want to compare it to cotton, because cotton is the primary fibre that the industry uses, it uses less than half of the amount of water that cotton.

Brittany: If any water in some cases.

Isabella: Cotton uses heaps of pesticides because it attracts all the bugs, so pretty much any cotton you’re buying unless you’re buying organic cotton is covered in chemicals, which absorbs directly into your skin. People don’t know how bad it is to wear everything you wear, unless it’s from a sustainable place. Hemp’s really good because you don’t need fungicides, pesticides, herbicides to grow it, and it’s pretty much naturally organic (unless you get a non-organic one), but it grows organic naturally.

So this plant has the potential to revolutionise the way we eat, where we live, the air that we breathe — it’s not just clothing

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Do you guys’ exclusively wear hemp now? 

Isabella: Pretty much.

Brittany: It’s like the organic food of the clothing industry. Hemp also pulls pollution out of the soils and the air. So where there’s been nuclear spillage, they’ll plant hemp to extract it from the atmosphere and the soils. So regarding the pollution on our planet, the more hemp you plant, the more it’s going to actually bring the whole ecosystem back into balance. Hemp’s also used for food and plastic, it’s used for absolutely everything, but it was illegal in the 1800’s in America to not grow hemp. So this plant has the potential to revolutionise the way we eat, where we live, the air that we breathe — it’s not just clothing, if you push this hemp revolution, it’s really going to bring down industries of all these other people, it’s quite a powerful thing.

Anna: The more we learn the more we’re mind-blown.

Isabella: And you can create a kind of biofuel and way more paper than trees can produce, so it can potentially positively affect the deforestation that’s happening. 

Britt: In one acre of hemp paper you can save 4 billion trees. That’s over a ten year process, but it’s just crazy. It grows 6 feet in three weeks.

So it’s like the bamboo of the fashion industry?

Brittany: Of every industry.

Isabella: Of every industry really. Like plastic when you think about how bad plastic is, hemp plastic can be biodegradable and take over pretty much but it’s like this blooming industry that hasn’t taken off.

Anna: it’s because there was a stigma around it with cannabis and it was illegal for so long.

Brittany: It’s like the antidote of pollution.

And you mentioned the fibres resonate?

Anna: It has the same vibration as our skin. So you know with some clothing you find that it’s static. For example, if it’s polyester or something, it doesn’t really work with your skin — but hemp, because it’s the same electromagnetic field as our skin it feels so good to wear. 

I was curious why you guys did the rebrand because you guys were Friday Hut Road before, so what led to that?

Brittany: So Friday Hut Road started as the three of us getting together and wanting to change the world. We’d watched documentaries and we were like “oh my god we need to do something with our lives.” So we travelled around the world looking for pieces of vintage clothing and vintage jewellery and selling them online and then it just slowly evolved into this over a period of three years. So Friday Hut Road never really knew what it was, it was just the three of us wanting change. And finally we stumbled across the maker, with these beautiful basics and then hemp and we were like “well this is what we are, our intention was to save the world and this is how we’re going to do it.” So we were like “let’s just rebirth as The Hemp Temple so we know what we are, the world knows what we are, and we can really exert our energy on this path in the fashion industry that’s the second biggest polluter in the world.” We all wanted to be artists and writers and change the world that way, but we were like “this is the way we’re actually going to do it.”

In collaboration with artist Fillipa Edghill - @fillipaedgehill

In collaboration with artist Fillipa Edghill - @fillipaedgehill

It’s interesting that the concept came first and the product came second. You’re a writer Isabella, and I’ve seen that you guys are all pretty creative. Back when you were still Friday Hut Road you seemed to be more broad in discipline. What was Friday Hut Road back then?

It started as a blog with this innate feeling of not agreeing with the world and then it kind of evolved into. 

Anna: It was travelling and looking for vintage pieces but then clothing kind of came into it because we were like “we have this idea of being different and so we want to be able to dress people and have them feel it too, so it was like the ‘clothing of the revolutionaries’ is what we decided to start it as, but that was before we even knew about hemp and now we’re like “it actually is the clothing of the revolutionaries.” So we kind of evolved into it. But we were also doing crystals and oracle cards and this expansive thing that we were a bit confused about for a time there.

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That element still seems to be a part of your brand. You’re selling oracle cards here [at the shop], so how does that all tie into the brand?

We all studied Reiki with our Reiki master and really explored that avenue of life and then realised that we needed to get grounded in what we were doing, so we kind of put that to the side and focused on the business. and then the spiritual side of things just starts to come innately. It’s not like a forced preaching kind of movement, it’s just more of a natural — it’s like okay “what part of this world is naturally our essence, and what’s business” — so yeah it’s still here to fill the shelves but our main focus is the clothes.

Isabella: It’s like when we figured out how powerful hemp is, we really wanted to make it accessible to as many people we can. So that’s really a process of destigmatising hemp as not being associated with cannabis. We also want to destigmatise our philosophy of connectedness and being a part of nature to become really accessible. On the other hand, for the common person who doesn’t know about that can come in and feel comfortable knowing that what they’re wearing is still part of that aspect of what the business is, but they don’t have to know.

Brittany: Yeah, like we’re not hippy’s, and hippy’s don’t just wear hemp, it’s for every single person in the world to feel good. I mentioned that it’s kind of sacred responsibility. Like the sacredness and the responsibility came together and birthed the hemp temple.

I like that, because I think it’s grounded to be like “we just want to be as accessible as possible” and not really about preaching anything, you just are that, that’s who you are — and that’s filtered through a little bit in what you do. You guys also talked about travel and how that revolutionised everything for you. Is there anything that you wanted to mention about your journey and maybe what that did for your brand?

Isabella: After starting off with the blog, we decided “let’s do a business.” I was living overseas and the girls went to Bali and made a range of overalls and that was our first product. We were selling just four different styles of overalls and trying to get them out there, but also not having a firm foundation of what we were yet, but they were still really amazing and we were really excited. Then we met up on our travels and had the intention to find amazing vintage pieces and authentic stories behind products, but because we were also transforming and going through so much at the same time, it was always a thought that rather than a physical manifestation and finding a brand it was more like this energy of what is this business going to be and that was simultaneously transforming as we were transforming. We ended up in Morocco, and almost started a factory there, but through a series of messages and mishaps…

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I love that, messages and mishaps… 

Brittany: … I had a Moroccan lover that went totally AWOL and we had to escape Morocco and leave fabrics and samples behind and get a flight to India and get out of there really quick before it went really bad.

Anna: And India kind of cemented the whole business thing. We met this man in India, he’s a tailor and he makes beautiful men’s clothing. He said to us that he wasn’t working with anyone else, he just had this little shop in India and one other business in Italy and he said “if you girls run, I’ll run with you” and that was so beautiful and we were like “okay this is it,” so India was like the cement. When we asked him for hemp, we weren’t able to travel yet because we were doing all of our business here (in Byron) and he found it, but it was Nepalese, so that was the driving force to go to Nepal and go to the roots.

For what reason is Nepal the roots of hemp? 

Anna: That’s where it grows abundantly and they’re using it to make the fabric. We can’t do it in Australia yet, just because it’s been illegal for so long that they got rid of all the technology to turn it into fabric. 

Brittany: You can’t produce hemp fabric here in Australia yet.

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At one point you mentioned it was illegal not to grow hemp, but now it’s been illegal to grow hemp. Do you know why?

Brittany: The cotton industry. There’s a lot of politics behind it. The big dogs in the cotton industry paid for campaigns and advertising to make it illegal and then you had Egyptian cotton and they wanted to be exclusively cotton. So there’s a lot of politics behind it because the power of it will just explode and all those big companies will be affected.

What’s been going on business wise, have you had a lot of interest since you’ve done the rebrand. I think you mentioned since you clarified your brand that things have upped a level.

Isabella: Yeah, there’s a lot that comes when you simplify things. Since we moved here (to Byron) really, it’s just kind of kicked off. I think because our brand was originally called Friday Hut Road, we moved back to Friday Hut Road and opened a place… 

Friday Hut Road is in Sydney?

Isabella: Friday Hut Road is here [in Byron Bay].

Brittany: So my auntie and uncle live on Friday Hut Road. So I started the blog when I was 19 and studying creative writing out at Lismore at the university there. That’s where it was named and came to fruition. We ended up moving back here and living on their property again — all of us. So it was really crazy. People see the sign and come in just to see it, because Friday Hut Road is such a long road and so well known in the area that you just get people coming in that live on it which has been epic.” 

So that’s why the signs still up?

Brittany: Yeah, but I think we’re going to close the shop this month and re open when we get back from Nepal.

Isabella: Or just go online.

Anna: and maybe start wholesaling because we haven’t been able to put ourselves in shops because we haven’t had the supply. But we’re hoping that after Nepal we’ll be able to expand and work with other shops and stuff like that.

Isabella: Cos this is primarily and office space really and it just kind of happened to be a shop because Britt said “we’re opening a shop”

Brittany: on Instagram. 

Isabella: most of our sales are online anyway.

I think for the sustainable vision, the simpler it is, the more accessible it is to more people. What we want we want to do as part of the vision is get hemp out there to as many people as we can and so try and make things that can be worn to all different sizes.

How did you actually end up here in Byron, what made you decide to move from Sydney?

Brittany: The lifestyle up here. The food, seriously.  

Isabella: We came on a holiday here and we were sitting at Santos Organics looking at posters on the wall that were saying “do this class and do that class,” and we were just like “I don’t understand why we don’t’ live here,” it’s just so who we are compared to where we were living. So we came home and sat on the kitchen floor and were like, “let’s move.”

Brittany: It was also that, we were doing markets at the time and a market in Sydney can be between 100 and 180 dollars and we asked how much the markets stalls are in Byron and they were like “$35” and I was like “We’re moving!”

A market friendly place then

Anna: Yeah the community runs on the markets, there are so many markets that just bring people together and so it’s really nice

I want to talk about your designs, I find your clothes pretty minimal and a little bit rustic and I was wondering what your thought process was behind the range.

Isabella: Well because we collaborate on the designs together, I’d say that maybe Anna’s got more of the beauty side of it and I’d like it to be as accessible as possible, because I think for the sustainable vision, the simpler it is, the more accessible it is to more people. What we want we want to do as part of the vision is get hemp out there to as many people as we can and so try and make things that can be worn to all different sizes, like a free sized top and a free sized skirt for women and basic colours so a lot of people can have access to them. That was our base, but now we’re exploring different styles and colours.

Anna: It’s the accessibility again. We want everybody to be able to wear hemp.

Brittany: And responding to the need. We saw straight away what people wanted. It was the wraps and the high waisted tops that you can wear with different things. Really applying our styles to a more voluptuous female body and people are like “yes, you design for women” you know, not little girls with no hips — it’s really bringing back that beauty of the woman and also we really want to push the men. Men love our shirts. One of our best sellers is the men’s ‘Ravi shirt.’ It’s like the middle road, you don’t have to look like a hippy to wear hemp.

Anna: It’s interesting because before we started our own brand, my inspiration has definitely been brands like mambo that have a real edge and amazing prints and stuff like that and so to go totally the opposite of that is interesting. But it’s just the knowledge of the industry and I don’t want to create something that people will get over. We want it to be in their cupboard for years, so that it’s not just thrown out and making them want to buy new things all the time — it’s something you can wear on and on and love it. 

Are there lots of people already doing basics in hemp?

Isabella: Not at the moment.

Anna: There’s a lot of people doing basics, but not in hemp. 

Isabella: I feel like this year everything hemp will start kicking off, I think it’s starting to catch.

Brittany: It’s like a little bit of a gold rush, but a hemp rush — it’s full on, we’re having people reaching out to us and they can see what they’re doing is accessible to everyone and is destigmatising it (hemp) by not even intentionally destigmatising it, but by just being ourselves.  

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Totally, just by producing accessible clothing

Anna: Yeah, there’s a few hemp brands with men’s stuff, but really not many with women’s. But we still want to do lots of men clothes.

It’s kind of got the linen vibe that everyone’s getting around at the moment

All: Yeah, it does

I think the future of hemp is going to be huge because you can access all those different styles of it, but I think all those bigger brands aren’t just switching over because they’re already established and it’s more expensive.

So, is hemp easy to work with?

Brittany: Yeah, because our hemp is woven, we have come across a few bumps in the road regarding the stitching and the seams and things. That’s way we want to get to Nepal so we can find a fabric that we can produce and not have to worry about that stuff. Hemp is really seasonal as well, so we started with a really fine hemp and then it went and we based our whole brand on that hemp fabric and then it changed. We had to go with the thicker hemp which has worked beautifully, so it’s interesting, because it’s not fully there in the industry, we’ve really had to work with hemp, not hemp work with us, so that’s also a factor that comes into making our clothing. We also can’t really have many buttons, it’s interesting, it’s pretty difficult. 

Where do you see the future of hemp in fashion?

Isabella: I think not being there for the whole design process as well in India has been part of the difficulty of working with hemp but recently we were shown a full work book of all these samples of hemp — from hemp corduroy, hemp denim and every kind of fabric you could imagine in hemp and I don’t think those fabrics would be difficult to work with — but our fabric is loosely woven and soft so I think that’s why we find more difficulties.

Anna: But I think the future of hemp is going to be huge because you can access all those different styles of it, but I think all those bigger brands aren’t just switching over because they’re already established and it’s more expensive.

Brittany: So we want every single clothing that’s new to be produced with hemp. Like this isn’t just exclusive to us, this is like “every brand, get on hemp.” There’s no reason for them not to. You can do any fabric in hemp. But currently we feel like we’re the underdogs of the fashion industry. 

 

This Is The Price We Pay For Closing Off Our Hearts

[Originally published on Thought Catalog]

An open heart is our greatest strength and it’s been written and re-written for as long as human’s have been on this earth.

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Rumi said it, in the 11th century when he described the importance of keeping our heart open after it breaks, instead of protecting it for future encounters:

“You have to keep breaking your heart until it opens”

The Dalai Lama described it as an infinite resource;

“A heart full of love and compassion is the main source of inner strength, willpower, happiness and mental tranquility.”

“An open heart is an open mind.”

Brenee Brown gave it a different name in her talk on venerability.

“Most people believe venerability is weakness, but really venerability is courage.”

But the clearest, simplest, argument I found for the importance of keeping your heart open at all times was in a book I read recently, called The Untethered Soul by Michael Singer.

“By closing your heart, you are not really protecting yourself from anything, you are just cutting off your source of energy and locking yourself inside.”

It was a timely recommendation I received while working in Sri Lanka, because it this country was teaching me something I hadn’t grasped before; the power of the heart.

The locals inspired me with their capacity for generosity. There was no sense of individuality, it was always “we,” and every expat I met reported the same thing. Strangers on the train and tuk tuk drivers would feed me chocolate and chickpea snacks, I was invited into their family home for dinner, treated to rice and curry from strangers on the top of a mountain and tea from taxi drivers. The biggest thing that struck me was that their goodbyes were as heartfelt and venerable as if they were old friends; the locals I’d met were unafraid to show that they cared, even if they didn’t know when they’d see you again. Their loving culture was the perfect backdrop to reinforce something I’d began to notice before I arrived. Although a broken heart is often associated with a bad thing, after I experienced it, I genuinely felt like I opened up a greater capacity to empathize and feel love and kindness.

Singer gives so many convincing arguments for why it’s important not to close our heart. One being, that it’s energy giving. That same fulfilled energy that keeps us going without needing to eat or sleep when we’re in love, is a side effect of a temporarily open heart. As a yogi, I’ve learned to call it the heart chakra. The problem is, we only reserve it for few people in our lives, but Singer argues we can always be this open and as a result:

“You get for free what everybody else is struggling for: love, enthusiasm, excitement, and energy. You simply realize that defining what you need in order to stay open actually ends up limiting you. If you make lists of how the world must be for you to open, you have limited your openness to those conditions. Better to be open no matter what.”

He argues the only reason we don’t feel this energy all the time it because our knee jerk reaction is to protect and block it by closing our heart and mind in situations where we feel threatened. The side effect of this is we feel low energy and unmotivated.

“The most important thing in life is your inner energy. If you’re always tired and never enthused, then life is no fun. But if you’re always inspired and filled with energy, then every minute of every day is an exciting experience. Learn to work with these things.”

In that space of love-filled high energy, we have greater reserves and purpose behind what we do. I’ve found the best way to cultivate this, is first practicing unconditional kindness towards myself. From this space I feel nurtured enough to share that energy outwards.

I began to try and encounter everyone with the same love I’d give to my family.

If a driver tried to charge more than what we agreed on, in the past I might have closed off to him and tried to defend myself, but this time, with an open heart I tried to imagine where he was coming from and why. The result of this was not an argument, but a pleasant exchange and a compromise where instead of antagonise and defend, I tried to make him feel understood. I could tell this took them by surprise, in a situation where they might’ve expected or been accustomed to an argument with a tourist. The outcome was most often a compromise, but if it wasn’t, I was okay with that too.

This is one minor example of a powerful practice that I’ve tried to continue in all situations and have since felt a huge improvement on my sense of peace, wellbeing, my relationships and my relationship with myself. I became more interested in understanding people than being understood, because I already knew what I stood for was enough, because it was based on love.

5 ethical, sustainable (and comfy) underwear brands

While Instagram has its downsides, it’s given ethical designers an amazing platform to be discovered, just as I have with the brands below. Labels like Susu Intimates and Me Undies are not only ethical, but redefining what it means to be comfortable. The rise of the bralette was life changing for me (as I’m sure it was for many women out there), and I’m so glad there’s more brands are emerging that value comfort over underwire and ridiculous padding. Here’s five of those such brands:

Me Undies

I first heard of Me Undies on the Time Ferris Podcast and then on Rich Roll’s podcast and possibly Joe Rogan’s too (I forget). Either way, this brand seemed to be genuinely loved by the three of them and while I admit I haven’t tried the myself, their popularity is there for a reason — they must really be as comfortable as their claims. Me Undies use a carbon neutral process to create their underwear, converting sustainably harvested beechwood pulp into fibres and capturing nasty excess chemicals in the process.

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Hara the Label

Made in Australia, Hara the Label dye their soft comfy intimates with plants. From earthy oranges, to powder blue — their dreamy range is shipped worldwide, with profits from every purchase being donated to the EJFoundation so they can continue save the world with one of their many projects, from protecting our oceans and calling for the end of toxic pesticides.

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Pansy Co

Crafted with organic cotton in California, Pansy Co create a contemporary yet nostalgic range of underwear that are as comfortable as they are pretty. Milled domestically, their underwear is designed and sewn ethically in California a mere 15-minute drive from the founder’s apartment.

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Nude the Label

Offering basic underwear for every day, Nude the Label craft their intimates with comfort and simplicity at the top of mind. Ethically made in Spain, you’ll find their thoughtfully put-together bralettes and underwear in stone fruit and mulberry hues.

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Susu Intimates

While a lot of ethical brands are doing the opaque cotton thing at the moment, Susu Intimates keep it slightly sexier (but still comfy), with their sheer take on a simple black or white bralette.

 

 

 

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True self-love // an interview with Silke Dewulf

Meet the lovely Silke Dewulf, a London based yoga teacher and self-love coach, whose dreamy images and words of wisdom beyond her years enchant thousands of people all over the world. Silke also shares her plastic free journey on Instagram and Youtube, along with her minimalist inspired lifestyle. I don’t remember how, but I stumbled upon Silke's Youtube channel while living in London a year ago, and everything she wrote resonated with me immediately. I love how real she is and really admire her courage to share in such a venerable way. Below I have an inspiring chat to Silke about her plastic free journey, the benefits of decluttering and what it really means to love yourself. 

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Hi Silke, thanks so much for chatting to us today — we want to start by asking what sparked your journey towards this lifestyle of minimalism?

Hi Ella, thank you for having me on the blog today. My minimalism journey started back in 2015 when I moved houses. Going through my wardrobe and cabinets really made me realise how many things I was holding onto that I hadn’t used in years. So that’s when I first started decluttering and letting go of items that no longer added any value to my life. Since then I have moved houses three more times and each of them was a beautiful opportunity to re-assess what I no longer needed.

What do you feel have been the biggest benefits of incorporating a more minimalistic approach to living?

For myself it creates a sense of lightness and freedom. All the things I own right now are things I truly love and use. I also find that it helped me ease ‘decision anxiety’, that feeling you get because you have too many options to choose from. 

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You recently documented your plastic free July journey on Instagram. What was the biggest challenge for that month?

The biggest challenge for me was finding certain produce items packaged-free. I shop already about 80% plastic free but there are still those few items that no store around London seems to carry plastic free. Items like, cucumbers, berries, lettuce, kale, herbs, … During that month I decided to check a local small green grocer, and I got lucky! I was able to find cucumbers, kales and herbs package-free. Still no luck on the lettuce and berries but I dream of one day owning a plot of land out in nature and growing my own crops. 

It can be hard to stay motivated, especially when it's so much more convenient to buy plastic. What helped you stay motivated the entire month?

Oh I feel you! I have moments where I feel absolutely frustrated by the fact that it’s hard to be completely plastic-free. I have come to terms with the fact that for now I won’t be able to be 100% zero waste and plastic free. I definitely had to let go of my perfectionism and just try to make the best decisions I possibly can. What keeps me motivated is replaying the image of beaches full of plastic and cute little turtles getting stuck in plastic bags. Those things just pull on my heart strings. Knowing that me as a small individual can influence the amount of plastic that gets littered just by making smarter decisions keeps me going. I think a lot of people have forgotten how powerful individual decisions are. Sometimes we forget that our decisions can impact and inspire other people’s decisions and that’s when moment is built. But we have to start with ourselves, to be able to create that ripple effect.

Have you changed any other new habits since Plastic Free July? If so, what were they?

Yes, I started going to a green grocer down the road for some of the items I couldn’t find plastic free in the grocery store I usually go to. However, since then I moved cities and will have to start the hunt for good plastic free options all over again. 

What are have been your favourite plastic free finds so far?

I went to a bulk store called The Source Bulk Foods close to where I used to live in London and they sold unpackaged spirulina, wheatgrass powder and two different kinds of plant protein powders! How amazing is that? That store probably has the biggest range of bulk items I have ever seen.

And your best tips for reducing plastic and waste? 

I think its good to start with small steps. Implement those until that they are part of your routine and then build on that. For example if you always get a take-away coffee on your way to work, bring a re-usable coffee cup next time. Most places will even give you a discount for that. If most of your plastic consumption happens when buying groceries, see if you can find any of those items unpacked next time. A lot of grocery stores will have certain fruits and veggies unpackaged, like bananas, apples, peaches, mushrooms, bell peppers, courgettes, broccoli, … Go for those instead of the ones wrapped in plastic. Also consider making your own food and bringing it to work or school with you in a re-usable container instead of getting take-out or food delivery. Not only will you save plastic, you’ll probably also end up making healthier food choices. 

Real self-love is a deep and messy process. It doesn’t require you to spend any money or ‘treat yourself’, it only requires your unwavering attention to your inner world.

Lastly, self-love is a word that's thrown around a lot, but not all people understand how to really embody. As a yoga teacher and self-love coach, I wanted to as you; what is self-love to you, and how do you embody it in your day to day life?

To me self-love means to full embrace every aspect of oneself. I think a lot of people see it more as a surface-level practice of ‘taking me-time’ or getting massages. And while those are absolutely amazing, real self-love is a deep and messy process. It doesn’t require you to spend any money or ‘treat yourself’, it only requires your unwavering attention to your inner world. This translates into my daily life as taking moments to check in with myself to notice how I feel. If I feel upset or anxious I will take some time out of my schedule to simply sit with myself and listen as the emotions come up. It’s like having an intimate conversation with yourself. And the more I talk to the different aspects of myself and find out how they have been hurt in the past, the deeper the unconditional love for all parts of me grows. The funny thing is that the more love I cultivate for myself, the harder it becomes to not love others. You start seeing yourself reflected in so many people around you, and you realise how we’re all going through similar things. Once you have that compassion for yourself it simply over-flows to everyone around you. 

If any of you are interested in how to heal past wounds, I would highly recommend the ‘Completion Process’ by Teal Swan, Her methods have helped me a lot over the years to deepen the relationship to myself and ‘put myself back together’ so to say. And I also base my self-love coaching sessions on her work. She’s an absolute well of wisdom and insight. 

what is plastic free july and how to do it

Originating in Western Australia, Plastic Free July is now a worldwide initiative where over 2 million people and 159 countries participate. The challenge? To go the whole month of July without single-use plastics. That's no takeaway coffee cups, straws, containers or plastic packaging from the supermarket. They say it takes 30 days to develop a habit and the aim of Plastic Free July is to show how easy it can be — all it takes is a little getting used to before it becomes second nature. 

So how do you do Plastic Free July? Here's a few helpful tips, in order of easiest to hardest to make it a breeze...

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  1. Say no to straws — they're kind of superfluous if you think about it. If you really need one, bring a bamboo or metal one with you. 
  2. Say no to cups and bring your own instead — keep it in your car or bag at all times.  
  3. And no to plastic produce bags!! Use mushroom bags for produce at the supermarket. Better yet, take one of these re-usable ones. 
  4. And cling wrap!! Put a plate instead of cling-wrap on top of your food, or store in re-usable glass containers instead.
  5.  When doing groceries, shop at bulk food stores where possible and choose fruit and veg that isn't wrapped in plastic.
  6. Always keep baskets or cotton bags in your car to carry things in. 
  7. Dine in where possible, or bring a stainless lunchbox with you instead! It might feel weird to ask in the beginning, but it'll become normal in time, we promise. 
  8. Bring a re-usable water bottle everywhere you go. Plastic bottles are the worst! 

And that's a wrap kids — we hope it helped! Please comment with any questions and for more inspiration check out more on our Zero Plastic blog.  

 

 

 

7 of our favourite conscious clothing labels

A single cotton T-shirt takes 2,700 litres to make and just last year, The New Daily found a woman in Bangladesh who was paid 35 cents an hour to manufacture clothes for Target and H&M. Investing in sustainable brands that prioritise fair trade and sustainable practices is a way to stand against low paid workers who sleep on dirt floors, toxic dyes in our clothes and unsustainable practices that tax the environment. 

These seven ethical brands are mindful about their practices and encourage you to purchase less, but purchase better quality items that you'll love and live in for years to come.  

Arthur

Named in recognition of his father who was a practicing Buddhist, Arthur continually produce divine collections of minimalistic clothing, cut from linen and cotton. Suited for every day living, Arthur do a great easy culotte and feminine but casual jumpsuits that you'll never want to take off (I live in mine). 

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Arnhem

Using ocean plastics to create some of their clothes and biodegradable natural materials like Tencel (made from wood pulp), Arnhem ethically audit their factories to make sure their workers are treated fairly. The result is a dreamy range of bright vintage floral prints, throw-on dresses, as well as edgy and classic bohemian threads that'll put you in a floaty and carefree holiday mindset like nothing else. 

The Hemp Temple

The three conscious and creative minds behind The Hemp Temple produce their feminine range of easy wardrobe staples entirely out of hemp. It’s the fastest growing and most sustainable fibre in the world, needing little water to grow and being naturally organic and mould resistant, it's both kind on your skin and the environment.

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Rowie The Label

Yet another incredible label from the crystal shores of Byron Bay; Rowie is synonymous with simplistic on-trend clothing that’s easy to wear and made with top quality fabric. Everything from their silk to their cotton knits feels sturdy and like it’ll last a lifetime in your wardrobe. Rowie posts all their online deliveries in compostable bags and also works closely with Riza the manager of their small factory in Bali, to make sure the workers are always looked after and treated fairly.

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St Agni

With a vision to create simple luxurious pieces that reflect the beauty and freedom of the Australian lifestyle, Byron Bay based label St Agni have done just that. Their stunning range of clean and easy to wear shoes and clothing is all ethically produced in a small factory in Java.

Yoli & Otis

For lovers of linen and creamy palettes, Yoli & Otis ethically design and manufacture the loveliest wardrobe essentials, that will never date. Their earthy range also extends to clothing for bubs and children’s wear. Using natural-dyed fabric, they avoid the 8000 chemicals ordinarily present in most artificially dyed clothing — making it a particularly safe option for little one's to wear. 

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Harly Jae

With the hashtag #slowfashion bannered across their website, Harly Jae are a Vancouver based and produced fashion label. Inspired by vintage pieces that have remained popular for years, Harly Jae delivers their reliable wardrobe staples in ethical packaging.

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your ultimate guide to a beautiful plastic free kitchen

It might seem overwhelming at first, but turning your kitchen into a plastic-free zone is easier than you think. The trick is to take it slow and swap a habit every fortnight or so. You've already got a head start seeing as there's lots of ceramics, glass, wood and steel already present in the kitchen. With a little awareness, swapping your remaining plastic items like shopping bags, cling-wrap, storage and plastic food packaging is a no brainer and super rewarding. No more overwhelming and ugly brand packaging, just beautiful jars of nourishing whole foods that make the whole experience of cooking so much more enjoyable. 

Here's what you need to replace:

grocery shopping:

Local supermarkets are filled with plastic and unnecessary packaging. Luckily, bulk whole food stores and farmers markets are growing steadily in numbers. Bulk whole food stores like The Source, also sell reusable produce bags so you don't have to go hunting for them. 

baskets and produce bags

Always keep baskets or cotton shopping bags with you. This includes produce bags for storing loose items at the supermarket like grains, flour, and spinach. Onya do some great ones at an affordable price, but if you prefer canvas or muslin, try these by Leafico. Otherwise, your local bulk foods store should sell them too, but of course online will likely be the cheaper option!

French market baskets

French market baskets

African market basket from Oxfam (Fits a surprising amount of things inside and very durable with heavy items)

African market basket from Oxfam (Fits a surprising amount of things inside and very durable with heavy items)

Produce bags (on left) for fruit, veg and grains

Produce bags (on left) for fruit, veg and grains

takeaway food

For takeaway cups of coffee, I love using my glass KeepCup, but if you don't want something as heavy as glass try these double walled stainless steel one's by Forestry Labs come with a handle and keep your coffee hot for longer. For smoothies, try Kleen Kanteen's range of larger cups and for food, try to avoid getting takeaway, but if you have to — use a storage container like this one from Cal Tiffin.

Double walled cup by Forestry Labs to keep coffee and tea warm for longer!

Double walled cup by Forestry Labs to keep coffee and tea warm for longer!

Keep Cups

Keep Cups

storage:

cling wrap

There's no need for cling wrap with so many other alternatives available that do the exact same job and these days, they're much easier to find in your local bulk foods shop for example. Biome has a huge selection of beeswax wraps in patterns and plain colours that you can buy online. They can be used 6-12 months and work just like cling wrap. Use them for sandwiches or to keep food fresh in the fridge. 

 

DIY beeswax food wraps

DIY beeswax food wraps

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food storage

Saving jars from pesto, tomato sauce, or preserves is a great and cost-effective way to store food, but if you're after something with a little more personality, check out these incredible Danish and Japanese slick storage solutions by Vincent Van Duysen and Kiyokazu Tsuda/Yoshiyuki Kato. 

 

 

Vincent Van Duysen

Vincent Van Duysen

Kiyokazu Tsuda/Yoshiyuki Kato

Kiyokazu Tsuda/Yoshiyuki Kato

Upcycled glass jars

Upcycled glass jars

food preparation:

Coffee

Nespresso coffee pods take 150-500 years to break down. They're polluting our oceans and are found washed up on remote beaches. Swap the pod machine for a beautiful ceramic filter coffee system like the one below by Yonobi Studio, an espresso machine, Moka Italian coffee pot, or a French Press. There's so many alternatives that make superior coffee to the lowly and wasteful Nespresso Machine. George Clooney we love you, but you've got some explaining to do. 

Yonobi Studio filter coffee set

Yonobi Studio filter coffee set

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Salt and Pepper

These bad boys by MENU can be refilled with rock salt and peppercorns for plastic-free grinding.

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cleaning

dustpan and funnel

There'll be a separate post coming up for zero-plastic/natural cleaning, but we couldn't go past this cute sweeper and funnel by Polish designer Jan Kochanski. It's innovative, sleek and made from nothing but natural materials. 

 

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dish washing

For kitchen cleaning, there's plenty of alternatives including wooden scrubbing brushes, copper scourers, twine or coconut fibre scrub pads and cotton re-usable dish cloths

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For soap dispensers, we found these beautiful amber glass one's from Rail 19, but if you're a fiend for good design then these one's by Eva Solo or Vipp 9 you'll probably have for life. 

 

 

Vipp 9 soap dispenser for kitchen/bathroom

Vipp 9 soap dispenser for kitchen/bathroom

Evo Solo soap dispenser

Evo Solo soap dispenser

Rail 19 amber glass soap dispenser 

Rail 19 amber glass soap dispenser 

cookware

Notice how most non-stick pans only last a couple of years? If you add up the cost of that over a period of 5-10 years, it'd be a lot more expensive than the price investing in some good copper pans. Copper pans don't stick either. Sticking occurs when heat is unevenly distributed in the pan, but copper's ability to conduct heat evenly fixes this problem and rarely sticks to food. While it's a big investment (between 400-600 for a single pan), they're the kind of things that your grandchildren will pass on to theirs.

Brands like Mauviel and Falk sell the real deal, but for something a little less pricey these one's by Chasseur Escoffier aren't much more expensive than a good non-stick pan. For slow-cooking and pots, investing in one good all-rounder Le Creuset cast-iron pot will again, last a lifetime. Westinghouse also do them at about half the price tag. No more re-buying crappy pans with toxic non-stick chemicals every 2 years — just good old school cooking. 

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how to journal for creativity and clarity: 3 writing prompts to help you find balance

Writing thoughts to paper is good for many things. It can clarify confusion, inspire, or help us manifest what we want in life. It's been my natural outlet for over 10 years and each time I write is different, but it's always exactly what I need at the time. Whether it's a to-do list, a 5-year plan, or my internal dialogue, I've found it to be a wonderful tool. 

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I heard once that a particular Australian aboriginal dialect uses the same word 'Dadirri' for both a tangled fishing line and the mind. They believe the heart and gut are a more accurate system to navigate life with. Writing brings thoughts from the intangible whirling space of the brain, onto physical paper and helps make room for the heart and gut to speak louder. 

Lately, I've found that writing a question at the top of my page can create powerful results. Many people seek tarot readers, therapists and psychics to find clarity these days, but I heard once that all the knowledge and guidance we need is within us and this made a lot of sense to me, seeing as no one knows ourselves as intimately as we do.

I've found that asking the right questions leads to the answers we need. Here are three powerful journal prompts that can help soothe, clarify, or manifest what you want in life. 

Paradise is...

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This journal prompt is designed to flex your visualisation muscle. By visualising life as we'd like it, we can connect to the feeling and vibrate at the same level as if it's already happening. This vibration can open up creativity and ideas that you might action towards manifesting these things into your reality. Rather than saying an abstract statement like, what do I want to manifest? I've found that writing "Paradise is..." at the top of the page and letting thoughts free-flow from there, is an easier way to day-dream. The key here is to be as honest with yourself as possible. You might catch yourself hesitating to admit something onto paper, but these are the biggest gems of insight, so make sure you write it down anyway. 

What do I need to hear right now?

This one is a form of self-soothing for those days where you need a bit of comfort, or to know that everything is going to be okay. While a hug and a chat to someone we trust is a great way to feel better, sometimes our loved one's aren't readily available to help us, or maybe they don't understand the situation properly, or know what to say to make you feel better.

Writing "What do I need to hear right now" at the top of the page is a great way to provide yourself with exactly what you need. You might write something like "I need to hear that everything's going to be okay, that I'm exactly where I need to be and that the right thing is coming my way and will arrive at the perfect time." Think about it, whatever you write is just as real and valid as an opinion from your loved one, but instead, you're giving it to yourself exactly as you needed to hear it. Our inbuilt negativity bias in our brains is a protective mechanism that tends itself towards finding all the ways that something might not work out, so asking this question opens up the expansive part of our mind. If you're going through a tough time, it may also help to read this every morning as a way to help you calm negative thoughts.

Evidence that the universe has my back...

This is a bit of an ongoing practice but a powerful one, especially if you're someone that frequently finds yourself dropping into a victim or negative mentality. Keeping a log like this on your phone is a handy way to accumulate feel-good moments that we easily forget. Since our brains are wired to remember the bad things more often than the good things, it's a great way to even the score. You might right down 'evidence' in the form of simple things like "the man in front of me paid for my coffee today," or something like "I've easily managed to score a few job interviews and an amazing house since living in this new city," or whatever it is that you're doing. Life constantly unfolds in incredible ways, introducing us to the perfect people and situations at the right time. What we focus on expands, so the more we acknowledge these little synchronicities in our life, the more the world returns in more of these cosmic encounters, coincidences and perfect timing.

 

 

 

the truth about plastic free shaving

Never have I ever drawn blood when shaving... until I used a safety razor. That's the plain truth of it unfortunately. You might recall your grandpa with little squares of blood dotted tissue on his freshly shaven jawline — yes, the un-rightly named 'safety' razor is the same old school gizmo he used for his morning shave. 

So why on Earth would we subject ourselves to this kind of Sweeney Todd esque contraption? Because there's a lot of upsides and once you get the hang of it, you should be able to avoid cuts... most of the time. Safety razors are great for the environment (and your wallet) because you keep them forever... but the nature of the sharp single blade with no shock absorbers can leave you with shaving cuts here and there. But don't let this discourage you, I still use mine. If you persevere with these bad boys, eventually you'll get better at it. In fact, if you read this you should technically learn from my mistakes and avoid it altogether. Here's what I learned about using a safety razor:

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1. Lather and re-lather with lots of soap to protect your skin - the razor takes the protective film of soap off, so you'll always want to have a soap bar on hand to keep applying it before going in for a closer shave. 

2. Use on a 30 degree angle — any higher and you will cut yourself. Period. 

3. Let the razor do the work. Apply little to no pressure while shaving. 

4. Throw everything you know about shaving out the window; this is a different ballgame. Standard razors come with shock absorbers, built-in soap pads and multiple razors for a closer shave and admittedly, they are easier to use — but once you've got the hang of a safety razor, it's a little bit like going from a manual to an automatic car; not as easy but people often say they feel more in control of 'at one' with it...(in saying this, I've never driven a manual car). 

5. Don't buy one in a store because they're 60-80 bucks. I got a shiny perfect one from Ebay with two boxes of spare razors for $12 and it's exactly the same as the one's you'll find in a store with a hefty price tag.

6. Don't rush — think of shaving as a new form of meditation with an added incentive. If you lose focus you'll cut yourself, so it's like a forced mindfulness practice. There ya go! 

 

10 luxurious plastic free items for your home

The plastic free movement is gaining momentum with so much social sharing of late, particularly this alarming viral video of a British Diver with a go-pro swimming through a sea of plastic. There's endless bloggers and influencers sharing plastic-free tips, from using jars as storage, to DIY-ing everything and while these are great for the environment, they seem to be void of one thing; luxury.

Let's be clear though, our definition of luxury isn't about needless spending and consumerism, quite the opposite. It’s the kind of thing that your grandma enjoyed back in her day when buying clothing so sturdy they could last a lifetime. We're constantly in search of the most tasteful, ethical and eco-friendly items out there. Funnily enough designers can often be eco-friendly by default, as they tend to favour premium and natural materials like wood and aluminium anyway. Combining form and function, a lot of this stuff doubles as artwork. 

Here’s 10 luxury plastic free staples for your home that your grandma would approve of:

 

Organic Cotton Bedsheets

Synthetic fabrics contain micro plastics that leak into the ocean with each washing cycle. Using organic cotton bedsheets means the crop weren't grown with harmful pesticides, herbicides and insecticides that also seep into and poison our waterways and irritate the skin. We love these one's by my organic sleep.

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Ferm living drupe bottle grinder

Freshly grind spices, salt and pepper with these fancy designer kitchen staples that double as little sculptures. They're made from ashwood and come in six different colours so you can colour coordinate your spices. 

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Menu dustpan

As innovative as it is stylish, this little guy has a funnel to easy dispense all that funky dust you sweep up in the house. These one's from menu are pretty lush and they also come in black. 

 

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Double walled stainless water bottle

They're everywhere and they're overpriced, but these one's by The Source Bulk Foods come at a much friendlier price of $29 for their largest size. 

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Wooden brushes for the bathroom

Whether it's a hair brush, comb, or dry body brush, there's probably a wooden alternative that does exactly the same job. There's so many brands out there now selling plastic-free brushes. We love these one's by Meraki or this one by Vegan Organics.

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Cotton muslin produce bags

There's really no reason to use plastic in the supermarket other than pure forgetfulness. Produce bags are cheap, fold into nothing and can be always kept in your car for the next time you're at the grocer. It's a much nicer experience using these instead of plastic and if you forget yours, don't stress, just grab a few paper mushroom bags to store lose leaves or grains in the meantime. 

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Ginko Walnut Cube Alarm Clock

In the age of iPhone alarms, you're probably wondering why this is on here at all. Well, with studies have shown that electromagnetic radiation from your phone isn't all that great, not to mention the temptation of a phone charging near your bedside might keep you up at night — especially with the blue light it emits. Keeping an alarm clock by your bedside removes the excuse of needing an iPhone by your side overnight and we love this stylish one by Ginko.

 

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Ratio Eight Coffee Maker

This sexy pour over coffee maker also comes in a blonde wood trim and is made with aluminium and borosilicate glass which (for coffee enthusiasts) heats water to the ideal extraction temperature. It supposedly produces the kind of pour over your local barista would make for you, all without leaving your place. 

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Ever Eco Rose Gold Straws

Why have silver when you can have rose gold? These one's from Ever Eco come with a straw cleaner so you can sip hygienically, sustainably and in style.  

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Seagrass storage baskets

Using baskets for storage is a no-brainer because they're cheap, durable and they look beautiful in almost any space. They can be used for everything from a laundry basket, bathroom storage, to pot plants. We love these by Dos Hombre.

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