Life Lessons

If you don't want to hear my horrible clicking video, turn your volume down and just watch. However, you will miss the buzzing bees!

People ask me quite often why I do what I do. Why do you grow lavender? Why do you make soap? And I suppose the simplest answer is because I love what I do. Lavender is my gentle obsession. Always has been. I love everything about it. Everything. So why not do something I love? Soap making allows me a creative outlet I would not otherwise have. I'm not an artist, in the conventional sense of the word. I don't draw or paint very well. I can't sing, or play an instrument. I'm passable at sewing. But I can combine scents and colors, and the magic of alchemy, and create something beautiful and useful. My own form of self-expression that intertwines the things I love to do the most.

One of my favorite essays is by Ralph Waldo Emerson on Self Reliance. So many lessons to be learned by that one essay. So many.

"A man should learn to detect and watch that gleam of light which flashes across his mind from within..."

"To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment."

"The need to create, be creative, is natural. Self expression is part of each of us and we have to quit resisting the natural impulse to express ourselves."

"Nothing can bring you peace but yourself."

And my favorite, "Dismiss the standards of society and follow ones heart. We only have ourselves to answer to in the end."

I feel like this poem by Mary Oliver speaks to my heart, and expresses so much of where I am in life right now. When you get to mid-life, and by mid-life I mean half of a hundred (assuming you will live to a hundred!) certain things become clear. So, when I had to put on my big girl panties and step out into the world of small business and (horror of horrors!) expose myself, I knew that a) I had nothing to lose by trying and everything to gain, b) If I didn't do it soon, I probably was not going to, c) If I failed I still had time to try again.

Despite the huge learning curve of navigating the ins and outs of small business, I knew I didn't want to work for anyone else. I wanted to work for myself. (Fortunately my husband has a job.) More importantly, I knew I wanted to live the last half of my life with purpose, and significance, and no regrets. 

The Journey

       by Mary Oliver

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice--
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
"Mend my life!"
each voice cried.
But you didn't stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do--
determined to save
the only life you could save.

Peace, dear friends. C


Barb said…
Kathy, Love this post, it says exactly what I would say about my business and my obsession with soap and botanicals and goats. I am trying to live my best life now, and enjoying every aspect. We have much in common, I see, as Mary Oliver is my passion. Her poetry inspired me to write poetry also (I am usually a non-fiction writer.) I got my English and Creative Writing degree from Cameron in 2007. We need to talk sometime!
Cathy said…
I would love that Barb! I'll send you a seperate e-mail and we'll find a time to get together!
Katie said…
Was reviewing some of your posts. This one touched a nerve. I know this may sound funny as I am your daughter but I am so very proud of you.

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