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They say the state of a woman's purse is the state of her soul. The purse I carry is relatively small, but like the narrator at the beginning of Aladdin says of his magic lamp: "Do not be fooled by its commonplace appearance - like so many things, it is not what is outside, but what is inside that counts."
This is no ordinary purse.
While the outside is a stylish well-worn camel leather, splotched, sadly, with ink stains from The Unfortunate Pen Incident of 2014, the inside is more Mary-Poppins-carpet-bag in its magical capacity to store things you didn't think would fit. On so many occasions I have expressed a need of some sort, placed an exploratory hand inside this vessel, and emerged with the solution to many practical emergencies. Forgotten chocolate to bypass hangriness. A bandaid for paper cuts that happen mid-streetcar ride because I took my love of voracious reading a little too far. Finger puppets (don't ask). Needle and thread to sew a flimsy summer strap. Randomly and serendipitously, while in IKEA: a tape measure I'd borrowed from a friend and forgotten about.
I also deliberately carry a wee kit full of things that I know I can turn to in emergencies of the soul.
Friends, children I've tended to, and somewhat-wary strangers alike have often experienced me saying: "I have just the thing!" when trouble arises.
My purse will yield all manner of handy concoctions and remedies for the moments of anxiety, worry, concern, heartbreak, nervousness, and loss of grounding we all experience from time to time.
Here's a list of some of the things I always keep with me:
- A piece of rose quartz. It's the stone of self love. It grounds and soothes and has been a favourite touchstone to hold the worries, sadness and scary thoughts at bay.
- Dr. Bach's Flower Rescue Remedy Spray. This stuff is miraculous. Very useful for post-injury, post-trauma, pre-anything-that-makes-your-heart-flutter, and pre-bedtime for kiddos with an affinity for actually jumping off walls or monsters-under-the-bed stories.
- Louise L. Hay's "Heal Your Body A-Z" App. You look up your physical symptom and it tells you its emotional counterpart and gives you an affirmation to invite in a new thought pattern. I can't tell you how many headaches I've ended with asking myself or others: "How are you invalidating yourself right now?" and encouraging the gentle affirming of: "I love and approve of myself. I see myself and what I do with eyes of love. I am safe." It works.
- Sage "Peppermint Halo" Roll-On Wand. A swipe of this onto your temples (or wherever it aches), and the ensuing menthol sensation erases pain. The fact that it somehow smells like chocolate mint ice cream also helps. Also excellent for combating nausea.
- Artisanal sea salt. Now, you might be asking: Sonja, why the HECK do you carry artisanal sea salt with you wherever you go and how does it count as self care?! The answer is that often we are met with less-than-stellar food options - be it in airports, rushed moments, food court choices, or lacklustre leftovers. I treat these little flakes with the utmost respect, as a little goes a long way to elevate the most mundane of meals to something your taste buds might consider remarking upon. You all know me well enough by now that I am passionate about how our relationship to food and the respectful preparation of it is central to our relationship with ourselves. You also know me well enough by now that it will come as no surprise to you that my sea salt is thickly flaked Maldon in a pretty little branded tin with a sliding top. When I whip this tin out, friends roll their eyes and make fun of me, but I simply maintain my steady gaze while lovingly sprinkling these precious flakes on whatever we're eating and these friends LITERALLY EAT THEIR WORDS. Those who love me will note that they also offer this mini tin in a smoked version (*cough* perfect gift *cough*).
- Plantiful "Keep Calm & Roll On" Essential Oil Remedy Roll-On. Full of lavender, chamomile and other blissfully calming scents, this handy wand wipes away distress, grounds me in moments of anxiousness or concern, and is a catch-all antidote to issues large and small. The mere act of taking a moment to put it on, inhale and let the scent reach you, encourages you to snap out of whatever mood you're in, to pay attention to the present, to BREATHE.
We were thrilled to include these Plantiful Remedy Roll-ons in our Self Care Starter Kits for our fall retreat.
Amy Beaith-Johnson, Nurture sponsor and Plantiful's mamma-founder, is kindness and care personified. So are her products.
Her products are infused with attention to detail with respect to the origin of the ingredients used (all natural, organic where possible) and with insight into the indisputable fact that what we choose to put on and in our bodies has a direct effect on our mental and emotional, as well as our physical well-being. I am obsessed (OBSESSED!) with her lip butters, and am an avid convert to her natural deodorants too. You can really feel the love in her products and her branding is stellar - again, attention to detail. It matters.
Here's some beauty shots of the roll-ons (Amy's got a whole pharmacy of remedies available for everything from muscle aches to insomnia!), shot by the talented Sara Monika.
If you're looking to start your own self care section of your purse, get thee to Amy's website to order the one that speaks to you!
You never know when it might come in handy to add a moment of intention to your otherwise busy day. To foster connection with a friend, a colleague, or even a stranger. To bring a breath of groundedness, a small window of presence.
Small steps, intentionally taken are what form the foundation for big growth and it's extra awesome if those small steps smell AMAZING.
I'd love to know - what do you carry in your purse (or bag) for self care? Any recommendations? Send 'em my way! Lord knows if my purse can accidentally lose an umbrella within it, and quite possibly procure Edwardian standing lamps, it has room for more. ;)
p.s. This week we hosted 14 creatives & entrepreneurs around a harvest table for a mini-Nurture pop-up dinner and filmed it for our upcoming Indiegogo campaign to fund startup costs for Nurture: Creative Retreat Centre & Coworking B&B, Inc.
The evening merits a post of its own, but I wanted you to know things are HAPPENING so that we can soon have a permanent spot to host YOU at dinners like this all the time!
We'll be launching the campaign on February 15th and if you'd like to stay updated and get an invite to the launch party in Toronto, please drop your email address into the box to subscribe to our newsletter at the bottom of any of our pages on our website.
Here's a group shot, taken by the inimitable Amber Ellis of Creating Light Studio. I can't WAIT to show you the video magic she's making!!!