When I adopted the Ahimsa (do no harm) philosophy 3 years ago, I had no idea how much it would turn my world upside down.
I began by evaluating my relationships then broadened it to include my relationship with myself, the companies I do business with and my relationship with my mother – the Earth. I realised it’s nearly impossible in the 21st Century not to harm someone even before I’ve had my breakfast. For example – the company I bought my herbal tea from had a beautiful “face” but a black, corporate, greedy heart causing poverty and suffering to communities and deforestation in Sri Lanka. Frankly, I would like to see them change their ways or go out of business, so I did the only thing I could do – I changed supplier.
In 2010 I started making my own herbal decoctions, scrubs and salves from natural plants and oils. This was after I discovered my expensive ‘natural’ beauty products were being tested on animals. I had no idea when I bought them and binned them in disgust. I learned that a company can test their products on animals, wait 2 years and then market their products as “not tested on animals”. What?! The more I researched, the heavier my heart grew.
I began seeking alternatives. I don’t think many people are aware of the many herbs and plants nearing extinction because of the beauty and health industries. I don’t want to have any part in this so I simply switched to small, ethical companies. In 2017 I began sourcing my massage oils from NHR Organics who use only ethically grown, food grade essential oils and herbs. Their oils don’t contain preservatives or emulsifiers and are 100% plant based. Working with the energy of these beautiful oils has greatly enhanced my treatments.
Earlier this year I switched my essential oil supplier to Aqua Oleum (meaning water and oil) which are the raw materials for all their products. In alchemy, the name ‘Aqua Oleum’ symbolically refers to the two seemingly opposed aspects of matter and spirit, which are nevertheless unified within human nature. Based in Gloucestershire, this 3rd generation family run business has a profound respect for nature and the Earth and they belong to the Vegan Society, as well as being a member of the Aromatherapy Trade Association and have satisfied the requirements of the Soil Association Standards for Organic Food and Farming and Regulation. That’s a big mouthful, but what I’m trying to show is that I’m no longer supporting big, greedy, impersonal corporations who bully the ethical ‘little guys’ and plunder the planet in search of the latest trend so that they can push consumerism. Petitions and protests don’t seem to accomplish much, but if we all switched to local ethical businesses what a difference that would make virtually overnight.
In 2018 I began offering facials using Tropic natural plant skincare. Tropic Founder, Susie Ma’s story really resonates with me. Only ethically sourced tropical plants are used to produce Tropic’s freshly made beauty products which are then shipped straight from their Beauty Kitchens in Surrey to the customer – so no standing around in warehouses and therefore no need for nasty chemicals.
TROPIC is a certified CARBON NEUTRAL company, and as well as being VEGAN and GLUTEN FREE, their products are NEVER TESTED ON ANIMALS. They have won the Good Shopping Guide award as an ETHICAL COMPANY. In fact, Tropic has won over 100 awards. Not bad for a 15 year old who started out in 2004 by selling her home-made body scrubs in jam jars at Greenwich Market. Eventually she went on to appear in BBC’s The Apprentice in 2011 where Lord Alan Sugar was so impressed that he invested to become a 50/50 partner and the #GreenBeautyRevolution was born.
You don’t need to be an activist – you just need to make ethical heart-based choices.