I believe we are our OWN healer. Sometimes we get off course and need a guide to help us remember the wisdom within to heal. We live in a fast-paced world and when we get out of soulful alignment we may over/under exert our bodies, fall from human beings into human doings, and even succumb to dis-ease.
Holistic Health is just one of the categories that I take into consideration with regards to my purchase decisions. Please refer to my Sustainable and Ethical Shopping Guide to learn of other important and impactful aspects that can guide your shopping choices.
In these times, a skilled practitioner can be exactly what we need to activate our own inner healing capabilities. When working with a healing practitioner as a guide, you become very close with their energy. This connection is sacred. For the sacred to help empower both ends to live a life of soulful alignment the client and practitioner MUST be aligned in their values.
I ask myself many questions before choosing a practitioner.
- I look at how they are able to listen and interact with my mind-body-soul no matter the modality.
- I look for how they respect themselves and hold boundaries for their own care as well as how they hold safe space for my care.
- I look for practitioners that have business practices that embody care for the Earth, chemical-free cleaning products, recycle bins, water refill stations, non-toxic hand soaps and body products
- I strive to find practitioners who, like me, try hard to use only body products that are free from the “Dirty Dozen” harmful chemicals as listed by David Suzuki.
- I also look for practitioners who give back to themselves, model what they teach, and pay it forward for their community or powerful organizations aimed at regenerative living and supporting systemic change.
The Wealth and Hellness industry can often only be available to the wealthy so I look for practitioners with a diverse client base or those committed in some form of giving back to those who can not afford their services.
Holistic Health: Crystals, Crystal Gems
This is a really hard category to make ethical informed choices in.
There are four sides to this area:
- the Geologists
- the Metaphysists (crystal healers, reiki practitioners etc)
- the mining employees and mine stewards (owners)
- the Earth
When I bring up this area to consider, I bring it up through the lens of a Permaculturist who is trying to make decisions that are good for the earth and people. This means that I KNOW a complete STOP to buying crystals would put families in my community out of work and stop small families who ethically mine from generating income.
With that in mind, it is my job as a permaculturist to observe the industry, its growth and keep asking questions that could lead to more regenerative practices.
The way the industry currently runs makes it IMPOSSIBLE to truly know which businesses are using words like ETHICALLY SOURCED, SUSTAINABLE, AND FAIR TRADE – TRUTHFULLY. FACT! Read that again.
Sadly many businesses use heavily favorable words in their marketing without actually employing those practices. This makes it seem that they are a better business when in fact they are distracting you from the truth of the matter. It is truly hard for ANY supplier to verify the mining conditions, the wages paid to families and the care of the Earth at ANY mine, unless they have been there themselves.
They also can not verify the working conditions of the “lapidary people”, the ones who shape and polish the gems. With the current shutdown on travel it is near impossible to scout out mines and ensure they are running as they say they are. Asking all small businesses to stop the sale of crystals until they can verify their sources WILL NOT solve the issue, it will only fuel the bigger unethical companies who use marketing terms to sell a belief and prey on vulnerable people to exploit their cause and propel poor trading and mining conditions.
By not supporting small businesses we can become a part of the bigger problem that keeps this sort of business a monopoly in the hands of unethical countries with loads of money. We ultimately want to AVOID that from being the case so we must support smaller ventures asking big questions. When we look at buying crystals what I am asking is you have conversations with businesses who put integrity into their profit, and hopefully before profit. I am suggesting we have conversations with small businesses who are concerned about these questions and willing to have deep conversations about their passion. We need to ask THEM how we can PAY THEM MORE to help change the industry, and value their LOVE of people, and the Earth.
Once upon a time, FAIR TRADE did not exist for coffee or chocolate and it does now. Let’s keep asking tough questions and PAYING for the truth of ethical and sustainable crystal mining to become more than marketing words but a living reality for all in the industry.
Holistic Health: Essential oils
Essential oils are incredibly useful in helping us live a non-toxic life. It is integral to the survival of many plants we love to use as oils that we question how the plants are being raised and where they are coming from.
Sadly many of the oils we love come from plants that are at a huge risk of becoming extinct!
Essential oils have acted as a fabulous gateway to holistic health and have created immense financial security for many through the MLM platform. Bringing it back to Maya Angelou, we do the best we can with what we know but there are always opportunities to learn more and do better. While MLM platforms have gotten many people informed about essential oils we have to ask deep questions within any companies marketing strategy to see where it lines up with our values.
One of the ways from a marketing perspective to learn to trust your source, is to read the label of what you are buying. Conscious businesses list the botanical plant name on their products, this lets you know whether it is synthetic or genuine, and also helps you to identify a possible endangered species.
When it comes to essential oils it’s critical we think about how they are grown, and recognize that they are a part of agriculture sector. In order to make oils, thousands and thousands of POUNDS of plants are required. This is because the volatile oils in a plant are hard to extract. Imagine one drop of peppermint essential oil is roughly the equivalent to 26 cups of peppermint tea! To grow such large quantities of plants means a single species of plants in rows, much like our large scale crops of wheat and corn. This is called a monoculture.
When we care for the Earth, we need to remember that a monoculture is the opposite of an ecosystem because it lacks diversity. This means that birds, bees, insects, and other aspects of nature are all impacted by the lack of diversity in a monoculture. I am not saying stop using oils!! I personally use essential oils in cleaning products and cosmetics to avoid harsh chemicals.
I use my oils sparingly treating them as sacred and I NEVER consume them internally.
It is really important to remember that less is more with essential oils, a few drops really goes a long way and the more you use does not equal more benefit to you and your body.
Some ways to offset the harmful effects of monocultures are to try to find companies that attempt to grow additional wildflowers, give back to wildlife, or have biodynamic farming practices. In essence, look for a company aware of the environmental impact and try to source from very reputable sources. Companies that employ these practices are attempting sustainability and that’s my way of finding the middle ground. I also now am beginning to cease buying endangered plants if they are from wild NOT farmed sources (see wild crafting in herbal medicine.)
I have recently learned that Frankincense (Boswellia), Sandalwood (Santalum album), Rosewood (all species), Atlas Cedarwood (Cedrus atlantica) are all endangered species. I do everything I can to protect endangered animal species such as whales and panda bears, plants fall in this category for me too.
Holistic Health: Herbal Teas, Incense
If you place an Empath in a crowd of aggressive, depressed energy, their life force begins to visibly fade as they take on the energy of everything around them. Plants are the same way!
Plants have an essence, the way they are grown, the way they harvested and the way they are put into tea formulas affects their essence or their energy.
To get the maximum benefit from herbs, selecting places that lovingly tend their gardens can really improve your connection to the tea experience. There are many people who grow their own herbs and there are a few select organic suppliers that help supply herbalists with larger quantities of high quality herbs.
Once again with herbs for teas or incense, we need to be aware of endangered species such as Echinacea, Ginseng, White sage (smudge sticks) and Slippery Elm. I AM NOT SAYING STOP USING HERBS, I am saying that there are harvesting techniques that help preserve endangered species by farming plants instead of wildcrafting or foraging.
Wildcrafting and foraging means going into Nature and harvesting. A herbalists rule is to NEVER take more than 30% of a plant and to ensure that there is a very healthy population that you are impacting by less than 10% when you harvest (side note it is illegal in North America to EVER harvest wild ginseng).
Sourcing from Indigenous harvesters using traditional practices will ensure the wellbeing of the plant and wider territory has been carefully considered before harvesting. Farms like The New Age wildcraft on their OWN property which they steward with extreme care and regenerative farming practices.
It can be hard to tell from a website who is “wildcrafting” or foraging” responsibly. I highly recommend you look for herbalists or herbal teas and incense from companies who work with organizations for naturalization of land (re-establishing indigenous plant species) such as ALUS, are members of United Plant Savers or have their own botanical plant sanctuary dedicated to helping endangered medicinal plants regrow.