It’s a short and very simple word with an enormous amount of power-potential that’s difficult to wield. It slips through your fingers like sand and suddenly, you’re right back in the mess of being a yesser.
Yes is easy. Cheap, sloppy, lazy and weak. It caves in to pressure and quits at every turn. We’re taught from infancy that only those more powerful than us have the right to use NO. We’re smacked or scolded if we pull that ‘no’ stunt. Taught that we’re bad and naughty and out of line if we refuse to comply. Interrogation and torture depend on our early childhood training. Submit, confess, give in …and the punishment will be less diabolical.
After many weeks of intensely hard work and dedicated (all-consuming) focus on finishing off my Autumn Aromatics, I am mentally exhausted. I’ve also completed two floral eau de parfums due for launch in May, begun the process of organising new packaging, rejigged my website and harvested/tinctured the last of Summer’s bounty. As I step back from all the flurry of making, I’m acutely aware of the environmental impact of my actions. There are so many manufacturing by-products from all the glass and aluminium bottles, the paper and vinyl labels, cardboard boxes, fabric ribbons, all the sticking tape, zip lock bags, padded envelopes, mailing boxes, bubble wrap, ethanol, all the essences, the shipping, taxes and tariffs, just the whole shebang of making a perfume creates such a lot of environmental consequence. And I’m just a tiny business. In the big scheme of things, this is all such a small endeavour, yet it represents a significant amount of industry all the way from the grower to the consumer. Fifty litres of new perfume demands a huge amount of energy and resources.
I am elated by the new perfumes, they’re truly magnificent, yet I also feel devastated by the environmental impact their creation has brought about. I don’t want to make any more perfume. I have created a large cellar of beauties, but there’s something so important about recognising that this is a precious archive of nature and art – a synergy of love and life force, and a library of rare treasures that are disappearing from the world. Literally vanishing. It’s time to hang up my apron and focus on taking care of what is. No more rushing around to increase the range or come up with new compositions. This collection is complete.
I need to know why, as a species, we have become so ruthlessly determined to consume every single thing? Claim every inch of land and water and air. How can we allow Coca Cola and Nestle to privatise water? How did Monsanto take ownership and patent heritage grains that were developed over centuries by traditional and indigenous agriculturalists? How have we succumbed so easily to the mafia-controlled globalopoly of all wealth, commodities and privilege? – We were busy shopping for designer shoes and luxury stuff.
We became distracted, tempted away from the tedious business of survival and basic human rights. Seduced and buckled up on a passive joy-ride into the big black tunnel of consumer compliance. A vast tribe of Pinocchios frolicking in the Land of Toys, never noticing our ears elongating and the braying sounds hee-hawing from our mouths.
Why do we need so much of everything? When did we begin to feel less-than whenever we can’t get-more. The faux-elitism of suburban salons and parlours is truly an ugly carnival of smoke and mirrors. Endless malls filled with glittering trinkets held out for us to snatch and scuffle and brawl over in sale-rage just to stuff into our obese wardrobes and congratulate ourselves on the largesse of our acquisitions as our collections expand, and we purr until that hit wears off. Anxiety and ennui return and we cycle back through the agony of counting down the days and the hours until we can shop again.
The most insidious part for me is that the current model of successful small business demands endless expansion. We must expand and expand and increase our profits and build exposure and increase market reach, and, at all costs, we must win. Beat the competition. Drive them into the ground. Wow.
I’m driven now to discover ways of modeling positive change in a world that seems to be utterly out of control. I’m compelled to explore numerous and even radical ideas and different approaches to conducting this micro-business in a way that totally respects the whole process. Honours the life force that exists in every drop of perfume I make and purvey.
In part, this is why I am devoted to natural perfume. I think of each one as a shape-shifter, a magical potion. These fine fragrances are scented synergies that whisper to the world when we set them free on the breeze. There are subtle energy codes written in each one. They flow with the elements, they belong in this world. They are not aligned with artifice or profit or deception. They are organismic life-companions. Little plant shamans. Herbal healers, botanical medicines, floral elixirs, forest-dwelling cloaks of power, and of invisibility, they are luscious vials of aromatic seduction and green-clad fairies that guide us into pure and beautiful bowers of inner sanctuary. They are not made in the vast steel cauldrons of chemical manufacturing firms, they are poured and mixed and stirred by my hands in little glass beakers on my desk.
I wonder how our grandparents and great grandparents might perceive our obsession and our endless fascination for designer brands and the illusion of luxury. Unless you live at Jeff Bezo’s or Bill Gate’s place, the only actual luxury you are generating is the quark of money you just tipped straight into the coffers of a multi-national corporation whose board meet quarterly to shake a few hands and slap a few backs in congratulations. We scurry home on the bus with a mass-produced glass bottle of chem-stuff and swoon. Those back-slapping guys know how many stars in the firmament they already own. They’re planning their return…in multidimensional forms of luxury we can’t even begin to comprehend.
For my tiny tribe of tree-hugging, home-cooking nature-lovers, I have created some of the most sublimely beautiful fragrances for you.
My new resolutions to wield the power of NO:-
- to endless expansion and sales enticement
- to Mark Zuckerberg and all that creepy facebook shit
- no more time-wasting and funneling creative energy and data to instagram
- to releasing new fragrances just to hyper-generate sales
- giveaways or discounts (because people exploit my generosity and flog the goods to make a profit)
- doubting my talent or devaluing the integrity and the quality of my work
- figs given about what influencers are thinking, saying, eating or wearing today
- compliance with the tom-foolery of the fashion industry
to my fragrances continuing to gently make their way, naturally and easily into the lives of people all over the world, beautiful human beings that truly accord with my natural perfume.
I just call it soul connection.
– top photo by Steve Reinthal ©2008 Puttering along in a little dinghy on the Daintree river watching the croc watching us.
– painting Wind Rushing to Work by Teone Reinthal ©2003