We are one

by Rayna van Aalst December 23, 2017

We are one

They say that when you buy from a small shop there’s an actual person doing a happy dance. I’m not sure about that but what I do know is that when you buy an artisan brand, you touch more lives than you could possibly imagine.

During a two and a half day event called Being Limitless which I attended over a year ago, Ananda Giri, a senior teacher at One World Academy talked about one of their teachings – how much connected we all are.

We are one.

Seemingly we are more connected than ever, but in reality, we are lonelier and more disconnected. When we sit down for Christmas dinner – is it “us” or is it you, you partner, your children, your parents?

If we’re honest for most of us the answer is “me” and “them”.

But if you look at everyone at the table while holding the thought “I am you” instead of “I’m me and they are them”, then we become one. That’s when the disconnection in our hearts disappears.

Sometimes when I’m writing “Thank you” cards for our orders, I stop and I look at the boxes and products and I think of how many people it took for each of these jars to be here.

As I’m writing these words, there’s a bottle of Laurel WPO Anti-Inflammatory Serum on my desk. A Woodlot candle, Flora, is burning too.

Have you ever seen videos of an event happening backwards? Like a plant becoming again the seed it grew from?

With your permission I would like to take you on the journey of this bottle Anti-Inflammatory Serum.

This bottle arrived at Reina Organics from Laurel WPO in the US in a box. When the box is ready someone from the courier company picks it up from the Laurel’s studio and transports it to the sorting facility. After that, another person transports the pallet to the airport. At the airport another employee of the courier company loads it in the cargo plane.

I will not go into the details of how many people are responsible for that plane to make it from San Francisco Airport via New York to Amsterdam. Let’s just say there are two pilots per flight.

At Amsterdam someone from the Dutch office of the courier company offloads the box with the Anti-Inflammatory Serum lying on my desk and takes it to a warehouse.

In the meantime, another employee prepares the documents for the customs. A customs agent processes the documents. Often times they want to see with their eyes how special Laurel’s Anti-Inflammatory Serum really is so they order the box to be inspected, which is done by another customs agent. After the check, another customs employee finalizes the paperwork and he releases the box.

An employee from the courier company then transports the box to a nearby sorting center and someone prepares the documentation for the box, re-labels it and hands it over to the courier for delivery.

Of course, Laurel doesn’t just wake up day thinking “Hey, Rayna most likely wants a bottle of my fabulous Anti-Inflammatory Serum. Why don’t I send her one?”

It’s usually me who writes to lovely Julie from Laurel WPO. Julie travels pretty much all the time, yet she always manages to take superb care of Reina Organics. She writes me back to confirm everything with my bottle of Anti-Inflammatory Serum is OK. Then Kat, lovingly wraps the bottle and always draws a heart next to “Reina Organics” on the box. She seals the box with a label which would make sure my bottle of Anti-Inflammatory Serum reaches me.

But before that Laurel, Marissa and Sunny dry herbs, process flowers and make the special Laurel WPO in-house extracts.

Then there’s the woman who cleans the studio and make sure that all utensils used are ready for the next batch of goodness.

When the Anti-Inflammatory Serum is ready, someone pours it in the bottle, the one standing on my desk.

Chelsea makes sure that there are enough boxes and wrapping materials in the studio. And someone has designed the labels for each Laurel WPO product.

And before any of this was possible, Laurel visited the farmers who grow the ingredients used. The Anti-Inflammatory Serum is made with 27 whole organic plants. For Laurel’s sake, I hope that a farmer grows more than one ingredient, otherwise Laurel has to visit 27 farms.

In the farm, there is a person who shows Laurel around and explains how they grow their plants. She introduces Laurel to the person responsible for planting the seeds which will later turn into Calendula, another one for the irrigation, and another one for the harvest. There’s someone who would ship the plants to the Laurel WPO studio and another one who would continuously inspect the quality of the plants.

The more I write, the more examples come to my head

of people who have contributed to this very bottle of Anti-Inflammatory Serum I’m looking at right now.

Of course, I’m oversimplifying the process. There are many more people involved who make it possible for this bottle of Anti-Inflammatory Serum to be here right now. And many more who would make it possible for this bottle to leave my desk and come into your home.

I believe it’s a protective mechanism of our brain to simplify things – just imagine the overwhelm, if every time you looked at an object, you thought of its journey to be where it is right now. Boom. Your head would explode.

I believe that this simplifying of things is the reason why we distance ourselves from one another and why we continue to buy clothes which are made by children, eat broiler chickens, wear fur and throw away our plastic waste at random places.

That’s why we see only a tiny bit of the beauty of life.

That’s why we sometimes don’t understand how lucky we are to have what we have, in spite of all the things we don’t have.

I remember when Rachel, founder of Soapwalla, told a conversation she had had with one of their interns. The girl had quit her internship at a major cosmetics company and Rachel was curious about the reasons. The girl was shocked to see that the people in the production process of all the creams and other products we use, were required to use protective clothing and gas masks.

I’m not going to talk about ingredients safety and toxicity, that’s not the advantage of eco chic beauty over mainstream brands.

In our fast-paced lives we forget (or we were never thought) to pause and appreciate what we have and what it took for everything to be what it is.

That’s why we see a bottle of face oil or a jar of cream but not the hundreds of people who “touched” that bottle so that you and I can enjoy it.

Very recently I shared on Instagram about the ripple effect of our choices. How by buying one bottle of Hydrating Accelerator this holiday season you provide enough bread for an orphanage for one lunch. Going back to the bottle of Anti Inflammatory serum on my desk right now – the donation from 10 of these bottles be enough to pay a retired woman a monthly “salary” who leaves on €100. She won’t have to count her cents while doing groceries and hopefully to switch on the heating for longer than a few hours a day. She would also be a grandma of two children – she would read to them, she would go out for walks with them. These children would have a family.

The choices we make affect more people then we realize.

When you hold a bottle in your hands – what’s the story behind it that you would like to see?

I am you. You are me. We are one.

P.S. These are real people and real names from the Laurel WPO team.

Rayna van Aalst
Rayna van Aalst


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