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Sustainability Begins With You

This article has been 27 years in the making and is long overdue.

The town I call home, Mendocino, has been in the news because of unprecedented water shortages and multiple wells running dry.

Water, the very thing that we are made of, and expect to flow on command -- gone for many.

The type of thing that can feel like a thread unraveling an entire world.

A blinding reminder of the gravity of the times we live in and nature's ability to take us to our knees.

As a beauty brand that ships products around the country, and one whose industry is one of the top offenders in waste creation and resource consumption, it's important that we have this conversation.

First, let me ask you a question:

How often do you feel beautiful, have glowing skin, and deeply love the woman staring back at you in the mirror? 

Sometimes, always, never?

And, how many times have you bought products or fashion designed to help you feel beautiful, have glowing skin, and love the woman you see in the mirror?

We are trained to look outside of ourselves and consume products that elicit emotions of belonging, enoughness, and beauty from an early age. 

A never-ending cycle of reaching outside of ourselves to feed the hungry ghosts of low self-value and scarcity that we pray will be quieted by substances, objects, and something new.

This dynamic is driving the perilous load on the world's natural resources.

Imagine that you had every resource inside yourself to attain these feelings you're seeking without buying something new…

What would be possible then?

According to a survey from Savers Global Thrift, on average, every one of us will create 81 pounds of landfill waste with our clothes this year.

This does not include personal care items such as makeup, hair, and skincare, which is my expertise, and contains at least another 15-20 pounds.

Another study commissioned by Vaseline showed that American women throw away up to $100,000 in un-used and half-empty personal care in their lifetime. (I'm looking at you #skinfluencers with all the overflowing #shelfies).

Now, imagine what a pile of $100,000 + of bottles and jars looks like.

By the way, buying products from influencers without knowing what the ingredients do, or how to use the product safely, is rapidly increasing this number.

Sustainability, especially when concerning beauty, is complicated.

The heart of the matter is a better future, but what we are doing right now is what counts.

This article by Teen Vogue does a great job of explaining the diverse dynamics, but I'm leading you another way.

Sustainability conversations, ESPECIALLY in the beauty industry, are almost always about supply and never demand.

The Teen Vogue article spells out the problematic nature of the #fashioncrisis but makes no mention of what's driving it.

We buy products we don't need and don't know how to use to feel better.

To fill a hole.

The number one way to reduce the amount of waste we are creating as humans is to decrease our insatiable demand for something new and learn to fill our wells internally.

It's not sustainable to aspire to perfection or asceticism either.

Extreme environmentalism is the other side of excess, and is scarcity with chapstick on.

Sustainable doesn't mean SCARCE, and scarcity isn't sustainable.

Resources can be scarce, but you don't have to be.

Scarcity feelings, attitudes, and mindsets lead to overconsumption and an inability to see yourself as a whole or part of a whole.

Being scarce is being a hole, not whole.

And it's whole that we need to be, to come up with solutions for the challenges we face with resources drying up.

Why Re-Sourcing is the way to wholeness and the answer to reducing demand.

Re-Sourcing is the practice of connecting with the part of you that is divine, whole, and infinite-your Higher Self.

So, what is the Source?

One definition of Source is a generative force and the point of origin.

Source is our Higher Power. 

The essence of who we are.

God, The Universe, Presence, The Voice Within, Higher Self, Nature, Love, Awareness, The Field, Zero Point, The Superconscious...your definition is the only one that matters.

If we regularly connected to this Source and Re-Sourced ourselves, what would our consumption choices look like then?

As you consider that, let me take you back to 1994.

I was pregnant with my son, and I attended a lecture by Helen Caldicott, Australian physician, author, and speaker, about climate change and China's growing economy.

27 years ago, I sat in a tiny gymnasium in a rural village and heard about the very things that are, in fact, happening today.

The weather, the water shortages, and the global impact.

I went home feeling shocked and was inconsolable about the state of the world and what my son would be born into. 

I cried and cried and cried.

Even though I was living off the grid in a solar home, did cloth diapers without a washing machine (let that one sink in), and didn't use tin foil or paper towels, I still felt hopeless and like it would never be enough.

This feeling of dread and hopelessness was not fixed by being perfectly green and having a zero-waste footprint.

And neither was the world.

As everyone marched by, consuming and denying, I slowly tagged along.

By the time my son was 5 years old, I had swung to the other side.

Shopping addictively and looking outside of myself to dull the pain of not feeling enough.

I still recycled and kept an eye on the packaging, but I went mainstream with the rest.

Consuming whatever I felt would fill my well, not paying attention to the hole where all my enoughness was running out.

Despite the resources I consumed, the Source I sought, eluded me.

What I eventually realized is this wasn't a resource problem. 

This was a problem with my Source.

And, most of all, on my part, this was a scarcity problem.

It wasn't until I started cultivating a deep, inner sense of being enough and connecting with my purpose and inner WELL-th and worth, that my behavior and choices changed.

Researchers have known for some time that consumerism is linked to self-esteem.

We consume in ways that are consistent with our sense of self.

In other words, it's precisely the feeling of not enough that fuels the sales of market goods.

Fast fashion and fast beauty, in particular, are motivated by trends and the never-ending cycle of needing something new.

The cults of social media personalities and celebrities spin out new skincare and cosmetic lines like a faucet left wide open.

New product lines that purport to be "sustainable and green" are filled with empty promises and end up in the trash.

While there isn't an easy or convenient answer to these big issues, I believe that spending time Re-Sourcing yourself is the greatest thing you can do for the environment.

Once I started cultivating a relationship with my Source, by looking within, I broke the cycle of buying products from the feeling of not enough and needing to fix myself.

By needing less, I was buying less, which is more potent for the earth than a healthier supply chain.

Reducing demand is more powerful than improving the supply chain every time.

When we are resourced from within, we have an extraordinary ability to seek solutions.

Starting with our own individual buying motivations is the first place to begin.

Consumer choices on an individual level can create global change.

We must stop consuming and start choosing consciously.

My commitment is to have products that work better and last longer.

I've shifted my business model to a membership that will allow you to learn how to get more results with fewer products so that you aren't blindly buying products that aren't essential.

This will allow you to get off the beauty matrix hamster wheel.

I don't have all the answers, but what I do know for sure: is all or nothing-isn't sustainable.

Making many small changes and choices from a place of consciousness and respect for resources is a great place to start, and can create massive change.

Learning to Re-Source is perhaps the greatest gift you can give to yourself and this beautiful planet we call home.

I invite you to incorporate these practices to conserve, preserve and renew your connection to Source.

And bonus, it will help you renew, regenerate and restore beauty more deeply too!

The first place to start your Re-Sourcing practice is to audit your daily routine and review your nature and consciousness practices.

I recommend a short morning routine, a mid-afternoon nature break, and an evening ritual.

Meditation, religious practices, mirror work, mindfulness, and visualization are all considered consciousness connectors.

Nature could be as simple as standing outside with your arms up to the sky and silently saying THANK YOU.

Say NO to fast fashion, fast beauty, and question trends. 

Before you buy any product intended to make you feel or look better, ask yourself: am I buying this to fill a hole or incorporate it into my whole?

Explore buying high-quality items from a designer that is local to you.

Question each new purchase that you bring in. Does it add to your life or take away from it?

Is it a multiplier or a diminisher for the earth?

Only buy personal care that you LOVE, produced by a company with values you share.

Products that are used and loved aren't wasted, but discarded, half-empty products hurt everyone.

Practice feeling appreciation and gratitude every time you drink, use or experience water.

Every glass of water. 

Every load of laundry.

Every dish that gets washed. 

Every shower, jump in the ocean, and product applied.

THANK YOU, WATER.

THANK YOU, MOTHER EARTH.

THANK YOU, SOURCE.

This is Higher Self Beauty-- it begins with sustainability, and sustainability begins with you.

 XO, Amy Wall | The Skintessa

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