In many ways I think it's easier to find what you love to do when you are young and untainted. When we are young everything is possible, the world is truly our oyster. But as we get older and "wiser" we are faced with impossibilities, many of them self-imposed for sure, but none-the-less they become road-blocks all the same. Also as we get older, many of us must make what we do fit into our lifestyles rather than the other way around. We've got children to raise, homes to look after, often aging parents for whom to care. With so many restrictions how does one find their passion? I've found that sometimes we must be quiet and listen to the universe.
Sounds crazy doesn't it? I thought so but when I look back over the years, I do feel that somehow I was guided to this point in my life. There were too many pieces of the puzzle that had to come together, just at the right time, to point me to this very spot, and with even one of those pieces failing to come together, I would not be where I am today.
I have been a graphic designer most of my adult life, building brands, and creating a voice for a countless number of businesses along the way. What great preparation for creating the Sans brand (although I never realized how extremely hard it is to create a brand for one's own self). I successfully ran my own design business for some 15+ years. I was fortunate during this time, I never actually had to look for work, it was quite plentiful and always found it's way to me. But then the economy began to plummet, and much to my dismay, design was one of the first things that got cut from most business budgets. For the first time I had to actually "pound the pavement". At the same time services that offered design at unbelievably cut rate prices began to emerge. Finding good-paying work became very difficult. The frustration of trying to find work, coupled with the realization that the design business is one of the most non-recession-proof industries, began to make me wonder if after 15+ years I should look for something else to do. Little did I realize, that decision was about to be made for me, and the following 8 months would change my life forever.
My husband, who is the ultimate Renaissance Man, is always reading and learning about a variety of different things. He had for sometime been learning about bees and became very growingly alarmed about the disappearance of the honey bees. He really wanted to keep bees and decided he was ready to make the leap. As he got into it, the bees absolutely fascinated me. Such amazing creatures that provide us with ingredients that are so nourishing for the body. I was definitely interested in these incredible animals and ingredients.
But my defining moment came when my beautiful, amazing mother was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer. My world changed forever in that instant that my sister came to my home, sat in the chair next to me, and told me that our sweet mother had cancer. That was the moment I'll never forget. Upon this life-shattering diagnosis, my sister and I immediately sprung into action. Determined to save our amazing mother, we made some very calculated changes. One of the biggest change was the complete revamping of her diet. We were so careful about what she was eating, hoping to eliminate foods that feed cancer, we wanted instead to starve this awful disease out of her body. Because of the advanced stage, she was immediately put on large doses of chemo, and that chemo really took it's toll. One of the many adverse affects of the chemo was the incredible drying of her skin. We had to lotion her skin several times a day just to keep it from drying out too much.
At this same time, my friend had secured a job at a company that formulated bath and body products for some very well known brands. She would call me to inquire about my mother and often talk about her new job, telling me of the awful chemicals that she saw being used in the formulations of these big brand products. I couldn’t actually believe what she was saying, how could this be? As we were being so careful about what my dear mother was putting into her body, I began to think about what we were putting onto her body. I wanted to find an all natural lotion or cream that we could apply to her skin, but at that point, like so many people, I didn't really know what "all natural" was. So I started researching and digging. And let me tell you, I didn't have to dig too deep when I began uncovering all sorts of things. I was mortified, absolutely mortified, to learn of the harsh, known carcinogens that are being used in most all of the commercial skincare products that sit on the shelves of our stores. Ingredients that are not only carcinogens but chemicals that attack the central nervous system and disrupt hormones in our bodies. We are slathering these lotions and creams onto our bodies and worse yet onto the bodies of our children. A truly "all natural" product, despite what all the labels on the products in the stores claim, was very hard to find.
I first I began creating very basic products for my mother’s use. As I researched, I began to develop a love for the pure, simply natural plant ingredients. I began to understand them, respect them, and realized that our bodies actually need these ingredients. I became more involved with my husband’s bees. I also began to absolutely immerse myself in this world of natural skincare as my mother’s condition worsened. It somehow became a necessary therapy for me during this very difficult time. We eventually lost our beautiful mother. But out of that devastating sorrow, she left me with a path, she gave me a passion. I realized that this was my direction.
So many things had come together; my ability to build a brand, to create websites, the downturn of the economy, my husband’s bees, my mother’s illness, the position my friend got overseeing the big-brand skincare products, and finally my need to immerse myself in something to keep my mind occupied during an incredibly difficult time. All of these things happened in such an order at such a time…it's so strange as I look back on it now. I do believe that the universe whispered to me and I’m so glad that I was able to listen.
So, now the question I ask each of you is, "When the universe talks to you…will you listen?"