Today is my first anniversary as a Weleda Wellbeing Advisor
I hadn’t really thought about that until I received the renewal for my public liability insurance. At the start of last year I’d kicked cheap, chemical laden cosmetics out of my bathroom cupboard and was left with just a couple of ‘clean beauty’ skin care products. I loved what I read about Weleda’s approach to growing (planting by the moon, organically and sustainably), their people/planet/profit philosophy and their beliefs about health and wellbeing. Most of all I loved how I felt when I began to use the couple of precious Weleda products I had (products that had remained untouched, ”for a special occasion”, while I used up the cheap nasty every day stuff!) I made small changes like using a body lotion after my morning shower, cleansing properly for the first time in my life and giving my poor tired feet some care and attention. I noticed a difference almost immediately and soon other people began to notice a difference in how I looked and how I said I felt.
I often say I found Weleda because my Mum died which perhaps needs more explanation. The experience of losing a parent changes you. Walking a loved one out of this world breaks your heart wide open. It makes you realise both your vulnerability and strength. The period of grief that follows is a time when it would be easy to neglect your wellbeing, go mad from lack of sleep and make choices you come to regret. Seeing Cancer up close and witnessing how it stole Mum’s vitality and health was a wake up call to review how I was treating my own body. Beareavement was the catalyst for my new year bathroom purge, not because I was doing anything particularly bad but because I needed to live more mindfully. I wanted to be more conscious about what I put into and onto my body, how I spoke to myself and living a life on purpose.
When I had my first conversation with Weleda, on this day a year ago, I spoke about feeling the deep need to give something back in Mum’s name. She died peacefully at the Sue Ryder hospice in Cheltenham where exceptional, compassionate and dignified care is provided but costs £10,000 a day, with no NHS funding. I’d started looking into hand massage courses so I could volunteer at the hospice or at Charlies, the cancer support centre in Gloucester where I’d received such valuable support as Mum’s health deteriorated. As I spoke to Amanda, my Weleda Mentor, about feeling drawn in a new direction she gently said ” don’t rush into any decisions. We can support you. We have our own signature training because hand massages are something we offer as part of our wellbeing work.” I was astounded. It was another sign that I was in the right place. I completed the Weleda massage training exactly 9 months after Mum died. It felt rather epic, like the birthing of a new phase of life and a letting go of some of the pain of being without her. In many ways I find Mum ever present in the wellbeing spaces I create for others. If she were still here she’d be sending her friends to see me and offering to make cake for my wellbeing drop ins. It’s a comforting thought.
Within 6 months of joining Weleda …
I attended some amazing summer festivals to give Weleda hand massages. At Valley Fest near Bristol we had 3 treatment tents and as the music pumped and people partied around us we gave relaxing Skin Food facials. It was such a wonderfully affirming, confidence boosting experience. When I was offered the chance to attend the Seed Festival in Stroud it clashed with George working but Amanda just said ”bring the boys” if that was the only way I could be there. It was such a relief and a privilege to know that everything I have to offer as a wellbeing advisor flows from who I am as a person. I am a Mother first and foremost and I do not feel any strain around that in my role as a Wellbeing Advisor.
It has been a gift to be welcomed into the Weleda family so whole heartedly. I feel I found this beautiful community when I needed it most. It is full of kindred spirits, kind hearts and wise souls. The unifying energy between us as Weleda’s, mothers, daughters, sisters and friends flows from the love and energy we all receive from Weleda the organisation. It sounds a bit fluffy doesn’t it as no one talks about businesses n that way! But it’s true. When I said to someone recently that within Weleda we all care more about helping people feel well than anything else he replied ”I can believe that may be true for you but I expect Weleda are more interested in the bottom line and making money”. I felt such a deep sense of integrity about what I represent being able to share the words of Jayn Sterland, Weleda’s CEO
”Weleda remains privately owned by two non-profit foundations who guarantee our independence and for whom Weleda is not an investment that needs to generate a certain yield. This means we can put sustainability at the top of our agenda, before profit. We make all our own products ourselves, unlike many brands that work with contract manufacturers.”
”Our products are intended to support people in their personal development, in maintaining, promoting and restoring their health and in their efforts to achieve physical well-being and a balanced lifestyle. This company philosophy determines Weleda’s economic approach and will remain the guiding principle for our future.”
The gift of Weleda in my local community
On August 4th 2019 I attended my first twilight session at Charlies to offer Weleda hand massages to anyone affected by cancer. The timing was serendipitous. Again. Exactly a year to the day that I met Jo for the first time when I visited Charlies myself seeking support. I’ll be ever grateful for the connection I made with Jo as Mum died just a few weeks later. Without Jo’s support my experience of loss and recovery would have been very different.
When I spoke to Weleda about what I was doing at Charlie’s they sent me some mini oils to gift to people after receiving a hand massage. I was so touched as it enables recipients to extend the therapeutic benefits of the massage when they are at home. It helps me as a freelance advisor with no other income (I’m a stay at home Mum) to gift my time freely because I am not out of pocket with my stock. If I needed any more proof that Weleda is a company with true heart it’s right there. I love my work as a Weleda Advisor and I’m now realising a wish I had over 20 years ago (but was too fearful to pursue). Next week I begin a diploma in Massage Therapy at the Cotswold Academy in Cirencester. Once I am qualified as a licensed therapist I will be able to volunteer in the Sue Ryder hospice as well. I can’t wait to see what the next year has in store for me. I guess I’d better add ”write a second anniversary post’‘ to my calendar for February 2021 ….