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Alison's Heart Page

I am adding this page to share some of the spiritual and ethical information which energizes and gives passion to Hidden Valley and to me personally in my everyday life. This is what makes work and life worthwhile. I reach out to all others who resonate with any of the ideas on this page, and wish for you love, clarity and courage to proceed on your path. And may you link up with others who feel the same.

Birth 2012

At Hidden Valley we are conscious of being part of a great planetary and evolutionary shift, which has accelerated since then, yet we struggle to find adequate words to express this story.

Many are telling it in different ways and also growing groups and networks to celebrate it. Examples abound on the internet and in social media pages. Some examples include the Shift Network and the Thrive Movement, as well as plenty of spiritual commentator pages.

Some, such as Barbara Marx Hubbard, tell the story from an evolutionary perspective. They say that the earth has given birth to homo universalis, or homo empatheticus, a new kind of human with conscious awareness, a giant evolutionary jump. Others say it's a second coming, but not of a god, but of the "Christ consciousness" within. Some call it a heart awakening, and a call to global unity. Some say it's the end of duality, of judgement of good and bad, right and wrong, a shift from ego to essence as humans who create consciously, who no longer react like sheep and can be controlled from the outside. Some look to a marriage of science & technology with spirituality, and energy workers speak of a jump in light frequency, from the 3rd and 4th to the 5th and higher dimensions. Many name it as the shift from the Age of Pisces to the Age of Aquarius, and of course there's a great deal written about the Mayan calendar and about galactic alignment at December 2012. 

The evolutionary story is fascinating. It is true that all previous major evolutionary changes have come in sudden jumps, out of major crises. This leads us to stand back from our present problems to welcome them as an essential precondition for the change coming. A bigger change perhaps than the Renaissance, out of the Dark Ages. Why shouldn't our cells or our DNA alter as part of this change? It has happened many times before - precedents include the shift from single to multi-cell life,  the beginnings of photosynthesis, or of life coming onto land from the sea, or from the chimpanzee into homo habilis, and on to home sapiens. Why shouldnt we develop and tap into a global intelligence by rising above our separateness and ego? 

Stand back and look from a distance. As a woman with the good fortune to grow up in the 60s, and be raised in my parents' world, the naive unconsciousness of the 50s, I am immensely grateful to see such a long view of things. While  I was not there for the dropping of the atomic bombs in 1945, I saw their results on the psyche of a whole generation. People came to realize, in some shock, that for the first time in human history we could now be gods, and annihilate the Earth. I saw Rachel Carson's Silent Spring, the beginning of the environmental movement, appear. I lived through the feminist movement, the realization that the world had become far too unbalanced toward the masculine. The 60s saw so many seeds of all kinds of movements yearning for change. How fortunate was I to be in the United States for a year in 1969-70, stay with an intellectual Quaker family, witness the huge peace marches, get politicised and learn new words for what I had always known in my colonial upbringing in Papua New Guinea: we all appear different yet are essentially the same, why is the world so unfair? And when the early idealism of the 60s failed, we saw several decades of extreme pessimism, anxiety and the realisation that we were destroying ourselves and the planet through pollution, overpopulation, war, global warming, depletion of resources, deforestation, greed and materialism.... it goes on, we all know it. But the point is, all this has been a necessary foundation for change. It had to get dire. The metaphor in nature is the hungry devouring caterpillar morphing into the butterfly via the seeds of potential for this within.

So many, including myself and some of my friends, feel the impending change within ourselves, yet are often confused and challenged. The internal changes since say, a year ago, have been profound. Lots of "old emotional shit" has come up and been dealt with. Others have no idea what we are talking about with "all this woo-woo stuff", so we can doubt ourselves, or feel extremely lonely. It is certain that the change is happening one individual at a time, and not being led by political leaders or institutions, which seem to lag way behind. There's an internal process of slowly putting that old ego in its place, as a handy survival mechanism which has outgrown its usefulness. There's a groping to find a bigger self, an I AM essence, to be in charge. A new focus on the heart, and putting the mind in the service of the heart, marrying them as partners in new ways.

I for one, sense that we are here at this perfect time, and in this perfect place for a reason, to help the world move forward. There is such excitement, optimism and hope in the air! We are asking the important questions - What's my real purpose here? What did I come to do? What are my unique gifts and strengths and what is my special role as an agent of change, a pioneer, someone out the front? I am personally still really unclear, but I know this is the direction. I have known it my whole life, often feeling an outsider, a misfit, way too "mystical", too "emotional", too "seeking" to fit with the norm. 

I want to share one thing I have learned to tell myself - do not allow others to put us down for being "idealistic" or "naive" or "emotional" or "too sensitive". This is the evolutionary impulse to move forward, expressing itself through us. It is nothing to be ashamed of. I welcome it. There are plenty of scoffers. Let them scoff. I am learning just to smile and not argue.

So how do we get from here to there? How to cross the gap?

I think there are 2 fronts, connected. First there's the inner work to do, finding the essential (higher) self and learning to live there more and more, listening for the guidance of that calm inner voice, resisting the usual ego's survival reactions, resisting judgement, reaching for wise discernment. And a big part of this is also finding others who resonate, who share so many basic understandings that they feel like long long lost friends. I have had this experience for the first time these last few years, finding friends on the internet and connecting regularly. They live all around the world, and they give me tremendous support at a soul level. So too does the local group of "soul sisters" - some enlightened and extraordinary women who live in Broome, who meet to celebrate and support each other, often at full and new moon times, and often at the beach. 

And then on the outer front it's about finding and supporting all those new solutions in the fields of  energy, science & technology, health, education, environment, finance, governance, media, art etc. which DO work. There are amazing people all over doing important work. Mainstream media are just beginning to report them, but have a long way to go. Connecting and assisting these will lead us forward across the gap. Often it's social media, the indy media (eg. Huffington Post), or some courageous traditional ones like The Guardian, who are reporting.

Hidden Valley Handcrafts Role

In our business we have been aware of our special role for a very long time. Our aims have been in place and publicized for many years. But at first we were unable to speak openly to many. We just made nice products. A very few could feel the good intentions in our products, and told us so, but most were unaware. Then we started to get braver, sensing that times were changing. It had become more acceptable to speak openly and optimistically about love and hope, which was unthinkable in the despair and cynicism of the late 20th century. In about 2007 we decided to include the Soapmaker's Prayer on all our soap labels. Let this soap cleanse away fear, let love be here. We spoke more openly of how we "pray" or place conscious good intentions into our products, adding crystal and flower essences to facilitate this, seeing our products as vehicles to share and spread love and goodwill. We always tried to encourage and support - our staff, our customers, our suppliers, our community, our place. And we have tried to be a model of a small but ethical business, with a bigger purpose than just making money. It felt great to have the luxury of independence, not having to kowtow to anyone, doing work that gave us joy.

With this in mind we have been unafraid to openly support the NoGas movement in Broome, then later the No-frack mob, joining others to protect the country and community we love. It felt clear that we had to make a stand. Peaceful non-violent social activism to support positive change is one way forward. We see the Broome movement as just our own version of the worldwide trend - Occupy movements and other social/political/environmental movements all over, seeking more justice, more rationality, more equity and sustainability. How encouraging this is. Broome itself feels to be right out at the front of the wave of change. It has always been a unique place, with far more than a normal country town's share of creative and spiritual people. Its mixed race heritage is profoundly helpful in propelling Broome to the forefront of reconciliation in Australia. Even the present divisions can be welcomed - if we can transcend these, anyone can! And the protest movement itself marries all kinds of people, of all races, ages, sexes, education & economic status. 

So this page is just a chance for us to wave at friends "out there" and say YES!  We are heading in the right direction. I salute the courage I see everywhere as people wake up and choose positive directions. And it's fantastic to see how people come together, often via new technologies. I salute you, fellow travellers, and join you in helping create what's new and better, within and all around us.

YOU are the gift the world has been waiting for.

With much love,

Alison

June 2013: Extracts from "Soap Stars Interview"

with Master Soapmaker, Marina Tadiello

Q: How did soapmaking change your life? How does it suit your lifestyle & life guiding principles?

A: You are right - soapmaking changed my life! It gave my life back to me as an expression of me. It gave me an income working from home where I wanted to be while the children grew, not out working full time for somebody else! It allowed me to make my own decisions and mistakes, not do silly things I didn't believe in for other people. My business grew the way I chose it to, though sometimes back there it was a bit more like being dragged along by the tail of the tiger than riding on its back! 

I lived a few kilometres out of town on a 3+ acre block, in an originally hand made house (Smokey and I literally made it with our hands, with poured earth & cement, a little like rammed earth but we couldn't afford the ramming machine so we used cement). And we backed onto the bush - a rare monsoonal vine thicket area (Hidden Valley) full of amazing plants and ancient shell middens. S0, part of the soapmaking journey was about a different but related alchemy - creating a place and a supportive healthy lifestyle for ourselves and our family.

Q: What do you like best about making soap as a job?

A: I love the independence! And the incredible opportunities for creativity - we have morphed into other personal care products like soy candles and gentle skin care products. Nearly all are vehicles for pure essential oils and other plant ingredients. And I love the feeling of being part of a huge family - not just our staff but our big group of mail order customers, who send us cards and letters and wonderful feedback.

Q: Would you share with us your thoughts on how every business could, like Hidden Valley Handcrafts, promote positive action for a better future?

A: I believe our main purpose in life is to CREATE, and to express the love we naturally are, in our own particular and unique fashion. it's our JOB to use our gifts and talents to give our love back to the world, to make it a better place. I've been fortunate to have a good mind, a sense of independence, a love of colour and aroma, and lots of family support, and I haven't been afraid to do things my own way. So it was easy to follow a path with heart, to create a business I believed was useful, and could help suport positive change in the world. It did require the support of my partner, a really practical man who made all the equipment I needed, helped the business grow, and encouraged me to learn everything on the job. And also we were not afraid of being poor, having come through some very tight times. Certainly the first 2 years were tough, as I poured all the profits of the business back into it, especially buying bigger quantities of ingredients and making better equipment.

All along, I have felt that we didn't JUST make a good physical product - soap. I believe the real world is actually about energy. So my task was always to put good energy into soap, and also into the business - make it a happy place. We have always invoked certain qualities when making a new soap, even adding "crystal essences" - a bit like flower essences - into each soap, as reminders of which qualities we intend them to have. This extra work is the REAL work of our soapmaking, using it as a vehicle to spread love. Sensitive people have always picked this up. About 5 years ago I realized we could now actually say this on our soap labels, our customers were (mostly) ready for it. So we added our Soapmaker's Prayer - "Let this soap cleanse away fear, let love be here." Prior to this we would have been laughed out of town. So for me it's about helping to create heaven on earth, joining the physical with the spiritual, with good values and intentions.

An early thing I learned was to create special soaps as fundraisers for local community action. Our "Cable Beach Sunset" soap began this way, as a fundraiser for the Friends of Gantheaume Point, a sacred place at the end of Cable Beach, where a politician wanted to put a giant resort/casino (guess who - Colin Barnett!). Lots of people bought the soap, we gave money back to the cause, so it was win-win for everyone. We went on to do this with many of our products, and still do, eg. with our Wild & Free Kimberley soap. It brought us close to our community and gave us a wonderful reputation and valuable networks. There's nothing like a bit of soap to give away to smooth the community networks - it goes to the bank girls, the post office staff, the delivery people, all around. It's actually been an extraordinary journey, to create a conscious ethical small business and products which truly express our values. To be honest, if I'd known at the beginning just how big it would become, I might have run a mile in fear! But growing big slowly like a tree makes it manageable.

So I can only encourage. It must bring you joy, follow this, and trust in the universe (or God within, whatever is your biggest picture, it doesn't matter) to deliver exactly the right guidance at the right time. I want a world where we all love what we do, where we are seen, heard and encouraged as children to follow our gifts and talents into useful vocations for a loving, unified world. Perhaps this is ultra idealistic, but I actually don't care, for me it's the truth. Perhaps soapmakers have always been idealistic - lovers of the earth and pioneers of alchemy and change, like the herbalists and midwives of old.                                  

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