Hopes, Dreams, Resolutions...

Untitled by Tom Allison
Untitled, a photo by Tom Allison on Flickr.
The year 2013 left much to be desired. And so, I'm happily moving onwards (and, hopefully also upwards) in 2014, in what I can only pray would be a better year. Here are a few things that I wish for from this year (some of which are entirely up to me, but some are perhaps also dependent on other factors):

1. Finish my 3rd edition for the Foundation of Natural Perfumery - a course handbook which I have been planning to publish more widely for over 2 years now. I'm at the final stages of editing (the long winter vacation was very helpful in that regard), and the next steps would be to create a digital version of it, as well as a paperback book, locally printed, and much prettier than the spiral-bound manual I've got going so far.

2. Create more dialog here on SmellyBlog. I have to admit that I have no idea how to make this happen. I tried to do giveaways on a weekly basis for a while (which, combined with shipping costs, is frankly beyond the budget for this little blog). It's been generating more comments from the same people (who got to win multiple times - yay!), but it has not encouraged my readers to come out of their lurking cave. I've tried to blog on topics that I would think would encourage dialog, but they have reaped very few results (while in other blogs, quite effortlessly, just in response to "leave a comment on whatever you want to talk about today" gets over 100 comments within a day). Any thoughts on the subject?

3. Outreach and Education: For this year, besides offering 2 week long courses back-to-back in May (Citrus & Colognes Course May 19-23 and Oriental Perfumes Course May 26-30), I'll be also teaching olfactory awareness and botanical perfumery lectures at one of the botanical gardens; and offering perfume making workshops outside of the studio in a new co-op boutique I'll be part of (more on that once the details are ironed and official!).

4. Become a little more visible than I was last year. As much as I wish it was otherwise, and hate to admit it - for a perfume company, and even more so a small one like mine - unless you come up with a new perfume every year (or every quarter), no one is really going to pay any attention to you. There have seemed to be only marginal interest in the many other new things I churned up (which were, by the way, a lot more work as well to develop) - I launched an entire tea collection of 4 beautifully packaged teas; created 2 beard oils (Blackbeard Oil and Orcas beard oil; 3 new soap bars - ArbitRary, Bon Zai and Film Noir; and my first hair oil - Palas Atena; a 6th Anointing Body Oil - Zohar; and relaunched Elixir facial serum, which has the best ingredients you could ever find and feed your pretty face with. Hardly anyone took notice of that at all, with the exception of some local fans and a handful of online-boutique customers. It seems like the market is either saturated (the local holiday shows certainly are), or was I just hiding under a rock? I suppose I will have to work ten times harder promoting myself this year, which is exhausting and daunting and truly takes away from my creativity in other areas. And, I might just have to release a new fragrant baby or two, which have been hidden in my vaults so to speak...

5. And on a more personal note: I would love to be the person who would say yes to climbing this trail. If not realistically, then at least metaphorically speaking. That must be the best cup of tea, ever. Context (and timing) is everything!

Happy New Year 2014!

Happy New Year 2014  by Ayala Moriel
Happy New Year 2014 , a photo by Ayala Moriel on Flickr.
Wishing you all a very happy 2014!

May it be a beautiful year, full of love, health and happiness! And may you always find time to smell the roses, both literally and figuratively speaking. Time is our greatest asset - may we all learn how to use it wisely!

The above is a photo of a photo: a beautiful postcard of the steam-clock in Gastown, taking by my photographer friend Zak of Fertile Images that was given to me last night by the artists, beautifully packaged with glittery snowflakes. 

Laying out plans and goals and establishing a renewed interest in the values and people that are important to us has become a sort of a secular Western tradition. New Year's resolutions seem to be too often focused on very specific goals (losing weight, exercising, making more money...), usually neglected before January comes to a close. I've been always a firm believer in making each day of my life be what I want my life to be, in all its aspects if at all possible. Maintaining a balance is not a small feat in our hurried, shallow and cluttered lifestyle.

It's all about time. While we don't know how many days or years we'll get to live, we all are allotted 24 hours a day. It's entirely up to us what we do with these 24 hours. For me, a perfect day will be one which is balanced and contains the things that are important to me. In essence: breath, love and create.

The purpose of new year's resolutions should not be to make you feel like an underachiever, but rather to inspire you. That's why I like the daily approach. It's not about taking it "one day at a time" (which could easily lead you to slipping steadily down a slippery slope to destruction, or plateau at best); but to make achieving those goals all the more doable. If you're a task-oriented person, setting up big goals might lead to procrastination because you might be worried that once you start, you won't be able to leave your desk until the job is finished. With the one day at a time approach, as long as you dedicate a sufficient amount of time each day to those bigger goals and projects in your life -  you will get there. You will get it done.

So, what do I really wish for us all this year? Find the time, each day, to do the important things to us: breath and connect to the present moment and our body; play with our kids; wake up each morning with the excitement that today, we will create something new. 
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