The world of Soulful Essence is one where compassion connects us all, plants nurture the spirit and our mission is to live an authentic and passionate life. The idea was planted in me long ago, by my grandmother. Known as Doña Ramona to almost everyone who knew her yet, to me she was Mami. She taught me that plants can not only feed and heal us, but that they also have a life force and energy of their own and, when arranged in clever combinations, can create confidence, soothe a broken heart and even make dreams come true.
Mami was a petite woman, with dark, exotic features she accented with the perfect shade of pale pink lipstick. She was soft-spoken and extremely clever, with the mind of an inventor and the spirit of a revolutionary. She had a hipster-like mentality, turning what some would call garbage into beautiful furniture, wearing floral batas (long, flowy, robe-like dresses worn by Latina housewives) and her Brooklyn Dodgers cap and sipping little cups of jugged red wine in the afternoons. She also made her own hair and skin beauty treatments from such earthy goodies as avocado and olive oil.
The therapeutic home remedies Mami created were unconventional, using obscure, potent ingredients that she crafted together to heal those around her. She was equal parts shaman, therapist and nurse and, though she prescribed unusual remedies, her neighbors always swore by them. She would prescribe brandy and chamomile for menstrual cramps, sun exposure to cure the sniffles, and urinating on your own feet to cure fungal infections. She even suggested making love on the dining room table when trying to conceive.
Mami first introduced me to plants through cooking, when she’d send me outside to roam the lush, tropical mountain sides of Puerto Rico in search of culinary treasures. She loved to experiment and create, and would tell me to bring her back this bizarre herb or that fascinating fruit. I’d climb trees and crawl in ditches all day long, and then rush home to her with my riches. That’s when she would share her secrets with me. Showing me which plant to use where, how to tell when it was at its best and how each one should be prepared. When I asked her how she always knew so much, she told me to simply, “listen to my little voice”, and it would always tell me the right answer.
Years later, still keeping true to Mami’s teachings, I was enthusiastically creating my own concoctions and sharing them with friends and loved ones. At the time I was a Corporate Manager working in the technology sector and not enjoying my work life at all. On the inside I felt tension and anxiety due to high pressure, while on the outside I felt half-zombie, half- Stepford wife. So many colleagues were fearful of losing their jobs, scared of messing up, or afraid of standing out too much in the homogenous corporate culture they had assimilated into. Many co-workers I spoke to had a longing to do more with their life, to be creative and to follow a particular dream or calling. After years of sharing stories, I realized that I was just like them. What was worse, I didn’t even know what my dream was or even how to figure it out. I was convinced that whatever my gift may or may not have been, it probably wouldn’t matter to the world all that much anyway.
Then, after months of meditating and “listening to my little voice,” the answer was finally revealed to me. Mami and everything she taught me filled my thoughts and I knew that was my calling. I’d take the gifts she gave me, build on them and share them with the world, and hopefully help people who were in a situation just like me. Creating aromatherapy combinations had been merely a fun hobby, and I had been giving them as birthday presents to my family and friends. Then, after some encouragement, I opened up a stand at a local farmer’s market. Requests to make my unique blends as souvenirs for weddings and bridal showers soon followed. It took me quite some time to put my dream into motion, but here we are.
Out of a desire to share my grandmother’s legacy as a healer with the world, Soulful Essence was born. I’m still in pursuit of my dream—and just in time, too. Globally, perspectives are shifting, and people are realizing that there is too much inauthenticity, doubt and separateness and not nearly enough passion, joy and empathy. Using the highest quality ingredients, meticulous care, and wisdom from my Grandmother, I have created Soulful Essence’s supportive and transformative aromatherapy blends. I make them for the interwoven tapestry of natural healers and soul-searchers just like me, trying to find peace, passion, creativity and light through balance, mindfulness and grace, and I’m happy to say there are more of us every day.