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If you're seeking custom essential oil blends for personal use, your practice or for your company and products, you'll love working with Marla Bosworth. She is known in the indie beauty industry for her professional essential oil blending and custom cosmetic formulation services. With 20 years of indie beauty business experience and 30 years as a market research and retail sales expert, she is at your service for contract blending. For an additional fee, Marla may travel to your location (please inquire for details). 
This is perfect for entrepreneurs developing their own line of products as well as beauty businesses who desire specialized blends. 
Together you will custom-tailor the project to fit your needs and application (perfume, soap, skincare products, haircare, candles and more). Marla has consulted with students from around the globe - from Ghana, South Africa, to Germany, Chile, Guatemala, Ireland, Venezuela, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Turks and Caicos, Israel, Columbia, Ireland, Spain & from around the United States just to name a few. Marla is well-known in the indie beauty industry and has spoken numerous times at the Handcrafted Soapmakers and Cosmetics Guild Conference.
Blending service packages start at $498. We would love to work with you! Please inquire and determine whether we are a good fit with your project, please visit this our site here.
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Join me in New York City to learn how to formulate natural and organic skincare products. Our event takes place March 19-25, 2016. Choose individual workshops or the entire week of Bath and Body University. We have students join us from all over the world to learn how to create products for personal use and business. Most of our students have no formal training in skincare formulation.

Join cosmetic formulator Marla Bosworth for classes ranging from essential oil blending, herbal infusions, body butters, soap making, emulsified body scrubs to a skincare formulator's business seminar. Our courses range from intermediate to advanced, but Marla's teaching style and comprehensive materials makes it easy for the novice to feel comfortable in class as well.



The full schedule is as follows:

March 19 - Growing Your Beauty Brand with Social Media

March 20 - Creating Signature Essential Oil Blends and Blending Services

March 21-25 - Bath & Body University

March 21 - Organic Face and Body Creams

March 22 - Herbal Infusions in Body Butters and Balms

March 23 - Organic Luxurious Body Scrubs and Bath Soaks

March 24 - Organic Soapmaking

March 25 - Build and Grow a Successful Bath & Body Business Seminar

These workshops fill up quickly. We post number of spots left in each workshop on our website. Workshops are held on the Upper West Side of Manhattan with easy access from all parts of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.

Can't make this series of workshops? Join our Facebook page for upcoming announcements and be sure to sign up for our email newsletter.

Marla Bosworth is an award-winning entrepreneur, author of many ebooks and articles for the indie beauty industry. She is a world-renowned teacher of natural skincare formulation. Marla has been using social media and the internet to grow her online presence for 20 years (yes, back in the days of America Online). She teaches workshops throughout the U.S. and has had the pleasure of consulting and working with students from all over the world.
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Soapmakers generally end up with soda ash forming on their bars at least once in their soap making endeavors. Let's take a look at soda ash, what it is, way to prevent it from happening, how to get rid of it when it occurs, and an example of how it can enhance your soap.

What is Soda Ash?
Soda ash is the common name for sodium carbonate. It's a harmless, white powder that can naturally occur on bar soaps as a mineral deposit. It forms when sodium hydroxide (lye) and air (oxygen) come in contact with each other (see below on how to prevent this from happening).

Sodium Carbonate
Na-= sodium hydroxide
O = oxygen
Here is an example of a soap with soda ash (left) and one without (right). Thanks to my friend and colleague, Angela Carillo of Alegna Soap for sharing this example. The bar on the left had been exposed to air during the first 24 hours of saponification, while the bar on the right was not exposed.

Heavy soda ash on the surface of the left bar.
Photo credit: Angela Carillo of Alegna Soap

When Does Soda Ash Occur?
As in the example that Angela provided, this soap set up with soda ash during the period of 24 hours after pouring the soap into the mold. During saponification, or the first 24-48 hours and occasionally a few days into the curing process.


How to Prevent Soda Ash
The easiest, most proactive way to prevent soda ash is by reducing the water content in your soap. I haven't gotten soda ash for 15 years, and I soap at a 38% lye concentration (do not confuse this as water as percentage of oils). This is convenient if you are making soap that you want to set up quickly.

However, if you want your soap to set up slowly such as in the case of swirling or creating intricate color designs, then you won't want to reduce your water content as the soap batter will thicken too quickly on you.

Some people say that spraying isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol) on the soap right after pouring into the mold will prevent soda ash. I've never found this to be true. The theory is that the alcohol helps remove the extra water on the surface layer of the soap. Give it a try and experiment for yourself.

The second best way to prevent soda ash is by simply covering your freshly poured soap AS WELL AS your freshly cut bars with a loose layer of plastic. You can use plastic wrap, a clean trash bag or a plastic table cover. Keep the plastic over the surface of the soap in the mold. After you have unfolded and cut into bars, cover again for 48 hours. If you are using full water content (lye concentration of 28%), then you may want to keep the plastic over the bars loosely for a week.

How to Remove Soda Ash
Here are some ideas to removing existing soda ash from your soap bars:
  • Wipe a damp paper towel over the bar.
  • Use a steamer to remove the soda ash (yes, some people actually do this).
  • Run the bar under water and let dry (wear gloves as this tends to leave fingerprints).

Embrace Your Soda Ash


Soda ash on the top of activated charcoal soap.
Photo credit: Angela Carillo of Alegna Soap
Soda ash can create interesting contrasts in intricate soap designs, as in the one pictured above. Again, a perfect example by Angela on how soda ash can naturally appear simply by the lye in her soap "meeting" the oxygen in the air around it.

Although soda ash can show up unexpectedly and present aesthetically-challenged soap bars, it can also lend itself to complementing colors and designs. There are easy ways to prevent it once you understand that water plays a large part. Most soapmakerss are busy and don't want to be presented with the task of removing soda ash on every batch made. Plastic wrap might be the easiest way to protect yourself against a surprise visit from the soda ash fairies!

What have you noticed about soda ash setting up on your soap?
Do you have any tips on removing or preventing it?
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Let's dive into some questions I recently received via email regarding cold process soap making. I hope that you'll find them helpful. Do you have other questions? Feel free to leave a comment and I may choose yours as my next blog post!


Q: Do carrier oils and butters lend any fragrance to the soap?

A: Not enough to notice. The only exception that I've experienced is cocoa butter added at 15-20 percent. It results in a light cocoa scent. I find that most of my clients and students want to add essential oils to create a beautifully scented soap. (I no longer use synthetic, fragrance oils. I stopped using them five years ago when I began to have breathing issues around them.)


Q: Is it true that sodium lactate will speed up the saponification process? What's the cure time when using sodium lactate? Is the cure time based on the weight of the soap?

A: Sodium lactate won't speed up saponification. However, it will result in a harder bar. I recommend that you try sodium lactate at 1% of your oil weight. If you've never seen it, it's clear and looks similar to glycerin.

To use, simply stir into cooled lye water (under 130F). However, you may not want to use sodium lactate if you are reducing the water content in your soap. It can cause overheating and cracking, which is a complete bummer.

Also, if you plan to use any liquid with a high sugar content (juices, milk, etc.), I suggest that you try a small batch first to see if the sodium lactate will behave in the batch. It can cause overheating in milk and juice soaps.

Cure time for the soap will be standard, which is around four weeks depending on your formula. For example, if you make a castille soap (100% olive oil), then your bars may take six to eight weeks to cure.

Try using ice in your lye water to keep fumes at a minimum
and to help cool your lye water temperature quickly.

Q: We used ice in our water during the soap making class with you in New York City. Can you remind me of the ratio of ice to water? Does it matter how much? Should I assume the weight of the ice and water should equal the water liquids needed for that particular batch?

A: Great question! And I'm sure many soapmakers will appreciate this tip. Let me first explain that I use ice for two reasons: 1.) to help the lye water temperature drop faster and 2.) to keep the sodium fumes at a minimum, which your lungs will thank you for years down the road.

The maximum amount of ice I recommend is 70% of your required liquid. You'll just replace 70% of your liquid weight with ice, then add the rest in water. Sometimes students ask if ice weighs the same as water, and the answer is yes. And yes, you're right in the assumption that you're going for the total amount of water liquids needed for the batch. The higher the ice amount, the stronger the probability that some of your lye may not dissolve completely. So start with a 50:50 ice to water ratio and you won't run into any problems with the lye not dissolving.


Q: How do I determine how much fragrance to add to my soap batch? When do I add it?

A: You can either add your fragrance to your oils before you begin soaping or you can add them at trace (thickening of the soap batter). I recommend adding them at trace, especially if you aren't sure how they are going to behave once added. Add a small amount at a time. If you see your soap thickening quickly or turning into tiny chunks, stop and quickly pour into your mold. This can happen with floral essential oils and especially fragrance oils, since the latter is made up of different chemical components. We never know how fragrance oils are going to behave. So if you are new to soap making, stick to essential oils like lavender, lemongrass, peppermint and rosemary in the beginning and you'll have very little chance of something going wrong because of them.

The usage rate for essential oils in cold process soap is 0.5 - 1 oz. per pound of oils used in your formula. This doesn't include water. Just your oil weight (olive, shea butter, coconut, etc.) Always weigh your fragrance and rest of ingredients for accuracy as opposed to using measuring cups.

To determine the amount of essential oils/fragrance, take the weight of your formula oils in pounds and multiple by .5 ounces. For example:

3 lb. oil
x .5 oz fragrance
1.5 oz.


Q: Do I have to line my molds?

A: If you are using wood or cardboard, yes. Line it with freezer paper or plastic wrap. If you are using plastic molds, I suggest you use plastic wrap inside the mold for an easy release. However, if you are using silicone molds, you can forgo the plastic wrap.


Q: Can you remind me what the temperature of the lye water and oils need to be before I combine them? Does it matter about the temperature of the essential oil?

Honestly, I don't even check temperatures anymore. I now teach my students to feel the sides of the lye/water and oil containers and get a feel for the temperature of under 120F or 130F. If you are new to soap making, you might want to use a thermometer in the beginning. Under 120F is ideal, but if you are at 130 or even higher your soap will be fine. My favorite temperature is room temp, which is right around 68 degrees in my house this winter.

Thanks for reading. If you're in the New York City area this month, be sure to check out my upcoming workshops!
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Like many soapmakers, I started my business in my home kitchen, making small batches of soap. As demand for my products grew, I found myself outgrowing a stockpot, then a 5 gallon pail. Stickblenders were no longer large enough to emulsify a batch of soap.

After much research, I invested more than $10,000 in soap making equipment: water-jacketed electric tanks to melt oils, large stainless steel mixing pot on tipping stand, 350 bar molds, drill with paddle attachment to replace stick blender, electric soap cutter, more stainless steel tables and baker's racks.

In this video I'm making a 100 lb. batch which will yield approximately 400 bars of soap. I'm mixing my oils and lye water together and getting ready to add essential oils and herbs. Let me show you how I combine 10 lbs. of lye, 73 lbs. of oils/butters and 56 oz. of essential oil!


100 lb. Batch of Rosemary & Lavender Cold Process Soap - YouTube




As a business, we need to be mindful of operating efficiently. What areas of your production would you like to improve?
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Ready to get proactive about launching and running your indie beauty business? Ready to stop taking all the opportunities that come your way, even if they might not be profitable or a good match for your company? Ready to scale and grow your business?





In this information-packed, full-day masterclass, Marla Bosworth will help bring clarity to your goals and what you wish to manifest for you and your indie beauty business in 2017. Whether you have an existing booming business or just getting ready to launch, this intimate workshop will help you put goals in place to take these next steps in your business. 



You'll learn from Marla, a bath and beauty expert and market research analyst, who launched Back Porch Soap Company nearly 20 years ago. She is known in the indie beauty industry for her sage personal and business coaching. In addition to teaching formulating and business workshops all over the U.S., she has successfully opened and run retail stores in both the Boston, Massachusetts area and Jackson Hole, Wyoming. She brings 30 years experience as a market research analyst and retail sales expert to this workshop.


Among the topics Marla will cover in this full-day, intensive masterclass:
  • Beyond the Products - What Really Makes Consumers Buy
  • What to Expect for the Indie Beauty Business Market in 2017 
  • Avoiding Pitfalls: Why Indie Brands Go Out of Business
  • How to Be an Indie Beauty Trailblazer
  • Creative & Profitable Business Ideas
  • Product Packaging
  • How to Generate Excitement Around Your Brand
  • Social Media Hotspots - Finding the Buzz
  • Getting Media Attention
  • Pricing and Profit Margins
  • Protecting Your Business - The Truth About Insurance Coverage & Trademarks
  • The New Age of Wholesale (It's Changing and How to Adapt)
  • How To Master Retail Sales, Including Opening and Running a Retail Establishment
  • Hiring, Delegating and Outsourcing
  • Best Practices for Pitching Sales/Opportunities and Negotiating
  • Creating a Long-Term Plan to Scale Your Business

Attendees will receive a binder of valuable handouts. There will be plenty of time for Q&A's throughout the session. Link for more information visit our website
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Photo credit: Marla Bosworth
These are the hands of alchemists blending their cold process soaps
with wildcrafted botanicals and healing essential oil blends.
Last month in New York City I shared with students what I have been doing for a lifetime as an alchemist - blending nature with healing modalities. It began when I was a child in central Illinois when I would create infusions with botanicals found walking in the woods, forgaging in fields or in my parents' garden. Later in life when I created my botanical beauty company I began creating soaps in Massachusetts and captured the energy of the Atlantic ocean and Cape Cod in my bodycare line. Then I moved to Jackson Hole, Wyoming where shIe worked with the energy of wildlife, the Rocky Mountains and the plethora of botanicals growing throughout the Grand Tetons.

Customers would come into my Jackson Hole store and tell me how her products envoked memories of hiking on trails in Yellowstone or Grand Teton National Park. They would hold the soap - some knowing and others not - that the vibrational frequency in the soap brought memories and oftentimes emotional healing.

I've taken my knowledge of combining alchemy, higher consciousness and sacred geometry and created a new class for beginning and experienced soapmakers. This workshop is also intended for healers, lightworkers, massage therapists, yoga enthusiasts, and anyone interested in wildcrafting, alchemy, energy healing, sacred earth energies and cold process soapmaking.

Join me on March 24 in New York City for the next workshop. Check out the class here. Not able to travel to New York? Sign up for my new, upcoming online workshop here.


*************************************************************************
Soap class, handmade soap market research, handmade soap trends, how to make soaps and start a business, Soap making class, soap making classes, how to start a soap making business in New York city, New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine, Vermont, California, Oregon, Washington, Texas, Wyoming, Montanta, Idaho, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Ohio, Indiana, Tennessee, Kentucky, Hawaii, Alaska, New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, North Dakota, South Dakota, Georgia, Alabama, North Carolina, Florida, South Carolina, West Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, New York City, Boston. New York City aromatherapy, beauty brand how to grow, wildcraft soap, brooklyn, staten island, queens, bronx, manhattan


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I bet you’re breathing a huge sigh of relief about now. 2013 is a closed chapter and a fresh, new 2014 calendar awaits your business strategy. If you haven’t already reviewed 2013, now is the time to do it. What worked for you last year and what didn’t? Where were you most profitable? Being more selective with opportunities presented to you in 2014 will positively affect your bottom line.

I’ve already let several projects from 2013 fall to the wayside in 2014. They made sense last year, but as I continually raise my business standards and become more selective in where I put my energy there were several things that I’ve let go.
In addition to reviewing 2013, another project on the top of your list should be your annual growth strategy. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t want to grow their business. But let’s get specific. Do you want to grow your business 5%, 10% or more this year?
There are several ways to grow your business. One way is to reduce your bottom line. The other is to increase your sales. Let’s take a look at reducing your bottom line first. A little planning and strategizing could save you a total of 5-30% in this area. Here are some simple suggestions to save money, which in turn will put more back into your bank account:
·         Negotiate lower merchant account credit card processing rates. Did your credit card sales increase this year? Do you expect more sales this year? Call the merchant processing company and tell them you are looking for lower rates. If you reduce your rate by 0.5-1% you’re doing well.
·         Review your annual cost of goods spending and shop around for the best prices on ingredients. This year work on buying in bulk to lower your costs. Instead of purchasing in small quantities frequently, determine price breaks and order quarterly or twice a year instead. This can save you anywhere from 3-5% or more on your cost of goods spending.
·         Re-evaluate contracts, service subscriptions (webhosting, etc.) and memberships. Which of these are worth keeping and which have little to no return on investment? Estimated potential savings here is 1-3%.
·         Review shipping costs from suppliers. Would you save money buying in bulk and shipping your orders via freight versus UPS? You could save up to 10% on current shipping costs depending on your buying habits.
·         Re-evaluate your marketing budget. What did you pay for marketing in 2013? Which of your marketing initiatives resulted in a high return on investment? Which did not?
Let’s look at increasing sales

Have a specific goal in increasing sales (i.e., this year we will increase sales by 20%).  Here are some suggestions on how to increase sales:

·         Nuture relationships with current customers. Your best customers know your brand and will have good suggestions on what products to add, how to improve customer service, new services and more. Tap into their resources and remember to reward them with discounts and paybacks.
·         Upsell to customers. Did you know that more than 80 percent of sales are impulse purchases? This is a relatively easy way to increase sales by 5-10 percent annually. Ask for the sale at checkout (i.e., “Would you like to take advantage of our lip balm special?”)
·         Add new products or services. Be specific. For example, how many new products will you introduce by May? How many by September?
·         Increase your wholesale and private label accounts. How many annually? How many new accounts does that mean per month? Per week?
·         Re-evaluate your retail sales. Which trade shows and retail shows were worth your time last year? Are there new shows you want to try this year?
·         Update your website. There’s always something to improve, from product photography to product descriptions. Add quality search engine optimization and increase your social media interactions.
·         How can you work more efficiently? Distractions lead to wasted time which cut into your bottom line. Schedule your time, limit access to time-wasting websites (use apps such as RescueTime to see how much time you’re spending on Facebook and other sites). If you spend less time on Facebook weekly (five to seven hours per week), what could you accomplish in that timeframe for your business?
·         Disorganization is another efficiency killer. How much time do you waste looking for ingredients or packaging that you were sure was “just right there” but now you have to place a rush order to fill an order? It’s frustrating – I’ve been there! Invest in inventory software. Get your business organized into a mean, lean operating machine.
These are just a few suggestions to get your business ready for a fabulous 2014. Prioritize what makes the most sense for your business. Then begin implementing them as soon as possible. Keep good records so you can track your results. Once 2015 rolls around you’ll be ahead of the game. Happy sales (and savings).

I'd love to hear your tips on increasing profitability. 

Reprinted with permission from the January 2014 Saponifier Magazine, written by Marla Bosworth
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One question I get asked repeatedly is how to determine the safe amount of essential oil or fragrance to use when formulating soaps and cosmetics. I hope to shed some light on this subject. There are layers and layers of information on this subject, and I am merely peeling back the first layer in this blogpost.

There is not a simple answer such as 2% in leave-on skincare products and 5% in bar and liquid soaps. Why? Because there are essential oils that are known for skin sensitivity issues that need to be taken into account. So a  quick and easy answer is that we cannot assume that we can use up to 5% of one type of fragrance oil or essential oil as part of the scent component in our recipe or formula if it is known to cause sensitivity issues.

If we are using an essential oil such as cinnamon bark, for example, it is not recommended that we use it as the full amount of our fragrance component. There are voluntary guidelines for percentages in usage levels set in place by International Fragrance Association (IFRA), an industry organization which provides voluntary guidelines regarding the use of fragrance.  These are known in the industry as IFRA Application Guidelines.

A handful of industry essential oil and fragrance suppliers provide IFRA guidelines on their websites along with suggested usage rates in soap, cream, lotions, shampoos and any product that can be formulated using a fragrance. Call your supplier if they do not list recommendations to find out and tell them that you are asking because you want to make safe products for your customers.

There are three main reactions that can occur as a result from essential oils being applied to the skin:
  • irritation
  • sensitization
  • photosensitization
Cinnamon bark essential oil, for example, has been on IFRA’s Restricted Essential Oils list along with expressed citrus oils (“expressed” is a method of essential oil distillation) such as bergamot, bitter orange, grapefruit, lemon and lime.

“Fragrance is the second most common cause of skin allergy, after nickel. However ‘fragrance’ is not a single substance; it is a term that encompasses thousands of chemicals and hundreds of essential oils.” Robert Tisserand, Essential Oil Safety Second Edition. Book link: http://roberttisserand.com/essential-oil-safety-book-second-edition/
 
Now, let’s back up and review the two types of fragrances we’re talking about so that any newcomers can follow this conversation. The first is essential oils, commonly referred to as EOs. Essential oils add fragrance to your product, as well as add therapeutic benefits to the body and mind. We can’t make therapeutic claims, but can make cosmetic or hygiene claims. So we can’t mention skin problems such as acne or psoriasis, but we can refer to essential oils being known to having properties such as antifungal, antimicrobial, as well as intended for oily skin, and so on.

Second, essential oils are different from man-made, synthetic fragrance oils, which are commonly referred to as FOs. If you choose to use fragrance oils, make sure they are skin safe. For example, you would not want to purchase a fragrance intended solely for candlemaking and use it in skincare products since it is not for use in leave-on or wash-off products.

Now that’s we’ve cleared the air (pun intended) about different types of fragrance, let’s get into guidelines about recommended usage rates. This is the percentage (not type of) essential oil or fragrance oil you’ll use in soaps and bath and body products.
                 
Typically, fragrance usage rates in leave-on products such as creams and lotions are lower than wash-off products (bar soap, liquid soap, etc.). More of a leave-on product remains on the skin versus a wash-off product, so the amount of fragrance should be lower. The average recommended usage rate of fragrance is one to five percent for any product sold or marketed to ages one and up. Again, we cannot assume one fragrance or another can be used up to 5% - we need to research to confirm information from the manufacturer or supplier. (Off Topic Tip: I never recommend any fragrance for newborn through 12 months of age. Their little bodies are so sensitive and have a hard time processing fragrance unlike adults.)

Any recommended percentage relates to the total weight of your recipe. For example, for a 100 oz. weight batch of cream, 1% dilution rate would equal 1 oz. or for 2% a total of 2 oz. of essential oil would be used (100 oz. x .01 = 1 oz. or 100 oz. x .02 = 2 oz.).
 
If our research shows that the essential oil (or fragrance oil) we wish to use has a suggested usage rate of 3%, but we would like to fragrance at 5%, then a solution would be to blend it with another oil.

If you are selling products to a healthy adult market (i.e., one that is not going through chemo, radiation nor sensitive to fragrances) most likely you’ll want to use a two to five percent usage rate. This is a range suggested for healthy adults and children older than 12 years of age. Again, research, to determine the safety levels of the fragrance you are using by familiarizing yourself with IFRA and asking your supplier for information.

If you're interested in studying the effects of essential oils in skincare and cosmetic products in detail, join me in a "live" 2-day seminar with Robert Tisserand on "Essential Oils in Skincare" held April 5-6 , 2014 in Santa Barbara, California and on August 23-24, 2014 in New York City.

What questions do you have regarding essential oils or fragrance oils in soap or cosmetics?

 
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I’m sitting in a life coach’s office in 2000. I never imagined my world would have hit such rock bottom. By choice I was in the beginning of what would be a grueling, 12-month process of a non-amicable divorce. I found myself a single mom of our six-year-old daughter. I was working hard to keep her my number one priority and also keeping my business afloat, family bills paid, selling our house and trying so hard to be a strong mother and keeping our little family safe. Truth was, I didn’t know if I was coming or going. I was lost in so many ways. 

Wrapping up our first hour-long discussion she said, “I want you to start thinking about what you are grateful for in your life.” 

Say what? Did I hear her correctly? “Did you say you want me to think about what I’m grateful for?” I asked. 

“Yes,” she replied. 

 “Start with even the smallest thing,” she offered. 

I reflected on my day and told her that I saw a beautiful sunrise, and love holding a hot mug of coffee on a cold morning and enjoying those first sips. 
Still reluctant, I continued. “I love to hear my daughter giggle and read these little love notes she brings to me,” I confessed. 


Surely this life coach would have incredibly wise advice for me. She will certainly help me turn my world around. 

I couldn’t think of much.


“That’s it, go on,” she encouraged. 

I felt better when I thought about these things and for a moment I forgot about my divorce, the overwhelming feeling of being stuck and the intense depression that I felt circling around me. Instead I felt the joy of being in the moment – like the way my heart felt warm when I thought about those little tiny notes my daughter delivered to me, handwritten and folded into special gifts for me. 

Gratitude Paves the Way for Allowing 

Practicing the art of gratitude will gave me a powerful turning point to my life. When we tap into gratitude we create a positive mindset and come from a place of abundance, rather from a place of what’s wrong and lacking in our lives. If you’ve never done this before, I admit it may feel odd at first. What you’ll notice, however, is the more you practice the more you are allowing this rhythm to begin to flow in your life. You’ll be able to recognize the good, the "light" - even if it is in the smallest kind gestures by others or a glimpse of beauty in nature. And when you begin to approach your life in gratitude, you’ll find blessings showing up at your door unexpectedly. 

Gratitude and faith helped me through the most difficult time of my life. Gratitude was like tiny baby steps, helping me see a glimmer of hope and light in my life. Faith was my rock, as I believe we are guided to our do our greatest good through trials and tribulations. Abundance began to flow freely for me in many ways. I now have empathy for others who go through similar painful situations. I can relate. I’ve been there and made it through. So can you. 

So if you’ve been through a time like this, I tip my hat to you. If you’re in the midst of something similar, know that it is a time of personal growth. It will become clearer in time. I encourage you to find faith – whatever that may be for you – and begin to take these baby steps of gratitude. Those steps will help ground you, keep you living in the moment (away from the what if’s, as well as past and future worries), and ultimately begin to create the space for abundance in your life. 

Here are five tips to start your personal walk with gratitude: 

  1. Begin – Make the commitment and tell yourself that you’re going to start. 

  1. Get Quiet – Early morning or late evenings are the perfect time to slow down, reflect and create awareness. 

  1. Start Small – What’ s the one thing you’re grateful for today? Keep it simple. Your list will grow from here. Notice how you feel when you think about these things that make you grateful. See how long you can keep that feeling – 15 seconds, a minute, an hour, longer? 

  1. Journal – This is a powerful tool. I found it challenging to get started, but now I journal 4-5 times a week. Most days I can now stay in a state of gratitude for hours. When I fall out of alignment, I simply readjust my thinking.  

  1. Notice & Take Note – When you tap into gratitude it allows for expansion and creating space for newness in your life. Journal regularly and then to read back over weeks and months to see your progression. 

Stepping into gratitude can change your life in three ways. First, it will bring you into the present moment – into the Now – and ground you. Second, it will set the stage for expansion in your life as you lay the groundwork for allowing. Lastly, it will bring gifts of abundance and life purpose in ways that you never imagined. Just begin with that one tiny step.

Question: Have you gone through a time in your life where just putting one step in front of the other was all you could handle? If so, what did you find helpful that you can share with others? Are any of you going through these life changes right now? 

Post your comments and I'll be sure to respond.
~Marla

Written by Marla Bosworth. Reprinted from The Saponifier Magazine with permission.
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