It's Wise Women Wednesday, each week I interview a woman that I believe is inspiring, living abundantly and following her passions. These are all women who live a life of abundance and bring creativity into the world.
Q. Who are you? What is your background?
A. My name is Rachel. I’m an adventurer, an entrepreneur, and an essential oil evangelist. I graduated college for the first time with a degree in Literature & Anthropology. Because it was a liberal arts degree, I worked all over the place for about seven years — publishing, bartending, at a dog daycare, in government, at a non profit. Eventually, I decided to become a nurse, so I went back to school and got two more degrees in nursing. From there I worked as a cardiac nurse, first with adults and then with babies with heart problems. As a nurse, I was introduced to essential oils at one of the hospitals I worked for, and it was love at first scent :) I used oils for my mood, and for energy, and to keep my immune system strong despite the assaults it took by working in a hospital. Over time I realized I loved people, but I hated hospitals, so three and a half years ago I left nursing to work the oil business.
Q. What is your work?
A. I do the most amazing thing. I sell essential oils. They’re cheap, they’re safe, they’re effective. They’ve totally changed my life. I love them. I love plants, and the Botanical Queendom :) I love how powerful plants are at supporting the entire person, yet how gentle they can be. I love that I can still do what I loved about nursing — working with people one on one and helping them create better health and wellness, but now I get to do that outside of the machine of modern medicine.
Q. What is one project you are excited to be working on right now?
A. My boyfriend and I are currently experimenting with living. We both have homes in Nashville, TN, but come December, we will have only spent about 12 weeks total in Nashville. This year we’ve been traveling the country and the world and trying out new places to live, and new ways to live there. We’re spending the summer in an RV in the Pacific Northwest, and we’re talking about downsizing from the 270 sq. ft. we currently live in into a much smaller setup. Our goal is to keep minimizing and to get as light as possible, in terms of possessions, finances, etc. in order to have big adventures and big experiences. There are things I really miss, like my bathtub, a full size refrigerator, and a bed you can walk around freely :) But it’s a small price to pay in exchange for the freedom we are now experiencing. I’m looking forward to continuing the experiment in minimal living. The next project will likely be swapping our separate homes in Nashville for a tiny home outside of town. While still living on the road as much as possible. Stay tuned :)
Q. What is one thing you've done recently that's scared you and took courage, but you're glad you did?
A. I’m a shy introvert, so most everything scares me! There have been big scary things I’ve done — move to a foreign country on my own, run a marathon, build a business — but I would say I am most proud of the little things. Rumi said,“Patience with small details makes perfect a large work, like the universe.” For me the recent small details have been several conversations I have had that scared me in the abstract. I was scared because in these conversations I had to be upfront about what I wanted, and my habit is to defer to what others want. Once the conversations were underway, they were fine. More than fine, enjoyable even. But they took courage to begin.
Q. What is the work you most want to be doing and are you doing it? If not why not what's stopping you?
A. You know, I feel that a lot of what I am doing is my life’s work. That this is one of the ways I am meant to love the world. When I left the nursing profession to build an essential oil business, my dream was to be able to touch people’s lives and work with them so that they got real, true, measurable improvements in their health and wellness. I’m proud to say that I’ve built a team of more than 70,000 people from more than 30 countries. And so each day, I have the chance to wake up, and help people take their life, their health, their finances to the next level, whatever that is. To help them create what they desire and deserve. It’s a huge privilege and a huge responsibility. Having said that, I’ll admit that the management side of it can be a challenge for me, because it’s not how my brain is wired. One of my big goals for the remainder of the year is to bring on a manager who can help with the details so that I can turn around and serve more people out of my strengths.
Q. What would you tell your high school or college self?
A. It’s fun to think back to those old selves. They were very different versions of the person I am today. In college, I dated the same person all four years, and believed at the time that we would marry, have kids, and create a long life together. We broke up right before graduation and it was a huge loss at the time. And so looking back, I would remind my college self of the quote from Frederick Buechner that says “What's lost is nothing to what's found.” To me that means we shouldn’t fear the losses, the closed doors, the things that don’t work out as we expect them to. That if we remain open, if we remain curious, what’s coming for us is greater than the loss we’ve just experienced. That’s been true in my life over and over again. The life I am living now is a lot bigger than the one I thought I was headed for during college. I’m awfully grateful for that relationship, and I’m also grateful it ended when it did, and opened new doors.
Q. What's one piece of advice or motto you love and use in your daily life that you would like to share with my sweet readers?
A. One of my role models is the poet Mary Oliver. I lovingly refer to her work as “the Gospel According to Mary”. I could quote her for pages. But here is one of her quotes that I loved enough to have printed on my last business card:
“Instructions for living a life. Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it.”
We live in a culture that is oriented towards fear, towards not enough, towards violence. It’s what our media both feeds off of, and spits out. It’s easy to get sucked into the undertow of that.
But to be astonished means to be filled with wonder or amazement. I think the world is still a beautiful place. I think there is still much to be astonished by, and grateful for, and happy about. And I think our work is to remind each other of that.
Q. What keeps you creating when you don't feel like it?
A. Movement. It sounds really basic, but it’s a principle that has never let me down. When something feels stuck — whether in relationships, in work, in myself emotionally or spiritually — if I can just move my body, it helps that thing get unstuck. The great thing is that the movement doesn’t have to be big. It can be a walk, or stretching, or squats, or push-ups. Even pumping your arms in the air above your head will release tension in the diaphragm and cause “feel good” neurochemicals to be released in the blood.
So as long as I can discipline myself to move my body, then things don’t remain stuck in my heart or my head.
Q. Anything else you'd like to share?
A. Only that this has been a real pleasure. It was such a treat to meet you in Portland, and it is an honor to be invited into this community! You’re an inspiration to me and I feel really grateful we’re connected. Also, I’d love to hear feedback from your readers if anyone has or is downsizing/minimizing, or just thinking about it! It’s an ongoing conversation in my life, and I am always looking to bring more people into it. And I’m always open to travel tips as well!!! Tell me where we should go next! I’m @rachcatjones on Insta and my email is firstname.lastname@example.org
Q. What's your favorite yoga pose?
A. To be honest yoga is something I have been meaning to “get into” for years! I have had a few great classes here and there, but nothing consistent, I am ashamed to say. Having said that, I love crow because I can only halfway do it and it is a challenge. And I love savasana because it’s the antithesis of American culture and thus I find I need it the most!
Q. How do you live a life of abundance?
A. This will sound cliche, but cliches became cliches for a reason. Because its a shared experience or universal truth. But the secret to abundance is gratitude. I cannot be grateful and fearful at the same time. I cannot be grateful and angry at the same time. I cannot be grateful and frustrated at the same time. All the emotions that constrict me can’t exist simultaneously with gratitude. It’s the quickest way to feel abundance, to feel expansion, to feel alive. The English author G.K. Chesterton said "I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought. And that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder." I’ve always loved that line — happiness doubled by wonder. I work at making gratitude something I engage in throughout the day — in the morning as I wake up, before I fall asleep, before a meal. It doesn’t mean every day is perfect, or I never fall into a bad mood. But it’s the best way I know to maintain a state of abundance, and it’s the best way out of feeling any negative emotion.