This post is the second in the 'How She Started Her Healing Business' series, where 7 inspiring young entrepreneurs share the story of how they created their holistic careers - giving you inspiration, advice, and a window into how you can do it too!
Asia is the founder of One Willow Apothecaries. She’s an herbalist, teacher & writer, who lives amongst the Blue Ridge Mountains of Western NC.
Why I love Asia:
Asia is the only woman apart of this blog tour whom I hadn’t known previously. Though I had been following her on Instagram and Facebook for quite some time before I reached out. I adore that she is grounded and focused on, to me, what really matters, the healing powers of Mother Earth, and the simple things in life. She lives in this true place, and creates the most beautiful medicines from her strong connection to the earth. Tuning into Asia is quite different that tuning into your average entrepreneur. She lives first and foremost in the ‘real world’ (that of dirt, a cup of tea, and a slower pace of being), and that, is why I love her!
Why I love this article:
Well, first off, it's poetry. Asia is a beautiful writer. Second of all, we get such a window into Asia's initial fears + excitement. You can really feel the energy of how and when she started. The trepidation, the elation, the overarching curiosity for what was to come, and the many references to simply following her soul's whispers. This article really gives a peek into what the beginning stages of what the creation process is like. (Ps. Be sure to check out Asia's website, it's beautiful.)
The call to start One Willow began quietly.
Like a gentle breeze on bare skin; soul inklings often start out this way. I was in the final months of my herbal training at The Chestnut School when the idea suddenly made itself known. Like the half formed words that escape from us in sleep, the nudgings of our spirit often arrive in unexpected whispers, pieces that hint to a much larger conversation already underway in our dreams.
In the beginning, I was reluctant—as most people are when ambitious endeavors are first glimpsed. I had fully intended on developing a clinical practice at the completion of my studies. The idea to create a product business was far off my well-paved map. Like the most skilled conversationalist, however, our wider souls know exactly when to introduce new directions. One Willow sprung as suddenly as a pea shoot from long fallow soil. Green, young, alive, it would not be ignored. I didn’t quite know how to begin, but I felt that I was being allowed a moment of translucence, a little window into the greater conversation of my soul. I wasn’t sure exactly where it would lead (for it was certainly leading somewhere) but the urge itself was a kind of guidance. A single thread revealed from some unseen spool. I had no idea exactly where it came from, or where it would go, but I felt, deep in my bones, that a larger piece of my destiny was in the process of being woven.
To follow the thread meant two things: to accept that it was possible, and to allow myself to try. All journeys, especially the ones that are big and beautiful, require some sort of initiation. For me, that initiation took the form of confronting self-doubt. There were a thousand reasons why beginning a business seemed illogical. I had little capital. Actually, no capital at all! I have never run a business before, never created medicine for anyone beyond family or friends, never put myself out there so publically. Big decisions, opportunities, and life changes are so large simply because they ask much of us. Simply put, they ask for us to open up to our own grandness. Often, I will know a new direction is important specifically because it requires me to confront any feelings of smallness.
Rainer Maria Rilke wrote “our fears are like dragons guarding our most precious treasures.”
Starting your own business means more than applying for a license or figuring our your PR strategy. It is an act of sheer bravery, for it is often an invitation to confront our deepest fears and most limiting self-beliefs. For me, it came down to the nagging fear of being enough. Knowledgeable enough, old enough, experienced enough. More than creating a livelihood for myself through doing what I loved, the initiation of beginning One Willow was a sacred moment of reconciling with the dragons in my life.
It took me a year from first opening my heart to the idea to being able to introduce my medicine to the world. Developing One Willow was like inhabiting a living workshop. Every day I confronted worries and fears, and every day I cast off more of these limitations so that I could expand, experience, exalt and GROW. It was a journey.
I remember the moment I first announced my business on Facebook. It was the beginning of the holiday season and I was so nervous my hands were shaking.
Once the announcement went live I immediately high-tailed it to the woods to sit underneath the bare winter silhouettes and breathe. I felt like I had crossed a threshold. It was both thrilling and terrifying, and wholly mysterious. By the time I got back home hundreds of people had visited my website and I had the distinct feeling that a very grand adventure had just begun.
Over the past several years One Willow has opened some incredible doors and initiated some deep lessons in my life. More than just an enterprise, One Willow is an actual entity with which I have a relationship. It is an aspect of myself that manifests with specific desires and inclinations, passions and needs. It has helped encourage me down new paths of exploration and fascination. New incarnations and understandings of my work in this world. Named for the willow tree that was planted for me when I was born, One Willow is a constant reminder of where I come from, how it feels to follow the seasons of my desires, and who I am asking myself to become.
Our passions are the guidestones of our lives.
What makes you tingle with anticipation? What feels like home? What lights the clouds or opens up a space of truly celestial peace in your sky? Starting and maintaining a vibrant business necessitates that you follow the path of your passion—no matter what. Over the years, I’ve fallen into the many traps of thinking in “shoulds.” Cultural standards, outside expectations, comparison. Mark Twain wrote once that “comparison is the death of joy” and I agree with him. I’ve lost precious hours comparing myself to others or even to the models of what I expected my work to look like. The truth is that each and every one of us has a deeply unique gift and that gift is completely incomparable.
This world craves your work.
By becoming more of who we truly are, we are able to more fully give the gifts of our selves to this earth.
We will never stop confronting dragons in our life. But every time you do, true magic occurs. Like carefully stacked cairns along a trail, you will always be blessed with guidance and affirmation. Little, pebbled reminders that, yes, you are on the right path and it is leading you somewhere truly beautiful. Following the whispered words of my soul has led to much abundance in my life but, even more so, it has opened up entirely new avenues for self-expansion and enchantment. It has brought that conversation, the one that lives and continues to be explored at the heart of my dreaming self, to every corner of my waking life.
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About the Author:
Asia Suler is a writer, teacher and herbalist who lives amongst her gardens and large apothecary in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Western NC.
She is the creator and concoctress of One Willow Apothecaries an Appalachian-grown herbal company that offers lovingly handcrafted magic and medicines.
Asia teaches at gatherings across the country and is blessed to work with people and plants, spirit and stones.