Sacred Souls Session with Rita Balshaw, Hippies in the City Author.  

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For many years I had the pleasure of working at Perfect Potion, an Australian owned and operated company responsible for one of the world’s most respected and purest range of aromatherapy oils.  It was here I developed my love for essential oils and natural skincare, actively studying and experiencing for myself the profound healing available through the use of aromatherapy.  It was during my time working for Perfect Potion that I found my soul family, like-minded women who honoured the cycles of the moon, who loved to experiment with foods and flavours, who responded to the call of the healing arts.  It was here I began to forge my own Alyssum Alchemy path.

I still look back fondly on the many years I worked for Perfect Potion being inspired each day by the beautiful women with whom I worked.  One such woman was the lovely Rita Balshaw, Hippies in the City author as well as the Wellness Ambassador for Perfect Potion.  I recall when Rita first began collecting her thoughts and researching for her first book.  Each day we worked together she’d share some new discovery or the meal she concocted the night before.  Rita was overcome with creative passion and it was an honour to witness this process and be a sounding board for her ideas.  Now she's published her third book and I'm delighted to share some of her story with you today. 

When did you write your first book?
I was 25, living in Surry Hills, full of energy, doing heaps of yoga, working my butt off, and probably shifting through one of the most profound self-discovery and healing journeys I had ever experienced. The first book Hippies in the City - a guide to natural living started as a creative project to distract me from many things I was going through at the time. With time the Hippies in the City grew into something pretty cool. I believe that book was a divine idea, one that I was assigned to gift to others. So much Magic has come from that book. 

You then went on to write another two books, what keeps the ideas flowing?  
The ideas only seem to flow if I continue to utterly immerse myself in the subject matter that is holistic living.  I find that Travelling, meditation and cooking ignites the creative juices too!  For me, the easiest part of creating books is the actual "making/creating of the book". Once I get going with something the inspiration and energy is very abundant. I feel very blessed to have access to this kind of creativity, it allows my to feel as if I live with true purpose.
Hippies in the City books by Rita Balshaw
What made you decide to self publish?  
I wanted to see all my books through from start to finish, and have complete creative control over them. I have never seen my books as a product, they are a very special and authentic gift of my knowledge and spirit. When I look back each book had their own journey, and they where all created, and birthed very differently.

Do you have any tips for other people wanting to write their own book and self publish?  
Every artist has a unique process, so no not really. To self publish you must be prepared to commit to a full time production role. It is a huge task managing, and seeing a book to its completion. But it is worth every moment of the struggle.

When did you begin practising as a holistic beauty and wellness therapist?
My goodness it feels like forever ago! I just love nurturing my clients. I am a pretty introverted person, and the one-on-one sessions with clients is very energising and rewarding for me.

What was it about the industry that first attracted you?
The Alternative, Holistic, Wellness (whatever you wanna call it) industry always just felt like home to me! When I was about 9 years old I smelt my first bottle of pure lavender oil, that was it, my heart skipped a beat and I was in love! I was probably considered a bit of a weird teenager; I enjoyed going along with my aunt to Native American drumming circles, and would ask for body massages, or books about astrology as birthday gifts.  

How have you changed since you first began this journey?  
I believe I have changed greatly. I mean I still am dedicated to eating a whole-foods diet, practicing daily yoga and self-care is a part of my daily routine. I just think I have chilled-out much more then I could have ever imagined! I use to be so "productive", working crazy hours, achieving goal after goal, and I was completly consumed with achieving purity of body and mind. These days I understand myself, and more then ever believe that a stress free, slow existence is where I am my healthiest and happiest. 

What makes your services unique?
My books are easy, fun and not dogmatic in their teaching or delivery in any way. My unique difference is that I have spent over a decade formally learning about the art of folk medicine, traditional remedies and the mind + body connection. I don't care too much about paying twenty bucks for a green smoothie or creating yet another podcast, I just love to deeply connect with people and share my craft as a natural therapist.

What is your favourite self care ritual (in your own personal life)?
Every Sunday afternoon my 3 year old son sleeps at grandmas house!  I roll out my Yoga Mat for a few stretches, I play some mellow tunes, light some candles and just flow into the evening. I almost always have an aromatherapy bath, and go on to cook a delicious vegetarian dinner and snuggle up to watch a cooking or travel documentary. As a busy mum I found that this weekly ritual rejuvenated and pleases me greatly.

What does the word 'sacred' mean to you?
It means something special, like on a Soul Level Special. It is important people learn and discover all the things they hold sacred to them. 

Why do you think self care is so important?
Self-care basically translates to the body by saying... I love you, I respect you, and I care about you.  Though dedication to Self-care practises I have cultivated such a healthy and loving relationship with myself. I seriously feel like I am my own best friend!

Why do you think people are feeling the need to simplify and ritualise their daily routines?
I believe many people are super stressed, over stimulated, and probably burnt out. In this overly connected, overly digital world it has become easy to loose  connection to our true selves. 

What is your favourite Alyssum Alchemy product and why?
I adore the handcrafted Sacred Space Meditation Mist. It is truly a divine creation that makes me feel comforted and connected. 

What’s do you think 2019 holds for you and your offerings?
I am gunna travel with my precious son. We plan to explore the South Pacific; listen to reggae music, grind up local spices, cook on an open fire, sleep in a hut, and go night swimming.  Wanna come?  Other events for me will involve a book signing at Kynd Community, Bali, Workshops at Noel & Gladys in Thirroul, and of course spending time in Perfect Potion stores Sydney. 

How can we stay in touch and how can we find out more?
The best way to get in touch is via Instagram @hippiesinthecity OR @hippiemamas 

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