The Soul Garden

The Archeus Evolution into Compassionate Care

December 15, 2023 Georgina Langdale Episode 37
The Soul Garden
The Archeus Evolution into Compassionate Care
Show Notes Transcript

As Archeus celebrates 10 Years since it launched, founder and Soul Garden presenter, Georgina Langdale discusses how Archeus evolved from an artisanal apothecary into a centre for compassionate care.
Reflecting on her parents' deaths, the power of Nature as a teacher, and how compassion can help deepen connection at every stage of the life journey this is a tender episode, recorded, as it happens on Georgina's mother's birthday. RIP.
Link to episode.

Courses | Coaching
Instagram @georginalangdalesoul
Facebook @georginalsoul

NatFem Botanics | Perfume |Plant Essences:
Archeus Apothecary

Instagram: @ArcheusNaturalLiving
Facebook @ArcheusNaturalLiving
Youtube @ArcheusGeorgina

Hello, and welcome to the Soul Garden. My name is Georgina Langdale. I'm your host, and I'm the founder of Archeus. And I'm absolutely delighted to have you here. We're getting very close to Christmas now people are thinking about family and where they're going to be and people are starting to move around the place to get where they need to be. Children are finishing the school year or have just finished it so busy. I went down to the supermarket earlier. And yeah, Christmas car park chaos already. Woohoo. Anyway, in this week's episode of the soul garden, I am going to be talking about how Archeus evolved from just being I say just but I'm actually, you know, I'm actually quite proud of just just being an artisanal, intentional apothecary making beautiful natural skincare products and things to the remit broadening over the past 10 years to include compassionate care, coaching, end of life care, courses, and so much more. So, the lens for this episode is compassionate care. But for me, it manifests in a few different ways. So how did it begin? Well, when I started Archeus, 10 years ago, back in December 2013. I was well, I'd never set up a business before of my own. And I certainly hadn't set one up, as using all my knowledge as a herbalist and my knowledge of working with nature, the healing power of nature, in in all sorts of wonderful ways, like energy work and plant essences, and eco therapy. That was all, you know, that that until 2013 had basically been my kind of private passion. And, well, you know, it actually takes quite a lot of courage, and confidence, I think, to step away from one career, and open the door to a completely other one. And that's what I done. Anyway, so I just started focusing on products, but because of the way that I was making the products, really starting from the base of really understanding the beneficial properties of the ingredients I was choosing to formulate with and things, the products are really effective. And so people started coming to me and saying, you know, could I make something to help with this and that. Now, sadly, at the almost the exact same time that Archeus went live, my mother was given a diagnosis of cancer and a prognosis of having maybe six months to live. She actually lived for 18 months. And you know, that just turned all of our worlds upside down. So the first part of the compassionate care journey was catalyzed by her. Initially, she wanted things to try and help ameliorate the side effects of some of the medications she was having to take for pain and things. So she was getting things like itchy skin, so I started making things for itchy skin. And then I guess I must have talked about this a bit in blogs and things and started to talk a bit more about my energetic connection with nature, my ability since childhood to really see and feel and tap into the energetic qualities of different plants and species and things because I had well I think basically it was a near death experience. When I was seven. And when that event happened, I was in my body but I was also in like the Vedic texts. You know, I was floating up there somewhere and was the formlessness beyond form. And that experience then kind of shifted my world on its axis. And I started literally as I was biking my home from this horrible event, down a country lane in the Cotswolds, I could see energy pouring out of pouring out of all the plants on the hedgerows on the side of the road and things and it was like they were saying, we can help you heal. That began this energetic connection with nature. So fast forward to the first year of Archeus. I think as I grew confidence, and I think at the same time, as I was talking about trying to help my mom, women particularly started coming to me for different sorts of care, through their own, mostly health transitions. But actually also things like divorce, being made redundant from jobs and having to kind of reinvent themselves or coping with seeing, like I was, you know, ailing parents. And maybe juggling that with young children, this sort of sandwich generation that us women in midlife find ourselves in, people came to me for shamanic energy work, and for plant essences. Dealing with people, and interacting with people going through life transitions, requires a certain degree of compassion. And I found that by tapping into nature, almost nature becoming the conduit between me and that person, great kind of compassion could open up and happen. Meanwhile, my mother was really not well. And sadly, and, you know, neither of us wanted this to happen. But sadly, during the course of her illness, something happened. And it felt like we couldn't reach each other anymore. We couldn't connect. It felt like in all the anger and fear and heartbreak and frustration, and all of these things, walls got built unwittingly. And we couldn't climb over them. Even though I hate to, I have to say we had at the beginning, we talked everything out, we we knew what she wanted as her sort of care plan. We thought we really had it SAS, you know, we were going to do this death and dying thing. Really well, well, we didn't we, we really didn't do it well, and, and I wasn't there when she died. And the next morning, I went to see her body before the funeral director came and the doctor did the, you know, death certificate and all of those things. And I remember trying to brush her hair a bit and touch her hand and I realized I didn't know what to do. I felt completely helpless. I didn't know how to I didn't know how to be around this body, this vessel that had been the vessel that contained the soul and the spirit, and the energy and all and the character and nature and drive and memories and stories of of my mother. And in that sense of helplessness I made a promise to myself and to my mother that I would do all I could from then on in to help others not feel hopefully not feel so disconnected. so helpless. So yeah, disconnected at these really crucial times, as we are trying to walk with somebody we love through the transition, whatever it may be. So it turned out for me that actually death and dying. The kind of ultimate life transition taught me so much about how do we show up for life and living and I realized that a big part of of my grief was actually grieving not only for losing My My mother, but also grieving for the connection that we lost in those last few months and weeks and days and hours. So I started doing a whole range of things. First off, well, nature, obviously, for me was my starting point. So I started really focusing on what a beautiful natural things that I can make to help people have ways of creating connection, when actually things are really circumstances are really challenging and confronting. So, around that end of life care space, I've made beautiful oils that you can mess as a body with in life, to create connection, you might be sitting by the bed of someone when they're very ill. And if they're able to be touched, if it's doesn't hurt them, you know, you could maybe just gently massage their hands or feet or something. So, I, I made oils, full of beautiful symbolic plants and resins and things to think about the sacredness of connection and of vessels and of love. So, I worked with things like all of and frankincense and myrrh and spikenard and all these beautiful things. I also then quite explicitly said that these oils can also be used after death, to care for the body, as a way of of saying farewell, I made plant essences. So plant essences of forms of vibrational medicine, then the complete opposite of essential oils, which are very aromatic and have a lot of plant material makes a very small amount of essential oil. Plant essences, on the other hand, or flower essences or flower remedies, you may call them require very small amounts of plant material, because you're just tapping into that life force of the plant and its character. And it's, it kind of lifts it's beneficial properties above the course aspect, as I call it into the spiritual and Soul level, truly beautiful, great emotional support. I started dyeing natural fabrics, like beautiful merino wool things and it was with healing herbs, with symbolism and infusing them with plant essences, dyeing the embroidery thread with plants, to create beautiful ways of wrapping people up in the healing power of nature. And this thing moved into people may remember the bedlinen. And then it moved into shrouds because I thought that that was a really compassionate thing to do. However, compassion isn't just about things that we put in bottles and on our skin and sip and smell and all of these things. Compassion is about connection, and communication about verbal and nonverbal communication. And I wanted to really deepen and develop my skill in holding, compassionate, contemplative space for people when life changes. And so, as I mentioned before, death had kind of become the teacher for me. So I did a lot of studying and end of life care and training. I trained with things like the conscious dying Institute in Colorado is a sacred passage, doula and end of life coach. I trained with Dale Borglum in the booth, the living dime project in San Francisco and causes with Frank auster, Siskin Joan Halifax, kind of who's who of all and Chodo Campbell, the Zen Center for contemplative care in New York, the who's who really have end of life compassionate care. That was really great. I loved all of that. And, and I found that even though I had the catalyst in a way had been death and dying, it was also the catalyst about life and living. Whenever any of us at any stage of our life, suddenly find everything changing illness, jobs, relationship, children, whatever it is the same skills that will help us really step up and be there for others. And that ultimate transition of end of life, also going to really, really help us in life at the beginning of an illness journey, as women move through transitions, like menopause, all of these sorts of things. Compassion is a universal, and very sacred and beautiful offering to give anybody, anywhere, at any stage of life. So during this training, and work made me realize that actually, I felt comfortable, I feel comfortable kind of showing up in the places that lots of other people don't want to be end of life, menopause, all of those sorts of things. I don't think it's any mistake or accident that, you know, part of my work I do at Archeus is make a balm for vaginal dryness, I mean, who wants to talk about that, and also offer products and training and coaching to help support people either going through their own end of life journey or supporting a loved one. To me, it's kind of all the same thing. It's that those edge spaces those difficult, uncomfortable places that society has kind of made us not talk about, I kind of want to be there. My work started to evolve into coaching for life transitions, teaching, nature based approaches to end of life care. So my father died five years after my mother. So I've lost both my parents in this 10 years of of Archeus. Being in existence, it's been quite a time. And I'd moved countries changed jobs, so many transitions, but where my mother had shown me how disconnected and just heartbreaking the hubs absent. Endings can be five years on my father's death, he had dementia, so he had five, which had been diagnosed before my mom died. And that five years was the slow downward trajectory of his health and well being and mental faculties and things. And he went from home to rest home to secure dementia unit to hospital and arrest home. Eventually, he had a stroke. And it took three days for his body and soul to unwind. And I was with him pretty much every minute of those three days. And I was with him when he died. I cared for his body, soul and spirit, after he died with ways to honor his soul and His Spirit, and care for his body. One of the staff at the rest home, hospital wings said that she had never walked into a space after someone had died, or a room there that had felt so peaceful. Because of that, I think that experience was my dad taught me more about love than I ever thought possible. So from there, I kind of jumped around in this a bit, I'm losing my own train of thought. But I started wanting to share all of the techniques that I'd been using after my mother's death, as I moved towards my father's death, and as I supported many other people, on their life journeys and life, end of life journeys. Through that time, I wanted to start sharing these ideas. So I started running, developing training. And there was a course I ran for a couple of years called the natural carer nature based approach to end of life care. And I had people from around the world doing that training with me online over 12 weeks and it was really beautiful hospice nurses, palliative care, nurses, therapists, funeral directors, all sorts of people, but I felt like it didn't work for me. I mean, I loved the course and I love the cohorts. But the structure meant that there was a gate that opened and closed, a cohort started, move through it together, it ended and then the next one started and that open gate, closed gate rhythm doesn't really fit with the reality of daily life, it didn't help the people who would bring in say, My mother has just been given a diagnosis, and I don't know what to do I need, I need skills and tools to help me show up for her and this in the best way I can. So I took a break a pause from doing that training, and in 2024, I'm going to be offering it in, in a number of ways. One, I'm breaking it all up into really accessible bits to meet you where you are, you might not want to know about nature, bass ways of vigil at the end of life, but you might really, really want to know about how do I? How do I hold compassionate communication? How do I ask open questions? What are the energy techniques I can use to support someone when I'm right there in the room with them or, or when I'm sitting in London, and my father is sitting in Hawke's Bay in New Zealand. So all of that is coming in 2024. Plus, I will I think, again, start doing the longer more intensive training for people who really are really working in that end of life space. So I'm really looking forward to that. Plus, there will be some workshops, and they will happen in person. And one of those workshops is one about how do we create ceremony and ritual for end of life. And I've been requested to do that by a number of spiritual directors now and hospices. So I'm looking forward to that. On that note, I'm also going to be doing some guest teaching with the conscious dying collective. In Colorado, again, I am really looking forward to that. So if you sign up to my newsletter, you'll I'll let you know when that's happening. And also the ways that we use other ceremonies and rituals to make moments sacred. And I really believe that that is part of being compassionate. I've also just literally just doing the layout at the moment, for a book I've written called 50 things to help when life changes, contemplative and nature based teachings for navigating life transitions. This book has come about because I wanted to respond to when a loved one suddenly finds himself with a diagnosis. And they need help and the family around them and the people who love them, or trying to figure out ways to how do I navigate through this. So this is this is, you know, the other end of the health journey, the It's the moment when the diagnosis happens, and then moving on from there. What is this new reality like? And that space also needs so much compassion and care, because the speed at which things can move can be so fast and so disorienting. That kind of compassion can fly out the window. But to be able to be there for someone, so when they finally find their footing, and can take a breath. And then you can help them with other ways of being that care for their soul in their spirit, the them beyond the person beyond the medical diagnosis and treatment plan. That's huge. Also, I have quite a few clients that come to me who have gone through treatment of some kind, and then they've been given the all clear and it's like, life is starting over for them again. So I love the coaching work I do to hold space for them to really figure out what that might look like and help them fall in love with themselves again after all of that and to help But possibly with reaffirming the family bonds, things like that. This is all kind of a long way from starting off making face creams in the apothecary, but gosh, what a wonderful journey it is. I mean we are, life is it's more than skin deep. And when we're given opportunities to really see how beautiful it is to live life in this moment now not catastrophizing for the future worrying, not hanging on to the past, but being here now, and heart opened and ready for everything that life brings. That can be really beautiful. Or having the confidence to walk into a room to be with someone you love and know that to say nothing, just to be present, can be okay, or to hold space for them that hold the silence, to give them the space to finish the sentence that they started and then broke off. All of this is compassion. So in this next 10 years of Archeus these aspects of the way I work, I really want to bring them more and more to the for the 10 years has shown me also what are the things that I want to focus on. I want to focus on making a beautiful difference at a soul and spiritual level for people as well as at the physical, but the soul and spirits so important, it comes to me from that connection with nature. And it comes to me from the inspiration and mentorship. I think that wisdom keepers throughout time have given me Hildegard of Bingen, Marsilio Ficino, Meister Eckhart, Ptolemy, all of these incredible people. So that is how Archeus moved from being an apothecary to being something so much more than an apothecary so much more than an artisanal studio making beautiful products to put on your skin. It's about kind of medicine for the soul, really where to from here, so lots coming in the new year, keep your eye out for workshops, and online offerings. I'd love it if you signed up to my subscribed my newsletter on Georgina I can keep you abreast of things there. I think the other story in this is, as at Frank Ostaseski says something beautiful, he founded the Zen hospice in San Francisco. He said, Don't hold back, experience everything. So for me, experiencing death and dying, has opened me up to the wonder of how we can experience everything in life, and how we can find resilience and compassion and multitudes of ways to show up for others. So I hope that I hope this has shed some light for you. I hope there are things here that have resonated or piqued your interest. As I say this episode is still part of my reflecting on 10 years of Archeus. So this is my reflection on compassionate care for now. And oh, I'm going to read you a poem. Because I have the manuscript for this book in front of me. I wrote a poem The other day, I'm training with the one spirit foundation in the UK, training in spiritual guidance and counseling. I'll be ordained as an interfaith minister in July 2024. quite exciting. But then in class the other day, I was looking out the window was, we were being taught we have beautiful teachers at one Spirit. And I wrote this poem. It's called Rose poem. And I think this sums up compassion. The red rose flowers. I had tried to take it where it did not want to go. I had tried to make it climb but it wanted to be a bush. Until one day I saw it for who it was and set it free. Now, the rose flowers abundantly. I'm Georgina Langdale, you've been listening to another episode of the soul garden. I'm really delighted that you could join me here today. And I will be back next week to talk about plant essences. Meanwhile, if you're interested in finding out more about my offerings, I suggest that you head on over to my website, which is Georgina Or if you're just simply after that vaginal dryness balm I mentioned earlier, you can go straight to Archeus dot N Zed, that's AR ch E U S dot N Zed. Thank you for listening. Until next time, goodbye.