About 10 days ago I made the decision to close down my fair trade business Spirals of abundance. Although the final decision came quickly I guess I had been mulling over the possibility in my mind for quite a while. Many people have been asking me why am I closing down? So I thought I’d try and explain it here.
At the beginning of this year we had a clear intention to buy land and start a permaculture demonstration and training project. What has followed has been a year of ups and downs and false starts. We have found some land to buy, although the purchase is still in process. Meanwhile, we have been trying to find a home closer to the land. We have had 3 houses look promising, even ideal, only for them to fall through. The last one happened a few weeks ago and we had even started moving some things over. To stop myself plummeting into a pit of despair and self pitying, I looked at what I could do within my circle of influence. It was seeming that finding a house and moving before the end of the year wasn’t going to happen and while certainly still in my circle of concern, for some reason I’m not able to influence this right now (I’m sure the time will come again when I am). Sorting out my own stuff and making less of it, will make it easier to move when the time comes and is within my circle of influence, and opens up the possibility of downsizing. Which led me to look more closely at the Spirals stock I had, and also the business as a whole.
One of my skills in my skill set is acquiring things; I am incredibly good at finding bargains, choosing lovely fabrics, finding high quality, tactile, colourful items. A bit too good at it, I realize. Over the years of buying for Spirals I have extended ranges beyond the rate at which I was selling. And the critical thing that I am missing in my skill set, is up to date web management. I can do the basics but I realize that I don’t have the motivation to keep up to date with this technology. And I want to spend the time I can spend on the computer writing rather than managing a webshop.
When I first started Spirals a decade ago, I was still in the early days of my permaculture teaching career, I had no idea where it would lead me. I didn’t imagine that I would be pioneering an edge of permaculture and an international author. My permaculture teaching and writing has definitely become a very productive spiral of abundance in my life. While I do believe in polyincomes, there can come a point where one income stream interferes with another and there needs to be some pruning.
I had a clear vision when I started, of helping people over in Nepal with a right livelihood and to provide me with one, and to be able to donate to the Himalayan Permaculture Centre (HPC). Some of that has happened but not as easily as I thought it might. My partner Chris will still be working with HPC and I think this organization can and is making a big difference to people’s lives over there. But for me, my resources are best spent making positive change from my base here in the UK.
Over the summer a friend said to me – if you’ve lost the vision it’s time to give up. I have recognized for a while that I had indeed lost the vision and the business was just plodding along. But it was interesting to make the decision to stop last week and realizing that I would actually need a big push of action and momentum to sell the stock and therefore be able to stop – kind of counterintuitive. I am sad in part that this will be the end of an era, but pleased to create some space in my life. But with the letting go there is space opening up to let come as well, and I look forward to whatever comes my way next year. I am very appreciative of all the fun I have had meeting people through my business, and for all my customers over the world. As a parting gift to HPC I am planning to fund a printing of a 40 page booklet with poster of Herbs for women’s health.
And please do keep shopping with Spirals of abundance!! I am really enjoying all these beautiful things that people have made that have traveled across the world to now continue their journey into other people’s lives and under Christmas trees across the world.