Life's Essence : Lessons learned through home schooling and essential oils in Connemara
Former teacher, and Cleggan native Sarah McLoughlin is a wellness coach, Kundalini yoga instructor and essential oils expert and has started her own business from home while home-schooling her 3 young boys. She has enthusiastically embraced sustainability by living as clean as a possible and talks to us about her lifestyle and 'do no harm' ethos.
I was born in London so I definitely have that determined, go-it-alone city girl in me but living in Connemara for most of my life has helped me see the wood from the trees so to speak. I’ve lived in a few cities and have found that it’s easy to get caught up in the rat race whereas in Connemara you appreciate the fresh air, the peace and quiet, the natural beauty and it humbles you. You realise that you are not the centre of the universe and there is more to life than money and the latest trends.
After I had my boys I realized that the career I had was no longer going to fit with my new life as a mum. I knew being with my kids was what I wanted more than anything and a 9-5 job just wasn’t going to work for me any longer. I’m a solution-finder so I looked to what I loved doing most – yoga, helping others and teaching and I created a business from all of that helping others to Live a Great Life.
I have always used some essential oils to support my health – tea tree for a sore throat, lavender for sleep, but it wasn’t until I was making candles for our wedding that I learned that most essential oils were synthetic. This was unbelievable to me as I’m not a fan of deception and I went on a hunt for pure oils. What I learned along the way has completely changed my life. I use oils daily to support our health and emotional wellness and we rarely have health issues as result. My home is as chemical free as I can make it and I love to teach others how to do the same so I still get my teaching “fix”!
They say women are multi-taskers and when you homeschool that becomes your best strength! With kids of different ages it can be a juggle keeping everyone entertained and interested in what they are doing but I find that the more time we spend out in nature and exploring by doing, the better everyone learns and the better we all feel. Home-schooling is very rewarding and open to everyone. I would highly recommend looking into it as an option for any parents who like the idea. While the boys are small I am very much fitting my business in around them and I do a lot of work in the evenings once they are asleep. I have a lot of clients who are mums too so it seems to be a great time for us all to get things done!
At one point in my life I was a very organized person and somewhere along the way that got lost. I keep trying to get back there but with small children it’s proving difficult! For this reason I would say I am currently intuitive in my business. I have so many ideas I never run out of ways to create community and help people to learn, and I myself love to learn so I have found my knowledge has grown exponentially since I created this business. I follow my heart and go with what feels good and it’s working for me. I spent a lot of time in my life ignoring my heart and trying to be logical so it feels good to go with what flows and let the magic happen (and it does!).
I love the phoenixes, those who have risen from the ashes to create the life of their dreams through determination and hard work – the likes of Richard Branson, Oprah and Tony Robbins. I don’t love all of what they do or say but I do love how they created something from nothing and I strive to always create more than what I currently have through that same determination and hard work.
I love those who are striving to create a better world. It’s easy to get bogged down in the doom and gloom of what we hear in the news and think the world is a terrible place but I strongly believe that each of us has far more power than we know to create a better world. Every soul trying to do better in their lives is one more light switched on. So I like to read and listen to people like Eckhart Tolle, Yogi Bhajan and Deepak Choprah. At the moment I’m reading Patrick Holford & Jerome Burne “Food is Better Medicine than Drugs” and “The Obstacle is the Way” by Ryan Holiday.
I have made many friends over the last few years who also inspire me and encourage me to keep going with what I am doing. When you are a stay-at-home mum it’s easy to isolate yourself and I have found that surrounding myself with people who think like me and who are a path to something better helps to keep me positive and moving forward.
When I think of who influenced me in life, I have to mention two special ladies. My Nana in Clifden instilled in me the courage and determination not to give up when things are tough. She came from a tiny island off the coast of Connemara called Inis Turbot and life was tough there. Despite the challenges she faced she was a lovely, kind woman who loved to chat and connect with people. That is something I feel I inherited. My Granny in Cleggan was a very kind and industrious woman. When I was a child I stayed with her and my Grandad often. Watching her bake and create her beautiful crafts, embroidery and shell pictures helped me to be as creative as I am. Their garden was a magical place that produced a lot of food and that helped inspire me to grow what we can. Of course everything I do is now supported by my husband Sean and our parents. When you are trying to create a business from scratch I don’t think you could ask for a better family at your back.
My future plans centre around essential oils, wellness coaching and yoga. Watch out for more online courses coming soon to help busy women stay centred and healthy while building their dream life. I will continue to teach people how to use essential oils to improve their health and wellness and contribute to the lives of those in developing countries and foundations such as Operation Underground Railroad by doing so. I’m always looking for class host either in person or online so reach out to me if that interests you. I promise you will be blown away by what you learn!
My ultimate dream is to have a retreat centre in Connemara where people can come to get away from it all, do yoga, be inspired to create much needed change in their lives. I plan to incorporate natural therapies into the retreats and have people leave my retreat feeling more positive, more rested and nurtured. I think there are far too many people feeling hopeless despite their outer facades and I’d like to help those people find new hope.
I have a BIG conscience and feel strongly about leaving as little of an impact on Mother Earth as possible while I’m here. In some ways living in Connemara makes this easier - we grow many of our vegetables (although it’s still a big learning process), we are surrounded by so many local producers and have many people living in this area with a passion for sustainable living that it’s easy to become immersed in it. On the other hand transport here is a difficulty so a car is necessary but I’ve just got back on my bike after many years so watch out drivers of Connemara!
I use non-toxic products throughout my home. Everything from cleaning products to self-care products are usually made by me so I’m not flushing toxic chemicals down the drain or putting them on our skin or in the air. In my essential oils work this is one of the topics I teach that I am very passionate about.
We use stainless steel or glass water bottles and recycled glass jars to drink from. I make tea with loose tea leaves sustainably sourced. I minimize our use of animal products and continue to learn how to cook more vegetarian meals that the boys are loving too!
I feel strongly about how I spend my money and the impact it has on the world so when I shop for clothes I want to know that they have been made with natural fibres, created by people who are paid fairly for their work and vegan where possible. I buy pieces I love rather than follow trends and I find this means the clothes I buy last years and I can mix them up in different ways to create new looks.
Be kind to everyone. Yogi Bhajan said “Recognize that the other person is you“ and I think it’s important to try to be compassionate to others no matter how they make you feel. It doesn’t mean you have to accept less than you deserve or keep the people in your life who don’t treat you well, it means to just recognize that there is something in you that is triggered by the other and that we are all made from the same stuff.
As ever we asked Sarah to name one thing you are good at, one thing you could be better at, and one aspiration.
Good at : being creative. I never run out of ideas to solve a problem.
Could be better at : being organised in my business and life (or at hiring a PA!)
One aspiration : to leave a positive impact on earth and to help as many people as I can to do the same.
Sarah can be contacted for wellness coaching and essential oil training at www.wellnessconnemara.com
And @lifeagreatlifetoday on Facebook