Year in review: how to apply Ahimsa to daily life and business
As the year draws to a close, we reflect on what we have learned and what guided us through an unprecedented year for the world, from the global Covid-19 pandemic to the quest for social justice, and the continued political and climate change. To some degree, each has impacted our lives and businesses one way or another.
There were no exemptions, having launched Ethical Kind in late Nov 2019, we had big plans for 2020, including building our relationships and physical retail presence. Like many businesses, when the UK entered its first lockdown, and all non-essential shops closed in March, it forced us to rethink our approach and plans. There were many days filled with uncertainty, despair and frustrations. However, my journey as a yogi practitioner, I've learned to find the tools needed to focus and still the mind. I wanted to share the virtue of "Ahimsa", where its principle has been central to our business, but also to the progress and achievements this year.
What Ahimsa means?
Ahimsa is a Sanskrit word, an ancient Indian principle of non-violence which applies to all living beings. Not only is "Ahimsa" referenced as a method of non-violent silk breeding and harvesting for Ahimsa Silk, but also known as non-violence or peace silk. "Ahimsa" is also one of the first yamas, a moral guideline in yoga practice, where Ahimsa's precept of 'cause no injury' includes one's deeds, words, and thoughts.
If you think about it, Ahimsa or non-violence can manifest in our lives in subtle daily actions and responses each day. For example, whether you are a mother, running a business and working for a company, we tend to push ourselves, you put all responsibility in your own hands and expect that the world will run according to your design. As a result, you might pump yourself full of caffeine instead of getting a full night's sleep when you were exhausted or skip a meal to save time. Just think of how those things might have affected you and how you treat others, this is a type of violence towards all beings.
Another example is how often you or someone you know will say something self-deprecating or you have conjured up self-sabotaging thoughts, you're violent towards yourself and the world at large with these mindsets. Ahimsa focuses on a complete absence of violence to ourselves; it is what cruelty-free really means. Applying this ethos to our daily lives and business you will be in a position of strength to choose the right thing to do.
How to apply Ahimsa in your daily life and business in 2021:
- Be compassionate to oneself and others - This is the ability to accept events as they are with an open heart, letting go of reacting in any negative way and replacing those feelings with kindness and acceptance, includes staff, suppliers, contractors and everyone with whom you have dealings. If you are frequently critical of yourself, you will inevitably be critical of others.
- Act with intention - Consciously put non-violence into action. Instead of letting the limits of your situation create stress, make the decision to intentionally respect the limitations of your case, give yourself the time and space before you act. We will work calming and think more clearly of what you will need to do about a task, situations or an event.
- Cultivate your awareness - Be aware of your thoughts to find if there are hints of violence against yourself or others in your life. Recognise them and let go what doesn't serve you. If the only thoughts going through your head are negative, there is a minimal chance that you are sending positive vibes into the world.
- Promote transparency - Tell people what you are doing and be willing to accept that you may not get it perfectly right every time. Be a desire to change and serve, and genuinely sticking with your ethics will help you attract a robust and committed team and loyal customers.
Why is Ahimsa important?
I know it can be hard to feel optimistic when there are still many challenges ahead with running a business and family. Anyone, regardless of experience, can get frustrated with themselves and their work, especially if there they don't move forward as quickly as planned. Keeping Ahimsa in mind as a daily practice lets us move out of negative thoughts about the mind. We can then accept the situation totally, no matter how challenging, how complicated we may find ourselves in any given moment.
At Ethical Kind, we will continue to champion the people and planet's welfare with our love for conscious fashion. We want to take this opportunity to thank all our suppliers, partners, customers and community who have kept our mission going for a caring more equitable future. We look forward to a positive 2021.
Please feel free to share with us on the wonderful ways in which you already practice, or plan to start practicing ahimsa, we would love to hear you. Contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org or tag us in a social post.