What is a Fair Trade Product

There’s a lot of talk about fair trade products and why they are so important. Just what is fair trade, and what does fair trade mean?

The definition can be seen in the two words Fair and Trade.

Fair means that it is right for both parts of the transaction. The buyer gets a solid quality product that is worth their money. The seller gets a decent wage for the work they have done. It is in contrast to the many, many workers around the world who toil day and night for mere pennies. With fair trade, the worker is able to feed themselves and their family with what they earn.

Trade emphasizes that this is not a charity product. It is not that the buyer is giving the artist money for nothing. The artist creates something of value. The buyer receives that item and pays them a reasonable amount for what they get.

Fair trade absolutely should be a win-win. The buyer is happy with what they purchase. The seller can afford to buy clothing, shelter, and food for themselves and their family.

Our world used to be all about fair trade. It was the foundation for our society. Things got twisted along the way, so that corporations would make millions while the workers got pennies. Fair Trade is a way back to our roots, to where every person’s efforts matter.

I strongly support Fair Trade. It’s well worth thinking about the things we buy and to consider the people who made those things.

Tibetan Buddhist Prayer Flags from Nepal Fair Trade

I own multiple sets of Tibetan Buddhist prayer flags. They are all fair trade. One hangs above my desk where I can see it when I work. It reminds me of all I have to be grateful for. Every day is precious.

These Tibetan Buddhist prayer flags come in a rainbow of colors. The full string is 80 inches long. Each flag is 9.5″ by 8″. They are created by a fair-trade organization – the Ganesh Himal Trading Company. They are made in Nepal.

We could all use more compassion in our lives. Consider bringing some prayer flags into your world. They could be an inspiration not only to you but to everyone else who comes into your space.

View the Tibetan Buddhist Prayer Flags from Nepal Fair Trade on Amazon

Yoga for Stress Relief and Forgiveness

In our rushed, hectic, go-go-go modern world, it can be hard to remember to take care of yourself. But this one body is all each of us has to make it through an entire lifetime. What we do to our bodies – the stress we subject them to, the damage we do to the muscles and ligaments – stays with us every waking moment. We owe it to ourselves to nurture this delicate vehicle which moves us through our world.

Yoga for Stress Relief and Forgiveness provides a step by step recipe for calm and healing. Author Lisa Shea has been following this practice for a decade and over time has tweaked and polished the steps until each one resonates with serenity.

Study after study finds that yoga helps with lower back pain, depression, energy levels, balance, post-traumatic stress, focus, sleep, and much more. Whether you need to reset after a busy day or wish to have more joy in your daily life, yoga can help. It nurtures your body and embraces your soul.

Join us to take that first step forward into a healthier, happier you.

Namaste.

This book Yoga for Stress Relief and Forgiveness is intended to be free on all systems, to help those who are in need of support find a step toward a more contented life. If the system you are currently on requires a charge to download, all author’s proceeds will benefit battered women’s shelters.

If you have never done yoga at all, I highly recommend you start with a live human being helping you in person. That person can ensure you hold the poses in a healthy, safe way. If you don’t have access to a human, at least use a video of some sort to see the poses in motion. It’s like learning the harp or learning to swim – you need to see how the whole body moves. My book then helps you understand my personal sequence of poses, to create an atmosphere of stress relief and forgiveness.

Feel free to contact Lisa if you have any questions about her routine – she’s happy to help!

FREE! Get Yoga for Stress Relief and Forgiveness on Amazon

Tibetan Sandalwood Wrist Mala Bracelet for Meditation

I nearly always wear a sandalwood mala bracelet. Certainly I wear it when I meditate, but I wear it the rest of the time to remind myself to be mindful. To be compassionate. To treat others as I would want to be treated myself.

Sandalwood is a gently fragrant wood and the smell, also, triggers those kinds of restful emotions. Sandalwood is one of those fragrances which can last a long while. Just rub or handle the beads to draw the scent out of it again. Note that it’s not an overpowering scent, like you might get from burning incense. It’s fairly subtle – but it’s there when you bring your hands to your face.

Some people use a mala bracelet to recite prayers or meditations one after another. They count each recital with a bead. Other people use the bracelet as a whole as a reminder token.

View the Tibetan Sandalwood Wrist Mala Bracelet for Meditation on Amazon

Compassion Meditation Instructions

Study after study finds that we can improve our levels of compassion and empathy by practicing a regular compassion meditation. How does one do that?

Find somewhere quiet to sit or lie down. The pose does not matter as much as being comfortable does. If you have medical issues and cannot sit cross-legged on the floor, that is quite fine. Sit on a chair. Lie down on a bed. Whatever works for you to be comfortable.

Close your eyes.

Think about someone you love dearly. Think about how you care for them. Think about how you wish them to have all the happiness and joy in the world. Dwell on this thought.

Now move to someone who is slightly distant from you. Maybe a family member who is not quite as close. Think loving thoughts to them. Wish them well. Imagine them content.

If this is as far as you get the first time, that is great! This is all about practice. It’s about building up your skills.

The next time you do it, first start again with those closest to you. Then, after them, think of someone a bit more distant. Maybe a good friend. Wish them love, peace, and happiness.

The idea is that each time you work on this you go a bit further. You focus on someone a bit further out from your immediate sphere. You practice realizing that these people, too, deserve love. They deserve compassion. They are shouldering a lot. We are all humans with short life spans struggling to figure out our world.

The more we realize that we are all one culture, all doing our best on the Earth, the more compassion we foster. The more at peace we become with what we have.

Tree of Life Art – Fair Trade from Haiti

The tree of life is a symbol found in many of the world’s cultures. It represents how our world is wholly interconnected – the leaves and the roots, the large and the small. This metal wall hanging depicting the tree of life is a fair trade creation from Haiti.

Amazingly, these trees are created from recycled steel drum oil barrels. It’s pretty phenomenal to think that something so simple can then create this beautiful work of art.

Haiti is one of the most impoverished places around, and the residents there often have few opportunities to better themselves. By supporting fair trade artists, you allow the residents of Haiti to support themselves and their family members.

I have several metal art items from Haiti in my own home. Every time I look at them I’m reminded to be grateful for all that I have, and that I live in a place which has afforded me opportunities not found in many other places.

The tree is 23 x 23 x 1 inches.

View the Tree of Life Art – Fair Trade from Haiti on Amazon

Blue Shoulder Bag – Fair Trade

The Om symbol represents the sacred sound of the soul within us all. This beautiful blue shoulder bag is decorated with that om symbol and is a fair trade product as well.

The design repeats all around the bag with the om, a wheel, and other similar shapes. The strap is long and sturdy. There’s a zippered pocket as well to hold a wallet or cellphone.

The purse itself is 13 inches wide by 15 inches tall. The strap is 18 inches of drop.

A great way to carry your belongings – it’s both delightfully stylish and also a reminder to be mindful about all we do each day.

View the Blue Shoulder Bag on Amazon.com

How Do You Know Something is Really Fair Trade?

You’re in a farmer’s market and you see a beautiful handbag in turquoise that you adore. The bag is labelled as fair trade. How do you know if the bag is really fair trade or not?

Fair trade can be a tricky thing. It’s not like something saying 100% cotton where either it is or it isn’t. Fair trade is a more nebulous concept. Unless you know the people actually making the item, you have to trust a middle-man to accurately tell you where the item came from and how it was made.

One of the best places to go for more information is:

https://www.fairtrade.net/

This is an international organization which works to ensure that fair trade happens. It lets a consumer research companies which claim to be fair trade companies. There are also a variety of ways to support fair trade there.

The best way to know, of course, is to look more into who you’re working with. Do some research. See if you can talk to people involved.

When you can buy local, you can be personally diligent about who you are supporting. It can be trickier when buying from somewhere further away – but that is rewarding as well. We are all in one big world and there are parts of our Earth where people begin life at an enormous disadvantage. Providing fair trade opportunities can help those people with education, food, and shelter.

Whale Paper Garland – Fair Trade Handcrafted in Nepal

I love whales. These majestic animals are intelligent, care about their community, and are at risk. We used to hunt them to extinction simply to light our homes and carve some figurines. We’re getting better about that now, although there is still clearly a long way to go. There’s only 100 Western Pacific gray whales left in the world. It can take a whale ten years or more before it becomes able to have children of its own. This long life cycle, coupled with all the risks whales still face in our modern world, means we have to treasure the whales we have left to us.

This paper garland celebrating whales is six feet long and features about sixteen whales along its length. The whales are of a variety of colors and vary from strand to strand, just like real whales vary. The paper itself is handmade! It comes from the Daphne Bush, which is a local Nepal plant.

This fair trade product is made by Women’s Cooperatives in Nepal. The production allows these women to take care of their families and lead a better life.

Add some whales to your home or office – and celebrate the beauty of our natural world!

Whale Paper Garland from Amazon

Crocheted Octopus Rattle Fair Trade from Bangladesh

There is just something about an octopus. They’re incredibly intelligent. Have you ever watched those videos where they figure out how to navigate a maze or how to get in and out of incredibly tiny places? They are escape artists. And they are compassionate. A family once rescued an octopus which had gotten stranded on a beach. It came back the next day to say thank you to them.

This delightful octopus has a rattle inside it and is perfect for a baby or young child. Heck, it’s perfect for us adults, too! It’s teal and sea green with delicate stripes. It’s hand made with crochet.

The artisans who make these octopuses live in Bangladesh and are paid a living wage. It is a fair trade community. It helps the community support itself.

Did you know that the plural of octopus is not octopi? That’s because the word octopus comes from Greek, not Latin. And it’s Latin that was fond of all those I endings.

Grab a few octopuses for your own home and family!

Crocheted Octopus Rattle on Amazon