7 Secrets of Wellbeing: Amy Christiansen Si-Ahmed, founder of Sana Jardin
Amy Christiansen Si-Ahmed is a former (very glamorous) social worker turned fragrance entrepreneur and eco warrior. She has melded a professional life dedicated to fighting for economic empowerment and cultural tolerance (including stints with the Clinton Foundation and the Cherie Blair Foundation) with her life-long passion for exotic, transporting perfumes.
The Sana Jardin collection is the product of those twin passions. Working with one of the world’s leading perfumers, Carlos Benaïm, Amy has created an enchanting portfolio of fragrances, described as a magic carpet in every (recycled) bottle. And now the mother of two has set up the Beyond Sustainability Movement to power tangible, measurable change for low income women, starting with the Moroccan women who pick the orange blossoms for Sana Jardin’s creations.
As Amy told The Perfume Society, ‘a bottle of perfume can change lives and change the way business is done. For me, Sana Jardin is all about female empowerment. Because aside from anything else, if women had more of the power, you can bet there’d be more perfume in the world – and fewer guns.’
To me, mental health is a predictor of physical health. I started reading about the way Eastern religions see disease when both of my parents became very sick at a young age. I learned that disease is really dis-ease. As I have grown older, I find that my body does not like it when I feel angry. I always work my hardest to be empathetic to others and try to view difficult situations with the knowledge that if someone is cruel it is a reflection of their pain. This is not always easy to do but if I can do it and view people from love instead of frustration I feel better. I really do feel pure love has the power to solve any problem.
Every morning before I get out of bed I try to connect to my solar chakra and focus on my feminine energy. I visualise a white light coming from under my belly button and remind myself that as humans we all have untapped power if we allow ourselves to be receivers of it. I try to do this when I am still sleepy and in a dream like state so I can start my day trying to operate from a space of strength and power and a belief that the universe is helping to arrange what is for the highest good.
Being with my young sons is the best medicine for my soul. And after I‘ve spent so much time with them that they morph from little angels to little rascals, there are few things better than drinking margaritas or champagne with my dear girlfriends. Close, authentic and lifting friendships are my prescription for rejuvenation and inspiration.
I have no shame about comfort eating and being off the grid – curling up with a grilled cheese and fries, a good magazine and lying on top of my bed just indulging! Another favourite activity of mine is going to my hometown of LaGrange, Illinois and enjoying being with my family and taking my sons to Target and not having a care or responsibility in the world.
I am a great believer in the power of energy healing. I have seen energy healers for years and they have helped peel back many layers. I am very much a work in progress but I feel they can help all of us evolve as humans.
One of my favourite quotes is from the Dalai Lama. That we forgive others not because they need or deserve to be forgiven but because forgiveness is good for our being. It actually serves us. Again, easier said than done but my hope is that if I put it in writing I can do it!
I am utterly addicted to my annual weeklong ‘pilgrimage’ to The Ashram in Los Angeles (theashram.com), which always leaves me centred and feeling ten years younger. This ‘home for wellness’ is pretty hard core – I always joke that you basically eat an almond and hike 13 miles a day but in truth you eat three vegan meals a day, do two hours of yoga in a super 70’s psychedelic yoga hut, play water polo with children’s beach balls, belly laugh a lot – and yes hike ten to 13 miles daily... To me, it is the mother ship of health and beauty.