I heard the word “Shopkeeper” recently and it stopped me…as some words do. It is a common term but it looped in my head all day. How very different this title felt than associate, employee or even manager. “Shop” bringing with it a whisper of nostalgia and warmth. And “Keeper” when really embodied has the potential to bring magic to the seemingly ordinary. Working at Jewelweed has been a felt sense experience of this word. What started as a little part-time job to meet people in a new community became so much more than I could have imagined. After years of moving, shift and change, Jewelweed has become one of my strongest anchors. Being truly held and loved by a community and getting to give that back has been deep medicine. A very wise woman I know and love has shown me there is a time and place to take all that energy I spent running to ground into the life right under my feet. To be a keeper.
A keeper is defined as one that has the charge or care of something. A protector. Guard. Sentinel. A watcher. Shopkeeper feels more a way of being than a role. When you keep something you tend to it. It made me think of all the beautiful keepers in the world; Beekeepers, Birthkeepers, Bookkeeping, Keepers of the water, wisdom, etc. There seems to be a reciprocal nature that is inherent in keeping. A way that innately leans on honoring the older ways and acknowledging those that came before us. Being part of a web that is much greater than our individual selves. A remembrance that keeping is not owning and are many times confused. Ultimately, I feel many things are owned but not kept. My guess is you can feel the difference…those places or people that nurture you just by being near them. To me, being a keeper includes qualities of reverence, connection and a lot of gratitude. It can be felt, not just done or accomplished.
Shopkeeping in the deepest sense of the word treats the mundane as sacred (as often as possible :) One who takes great care in keeping the space clear. Holding each person that comes in as a gift with their own magic. It is letting the inevitable tension that happens in the merging of the modern and the mystical guide to expansion. To feel the joy of interdependence and synchronicity. It's the remembering a name, a face, a story. Perhaps some of this sounds idyllic, and maybe it is, but it led my mind to wonder…how would things look if everyone infused their daily life with the energy of keeping? You can be a keeper of several things, but not all. Keeping is heavily laced with devotion. It is not meant to be taken lightly, but to be done with a light heart. I think the question we all eventually face is how do you want to reverberate your unique frequency out into the world and all around you? I have found one of those ways for myself in being a shopkeeper. I am so grateful for all it has taught me and the healing sisterhood that makes it possible.
- Ashley Wylie (on instagram as @cultivatehealingarts)