Beating Soda Ash with Marcus Aurelius

Beating Soda Ash with Marcus Aurelius

The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way.” ~  Marcus Aurelius


I saw an interview of Ryan Holiday a writer and philosopher (in my opinion) of stoicism.  I heard this quote and it stayed with me.

This Marcus Aurelius quote was attractive to me immediately, but I didn’t understand it on the face. So, I wrote it down and put the sticky on my monitor. I saw this quote for months on my desk. Even though I didn’t understand it, I trusted my attraction to it.

I can’t say I fully understand it now, but parts of this Aurelius quote have begun to reveal its meaning to me.

I struggle with soda ash regarding soap piping. I love how piped soap looks and want to get better, but each time I do pipe soap I have soda ash. (For those who don’t make soap, this is the chalky white film on top of cold process soap. It is not harmful, but I don’t like it.)

I have discounted my water, used sodium lactate, sprayed heavily with 91% alcohol, changed my soap recipe and covered with plastic wrap. All ended up with soda ash. So I haven’t moved forward with my piping practice. (I have not tried beeswax in my recipe yet, so I haven’t tired everything.)

I didn’t stop trying, I just chose another way. I have a goal, to make unique soaps that open a creative moment of wonder. I love that feeling, when I see something new I hadn’t thought of before and I have to adjust my view of the world. When art of any kind can do that, I’m pleased.

My answer to all this is to make molding soap. For some reason having this type of soap doesn’t ash. I have not had soda ash one time from molding soap. I don’t do much to it: I spray it with alcohol to encourage drying, but I don’t cover it or nurse it like I have to with piped soap.

I would love to pipe soap. Until then, what I understood about the Marcus Aurelius quote is I had to examine my path much harder to get past the impediment. I wanted so much (and still do) to make what I envision. I ask, “what’s stopping me?” Soda ash.

How can I move past it, to keep my creativity flowing?

I found another way, on the same path, to move past this soda ash impediment.

I trust a bomb-proof way to pipe soap without ash will reveal itself to me, until then I will continue to hand mold soap and keep my creativity flowing.


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