For those of us who are fans of Dr. Bronner’s, the company’s products have a constant presence in our households, and we use them to clean our bodies and physical surroundings on a daily basis.
While this is unquestionably a critical component of our lives and imperative to maintain good health, cleaning transcends removing whatever is on our skin, on our clothes or on our kitchen countertops. It also affects our emotional well-being and directly impacts how we show up in the world.
And this is precisely why Lisa Bronner’s Soap & Soul: A Practical Guide to Minding Your Home, Your Body and Your Spirit with Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps spoke to me so much, as it squarely touches on the importance of cleaning both the tangible and intangible — an essential formula for a meaningful life.
Lisa Bronner’s background and lineage provide real credibility when it comes discussing this subject, and she does it with empathy and eloquence.
Her grandfather, Emanuel, founded the company in 1948, and her two brothers David and Michael, cosmic engagement officer (CEO) and president, respectively, now run Dr. Bronner’s, alongside her mother Trudy (chief financial officer) and her husband Michael Milam (chief operations officer.) Aside from having a serious soap pedigree, Lisa’s family company is rooted in the culture of elevating the spirit of those around them, which is demonstrated by Dr. Bronner’s donating approximately 5% of yearly revenue to environmental, organic and social causes, in addition to officers’ salaries being capped at 5x the lowest-paid fully-vested position.
Sharing her expertise of the company’s soap products began on a formal basis in 2008, when Lisa’s brother, Michael, asked her to help answer email inquiries from customers. Two years later, she launched her Going Green with Lisa Bronner blog, where she expanded this knowledge base to also include a wide range of eco-friendly lifestyle topics. And now with the new book, it is yet another forum to share this information.
“There are so many parallels with cleaning the physical and emotional space, and I wanted the title of the book to encompass both of these realms,” she said.
“My grandfather used to tell the story of someone who called him with real distress. He told this person to ‘clean your house and call me back.’ He was right. If our problem is a spirit that is burdened, taking control of something that you can see is very empowering. There is value to physical engagement with our environment, and it is very easy not to make the connection.”
While Lisa fully acknowledges that such a philosophy is hardly novel, there is something powerful about being reminded of this message, especially given the context.
Soap & Soul is about as perfect of a book for this iconic brand that I can imagine, primarily because it is a meditation on both soap and life, and the biggest compliment that I can give Soap & Soul is that I still think about it often, even though I read it weeks ago.