Remembering A Life sat down with Polly Schellinger, a board-certified holistic nurse and owner of The Healing Place Farm, and invited her to tell us a bit about her beautiful farm and its furry and feathery residents; the inspiration for her essential oil products; and her partnership with Remembering A Life. Polly created a beautiful, custom blend of sweet marjoram, orange and lavender essentials oils for the Remembering A Life Essential Oil Roller.

Tell us about The Healing Place Farm.  
The Healing Place Farm started as a soybean field. We purchased the field with a goal of becoming a self-sufficient homestead. While we were building, my mother became ill and a mother-in-law suite was added to our home. After she passed away, The Healing Place Farm was born. I began to delve into integrative medicine with fervor and the mother-in-law space was converted to a farm shop.  

The shop has at least 10,000 essential oil products to augment wellness, including handmade goat’s milk soaps, lotions, balms, butters, rollers, sprays and aroma-sticks. I source locally as often as possible. I’m open only a handful of days per year and also offer products online. In addition, I provide all essential oil products for a hospital system throughout Wisconsin. They offer a variety of aromatherapy options for their patients. Considering the person as a whole being - mind, body and spirit - is, in my opinion, the only real way to offer comprehensive care. Aromatherapy addresses one of the gaps in our healthcare world.  

There are many animals that reside here on the farm. Many of them are rescues from a variety of circumstances. These animals are given a life-long home when they arrive. We also grow and put away as much food as we can every year. It’s a lifestyle, a commitment and a passion. The ultimate goal for the Healing Place Farm is to help. To serve. There are many hands that make the farm a place of loving compassion.  

What do you most love about the farm?  
The peace found here every day. It allows me to just “be.” Settling here has taught me to appreciate the beauty that every day can bring.  Farm work has reinforced the principles of living on the land, the benefits of hard work, the challenges of weather and the very intricate web of nature. When I pay attention to the earth and the magnificent splendor which surrounds me, I stand in awe. I have found that I must make a cognizant effort to stop and observe otherwise the days rush away like a rippling stream. 

What does your typical day look like?  
At 5 a.m. the rooster crows and I am up and out of bed. The first moments of the day involve feeding the dogs, cats, horses and chickens that reside here. By 6 a.m. everyone is fed and the dogs have been out for their morning run. The day can take many different avenues.  I have grandchildren who may arrive at 6:20 a.m. If their parents work that day the children will be on the farm until 8 p.m. Otherwise, in the spring/summer I am planting, weeding or watering early in the morning. Like everyone else, yards and homes need to be maintained.

The yard here includes several barns, a chicken coop and miles of fencing. Within those fences are pastures that need to be cleaned and water tanks that command attention every day. I often have appointments during the day with clients or am filling orders that people have placed online. One of our horses has to be fed 3-4 times per day so my day is scheduled around his needs. I also volunteer as a parish nurse. If help is requested at the church, I go. In between, I make products. I have a great group of people who help me label and package my products.  Without them, there would be no Healing Place Farm.  

In the fall, we begin to close down the farm. Crops are harvested, canned and frozen. The hoop house extends our growing season so we have an extra couple of months of produce. All winterizing is done for animal tanks, feed, barns etc. The shop gears up for the biggest part of the season…Christmas Open House. Several thousand people attend this event which is held over five weekends. It’s a glorious time.

By 8 or 9 p.m., I have generally done the last animal rounds outside. In the winter, I use the time after 8 p.m. or 9 p.m. to make soap. This year I made 5,800 bars over the winter. It’s a full day every day. But I wouldn’t trade a thing.  

Tell us about your animals. 
The farm is home to horses, mini-horses, donkeys, chickens, guinea hens, turkeys, dogs and cats. They are family to us. Brutus, the mini horse, is our funniest character. He will rob you blind. He pulls down any and all zippers, wallets out of pockets, chains off of gates and will look at you as if to say, “I didn’t do it.” He is a jokester and will make you laugh just with a toss of his extra long mane. If he sees you coming after a “funny” has happened, he will run as fast as he can and then look at you from the other end of the pasture. He’s super loving but you definitely have to be mindful of your belongings around Brutus.

What was your inspiration to start creating products using essential oils?  
When I accompanied my brother-in-law to Germany where they performed a lifesaving surgery for him, we stayed in a holistic hospital.  It was remarkable. Inspiring. There was nothing like it that I’d ever seen as a registered nurse.  

How has your business helped you connect with your community?  
My business gives back to the community every month.  A portion of every sale is donated somewhere that has been identified as a mission by a group of special friends and family. Not only do we donate dollars but also time. The patrons of the farm are often involved in our missions. When we collect toiletries, clothing or other identified “needs,” patrons of the farm show up. Always.

How can essential oils help people on their grief journey and what attributes of the oils in the Remembering A Life essential oil roller make it particularly soothing?  
Essential oils can provide support, comfort and relief during grief. The specific oils carefully selected for the Remembering a Life Essential Oil Roller have therapeutic qualities which may enhance feelings of calm, peacefulness, relaxation and may diminish anxiety, tension and sadness. These oils are specific to the grief response and healing.

What about Remembering A Life and the self-care box is inspiring to you? 
When someone passes away, most of us want to do something. Identifying what that “something “is can be difficult. The Remembering A Life project and self-care box fills the need to support the grieving individual in a beautiful, comprehensive way. The items selected for the box are purposeful and unique. The appeal of the box is multi-generational and isn’t constrained by any boundaries. The contents of the box will soothe any soul and the great care and thought given to this project oozes from every seam of the box. When I spoke of holistic care earlier, the box continues that theme. There are so many items in the box which offer healing from a variety of perspectives.

How do you want to be remembered after you die?  
In a world that seems to struggle, I want to leave behind a bit of hope for our children that one life….one act of kindness….one person who cares enough can make a difference. Be that person. Be the light. Those ripples will live on long after I am gone.

Have you thought about whether you’d want loved ones to have a service to honor your life? If so, would you care to share what you think that might look like? 
When I die, I would like to have a service that is not sad but more a celebration of life (but not a party) and a comfort for those who remain on this earth. I would like them to be reassured about my destiny and that I returned to dust. I’m certain that essential oils would be flowing as a comforting force at the service and optimally there might be incense as well. It would definitely be a religious ceremony because I serve as a parish nurse. The lighting would be low and the sermon, uplifting. If we could be outside that would even be better.  

Do you think funerals are for the dead or the living? Why do you feel that way?  
I believe funerals are for the living. I always think that those of us who remain are sad….we’re left behind. We need comfort. We need the presence of family and friends to share memories and our grief. Together, we are better. Our lives intersect in ways that create a beautiful fabric or tapestry. When one of us leaves this earth, the tapestry is forever changed. A hole remains, an unraveling and always a shift. Together we sort through our grief and make new memories along with comforts. The tapestry gets reinforced. It’s never the same but instead a new fabric is created. 

Who are you remembering today?
My parents and my brother-in-law. My parents influence my life tremendously. They were rock solid in a number of ways. My dad was taken from us at a relatively young age. My brother-in-law was a one in a million. He was salt of the earth. He started me on my path at The Healing Place Farm.