Over the past year I have pondered the massive amount of information (both good and bad) on global warming, living green, sustainable living, minimalism and the zero waste lifestyle. The amount of information can make your head swim. I have heard and read comments such as “I don’t have time for all of this” or “My life is in overload already, I can’t deal with one more thing.” It is true that trying to live in a sustainable way can seem daunting. The simple task of trying to avoid plastic seems almost impossible at times. So what can we do in the 21st Century to decrease our impact on the environment for ourselves and future generations? How can we carry out these personal, as well as collective goals, without our heads exploding from information overload? I would like to offer a few suggestions that have worked for me and may help you as well. The number one item on the list has to be – SIMPLIFY your life. This probably sounds odd considering the goal is to live a greener, gentler life in a very consumer driven and eco-unfriendly world. I live on the less is more principle, which is: the less stuff the more time, the less stress the more peace, and fewer distractions, more creativity. Less is definitely more in my book. This is commonly called minimalism. The bottom line, it’s okay to be picky! I choose to have quality over quantity. I would rather have five items that I love, than fifty that I do not. This can be applied to anything. My first thought goes to clothing, my drawers and closet used to be stuffed with who knows what! Now I have thinned out to what I use and love. I have shifted my purchasing power from inexpensive clothing items to well made, earth friendly items that I love to wear. The same can be applied to any purchase, but it requires knowing yourself. Anything we have a passion for can become an area where we becomes collectors of “stuff” and that makes life … busy. Second, I am “picky” about how I spend my time. I have given myself permission to say no to invitations that do not fit into my lifestyle and goals. Less stress needs to be viewed holistically. How we interpret and react to stressors makes all the difference in our mental and physical health. Identify what causes you to feel “stressed out” and develop a strategy on how to cut, or drop the causes. Stressors that cannot be changed need new coping mechanisms. Developing strategies for managing life’s challenges can be as simple as getting enough sleep, exercise, eating well and meditation. If life has become unmanageable reach out to others and seek professional help. The third point is less distractions. I LOVE to play video games, watch YouTube videos and search the internet for interesting information. I also love the creative side of me that is competing for time with my other distractions. I self limit my distractions so that I can allow my inner creativity to surface. The result is an amazing feeling of accomplishment and well-being. I love to express myself in my garden, sketching, and creative writing. Playing Fallout or Mass Effect is amazing fun but it never satisfies my soul like creative expression. At this point you may be asking yourself “How does this relate to living green?” I’m glad you asked! Living green is living in a way that is gentle toward yourself, others and the earth. Reducing excess creates that gentle lifestyle that makes room for a fuller life. You may not be making your own toothpaste (yet) ;o) but you can decrease by eliminating overconsumption and excessive distractions that make living a greener life difficult. Thank you for taking the time to read this post.
Peace & Love