Living simply is a choice. It can also become habit, default mode.
I remember a time when I used napkins and paper towels on a daily basis just so I wouldn’t have to touch “gross” stuff. I can recall times in my life where I ate tons of processed, junk foods despite knowing on some level they were not good for me. I used to go shopping at the mall and spend my paychecks on new decor for my living quarters, and found much creative joy there. When I started seeing my things grow I felt proud, I think. But I began to see the uselessness of some of this stuff, stuff I thought mattered. Living simply doesn’t require you to live in a cave and never shave your legs while eating grass and sunlight. It calls for a method of thinking, a perspective. It starts with small stuff, like refusing to use plastic one-time-use bags at the stores. I finally purchased hemp produce bags for my greens and veggies in the fridge. They seemed pricey but felt very much like an investment in small business, a renewable resource, and the earth. That was one step amongst many on my unpaved trail to living simply and since then have bought another set so that I always have enough. I also keep my ChicoBags shopping and produce bags nearby as they are SO durable, compact and long-lasting! It may not seem like much compared to all the terrible things that are happening on and to the earth right now, but I’m doing what I can, when I can!
I recently finished reading: The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom by Don Miguel Ruiz, which SO deserves your attention. I checked it out from the library and quickly devoured its pages. Here’s a very watered down summary: “Be impeccable with your word. Don’t take anything personally. Don’t make assumptions. Always do your best.” I’ll speak to the last part of that quote; always do your best. When it comes to living a simple life, clean from harmful chemicals, toxic foods and endless consuming, just always do your best. There will be times that you’ll come home with your hands full of styrofoam waste from “eating out” and there will be a night that you buy a new lotion that smells good but wreaks of carcinogenic chemicals. When that moment comes to you take it in as an awaited observation. Take a breath, forgive yourself and say to yourself “Okay, I don’t want to do this anymore.” Then, there are nights that you spend putting away fresh produce from your garden or the local organic food co-op ; when those moments come to you (and they will!), you will see them for what they are worth. You will breathe, take it in, and say to yourself, “Yes, do this again.”
This may seem like rambling, and it might be, however, there is a point I’m getting to here. When it comes to living an environmentally harmonious (That sounds so much prettier than Eco-friendly, ha!) and serving the planet, there are many people that would say ‘it’s too late’, and ‘who am I to make a difference?’ I now have some sentiments that reassure me that I am on the right path:
I save ~900 animals from slaughter this year by not consuming any meat, dairy or eggs.
Just one person opting out of plastic shopping bags saves 315 plastic bags from ending up in a landfill, ocean or treetop.
Air-drying clothes for a family who washes one load per day instead of running the clothes dryer can save ~12,000 kWh of electricity. (That’s ~$140! @ 11 cents per kWh)
Each and every one of us has great impact on the world around us. Especially those of us that are parents or work with children (which is everyone, even if you only see children from afar in the grocery store, they are still looking to their surroundings to learn what other humans do. So remember your impact is not always seen.). We are responsible for setting an example, for teaching the next generations what it is to live simply, to live in harmony with our fellow Earthlings, and to live in compassion.
There are SO many ways to “live simply” and these are just a few thoughts I have had on the subject. It is a mindset and it takes constant adjusting.
What are some ways you have chosen to live simply? Let’s share in the comment section!