A sustainable life

A sustainable life

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Normally I have no problem writing a blog. But this one? I started it over and over again. I think I really got in the way of myself. Because every time when I read it back, I felt it was too judgmental, I was too (self-)righteous.

But I still have a deep need in me to share about this. About what is happening to our planet, to nature, to the animals. I am not saying I have it all together, I am constantly making steps towards a life that is more in harmony with nature and the planet. I want to simplify my life, make my footprint on the earth smaller.

I have been on a long journey, and during that journey, I have always been making concessions. Depending on the people or circumstances in my life at that time. But this deeper drive to create a simplified life and more awareness have always been there. When I was in my teens I even wanted to join Greenpeace and actively start saving animals and chaining myself to trees and more.

I never did though, I never walked protest marches. I donated money. I signed petitions. I did door to door collecting for animal protection organisations. I made some steps towards living a more sustainable life. But never the steps I really wanted to make, deep down. Always making concessions.

I once followed a course about the impact we have on nature, the environment. And in that course, certain things were predicted would happen. But back then even I didn’t think it would come that far. But it is happening. All that was foreseen would happen if we wouldn’t change our consumer behaviour is happening. And even things they didn’t foresee, like the plastic soup problem.

I’ve wandered off my path. Trying to find some form of middle way. I had spiritual people tell me I shouldn’t worry that much, don’t take the weight of the Earth on my shoulders. The Earth had her own path to walk, and it would turn out all right they said. Looking back at statements like that, it feels just like they were maybe just looking for ways to justify their own actions. Or non-actions. Because change is not always easy. But, the spiritual concept of oneness, should be reason enough to take action! If Mother Earth could do this by herself, she would have done so already, and people like me, who want to create awareness wouldn’t be born. Wouldn’t feel they are on a mission. They would not be needed. They wouldn’t exist!

I’ve wandered off my path, thinking I needed to help people. That my talent as healer and animal communicator was the way to create this awareness. But it didn’t bring me what I was aiming for. They said I needed to be patient, that it would take time. Things like this don’t change or happen overnight. But I feel time is running out! And I am in danger of ending up in a place where I don’t care about what happens to my own species anymore. That I want to throw the towel in the ring. Just live out my life in a simple way.

But I can’t. Because I do care. Maybe even too much. Not just about people close to me, but about nature, the animals, the planet. It breaks my heart to see them suffering from our actions. From our demanding ways of life.

So, for now, I am most of all taking action towards my own behaviour, and seeing how I can take steps towards living a simple and sustainable life. Be a living example, walk my talk. To show that this kind of life can be just as fulfilling, if not more fulfilling. Because it also involves finding joy and happiness within, and no longer from outside sources, especially in material form.

Last year I started a declutter journey. Going through “my” things and getting rid of what I no longer wanted to have or need. Along the way, I got so many insights and revelations on this. How we are constantly bombarded from all sides that we need outside stuff to make us happy. We need certain foods, personal hygiene products, cosmetics, cars, vacations, spiritual growth, careers. We need to follow certain ways of life, get married, have children, buy a house, own a car, have a tv, computer, smartphone.  We need to go on (spiritual) retreats, we need to do things that help us relax, like getting massages, going to spas, and so on. And the latest trend is to (again) use animals for that. And I do believe animals can help us with that, but it should be voluntary and guided by someone who can read the needs of the animal. It is not all about us. I think humans should really get off their high horse. Literally.

And there is another aspect to this. We want more. We need growth and expansion. So, we need the newest products, newest innovations. More. Bigger. Better. And, in my humble opinion, if we fall for that, we lose our connection to nature, and what and who we truly are. Because we ARE nature.

I have never been very attached to “things”. Not even the houses I lived in. So, it was and is easy for me to let go. I am not even that attached to relationships, I always feel people come and go in one’s life, some maybe just for a short while, others stay a lifetime. But I have never wanted to own them, possess them, claim them. I don’t get the concept of a BFF for instance. I also don’t really get the whole marriage constitution anymore. I feel it is most of all something that is conditioned. Why not be with someone just for the sake of being together. Enjoying each other’s company. Without any form of “forever”. And expectations. And marriage has also been turned into a huge commercial thing. Bigger, better, more. Everything is turned into a competition. Bigger, better, more.

I am turning this around for myself. Less is more. I am going for inner growth. Get my needs answered from within. And not consume or own more than I need. In fact, I want to let go of the whole being owner illusion. I realised this regarding the house we lived in. As a “house owner”. That was never really ours, but the banks. And it is not even the banks. Because all the material used for building that house once was part of the earth. And we took it from her, without payment, without giving thanks, without giving anything in return. Hell, even the ground the house stands on does not belong to us. It is not ours to claim or sell for that matter. Humans seem to be very greedy. Now that is a trade humanity could do without.

But, again, I don’t want to sound like I am preaching something, or that I am better than others. Not at all. It is just because I care. On so many levels. I just want to create awareness, so that people can make more conscious choices. And please, don’t say that humans need to heal themselves first, as so many have pointed out at me because if we wait for that, it might be too late! I believe very much that our healing paths are linked to the healing of the earth because we are all one. When you start to heal yourself, heal your life, you will become aware of the impact of your choices on the whole.

Now, I cannot force other people to change, and I don’t want to, the motivation has to come from the right place, from within, but I can change myself. With every choice I make at this time, I am taking into account the effects of that on the planet, the animals. Everything. And it starts with figuring out what I really need. Back to basics.

So, just to sum up some things that I have been thinking about and want to change:

Housing: When you think about it, the whole being human isn’t very sustainable. We are the only species on earth that need year-round housing, clothing, preparing of food. So, as I chose the human experience this round, I kind of need a roof over my head. Now, what I feel at this time, is that this doesn’t have to be a home in the form of owning a place. Renting is just as good. I’ve considered many forms of alternative living, but I haven’t found anything that really speaks to me. It is either in a community form where there are certain rules and regulations, or the why of the community, that doesn’t speak to me. What I do like is the sharing part, like sharing household appliances, sharing a veggie garden and more. I’ve been looking at tiny houses, but besides the whole money/land/ownership around these, I wonder how sustainable they really are on the long run. They are mostly made from wood, so a lot of trees are being sacrificed for them, and I wonder how long they will last. One lifetime? And then? So, in my eyes, not really sustainable. So, I am not convinced about the form of home I want to live in. I do know I don’t want a big house anymore. The bigger the house, the more stuff you seem to gather. And what would I want with all that space! I really don’t like cleaning, I feel I can use my time for other things. So, a small house. Near or in nature would be preferable. As I don’t have a driver’s license, or a car, I need to take that in mind too. And I don’t want a driver’s license. Not for now. Not as long as cars and fuel are a big contributor to the environmental problems. Looking at furniture, not too much, produced in a sustainable way, or second hand. Right now I am sleeping on a mattress on the floor, and I have no problems with that at all. I don’t care about having the latest fashion, in any area of my life! Being sustainable is my fashion. I am more and more disliking the ornamental ways of gardening, that have no natural value what so ever. And why have a garden if you fill it with tiles? Don’t get that at all. Smothering Mother Earth. Causing problems with heavy rainfall. To me a garden is the perfect place to connect to nature, to ground, to plant things that help the animals, that work together. To have a vegetable garden, so I can grow my own foods. Things like that. And work together with nature, not declare war on nature. If something doesn’t thrive in my garden, then it’s not in the right place (yes, this is a metaphor), I will not use chemicals to force it to thrive, or to kill the bugs that are having a feast with it. And I want to live with green energy as much as possible. Not use any more energy than needed.

Transport: Already talked about that a bit. I love walking and wouldn’t mind living in an area where I can do most of my exploring and shopping on foot. Traveling to other places I would preferably do by public transport. And I want to avoid flying as much as possible. If that means I will not see as much of the world, then so be it. I want to live life in the slow lane anyway, I wasn’t meant for living life in the fast lane. Never was. I was always “slower” than others. I started thinking about all the precious materials and resources used for transport, especially in this “throw-away-buy the latest-society” we live in now. They are not even made to last long anymore! I see it with my bicycle, in the car of my ex. So, yes, transport is an area of attention for me.

Food: I am already vegetarian, but leaning towards becoming vegan. I just need to find the right things to replace the eggs and cheese, and that my body can handle. The meat and dairy industry is not sustainable, and horrible to the animals. So, yes, that. There is more to eating that piece of meat on your plate than meets the eye. But most people want to ignore that, because they love the taste of meat. I doubt that, for I don’t see people eating raw meat. It’s not like eating an apple. It has to be slaughtered, prepared, seasoned, cooked. So, do they really like the taste of meat? Something to think about? And the oceans are getting empty, so also no more fish products for me. And then there is amounts of packing material I encounter when I cook a meal. It is making me sick. The amounts of plastic, paper, and other stuff. Wow…. That needs to change. And I want to eat even more organic. I will have to find ways to do that. Right now, I am still making concessions for several reasons, and I don’t want to have to make them anymore. Food is medicine. It is first medicine. I only drink water and herbal tea and some rice milk for my breakfast. And last year I realised how much precious resources are wasted in making alcoholic beverages (including so much water), so I stopped drinking the little alcohol I did all together. And I am not missing it at all. Drinking water is something I can do better at, as right now where I live I don’t trust the quality of the tap water, so I am using bottled water. And I know that is a big source of the plastic soup problem. But as long as there are weird chemicals in the tap water, I will not drink that, and only use it for other things. I try to eat as much refined sugar free as possible, and that has also made a huge impact on my health, together with getting rid of foods with artificial sweeteners, flavour and colour enhancers. When I look at an average ingredients list in the supermarket all I can think of is why? It is not beneficial for our health, so why?

Personal care products and clothing: another thing I am passionate about. There is so much I don’t understand in this, and never really have. Why using all that stuff to look different? And having many allergies to especially chemical products, have made the choices in this easy for me. I only use very basic stuff, and even in there I feel I can do even better. And clothes, well, I kind of wear them until they fall apart, and then throw away. Or if I don’t fit them anymore, they will go to charity, or a second-hand store. Did you know the clothing industry is the second largest polluting industry after cars/oil? And not to mention the child-labour aspects in clothing. But, it is not easy finding suitable, sustainable, organic clothes that I can wear with my allergies, and are affordable. And then often my size comes in the way. But I am getting there, finding my way in the clothing jungle. I still wear leather shoes, because that is about the only thing I can handle on my feet. And as long as I live in areas where walking bare feet is either too cold or too dangerous with all the litter lying around combined with hot asphalt, I have to make some choices in this. But, again, wearing shoes until they fall apart, or can’t be repaired anymore. Yes, shoes can be repaired you know. So can clothes for that matter. Personal care is very basic for me, and I try to shower just once a week. It’s better for my skin, and for the environment. I don’t wear make-up or nail polish, I only use a basic crème for after the shower (remember, the chemicals in the water), I have found an amazing shampoo block that is awesome for my hair and lasts a long time. And it is not in a plastic bottle! So, even less plastic soup. I hardly ever use deodorant, and since I stopped using that I’ve been getting less smelly. Also, don’t shave anymore, I feel that was also part of scent problem. I don’t use perfume or other scents to mask my own smell. Nothing wrong with my own smell 😀 I think we have forgotten how to smell like humans 😀 (I feel there is more to this, but that is for another blog). I make my own toothpaste based on coconut oil and clay and essential oils. It lasts longer, I don’t have those plastic tubes, and ever since I started using it, the health of my teeth and gums have improved. My period is a thing of concern, I still use disposable pads (organic), but everything else I have tried so far gave me a rash. And a rash or itching down there sucks. I don’t have heavy periods, so I am not using that much pads per period, but still. And I am almost 49, so probably will not have periods for that long anymore. But if you can stand things like silicon, there are cups and stuff. I also tried to use washable pads and stuff, but they started to irritate too, especially when cycling.

Health-care: Well, ever since I started working on myself inside and out, I am relatively healthy by now. I hardly ever have to visit a doctor or hospital anymore. If there is something going on I prefer to go with natural remedies as support, but only after I have figured out what the meaning is behind what I am experiencing. Even if I cut myself! I wasn’t paying attention ? My preferred remedies are herbal remedies, flower remedies, animal essences (no actual animals are in there, just the energy), essential oils (scarcely) and homeopathy. Especially that last one fits my sustainable lifestyle, and I have had many good results with it. And of course, looking at my diet helps. I have also stopped smoking many years ago, and not taking anything with hormones anymore. I hardly ever use painkillers, I just listen to my body, rest, and meditate, use breathing techniques. And homeopathy. Pain and discomfort are signs of my body telling me that something is going on, and I will no longer suppress the signs. I also take care of my emotional and mental health, by writing, journaling, talking to people, and going into nature. Especially that last one is one of my biggest medicines. Just connecting to the earth, the plants, the trees, the animals. And even though I like a good massage and visiting a spa once in a while, I would love to create a life where I don’t need them anymore, just do it because I love it. Well, visiting a spa might fall off my list, not very sustainable. But still, self-care and self-love are a big part of health-care. Also looking at what makes my heart sing, and doing more of that. And wanting to move to a cleaner area, with less air-water-light-noise pollution.

Material Possessions: For some reason I have been a collector of “stuff” for many years. Not a hoarder, but still, buying stuff I don’t really need. Even collected stamps for a while, and collectable movie cards. When I started to declutter last year, it felt so freeing. And it really made me wonder why we do this. Is this still the hunter/gatherer caveman inside of us? Now, I have never been someone to buy something new while the old was still working, but even then I had so many stuff. Books, most of them never read and probably never will. CD’s, from a time when you had to buy cd’s in order to listen to music. DVD’s, most of them bought because I liked the movie, but never watched again. So many statues and other ornamental stuff. Why? Only space filling! So many mugs, and bowls, and other household stuff I would never use. And I could go on and on. Also loads of spiritual stuff, two harps (one of them I never played), instruments I never used. I have sold and given away so many stuff. And I still feel I have too much stuff. Photo’s. So many of them. Never looking at them besides a few precious ones. And I don’t have children, so who would I pass them on too? Time to clear those too. Only keep a few. Digital clutter! Don’t underestimate digital clutter. Mails from years ago, old files, and other stuff kept for safekeeping I didn’t even know I had stored. The dangers of the digital cluttering! Old phones, old glasses that I couldn’t even wear anymore. The only thing that did come in handy was that I kept all my old calendars, diaries, journals. It helped me in writing my first book. A phone, a laptop, a desktop. Mobile phone and landline phone. All the electronic devices using up energy. I don’t want to own a tv anymore, the media is nothing but brainwashing bad news anyway, and then brainwashing advertising telling you to buy their product to be happy (after seeing all that bad and negative stuff). Or how we all should compete about everything, because you only matter when you are a winner. Out with the tv and most movies for that matter. Hollywood is also screwing up our ideas about love and romance!

Pets: One thing that is a challenge on sustainability is having pets. When I see how much waste I get from them, the food containers, cat litter, poop bags and more. And the way their foods are produced, the ingredients and more. And having a pet on an organic diet is expensive, and there is not much choice. Well, there is more and more, but still. If my pet refuses to eat the organic stuff, then what? If all goes well, I will end up with just one dog, and the other pets will stay with my ex, but it is something for me to think about in the future. How sustainable is having pets? I know they are good for our well-being, but still, have to consider this.

Work/income: This is maybe the most difficult part for me right now. Even though I dream of a world with a different kind of economic system, where money is not the most important thing, right now, in this time, I do need some money. But… if I declutter and simplify in every area, how much money would I actually need? And what is really important to me? I value free time to just explore and be much more than a big house or a lot of stuff. Or going on holidays. I am figuring that out right now. Housing in the Netherlands is very expensive, so most of what I need would be for living. So, maybe move to another country? Freedom to roam the Earth is not doable in these times, so have choices to make. And then, where would my income come from? I am still doubting if I want to continue being an entrepreneur. It is not really “my thing” I believe, because I don’t like selling. And all the rules and regulations. Many people have tried to get me to sell essential oils from certain brands as a source of income, but I don’t feel that’s right for me. Besides not liking the whole system behind those brands, I don’t think it’s very sustainable. I know the amounts of materials needed to produce a kilogram of oil, and if everybody starts using the oils in the quantities these companies want, we would need extra planets! So, not something that is in alignment with my values. And selling something that I cannot support will never work anyway. So, what then? Work in a supermarket? In an office again? If I have to I will, but if I can avoid that I will try. And I could only work for companies or organisations that are in line with my values and beliefs. Maybe I will just go work on an organic farm, hands in the soil, taking care of animals, being outside. Hmmmm. I wouldn’t mind that at all. What I do love is writing, so I want time for that. Books, blogs, inspirational short stories, channelling the messages from the animals and nature. I didn’t go into the writing business to become a best seller. I do it because I love to write. And just as any other area in my life, I value quality above quantity. So, no mass production. These are my babies, and I don’t want to hurry their delivery. They are to inspire, not sell my ideas, my products, my 10-step plan to happiness. So, maybe some additional work in that area, that I can do from home. Editing, translating, narrating? Become the next David Attenborough?

Now, I can almost hear you thinking, that is a boring life! Well, to me it isn’t! I have a very rich life because for me it is all about experiences. And I have plenty of those. It is about being. About inner peace, being in balance with nature. THAT makes me happy! Life for me is not about the fast lane, the career, the numbers, the goals, the achievements. About doing as much stuff as possible. About learning yet another skill. About always being involved in something. Life is about living. Enjoying the simple things in life. Enjoying the flowers, the clouds, the butterflies, smiling children, new-born babies. Singing and dancing like I used to when I was a kid. Stamp in the puddles and get dirty clothes. Walk bare feet, where my toenails get so dirty it takes weeks for them to get clean. These are all for free. So is laughter.

Just think about it. So many people have regrets on their deathbeds. Wishing they had loved more, laughed more, danced more. They above all would have loved to spend more time with their loved ones. Instead, they were busy with earning money to buy stuff and experiences they thought would make them and their families happy. Because that’s how they’ve been conditioned and that conditioning is kept alive by the media. And in the meantime, all that family wanted was for them to be home more often, to spend quality time together. Connection, that is what it is all about. Connection to self, to nature, to other people, to life itself. The lack of connection and love is the only lack we have to deal with as humans. This lack that is causing us to flee in outer satisfaction, creating religious fanatics and spiritual bypassing. This lack that is causing us to harm each other in terrible ways. This lack that has created #metoo, the rise of so many criminals (including politicians and big corporate leaders), that is the cause of narcissism. This lack that is masked by a feeling of lack in other areas, including money and abundance.

I know for myself I still have a lot to heal on the connection part, especially the connection to my fellow species, but I am making a start. On to a sustainable, harmonious, loving, connected life.

Much love,

Diana

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