A Sustainable Life
What does it mean to create a sustainable life? Sustainability is connected to everything, not just what we do, but how we do it.
The word sustainable has become part of our everyday language, mostly related to the environmental crisis that our world is experiencing. Many people have found ways to make and do things sustainably so that the negative impact on the earth and our natural environment is lessened. Some of us grow our own food without the use of chemicals, some of us make upcycled artwork, others recycle and reuse products to eliminate excessive waste. All of these things and many others are important to protecting and sustaining the world we live in. We are not separate from nature, we are a part of it, so it makes sense to take care of it's functioning, but we sometimes forget that connection and how it can be incorporated into all aspects of our lives to create sustainable living in a whole and balanced way.
We often get 'caught up' in the in the day to day details in such a way that it is difficult to see the whole picture. We may get stuck dealing with the separate pieces and neglecting other parts that are vital to our full functioning, leaving us feeling burned out or feeling like there's something missing in our lives.
There are many environments that we live in and live with that need our attention. We might feel like thinking about the earth and universe is separate from our home environment or our social environment, but they are all connected. Even our internal micro-biological environment is part of the larger external picture. Think about the food we eat as one example...how it is grown can profoundly affect how it supports or depletes the bacterial environment in our gut, which then supports the functioning of our entire mindbody system, which effects how we show up in the world. If we consider that everything is connected, it may help us piece together those details of our daily lives that seem like they function in a protected bubble. If we consider that everything is connected, we might discover a new and interesting perspective that bridges the gap between those pieces that seem separate from each other. Self care, self-reflection, passionate work, fun hobbies, time off, time to ourselves, mindful actions, meaningful efforts, heart-felt relationships...these are some of the things that can be part of creating a sustainable lifestyle when we integrate them into our lives.
There are times when our dreams and goals require some extra effort for a period of time to move our greater vision for ourselves forward. It might make us more tired than usual or require that something else gets less attention for a bit and that is ok. It's important to make those efforts in order to take the next steps of our journey. Staying mindful of our purpose and intention while we're going through those times can make a big difference to sustaining our efforts as needed. If we start to feel less energetic about a project we're pursuing, it might make us feel discouraged or like it's not the right thing for us to be doing, or might even play into the places we self-sabotage. During these times, something as simple as a hot bath, a day off or some other self-care ritual can shift our perspective, reconnect us to our inner guidance, and get us back on track.
When we set our lives up in a sustainable way, we
experience a rhythm and flow to all of our environments, external and internal. It's a flow that once we connect to it and incorporate ways of staying connected to it, will steadily guide us through all of our efforts and can help lead us back to it if we ever get thrown off course.
Take some time this week to think about the big picture, the detailed parts of that picture, and how they are connected. What are some things you want to incorporate into your life to make it more sustainable long term? What are some of your favorite self-care rituals that sustain balance in your life?
Photo credit: Aziz Acharki