Since I am talking about who I am and what I’m doing here, I thought I would re-post this from the archives, from July 2011. Back to your normal viewing next week, when I have an exciting announcement to make (and just possibly a giveaway or two as well).
The Joni Mitchell song quoted above is about a love affair, but I was singing it as I cleaned my kitchen yesterday and thought how truly it applies to living a sustainable lifestyle.
It’s hard to reduce consumption when you are always seeing what other people have and wishing for it. It’s hard to be happy with your average size, west facing, three bedroom home when you are busy envying your mother’s lovely sunny north facing living areas, or your friend’s big north facing, fruit tree filled back yard with all its great nooks for kids, or another friend’s four bedroom home with large separate living areas and perhaps a study.
And importantly, if you are busy envying your friends, or even just lusting after the lovely homes you see (but can’t afford) in the real estate pages, it’s hard to busy yourself making the most of what you have.
I’m currently reading Buddhism for mothers of young children by Sarah Napthali, dipping into it here and there when I have a few moments. The idea of existing in the moment ties in well for me with the idea of learning to be happy with what you have and where you are. How can you live in the moment if you are constantly longing for more and better? Or to be more and better?
But by the same token, it’s tricky to appreciate the moment if you are constantly comparing your eco/sustainability/simple lifestyle creds with your friends or blogging mentors too (who me? would I do that?).
Napthali is big on being kind to yourself. Living mindfully doesn’t mean beating yourself up everytime you notice your thoughts straying to how much happier you would be if only you had that extra bedroom, or how much better your life would be if only you could declutter your house a little quicker. It means noticing those thoughts and then moving on.
Rhonda Jean from Down to Earth says there are no simple living police checking to see how well you are doing, so take things one step at a time, just do something. Make a start. Napthali has a similar attitude to living mindfully.
I am taking simple living, living mindfully and decluttering each one tiny step at a time.
When I covet my friend’s house, I notice my desire and move on.
When I feel overwhelmed by the extent of the clutter, I pick up one piece of paper and file or recycle it, or put one toy back on the shelf or into the Vinnie’s box, which sits by the front door. At least, that’s my aim.
Tonight I really wanted to start on a new square beanie for Eliane, since the one I knitted last year is really a bit small, but I ran out of time. So I have wound off a ball of wool to be ready to start tomorrow. One small step at a time.
Now over to you: Are there aspects of simple/sustainable/less toxic living (or whatever kind of living you’re aiming for) that you struggle with? Do you sometimes feel jealous of your friends – online or off – or just inadequate? If so, what do you do about it?
Linking up with Jess at IBOT, because I do blog on Tuesdays. Also, ’cause it’s where all the cool people hang out 🙂
PPS By the way, my book is now available on Kindle too! Woohoo!