I read this book for the first time some years back, when I was just beginning to think about our consumption as a family and was feeling opressed by the growing materialism in the world. I am reading it again and am amazed at how much of it I truly embraced and put into effect in my own life. It has not been an easy road, I am plauged by an illness that began a downhill slide for me but I manage to push through and do what is imortant for us to be sustainable and stay healthy.
The idea that wealth makes one happy is a lie. I had a prestigious job only one year ago, made alot of money which in hindsight was largely spent on upholding the image tied to the job. A conundrum not easily solved, I often wondered how to simplify in such a complicated place in life? Constantly running a race that was never done.
When my health fell down so did the job, when I was no longer acheiving money and making results for the company I was suddenly thrust into anonyminity. My bruised ego that had become very accustomed to being stroked went into a sadness. I cannot say enough about the world of chronic pain and how misunderstood it is. The deep depression, the solitude and abandonment are bad enough but add to that relentless pain and the recipe is not one I recommend.
I am finding my way back one day at a time, this co-op has helped me to heal through the wonderful people I am privledged to interact with. Although the physical healing is not always there, my heart and mind are renewed with hope for tomorrow and teaching others through what I have learned.
Simplistic living has now become necessity, what once fascinated me has become very relevant. For instance the other day I forced myself to go to the store, a place I feel foreign in but I needed a few things. The local Wal Mart is not exactly a sustainable place and my son and I stood in the laundry aisle reading labels, no 7th Generation or Method in sight. I refuse to put any of that other stuff near my skin so I armed myself with Borax and Washing Soda instead. Upon arriving home I shredded a bar of Dr Bronners Peppermint Castile soap and went to the task of making my own washing powder. I was pleasantly surprised at how well it cleaned and the smell…wonderful! I have also learned to make many other things I used to buy and this has been liberating in a word! Watch for recipes to be coming…
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People who practice simplicity take different paths to get there, mine is not once that someone would choose but nevertheless I look at the arrival and celebrate it not focus on the journey I had to take to get there.
A big part of my journey was reducing spending, it was humbling to realize how much of my salary went to image and status. How pressured I felt to match my shoes with my purse, have the latest looks, well tailored suits and perfectly coiffed hair, looking back, I was nothing but a slave to it all. I felt a huge sense of loss realizing this, my purpose was being redefined and there was alot of emotions that rose to the top. When you think about spending habits, you realize how cunningly our culture tricks us into believing that whatever void we have in us can be filled by shopping, by material items, by food. If you are sad, spend money, your spouse left, spend money, hate your life, spend money….really? Where does this take us, or better yet where does it keep us? One word, prisoner.
I have less money, sadly I have less people in my circle as so many are on the same relentless wheel I was on and cannot see past the daily drudgery, I have alot less stuff because it began to feel heavy, it just identified me with a former existence that abandoned me. I let alot of things go…But when I stack this up against what I gained it is incomparable.
I have a renewed sense of family and community, a stronger faith in God, a freezer full of food that I grew, and peace of mind. My life is far from perfect, I struggle daily and will continue to do so in this human condition but the sense of direction I have found is defining for me.
I have always known deep inside me there was more going on than my job allowed me to do so maybe it was God intervening in my life, calling me to a different purpose where I can make a difference in peoples lives.
I hope that Sustainable Choices has made a difference for you. Whether you began out of a health problem as I did or you have always been on the path to healthy eating and a sustainable existence I trust we are helping you get further down that path.
Feel free to email me anytime, I strive to help in any way I can!