I listen to a lot of podcasts, including a lot of TedTalks. Amazing stuff.
When it comes to saving the world, there are so many talks from unbelievably smart people. They all break down complex, scientific solutions to the climate crisis into a 10-15 minute talk that my unscientific self can (kinda) understand. It’s all very mind-blowing and very hopeful.
Everything from increasing the reflectiveness of clouds, to creating large scale seaweed farms to draw down carbon. Brilliant minds are furiously coming up with solutions to reverse the damage we’ve inflicted upon the environment.
Then I heard an interesting approach called “Rewilding.” (Also called “Conservation Biology.”)
This idea really caught my attention because it felt like a natural fit with this whole “gentle living” approach.
So…what is Rewilding?
According to rewildingeurope.com, “Rewilding is a progressive approach to conservation. It’s about letting nature take care of itself, enabling natural processes to shape land and sea, repair damaged ecosystems and restore degraded landscapes. Through rewilding, wildlife’s natural rhythms create wilder, more biodiverse habitats.”
In other words, nature has extraordinary capacity to heal itself, we just need to get out of the way and help her get back to the business of thriving.
Cool. Cool. But what does that have to do with me?
Well, I think there are a few things we can do to rewild our tiny little worlds, that will spill over to the greater cause.
Vote with your wallet: Support brands and companies that have sustainable and ethical practices. Buy things that don’t require the relentless degradation of people and habitats. Local. Organic. Sustainable. Ethical.
Cultivate appreciation for nature. Go outside. Hike. Sit by the ocean. A lake. A mountain. A forest. Don’t underestimate the power of shifting your personal, internal energy. It flows outwards from there.
If you have kids, take them outside. Point out interesting things. Embed an appreciation for nature early and it will stick with them throughout their lives. Catch frogs. Examine butterflies and mushrooms and spiderwebs.
I’ve made a resolution. To post a blog once a week until December 31st just to see if I can do it. That’s 18 posts between now and then, which feels like kind of a lot, but I’m going to let go of judging the subjects / writing and just put it out there.
In this inaugural post, I wanted to share something I’ve been kicking around: This idea of prioritizing living as gently as possible.
The idea of “gentle living” is really about finding ways to minimize the habits & actions that wreak havoc on ourselves, others, and the planet.
In an effort to come up with 18 more posts, here is a non-exhaustive list of things that fall under this ideology that you may see posted in the coming weeks:
Making an effort to live sustainably
Buying local and seasonally.
Eliminating as much plastic from your life as possible (including using reusable bags when shopping).
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Upcycle.
Adopting simple rules for healthy living
Make an effort to move everyday.
Eat simple, real, organic food.
Connect to nature, go outside, breathe fresh air.
Give yourself and other people a break…aka empathy
Nobody’s harder on themselves than…themselves. Be gentle with yourself. You’re human.
Everybody’s fighting their own demons. If they’re pissing you off, there’s really no need to destroy them…address it directly, do some self reflecting or just ignore it.
Perfect doesn’t exist.
Travel and open your mind.
Gratitude for the simple, little moments and things.
Those are just some ideas that came from kicking the tires on this gentle living thing. It’s all stuff I try to foster in my own life, and I thought maybe you’d like in on it too.
All this isn’t to say that there’s no room for hustle & grind. There absolutely is. It’s just more about balance. We (I) feel inclined to push constantly, and it seems like it’s harder to accept the natural cycle of ebb and flow in today’s culture. All flow, no ebb, amiright?
As the world becomes more insane by the day, it seems like a bit of ebb is in order. I really do think this will help.
“Hygge (/ˈhjuːɡə/HEW-gə) is a Danish and Norwegian word for a mood of coziness and comfortable conviviality with feelings of wellness and contentment.”
In a merciful turn of events, the weather has gone from 95 degrees with 96% humidity here on the East Coast, to a dreary and WONDERFUL 55 degrees! I’m wearing socks. And a cozy sweatshirt. I haven’t sweat the makeup off my face once today. It. Is. Amazing.
Not that I’m wishing summer away, but the coziness of a sweatshirt and lack of blazing heat is making us all want to slooooow down and rest this weekend and I for one, am loving every minute.
Rewind to a week ago…So it’s obviously been quite a while since I attended any form of school. And therefore quite a while since my whole life revolved around the seasons (now it’s work in the summer, work in the spring, and oh! work in the fall and winter too…sweet). But a crazy thing happened this week with my oldest starting kindergarten… all of a sudden we’re thrown back into this school year rhythm.
We enjoyed the last licks of summer with a sweltering visit to a local, historical farm and general wandering about town. I took a vacation day from work and it ended up being a perfectly summer vacation-esque mom and son day (we failed to coordinate daycare for the couple of the days in September before school started and it worked out awesomely). We wandered around the farm, met a one-eyed horse named Hobbes, sweat our asses off in the 97 degree heat, wondered how hot the animals must be with all their fur, ate ice cream cones, ducked into the happily air-conditioned library to read a quick book and just generally hung out.
Having that day of pure, unplanned wandering in the blistering heat makes me feel even less bad about sitting around basking in this wonderful feeling of hygge today. Lanterns are flickering in the living room and the soft sound of rain outside is making me irrationally & excessively grateful for the simple blessing of having a sturdy little house to hang out in.
Welcome to hygge season. Welcome to Kindergarten, dear boy. Change is constant and fantastic.
“The Earth has music for those who listen” – Shakespeare
Oh man, Colorado! We went early for a wedding and forest-bathed our asses off (it’s hard not to, really) for 4 days. It was one of the most rejuvenating trips I’ve taken in a while and I know I need to incorporate more of that in my everyday life. And oh! The pictures!! Snapped a super-wide angle lens on my trusty little Canon Rebel and away we went.
Forest Bathing is a Japanese concept from the 80’s. It’s more or less taking a mindful stroll through the woods and soaking in all that nature-y goodness. Or as I helpfully described to a friend who brought up this concept on this trip…”Oh! I think it has to do with some sort of compound the trees secrete.” Uh, yeah. Something like that.
Anyway, the benefits have been proven again and again. Being in nature reduces anxiety, calms the mind and generally makes you feel like less of a hamster on a wheel. Also, that “secretion?” Apparently that’s phytoncides and it turns out, I pretty much nailed it. They’re released into the air by trees and when inhaled, are thought to reduce stress hormones and increase white blood cell function. I mean…hell yeah?
The other forest bath ingredient, present in ESPECIALLY high quantities in mountains (and beaches, waterfalls and thunderstorms), are negative ions. These little puppies “create positive vibes” as WebMD puts it.
So yeah…that, combined with the ~1,260ft of elevation we hiked over the course of 2 days, plus picking excellent traveling companions and approaching every day with the spirit of adventure, meant we came home from Colorado feeling pretty damn refreshed.