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Sustainability is deeeeep and wiiiiiide. It covers every thing, place, space and idea, which can make it overwhelming and hard to handle.
I struggled for years learning how to live a more sustainable lifestyle, read more about that here.
Finally I sat down with pen and paper and mind mapped it out.
The definition of sustainability was founded in the Brundtland Commission’s report, “Our Common Future”, back in 1987, which states:
“Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”
While this definition is a fantastic new paradigm to outline our future, it didn’t help me as an individual with any real direction on how to live a more sustainable lifestyle.
I got to thinking about John Elkington’s coined term, People, Planet, Profit, which was another way of explaining the sustainability paradigm, and it led me to create an action map for my life. I call it:
A general proposition not self-evident but proved by a chain of reasoning; a truth established by means of accepted truths.
Being aware of ourselves in this world and how we act and react to each moment in life.
There is a massive uprising in the world, where people are craving more meaning and connection with something bigger than themselves. There needs to be a point to life and the work we do. And for the first time in history this belief that there IS something bigger than ourselves is not based on any one religion or God.
People are waking up and becoming more conscious.
Yet sometimes it can be very confusing about where to start, to find clarity about who you are, and what you should be doing in the world, nevermind how to navigate your heart/brain connection on a daily basis.
After many years of exploration, I have found it is helpful to understand two things:
1) how my mind works, and
2) skills to support my best self and my sustainable happiness.
From the time we are born till approximately 14 years of age, we are not only growing our body, but we’re also growing our brains. There are different levels of growth and associated with each level, there are different brainwave frequencies. For example, the Delta brain wave is the state we are in when we are born and the state we go into every night when we are asleep. This explains why babies sleep so much, because they don’t have the brain capacity for much else.
With each brainwave state that develops in the first 14 years of our lives, each one is imprinted with information from our environment. Roughly 95% of our brain states (Delta, Theta, Alpha) are in the subconscious. This means that many of our reactions to life occur automatically from the programming of our subconscious.
If we grew up hearing that it’s really hard to get money, and you have to work overtime just to get by, then we will likely have the same subconscious beliefs about money as an adult. We will think we have to work hard and sacrifice a lot to make money, or that we’re not good enough to ask for more.
With each new thing we learn, a new neural pathway is created in the mind. This pathway connects action to reaction, experience to information, information to belief, and belief to values.
The good news is, we can reprogram our subconscious brain and create new neural pathways, to support the sustainable life we want to live and the activities we want to spend time doing. We can reprogram our brains to feel worthy, good enough, and empowered to take on challenges that come our way.
PSST, this is so important because in life we inevitably face challenging times and we need to be resilient to thrive in the face of adversity.
Tools & Skills
There are many tools and skills I teach to live more consciously and maintain a level of sustainable happiness. However, meditation is a regular practice I use and recommend to everyone wanting to feel better and maintain clarity. Other methods I use to live a more conscious life include: reprogramming techniques in meditation, journaling, self reflection moments, and forest bathing. Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) founded by Gary Craig in the 90’s is a great method for acute situations of stress, anxiety, or depression that anyone can learn and use at any time. Rapid Transformational Therapy (RTT) founded by Marissa Peer is also an incredible tool for permanently rewiring your brain, replacing weak negative beliefs about self, with strong and empowering ones.
One other tool we always explore and learn, is listening to your intuition. It sounds simple, but many of us ignore the subtle or sometimes aggressive voices inside, guiding us through life. We rationalize and use our mind to try and think ourselves in and out of situations, when more often than not, we can simply ask our intuition for the perfect answer. Strengthening your intuition is an exercise we work through together.
Strengthening our bonds to self, nature, and all beings on the planet.
As well as being conscious, feeling connected to life energy, other people and nature that surrounds us, makes life a whole and complete package.
Focussing your mind on anything but the present moment will cause anxiety, fear, sadness and depression. Relief comes from staying present in the moment, because most often there is some form of beauty, peace, clarity, or joy that we can focus on. We cannot change the past and we don’t know about the future, so our power lies in the present moment.
We need to understand that our mind is a powerful tool that we use for certain things, but ultimately its’ job is to think, all the time. And it has evolved from a place of surviving, while society has evolved to a place of thriving. We no longer need to be on constant high alert to survive. We have the luxury of ignoring the thoughts coming from our mind and instead tapping into our inner voice for guidance and deep wisdom.
To retrieve information from our intuition, it’s as simple as asking. In everyone there is a sometimes quiet and sometimes very loud internal knowing of things. For example: let’s say you’re going to dinner at a friends house for the first time and you get lost. You turned right when you were thinking of turning left. Later you find out that indeed you should have turned left, and you say, “I KNEW I should have gone that way.” That is the voice of your intuition. If you practice regularly, getting quiet, asking questions and listening for the answers, you will see that all you need to make decisions correctly for you, is found by listening to your intuition. This method can help for big life decisions as well, like deciding to have a baby in the face of climate change. Your inner voice will advise the correct answer for you every time.
Understanding this helps to learn who we are and thus connect more deeply with our truth. We’re more compassionate to ourselves and others, building deeper connections. Finding our tribe, the people who support and lift us up, is that much easier when we feel free to be our authentic selves.
Finally, being more conscious and getting connected enhances our time in nature. This is every humans healing place, even if unfamiliar and not normally experienced. The clarity or deep healing that can come with time spent outdoors is undeniably the cheapest therapy you will ever have. Everything outside is alive, strengthening our connection to life and great wisdom.
Getting connected and living consciously, automatically brings mindfulness to our consumption style and habits.
When we practice living consciously and start having a deeper connection to life, we gain a feeling of fulfillment from within that no longer needs to be filled with stuff from the outside (including food). It doesn’t mean we no longer want new things, it just means that we don’t have an obsessive unconscious quality to our wanting.
As well, we tend to care more deeply about the impacts our choices make on life around us. We simply can’t avoid the fact that what we do matters. This is a good thing! It means we can have great positive impact with how we spend our money, what companies, policies and systems we support.
It has been studied and confirmed within the 2018 IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) Report, the single biggest impact individuals can make to cut their carbon emissions by 45% is to become vegan. This is an amazing opportunity I was never empowered with in all my years of striving for a sustainable lifestyle.
Regardless if you continue with a traditional diet, there are so many opportunities to transform your consumption habits to support a sustainable lifestyle, leaving your legacy for future generations to thank you and honour your wisdom and efforts.
As a woman, who likes to be stylish, I find it easiest to be fashionable and in style when I decide on what MY style is, instead of letting trends dictate what I should be wearing. This also empowers me to buy pieces that will last many years and stand the test of time.
In the 1920’s a woman would buy an average of two new pieces of clothing a year and they would last her 20 years. Today, the average woman buys 65 pieces of clothing a year and they last an average of five months. The question to ask, are today’s woman happier or better off than 1920’s women due to their increased clothing options?
All this is to say, there are many opportunities to have an impact on the planet and purchase less and better.
Buy less, choose well, make it last.
Going beyond ourselves to contribute our voices to those who cannot speak for their sustainable future .
When we learn how to observe the thoughts in our mind, and adjust them to suit our desired emotions, using an array of learned skills and emotional tools, we have a greater sense of control within ourselves. We understand that no matter what life throws at us, we have choices in how we react. This is a very empowering feeling that we cultivate within ourselves. It cannot be taken away from us by anyone, unless we willingling give it away.
With this empowered feeling, we can grow our sense of self worth and courage. And here lies the root of authenticity and the feeling of safety to let the world see us for who we really are.
Sometimes we have bad days for sure, but for the most part, we begin to live an elevated life, by implementing the strategies behind Consciousness, Connection and Consumption. Then we are ready and in our flow to share our feelings, voice, and ideas with others. We have the safety within and the confidence to speak on the things we care about. We can use our voice to make change locally, regionally, nationally or globally.
With access to technology and platforms that didn’t even exist two decades ago when I began my sustainable lifestyle journey, we can easily speak out loud to the entire world, about what we think needs to change and how we envision that change. Because now more than ever, we need to raise our voices and be heard. Recycling, beach cleanups, and organic makeup can only get us so far. We need systems to transform and we need people to speak and support this evolution.
Communicating with deep wisdom, compassion and patience, while using our authentic voice to share our message, will be the thing that makes a huge impact on the planet. Everyone will do it in their own way, just like living a sustainable lifestyle looks different for everyone. But rising to the occasion and sharing our voices, ideas, and passions is by far the most helpful thing the world can receive from us.
To loosen the grip of consumption to fill the void, we’ll learn how your brain works and how to activate your intuition to answer life’s big questions: who am I, what’s my purpose, how can I feel fulfilled. Simple prescriptions will get you on your path to feeling: whole, fulfilled, capable of self soothing and living lighter on the planet. Your work will be to transform from the inside, to see results on the outside.
1. Find relief in meditation and listening to your intuition. BIG DEAL!
2. Finances, relations and waste will begin changing, to reflect your authenticity and power. Financial tracking system available.
SUSTAINABILITY STARTER KIT
Two 1hr sessions.
With all the benefits of the Checkup, the Starter Kit takes you further, into your strategy for Consumption. How can we offload the chaos that comes with buying and caring for stuff? With many ways to reduce environmental impact from the home: power and water saving strategies, toxins in your food, hygiene and cleaning products, and finding your true style to avoid fast fashion pitfalls etc., we’ll find methods that work for you. Making these moves won’t just save you money and reduce your environmental impact, but also bring greater physical, emotional and mental health into your life.
1. Inventory stuff in the home and money spent for power and water bills.
2. Look for common household toxins to avoid.
3. Try DIY recipes for essential beauty products for everyday home cleaners.
4. Create strategy to reduce stuff and money spent on bills.
1 hr sessions weekly x 4 consecutive weeks.
After working through the foundations of the Theorem: consciousness, connection and consumption, we’ll explore your hearts calling to help. Your suffering is often the result of others suffering, whether it’s ecosystems, species or specific demographics in society. Relief is necessary to avoid burnout. Learning strategies to express yourself authentically and with purpose can bring greater meaning to life, but also special connections with others and affect change for the issues you care about. After training your brain to work for you like a tiny cheerleader or personal assistant always at your side, and connect with your intuition that has the guidance you need to keep you safe and having fun, we’ll explore what it means for you to speak up and out about your passions for the planet. You’ll practice sharing your ideas, thoughts and vision with the world to make impact wherever you go, big or small, it all counts.
1. Align values with issues.
2. Practice various strategies for sharing your voice.
3. Practice communication with compassion.
4. Understand purpose independent of outcome.