The planet is not the only thing burning! Are you concerned about the environment, global warming and the depletion of our natural resources? Do you get up in arms when you hear about an animal species going extinct or the destruction of another rainforest? If you were in charge, would you make sure to conserve energy, preserve our natural resources, and replenish whenever possible? Well if you would do that for Mother Earth, why not for yourself?
I can see you now, turning off lights when you leave the room, recycling all your glass, paper, and plastic products, donating to charity to offset your carbon footprint, but when it comes to getting to bed on time or getting a little energizing exercise, it’s just not happening. What I am saying is this: We are our greatest natural resource and yet we continue to deplete ourselves with little time for replenishment or re-growth. We are creating a hole in our own personal ozone. Burn out, instead of burn up, is the human equivalent of global warming. If you wouldn’t treat the environment in this neglectful way, then why disregard your own life-sustaining needs?
Seven Simple Steps to Sustainable Living
For the next month, I invite you to play a game and try to follow one of the Seven Simple Steps each week. Have fun with it and see how rewarding that replenishing, reducing, and recycling can be.
Simple Step #1: Sleeping—Pick one night of the week to try to get a full night’s sleep, maybe Mondays when you are wrecked anyway or Thursdays after getting your fix of the latest episode of Lost.
Simple Step #2: Eating—In honor of Gay Pride Month, make a rainbow with your food. Try to eat a different color of fruit or vegetable every day of the week. The fun really begins when you get to blue!
Simple Step #3: Exercising—Here’s a big bang theory we can all support—a big bang for your buck, that is. Once a week, be friendly to the environment, your body, and your wallet by walking, running, blading, or riding your bike to work or anywhere else you might be going that day.
Simple Step #4: Slowing down—Try to take a moment every day to smell the flowers, or if your sniffer is somewhat flummoxed like mine, then at least look at them. If flowers aren’t your thing, then notice the trees that line your street or the way the water ripples out from the shore. Noticing the little things will help you appreciate the bigger things.
Simple Step #5: Meditating—You don’t need to sit Swami-style in silence to get the benefits of meditation. Take one regular activity you do each day, like brushing your teeth or washing the dishes, and do it mindfully. That is, try to focus on only what you are experiencing in the moment; for instance, the feeling of the bristles brushing against your gums, or the warm, sudsy bubbles on your hands. Hang in there for a few extra moments and take in all the wonderful sensations.
Simple Step #6: Volunteering—Give back to the community all the knowledge and skills that it has given you by volunteering once a month. It will not only benefit the community, but it will also enhance your overall well-being at the same time. Visit www.volunteermatch.org to find opportunities near you.
Simple Step #7: Wisdom/Spiritual Practicing—Take time once a week to reconnect to what inspires you, whether your inspiration comes in the form of a traditional religious community, communing with nature, or something else altogether. Connecting to this aspect of your life can rejuvenate your mind, heart, and spirit. I know many of you have heard these offerings before and have chosen to ignore them, the same way we heard about global warming for years before we started taking it seriously. It is your choice if you want to wait until your case of Burn Out results in high blood pressure or a heart attack, chronic headaches, or nagging fatigue—or you can treat yourself like you do Mother Earth and replenish, reduce, and recycle! If you want to learn more about living a more sustainable life, contact me because I would love to support you in the endeavor.