I got back on the horse literally and figuratively speaking this week, I had another lesson on Tuesday and that went well. I felt pretty good and did some jumping and even though my legs were burning by the end it was good, a good kind of working my muscles kind of burning. I really appreciate all the well wishes, thank you so much! I was lucky, no major bruises and although I tweaked my neck a bit and it's been hurting and aggravated a bit when I sit at a computer, no major injuries to speak of. =)
Anyhow - so as I'm getting back to speed I haven't been doing much knitting but I did want to talk to you a bit about being "mindful." Something that's been bouncing around in my brain for a long time.
I hear people talk a lot about their resolutions at the beginning of every year as if January 1 is going to wipe their slate clean and all the things they've ever wanted to accomplish will be possible right in that instant of the clock striking 12.
Rather than resolutions, every year I try to choose a word or thought that kind of epitomizes what I hope to accomplish or what's on my mind at a particular time. The word kind of chooses itself, I let things marinate in the back of my skull until the same word keeps jumping out and out at me and that becomes my "mantra" for the year. Now you may be thinking that a mantra sounds like a serious word, but the intent of it is not really so serious. I like having a word, thought or idea that expresses to me, in a single instance what I hope to accomplish. I can keep it on my brain and it will spur me to action.
As you may have noticed by the title, my thought, my mantra, this year is "being mindful."
Being mindful means different things to different people. To me it means that I'm aware of the things that I do and the choices I make. I suppose I should back up for a second, and start at the beginning. That's the best place to start isn't it?
Gradually last year I began to notice that I started to feel a bit out of balance. Work-life balance, home-cleaning balance, family-time balance, health-life balance, financial-personal balance, there are so many things that we're balancing day to day aren't we?
They're all intertwined- our small, day to day choices can affect our health balance, our financial balance and even the environment which I'll call our earth-life balance. As an example- an item that we chose to buy costs us money right? It affects our financial balance? However it also affects the earth as well, say for instance if it's a coffee, it can be the disposable cup that we throwaway or even the source of the global resources put into the cup, the coffee, the milk, the sugar, etc. Even if we buy things that we take home and use, these items can even affect our personal balance as well as our financial and earth balance.
"Stuff" costs us, more than we're aware. Once we lay out money to spend to purchase an item we're tied up in the emotional clutter of taking care of it, insuring it, making sure it's not broken and we're even emotionally tied up in getting rid of the item, or not, after it's come to the end of it's usefulness. I know I've mentioned I've been spring cleaning lately but it's really deeper than that, it's figuring out what's valuable to you, and being aware of the cost of your financial clutter. Both of those links are life-changing articles - I highly recommend a read. =)
I suppose this is a complicated way of saying that I'm choosing - I'm making a decision to be more mindful on what I buy, using what I have and the balance my choices impact not only personally, financially, but also on an environmental level.
I'm choosing to re-balance and reconnect my life to the world around me and I'm choosing to tread lightly upon the earth.
Some of the ways I've started choosing include -
- Purchasing quality over quantity
- Using what I have
- Decluttering my home and putting items I no longer use into reuse in other functions (towels, clothes, etc) or choosing to donate or sell extra items rather than throwing them away to reduce my impact on the earth
- After decluttering being mindful of the items I invite into my home
- Do they bring me joy or happiness when I look at them?
- Are they useful, functional items
- How are the items made, what materials were used and who made them?
- Was the labor fair?
- How was the environment affected by the creation of this item?
- No more plastic bottles - I have 1 sigg bottle which I just love and I haven't purchased plastic bottles in over a year. If you must purchase, please recycle
- Being mindful in the car that I choose and its gas usage
- Choose to replace old appliances with more energy/water efficient ones
- I got the chance when our old washer and dryer bit the dust at Christmas. It really does use less water!
- Being mindful of using towels more in the kitchen than paper towels
- Replacing all my fixtures, not just shower heads with low water use ones, including aerators on all my sink fixtures and kitchen.
- In 1 month my water usage dropped in half by this change alone
- I want to know where my food comes from and eat less processed food
- I've joined a CSA for fruit and veggies
- I recently started buying all my meat and poultry local including eggs
- It's important to me to know how my food is treated and what I'm putting into my mouth
- This ties into eating seasonally and locally, both important items that I'm being mindful of
- This ties into my making my own bread and pasta now, from scratch
- Funny point - hubby was so worried about only bringing whole foods into our home, nothing processed (something I often refer to as clean eating) that he bought me a book on how to make icecream! =) Yep the first thing on his mind was, icecream! =)
- Recycling as much as I possibly can
- Purchasing a rain barrel to remove my impact on local water for my plants outdoors (NC is currently in a big drought)
- Using more natural cleaning products (as old ones run out I've been buying Seventh Generation, I like their motto and they clean good!
- I stopped using body wash (and I used to love body wash) because of the excessive packaging. Don't worry, I switched to soap. ;) Same goes for body pouf's, it finally occurred to me that those little things are made of plastic, out of oil! Who wants to be rubbing ourselves with that when we're knitters and crafters? I'm making my own! =) I'll share some patterns for this soon.
- And many, many more things that I can't think of right now...
Ways I would like to become more mindful-
- Starting a compost pile and reducing more waste
- Make the switch to reusable bags away from plastic or paper! (this is so tough, but very important to me!) =)
It's not about being "perfect" what ever that is, it's about being mindful of the choices that you make and their impact on you and the earth itself. I have many many times that I've fallen down or haven't made the best choice, but I make the choice that is right for me at the time and that's important.
I would love some inspiration, crafty folks are so wonderful I know many of you are doing many of these things and more. How are you choosing to be mindful in your own life? Will you join me in choosing?
In the meantime I'm enjoying a stack of knitting books as I mull over choices and opportunities for next knits and a little bit of mindful/mindless crochet as well. It's fun to mull. =)