The news and social media are grim with tales of loss, destruction, and hardship from around the planet. In some way, they either point to environmental crises or political discord. Teetering on the dependency of what we buy is the economy. Yet, what we buy contributes to these very problems on the news.
Our entire world is so interconnected and we are certainly seeing this through pandemics, fires blowing smoke across the United States, inaccessible products from regions in peril, and our social traditions changing with social distancing. Even a hug or a handshake is awkwardly finding a new norm.
So, how do we take charge of our part in the interconnected problems?
How do we use the small changes we can make as part of getting well?
Anxiety, depression, fatigue, stress, insomnia, and frustration are all signs that there is something more we could be doing to fulfill our lives. Right now, a lot of us feel helpless, just waiting to see what is going to transpire on the planet. There is a sense of going on autopilot, to get through each day, waiting to see what happens next. Yet, if everything is changing around us, then it is so important to make sure we are changing along with it.
The question is, does the change we make contribute to the problem or contribute to the solution?
What does this have to do with health?
If we feel disempowered, our health is going to be affected. As a healer, I see the interconnectedness of all that is. I've witnessed an ankle finally mend once a person clears their fear of failure, stepping bravely into their future. I've witnessed a person's chronic fatigue lift when they discover that their passion is to dance even amidst all naysayers, begin a career sharing their love of dance. Or the depression subsides in a mother when they go back to school to fulfill their personal dreams. Or the neck spasm finally releases when they forgive their partner and move on. Our health is very much connected to how we navigate this world. Our body always shows signs and symptoms of what isn't in alignment with the soul. The earth is doing the same, showing symptoms of distress in her unbalanced state. We all have a part in it.
When we make choices that are part of the solution, then healing, self-empowerment, and a better quality of life begin to unfold. Our quality of life is so dependant upon the health of the earth. When you feel that interconnectedness, you can't help but want to take care of what is around you.
These may be small simple suggestions, but they lead to big revelations. Our self-care is connected to our earth-care.
Here are 10 ideas to get you started!
Change out your disposables. There is always a non-disposable item to replace the disposable ones. Razors, straws, water bottles, plastic bags, plastic Tupperware, grocery bags, plastic utensils, and plastic plates can all become something you don't throw in the trash. Its a doable lifestyle change that feels good when you realize you are part of the solution, not part of the problem.
2. Know your Food. Does your food come from the farmer, bread baker, cheesemaker, or other artisans that take pride and care for the food and where it comes from? Most of what you purchase in the stores can be made from scratch, bought off a neighbor, or traded.
3. Know your Neighbor. There are farmers, cheesemakers, bread bakers, and more artisans in your neck of the woods. They take their time with care to give you something with love. There are orchards, self-pick berries, wineries, free-range poultry farms all around your city vicinity. Farmer's Markets, CSA's (Community Supported Agriculture), and even Facebook Community groups are popping up everywhere.
4. Is it worth it? When we really want something, it is so hard to discern whether it is really worth it to buy. As yourself, how will I feel about the packaging, the child slavery, the animal abuse, the environmental impact? If you guy something and you are NOT thinking about these things, I invite you to start doing some basic research on beloved products you may buy regularly. You might be surprised that most of these products only put money in billionaires' pockets.
5. Learn a New Skill? Whether it is making jam, bread, pickles, or simply learning to scramble an egg. Take the time to teach yourself and your kids how to process food without relying on a corporation to do it for you. Almost everything in your kitchen can be made from food grown in your region. If you feel helpless buying ketchup in the plastic bottles, from tomatoes harvested by migrant workers, sprayed with toxic chemicals, and hauled all over the planet. How simple would it be if people just learned to make their own ketchup? These little skills will make a huge difference in feeling empowered.
6. Look for it used first. If you want a shiny new thing, look for it used before buying new. You'll be helping out your neighbor, producing less waste, and reusing something that is no longer needed.
7. Switch to Organic. There are just some products that cannot be made at home. They are too good! Each person has their own tasty temptation that they aren't willing to part. Can you buy it organic? Buying organic does two things. First, it prevents further environmental damage of cancer-causing pesticides. Second, it sends a message to corporations that there is a demand for change.
8. Do you need that extra coffee splurge? I stopped getting any drinks out unless I'm in an actual restaurant. If it comes in plastic, I either bring my own cup or I just wait to get home and make something. Not only is it a way for me to not be apart of the problem, but it brings ease to my wallet.
9. Can you reuse it? Each week, I rewash my plastic bags. All of them. I wash them until they are no longer viable for use. I save my twist ties and use them to string my plants. I save the spice jars, mayonnaise jars, jelly jars to fill with new concoctions I make in the kitchen. It is fun to get creative for a new use for an object. There is a feeling of being resourceful, self-sufficient, and that brings self-empowerment.
10. Ask yourself if it is really vital to your happiness? Hair, makeup, clothes, perfumes, lotions, fingernail polish, extensions, eyelashes, and tanning sprays are fun, can make a person feel better about themselves (which is important), but is it balanced? So many beauty products are from unethical sources, create destruction of the forests, abuse animals, and pollute our waterways. Most of them are toxic, even though the FDA approves it. The FDA approves a lot of toxic things because politically they are intertwined with these big corporations. At the end of the day, on our death beds, we aren't going to be thinking about our eyelashes or hair color. I'm not saying beauty isn'
We were all raised on products that are nostalgic, reliable, and familiar. It is difficult to ween ourselves from what makes us comfortable. It's scary to learn to rely on our own creativity, knowledge, strength, and resourcefulness. But that is what is being asked of us on this planet. Taking better care of our part in the world is part of learning how to take better care of ourselves.
As we continue to move through great change on this planet, the best way to prepare ourselves is by learning a new level of self-reliance and community reliance. Our decisions to buy products will determine what products will continue to be made. It will send a message to companies about what consumers expect.
If you feel helpless about the state of the world. Turn inward, to your world around you. What can you do to feel empowered? What can you do to be a part of the solution?
We have a lot to change needed if we are going to create a better future for the generations to come. Pick something. Start somewhere. Little by little, step by step, we can create a better, healthier world together.
Sahara Sun is a licensed Five Element Acupuncturist, Intuitive Healer, Shamanic Practitioner, Author, Artist, and Educator. She works worldwide offering online Telehealth Sessions addressing the body, mind, and spirit of a person. She weaves her knowledge of science, natural medicine, and spiritual healing together for an immersive experience to fully heal.