What is keeping you from creating a lifestyle that allows you and the planet to thrive?

July 2, 2018

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Is it possible to live a modern day lifestyle that is also sustainable for our planet? Hopefully you answered a big ‘YES’ to this question. So at least we are still aware that it is totally possible to live a life that is not deprived of the comforts and conveniences we enjoy so much but also does not destroy our planet within the next 50 years. We are off to a good start ;-)

 

The reality is however, that even though most of us care a great deal about what is going on with the environment and we actively click on sad or angry emoticons on Facebook when we see videos of the plastic soup in the oceans, we often don’t feel very empowered to make a difference. Or might even feel dissociated from the problem to the point that we consider it caused by ‘them’, which can be the big companies, the government, China, etc., without fully realising that we all are the little parts that combined create the system. It does not exist outside of, or separate from us. It is the collective result of us.

 

To really let this sink in, actually does not feel so great… It is so much more satisfying to project the emotions that are triggered, like anger, frustration and fear, on the big bad companies. Which makes us either want to fight or judge and become an ‘angry activist’, or flee and dissociate from the problem, convincing ourselves that ‘my lifestyle won’t make a difference’, or ‘it’s a lost cause anyway’. A state of disconnection can also make us believe that we truly need all the things we consume in order to survive or be happy.

Luckily there is anotheroption!

 

This option requires a more holistic approach and starts one step before trying to fix the problems the planet is facing. Instead of looking at the current situation as an environmental issue, let’s look at the state of the planet as a huge mirror that reflects to us how we are treating ourselves and how we are doing on a deeper level. If the planet is our mirror, something must be quite off with our ability to care for ourselves. And with that being off, how could we ever take care of the planet?

 

So as we shift the focus to the lack of sustainability in our own lives and how we treat ourselves, we can take a closer look at the elements that play a role in getting us where we are today and hopefully help us to find a way to a larger understanding of sustainability and how to maintain it. 

 

Surviving the modern world

The opposite of thriving is surviving. We all are equipped with a pretty impressive survival instinct that allows us to endure lots of situations that are stressful, if not life threatening. One of the things that makes this system so effective is that is makes us highly efficient and focused. Nothing else is important, except our survival right now.

This system is ancient and even though evolution has given us an upgrade here and there over the years, it pretty much still only has an ‘on’ and ‘off’ button. Once turned on, it doesn’t rationally differentiate so much between ‘modern world stress’ and ‘run for your life’ danger. This means that living a modern lifestyle that is often stressful puts your system in a state of focusing on survival in the present moment, moving everything else to the background. From this place it is very hard to connect to resources that nourish you and make choices that are less convenient in the moment, but pay off in the long term. The sense of urgency that we feel when we are stressed, also justifies our less sustainable choices for us and makes us feel like we actually don’t really have a choice to begin with. Staying in a prolonged state of stress is not sustainable and fortifies these patterns, eventually leaving you feeling depleted and disconnected.

 

It is easy to get stuck in this place, where you wish you could make a difference, but walking around with your survival mode turned on, short term, personal pay off keeps winning from long term, collective pay off. No matter how many videos you watch on Facebook…

 

The anti-dote to the survival mode and the dissociation that often comes with it, is connection and nourishment. Not the nourishment from a bar of chocolate and a good series on Netflix, but a kind that is fulfilling on a deeper level and connects you to the body you live in, the people you surround yourself with, and the planet you live on. It starts with you and your relationship with yourself.

 

To explore this topic and different practices like meditation, Yoga Nidra, TRE (Tension Release Exercises) and Yoga in relation to creating a sustainable lifestyle for yourself and the planet, join us in Mallorca 21-28 July!

 

 

Yoga and self-care

Even though Yoga is an ancient practice, it seems now more relevant than ever as it offers some great tools to apply in our modern life that help us balance the day to day challenges. Both the philosophy of yoga as well as the actual practices are beneficial here.

 

Ahimsa

Through the Yamas and Niyamas Yoga offers us some timeless guidelines on how to relate to ourselves and the world around us. Ahimsa, which is one of the Yamas, freely translates as non-violence. Non-violence is meant here in the broadest sense of the word. For example, allowing a friend to consistently cross your boundaries because you have a hard time saying ‘no’, is a form of violence towards yourself. Going to bed late or not eating nourishing meals, can also be considered as a form of violence towards yourself. The examples are endless and in short you can say that whenever Ahimsa is not applied towards yourself or others, your lifestyle is not sustainable.

 

Embodiment

In order to even know if something is nourishing or a form of violence towards yourself, you need to be connected. As we discussed before, stress is a sure way to disconnect yourself from our true desires, feelings, bodily sensations, and intuition. Making use of a practice like yoga, meditation, and/or mindfulness can help you find that connection again and gain more awareness of the effects of your choices. Another way to nourish that connection and the ability to truly feel again, is to get into nature. Walk barefoot on the beach, take a fresh breath in the forest, or take a swim in a lake. These are all ways to come back home to yourself, finetune your inner compass, and feel present in your body again.

 

All is Connected

With the world we live in being a manifestation of our inner world, the practice of self-care for your body and your soul, is one of the least selfish things you can do. Yet, often also the hardest thing to do. Living in a culture that glorifies being busy and tired, being ‘on’ (line) all the time and able to endure constant stress, it can be difficult to step off that moving train and choose a different track. But what if you don’t just do it for you, but you understand that your choices create a ripple effect and it is up to you to decide what kind of ripples you are creating? Maybe you can choose resilience instead of endurance, healthy boundaries instead of bending in every direction that seems to be required from you, and nourishment instead of consumption. This can open the doors to a lifestyle that is rooted in connection, creating sustainability. Not only in your life, but in the lives of everybody that is effected by the ripples you are creating. 

 

 

To explore this topic and different practices like meditation, Yoga Nidra, TRE (Tension Release Exercises) and Yoga in relation to creating a sustainable lifestyle for yourself and the planet, join us in Mallorca 21-28 July!

 

 

 

 

 

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