A few things have changed around here, we got toilets seats for one. Summer has taken over our house mind and body, I’m rarely on the computer, reaching for a book instead. I’m spending time marinating on all of the “arrows” I’ve been following since the spring and feel like these interests still have a lot to teach me before adding something new. Here’s a short list of the things I seem to be coming back to again and again:
1. “Primary Nutrition: “Healthy relationships, regular physical activity, a fulfilling career, and a spiritual practice can feed your soul and satisfy your hunger for life.” (excerpt from the curriculum of the Institute Integrative of Nutrition) This idea was developed by some of the leading functional/integrative medicine folks whose books and blogs I’ve come to know and respect. I find this whole concept deeply interesting, above whatever we put in/on our bodies, “primary nutrition” is paramount.
2. Summer Smut: I love to read and I read all kinds of things, this summer I’ve been reading quite a bit of smut, and it’s been AWESOME. I’ve also found it’s like a drug, trying to pick up a more substantial book after this should be interesting. It’s all in the name of the art of doing nothing – a practice worthy of my effort this summer.
3. Spending trends: Our family has identified some new interests, namely travel, that we’d like to do more of so I’ve been combing through and categorizing our expenses from past months to figure out how we can turbo charge our travel savings fund. If you don’t already do this I highly recommend it, there’s waste in our spending that has gone unidentified for too long, we are “spring cleaning” our spending and it feels soooo good.
4. Creating boundaries: I live in a big city with a lot of choice – many restaurants, many activities, many shopping venues. It’s too much choice, too much distraction for me and mine so I’m creating my own little small town by identifying the places and ways I want to spend my time, money and energy – I’m creating a list, and if you know me, you know I LOVE a list. If it’s not on the list you won’t see us there!
5. Breaking back out “Clean” by Dr. Junger M.D, to start thinking about our summer detox for August (possibly September due to aforementioned travel). There are tons of detox programs out there, if you are considering one I urge you to do your research, a week of water, lemon and paprika won’t work for a busy mom the way it might for a yogi on retreat in India……ya get what I’m saying.
First let me acknowledge, this is a lucky problem to have, the problem of having too much. The fact that I sit here, blogging on my Mac, in my comfortable home, my healthy children quietly engaged, I’m a member of the lucky few…..chances are that you , dear reader, are as well.
So we, with our freedom, money, health and safety, tend to create problems. One of these is the problem of having too much. Let’s look at the example of clothes, we typically buy enough for every member of the family to wear something once a week and then into the laundry basket it goes. For now, with my younger children, I’ll concede the benefits of abundant underwear, BUT otherwise it’s kind of silly. It creates mess, it necessitates storage, which necessitates more consumption, plastic hangers anyone? It creates more laundry, necessitating more water usage, more soaps, more energy consumption.
During our two weeks on the road I did laundry once, twice if you count my hotel room sink load with Camping Suds, we each had about 3 changes of clothes, so we chose hardy, darker items that could withstand multiple wears, a bit of dirt and still look “presentable”. Let me tell you when I think about being out from the burden of daily laundry, the question of what am I going to wear, the simplicity of packing, freedom and peace are the feelings that come to mind.
Many of you may have already figured this out, and obviously I see the benefits of this concept in spades, but it still gets tricky. I’m thinking beyond clothes and into relationships. Great people in my life that tell me about a soccer team they are putting together – do we want to sign up, a lovely CSA opportunity – do we want to participate, a birthday party invitation taking our only “free” weekend – will we accept? It all seems harmless, part of being in a community that I cherish, but in the end, the result is the same, it’s too much. I end up creating more problems, over tired children, not enough time to run the business of our life, wasted food that I didn’t have the energy to cook so we ate out instead.
Let me reiterate again, I am lucky that I can even count these trivial matters among my “problems”. The question is whether I will continue to perpetuate these problems or find more comfort in my own self-imposed limits?
I love that Martha Stewart is detoxing and yoga-ing and part of a magazine that I enjoy….online of course. Follow the link for a list of breakfast smoothies that WholeLiving.com put together. These are sure to be my go-to snacks for the kids (and me) this summer.
And finding what you need. We are on vacation, we’ve taken two weeks, packed up and hit the road. It’s the longest we’ve been away from home as a family and it’s exactly what we needed. You take a step back (or away) and suddenly things come in to focus. Without the demands of laundry, keeping house, my life’s routines, it’s easy to look at life a bit differently. I realize now, it’s not about where you go but simply getting away. We’ve stayed in motels, hotels, and with family, we’ve eaten home cooked meals, PBandJ’s at rest stops, one unfortunate Cracker Barrel meal, and dined with fine linens, we’ve found dragons in clouds, told stories about the people around us sharing the roads, abused song lyrics, and soothed a few homesick tears. Our plans were loose, our expectations low, our packing minimal (more thoughts on that later)……it’s a recipe I highly recommend.
White Sands, NM
When you commit to reducing your waste your shopping habits tend to be one of the first things to change. The first time I watched the story of stuff my immediate proclimation was:
“I’M NEVER BUYING ANYTHING AGAIN”
For ME, that was not sustainable for many reasons, I enjoy clothes for one. BUT I knew the way I shopped needed to change. Currently about 85% of what I purchase is used. For clothes that can mean consignment stores, Buffalo Exchange, Goodwill, Salvation Army, Thrift, Vintage and much more. I also shop, and therefore buy, MUCH less now, so I try to do a “Three Ways” list in my head before buying.
For example, my $16 pleather shorts from Buffalo Exchange.
To the park with kids:
Make the stuff you buy and already have work triple time, in buying less I’ve found I have a lot MORE to wear!
800 arrows is a journal spanning the directions life takes me. Parenthood, health, education, reducing waste, fashion, books, blogs….you get the picture. According to Malcolm Gladwell*, I’m a maven, one who acquires knowledge and burns to pass it on, no persuasion, no claims of expertise. Some things take me right, some left, some led to happiness, others to frustration, some times spastic and chaotic but whatever the direction, I’m loving the ride.
*The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell