Thoughts on the world, homeopathy, mindfulness and food...
A collection of blog posts - feel free to respond with your thoughts and comments - I love to have feedback - thank you!
I've been musing. Ha for a change. Sometimes I feel like Carrie off Sex and the City. Not, I'm sure you'll already be aware at least if you know me at all, for my dress sense, shoe collection or love of NYC. Nope, I'm a country girl at heart, loving my winter boots*, and have a collection of clothes from charity shops, my sister and many of my own-own date back 20 years or so.
*I have the Heavenly Feet green DM like ones from last season with fleece inside, which sadly broke and happily my partner has just fixed for me in the absence of cobblers stores being open currently and a sense of pity for my cold feet.
But back to my musings. The number of times Carrie starts with 'I wondered...' amuses me, as that's something I do too. Often, out loud, in my head all the time. Wondering is good though, right? I think so, and as it's my blog, that'll do for me. Curiosity. I wonder if I can do this, try that. It's an approach I'm really fond of. What if it's all a big experiment? What if we treated it as that. To experience. There must be a link between the two. I've never thought about it before, and an initial Duck Duck Go search (yes, still trying to load Ecosia onto the Mac, but happily have it installed on the iPhone so smugly search on there at least), gives me lists of experiences I could have.. but a search on the Online Etymology Dictionary gives the results I've shared at the end of the blog. For those who aren't word geeks, just read on.
I guess the musings, when undistracted by multiple tangents, are around letting things go as the title suggests. Since reading Allen Carr's Easy Way to Stop Smoking, where he pointed out that 'giving up' is a joyless phrase of restriction and not having, but stopping is a whole different thing, I've resonated with that. I may be paraphrasing, it was nearly 20 years ago I read it (it worked). Instead of 'I'm giving up drinking', what if 'I'm experimenting with not drinking', 'I'm playing at not buying new clothes' or 'I'm trying out veganism...'. Not to suggest these things are light and frivolous and not worthy of more serious diving into, but what if the results were the same, just the feeling changed. What if the feeling was fun instead of restriction?
When I 'gave up' alcohol, buying new clothes, make up, and our latest - shampoo and soap - it's always been a 'I wonder what this will be like', a 'let's try this and see'. And that has served me. It could be because I have a somewhat playful attitude, I'm not sure, but I do think that has helped me. I'm also sure that it can be learnt. One of my feelings is that we don't play enough, we take so many things so seriously, but that's likely another tangent, another story, another blog.
I love not drinking - I was feeling bad so often the day after a glass of something, that I realised it had to go. Others can tolerate it better but I don't want to work with health and not feel good, as healthy as I can at least. I want to walk the walk. And, 3 years in this year, I'm really glad I took those steps.
Giving up shampoo and soap has been a really interesting journey. I'm pretty sure I smell less than I did before, whilst using the shower gels, the scented soaps (even, sorry, the lovely essential oil ones). Mentioning this recently on another post, comments of people noticing odour when they feel nervous has made me think, and if I'm going into a situation where I feel nervous, sometimes I'll put a natural deodorant on. Not antiperspirant for me which is another story - and perhaps a black top or something that the body's natural sweating response might not be seen in.
Something odd I've noticed, is that before I'd wear a top for a day and it'd need a wash. Now it's generally 2 or 3 days before it needs a wash, and sometimes that's even just because I think it should have a wash now. So it's also saving on plastic, packaging and washing - saving water, and laundry products.
What inspired us, and what I still need to read, is the book '10% Human'. It's been on my to read shelf forever, or at least since the lovely Mani from the School of Homeopathy in Stroud recommended it. My partner read it this Spring and we started discussing the skin micro biome more. How we deplete it constantly, and unnecessarily. How our skin could be healthier without all the products. So we thought let's give it a go. Being in lockdown meant work was all over the internet - zoom appointments, Skype appointments etc - so no clients to complain, or even notice my terrible smell. So we showered with just water. And waited. And waited. And still...
Don't get me wrong - sometimes we eat something more pungent - onions or garlic are likely to be detoxed and appear more smelly in the pits... but on the whole, there really is no smell. Which totally intrigues me - how did I buy into all that marketing. A product for this, one for that. A shelf full of things to make you presentable to the world. With, of course, their carbon, plastic and whatever else footprint, aside from the impact on my bank balance. Clever, clever people.
It's been more than 6 months now and I'm happily not looking back. Bearing in mind that we'd shaved our heads for charity in January, and again due to a lack of hairdressers in March... I started the no poo experiment - and found that is working great too. I love to stand under the shower and fully soak my hair daily - but no more shampoo needed. And it looks fine. It would be wrong not to share that when I tried the no poo with long hair it took forever and really I never actually got there. Despite persevering for months I still remember the look on my poor friend Gill's face as she tried to curl my limp locks for a conference dinner. Not easy and I ended up giving up not long afterwards. Going from zero to no poo has been way easier. Not that I'm suggesting everyone shave their locks but just sharing my journey :).
Anyway, if I've a take home to share - try, play with ideas, see what happens, challenge yourself, try it for a month or two and see, which may turn into a year, or 10 and change your life...
Experience: late 14c., "observation as the source of knowledge; actual observation; an event which has affected one," from Old French esperience "experiment, proof, experience" (13c.), from Latin experientia "a trial, proof, experiment; knowledge gained by repeated trials," from experientem (nominative experiens) "experienced, enterprising, active, industrious," present participle of experiri "to try, test," from ex "out of" (see ex-) + peritus "experienced, tested," from PIE *per-yo-, suffixed form of root *per- (3) "to try, risk." Meaning "state of having done something and gotten handy at it" is from late 15c.
Experiment: mid-14c., "action of observing or testing; an observation, test, or trial;" also "piece of evidence or empirical proof; feat of magic or sorcery," from Old French esperment "practical knowledge, cunning; enchantment, magic spell; trial, proof, example; lesson, sign, indication," from Latin experimentum "a trial, test, proof, experiment," noun of action from experiri "to try, test," from ex "out of" (see ex-) + peritus "experienced, tested," from PIE *per-yo-, suffixed form of root *per- (3) "to try, risk."
I've just finished it. And I found myself nodding through it, contemplating how I do this, I'd nearly done that (particularly with the tree planting, many years ago for my DoE Gold Award, but that's another story), there was also lots more. Lots to make me think, lots I'd wondered about and wanted to know. Lots I'd briefly pondered and was curious about. And more.
There was warmth, there was inspiration, there was a feeling of gratitude there's others out there thinking this way, living like this. Practicing without preaching. I really like that line. Encouraging experimentation. Some things you might not like, or stick with. That's OK. At least you tried it, flung yourself in and experienced life.
The Joyful Environmentalist by Isabel Losada
I finished the book yesterday morning. It made me smile, laugh, cry - and think. All signs that for me, it was a great choice. It's stuck with me and I've carried it in my heart. It has the research I would have done around a stove - but Isabel did it for me (thank you!). It has the interview with my food producer that I'm really glad to read. We've been buying from Riverford for years, but have I ever interviewed, or even conversed with the guy, Guy, who set it up? Have I heck, been busy enjoying their food, working, parenting and all the rest. Having seen an interview with another energy company years ago made me decide I really didn't like his attitude towards something, and I didn't buy energy from them, choosing instead for Good Energy until my recent move (where power is already set up by my partner - we may discuss this again after he's read the book...). Did I like Guy's approach to farming and to life? Yup, and I feel more informed about where my fruit and veg comes from. Or at least some of it, the rest comes from local eco store and organic grocery Steep and Filter. I do try and buy the most amusing veg from there, that which would likely never make it into the big supermarkets. Not because I'm a great person buying wonky veg you understand, just because I am amused by simple things, like phallic vegetables. Oh dear. There may be no hope.
Anyway, I bought the book for my partner and tried to keep it for a Christmas present. I miserably (or perhaps joyfully) failed at that, just as much as I fail at being a grown up in a veg store. I was feeling a bit down one day, he tried to find something to cheer me up and I realised that giving him a present would make me happy. So off I ran to get the book and gave it to him. It did make me happy. So if you need a lift, I recommend giving this book to someone you love. It also made me happy as meant I could come out of hiding and admit I was 'checking' his Christmas present and reading it first... and could read it in the open. Win-win!
I love the gentle conversations, the experiences reported on with humour, humility and love for humanity. Many years ago my friend Debbie gave me a copy - or lent it to me I think, anyway, of Isabel's The Battersea Park Road to Enlightenment. I loved it. I've thought of it many a-time and should probably revisit it, maybe even with my own copy. There's something for my Christmas list. Which so far consists of a fountain pen as I recently lost the one I won (at a handwriting competition when I was 12 in case my lovely 2nd adopted mum Clare is reading this). I've been getting by with biros for a while, but the book (see - it made me think here again) has jogged me back into reality and the lack of need for these constant sticks of plastic to sit around in landfill for, like, forever. I love writing with a fountain pen, and as I write lots, sometimes 6 hours a day, to have a joyful utensil to do so with will be, well, even more joyful.
Something else I've realised along the way is how grateful I am that so many people in my life would appreciate it, which is something I realised on inviting friends from Facebook into the group Isabel set up. It's called The Joyful Environmentalist if you want to head on over and join it. I kept hitting limits of not being able to invite more people, and I think I've 50 to go now, but it made me realise there are so many awesome people in my life who give a monkey's about our wonderful home. If you're reading this, it's likely you're one of them and I thank you.
So back to the book... Want to live in harmony with the land? There's a chapter on the Lammas Village in South Wales doing just that. Want to discover more about a fabulous energy supplier? It's covered. What I love most is the joyful way it's presented. I've long thought that doom and gloom aren't the way to go. We need to fall in love with our home. To nourish and care for it. To become the caretakers I think we're meant to be. A higher (though I'm not altogether convinced, clever people than me would tell me so) consciousness surely doesn't mean we should abuse something more?! To fall in love with this way of life, instead of panic, worry and sink into depression. I'm on board with this approach.
To try. To fail. To discover. To make a mess. To learn. To experiment. To play. Playfully, joyfully experimenting. I like.
Several years ago, partly out of necessity, partly out of curiosity and love for a sustainable way of living, I challenged myself to not buy new clothes. Seeking out the blog to check on the date... wow - it's 10 years ago!! Since then I've pretty much stuck to it. I've had a couple of presents of clothes that have been new in that time but barely bought anything new for me. To be honest, I've not needed to, charity shops have so much and eBay is fabulous - especially if you've a night out or black tie do to dress up for. I've had some real bargains from Monsoon, Coast and the like. If you want to read the blog post I wrote at a year in, in 2011 - it's here.
In Cyprus, November 2010, with our pre-loved dresses - I put black ribbon around the top of mine as a trim, added a black belt and ribbon for a halter neck. Isla's was from a friend. We got many clothes that way in her pre-teen times. Now is harder - if anyone knows of an environmentally conscious company that appeals to somewhat self conscious teens that would be AWESOME.
I find there's a joy to be had from customising clothes, from sewing buttons on a bag or cardigan, from adapting something to fit you. I've jumpers that I knitted during my year of discovery (more on that here) that I still wear, cosily, happily, and this year I've a top that I crocheted. And a blanket, and 2 mini blankets (or knee warmers we call them...) All (well, not the top) from yarn I'd had lying around for ages. Moving house was good for me to have a sort through what I had, what I 'needed' and what I could give away. And what I could use, so set to with a hook I did and loved it. My daughter started to crochet this year and found it helped reduce anxiety and she really enjoyed it too, creating a cute bikini top for summer.
But I've gone on a tangent... basically if you're looking for a good read, a thoughtful, inspiring and joyful read, read The Joyful Environmentalist. I'd love to know what you think.
I'm a Homeopath working in the Skipton (North Yorkshire) area. I am also able to offer food intolerance testing using Kinesiology and advice around diet and lifestyle.