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 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.