For about a month now, my partner + I have been challenging ourselves to take shorter showers. We want to use less water + know that our showers are a great place to work toward this goal.
We decided to embark on this experiment all at once + on a day that neither of us was working. We each stated the time we wanted to stay under + timed each other's showers. With a lot of hustling on my part + less "standing around" on his, we were each able to stay under our chosen times. (I have hair + he doesn't, so we have different goals.) :)
Once I tasted that success, I was motivated to shift the way I take showers toward using even less water + was eventually able to drop my time down to a 1 1/2 minutes below my original goal. That was pretty exciting! He was able to knock 30 more seconds off of his time. Now every day, we're chasing that new "possible".
That is one of the most significant take-aways from this experiment in shifting our habits toward shorter showers: Change creates momentum + desire toward even greater change!
We've been focused on taking shorter showers for about a month now + are still timing our showers almost every day. We haven't exceeded our goal times all month!
A few thoughts + observations I've had along the way with this experiment:
Part way through this challenge I heard a news story about a town in California experiencing water restrictions due to drought. I felt a sort of solidarity (in some tiny way) with the people livng there that I may not have otherwise. Water is such a precious resource, and we are not guaranteed a never-ending supply. We have so much more work to do, but this experiment has created the momentum + desire to work toward using less + less water every day.
How are you feeling, friends?
I hope you are feeling well + rested + content in so many ways...but also...this year has been traumatic. The pandemic continues to take lives. We learned that the window of opportunity to have a significant impact toward slowing climate change is closing faster than many scientists had previously believed. These two factors combined have left me feeling pretty discouraged, powerless + paralyzed at times.
Bulk items are less readily available at the supermarket. We have less access to our go-to experience-based gifts + entertainment. Even the farmer's market felt too crowded to venture into this summer. The nagging feeling that our climate-conscious efforts are too small to make a meaningful impact can threaten our desire to tackle these obstacles.
And yet, why would we choose to enable climate change rather than to fight it in any small way that we could? Why wouldn't we want to share with our friends + family that climate-conscious choices also promote our contentment...boost our health...save us money...and come from a place of compassion toward others?
So...I am, again, thinking through ways that I can act anyway. The new year is a great time to take stock + create new plans with new resolve.
Here are a few things I can do...even now:
In the short term, I want to be more alert to the impact of my decisions. I also want to tackle each of these things on a deeper level...conduct some experiments...and challenge my habits + assumptions. Sounds like fun to me. :)
A cozy evening spent relaxing with loved ones is one of life's greatest gifts. Evenings are long + spacious these days...what a luxury. (That's one way to look at it.). :) Thinking through what brings comfort, light + laughter in our own evenings might just offer some great inspiration for last-minute gifting.
When it comes to last-minute gifts, it's nice if we can use some things already in our own cupboards or perhaps find them at a distance no further than the grocery store. Here's what comes to mind for me:
Enjoy your holiday evenings, friends! Wishing you health + love + laughter too.
I opened your book because I am thirsty to understand love...to give love...to experience love...to become love. I drank in the words...wrote copious notes...spent time letting them sink in deep.
Love is an act of will- a choice- a verb- a practice.
Months later I wondered where my mind had been during those months + what a comfort to see that I was steeped in the quest for love.
The choice to love is a choice to connect- to find ourselves in the other.
Today I know that I have lived this year the way I have because of deep training in...and a deep knowing of...love.
When we take to heart "there is no fear in love", we understand the necessity of choosing courageous thought and action.
Love is a muscle that can be exercised with intention. The practice strengthens this muscle + it can be found to be quite sturdy + surprisingly resilient.
Love is able to vanquish fear!
Your words were a part of my training ground, bell. Thank you for all your work toward defining, understanding + sharing love. The world is better for having you in it. This I know for certain.
I'm a bit slow on these gifting sparks, but I'm also still looking for a few gifts to give...so here we are. I love gifting favorites...things that I love so much...that I hope another might find value in as well. I enjoy this exercise of thinking through some of my favorites + lingering on each one...seeing them for the gifts they are in bringing a little extra light to my day. Maybe you'll be inspired to think through some of your midday favorites as well.
Here are a few of my favorite midday things that I'd love to share:
I have to say that once I got up to look around for things to photograph, I saw lots of favorites...another benefit of living simply. I have almost only favorite things + not much else. This exercise helped me "see" them anew. I'm still smiling about all the goodness I already have. :)
Cynthia Bennett designs + sews all of the clothing for Devon's Drawer in her Los Angeles studio. She uses natural fibers + makes each piece to order which minimizes waste... "no pile of unsold clothing at the end of the season". Pieces are made with longevity of wear in mind + free patch kits are offered if needed. Children's sizes also available.
All lovely photos via Devon's Drawer. This + lots of other fair brands can be found on our ethical brands page whenever needed. The most fair clothing is what's already in your own drawer. :)
I've been on a quest to know enough for years. It's still not always easy or second nature. I'm not sure why it seems to be human nature that we are always looking outward for more. Maybe it's a sort of survival instinct...to keep looking for more food so that we don't starve...to stay vigilant about the state of our shelter so that we don't freeze or bake in the sun. I don't know why, but I sometimes have a hard time staying in a state of awareness about enough. I tend toward looking around my surroundings + wondering how I can make things better.
There are a few things (that we can surely live without...we have been for years) that could make our lives just a little bit lovelier. My partner + I have been spending time in our bedroom in the mornings + in the evenings. I have avoided bedside tables that tend to collect clutter, but it would be nice for him to have a place to set a drink on his side of the bed. It would also be nice to have a light that we could turn on at the switch when we enter the room + that illuminated our room enough for reading in the evenings.
I have collected some images of bedside tables + lights...and it's these images that attract my desirous gaze. I don't like feeling wanty or lacking, so those feelings remind me to look at the elements we already have with appreciation + admiration for how they serve us well. We have lovely laundry baskets. I love their golden color, their beautiful texture + their large size that keeps their contents out of sight from my perch on the bed.
We have a lovely bed with a comfy mattress atop a sturdy frame. The bedding is made up of so many textures + shades of white. I love how sunlight + shadows play off of them. The soft layers have been collected over decades + each repaired rip + stain just makes it more ours.
I love the green plants that were each started from the first plant we brought home to this house. The stones + rocks + shells that sit on the window sills remind us of adventures we've had...of deserts + mountains + beaches we've walked together over the years.
We have so much that is so good. And we have each other. We have love...ragged, tested, chosen love. Ahh...that's better. :)
on a journey toward zero-waste, simplicity, + compassion :: daring to choose fair one choice at a time