This post was shared by Health and Wellness Coaching faculty member Russ Watts.
While the current crisis is weighing heavily on everybody’s hearts and minds, the situation has simultaneously triggered an enormous wave of creative generosity and awareness in our Institute for Transformational Leadership (ITL) community. New innovative solutions being applied seemingly overnight clearly show how important being in service to our communities is, while practice and cooperation between all parts of society play a huge part of the rapid response to such situations. And through these weeks, we have seen a glimmer of hope and beacons of beauty unseen for quite some time as our skies clear from pollution, and the birdsong overpowers the traffic song, as we are required to shift from old habits and patterns to new ones.
One particular pattern that is showing up for me on the 50th anniversary of Earth Day is that amidst the struggles we humans are having, it seems like the rest of our global ecosystem is taking some breaths of fresh air and enjoying a detox session. I question what was sustainable in my old pre-quarantine self, and am finding my thoughts forming hopeful actions that I will make moving forward. Through my weekly grocery outings, I’m aware how easy it is to use the bike to get to the store. It’s better for me and the planet. This, obviously, isn’t new news, it’s not some grand discovery, but I have been reminded and have now formed this as a small but sustainable habit. For the first time in a few years, we are actively growing our garden, celebrating each sprout that pops up its little bit of green. We are buying from, and, thus mindfully supporting our local food producers. And all of these things feel good. They feel right.
I have also been reminded of the simple joys: hanging out and playing in the garden with my family, creating new simple non-electronic games, enjoying picnics as much as we can, and even having late night movie date nights with my wife.
Collectively and individually we know we can all reduce our ecological footprint (and are all doing so in the last month or two), take only pictures and leave only footprints as the saying goes, consume less and consume wisely, buy locally and eat seasonally. We need to think broadly about our individual impact, how we spend and invest our money, the trash we create, the thoughts we have. We need to think of our lives as a mission, one that we can have the greatest impact by being excellent role models to those around us, not to lead lives that are excessive, but rather humble.
This bountiful planet of ours provides us with all that we need, and we have so abused her with the creation of chemicals and toxic pollutants all in the name of a “better” standard of living. We can eat and grow food that is organic and phase out the many pollutants that have become so common in our lives, and help her flourish by being aware of and taking care of her beauty, magic, and mystery.
Let’s all strive for less stuff, more fun, simpler, more meaningful time here.
And let’s not be too hard on ourselves, we all are still learning how to walk on our planet thoughtfully and sustainably.