self-care can really save the planet

In the morning the sky was red and the sun did not rise, so I decided to sell my car. Strangely enough, it seemed like the last act of self-care.

You know, my wife and I are a family of two cars and none of us travel in a Bay Area full of cars. So losing a car would not be difficult. Instead, it would be a clear statement of living up to my standards. How to put up my protest and live the truth.

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Now I understand that this is what my friend John was talking about.

I knew John some years ago when I was living at Adirondacks, and he was an environmentalist. And instead of driving everywhere, he rode his bike everywhere for 365 days a year. Up with the mountains. In the pouring rain. All the way to the store and back, many miles away.

I will never forget seeing the first blur on the road one snowy day. There was John, paddling up a mountain in a blizzard. At thid time, I thought it was nuts. Probably small.

Now I think she is smart and admirable. Because even back there, John really got it. We are indeed living in emergency.

That’s why creating a low, green life with a small carbon footprint is the next arc of my self-care. What is true self-care but a return to whispering that often silences your inner voice? Apparently he had been asking for this for a very long time.

All I had to do to turn this switch on was a strange, dark morning in Oakland recently. I checked the time and it was eight o'clock in the morning. Anyway my whole bedroom was as dark as if it was 2AM.

I sat, confused and unsure. I suspect the pollution of the wildfire of the atmosphere above should have been ... but this was very bad.

What is happening then?

I pulled out a sleeping dog, which was also beaten equally. When I tried to wake up our urban chickens, they would not come out. Instead, they sit in their nests, licking quietly and believing, like me, it was midnight.

I went out into the front yard or looked around. The sky was a strange dystopy orange, and I watched it overflow. That's when I was completely and completely scared. Obviously, the world was very corrupt… and if I had not found it before, I am as sure as hell has now done.

I started to cry. The whole of California was now hot or very polluted, strange natural acts were now commonplace, and I felt younger and less powerful than before.

The dreadful future we were learning about so much, and we thought it would never happen in our lifetime, has come. There are no more exceptions.

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And yet. In separation, we can usually be reborn quickly and sometimes reborn. I learned this lesson when my daughter died eight years earlier, and I was forced to resume my life and career. I found self-care at that time, a practice I have written extensively on. Now a new understanding began to enter.

That morning, I sat down and checked the situation. I wondered if it was possible to take care of myself in my new, very urgent sense of nature. Or maybe this was a new self-care, version 3.0?

Here’s what my new ‘green self-care’ habits look like. First of all, I am determined to live up to my standards now, not someone else's. That means I put myself and the world first, before pleading with corporate organizations, such as oil and gas companies, that do not have my good hearts.

I am starting to realize that my loyalty to them has always been a matter of habit, such as thinking of my bike as a "just exercise sometimes".

My new commitment means I will drive very slowly and now I am more reliant on walking or riding my bike. My city has many nice roads and bikes, and I can use them. If I have to drive, I can drive with my wife or friends. There’s a bike-sharing station just down the road, and I’m not a stranger to public transportation, so I’ll use that too. Somehow, I will get where I need to go.

Here's an angle to take care of yourself: all walking and cycling will be good for my body, won't it? When I lived in New York City and San Francisco, I traveled hundreds of miles and traveled by train or bus every day. I have never owned a car. Now why did I need it now?

I cut completely red meat from my diet. While I often said that I would do this, I would pretend to be a beggar or sometimes a lamb. But now the meat is officially removed from the table. I also think that I will take it seriously and try to make vegan for a whole month, removing cows completely from my life. The health benefits are obvious.

There are also all the low-cost strategies we can make in our homes, and some are well integrated with self-care. Washing your clothes in cold water protects the fabric much better, and hanging clothes to dry in the sun adds a peaceful Zen touch to the day. Reducing your dependence on screens gives your brain and eyes much needed rest, while minimizing stress on the power grid.

In fact, extracting a lot of electronic media will make my life less stressful in general. Do I need to dive deeper into social media and news feeds for all my devices? No. Instead, I can close them and go back to reading good old books, and write in my notebook. I can start playing my piano and make a lot of jigsaw puzzles. I would call my sisters or old friends just for a chat. Meditation seems to balance here, too.

I see a lot of movement in nature and in my future. But this time I will not focus on running the most fun exercise.

Now I tend to walk slowly and enjoy the natural beauty, but the fragileness that surrounds me. That is, not by accident, what researchers have determined is essential for proper brain health. Not to mention the best way to handle anxiety and depression.

Could it be that by accepting bad habits, my self-care will be kicked off? I say yes. And now I am ready to develop a completely new set of cognitive, healthy habits.

I suspect I will not drown in all at once, in a single, powerful movement to do or die. Instead, I will simplify my approach, experimenting with what works and what doesn't, so that I can build a completely new set of green self-care habits.

At the very least, it’s not just what I want and need. That is what the Earth obviously needs.


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