Love the Environment: A Mindfulness Practice


We’d do the right thing by our planetif only we had the time!

Most people, me included, are living jammed-packed lives and running from place to place without putting much thought into our actions. Before we know it, it’s nighttime and the preparation for another agitated day is underway.

We’re sleepwalking even when we’re awake, going about our business without being aware of the impact. Everybody’s doing it, right? So that somehow makes it seem okay that we’re carelessly rushing around and not giving much thought to our surroundings in the first place.

I, too, used to live selfishly, putting my needs ahead of the planet’s. Of course I did the everyday minimum that most of us are taught will help our environmentlike recycling, throwing away litter, turning off the lights, etc. But one day, I realized that I couldn’t continue putting more strain on the environment. I knew what I was doing wasn’t enough.

So I started reading up on different ways to make a positive impact on the environment, and I kept stumbling over the idea of mindfulness practices. I pondered over the word “mindfulness,” as I traced each letter in my mind, trying to understand what that word encompassed every time I visualized it. For those who aren’t familiar with the term, mindfulness means maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment from a positive perspective. Mindfulness offers a wide variety of benefits for our lives, but what I was most interested in was how practicing mindfulness can help our environment.  

Become Aware

First of all, you need to understand that mindfulness is pretty much as simple as being aware. By being consciously aware of your actions, you can start moving forward toward helping our home, Earth.

What do I mean by “aware”? First, stop and look around you. If you’re outside, look at the sky. Notice its beauty and how it veils us with its clouds and sun. Take a breath and consider the quality of the air. Admire the plants and realize that we are dependent upon them for our survival. Notice Earth’s other creatures who share this space with you. Think of how your actions affect them.

It’s extremely important that we see how everything is linked. Coming to this level of awareness may take time, but don’t let that discourage you. Keep the big picture in mind as you embark on this journey.

Climate Change Is Real

Planet Earth is constantly evolving. I’ve always been fascinated by the change this planet has enduredfrom the single landmass Pangea to today’s seven continents. And now we’re experiencing global warming. Yes, I said it: global warming. While Earth has undergone drastic environmental changes over millennia, we can’t deny that these most recent, rapid changes may have induced prematurely by its inhabitants. We’ve allowed our technologies and our habits to get in the way of caring for the only home we ALL have. Oceans are rising at a record-breaking rate, and more and more glaciers are melting due to the overall rise in temperature of our planet.

You can read more about the specifics of climate change here. If this doesn’t terrify you like it does for me, then I don’t know what will. Remember, everything has a domino effect and the domino effect for this doesn’t seem pleasant if we allow it to continue unabated.

Organize Yourself

Once you understand the importance of being mindful of your surroundings, you must get to work. This is the time to organize yourself and align your lifestyle with this practice. Ask yourself questions about your day-to-day routines, and how you can be a better steward of the environment. I’ve given you a suggested list of questions that will help you in this journey of using  mindfulness to better our environment:

~ Are you driving unnecessarily?

~ Do you turn off the water while doing dishes?

~ Have you planted something recently?

~ Are you avoiding landfillers like Styrofoam or paper plates?

~ Are you really buying all those water bottles?

~ Are you helping clean up your parks and/or beaches?

If you answered “yes” to these questions, you’re on the right track, my friend. Don’t worry if some of your answers were noes, though. You were asleep; now you are awake and willing to do what’s necessary to love our environment. Can you think of any other questions that can help you on your mindfulness journey?

Spread the Word

Okay, so I’m not saying you should go up to people randomly on the street and talk to them about mindfulness. As much of a wild soul as I am, even I’d be a little weirded out by that. Instead, lead by example, which is usually much more effective than sermonizing. I’ve noticed that the people in my life usually become mindful in their behaviors by being around me. For example, I’ve watched people who were careless about the environment not litter anymore. I see more and more people around me carpool without hesitating because they realize that it is better for the environment. And I love seeing people use reusable Tupperware and coffee tumblers. Fun fact: Did you know that there are many coffee shops that give you a discount if you bring in your own NON-DISPOSABLE cup? You’re welcome!

Relax

I wish my actions could save our planet from suffering, but that would be me living in a fantasy world. Nothing you do for the environment is in vain, but it’s also important to make room for the reality that you alone cannot carry the burden of the environment on your shoulders, either. So, you need to relax. Relax, my loves. Take it easy. Part of being mindful is also being mindful of your own well-being. Take some time for yourself. Meditate, dance, or go do whatever makes you feel beautiful and happy. You’re doing your part and that’s more than enough. Believe me.

From personal experience, I can tell you that my life completely changed for the better when I started practicing mindfulness. Bonus: the mindfulness lifestyle benefits our environment. That definitely has to be the best part of all of this. My darlings, I know it seems like a bit much at the moment, but I can assure you that once you get the hang of it, this will become a natural and normal part of your life. As Rumi says, “The door is round and open. Do not go back to sleep.”

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