My sphere has been heavy lately with news of sadness and loss, ill-health and injuries. I’m writing today as I feel the shift of Spring in the air, the sun is shining and the air warm. I’m tapping away in bed, getting some much needed rest to heal what my doctor thinks is a sinus infection, and am ever so grateful for herbs from my naturopath, and my husband who has taken the day off work to do all the running around allowing me to stay in bed with the window open and the breeze blowing through and over me.
Last night I went to bed feeling heavy with thoughts. Thoughts about life and how to live a good one, thoughts about food and how to eat well. Thoughts about health and how to be healthy. There is so much conflicting information out there and I do believe that too much information can be a detriment. It makes it difficult to make decisions about what you believe and what is right for you and your family. It makes it stressful every time you think you’re doing the right thing, only to read something that conflicts your actions. In these times, and as we move through this seasonal change from Winter to Spring, all I can think to do is strip things back, make things simple again. I’ve been vaguely unwell for almost three weeks now and that seems as good a message as any to gently shed the confines of Winter and start fresh.
Each year I become more aware and tuned into our garden and the phases of the seasons. I can’t believe there was a time that I never noticed when the flowers did or didn’t bloom, that I didn’t stop to watch new buds forming. I couldn’t have cared less what was happening when; my life and my habits had no structure to them, I just did what I liked, ate what I wanted and didn’t change anything to reflect the weather or the time or year (or month). While I still have a lot to learn, it has been a natural awakening to make small changes in my life which, over time (years), have completely spun me around and I now lead a life that is very much in tune with the seasons and the weather and the time and the environment.
Small steps: I think this is the way towards change, be it for yourself or for a cause you support. Instead of flailing arms in the air and thinking things are hopeless, decide where it is you want to be and just take small steps to get there. I can’t remember exactly what spurred me to make changes in my own life, I think it was mainly having a baby and feeling that responsibility of being a mother that sent me on a path which challenged everything I thought I knew. I don’t know what it is that you might want to learn or change, but some of the things we have changed in the way we live over the past seven years have been:
+ Starting to compost and learning more about gardening, which has led to less waste and more understanding of the cycle of things and how it all works. We now use beautiful rich earthy soil from our compost in our own garden, and our children don’t know it could be any other way.
+ Slowly getting rid of (almost) all chemical cleaners in our home. Firstly I began by buying commerical brands which were more natural and have moved on to make my own washing powder and bench sprays and cleaners. Seven years ago I would have never imagined myself doing this. Here is a good resource.
+ Minimising waste. We haven’t bought something like glad wrap for at least a year now and I can’t even remember what I would have previously used it for (we now have a collection of beeswax wraps which we use around the kitchen, I bought ours but would love try making our own). So much so that earlier this week we had to pack a disposable lunch for Bird to take on a school excursion and it was a real struggle to find anything to package her lunch and snacks in!
+ Growing our own food. This is something we are still working on, but currently we have broccoli, bok choy, snow peas, potatoes, lemons, limes, carrots and beetroot growing in our garden.
+ Changing the food we eat from season to season. Years back if it was the dead of Winter and I wanted watermelon, I would go to the supermarket and buy watermelon. That idea seems completely bizarre to me now. The area of our life in which we have made the biggest change is probably food, I don’t even know where to begin, but to keep it short we now eat seasonally consistently, buy most of our stuff from a co-op and farmers markets with top ups from the supermarket, and eat mainly organic. I also meal plan every week.
+ Purchasing less, making and mending more. Making conscious decisions about what we buy, and from where. For anyone who hasn’t seen The True Cost, please go and watch it. The Story of Stuff is also a great resource.
There are so many more things we have changed our tune on since becoming parents, but the point is, we didn’t make these changes overnight, it has taken seven years to implement many of these at different intervals. I still have so many more things I want to change, and change, I will. I’m not overwhelmed by these things anymore as I have just chipped away at them, with a few little failures along the way.
I am off now to make myself a vegetable broth for lunch before everyone (bar Bird) arrives home, I’m thinking lots of chilli and some sweet potato and kale and mushrooms and miso. Tonight we are having lentil dahl, although the kids have gone off it so we might have to have something else.
Oh, and speaking of failures and mushrooms, we have two mushroom cartons in our study sending out a dreadful stink and taking up a horrible amount of space (of which we have very little) which have so far (over three months) produced not a single mushroom. Sigh. Mushroom advice needed.
We’re trying! Wishing you all a healthful and happy week.