Part 01 of the Becoming the Alternative series
by Asher Bowen-Saunders
Many of us may not remember the last time we spent this much time at home. And as more of life’s distractions are temporarily removed, we realise we may not remember the last time we spent this much time with ourselves. Have you ever wished for an extra 4 hours? To just stop time for a moment to “catch up” on all the things we yearn to incorporate into our lives? This could be as close as we will get within the confines of physics.
The Great Pause; a time to slow down, to view our lifestyles from a 3rd perspective, to reassess, to detach and welcome the option to change. Notice how little we can do in a day to still feel accomplished, how little money we can spend yet feel more fulfilled, how the subtle changes in our physical and energetic bodies can guide our actions more clearly when there is less external stimulus confusing our real needs and desires.
Now is the time to define how you really want to live, research, learn and start setting that up at your comfortable pace. Impactful lifestyle change is simpler than we may initially think and can be approached in sections. Begin connecting to groups, activities, people, schools of thought, and teachings that you resonate with or wish to integrate. We have access to a global network of change-makers and open-source knowledge sharers so tap in! Sharing your learning journey adds to this growing conversation and you never know who your story will inspire. Read, listen, be interested and involve yourself in communities who are making ripples. Approach these first steps with no expectation, only curiosity and a wish to upskill, be challenged and change. Being guided by a genuine desire to change will have a far greater likelihood of success and longevity than doing so from external pressure, plus it means you have already made the greatest change of all.
Change within your home
Reduce exposure to chemicals
Living in a chemical-free space will drastically improve your health, reduce risk of chronic disease and will not damage the natural environment your home is connected to. Chemicals enter our homes (and bodies) mainly through cleaning products, toiletries and cosmetics, processed food/ drink, food/drink packaged or stored in plastics, and tap water. The immediate changes you can make involve swapping to natural cleaning products/toiletries/cosmetics, focusing on whole foods, keeping plastic away from food/drink as much as possible (especially when heat or oils are involved) and exploring ways to filter water (this will depend on your location but the major culprits are chlorine and fluoride). Leading the way in your household enhances the wellbeing of those around you too and helps teach gently through demonstrating the ease of this massively positive transition.
To a degree, we have the option to choose what enters and exits our home, what we support with our purchases, the amount of waste we produce and what happens to it. Without diving too deep just yet, we want to start becoming aware of how our choices impact our health and the health of our planet. Buying non-compostable disposable goods adds to our landfill tally but why should we care? Filling the Earth with items (mostly made of crude oil) that will last hundreds to tens-of-thousands of years, leech toxic chemicals into soil and waterways and harbour pathogens is not the answer for us humans. We need to do better and it all starts with us! Lessening consumer demand by buying less and choosing alternatives is what will drive the market to change. Be responsible to continue the cycle of the things we consume by composting (the best!) or recycling it through trusted programs. Side note: Australia’s recycling system is far from effective. The underwhelming amount that actually is “recycled” is actually downcycled.
Connect to process
We’ve been fooled for far too long that “convenience is king”. Reclaim knowledge and power by learning to do things yourself to reconnect to the boundless rewards of process-based tasks. We are not time-poor, yet we convince ourselves we are to relieve guilt when reaching for a packaged version of something we could easily make or outsourcing something we could do with a little dedication. This is a slow, cumulative process. Start small and enjoy the process of the process! This could look like cooking for yourself, baking your own bread, making dish soap, sewing your own knickers, growing food or making sunscreen. Literally endless possibilities. Unwinding our indoctrinated hunger for convenience is a big task. Help our collective consciousness return to where we came from by sharing the feelings and benefits you experience when connecting to process. Encourage others to learn too, especially children. When we appreciate the process, we respect the outcome and we are more invested and connected to the bigger picture.
Defining our values changes our actions and the ways we interact with the rest of the world whether it be as a consumer, as a member of your family, social circle and local community or through the highly influential presence your social media can have.