We are going to come out and state that anyone determined to step on a sustainable life path, will have to undergo a major qualitative overhaul, compared to just about every set of values she or he has sworn by before.
Sustainable living represents a life quality entirely of its own.
In short, this translates into a volunteer, joyful and – more importantly – conscious self-moderation for the benefit of a deep enjoyment of everything and every thing life has to offer.
After centuries and millennia of obsessive accumulation for alleged happiness, those of us reawakening to eternal, cosmic values, will have to return to where we once were and existed there for a very long time: humbleness.
Far from austerity
As we reach back to our universal common sense, our minds have to be stripped from the countless lifetimes’ worth of acquired scarcity concept and the overreaction to this misbelief. Whether the instinctual and ambition driven response to the perceived scarcity was hoarding, or a self-imposed, but involuntary and certainly unjoyful asceticism.
In a sense, we need to strip ourselves of our minds. Of our minds’ primacy, that is.
Sustainable living resplends in abundance
Consciously choosing to live by the respect of universal flows and pulses, is an instinctual tapping into our common roots. Roots that are and have always been nourished in abundance.
Turns out, sustainability is nothing but an unconditional love for all this oneness and is egoistic only to the extent at which we favor the recognized oneness in ourselves and ourselves in the oneness. So, in a way sustainability is plausibly egoistic, in another it is totally altruistic. The most probable, however, is that it stands for both extremities at once.
As we have reintegrated ourselves into the conscious, universal oneness, where respect to our greater selves is our nature, one cannot help but be smitten by the richness, depth, meaning, colors, flavors, textures and general profoundness of life.
Abundance as experienced in nature and monetary wealth – variations on the same theme
Humbleness and wealth – irreconcilable traits, or are they?
Nature is humble in so many ways:
- relative quietude
- faithfully followed rhythms
- openly admitted vulnerability
- forgiveness – to name but a few…
At the same time, nature is the opposite of all of the above too.
This shows a great dimension of richness by itself, since there are countless nuances in between those extremities. Even when we set this duality aside, nature on a whole is the epitome of wealth.
If, further on, we have stepped up to the notion of us and nature being one and inseparable, by extension we (individually or communally) are sharing part of those riches. Money is but an expression of wealth. As humble expression as much alignment it exhibits with the laws of the universe.
Say, a private individual or a business invests all of its revenues into sustainability, so a life well lived. Would our judgement towards that manifestation of wealth not cease being antagonistic? Most of us here (the non-envious) would likely even cheer for such ambitions and feel an urge to join in, be part of the joy.
We hope you can resonate with wealth as we bring it to you.
It takes many a stance – your stance too
Self-moderation that is far from abstinence, one that satisfies your rightful needs of conscious self-expression within the respectable, but vague boundaries of All… This is the context we are facing, those of us who are devoted to a virtuous eternal existence.
Sustainable living is an individual and communal existence in the matrix of ruthlessly benevolent infinity.
Individual and communal existence at once – we are going to address the unavoidable communal aspect of sustainability, however it is worth starting with the self. Ourselves, yourself.
The offspring dilemma
Nobody contests the natural instinct of spreading ourselves. It is a universal urge. Yet, just how wide we spread our genes, in the awareness of what each progeny potentially takes (up) in our input and as an output on the face of the Earth, it is up to our conscience.
Our cosmically informed conscience – period. It is neither about what a god wants us to have and keep, nor what our society and family imply we should or should not have.
The single-child model
We don’t imply you follow in our footsteps either, however we do hope to inspire you through our example, should you be at that stage in your life when you plan a family.
Child bearing found us in our early thirties, which came with the natural benefits of having accumulated certain life experiences, wisdom, if you will. It effectively meant that we stood at the helm of the forthcoming parenthood with an ever clearer vision, values, life philosophy. Plus we were past the age of hot-headed spontaneity. Something to keep in mind – or at heart!
We believe it was due to our later (self-)discovered gluten intolerance that conception did not come with ease for our first (and only) child. It wasn’t this circumstance, however, or our age that prevented us from having more children. It is well known for everyone that financial situations of any kind is rarely the key factor in families’ inclination to have two or more children if they wish to.
Eventually, our paradigm as individuals and as a couple has shifted from something quasi-mainstream to a consciousness of stronger and stronger ecological minimalist and metaphysical traits. In turn, we took more and more in regard that outside of our human vision there are endless other parallel existing rights of way too. We began taking into serious consideration those other-than-human aspects as well.
We did achieve this not by less lust for each other, but by limiting the desire of reproducing ourselves to one. You could argue that it’s reducing the two of us to one, to an essence.
It is a reductionist, a de-growth answer given locally to a global population crisis issue.
Pour all your love and attention in that one child
We, Cheryl and I, each come from families of more than one child, three and two respectively. What the driving force was to our parents in having more than one child, we can only guess. It might have had to do with a lot of unquestioned societal patterns, automatisms, and nothing to do with a more intense love for one another than ours is.
Both families lived off of a limited budget, further limiting the individual children’s needs and desires by applying a rigorously democratic “one size fits all” policy. This meant handling each child painfully equally when dividing money between them, in letting or not letting them access opportunities, and when it came down to sharing (in)attention.
Time is one of the greatest gifts we can give to our children. The undivided, one-on-one time that is imbued with deep listening, hearing the child out, taking note of budding talents, wishes, necessities and simply having great fun.
You can take this to its fullest potential with one.
Most other times it seems to be performing acrobatics with compromises.
As opposed to the common belief, one needs not compromise anything in life. Do away with the sheer concept. Erase the phrase from your vocabulary.
Sustainability in general, and sustainable living within that, are prime examples to intransigence – meaning not yielding to compromises.
And so is the case of your precious child.
Singled in, not out
When we decided to have one and no more children, we knew that we each would spend as much meaningful time with our daughter as she feels she needs from us. Is she egocentric when she calls for our attention? We think not. Quite contrarily, she has all the right to solicit for assistance to best support her personal development physically, psychologically, emotionally.
We are up for discussions whenever she asks. We are there for her.
But we are there for her (and each other), because we made the conscious choice of organizing life around raising our child. She is not our cute “sidebar” at the end of a long and tiring day to be entertained by.
She has always been part of decision-making. First in family affairs, and lately, by the age of 8-9, in our business affairs too. Because we have always taken her seriously as our equal in development. She often surprises us with her succinct and well placed remarks.
We thoroughly enjoy and thrive in each other’s company.
You might have guessed by now, Csermely does not go to school. Yet, she cannot stop learning, and talking, and expressing herself with such eloquence in both English and Hungarian, that we are repeatedly amazed. Her Romanian is slowly catching up too.
She gets to share in life at its fullest, as it unfolds, day in, day out: storytelling, play, work, crafts, travel, being aware when buying food to suit our all-time paleo-like gluten-free diet, weddings and funerals, lightning hitting the house and coming out of the shock together, hugging one another at night in the common bed on the floor, planning our future holistically, taking care of our health holistically…
Each is an opportunity to learn and grow from. Simple things adding up to a complex personality.
Sustainability – synergy of those living sustainably
Throughout Csermely’s home education we would like to see that she gains a well-rounded, mature world view, relating to Earth with animistic sensitivity – a trait characteristic of small children anyway, which – if supported and cultivated – can last life-long.
An integral part of her raising and our personal development as adults, is to instill a profound respect for the feminine values, the feminine aspect of the universe. The very powers that our world needs more than ever today, in an over(t)ly masculine, patriarchal and aggressive status quo.
Of course, sustainability presupposes a healthy, dynamic balance between feminine and masculine aspects. Yet we feel that it takes a conscious positive discrimination for what’s feminine, before new generations can readily assume the simultaneity of both. This takes cultivation and people like us are here to care about.
The multiplicating effect of teaching by example
Soft touch, gentleness, nurturing, caring, sense of cooperation, openness to what is ethereal, connectedness to celestial events and rhythms are only some of the feminine-most traits we are advocating for here. Why and why in this topic of sustainable living?
These make for fantastic, and at the same time indispensable prerequisites to master as we are aiming for sustainability. The traits of the right mindset and “soul-work” for merging the universal flow – again.
Raising ourselves, so to speak, and especially our child in this spirit, will promote the well being of all that complements us in that great Oneness:
- a fly in our gently closed hand as we are escorting it back to the outdoors
- a tiny beetle visiting our picnic blanket
- even the occasional mouse caught in the trap, being safely returned into the food loops of nature
- the firewood logs caressed while sawed into pieces
- the odd rock or gemstone kissed for its beauty and home protecting powers
- clean waterways revered
- windstorms appreciated for their cleansing, resetting service
- seeing the purpose, the chosenness in the lightning that hit, but missed us – and so many other interactions within that Oneness that we can be eternally grateful for
The takeoff of less
As on the inside, so on the outside… Our inner peace, calm, collectedness, gentility, curiosity will emanate into our environment and will not pass unnoticed. It will stir up curiosity in response. In turn, while being curiously investigated, some of our behavior and practices perceived as good, will surely rub off in clandestine, or openly. All the better, more things to talk about and organize community.
Remember, the tipping point is said to be around 20%. Up to that ratio new ideas take off relatively slowly, above it, however, the process speeds up. Given that the copied behavior has passed the test of time.
True sustainable solutions are all about longevity, so if packaged neatly and organized efficiently, they are bound to appeal – and not fail.
We have mentioned that sustainability is anything but austerity. Even so, the aim for satisfying our real needs with less, rather than more, is an indisputable virtue. As long as, of course, it stays well within nature’s renewal capacity on one hand and does not come irritably close to the threshold of our well being on the other.
When nature’s well being and ours come to a clash with each other, nature always takes precedence and it is a strong signal for us that we have to change course in our practice.
That special-quality creed
This thought train takes us to the issue of quality: to the character of quality that defines sustainable living.
Reductionism, minimalism, and de-growth are all virtuous in their own right. The greater question is, however: “what are we reducing to?”
What is our material culture and environment like, when we have achieved that sustainable amount of possessions?
And this is in fact a question to keep in the forefront of our lifelong acquisition of goods, before achieving sustainable levels in scale and thereafter, when maintaining wealth.
Yes, feel free to call this wealth, that much more so that your material assets will be very special indeed. Let’s see some of the traits you’ll be enjoying for the rest of your sustainable life.
Hallmarks of sustainability
- all natural materials, down to the tiniest detail (that excludes nanotechnology produced fusions effectively rendered non-recyclable) – if taken seriously – and we are genuine at heart, right? – this by itself is a huge thing to achieve and what a wonderful sight to behold, how uplifting for the soul to be reassured and made tangible this way…
- durability – when applied to the right objects, natural materials are nearly unrivaled in durability, especially assessing the whole-life cycle of the goods;
- repairability – either you yourself or somebody else with the right skills and tools (more often than not hand tools are sufficient) can do the job, extending the lifetime of that article far into the future;
- heirloom character – chances are great that much of, if not all the possessions acquired along a sustainable life path are so carefully chosen, so much loving attachment is expected from the long coexistence with them, that the seeker likely goes the extra mile in order to be “gifted” with handcrafted objects of use;
- ecological customization – another feature of your future is this awesome opportunity to adjust a product to your exact needs, with no corner cutting (one doesn’t cut corners with heirlooms), just honoring justified desires, even follies – the wallet is the limit;
- local provenance – a large portion of sustainable possessions will likely come from your own countryside property and its neck of the woods and items will be fewer and fewer the further we extend this circle – that is only plausible, right?
Such are some attributes of life lived well.
To summon it up
Sustainable living starts with reducing our preponderance on Earth by realizing how much more we can pass down to our children when they are fewer.
Then we apply the “best practices” discussed earlier, through the principles of educating by example. Your child will be watching attentively and so will your neighbors, friends. Extended family? Likely not, don’t waste vital energy on them. They are much less impressionable (by you) than you think.
Is this urgent? Look around and decide for yourself.
We believe everyone should step on the sustainable living path today, or else face a very uncertain future.
Follow the tracks leading to the path – we are here to assist you in various ways.