In our personal lives as a family of three (comprising of two stay-at-home entrepreneurs and a life-learner child), we have found the following benefits to be outstanding in the quest of embracing a sustainable life. Profoundness The most convincing – and even viscerally felt to […]
Tag: sustainable living
Quiet, reserved, exceedingly thoughtful and not stepping into the spotlight any time soon – all traits to be admired and appreciated in the realm of silent changemakers. One may think, by the sheer clamor alone, that it is the noise-makers who fabricate greater impacts in […]
I went back to town, running some errands, when in the lobby of a department store I reposed a bit and pondered at the regular shoppers pushing their brimming carts through the doorway…
Fifteen years ago, my wife and I were just like them, in the University district of Seattle. Granted, we began prioritizing the health food stores already, food still rolled and gathered across aisles, our catch of the day walked home in shopping bags. The urban foraging that takes different muscles and a very different kind of thinking.
In a way, it’s playing it safe, or rather relegating responsibilities in as many different directions, as many products in our bags. But then, is this way of nourishing ourselves safe, or do we only delude ourselves that dozens of producers of our quasi choice (manufacturers and growers) as well as hundreds of specialized touching hands amount to sufficient guarantee for our wellbeing? Now, for our feeding, it certainly seems more or less satisfactory enough, but in order for us to achieve and maintain vibrant health this kind of eating in rosy twilight most definitely has lots of shortcomings. And let me tell you, as a gluten, A1 dairy, starch and legume sensitive person, I have found this out the slow and hard way – this equals vulnerability, wholesale.
There is always a point in the producing, handling and processing chain beyond which virtually all food manufacturers cease assuming further responsibility of their own. The phenomenon of cross-contamination is a prime example. And I’m not even talking hygiene here, just pure food awareness. Those who live with food allergies and still prefer eating out from time to time, know what I mean.
Replacing front- and backyard ornamental gardens with vegetable patches, planting fruit trees as an act of goodwill in public spaces are virtuous deeds. We have taken advantage of crops at public avail in the English “alternative” town of Totnes before, when we could have afforded little more than urban foraging.
But again: do these efforts truly promote thriving or are they rather approaching a minimal welfare target from the underside?
Aren’t we just adding more color, texture and flavor of our “making” to the kaleidoscope of foods we now eat, eventually allowing ourselves to can a few jars of homemade specialty preserves, keepsakes for festive family reunions, while the homeless of town and select industrious, low-income folks can sample the taste of left-behind country life?
How far is this from unbound wholesome nourishment that perpetually provides excesses, not only for the off-season alimentation of our own and of other fellow humans we care about, but wildlife too? Truth be told, few grocery cart maneuverers concern themselves with the latter, which also happens to form the 95% (give or take) of the world’s mouths and general metabolic systems; the invisible or – at best – obscure 95%, viewing it from inside a city fabric, including the over-fragmented suburbia.
Let’s be honest with ourselves, folks: if one really digs sustainability, as the genuine stuff, not being easily misled by any phrasal constructs containing “more”, “-er”, “-ish” or “less” and coming from an angle of ernest concern for the future of her/his loved ones, then I’m here to support that person by stating that tweaking a greenish life in and around a city will not get anyone there, to sustainable living – ever. Guaranteed.
Town and sustainability are two mutually exclusive notions.
Unless we morph ourselves into ant colonies, or else, corrupt the concept of sustainability, as we have done with so many great initiatives before. Either way, with our human aspirations for durable life on Earth, we would be shooting ourselves in the foot.
In fact, cities and towns as such will inevitably need to dissolve into a verdant countryside, once again. Whether inside out or outside in, it will eventually need to happen, concomitantly with a radical awakening, an insofar hard to fathom, yet entirely possible rise in consciousness. That is a whole new topic, for another time, perhaps.
For right now, let’s just accept as indisputable, the need ample space in form of land, to comfortably provide nourishment for a radiant health and overall thriving. That’s because sustainability should not, cannot approach living from spatial minimalism. Such spatial frugality only results in imbalance, frustration and a whole suite of regretful social phenomena that precipitates from congestion and that we already know all too well.
Sustainable living assumes comfort with minimal friction, if any.
Nature’s balance is dynamic, yes, nevertheless an equilibrium and exuberance in health is integral part of that. By in large, and despite occasional anomalies, nature tends to promote conditions of abundance, the prerequisite for powerful and blissful survival. You cannot shortchange real health, or achieve robust immunity with inferior food and stressful living conditions.
For these reasons and so much more, like the one of sheer aesthetics, the innate joy of being immersed in a rich, sensuously stimulating natural environment, one has to yield to the inertia, abide the wise, intuitive call and get out of city “comfort zone” once and for all.
It is best to raise our ecological consciousness, sensitivity first, then get ready to pick up nature’s mentality, feel more than an affiliation with the non-human world – a oneness with it.
This shall be, so that when one is spiritually prepared to make the move, she or he is also ready to engage in a harmony. Not only as an onlooker, but an active participant.
Much, otherwise evitable damage, destruction to a fragile natural environment can be inflicted in one’s new, still foreign setting if the emotional-spiritual honing work wasn’t previously taken to a high enough level. It’s a matter of honest self-judgement. The precautionary principle and gentle approach to the host environment, are to be applied. Treat the novel wide horizon of exciting opportunities with due respect and great responsibility.
Remember: freedom comes with well-understood and well-worth limits. It is no different, only more true, with sustainable living.
The good news is that your safety net will be your heart itself, aligning you with the laws of the Universe almost unnoticeably, even while you are relaxing – well, especially then. This intuitive inner guidance of your, this renewed conscience alone will guarantee the unwavering advancement on the chosen life path of no-return.
Be brave, be happy!
An epic journey in ecological self-fulfillment Sustainable Living in Action series – Creating calm from conundrum It was finally time to do physical work around the property we inhabit, again. Chores of this sort we do not consider an everyday duty, so that they can […]
My wife came up to me this morning – following some contemplative self-care minutes yesterday evening – and introduced a very welcome “a-ha!” realization of hers – which effectively means: ours. In this still young new year (it’s the beginning of April and we had […]
An epic journey in ecological self-fulfillment
Introduction to the Sustainable Living in Action series
For those of you who have no previous knowledge of us 3 – Cheryl, an American expat girl, just shy of 40; Roland, a Hungarian born in Romania a hair over 40 years ago; Csermely, a Hungarican born in Hungary and life-educated for almost 8 years since –, we have recently arrived to our searchful lives’ destination: Breb, a peripheral village in mountainous Romania.
After a year’s time of settling in, readjusting our inner compass to match the circumstances found, smudging the epigenetic more distant past we adults surely have carried with us like a contagious plague, posing the risk of possibly infecting our daughter too – the law of attraction introduced us to the people and very place that will have to (must!) form the seed of our future. And why could it not be, vicariously, the future of as many of you, as many dare, to live the bold life you want to see manifested world-over?
Take it as if we, regular people like most of you may be, no offense and no judgment intended here, got to this clean slate with not much more than the loving commitment to each other… and rock-hard, down-light, nature-based set of values.
Gathering our intuitive experiences and interpreting them outwards throughout our over a decade long walking-the-talk, has effectively turned us into the sustainable life designers we are.
We decided to dedicate an open-ended series of posts on ForestCreekMeadows, having to do with nothing else, but how ordinary people with out-of-ordinary eco-principles, and ethics to match, go about filling that slate with our ahimsa bliss.
All this will happen slowly and thoroughly, as life that loves itself should take its course. You will, therefore, be able to easily assimilate the intimacy found here into your personal life at home, should you choose to follow suit in this epic journey of fierce self-reliance, self-governance, so an independent life that recognizes all its dependability of nature.
Be prepared to always question, to break traditions, conventions and rules previously thought of as immobile in one’s life. This is to free our imagination of ballast, so it can alight in flames, in the air as it pleases, like it has been supposed to be doing all along, from conception and birth.
Be with us, be you! For the benefit of all…
Join us now for a day in the life of our family digital detox:
This second half of March finds us under a new mantle of sleety snow in our cozy, wood-fired wooden home that we rent for €100/month.
Today (happens to be a Sunday, but it could be any other, with or without sun) is a no-digital-connection day, so these words are written on paper with pencil (to be typed up tomorrow) as we’ll keep our internet off, won’t open our laptop at all and only turn our one cell phone on briefly if must know what time it is (we don’t own a wrist watch or clocks of any kind). We listen to music through Csermely’s radio set, in between her harmonica solos, and shorter-longer stretches of relative quiet.
Cheryl revised our existing and planned-to-buy garden seed lists. Now, when it comes to gardening, you are going to witness a lot of passion pouring in. By no means are we novices to growing food and back in Scotland, over three years ago, Roland developed the basis of a nature-sensitive food provision theory he dubbed Symbiontic Food Provision which – once we gain ownership over a piece of land – we can hardly wait to implement in practice.
Imagine a forest garden combined with grazing animals on openings, flowering meadows, water surfaces incorporated into a native-only, robust guild of flora and fauna, where the human presence with all its activities is but the self-expression of a true symbiont. Hence the given name. This scheme is based on perennials and all food processing is carried out by hand, work exclusively aided by mechanical tools and the crafted food full of artisanal finesse.
Until then, however, the previously also practiced no-dig gardening will do. We found sufficient dry hay in the barn’s loft, that we can use as mulch as soon as the snow melts.
Meanwhile, Csermely is writing in her “journal”, practicing her Hungarian literacy, this being her first true written down poem (because otherwise it is not uncommon for her to be surprisingly poetic):
FÚJ A SZÉL ≈ ÉS A LEPKE ELBUJDOS
EGY LEVÉL ALATT NEM ÉREZ SEMMIT
(THE WIND IS BLOWING ≈ AND THE BUTTERFLY HIDES
UNDER A LEAF IT DOES NOT FEEL ANYTHING)
A tiny piece of pictographic sign has made it into her all-capital-letter text, as though it was a flash-back from her distant Egyptian-Hungarian cultural heritage she has recently been exposed to.
Outdoors Cheryl just noticed an agonizing songbird in the snow. Her and Csermely went to see it from up close right away. The back of its neck was bleeding, but the invalid responded to their gentle caress given over its head. By the time they came in and looked out the window again, the bird disappeared with just some blood drops and a few feathers left behind in memento… Paw prints show that it moderated the hunger of the neighbors’ cat.
We will never have cats ourselves – appreciate wildlife so much more.
Soon we’ll bring the beeswax melting double boiler from the attic and Cheryl with Csermely are going to dip candles. They can comfortably dip 8 candles in one go, each of them lasting at least 2 hours in continuous burning. The wax we bought from an old beekeeper in the village.
On to lunch, two boiled pig hearts are waiting… If you are new to offals, heart is a wonderfully mild flavored organ to ease yourself into this nutritious food stuff. The girls crunch on locally grown potatoes fried in lard rendered by us, with some import tomatoes (just a flirtation with the warm season far ahead) and hot pepper on the side, that we often eat nowadays alternating with garlic, for its antiseptic traits. A one-time ruccola as leafy green garnish is squeezed some lemon juice over to round off the hearty meal.
Cheryl brewed herself a woman’s health, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer tea of red clover, willow (both foraged by us) and ginger.
We had to restock the firewood underneath the cooking stove, so the logs can come to room temperature and dry out a little more before we put the pieces on the fire. With one time of us adults (those who have seen more years – as Csermely prefers putting it so eloquently and beautifully) cutting 1-meter logs into cordwood with the crosscutting saw and Roland splitting them kitchen stove-ready, we have enough stash for 2-3 days before we grab the saw by its horns again.
While the beeswax is slowly heating up to a good liquid phase, Csermely is giving it a go (for the umpteenth time) at her Ravensburger puzzle – at least the patience game is of good enough quality to withstand the many touches, trials and errors.
Otherwise we are listening to pop music in the background while us parents are putting our thoughts to paper. The bilingual Csermely who is easing herself into Romanian now too, day by day, with absolute naturalness in her tone of voice, brings up the question of why can we not listen to Hungarian music on Romanian music radio stations besides the countless English and, of course, Romanian hits? We gave this issue some consideration and concluded that it is characterized by much cultural-political narrow-mindedness, something typical to seemingly all of Europe in fact, and its anachronism is doing a huge disservice to the different ethnicities understanding each other better, even come to enjoy the undeniable presence of the other, to truly embrace that cultural multi-coloredness which Europe is so wonderfully rich in.
It is up to people like us and yourself to bring the change about that we would love to live in. And we are enjoying a French hit song at this moment, which brings back Parisian memories to us. It is a step forward. Thank you, Digi FM.
What does your day without the internet look like?