Check out this wonderful video about choosing love in our lives. This youtube video is from Shawn Gallaway,
We all want to do our part to improve our environment and take care of our natural resources. The web is all abuzz with ideas, tips and commentary on what will improve the state of our global community. In my own home I work hard to be environmentally friendly. My friends would say I’m a tree hugger. That’s okay with me, I like trees and I like the idea of my family seeing trees in person in a hundred or more years from now. So I offer you ten small things you can do at home to begin living more green friendly.
This sounds like a no brainer. But, the reality is that many people don’t realize all the items that can be recycled. The majority of things we purchase can be recycled if we are diligent. In my own home the weekly recycling far outweighs the trash. I generally have one bag of trash a week and three bins filled to over flowing with recycling. In some cases items are picked up at your curb, in other cases you must drive them to the recycling center. Here in St. Petersburg, FL curb pick up takes paper, cardboard, plastic, and metal. When I want to recycle my glass I have to drive it to a local drop off point.
2. Use Cloth Grocery Bags
This simple step saves bringing home unnecessary plastic bags and allows you to use bags that have the strength to actually hold your groceries. How many times have you shared my experience of a plastic bag breaking mid way into your house? I learned this eco friendly trick when I lived in Germany. There you must purchase your grocery bags, that is exactly the incentive Americans need to use eco friendly cloth bags. Who wants to pay for something they already have at home?
This is a tip I gleaned from Oprah’s show. One of her audience members during a budget friendly show gave the tip of unplugging things you are not using. This woman took it very seriously, unplugging the T.V and all lights and appliances that are not essential, until you are ready to use them. She said it dropped her electric bill by more than half. That is good for your wallet and our planet. After that show I walked through my house and began to review things that didn’t need to be plugged in. There were many many things and within a month I was seeing a thirty dollar reduction in my own electric bill. Something that took me five minutes now saves me money every single month! I chose to unplugs lamps in my guest room and office, my cell phone charger, my second computer, toaster and electric kettle, shredder and other assorted small items that are only used periodically. Now when I want to shred something I take the extra ten seconds and plug it in. Yes, it takes a few extra seconds but I remind myself I’m not only protecting the planet I’m saving my wallet, which I love!
4. Adjust Your Thermostat or Purchase Programmable Thermostats
I opted to purchase and install programmable thermostats in my home. These are money saving and they are relatively easy to use. I had mine figured out within a day or two and they now allow me to adjust the temperature in my home for a variety of occasions such as travel or sleeping etc..
5. Make Your Own Green Household Cleaners
I was a hold out on this one for a long time. I thought what a pain in the ass this is going to be. But once I actually began doing it and had a system down it became really simple and now I never run out of eco friendly cleaners! I used a variety of websites for my green cleaning recipes. I actually did an article on this topic but the article is currently MIA on my website. I hope my tech person will find it shortly and then it can be up and viewable again with great links!
6. Donate Used Items to Charity or a Friend.
We all have excess stuff in the house, rather than throw it in the trash where it will end up in a landfill consider recycling it to charity, a pet rescue center or to a friend who needs something you have. I have spent a lot of time in the last few years donating things to charity and sharing things with family and friends. Something your tired of might bring new light and joy to a friend’s home. I also do this with magazines. When friends or family come by I always offer magazines that I have finished reading. First it drives me nuts to throw money away and second I am such an avid reader that I love the idea of sharing a magazine so that another can have the pleasure of reading it.
7. Find a New Use For Things
Old flower pots can become a potted herb garden. Old books can be swapped on various websites or at a book shop. Coffee cans can become storage containers. 35 lb cat litter tubs from Sam’s can store a variety of things with a nice air tight seal. Plastic containers make the perfect small job paint container when lugging the entire can is just not what you want to do. Use your imagination and find a new use for an old item.
8. Buy Compact Florescent Light Bulbs
These are a huge money saver, they last for years and thus put less waste out into the environment.
9. Recycle Your Ink Cartridges
Another no brainer, not only does it save the planet it saves your wallet because stores like Staples give you a three dollar coupon discount off a purchase for each ink cartridge you recycle. How cool is that, you save money and help the planet.
10. Recycle Your Electronics
Many companies these days are allowing consumers to send in their old computers to be recycled correctly. Here is a link from the EPA with an entire list of potential recycling options for your electronics, cell phones and computers.
Lately I have spent a lot of time in conversation with a friend who is downsizing. They’ve spent the last couple years downsizing in stages. First they sold their house in Arizona and packed the belongings they wanted to keep in military storage. Next everything that they didn’t want to keep was either sold or donated. I know that they donated jeep loads of stuff, day after day. It was quite a process; we talked often as she sorted and packed. I also visited at one point during their transition. Eventually they were left with just the things that fit in two large travel back packs and what they were taking across country to store at with their family.
The next stage after her husband’s retirement was a RTW trip, where they spent six months traveling the globe.They kept a pace that amazes me even today, they were in city after city, country after country exploring, meeting other travelers, writing, and occasionally resting and relaxing.
Stage three, re-entry into life in the US, via a lake community in northern Maine, near their families. They bought a tiny lake front cottage that had been in the family for years. They spent the summer months preparing the house for winter living and buying the necessities they would need to live through winter in the far reaches of northern Maine. They survived and even thrived, working from home with their web based business and on their writing careers while David took classes online. They survived some real challenges..plumbing or a lack of after a winter freeze took out their toilet and shower. Thus began the bucket brigade and a search for an eco toilet. Just when they thought they had survived the harshest conditions northern Maine was hit with spring floods.
Life in Maine
Having grown up in Maine they were well aware of the conditions and had planned extensively, they had most things online so documents and business information were safe and secure. They had personal belongings ready to go and even the dogs belongings and food packed. News coverage said they had about 36 hours til they would need to depart and they were in the final stages of preparation when they awoke to several inches of freezing water on their floor and the dog waking them up. At that point they literally had minutes to get out as their SUV’s tail pipes were nearly underwater outside. With a row boat they made several trips with their dog, their computers, and what little belongings could be stuffed into backpacks quickly, knowing they had to get out before the cold water became dangerous to them and before their cars were unable to be driven. As it was, by the time they got out one vehicle was underwater to the tail pipe and couldn’t be driven. It was abandoned there.
What is my point in all this? My point is that this couple have done enormous downsizing. Compared to the average American they are living like the travelers they are. But what they learned is that they still had more downsizing to do. With the loss of their lake house in Maine, they decided to take the plunge and move to the tropical reaches of Florida. They researched, did their homework and went through the challenging process of buying a home in a down turned economy. They are now moved in and have spent the last few weeks sorting through their military shipment that arrived shortly before Christmas. Belongings they had not seen in nearly two years.
Even with the extensive downsizing they’d done in Arizona, they discovered that the energy and time required to own a house full of belongings is simply too much for the scaled down life style they desire. They are now in the midst of their third downsizing and they are feeling the energy of what it takes to release these final things. They sort through things, wondering, why did we keep this in the first place? I think we can all relate to that when we open a box of belongings we have saved and put aside for even a couple years.
Their ultimate goal, I think; being only an observer and friend in this situation is to own a house for the time being, finish the downsizing and create a means to have a very simple stateside residence that they can come home to between world adventures and jobs that may eventually take them to other continents. Why am I sharing all this?
The Realization of the Energy We Use to Own Too Many Things
It’s the realization of the energy we use and consume in owning so many belongings. We are a society of people who consume and buy at a feverish rate; at least we did until the economy tanked and now I believe we are all considering our purchases and real needs. I’m as bad as the next person, seriously. I own a home and it’s filled with stuff. My fortune or misfortune to deal with is that it is mostly a house filled with the belongings and furniture of my father, who died unexpectedly five and a half years ago. When he died I was living overseas as a teacher in a one bedroom apartment in Berlin. So my belongings were never until now very extensive. My life, money and energy was spent on travel and overseas life. My father had beautiful things that I have come to treasure, and I have over the past five years done my own downsizing, from my father’s original 4,800 sq feet house to a more manageable home.
Give Your Belongings New Life
I have donated literally truck loads to charity, I have given excess furniture to family members and friends. I have tried to lovingly give my father’s belongings to those who loved him, or would most benefit from them. It has been an exhausting and time consuming process. It was painful and emotional, so I can dearly understand my friends days of struggle with the energy and challenge of their downsizing.
Letting Belonging’s Go
Just today I spent about and hour and a half in my closet pulling things out and folding them into bags for charity and for friends. I feel like a pretty normal American woman and within an hour I filled to the brim two large garbage bags of shirts, pants, jackets and sweaters that I either never wear, that are too large, or just no longer my style. It is an embarrassing realization to see how much excess the average person has. Seriously how many shirts can we wear? We all have our favorites and mostly the rest get worn occasionally, ditto for pants and jackets. I counted, I have eight light zippered sweatshirt jackets in my closet. How did that happen? I love them all, so those I kept, but it just gives me pause to think about the excess. What does it do for us? Today by the time I finished I was feeling the emotion and energy of sorting through my belongings. Clothes are a reminder of where we’ve been, who we’ve been and who we are now, so clearing them out was emotionally freeing.
What are You Holding on to That Doesn’t Serve You?
Are there things you need to clear out of your life to make way for new life, new energy and new adventures? Or is it simply the need for space to walk through your house without clutter?
The True Power of Water By: Masaru Emoto is a book that I find deeply interesting and that I recommend. It is one of several books that Masaru Emoto has written on the effects of vibration, energy, prayer and thought on water. When I was flipping through it this morning, reading randomly I came across a piece I wanted to share. Along with this is a YouTube video with Dr. Emoto
A family that subscribed to our magazine conducted an interesting experiment. They put the rice in two glass jars and every day for a month said “Thank you” to one jar and “You fool” to the other, and then they tracked how the rice changed over the period. After a month the rice that was told Thank you started to ferment, with a mellow smell like that of malt, while the rice that was exposed to You fool, rotted and turned black. Pg 97
To give your attention to something is a way of giving energy. By receiving attention , life can get the energy to move in a better direction. Pg 98
With our economy in such flux and with the emotional upheaval so many people have experienced I was reminded by The True Power of Water just what we as people can do to focus our energy and our intentions to begin bringing love and calm to the distress and upheaval we see and feel. This morning as I read pages 90 to 104, I was reminded that we can create with our focus and our intention. We can begin to create a calm, healing around us by focusing our gratitude on everything good around us. Energy goes where we put our attention. We want to give energy and focus to the good in our world and in our lives. Focus on gratitude, Be grateful, be filled with love for everything in your life. Being grateful creates an energy that eventually opens the door to more good in our life.
My House Needs To Sell
For example, my house needs to sell, so rather than focus my energy on feeling a desperate need for a sale, I focus my energy on gratitude for what I have, for having a beautiful place to live, for having the abundance of owning a home and I release it to spirit.
Families in Struggle
With the economic situation many families are feeling strapped financially and are not able to meet all their financial obligations, rather than focusing energy on all the things that are not paid, and getting more distressed focus on what you have paid. If you paid your rent, or your phone bill, think of the money you used or are using to pay this bill and say a prayer of gratitude for the fact that this money is in your hand and that you are using it to pay something that needs to be paid. A grateful attitude for the abundance in our life helps create more abundance.
Moments of Stress
There will naturally be moments of distress and stress. I can attest to this…laughter with a house for sale and still for sale long beyond what I can afford. But what I am seeing in my own life, with my own intention and gratitude is a subtle positive shift in my abundance with keeping my focus in GRATITUDE and using my thoughts in an uplifting way to say THANK YOU for everything I can pay and for EVERYTHING I have. I can assure you with two houses of bills this is a real test of my focus and intention.
There are more days than not that I could just spin out in the anxiety and stress of paying for two houses. Instead I’m learning and seeing positive results by saying THANK YOU to God and the universe for everything in my life. When I awake in the morning I say a prayer of gratitude for my house, the man in my life, the money I have, for my family and friends. I refocus through the day, for a minute or so and I say another prayer of GRATITUDE and THANKS for all these things and for any abundance that I find coming into my life on that day. I know there will be readers rolling their eyes, some in my own family I’m sure, but it’s working.
GRATITUDE is THE RIGHT ATTITUDE
Gratitude changes our experience, changes our lives. We know that greed and corruption are not working, we can see that every day on the nightly news. We see the direct result of the economy in our investments and our bank accounts. We know what doesn’t work, so lets focus what can work, AN ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE AND LOVE.