Living Consciously is in large part about living a life that reflects your values. Most of us want to help others more than we actually do. The help we are able to offer often seems too small, or too far removed.
I understand this feeling well. How many times have I taken the extra effort to take old batteries all the way to the proper electronic recycling center and thought, “is this really worth it?” I have shopped second hand, used eco friendly products, and composted, all the while thinking, “am I really making a difference?” Did the $30 I donated here or even the $100 donated there really help?
Here is the thing…
It makes a difference to me.
I do not feel good about a lifestyle that does not reflect my values to the best of my ability.
Could I go down a deep rabbit hole and really live full off grid, eco friendly, etc etc? Sure. Is that realistic to the life I choose to live? Maybe not.
I have a car, I use electricity and water, I have plastic products. Even though Harry and I are vegan, we care for our animals who are not. There are times when I take the easier route like using plastic, and times when I simply do not have the ability to do the best options, like spending four times the amount of money for eco-friendly car brakes. I’m not perfect.
I do rest comfortably knowing that I try.
If you were to follow me for a month and write a story about the way I choose to live and what I value, I am confident you would write a story that actually does reflect what I value. This is the crux. This is where it all comes together. Are you walking your walk and talking your talk?
There are many people who will tell me all about their values and what “good people” they are. Then I watch their actions, and maybe they are “good people,” (whatever that means to you) but their actions fly in the face of everything they told me they stood for. I watch people protest animal cruelty only to order a burger from a fast food chain or buy a bracelet that supports plastic removal from the ocean only to buy plastic bags, cling wraps, and water bottles. The story and the actions do not match.
I may not have the means to donate to every cause I find worthy. I may not have the time or skill to volunteer for every organization I believe is doing good work. I could easily (and have in the past) devote so much of my life to others that I completely lose all sense of joy and sovereignty in my own life, simply existing to serve those around me and the lofty causes I will never solve single handed.
I am not suggesting that we all do every single thing we can. I am suggesting that we take an honest look at what we say and do, and try harder to make them match. If you realize you are never going to change a certain habit like using plastic straws, then just stop telling me how zero-waste you are. It’s not a judgement on what you say or do. It’s asking for authenticity in what you say and do.
Personally this has been an uphill battle for me. How do I participate and care and maintain my own life? What can I do to help that is not self sacrificing?
At Consciously, we have the acronym MAGIC.
Make a commitment
Accept who you are
Get rid of what’s not serving you
Impact what matters
Clean up your health
This blog is about I. How can I Impact what matters? This goes beyond just making an impact. We have to understand that we are already making an impact. Right now our actions have an impact. What we buy, how we live, what we choose to do with our time are all already impacting the world. So first, we have to accept that fact. The fact that impact is already happening.
Next we get to choose if we care. Furthermore, do we care beyond convenience?
Most people will recycle if there is a recycle bin close by and it is very easy to do. When making the healthier choice is also the easy choice it’s a no brainer. But what if that recycle bin is ten feet away…would you walk it? What about 100 feet? Would you carry the plastic container with you all the way home to recycle it there? Do you care beyond the convenience of a choice being made for you?
Here I am going to offer 4 simple ways you can have an impact on causes you probably care about for free, in 4 minutes.
It is easy, simple, and something you can do every day. My question is will you?
Now, you may choose not to because you don’t like the company or the cause itself, that is fine. But let’s say you like the cause, you like the company, you have 4 minutes and you have no other cost. Will you do it?
Again, no judgement here. I am expressing an observation, my own lifestyle, and offering a solution to the many of you out there who wish there was something simpler you could do to make an impact everyday. If that is you, please visit the links below. It may initially take you a few minutes to orient yourself and bookmark the pages. I keep all mine bookmarked in one folder on my browser right next to my calendar. Everyday when I log on to my computer, I open my calendar, click through these sites, and continue on my day. You can use these on your computer or smart device and some have an option to even be emailed a reminder everyday. Can’t get easier than that! If the emails get to be too much they are very easy to unsubscribe to.
I genuinely hope this helps you.
4 Simple ways to help the world in 4 minutes
This simple, functional browser plants trees every time you search. Spend a few minutes loading it on your browser and setting it as your default search page. You will be helping the environment with every search you make online going forward! How amazing is that?! Learning more about ecosia and watching their videos reminds me that I am a part of this world and can help others miles away right from home.
This is a unique site that supports many causes. With their “Click to Give” site, you can choose one or up to 12 causes! During difficult times such as natural disasters, you can click multiple times a day increasing support. It is always exciting for me to look at the click stats and see how much impact has been made!
FREE THE OCEAN
Want to clean up the oceans but don’t live near the beach, don’t have time, or are grossed out doing it? This site supports ocean clean up all over the world and even has a sustainable store you can support! Having options like this makes it that much easier to live my values and inspires me to continue improving. Plus the trivia is always fun!
Three quick trivia questions that you don’t have to get right, donate dog food, cat food, and cat litter to shelters. I love animals and can hardly go into a shelter because I want to take them all home. This site really helps warm my heart knowing that I can contribute the bit I can to cats and dogs and keep their bellies fed.
Bonus for fun!
If you like to play games and type, Free Rice is a great way to break up a long work day and embrace some fun! Every question you answer correctly in the game triggers a financial payment to the World Food Programme (WFP) to support its work saving and changing lives around the world.
Mel’s personal Tip:
I keep a bookmark tab folder on my browser called “Love” with all of these sites bookmarked. Everyday when I first open my browser I Start off in heart coherence and click through each of these sites. That 4 minutes immediately shifts any stress and overwhelm about the day ahead. I sink into the gratitude of the moment and send a little love to the world. When I have more time I may even read through some of the stories on these pages or spend a moment looking at the photos of cats and dogs on the freekibble site.