Courage to change

Laurana with Julie-001

I recently met a young woman who is buying nothing for a year. Julie Phillips (photo) was giving a talk about how this came to be (serendipity, like many of life’s most remarkable moments) and about her experiences during the first six weeks of being propelled into a #DIYLife.

Julie Phillips is certainly not the first person to spend less money and do more for herself,
but I was struck by several defining aspects of her story: Continue reading

Conscious Business. Possible?

I’m a systems thinker, and for a long time have been aware of the dysfunctional nature of the economic system we live in. That’s what prompted me to write a book about navigating the consumer culture without being swallowed up by it.

When I wrote Conscious Spending, Conscious Life, my view was that the system needed a drastic overhaul. I talked about the work of alternative thinkers such as David Korten, Ray Anderson, Paul Hawken, and Muhammad Yunus.

If I’d known then about John Mackey and conscious capitalism, I would certainly have written about him too. Continue reading

Walking Our Talk in a Consumer World

Once-we-have-recognized

Singer Neil Young has been in the news recently—first for his outspoken criticism of Alberta’s oil sands and then for not walking his talk. In a recent article, Licia Corbella of the Calgary Herald reported that Young’s five large tour busses were all left idling for an extended period even though only one was occupied. They were parked outside the venue where he was speaking at a press conference about man-made global warming. Apparently there is incongruence between Young’s talk and his actions.

The same could be said for most of us. Continue reading

Who cares?

If you are thinking ahead to next year, and how you might do things differently, this TED talk offers a lot to consider.

Kristen Skarie had a really rough year that sent her life sideways and ultimately prompted her to do things differently. She started with a plan to buy nothing new for a year, and ended up with a complete values realignment. Here’s how she describes the experience…

Who cares when we do our little bit to make the world better?

I liked her answer when a then-friend asked who cares about the little bit she was doing: “I care. And I’m responsible for this part of the planet I live on.”

She gets to decide what matters. and that’s true for all of us. What matters to you? Is there anything you would be willing to do differently if you thought it was important? As Kristen points out, pick something that is do-able and also challenging. Make it something that would have an impact on how you spend your money, your time, or your energy.

Although she didn’t use the term conscious consumption, that’s what she was doing. Questions are an important part of conscious action. As a reminder, here are her questions…

  • Do I want this?
  • Do I need this?
  • Do I have it?

Kristen’s book is A Year of Nothing New: Tools for Living Lean and Green. There is some interesting information on her website. Scroll down to “Garden Dreams” and don’t miss the TED Talk by “Guerilla Gardener” Ron Finley, who says that “Growing your own food is like printing your own money.” He describes how he’s doing his bit to make his street in Central Los Angeles better.

If you’re inspired to do something differently, let us know in the comments. Big or small, it all matters.

Normal is not something to aspire to

For a long time, I have thought that we live in a culture where “normal” is the lowest common denominator and, therefore, not something I want to aim for.

Food for thought...It is no measure of health to be well-adjusted to a profoundly sick society. Krishnamurti

I thought I was alone in my opinion—until I heard and interview with Pilar Gerasimo. She is a health journalist and change agent best known for her work as founding editor of Experience Life, a whole-person healthy living magazine that reaches more than three million people nationwide.

In an article titled “The Making of a Healthy Deviant: Choosing a Healthy Life in an Unhealthy World” she says,

Becoming and staying a healthy person in our culture is tougher than it ought to be. You can’t just roll merrily along with the unhealthy status quo, or you’ll become part of it. You have to maintain a base level of hyper-vigilance just to avoid getting sucked into the dominant-culture machine.

Healthy deviance is a term she coined. According to Pilar, it means “being different—in a weirdly healthy, happy way.” She elaborates…

Choosing to be a healthy person in an unhealthy world means becoming an outlier. It means frequently walking against the traffic of a mass-hallucination — and that’s not something most people are prepared to do.

The good news is that we can live outside the “normal” culture without moving to a cave or shunning the good things in modern culture. According to Pilar, healthy deviance is a change in awareness and behaviour that involves…

  • Waking yourself up and noticing what’s going on within and around you.
  • Reclaiming your energy, attention and autonomy.
  • Learning to think differently, choose differently, be different in ways that please you.
  • Hopping off the conveyor belt and tossing some well-placed wrenches into the dominant-culture machine.
Healthy Deviance is choosing to become and remain healthy even in the midst of an unhealthy culture. Pilar Gerisimo

The Living Experiment

Pilar has recently teamed up with Dallas Hartwig to produce a podcast called The Living Experiment. Dallas is co-author of The Whole30 and It Starts With Food. He’s a functional medicine practitioner, Certified Sports Nutritionist, and licensed physical therapist

The Living Experiment is one of my favourite podcasts. I appreciate their thoughtful conversations about the issues we encounter in trying to thrive in an unhealthy world. These are some of my favourite topics, but there are many others so scan the list and see what appeals to you.

  • Purpose vs Pleasure
  • Eating Meat
  • Conscious Language
  • The Health of Others
  • Conscious Eating

So…I’m interested in your thoughts on the concept of healthy deviance. Can you relate or not? Do you have experience in trying to thrive in an unhealthy world, even though you didn’t call your actions healthy deviance? I’d love your comments if you have anything to share about this post.