“The love of wilderness is more than a hunger for what is always beyond reach; it is also an expression of loyalty to the earth, the earth which bore us and sustains us, the only paradise we shall ever know, the only paradise we ever need, if only we had the eyes to see.” Edward Abbey
Simple living, slow living, minimalism and veganism are all extreme responses to a world that has strayed so far off the path. We used to own less, buy less, and spend more time outdoors in the dirt and open air.
I’m not idealizing the past. I know things weren’t perfect, socially we have come so far. But in all else we have strayed too far, we can’t see the path anymore- we can’t even see the stars. We value growth for the sake of growth and animals, plants, and people are forgotten- all in the name of progress.
This past week I got to go back. I spent a week camping in the desert with a group of amazing students. No showers, no electricity, no luxuries. Just campfires, hard work and lots and lots of sand. We worked to remove invasive species so that native plants could grow and thrive. We talked about sustainability, caring for ourselves and our world, and how small changes over time make big change.
These students amazed me. They were so curious and involved. Each day brought new questions about how to heal the earth. How could they help? Which products were best? What impact would their actions have?
Small acts, when multiplied, can change the world. Our work for Arches National Park will not end just because we are no longer there. Hearts and minds were changed, we all learned so much about this earth and about ourselves.
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” Margaret Mead
“The environment is in us, not outside of us. The trees are our lungs, the rivers our bloodstream. We are all interconnected, and what you do to the environment, ultimately you to do yourself.” Ian Somerhalder
In Virginia we’ve had a taste of spring. A few seventy degree days with tulips blooming and birds singing. It’s too early for spring, the earth should still be sleeping. Because of human activity the earth is too warm, she’s trying to show us what we’re doing to her.
It is hard to love the spring here when I know it has come too soon. And yet, each warm day I thank the sun for shining. I thank the warm wind for reminding me that winter does not last forever. And I am reminded that this simple life I am after is because of our hurting earth.
If we are going to live and thrive here we have to consume less, use less, value quality over quantity.
Our little earth needs us to slow down so that she may slow down, too.
This spring, look at all that surrounds you. What are you holding onto that can be passed on. Donated so that someone who needs it can find it. Do not hold onto items “just in case” someone else may need it now.
Refuse, reduce, reuse, recycle, repair. For when a flower does not bloom you fix the environment, not the flower.
Pour yourself a big glass of water, put on music that makes your heart happy, throw open (or crack) the windows, sort through your things by category or by room. I start with categories: clothing, books, paper, and then the rest. Others go room to room touching each item they own and asking if they need it or love it. And when the items are gone do not bring in new things that you do not need. Do not destroy the earth in the name of stuff. Do not give your dollar, your vote, to the companies that break and destroy the earth in the name of progress. Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world.
When you have less, much less, you will no longer stay home to care for and clean your things. You will walk out your door and see what we are here for. See yourself in all the earth and all the beings, and see all the earth and all the beings in you.
The earth does not belong to us, we belong to it.
Bonnie Rae xx
P.S. Spring cleaning and decluttering go hand in hand. Use natural cleaners for the earth and for your self.
“Stop waiting for Friday, for summer, for someone to fall in love with you, for life. Happiness is achieved when you stop waiting for it and make the most of the moment you are in now.”
I spent the happiest weekend in New York City with my two best friends. This trip happened because I missed them too much and texted them to see which weekend I could come visit. There was no stressful planning or waiting. I don’t think we need to be in such a rush to figure everything out. Embrace the unknown.
More travel, less stuff. Stop rushing and buying. Have stories to tell, not stuff to show.
Bonnie Rae xx
P.S. You can surround yourself with people that get you. Find your tribe and love them fiercely.
“Fill your life with adventures, not things. Have stories to tell not stuff to show.”
I’m headed to New York, NY for the weekend. A trip with my two very best friends. Women that make me laugh until I can’t breathe and that know literally everything about me (for better or for worse.)
Travel used to be very stressful for me. I would stuff my suitcase with clothing and shoes that I thought I might wear. But when I arrived at my destination I ended up wearing the same few things I always do. My most loved and comfortable items.
We often own more stuff than we need, and we often pack far more than we need.
Now that I have a capsule wardrobe, packing takes just minutes. I count the number of days I’ll be gone and grab an outfit for each. Kind of like meal planning but with clothes. All of my items work well together. 10 items can be mixed and matched to create seemingly endless outfit options.
I use the KonMari fold to keep everything neat and organized.
Another way to simplify? Pack just one travel outfit.
I pick one set of clothing and I wear it for the trip there and the trip back. The outfit is always comfortable and casual but it also makes me feel put together.