i have concerns.
about our environment and high cancer rates.
about misguided corporate interests, and about suppressed and controverted wisdoms, knowledges and truths.
and, i am interested in having a strong, healthy, pain-free body in which to live until i die.
i think many of us share these concerns.
so, i try to make choices and live in ways which create change and make a difference in all of these realms.
that is why i choose not to buy a new car - ever. nor upgrade the only cell phone i purchased in 2009.
it is why i no longer provide so many disposables – like paper towels and bottled water – in the studio, and am challenged to decrease the plastics in my home.
that is why i can’t take a plane trip for pleasure only or use a microwave for cooking meals.
that is why, when coming upon tempting amazing moss alongside a forest path, i cannot step off the worn way to wiggle my toes in lushness.
this challenge – of arrogance and ignorance – is forever with me. i am primarily a steward, not a consumer; a creature, not a conqueror.
personal care and home care products are an easy — well, relatively easy — area in which to make better choices. in fact, home made products are easy to create and effective.
i stopped dying my hair.
did you know, over 5,000 different chemicals are used in hair dye products?
i used to dye it for the sake of novelty, with a bit of vanity thrown in. imagine, repeatedly soaking my head in chemicals, allowing excess chemicals to float down the drain and into our earth, our water table, and being complicit in my hairdresser repeatedly exposing herself, and those around her, to these chemicals …. for novelty and vanity!
and that says nothing of the role model i provide(d) my children.
i shake my head about that special kind of insanity now. i enjoy my steadily changing shades, shifting perpetually from brown to a soft grey with glints of silver. and, being free of the tyranny of roots… now that is liberating!
not only did i stop dying my hair, i wash and rinse it with simple household products, like baking soda and apple cider vinegar, no extras added.
and, did you know, there are plenty of safe, home made dyes you can use? hit up your favourite search engine and find saffron and walnuts and raspberry leaves as alternatives.
i make my own toothpaste.
it involves safe household products. plastic packaging, harmful chemicals and corporate nonsense is not required. sea salt, coconut oil, baking soda and some calcium magnesium powder. a couple of drops of spearmint essential oil makes it wonderful.
for more than a year now, it has been a morning ritual. and, it has made a significant difference to the health of my gums, which have been gingivitis plagued and sore for many of my adult years. i was a bit nervous about the process in the beginning and so started with coconut oil. however, i soon switched to sesame oil and find this oil more pleasant and effective.
many years ago, i was under the misapprehension that my pearly whites should be as pearly white as possible. when i quit smoking, i ‘rewarded’ myself with dental whitening. i’ve come to learn the folly of this and just have to smile in fond forgiveness. first off, the ‘reward’ of not smoking was improved health for myself, my family, my environment and other concomitant effects. it was rather ego-based to run out and apply chemicals to my teeth - in my mouth! – largely because i could. i’ve come to appreciate my teeth being as white as they’re going to be, rather than as white as it is possible to make them.
i stopped using commercial facial cleansers and moisturizers.
i oil cleanse. right now i’m using a mix of castor oil and grapeseed oil, to which i’ve added two drops of lemongrass essential oil. i have been experimenting with different base oils – so far, grapeseed oil, avocado oil and sweet almond oil, always in a mix with castor oil – to see what works best for my skin’s needs. i am liking the grapeseed and lemongrass concoction.
i began oil cleansing during the cold, dry months of winter and found it precluded the need for a moisturizer. now the long, sunshine-filled days of summer are upon us and i am noticing the protective properties of this mix. having given up sun screen years ago, my gradual exposure lengths seem to be supported by oil cleansing.
being a good global citizen is not easy. in so many ways i violate and/or compromise the environment and my own ethics all the time. sometimes i think i’m making a good decision, only to discover that i’ve not been awake or have not done my homework. small businesses, once ethically and lovingly producing the personal care products i have come to love and trust (e.g., Burt’s Bees, Tom’s of Maine) have been purchased by large, not so ethical, businesses. the higher price tag i once budgeted, willing to pay that bit extra for quality and ethics, is now no longer warranted and is going into coffers i choose not to pad.
being aware, striving to do better, taking the time for some research, stepping beyond ‘convenience’ and personal ‘wants’, a sense of entitlement, and having/doing something simply because i can. there’s where i can make personal choices. there’s where i can minimize my environmental impact and my cancer risk,pare back my consumption and learn to live in greater harmony with you and this precious planet.
really, it all comes down to: just because i want, and just because i can, are poor reasons for getting, having, and doing.