What does it mean to be your own person?
We can’t ignore the mounting conclusion that we are summations of our past experiences, various environmental factors, and the genetic legacy we have inherited from our family trees. The good news is, if you are the kind of person who is looking to have more connection and joy, based on genuine feelings and honest experiences, you can influence those factors to a significant degree!
I find this topic fascinating. Read more about epigentics and their impact, in particular the subheadings ‘Environmental Influences on the Epigenome‘ and ‘Epigenetic Emotions‘: https://www.science.org.au/curious/epigenetics)
While it is important to keep an eye on studies that dive deep into the impact of trauma of one generation carrying over in genetic markers to the next generation, the important thing to remember is if you choose to do something about it, you have more control over the outcome. Which means we have to chose to live more intentionally with our lives if we want to get the most out of it.
What does it mean to Live Intentionally?
It means creating clarity for yourself. It shows up when we make thoughtful choices in our everyday moments. Choices that aligned to who you are. These kind of choices become little ripples that in return impact our communities the way our communities shape us.
Think of it this way.
When we drive our car and impulsively decide to run a red light or cut someone off, we are only thinking about ourselves. We don’t care about what it means to anyone else. We only care that it might mean getting to our destination faster and that can sometimes have unintended consequences. Most of the time we don’t even look behind us to see what happen to the other person.
When we live more intentionally, we become more aware of our actions and their repercussions. Taking the same red light scenario, we think about all the players involved. We realize we put ourselves, our property, and others at risk when we behave this way. If you value your life, your property (and dare I say perhaps even the lives of others) you might come to see the idea of running the red light as not worth it. Taking the time to think about our decisions and then aligning them to our values, helps us to live authentically and offers us a foundation of resiliency.
Head this warning.
If you create a complex mission statement for yourself and go all in, it can be exhausting! It is the fastest way to burnout! (If that is where you are at right now, take a breather. Get your bearings and start fresh.) Instead I recommend if you are fairly new to making conscious decisions, try to refrain from going over board and focus on one conscious choice.
For example, last year I realized I spent a stupid amount of money of paper towels. We had cloth kitchen towels in a drawer on hanging nearby but for some reason we always grabbed the paper to cleanup. The problem was it occupied a great deal of space in out trash bins. I asked myself if this was the only way to live. I watched documentaries that made me consider the impact of our behavior and its contribution to trash being properly disposed and the resulting pollution. And yeah. I know I am only one person and one person is not going to necessarily make the world a better place by making a little less trash for the city dump. But choosing to switch to wood pulp dish cloths (By the way in case you are wondering, 1 wood pulp cloth = 15 paper towel rolls) was more aligned with my values. I no longer have to look for coupons or find the best place and time to buy them. This small action may seem silly to someone but what it did was cut down on some decisions and helped me to control my own behavior about things I didn’t realize I was making.
It takes work.
Sure. I am a long way off from achieving a Zero Waste lifestyle. I have no desire to be its poster child in any shape and form. I am not even sure that I will achieve it in my lifetime. Shall I share a dirty secret with you? Right now I do have paper towel rolls in my cleaning closet… to clean up after the occasional dog messes. If I was a purist I would have a different set of cloths for those dirty deeds. That grosses me so I don’t. I’m just not there yet. And while I praise cloth diapering parents, I am secretly glad that I didn’t know about it until after the kids were out of diapers. Totally skip the guilt trip on that one and I don’t feel bad about not giving it any mental head space!
The point is you don’t have to make these changes perfectly. You don’t have to go all in for it to matter. Baby steps in the right direction add up. And let’s face facts. You are probably going to run a red light again. But maybe you will do it less often because you took the time to think about it.
Hopefully that gives you an idea of the process. One that allows you permission to not feel like you have to commit to undertaking everything at once. Over the next couple of posts I will share a few more suggestions on how you can live more intentionally. If this is something you are already doing I would to hear about it in the comments below or come tell me over in the Keep on Winking Daily group.
I look forward to hearing from you.