Green Living: An Introduction

When I became pregnant with my oldest daughter, my life changed in many ways. I learned that everything that I ate, breathed, and put on my skin would be passed along to my precious unborn baby. And I realized that for years I had unknowingly been using products that contain known harmful ingredients. Boy did this open a whole can of worms. Enter: completely new lifestyle and lifelong quest to choose the most natural and healthy options over synthetic chemicals and toxins. Along with pregnancy, birth, and mothering young children, “green living” has been a huge interest of mine since late 2010.

Living green actually means a lot, to a lot of different people. I think the most general definition, for those that are not as familiar with the topic, would be: a conscious effort to minimize exposure of environmental toxins, seek holistic treatments, minimize direct impact on the environment, and an all around attempt to live a more self-sustainable life style with simple/nature based options. Its now been about 3 years since I have taken on this consciousness and I have found my endeavor to become “green/earth conscious” has been very rewarding. Knowing that I am not slowly poisoning myself or my family and the environment and not wasting money on toxic products has been an obvious benefit. But honestly, understanding that I am a being of nature that can greatly benefit from healing (or otherwise useful) things that come directly from nature has truly enlightened me as a human being. I feel more connected to the planet we live on, knowing that its more pure substances provide the highest amount of benefits for my body or even my environment. A big example of this is essential oils (which I will, no doubt, be expanding on in future blog posts). I know that by the merit of my own deeds, though seemingly insignificant, I am taking a small amount of action against a way of life that is damaging to humans and environment. I guess you could say that this is a way for my to fight the status quo in my own way, to hopefully help affect the change that we so desperately need as a civilization.

So how do I apply this to real-life? For me, this means many different things. To name a few: cloth diapering, having the hobby of reading the ingredients on just about everything, avoiding certain harmful ingredients, buying and eating organic wherever possible and feasible, doing as many do-it-yourself projects from home as possible, reusing anything and everything, choosing natural fibers in products over plastics and/or synthetics, pursuing a diet that is simple and plant based as much as possible, avoiding petroleum, avoiding the word “fragrance” on ANYthing, minimizing my general consumption of any given product, avoiding pharmaceuticals as much as possible, utilizing the therapeutic benefits of essential oils, and choosing nature and simplicity over what is usually accepted as the norm in today’s society.

As I continue to add to my site here, I will take specific aspects of my own personal “green living” approach and expand on them. I hope you will find that such a lifestyle is not as extreme as one might believe. It’s actually a very freeing thing to live more simply and naturally! My interest in this topic and gradual attempt to shift to a more earth conscious way of life has spilled over into other areas of my life as well. For example, I am beginning to evaluate the amount of waste my family produces makes me question what it is that I am consuming… and, do I really need it? Naturally I have become more minimalist in my approach in food consumption, pharmaceutical consumption, pest repellent, beauty regimens, and overall consumerism. And after all that, I just know I’m leaving some things out. What I ultimately mean to say is that the green living approach really begins to overflow into other areas of life and can become an actual mindset that is applicable to other things.

What’s fun about it is that it’s not just all or nothing! You can really pick and choose what is most feasible and makes most sense to you and utilize it the way you see fit. I am definitely not a perfect example of what it is to “be green” and I have a long way to go to be where I’d like to be with it (for example: I would like to make my own laundry detergent, quit buying and using plastic bags altogether, grow my own food, etc) I do, however, think that I can be a little bit helpful to those that are interested in it and maybe just don’t know where to begin, or to those who are in the game with me and just want to learn some new ways to reconnect with and respect this earth a little more. I am always down to learn some new things, so if you take the time to share your tips and secrets, I would love hear them!

I can’t wait to share my various approaches with you. What I’d like to do is title any post where I specifically expand on this aspect of my life is title it “Green Living: _______” to distinguish it from my other posts. You will definitely find me mention some of these things amongst my other reflections though! Hope you enjoy what I have to offer. Until next time…

CarasFinalSigCaraJean

Closing Thoughts of 2012

Well it looks like we made it. Where did we land? Well, we landed in a new era. I hope, in my heart of hearts, that a paradigm shift will begin to gain velocity in many proportions. I believe it has been in the works for quite some time and I believe that the stage is set. I am praying that a paradigm shift will take place in many different areas of humanity, many of which I am most passionate about.

I’m not going to bore you with my take on this whole Mayan calendar thing. Everyone seems to have an opinion, but opinions just don’t really matter unless there is an action of positive change that follows it. So the only thing I have to say is that I am using this date as a pivot point for several things in my life. For such an anticipated date and so much hype, I might as well make it worth it for myself in some way since the external world clearly hasn’t offered me much except hypothetical doom! Ill always be able to look back at this date and remember what I made it, and hopefully hold myself accountable to the notions I attached to it.

The past few years, I suppose due to the fact that my brain has been missing the intellectual stimulation that school has always provided me (for 19 out of 23 years of my life), my mind has been desperate for stimulation, goals, deadlines, research, tests (not necessarily exams), challenges, and more knowledge to satisfy my need for growth. And I am beginning to rediscover these things in my own terms, in new ways. Becoming a wife and parent has, no doubt, caused me to grow in ways I didn’t know possible, taught me things I didn’t know I needed to learn, and has revealed to me purposes I never previously knew I was meant to fulfill. So really, I have been with no lack of stimulation- I’ve been the busiest I have ever been trying to get this whole wife/mama part of my life pretty “set” and leveled. It’s been a fairly rough, yet rewarding past 2 years for me.

Since I became pregnant with my oldest daughter in October of 2010, just 4 months into my marriage, I have experienced some of my life’s hardest struggles and some of my life’s greatest joys. For anyone who doesn’t know me personally, I battled over 20 weeks per pregnancy of extreme, debilitating nausea. And, I gave birth to both of my daughters without any drugs or medical assistance! I mention these things because both (x2) of these experiences have challenged me on extreme levels. However, I am here to tell the story of triumph and self preservation through it all!

So, with two budding little angels that mature and change each day, I feel like as a new mother of two children just 11 months apart, I have spent many months “studying” and “learning” what this grand task of motherhood means. Granted, the journey has only begun, but what I am getting at here is that I am finally, finally, finally, feeling capable of rediscovering new, refined personal goals of mine. And it really has taken me this long to realize that despite being consumed with caring for my babies, I am still my own person with very individualized set of desires, goals, and needs for self improvement.

And with that, I am using 12.21.2012 as my “New Year for a lifetime.” And so begins my new journey where I take everything I have learned about anything up to this point, and put it to action in some way or another!

Here are some very important goals of mine that I have been stewing over for quite awhile and am finally putting out there for others to see besides my wonderful loving husband who listens to me passionately ramble on about things into the wee hours of the morning fairly regularly.

1. This blog. I whole heartedly believe that this blog will be not only a healthy outlet for me, but that it will open doors for me in ways yet unseen. Already I am seeing things come together for this that I never even expected or had the knowledge to want! I recently connected with a wonderfully talented and well established blogger (Hybrid Rasta Mama) that has taken a liking to my blog and has invited me to be a regular (monthly) contributor on her site. With a huge following of her own, this will surely open the door for others to begin “following” me! I am extremely grateful and excited for this opportunity to come to fruition. My goals for my own blog include: 1 post per week, beginning in January of 2013, a minimum of 25,000 page views per month by December of 2013, and more vaguely, to become somewhat of an expert on what it means to be a great blogger. To be honest, right now I feel very vulnerable and amateur at this. But, I refuse to let that hinder my hopes for this new and exciting part of my life! I hope you will join me on this journey and come to find your time spent here well worth it. We all know the pride of being able to say “hey, I liked that band before they got super popular!” So humor me and join me on my journey sooner, rather than later, okay? 🙂

2. My spiritual journey. This is no new undertaking for me to seek a deeper, more meaningful, and more affective/effective spiritual walk through life. But I will proclaim it now that I am onto something bigger and better than I have ever previously experienced (and I have had countless, extremely profound spiritual encounters in past years). I am learning to worship, experience, reflect on, and study and reflect on God in new ways. My mind is yearning for more wisdom and understanding (always) and the door of my mind is leading me down paths of enlightenment that to be honest, I have previously scoffed at and disregarded as “endeavors of a wandering soul.” But now, more than ever, I am understanding what the true nature of God is, and what that means for me and my personal relationships. I plan to share some of my detailed reflections in this blog, but ultimately this is a very personal journey of which most of the fruits will be exhibited in my soul and hopefully spill over into my personal relationships. But I will share some of my ideas and findings along the way.

3. My business plans. Two parts here: essential oils and feather products! My passion for essential oils has thus far been based mainly on the increasing of my knowledge and using them in my own life. I have always known that I wanted to do that first, before being proactive about sharing the good news of essential oils. I have done this a few times with a handful of people but I believe that my potential in this realm is much greater than what I have achieved thus far. Secondly, in the summer of 2011, I began a small business called FeathersAllure which consists of the creation and sales of various feather products. With a remarkable collection of tools and feathers (and multiple streams of friendly donations for feather products), I have it all at my finger tips and its time for me to rebirth this dream and raise it up to its potential! These two arenas of my life will hopefully pay off as I gain momentum in the coming months and years.

4. A shift to the ultimate manifestation of good health. For years I have been discovering what this really means! And to be honest, I think I’m really onto some great things. Where I fall short is in the making it a reality part! But again, I think its part of the process. Educate yourself, research the options, make a conscious decision, set a goal, and… GO! With all the tools at my disposal, its time. Coupled with this, is my goal to lose 40lbs over the course of 2013. I have the organic lifestyle down pretty well, now its time for me to cut out the bad (sugars are my downfall), graft in the nutrient rich, healthful goodies (at 90% or greater of my total intake), and begin the cardio and higher impact physical training that my body is needing so badly after 2 years of pregnancy and 5+ years of chronic back pain. So here goes it!

5. Natural, more sustainable living. Again, here is an area of my life that for a little over two years now, I have become increasingly more interested and knowledgeable in. Of course I have utilized some of the new golden ideas I have learned, but I feel like I am not at my full potential for what it means to be truly earth conscious, more self sustainable, exibit a post consumer lifestyle, and be the minimalist human being that I can be. Things I’d say I have accomplished along this journey so far: cutting out most chemicals via cosmetics, soaps, household products, cloth diapering, minimizing many processed foods, utilizing more natural/holistic remedies, etc. Areas where I would like to improve: becoming more sustainable, eliminating excess waste, discontinuing the indulgence of consumerism as the opportunities present themselves, and growing my own food. YES! I have plans for my own backyard raised bed veggie garden! I have been looking forward to and planning this for months now… all that’s left to do is buy materials and make it happen. I truly look forward to documenting this experience. I hope you do too.

As you can see, I have a lot of things that have been brewing and stewing in my head and I feel that I have the power to make it all happen… and NOW is the time! Enter, my new paradigm shift. I love to discuss and reflect on the paradigm shift that I feel is extremely necessary and inevitable for societies on a global scale, however the only way to be a part of it is to be an actual part of the kinetic energy in my own way. Gandhi said “be the change you want to see in the world” so here’s my feeble attempt. I know I’m capable and I have access to very helpful information, so I cannot let time and BIG blessings distract me from pursuing a life not only worth living but the life I am meant to live. I can’t let my “talents” and knowledge, and dreams slip away. I am on this path that I feel is one that has been predetermined (to a certain degree) for me, and as much as having a family is a huge undertaking in and of itself, I don’t want that to hinder me. I’d rather wholeheartedly pursue my journey and bring the others with me than fade out as the busyness of life ensues.

I hope your paradigm shift is either on its way, or well developed and gaining energy for its greatest manifestation yet. I hope you enjoy joining me on mine! Happy 12.21.12 everyone.

Plans

As a mother of two young babies only 11 months apart, I know that “pressing” articles will be a bit of a challenge! However, its a challenge I’m willing to take on that I feel will be rewarding for myself and hopefully others as well. This will be a great outlet for me and I’m excited to go for it.

With that said, plans….
My goal is to post a minimum of one time per week. I’d eventually like to grow that frequency if time allows, if my desire allows, and if I can get a satisfying fan base.

Topics I would love to write about include but are definitely not limited to the following:
-Products I enjoy that I would love for others to use and why
-Information about the greatness of essential oils (perhaps a monthly featured oil) and how I utilize them in my life
-Health secrets I have discovered
-Thoughts, struggles, and triumphs pertaining to my parenting experience
-My reflections on “politics,” “religion,” nature, science, and what it means to be an outstanding human being
-Various people who inspire me and why
-My deep thoughts about the nature of mankind
-Things I experience in my day to day life that have more meaning than a description of what takes place
-Music that I find enjoyable
-Videos that convey messages I feel are worth watching that convey ideas parallel to or in support of my ideas
-Scientific discoveries and facts that I feel contribute to enhancing my life and understanding or that are just plain fascinating
-My philosophies about life that I’ve developed based on both proven concepts and unproven ideas
-My plans and desires for raising my children up well
-Things I have discovered to be very beneficial in my interpersonal relationships
-Reflections on the meaning of my life, my voluntary decisions, and involuntary tendencies and what I have learned about them

Of course I will continue to add topics as I go along but these are some that I will definitely cover as I go. I hope this gives everyone an idea of what the tone of my blog will be so that they can decide in advance whether or not this is something they want to follow. Over the years, Facebook and other social media sites have left me feeling lacking- probably due to the simple nature of them where simple one liner/headliner statements and photos documenting most mundane things are the focus. I am no shallow person- in fact I am a very deep person. So I pray that I can finally find some solace in taking this blog just exactly where I want it to go: to the depths of other peoples hearts, minds, bodies, and souls. Afterall, we were made to live for so much more… but we lost ourselves. So here’s to finding more profound meaning.

With great anticipation,
Cara Jean