Sustainability asks me first to listen, to be present where I am. Only from this point of mindfulness can I connect with the needs around me and act in health supporting ways with the environment.

Although it can draw attention to “problems”, sustainability is not about remaining angry, berating, or judging anyone, including myself. It asks me instead to forgive and focus on forward movement; letting go of what has been done “wrong” and seek to implement new ideas.

In listening with a quiet mind (good luck! 😉 ) and open heart, I can hear inspiration and ideas for how to live in a healthy, respectful relationship with the Earth.

When I have a become focused on a problem or concern, I ask what needs to be seen, changed, and/or healed. Maybe my perspective needs to shift, or I need more information, or there could be a direct action step for me to take.

For a couple of years my focus was on diet. I read Michael Pollen, Barbara Kingsolver, and other books on the environment and diet. I read about Veganism, Raw Food, and the Paleo diet. They were all great but in direct contradiction with one another. How could I choose which way was best for me to eat when they were each convincing in their case for nutrient density and low environmental impact?

When I let go of trying to strictly follow one single diet, I was guided in an unexpected direction – to raise my own meat. Well, this was odd to me because I had been dwelling on the impacts of meat raising on the environment and was imagining the only way around that was to be a vegan! Yet what my question and concern for sustainability showed me was that in raising my own meat I was directly influencing my impact on the environment. I didn’t need to give up meat to reduce negative impacts of the industrial meat system. I could simply shift my relationship with meat and the way that I interacted with the process.

Since raising meat will start out slow and eventually grow and build on itself, I am still eating meat from the grocery store. Ideally I would be eating meat from local farmers. But here is where I forgive myself, knowing that I am making a change, one deep enough to directly influence the lives of my children and how they interact with the Earth.

Sustainability asks me to listen, to forgive, and to take action in new directions that meet my needs, and in ways that are in a reciprocal relationship with the Earth. Soon, I will not only be trying rabbit meat for the first time, but I will be fertilizing my garden with rabbit manure. Growing healthy produce and flowers will feed the bees who in turn feed us through pollination. Everything is connected and I only hope to be useful rather than harmful.

Asking, listening, forgiving, and enacting all keep me feeling connected to the Earth in a meaningful and sustainable way. I will keep you posted on how the rabbit meat turns out.