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It’s Easy Being Green: We are How we Eat.

Flickr/Stacie

If you’re able to read this, it’s easy being “green”—ecologically aware, carbon conscious and a mindful consumer of goods and services.

You’re both literate and connected to the internet—you have these everyday privileges—do not underestimate the power of these basic facts. You may not be the smartest or the richest, but you are educated and wealthy.

Being green is more than merely checking off a list of sustainable to-dos: canvas grocery bags (check), recycle and compost (check), conserve water and electricity (check).

Green is the color of the heart chakra—it is soothing, calming, the color of love, generosity, kindness and friendship.

Green is the main thread of the plant kingdom, from tiny blades of grass to towering trees.

Being green means living from the heart, close to the earth.

We are not only what we eat, but we’re also how we eat—so chew with mindfulness and gratitude. Slow down. Savor more.

Don’t be concerned with labels. There are so many ways we can label our dietary choices: raw, paleo, gluten-free, sattvic, vegan, vegetarian, pescatarian, carnivore, omnivore. It doesn’t need to be a dilemma. I’m a devoted flexitarian myself. The flexitarian might be all of the above—or some, or none. We eat and consume from a variety of sources. Though we strive to be peacemakers who do no harm, we may occasionally eat delicious cheesy pizza and indulge in two scoops of dark chocolate ice cream, in a waffle cone, without apology.

Being green is living off-the-grid and opting out of the system of corporate consumption. Being green is supporting local, independent businesses, farmers’ markets and second-hand shops.

Aim for simplicity. Minimize possessions. Streamline obligations and commitments. Simplify your life. Put things into your body and mind with mindfulness. Soul food.

Being green is coming as close to zero waste as possible. Managing our trash has become mandatory. For the past few years, we have lived without municipal trash pickup (in rural Guatemala) and have therefore gotten quite skilled at reducing our trash. It’s about what you buy—choosing the plain and simple, unpackaged produce over the saran-wrapped eggplant or the mushrooms on a bed of styrofoam.

Being green is living in harmony with the laws of nature and principles of permaculture—balance, intelligence and following the wisdom of nature.

Being green is giving up certain luxuries for the benefit of our planet.

What goes in will come out. What we put into our bodies and minds will come out the other end, as it were. This is the reality of our digestive and creative processes.

Being green is being open and willing to learn anew—willing to unlearn mindless habits of over-consumption, seeking contentment through possessions and supporting malicious corporations through our purchases.

Being green is shifting into a new paradigm of us. We don’t need to save the world—we are the world.

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Relephant:

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Author: Michelle Margaret Fajkus

Editor: Yoli Ramazzina

Photo: Flickr/Stacie

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Michelle Margaret Fajkus

Michelle Margaret is a heart-centered writer, teacher and creator of Yoga Freedom.

She has been a columnist on Elephant Journal since 2010 and has self-published inspiring books. She incorporates dharma, hatha, yin, mindfulness, chakras, chanting and pranayama into her teachings and practice. A former advertising copywriter and elementary school teacher, she is now a freelance writer and translator. Michelle learned yoga from a book at age 12 and started teaching at 22. She met the Buddha in California at 23 and has been a student of the dharma ever since. Michelle is now approaching her forties with grace and gratitude.

Join Michelle for a writing and yoga retreat this summer at magical Lake Atitlan in the western highlands of Guatemala! https://yogafreedom.org/group-retreats/