Acceptance. And shampoo…
Ever feel like you’re not getting where you want to go fast enough? Maybe you feel guilty and shameful when others appear to be doing more than you? This blog is not about shaming. It’s about acceptance. And it’s about shampoo…
As I washed my hair with an organic, locally produced, plastic-packaging-free, toxin-free shampoo bar this morning (still not shaming! – keep reading…) I took a moment to reflect on my relationship with shampoo and the journey we’ve been on together. It’s one thread in the larger tapestry of sustainable living – a conscious intent to live more lightly on this earth and restore harmony between myself and the natural world that I’m a part of. A return to simplicity and care for all living things.
Making changes in our lives isn’t just about WHAT we do, it’s about HOW we go about it. The reason that Kon Mari’s method for decluttering tends to be sustainable (rather than houses returning to clutter-mode) is the psychological aspect. She invites us to be conscious about our emotional attachment to material possessions.
By slowing down and breathing space into our busy lives we are able to be more mindful about WHY we do things. This acknowledgment is the first step towards change. We can then accept what has been and find the necessary clarity on what happens moving forwards.
The same is true of my journey with shampoo. I used to use shampoo in plastic bottles that had traveled a long way to get to me, clocking up a big carbon footprint, and that contained ingredients that were toxic to me and the environment. I was creating enough space in my life at the time to notice when this stopped feeling okay. I had some pretty uncomfortable feelings as my complicity in poisoning the planet, myself included, became apparent. But embracing those feelings was the only way to move through them to the change that was necessary and to sense what action felt possible for me in that moment.
This point is really crucial. One of the Four Agreements laid out by Don Miguel Ruiz (well worth a look if you haven’t heard of them before) is “always do your best”. This isn’t about always striving to be the best, it’s much more permission giving than that. It’s about accepting that your best changes in any given moment.
The best I could do in that moment was find a shampoo that was less toxic to the environment, so I switched to an organic one. It was a baby step. And I’ve taken a series of baby steps since then. Each one was made possible by slowing down and becoming more conscious of why I do the things I do. Acknowledging, accepting and taking action. Trusting my process and respecting my limitations.
The other night I was sharing some troubling information I’d recently learnt about air travel to a friend. Her response was “you’re really going to hate me for flying to Australia then!” I can’t hate her for being where she is on her journey. I trust that she is doing her best, and that her best is changing with each moment that passes. And that if and when she feels change is necessary, she will take action that is right for her in that moment, which may be the first step in a long line of baby steps.
Trust that you are exactly where you’re supposed to be.
Believe that you are always doing your best and that your best is enough.
Create space for yourself to breathe and just be. What emerges in those moments is a gift. Acknowledge the wisdom, accept it fully, and find the action that is right for you in that moment.
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