Choosing to live a more sustainable life makes you slow down and think. Modern life seems to have been designed to make everything “easy” and without thought, and that’s good right? I don’t always think so. By living sustainably and adding in homesteading and permaculture practices, you start to take time to look around and notice things. You question why you do things a certain way and wonder if you could do it differently in a more conscious way.
Buying paper towels always felt like an essential, something we could never be without. Well that proved not to be the case. Once we questioned needing them, we soon found that we don’t. We have not been using paper towels for almost two years. Instead we use old dish cloths or other reusable options.
We also started to be more mindful with our food and how we use it. We used to just buy a bunch of stuff we thought we would eat. Like big bags of carrots. We realized we would only use two or so for a recipe and then the rest would go to waste. In slowing down and being conscious, we acknowledge the food we have and find creative ways to use it. Sometimes that means altering a recipe or not going with our sudden craving and running to the store. We also enjoy finding ways to use the parts of food we used to consider trash. We have used banana peels for fertilizer, we’ve pickled watermelon rinds, and made all purpose cleaner with citrus peels.
In living this intentional lifestyle we have also learned to appreciate what we have around us. Foraging has become a new fascination and we are constantly looking to add new plants to our list that we can identify and can use. There is so much food and many healing plants around us that we were never taught to pay attention to. Like dandelions. Dandelions have many edible and medicinal uses. You can eat the entire plant, root, leaves, and flower. The leaves are a good addition to salads, while the roots can be made into a coffee substitute, and have you ever heard of battered and fried dandelion flowers? You can look to dandelions to help with all sorts of things such as digestion problems, skin wounds, boosting your immune system, and so much more. They are worth an internet search.
One day while harvesting dandelions for a jam, words started to flow in…
“Do you ever feel like a dandelion?
There's nothing wrong with you, and you're just doing what you're supposed to.
Growing how you're supposed to grow, and blooming and being beautiful.
And yet everyone sees you as a problem, or a pest. A weed.
Not wanting you here.
You didn't choose to be here. You were just placed where the universe placed you.
You did your best to put in your roots and grow, as tall as you can.
And yet people keep cutting you down.
But on the flip side, just like a dandelion you are strong and persistent.
People cannot get rid of you.
You stand your ground.
It's not easy.
But then one day, someone will come along and see all of your beautiful properties and all you have to offer.
From your roots, to your leaves, to your petals.
And they’ll want you around. And they’ll admire you, and be grateful for you, and thankful for you for all that you are.
For you just to be, for your existence.”
Living this way does go against the norm. For a lot of us, we were not taught these things, we have to seek them out and take time to learn them. To those of you who do, we commend you for taking the time, daring to be different, daring to live the life you desire, and being authentically you. Because we need you! Even one small change in your daily life can make a difference.