April: A Deep Breath and a Pause

It’s April. The strawberries we planted last fall have been uncovered and are green, I see hints of our herb garden coming back to life, and the sun shines on warmer days. Adam and I exhale.

It’s been a long winter.

When we first conceived our idea of Fasting for a Year, we didn’t actually think we would also conceive a child at the same time. God has a funny way of working out these things, and though both had been desires of our hearts, for some reason we didn’t believe both would be a reality at the same time.

So here we are, continuing our practice to become more loving, more ethical, more compassion and kindness filled….while being pregnant and experiencing all the changes that come with readying ourselves to welcome a new life to the world.

Thankfully, I’m well into the second trimester, and the sickness and fatigue of the first are slowly passing away. I feel renewed by the hope of spring and feel like I can now truly take part in our goals for the year.

And once again, we’ve revisited these goals of ours. We’ve had small successes and failures over the last month. We finally finished up going through our possessions on the top floor and have working vanity in our bathroom. We almost went the whole month without eating factory farmed meat. And, well, we didn’t finish the bathroom off, again. In light of our ups and downs, we are still tweaking what it means to do this for a whole year. Here’s our biggest takeaway this far:

It is far more encouraging to think of how we can be loving than think of how we can be avoiding.

All of our goals were previously phrased in a negative tone. We won’t do this, we shouldn’t do that, etc. And to be honest, that kind of thinking has bogged us down. I’m not saying we never should think about the negative goals of how we would like to stop doing things; indeed that is a crucial part to examining our lives. However, we can take these negative goals and rephrase them into what we want to achieve, taking on a positive mindset.

The last thing I’d like for any reader to feel is destructive criticism and anger for their life choices. Rather, this blog should be a place of love and encouragement, because as I read recently:

We don’t need a bunch of people doing zero waste perfectly. We need a bunch of people doing it imperfectly.

So for the rest of the year, Adam and I will be focusing on how our goals can be encouraging ourselves and others on our journey toward a better lifestyle. Let me give you a small snapshot of what this looks like.

20190409_073218Here is our bathroom vanity. We’ve made so many changes over the last few years that has helped the environment and other people. We began by replacing liquid soap in a plastic container for a natural bar soap. Then we switched our toothpaste to a more natural product without chemicals. Next we ditched our plastic toothbrushes in favor of biodegradable wood. Then we found silk floss in a glass container.

We still have a ways to go here. My tongue scraper is cracked and will be replaced with a metal one soon. Our toothpaste will go through another upgrade to a product in a glass container. But the point is we didn’t do all of these things over night. We did them one by one over a couple years, and each change has brought more peace, more kindness to the world.

So our goals now (based on the original seven):

Food: support local growers and businesses. This means choosing to eat at locally owned restaurants, especially ones that purchase ingredients from local sources. In addition, it means sourcing as much as we can from farmer’s markets and other local vendors.

Waste: maintain the 4 bin system and continue to be critical about what is going in that system. In addition, build a compost system to recycle waste into soil amendments.

Clothing: continue to seek out only ethically made clothing and/or purchase second hand clothes. This is getting tricky with maternity clothing, but we are being creative. We will also lift up companies we purchase from about the good they are doing.

Possessions: there are many new products entering our house as we get ready for baby. So our adjusted mindset is how to be efficient and effective with what we have and being honest about what we can do without.

Media: the time limit hasn’t worked. So instead of being upset over a number of minutes spent on social media, we are taking a few breaths before logging on to think about what else we could be doing with our time. I’ve termed them “10 minute projects”.

Spending: we still want to save several thousand dollars and give money away and such, but we realized that there is an ebb and flow of fasting and feasting. So stick to the budget, but also have one small feasting day every two months to celebrate progress made.

Sabbath: this is still a must and still something we haven’t figured out how to do. The new amendment is our Sabbath can take place on either Saturday or Sunday.

As we’ve spent the last week mulling over our adjusted goals, we find ourselves feeling more encouraged and more challenged than before. We are excited to share what is going to happen over the rest of the year. We feel invigorated to try again.

And that’s what hope is really about sometimes, the courage to try again.

What will you try?

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