There are joys that summer brings that don’t change no matter what is happening in the rest of the world: flowers bloom, Michiana waters get warmer and more welcoming, and fresh, local food is everywhere.
There are opportunities to address issues that can change what is happening in the world: to respect and support one another, to enjoy and conserve our natural resources, and to invest in local businesses and others that support our values.
There are community-building activities that don’t expose us to dangerous situations for ourselves and others: gardening, virtual meetings and events, and connecting with loved ones in our households.
In this time of change and divisiveness about issues from health to economic investment to equity and justice, it is a challenge to remain hopeful. These short lists of joys are some of the ways I have embraced the past few months. It has become more clear to me what is important, what I really enjoy doing, and clarified how I want the world to be. While large impacts may feel out of control, I can control myself and talk with and influence those around me with my words and actions.
This is what I have, and it is what you have, too: the ability to control our reactions to the world in a way that fosters peace, confidence, and positive influences. Troubling times are stressful in ways we never imagined, affecting our emotions, sleep cycles, and eating habits.
The following are some of the things I have been practicing. I hope that they inform and inspire you, and that you will share your own ideas and responses so I can learn and do more as well.
- Growing my own: Vegetables, that is! Our community garden has been a source of soil therapy, a chance to interact with others outdoors at safe distances, and to enjoy fresh, healthy, super-local food. It provides me with exercise and a social life, it enriches the soil and beautifies my neighborhood, and it saves me money – a triple bottom line win!
- Skipping the bag: When I do go to the grocery, because many stores are not allowing customers to bring their own bags to use, I have been practicing a brilliant tips learned from Andrea Rogers of Grass Roots Media. I simply skip the bag and ask for the items to be put back in the cart. Then, I wheel it outside and put my purchases into my own bags! So far, no one has balked at this request and I have continued to reduce my consumption of single use plastic items.
- Pedaling around town: while this is nothing new for me, it has been delightful to see so many people bicycling our city paths, lanes, and roads. Active transportation is a good exercise and a great stress reliever, a unique way to see the sights, and fun in a time when fun can seem hard to find.
Now it’s your turn – what are you doing to bring balance to our planet, people, and to ensure prosperity? Let’s rethink and respond for a more sustainable future!