Our family decided to go “off-grid” and live a “sustainable”, “eco”, and “green” life 10 years ago now. When we began our journey, it was about a house – straw bale to be exact…then it became about reclaiming our acreage back to natural prairie and growing our own food. Over the years, we’ve come under much criticism about the semantics of “off-grid” because we don’t live by candlelight and have running water. At the same time, we get criticized because we’re “tree huggers” – Damned if you do – Damned if you don’t.
The definition of sustainable is “the ability to maintain a certain rate or level.” With that said, I think we’ve all gotten it wrong. Someone on life support could be classified as sustained. “Just getting by” is by definition sustainable. Why the hell would anyone ever want to live like that? The sad part is, most people are far from being even that. How does it feel to use the same term for someone on life support to express where you want to get to in life?
The problem with today’s western culture and society, in general, is that everyone is looking externally to fix the problem. My wife and I run a small Natural Skin Care company and quite often people show us all sorts of skin conditions that they are looking to fix. We typically have something to help out, but ultimately we challenge them on their diet. In most cases, their doctor or dermatologist has already told them the same thing, but often for people, it is easier to patch the outside than to make a dramatic dietary change. Eventually, if the root cause isn’t dealt with, the patch won’t hold back what’s really happening inside.
This happens in the rest of our lives as well. While we’re looking at eco-houses and permaculture practices, we’re self-destructing from the inside out. We leverage our health trying to make the rest of our lives look and feel good. Instead of rewriting the story and following our hearts, we try to “patch” into our existing comfort zone those things that resonate with our hearts. We don’t see the infinite possibilities when we align ourselves with our purpose and we try to accomplish everything we want. All the while banks, leasing companies, diet pills, network marketing companies are lining up to patch us over – which holds us to a job we hate just to “maintain” the debt load so we can feel like we’re making a difference when really – we’re not!
My challenge for you isn’t to look at becoming sustainable; instead, I challenge you to think about what you wanted to be as a kid. Where did you see yourself in 20 years? Where do you see yourself in 10 years? What kind of a life do you want to be flourishing in? If you can picture that and begin to take small steps toward it, all of these other things like saving the whales and living off-grid will just happen. Why? Because they will naturally be a manifestation of you being who you are meant to be. A flower isn’t meant to produce just one seed – It blooms so it can shower and replicate the earth many times over – and in every generation that it takes nutrients from the earth, it gives back even greater. This is how our species was meant to live. This is how you were meant to thrive.