As night closes in on this first day with theselightfootsteps, I am unsure where this venture will take me. However, I feel optimistic about making some major life changes and using this venue as a way to share them.
I will use this blog as an outlet to connect with others who share my dream of living a life of balance (with nature, spirit, meaningful work, rest) and to provide support, guidance, education, and inspiration as I ponder what it means and how it is possible to break free from captivity.
What do I mean by “captivity”?
While I in no way mean to trivialize the situation of persons who truly live in confinement or inescapable situations, I have observed similar patterns of behavior and health problems in the animals I have watched as a zoo scientist and within our culture at large. Although many of us in the Western world are technically free to do as we choose, there are major institutional and psychological blocks that prevent us from living the lives that our hearts most desire. As I write this, I know that my calling is to live simply, to create the Earth of the post-oil age, and to share this dream and my love of nature with others. However, it is a serious struggle to take my first steps outside of the model that I have grown up with — what will it look like, what if it doesn’t work, how will I always make sure that my basic needs are met?
But what if I don’t?
Should I continue to live in a system that dictates my time and where I spend the majority of my life’s energy? Will I end up with the same chronic diseases of Western Civilization that we share with our ape relatives in zoos — diseases which are likely to be caused by improper diet, sedentary lifestyles, and stress that are the trademarks of “captivity”? Should I carry on in my current haze in hopes that my future will be better? Why don’t I begin living my authentic life this very moment?
And really, this is what we all need to do. People like to talk about the little changes we can do to make the world “greener” and to offset environmental catastrophes. Although behavioral modifications like recycling and switching to CFLs are good, I don’t think they will be enough. We really need to change the way we live and approach life — for the sake of the planet, our future as humans, and for our individual health and well-being.
This will not be an all-at-once affair for me, but I intend to take my commitment to living a more authentic, balanced life to the next level starting now. In the process, I’ll share some of the projects I’ve already begun, new ones that arise, and what other people are doing (especially locally around Cleveland, OH) to live alternatively and in ways that promote the health of our planet.