Shop and Help the Planet

At first glance, the title of this post may appear as a contradiction; how can you recommend consumerism as a way of helping the planet?  It is more about recognizing our individual needs when shopping.  It means that before we make a purchase we evaluate it from four sides – the financial side, the economics side, the giving side,and the environmental side.  How is that?  Just simple, by ensuring that you make the absolute best of your purchase. This is how I am learning to live my life now. 

The Financial Aspect – It is as easy as asking yourself if you can afford the item without going into debt.  It is for your ultimate financial well being, and your family’s financial health.  If you have to charge it or cannot pay it by the end of the month, when the bill comes, then don’t buy it.  Another application to this side is by evaluating your need for the purchase – do I need this? Do I already own a version of it?  Do I really need another pair of stilettos or should I cushion my savings or emergency fund this time? 

The Economics Aspect – Think of the Country you live in.  Purchase goods that are made in your country.  Stimulate the economy that way, by supporting the small Mom and Pops, local businesses and farmers, and by buying homemade.

The Giving Aspect – There are companies that will give a portion of the purchase price of a product to a good cause.  See if you can choose products that contribute to a good cause. 
In addition, before discarding something, see if you can find someone who needs it and give it to that person.   

The Environmental Aspect – This is about reducing – reusing – recycling – repurposing.  Thinking of other ways to use items or repurpose items can be fun.  It fuels your creativity.  In addition, it gives things a second chance. Buy from antique shops or flea markets.  If you don’t want to spend money at all, you can visit the free section on Craigslist, eBay classifieds, or local newspaper, and you will be amazed at the amount of free goodies.  
You will be preventing these things from ending up in the landfills.  Whether you use these items for yourself or transform/alter them to resell, you are helping the environment. 

Next time, before you head up to do some shopping, see if you can incorporate one or more of these steps into your shopping agenda.

Take the road less traveled and make a difference.

The Power of Change

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I have met people who do not like change.  They simply don’t like things around them to be different, whether change is for the better or not.  There is risk in change – the unknown.  For some people, this is scary; simply put, they prefer the known to the unknown.  The known comforts them.

I welcome change, whether good or bad, if there is such a thing as bad change.  I believe that when we see our circumstances to be changing for the worst, it is just a matter of perception.  Change always bring something new and different.  With this, it brings the opportunity for new challenges, growth, and new lessons.  It brings the chance – requested or unrequested – of creating something new of the experience or change.  In a way, change is creation.  Change is always forward, even when it is perceived as a step backwards.

Some people may disagree with me on this.  For example, if you were to lose everything you own, you would perceive this as a negative change in your life.  However, this could be the best opportunity for you to start anew, to create a second life, an exciting opportunity.  Yes, no one thinks of being in that situation, and I don’t know of anyone that would consciously welcome it; however, many people in today’s economy have gone thru similar change.  The perception of this change is what will make them powerless or powerful individuals.  This is the power of change.

Designing Your Life Map

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I have to admit that I love lists.  Yeah, I make all kinds of lists.  Therefore, to me, goal setting comes natural, it’s been like that for long.  I find that most things that I put in writing somehow get done, or play it that way – even when I think I have forgotten about them.  One thing that I have indulged on recently, is creating a life map.  This is not with the purpose of tracking or carving each step on stone, but more as a fun way to visualize the things that I would like to carry out and showcase my interests at a particular stage of life.  We all know that interests change and it is important to allow these changes.

Your life map can be an inspirational tool and it can include pictures or take the shape of an actual map that you create – this is the fun part.  It can also follow a timeline or a series of steps – just as a treasure map would.  I find it makes goal setting more interesting and helps you focus as you look at it everyday and see the big picture plastered in front of you.  It is the inspiration to do what you have to do everyday – what you know you have to do – even when people around you may not understand it as you do.

Next time you sit down to check or write some goals , try this method and see how you like it.

Simplifying Your Life

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Simplifying your life may sound easier than done.  That is because when we decide to (truly) simplify our lives, the process has percolated in the spiritual sense.  Something has happened on the inside that is starting to manifest on the outside.  The truth is that we do not recognize this; we just feel the desire of simplifying our material lives and this is where we usually start.  Suddenly, we start decluttering our home and environments in which we spend most of our time.  We declutter our desk, closets, attic … and the healing begins.  This is necessary to make space on our cluttered minds and hearts to welcome the things that are needed for our healing.  This is a personal process, for some people, it takes longer than for others, and you arrive at this cleansing stage on your own terms and in different circumstances.  The important issue is that you arrive and let the growth begin.

What started as material decluttering suddenly transforms into spiritual decluttering as well, and the path’s design is personal – unique to you.  Each one of us are here on a journey – whether a short or long journey.  Many times, people watching you from the outside do not understand this much-needed cleansing and may think that you are going nuts, even try to dissuade you to hold on to your stuff – “Get a storage space,” they will suggest, “You will be sorry you got rid of that one day,” and some other similar remarks.  However, it is up to you – it is always up to you to continue your journey.