I walk barefooted on the earth every day, soak up the sunshine, and usually watch the sunset (I’m working on rising in time for the sunrise!). Most of my meals come from a fruit tree, I grow some food wherever I am, and I trust in my natural immune system. I use a car only once or twice a week, I prioritize local community connections and businesses, I frequently have relaxed spontaneous chats with my neighbors around town, I make time to express my love for my family and friends, and I put people before profits. I listen to experts but I rely on my own inner guidance system.
I love nature more than stuff, but I prefer tangible stuff over things on the internet ‘cloud.’ I use a paper appointment calendar, which I write on with colored pens. I like to mail hand-written cards and letters to people, and I decorate the envelopes and sometimes use stickers. My partner and I hold hands a lot, and we say ‘I love you’ every day. I love deep conversations about meaningful ideas. I treasure a slow pace and plenty of connection time. I decorate our home with beautiful images of hearts, animals, and nature, and fill it with beautiful music often. I love to be playful and creative, and I hug my kids with my whole heart every chance I get.
I avoid ‘smart’ appliances and extra-fancy technology with bells and whistles. I prefer the older washers and dryers without the digital ‘mother-boards,’ and I line-dry my laundry most of the time. Nearly all of my clothes come from thrift stores, and most of our furnishings, too. I love long daily soaks in a hot tub. I make my ‘office’ in the fresh air, surrounded by trees and birds. I make a living by living my life and sharing my gifts, my discoveries, and my homesteads. And I ‘make money’ by living simply and buying less. I love tiny-houses, camping, compost toilets and outdoor showers. I prefer cash and barter, and I have invested a bit in real, physical gold and silver.
And I’ve noticed something….it seems like the more complex, ‘advanced’ and hyper-technological our world becomes, the more people long for a simpler, more grounded way of life. As helpful as it can be, I don’t think technology will ever be capable of meeting or satisfying most of our most basic natural hungers. And the core problem is that in our busy, glassy-eyed technology hypnosis, we lose sight of what it really means to live a human life, in the most direct and spiritual sense.
I find it deeply sad to witness the level of disconnection that pervasively represents the lifestyle choices of today. And I’m not surprised that more and more people are looking for ways to ‘exit the system,’ and reclaim a sense of sovereignty and true connections. The tiny-house, natural health, and back-to-the-land movements are growing exponentially now. The more poisoned, out of touch and institutionalized our political, food, financial, health, science, and educational systems become, the more urgently people are remembering the beauty and necessity of our more old-fashioned, human-centered ways.
It is looking like we are going to have to take a real stand to preserve some of these ways of life. Ironically, despite all the recently hyped-up political and media lip-service to sustainability goals, the old-fashioned notion that natural food from our own gardens, or from local organic farmers will sustain our health better than any configuration of ‘conventional’ or processed foods and pharmaceuticals, is not a funded platform. There is seemingly boundless research money directed to developing drugs and new technology, yet very little for bringing practical, naturally available and often simple solutions back to the forefront. In fact, doctors today are incentivized to quickly suggest drugs and surgeries, rather than to first give basic, healthy-lifestyle prescriptions.
If someone wants to make a smaller, more sustainable footprint by sharing their land or house with others, or by building a very small home with natural materials, planting a front yard full of food, using a compost toilet, or a gray-water system instead of a septic field or city water hookup - or by living off-the-grid entirely - there are layers upon layers of complex restrictions and bureaucratic red tape for them to reckon with. I know, because I have done many of these things, often under the radar. Even the choice to homeschool our own kids is forever becoming more regulated.
These days, attempting to live by ‘old-fashioned’ values is not for the feint of heart! Just in the last couple of years, it required an extra special brand of courage for people to choose simple, tried-and-true, timeless and sustainable natural health principles over the latest rushed-to-market covid shots that were being so aggressively pushed on the whole world. We were all told it was ‘the only way through the pandemic’ - unsurprisingly, it didn’t work…it couldn’t ever work. “Nature’s laws can’t be broken, only proven,” as my colleague Doug Graham is fond of saying.
I am inspired by people who know how to take care of themselves, and the things they use. People who know how to grow their own food and medicine. People who make a sufficient living without giving up their preferred way of life. I am inspired by my own strides toward freeing myself from systems and institutions that are cumbersome, inefficient, and much worse. I feel best when I am generous with what I have manifested, and I love when I am able to co-create reciprocal relationships in which we help each other with the basics of life without necessarily needing to exchange any money.
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Living in a small town with walkable close-knit neighborhoods and an old-style downtown has facilitated easy sharing and relating, in a friendly climate where many neighbors grow some food year-round, and are often seen outdoors. There is something I love about the relaxed vibe in southern climates. So, I don’t have to work as hard here to connect with neighbors, live simply, and grow food. But the fact that people everywhere are doing whatever it takes to forge simpler, more connected, more grounded, more resilient lifestyles is a testament to what the un-indoctrinated human spirit really wants.
As the corporate monopolies grow ever bigger and more centralized, the top-down dictates become ever more limiting, condescending and downright harmful, and endless new technologies and agendas seriously threaten everything sacred and human…a powerful movement is quickly gaining momentum to regenerate the old-fashioned, human-scaled, resilient ways of the not-so-distant past.
I think that things have tipped so far out of balance now, that preserving our most basic knowledge and natural wisdom has become the most urgent task at hand. I think of it not as going backwards, but simply going ‘truth-wards.’ We must not lose sight of what makes us human, what we hold sacred, what makes us feel good inside and out, and what our hearts tell us is true. ‘Old-fashioned’ values are the new leading-edge, because they remind us of what is most important…and when we all remember this, I am confident that things can sort themselves out in the most beautiful ways.
I think this is my favorite submission so far. Regeneration over sustainability is nature's personality!
Very well said, Ellen - thanks! not going backward, going truth-ward!