I’ve realized more and more recently just how far our cultural views of “normal” behavior have become skewed from what is natural. Truthfully, if I had posted this sort of information a hundred years ago, everyone would have looked at me funny for stating the obvious. Nowadays, some of the natural practices I’ve implemented in my life become topics of hot debate and I feel as if I’ve had to “come out of the closet” as a hippie. Unfortunately, that is a loaded word that harbors stereotypes of people who don’t shower, or wear weird clothing, or the worst, believe that anyone who lives differently is horrible and wrong.
In all actuality, this couldn’t be further from the truth. I make changes to my own life because I believe they are right for me. I do get excited, and I do want to tell people about them, but it is never in a tone of condescension or judgement. Many times people will become defensive, and try to explain their decisions, or even offensive, doling out all the reasons I’m wrong, but when it comes down to it, I just want to share how my life has been changed.
My most important first change was getting rid of television. I didn’t think it would make that large a difference, but it did! I had time now—time to read, time to talk, time to think. Then my mind completely cleared. I started to see how useless and flimsy all the stuff that looked so great on TV actually was. Instead of knowing more about fictional people’s relationships than my own, I started to have actual relationships and took the time to develop them.
Then came simplicity, which at the time knocked me out of my chair; I had never known that life could be like that: simple and slow. And it led to everything: a cleaner home, a better relationship with my husband, more time, more money.
Then I realized I could do more. I could use simplicity to take care of my body and my mind in a way that I didn’t think possible. Simplifying my food led me to whole foods. I want to emphasize that my understanding of whole foods is not necessarily expensive, organic foods sold exclusively at farmers’ markets—it is instead foods at their basic level: no additives or mixtures, simple whole fruits, vegetables, meat, grains, spices, etc. Your body craves natural foods. When I started implementing these diet changes, my body felt better because I was giving it what it needed, not what my television told me it needed.
I went even further to realize that I could clean differently. I didn’t need 30 different cleaners for every surface of my home; soap and water worked just as well. I learned about disposability and started using handkerchiefs and hand towels instead of tissues and paper towels. I’ve even gone so far as to stop using toxic shampoo (yes, shampoo is toxic) and implemented a baking soda/apple cider vinegar system to clean my hair.
There is still a lot for me to learn. Because my husband and I are trying to start our family, I’ve been researching a lot about natural childbirth and green parenting practices like cloth diapering, attachment parenting, and co-sleeping (and homeschooling for the distant, distant future). If any of my readers have practical advice or tips about this, I would love to hear it.
I mostly just want to lend encouragement to people who are breaking out of what is “normal” to get back to what is natural. It is difficult and comes with a lot of criticism, but it is worth it! Even if you’re not ready to jump in with both feet, just make one change (eg watch less television or eat more whole foods) and you’ll see how it impacts your life for the better.