By Mary Beth Janssen | MindBody Health & Sustainability Expert, Author
“Our personal consumer choices have ecological, social, and spiritual consequences. It is time to re-examine some of our deeply held notions that underlie our lifestyles.”
I’ve been given the opportunity to share my take on “green” here. So I’m going to riff on the true meaning of green from this one woman’s perspective–that of an organic farmgirl, deep ecologist, as well as life-long advocate of mindbody health, and voluntary simplicity. Oh sure, practically speaking, living green means we assess our energy consuming lifestyle and determine our eco-footprint, so that we can lower our output of greenhouse gas emissions into the environment. But let me propose a different slant and the real beginning point for getting your green on… Raise your spiritual footprint, and you’ll automatically lower your eco-footprint. Read on, dear friends!
My approach to “green” may be atypical of much that is floating out there in the ether. For me, the green approach begins with our consciousness–specifically our attention and intention. I could do yet another top ten list here of ways to go green (Not to besmirch them mind you, because they have a valuable place in all this!), but unless you begin from a place of exquisite presence, and fervent intention to travel the green, sustainable, organic pathway, chances are that this may simply be one more “resolution” that falls by the wayside, or that you half-heartedly engage in. For me “green” living begins with spirit–with our soul’s deepest yearnings. Spirit is the changemaker in our lives guiding us in making the most life-affirming choices possible. We but only need to listen. To use our sixth sense. To become the witness to our actions. So my post here really is about an idea that no doubt could fix the world, if we could create a collective consciousness surrounding this. But know that the intent and action begins with you. Energy follows intention (and I’m not talking about CO2!). “Think globally, but act locally” and “pollution begins at home,” have never rung more true. If you take those important steps in your own microcosm of the world to reduce, recycle, reuse, repurpose, etc…. it is affecting the macrocosm or the greater good. That becomes your green legacy–of leaving Mother Earth, or Gaia, a measure healthier, richly diverse and more vibrant, after you’ve left this earthly plane.
This is in essence about the spirit of green—and at its root, the inspirational message for people to realize that their inner-world creates their outer-world. And as our inner world becomes more expansive–or an amplified spiritual footprint, if you will–then our eco-footprint finds its natural balance. And there is a beautiful dance going on between them at all times. We can set out to have the best intentions in the world, however, if these intentions do not spring from a deep connection to spirit, than our sense of purpose in taking good care of the earth and all living sentient beings, may be blunted, stunted, or for naught.
This heart-centered and soulful approach nurtures great positivity and optimism. True optimism arises from a deep place inside. It comes from a real connection to our higher self. And as we all know, during these challenging times, it’s imperative that we (as a society) maintain a positive frame of mind.
In An Inconvenient Truth, Al Gore stated that if everyone in the world used our natural resources the way Americans do, we would need 5.6 planets! Where does this insanity come from? From a lack of consciousness, naturally. So therefore, let us focus on exquisitely raising our consciousness toward ecologically sound “green” living though a variety of practices and rituals, with meditation being primary. As we embrace mindfulness every moment of every day, with senses finely tuned to what we’re thinking, doing, being, deep transformation takes place.
This is why I am such a huge proponent of the yogic way. In my eyes, it is the best technology on the planet to nurture and support your inner, thus outer self. As yoga teaches us to be internally compassionate, calm, cool, and connected then the world around you will reflect that same energy. Sustainability of self, community and planet become a true path, calling and possibility. It becomes our dharma.
The Sustainability Era
Now from a practical stance, “green” has become a metaphor for all things sustainable, organic, ethical, and certainly health and safety oriented.
I’ve actually heard it said that “green is the new black.” Socioculturally, there has been a tremendous quickening in “all things green,” over the past several years—coinciding with many factors. These include mass extinction of species, natural disasters on a global level, environmental degradation, diminishing natural resources (including petroleum), deep, troubling economic instability, release of the aforementioned “An Inconvenient Truth,” environmental stewardship within our religious institutions, as well as tremendous media attention to this matter.
Sustainability and sustainable management have become the clarion call of our times. Along with the spiritual, health and social justice aspects of greening our life—economic downturn on a global level has had a resounding impact on “greening” the business sector as well, with green business websites, journals, and consultants springing up like daisies worldwide.
The “Wellness” Quotient
An integral aspect of this conversation involves remembering our “wholeness.” Wholeness is where we weave together mind, body, sprit and environment—creating a sense of balance and well-being. Large numbers of us seek to manage the stressors in our lives and engage with healing influences that will create a sense of wholeness. The sustainability movement is an integral part of this.
Naturally, this concept of “conscious care” speaks to what we call “sustainability of self,” an important precept for any one of us to understand and engage in our lives. Radical self-care is first and foremost of the “SustainAbility” parameters for living our life. As we exquisitely care for our selves, as we nurture our selves–mind, body, and soul, we’re better able to care for and nurture others, and care for Mother Earth.
So again, the Green Spirit may be embodied through a yogic perspective–which at its core is the path to joyful living. “Green” Yoga shares those practices that nurture and support our INvironment as we strive to help the ENvironment. It grounds us in our universality, our divinity, and the interconnectedness of the whole of life. It teaches us how we need to conserve resources so that we may sustain ourselves through trying times. You may want to consider visiting the Green Yoga association at greenyoga.org for additional inspiration.
I appreciate being able to share with you, and deep gratitude to Sibu Beauty for the opportunity. There’s plenty here to contemplate for now. We can delve deeper into the subject at a future date. With green being the color of the heart chakra–our center of love and compassion, “green” love to you all!
This is an excerpt from Mary Beth’s newest book project Raising Your Spiritual Footprint: A Yogic Perspective (copyright Mary Beth Janssen)
Mary Beth Janssen is a highly respected beauty and wellness educator who conducts seminars, workshops, and retreats worldwide. She writes for several media outlets, notably as the “Ask the Organic Beauty Expert” columnist for Organic Spa Magazine, a publication dedicated to the sustainable side of life – be that spa and wellness, food and fitness, or design and décor. Mary Beth’s most current book is Pleasure Healing: Mindful Practices and Sacred Spa Rituals for Self Nurturing (New Harbinger). You may contact her at MBJF@aol.com.