Tag Archives: Earth

5 ways to live simply

“It is exhilarating to be reminded here that the real meaning of simplicity is singling out what is worth living for, and then shaping our lives around what matters and letting go of everything else.” Eknath Easwaran

When I first started thinking of resolutions for the new year, habits that I wanted to instill, routines I wanted to make a part of my life, one of the first things that popped into my head was that I really want to live as much of a natural and organic lifestyle as possible. However, I didn’t really have a game plan to take on this challenge. I told myself I’d eat healthier and use reusable shopping bags as much as possible. Little did I know that living a natural life encompassed a lot more than just using reusable shopping bags.

Luckily as the year went on, I’ve had many an opportunity to learn more about living a natural life. I’ve met some pretty awesome people, and had conversations about living a simpler life, a no-impact life, a raw life, etc. The more I heard these words come up, the more I started to do research and reconfigure my idea of a “natural and organic life”.

I don’t think my answer was completely finished until I read the book Discovering Your Hidden Spiritual Resources by Eknath Easwaran. He has an entire chapter on living a simple life. I finally got it.

Living simply is more than just an external way of life; it starts with an internal attitude and a fresh perspective. I realized that I’m going to have to do a whole lot more than just eat organic and use reusable shopping bags. A simple life to me is about not being attached to all the things we surround ourselves with. Absolutely use all of the technological devices you have sitting around your house, but realize that at the end of the day that those things don’t define your status, they don’t define your well-being, and most importantly they don’t define you. Living simply is about having a positive outlook on life. There’s no point in wasting your time focusing in on the bad stuff that’s going around. In a simple life, the goal is to let go of our own egos, and begin to act and think from a place of pure love and compassion. Pay attention to the creations of this Earth. Eat healthy, use reusable shopping bags, love your friends and family, walk instead of drive—all of this is living simply.

Here are 5 easy ways to start living a simpler life:

  • Eat dinner at home. Make dinner at home and turn it into a family production. This way, you’re spending good, quality time with your loved ones, you are cooking yourself so you know exactly what’s going into your food (made at home meals tend to be a lot healthier than meals we eat at restaurants), and you’re not using your car.
  • Go for a walk. Spend time with Mother Nature, and take in the beauty this world has to offer. If you can, try to walk or use your bike instead of driving your car. This way, you’re getting exercise, and you start to appreciate the little beauties.
  • Volunteer. Giving back to the community that we live in is such a simple and easy way to show our gratefulness. It is also a great reminder to count our own blessings.
  • Recycle! Have you ever wondered what the Earth is going to look like in 20, 50, 100 years? Sometimes I’m scared to think about it. We have become so harsh to the planet that provides so much to us. Let’s start living a gentler life, and help Mother Earth as much as possible. Just think, our great, great, great, great grandchildren should be able to reap the benefits of this home as much as we do!
  • Meditate, Introspect, Journal. Okay, this is technically a 3-in-1, but they all do similar things, and that’s helping us get in touch with our true selves. When we spend a little time with ourselves, without distraction, we begin to dig deeper. We start to realize who we really are and what makes us, us. Give yourself a little self-love every now and then. We are all beautiful beings.

solar power

About a month before I left to come to India, I went to my doctor’s office for a basic check up to make sure all the wheels in my body were turning right. I didn’t want to have any surprise mishaps when I got here, knowing I was going to be here for 3 months, and I wanted to make sure I was in tip top shape.

One week after my check up, I got a phone call saying I was Vitamin D deficient, nothing too major, but definitely something I need to boost in my body. The first thing my parents jumped to was, you don’t drink enough milk, so of course you’re going to be low in Vitamin D levels. This is true, I don’t drink a lot of milk. Maybe one glass a day, and here in India, I don’t drink it at all. I don’t like the taste of it. I’m also at a point in my life, where I am really questioning the true benefits of milk, and really how natural it is for us to be consuming milk (we’re the only species consuming milk of another species after infancy). There are definite benefits of milk. This, I am not arguing with. But, these benefits can definitely be found in other sources such as plants and vegetables. Okay, my last thing about milk and then I’m moving on to the point of this post, I have a huge thing about what dairy farms are feeding cows which is then going into our own bodies. I mean, cows are supposed to be fed grass and walk around in fresh air, not be cooped up in some barn thing and fed processed, fortified, extra-hormone-added crap. All that in turn, we are feeding our body. If you’re gonna drink milk, drink organic. I have found no final conclusion on the milk issue, and if I ever do, I’ll let y’all know.

Okay, so back to my point. Is milk the only way for us to receive Vitamin D? And the answer is false. There is one source of Vitamin D that is free for us to use, and is one of the best sources-The Sun. Vitamin D deficiency is more common than you may think. And, we all know the reasons: kids choose video games over playing outside, we’ve become so engrossed in our work that we neglect our own physical health, and we become so tired by the end of the day or week, that we sleep in late. When was the last time you took a walk outside during a sunrise or sunset?

The sun drives our planet. It is the ultimate source of energy for all beings on Earth. And, best of all, it’s free for us to use! We don’t have to pay 5 something dollars for just one gallon of it! The benefits of the sun are tremendous! But, then why do we stay cooped up in our house all day long?

A practice I’m trying to develop as a habit here in India to bring back with to the states, is Surya Namaskar, or Sun Salutation. It is said that if you are able to only practice 2 things for your wellness, Pranayama and Surya Namaskar are both beneficial enough to keep your body, mind, and spirit healthy. And I don’t doubt it at all. Surya Namaskar is seriously an all body work out. After just one or two rounds on your first few days, you will wake up sore the next. It is no understatement when I say you are literally harnessing the energy of the Sun, and bringing it into your body. After a few rounds, you will be energized and ready to take on the day.

it’s all about the surya y’all

The Sun, so powerful, that we literally don’t know how life can go on without it. We have a relationship with the Sun (read my post about it here), but we’ve forgotten that relationship. It’s time we rekindle it, and really reap the benefits.

In the Geeta, God himself states: “Yadadityagatam tejo jagadbhasayate’khilam | Yaccandramasi yaccagnau tattejo viddhi mamakam ||” This translates to “The light in the sun, that illumnines the entire solar world, and that which shines in the moon and that too which shines in the fire, know that light to be Mine.”

We have the ability to take in light straight from the Supreme himself. Let’s start taking in that light, and empowering ourselves to truly be healthy mind, body, and spirit.

Here are some great articles on the benefits of the Sun and Surya Namaskar:

10 Healing Benefits of the Sun; How Effective Is Sun Salutation; Sun Benefits 

Also, if you’re wanting to learn Surya Namaskar, check out your local yoga studio, college rec center for courses, ask a friend, or check out YouTube. The options are limitless. Don’t let excuses get in the way of a healthy life.

it’s in our nature.

I’m going to keep this post short and sweet today, because I have a lot of posts coming up this week since it’s the start of Diwali. But, I really wanted to talk about this. About a week and a half ago was Sharad Poornima. It’s the day of the full moon. Tradition is that you make dhood paak. Dhood paak is sweetened milk with dried rice flakes put in it. What you do, is you make it and then put it out at night, and the coolness of the moon cools the dhood paak.

One of my favorite things about the Indian culture is the close relationship with nature that it encourages. There is so much that we can learn about ourselves and how to live our life from the characteristics and qualities of the trees, sun, moon, etc. Yes, I know this sounds very Pocahontas-esque, can you paint with all the colors of the wind and all that. But there is a lot of truth behind it.

In our scriptures, there is a branch named Ishavasyam which tells about how God exists in every atom in this universe, and there is a whole part on what we, as humans, have to learn through various aspects of nature. Our relationship with nature is one of the most important ones. If we can have true reverence towards our environment (and I mean our true environment, the one that nourishes us, protects us, etc.) than our spiritual relationship with the divine can really increase exponentially.

We call the Earth, “Pruthvi Maata” or Mother Earth. We call the Sun, “Suraj Dada” which means Grandfather, and we call the Moon, “Chanda Mama” or Uncle. There is a reason we have such personal names for them, and we don’t just call them Sun or Moon. We come from the Earth, so She is our Mother.

Suraj Dada teaches us to be radiant and brilliant, tejasvita. Chanda Mama teaches us to be calm and to bring serenity into our lives. Pruthvi Maata teaches us to be firm and stable. There is so much we can learn from our relationships, if we choose to. God has given us all these great things for a reason, not just to utilize, but to truly learn from. How else can we truly instill Godly qualities, than to learn from God’s creations themselves. And it starts with having true respect.

One of my favorite verses I was taught from a young age is said when you wake up and before you step out of the bed. The meaning is you’re showing your respects to Mother Earth and asking for forgiveness as you walk on Her throughout the rest of the day. It’s really a beautiful concept.

The world around us is glowing, and they’re just waiting for us to go to them. We are given the opportunity every day, so take an hour break from technology, facebook, emails, and seriously be in peace with this universe we’ve been blessed with. The beauty of being Human is we are given the capability to be appreciative and show our gratefulness. I think we all owe it Mother Earth to sit with her for a bit, and maybe learn a thing or two from her.

This week: embrace your inner Pocahontas.

Mosquito Bite Count: 4 | Serious Craving: Queso

just the moon. pretty amazing. literally lit the entire night.

yum! dhood paak (in the bowl)

it was crazy how bright the moon was that day