I’m starting to think it’s official…I’ve become a hippie.
Okay…not completely. Not in the traditional, reckless, rebellious sense, but in a way that really proclaims how much I love finding ways to do things which are different than, say, what’s commonplace or “normal”.
This week I sat down and wrote out a list of all the little milestones I’ve made in my natural living journey—all the routine, everyday habits and lifestyle patterns that I’ve adjusted to fit in with this wonderful way of living that found me two years ago. And as I made that list, it got me to thinking about why I do what I do. What has propelled me forward in this walk when I’ve hit rough patches, when I’ve been ready to throw my organic chia seeds down the drain and dive for the boxed mac & cheese? Why has this new way of life become so important—even special—to me? What has caused all the small changes I’ve made to be worth the effort?
And digging further still, what exactly defines this journey of natural living? What is it? How does it work?
The answers to those questions are as endless as the sky; everyone has their own definition of what natural living is, and that’s totally fine. However, in my experience, I’ve found that it can lead to a lot of confusion—especially for people who are just starting to reduce the amount of toxic chemicals they come into contact with through their cleaning and beauty products and food. While I am blessed to have several wonderful friends who understand and sympathize with my rather…um, strange ways, far too often I come into contact with people (be they friends, family members, acquaintances, or strangers) who simply don’t understand. In fact, far too many times I’ve met up with people whom I sadly believe don’t even have the ability to.
When someone gives me a cross-eyed look after I tell them I don’t use microwaves because they’ve been known to cause cancer, when someone can’t seem to comprehend what I mean when I say I don’t eat pork of ANY kind, when someone tells me they refuse to go anywhere near raw milk because they’re scared of it…
It breaks my heart. Really and truly. It breaks my heart because I get it. I used to be where they are. I used to be…but I’m not anymore. I have seen the freedom that comes with embracing this lifestyle. I have experienced the joy that comes with the knowledge I’ve found—the knowledge that has brought me to where I am today. I have overcome stereotypes about this way of living. And I have learned that it doesn’t have to be a burden. It’s not meant to be. Living naturally is meant to be freeing, inspiring, empowering, and fun. I’ll daresay it can even become addicting! 😉
We as a generation and a culture have become so removed from the concept of doing things naturally that we don’t even know how to anymore. So much so that while the ideal may be lovely in our minds (and it probably is), the execution is seen as the epitome of all things weird. And what’s worse, we’ve become overly desensitized to why it’s important—to why, for the sake of the next generation, this planet that Yah has placed us stewards over, and ultimately our own health, it’s absolutely essential.
Let me ask you these questions. Have you ever considered using the power of herbs to bring healing to your body—from everything from a scraped knee to PMS? Have you ever given thought to the processes of fermentation and how or why they could be beneficial to you? Have you ever stopped to consider the natural rhythms and patterns embedded not only within nature itself but within your own body, and what you can learn from them? Maybe you answered yes to those. That’s awesome! (If so, believe me—you know more than I did when I started out!)
Now let me ask you these questions. Have you ever drank kefir? What about kombucha soda? Ever tried making either of them in your own kitchen? (PS- It’s fun!) Ever proceeded to discover what’s really in a pre-packaged snack cake? Ever thought you could reverse your tooth cavities? (I didn’t either!) Ever been delighted to uncover the real reason why your shampoo (or skin care regimen, or diet, or attempt at restful sleep, or…you fill in the blank) wasn’t producing the desired results, and what to do about it? Ever heard of why you should avoid EMFs?
Don’t be dismayed! These were all things I knew practically nothing about two years ago. Each question stands as a testament to something amazing that I’ve learned.
So, as I mentioned earlier, these amazing things…what are they all about? To me, they are simply about truth. Within that scope, here are my answers to points I brought up at the beginning of this post.
In today’s world, what does it even mean? It’s 2015. The 21st century. We are blessed to live in an age of extreme technological advance. Unparalleled knowledge is readily available to us, and so is unparalleled convenience. I’m immensely thankful for these things. It makes learning (one of my favorite things!) easier than ever before, and it also makes everyday life easier than ever before (I mean, let’s be honest…I don’t know anyone who likes having to wash clothes by hand 😉 ). However, I truly believe these conveniences come at a price, and an enormous one at that. First of all, they cost us our health. I don’t have time to go into depth on this (this is precisely what nearly every post here at TWM is about) but in short, everything from the way that we eat to the way that we breathe has become contaminated as we have moved away from the way that things used to be in times past—all in the name of convenience.
Did you know it is said by some that those growing up into the next generation are predicted to have a shorter life expectancy than their parents? Did you know even those on the other side of this argument claim that while a shorter life expectancy isn’t necessarily what’s to come for the next generation, a lower quality of life is? This means that my and your future (or current, if you already have any) children are under attack. It’s not something to fear, it’s something to take action toward! The way I see it is like this: my Nana always told me “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. So…if it wasn’t broken in the past, then why did we attempt to “fix” it? I can tell you why—convenience! We have seemingly forgotten the fact that good things take time. Real, wholesome, nourishing food takes time to create. True healing within our bodies takes time to develop. Changing our mindset takes time to complete. We live our lives today in such a hurry that we have sacrificed being able to experience the beauty and benefits of these things—these skills, these arts, these pillars of our existence. We were not meant to live this way. We were made for good things. We were made for nourishment. We were made for healing. And to me, the convenience is not worth the sacrifice—neither for myself nor the family I hope to raise one day.
All that having been said, I think living naturally means doing everything we can to get back to the way of life that Yah intended and created us for. It means getting as far away from toxic chemicals and counterfeit food as possible. It means taking a step backward and being willing to learn precious skills and ways of life that have all but passed away, such as making things at home (and I’m not just talking about food). It means becoming more dependent upon YHVH’s provision for us (through DIY-ing, gardening, reusing, and the like) and less dependent on someone else doing these things for us. It means allowing ourselves to reconnect with the earth that Yah has given to us. And I don’t say that because I’m, for lack of better words, a tree hugger. I’m not. I’m not a vegan, and I don’t believe saving the planet should be our sole focus in this journey—I believe saving lives and honoring YHVH should be. My point is, though, that our culture has trained us to be utterly disconnected with the fascinating world that is, well, our world.
When was the last time you did some research to find out what types of nutrients healthy soil needs in order to make your organic backyard garden thrive? Are you familiar with how composting works? Have you ever spent a portion of time observing your body’s signals in order to figure out the root cause of a given health issue? How aware are you of where your food comes from and how it is grown, produced, and harvested? The truth is, many of us aren’t in tune to these things anymore. Our ancestors were. Our great-grandmothers were. Why aren’t we as well?
What defines it? I believe with the overwhelming amount of information on the topic of living naturally that bombards us everyday—from eating plans to package labels—there is only one way to define it at best. That way is the the Bible. Yeshua told His followers “I have come that you may have life and have it to the full” (John 10:10). That fullness is available to anyone and everyone who is willing to follow Him and live as He lived. How do we do that? We pick up His Word and read! We do what He told us to do! Why are health problems so prevalent today? Why is healthy living so confusing and seemingly hard to come by? I’m going to submit to you that it is because we have ignored the one and only blueprint for wellness that we were made for!
How does it work? I’ll be honest with you. Being weird isn’t always easy. I know, I know…you’d think it would be, but the truth is sometimes it’s not. There are days when it’s frustrating (i.e. you’re sick to death of salads but it’s the only thing you have in the fridge to eat for lunch). It’s trying (i.e. you’re heartbroken that your attempt at homemade vegetarian marshmallows was a flop and you’re really ready to give up and go for the unbiblical gelatin ones). It’s annoying (i.e. it’s midnight and you just remembered your soaked almonds need to be turned into milk before you go to bed). It’s a slow process (i.e. you’re fully aware of the fact that you still have so much to learn). But that’s where the art of stepping back and taking it slowly comes in. We don’t give up. We tackle it as it comes—one day, one meal, one revelation, one resolve at a time.
Why do I do what I do? Simply put, I do it because it’s fun. It’s freeing. It’s enlightening. It’s inspiring. And it has truly become a passion of mine.
What has propelled me forward when I’ve hit rough patches? Like I said above, I do what I do because I know it is what Yah wants me to do. He has promised me health and wholeness (Deuteronomy 28:1-14), and I trust that He knows me better than I know myself. He knows what I need (and what I don’t) in order to flourish. And as I obey Him, I know He will provide what I need to do so. When I’m feeling burnt out, it is my commitment to honor Him in the way that He wants to be honored which keeps me going. I’ve also found it very helpful and encouraging to take time to think back on the fun times I’ve had and cool things I’ve learned and taught myself, and to remind myself it is thanks to Him that I have come to this place. Lastly, I press on for the health and well being of my future babies. ♥
Why has this new way of life become so important and special to me? It has taught me how to be all that I can be—how to be who Yah has made me to be. His Word has shined a light upon my path brighter than anything I could’ve conjured up on my own, and living naturally has been the tool which has allowed me to walk down that path in fullness.
What has made all the small changes I’ve made worth the effort? It is through the small changes that I have made incredible leaps—leaps I told myself I’d never make. This is not something I ever could’ve accomplished all at once. It is a miracle, but not an overnight one! Measurable, swallow-able steps are what make up the big picture!
So you see, this life can be different. This life can be difficult. But at the end of the day, it just feels right. This life is what I was made for, and it’s what you were made for too. There’s much to be learned, but we can do it together! It is and always will be worth it! In the words of Robert Frost:
“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I–
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.”
. . . . . . . .
What does living naturally mean to you? Are you willing to take the plunge?