“IT’S NOT EASY BEING GREEN!” And here I thought Kermit was referring to a color. The more conscious I become of my place in our energy system and the more effort I make to “live green" -- the more overwhelmed I feel, like training for a marathon in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.
The Internet is swarming with environmental tips but there’s an easy step you can make today that can have a huge impact on our environment, and it doesn’t require a recycle bin or a solar panel. If you can choose an experience over a thing, do it -- but if you’ve got to own something, make sure you absolutely, until death do us part, love it. Why? Because everything you own and have ever owned, is a gift to you from our planet.
I left the box store lugging a bag of clothes I got from their red-tag sale. The average price for each item was $3.22. So astonishingly low I wanted to ask the clerk if there was a mistake. It was so low that I kept looking over my shoulder, waiting for an undercover cop to take me to the pavement in the parking lot for theft. My mind was gloating I got one heck of a deal!, as my gut was simultaneously screaming Someone’s been cheated! My intuition, my very spirit, understood that my bag of stuff carried very little authentic value.
Everything is energy. Not only are you a perfectly formed, mysterious, never-to-be-seen-again energy system, but you’re shaping and impacting an even greater one -- the earth. Every material item in your space contains not only the energy it’s made of (biological and synthetic materials), but the energy it took to create it.
Consider a Kid’s Meal toy: a product so cheap to produce that it borderlines “free” in our mind. Now consider the energy it took to make that toy. First was the energy required to remove, store, ship, refine, store again, and transport the oil. That oil eventually gets formed by a manufacturing facility (run on energy) into plastic, which is then shipped (energy) overseas to another facility (energy) to be manufactured (energy) into a billion blue monsters. They become bagged, tagged, boxed, stored and reshipped, and transported out (all of which are using energy) to every burger joint in America. One single plastic monster may have cost us a quarter to make, and will be labeled as “crap” in many parental minds, but can have an outstanding energy value.
Our planet, which receives none of the profits made in this process, not only gave all the resources to create it, but will also bear the pollution and byproducts of this manufacturing process. This toy, that will end up wedged between a car seat to be quickly forgotten, has no authentic value to the masses.
What if every price tag also listed an item’s energy value: a scale measuring the energy it took to make that article? It’s an interesting, and extremely green, flip of perspective. Instead of shopping for the hottest trend, the newest gadget, or a quick “shopping therapy” hit, only purchase merchandise after you’ve figured out its energy value in your head. How long will you use this item? Will you value it enough to justify the resources used to create it? Will you still use it in 10 years? 20 years? Will you value it until it can no longer be used? In other words, will you LOVE it enough?
But don’t stop there. Everything that we do has an energy value too. Experiences that are monetarily “free” are costing our planet: a walk in the park, radio, a church service, a man playing a violin in the subway, even the act of sleeping has an energy value (shelter, bedding, sleep wear, alarm clock, heating, Lunesta). Everything that we do and possess involves an exchange in energy. On a green level, NOTHING is free.
Once you begin to see the authentic energy value in your stuff and activities, it becomes easier to make green choices because you only buy and do what you absolutely love. Does that kind of life sound like an inconvenience?
Americans appreciate disposable and we’re crazy about modern. We’ll build a monolith coliseum for a football team before we’ve torn down the old one, stamping it with a limited life expectancy. Don’t you wish every future stadium was Wrigley Field -- a place you could take your child, your grandchild, your great-great grandchild to the game? What if every downtown was designed and built with the intention of creating nostalgia, which only comes after generations of people have experienced an emotional connection to it? How would your city, town, or home look if it were created for emotional value?
It’s not a coincidence that the stronger our emotional connection to an item, the greener it becomes. If we were to only buy jewelry which held an authentic emotional attachment, such as a special occasion, think of the drawers of “junk jewelry” we’d be saving the planet. Every woman can feel the difference wearing her great-aunt’s broach versus this summer’s statement necklace. One resonates with pride and affection while the other conveys ego. If we’re going to take gold from Mother Earth then the best way to honor this gift would be to pass it down -- generation after generation, relationship after relationship.
Consider your home and office. Are you surrounded by things that warm your heart: mementos of trips, special events, pictures, great-grandmother’s candle holders? Or is your home a constantly rotating display of the latest trends? If you’re going to use the energy of the earth for things, then make your space a display where only your greatest treasures -- those that ring emotion from your heart every day -- are displayed. You’ll quickly see how green and earth loving this type of living becomes.
Did you know that when a psychic tries to pick up the energy of a person, place or event, they often use an item that was well loved? The greater your emotional connection to an item, the more of your energy it possesses. If you were to bring in your favorite worn-to-the-stitches college sweatshirt, your whole life opens up to them, like a well written journal.
All of us have intuitively reacted to the energy of a thing without understanding why. Have you ever gotten a “creeped out” feeling in a space, with an old item or a picture? Do you have things that you feel an unexplainable connection to? I have an old copy of The Adventures of a Cotton Tail Rabbit. I couldn’t tell you if the story is good but there’s something about the tattered cover and the soft paper edges that makes me happy every time I hold it. It’s as if I can see the chubby fingers of children turning its pages as they “ah” and “ooh” over the sweet bunny pictures. I value this worn book on a deeper, spiritual level.
These are Mother Earth’s greatest material gifts to us: the fishing jacket that triggers memories of grandpa, the crystal dish from which we were always sneaking candy. Not only do these items possess a monetary value, an energy value, and an emotional value, but they also contain the spirit of a person, time, place, maybe even an event, beckoning like the flames in a fireplace.
If you really want to make a positive impact upon our planet over the next year, limit your possessions to only the things that have a high authentic value. Do you love this thing enough to justify the resources that were used to make it? Do you have an emotional attachment to it? Better yet, are you spiritually connected to it? Will you keep it and use it to the absolute end? Stop shopping as a therapy or for entertainment so you can start Owning only what you love.
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