Words from my heart

Here are a few words from my heart, and a sneak peak as to the upcoming launch of my personal project!

I’ve had people laugh at my lifestyle and consider me some kind of hippie. I’ve been called weird. People look at me strange when I tell them I feed my food scraps to worms and that they produce beautiful compost which I can use to grow my food. They are shocked that I don’t sleep in a bed and that I only have one suitcase full of belongings. I see the look of pity on their faces as they try to offer me more stuff, not considering that this way of life is a choice. The truth is that I am not some weirdo. I am a human being just like the rest of you. I am choosing to live an intentional and conscious life because I think we have lost our connection with the Earth, which means we have lost the connection to ourselves and each other. When we stop working from the root, it is impossible to create sustainable change. I can’t think of anything more sacred than the Earth that we walk on, yet we knowingly and unknowingly abuse it daily as if we are entitled to own it and destroy it in any way that we choose. 

I feel sad that my lifestyle is considered extreme. I have a comfortable place to sleep, clean clothes to wear and fresh, seasonal food to eat. I have my health, my friends and my family. I have community. I have my mind that is open and clear because it isn’t distracted with things. As of late, many strangers have expressed that they are attracted to my genuineness and they feel grateful that I have taken the time to listen to them. I also find myself shocked if people take the time to listen to me, to make eye contact, to have a meaningful conversation without a phone buzzing at their side. I feel sad that we place more value in our relationships with our phones rather than real people. I feel sad that living a life that values sustainability and health is looked at with skepticism.

I often wonder what has to happen for us to mobilize and take action to begin tending to our home, our Earth? What has to happen for us to start recycling, to stop using chemicals on our bodies and our children? What has to happen for us to believe in the power of fresh food? I’ve had conversations with educated people that argue that they don’t see the value in non-GMO food, or food that isn’t processed. This is really scary folks. 

Anyone who says that I am different and this is why I can live this way is missing the point. Anyone who says that I can live this way because I am without a child is missing the point. Anyone who says that they don’t have the time to live this kind of life is definitely missing the point. Let me give you an example. When you have a dog, or child for that matter, you realize that there is an initial investment that goes into training that being and learning the ways of that being. At first, you might be putting time into that being, which initially might present as frustration, perceived regression and discouragement. You know that if you nurture that child or animal with respect and love that it will eventually pay off, but in the beginning it is hard to see and we must consciously remind ourselves of this , especially during sleepless nights and after our favorite shirt has been destroyed. One day, we suddenly realize that we are in a beautiful symbiotic dance and we know that all of our efforts were worth it. Patience has paid off. We feel empowered and respected by this mutual understanding. From this point forward, things get exponentially easier.

I hope that in our lives we will all learn to see the value of tending the land. I hope we will ask ourselves why we are putting chemicals on our lawns so that they are “green” at the expense of harming wildlife, our children and our pets. I hope we will ask ourselves where our plastic bags filled with dog poop go after they enter our garbage cans. Have we really removed our trash or have we just moved it to a landfill that is someone else’s backyard? 

In a few weeks, I will be launching a personal project of mine that involves thinking big and living small. I have dedicated countless hours to this project, because it is the right thing to do. I want to invite all of you to do the right thing, which starts by being kind to the ground beneath your feet. Remember that there is nothing more important than being able to access fresh food and if we disrespect the ground beneath our feet, we lose the capacity to feed our bodies, our minds and our children. Without our health, we have nothing. 

Stay tuned for the launch of my “Tiny Living, Big Thinking” Campaign on Monday July 14th! Together, we can create sustainable change! The time is now!

#tinyhousetuesday #tinylivingbigthinking #tinyhouse #indiegogo #TLBT

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My struggles with health and homelessness

When I was in college, I took an entire semester  course called,  “Homelessness in America”. When I lived in California, one of my closest friends was a woman who was homeless. We would meet in the mornings at a cafe and talk about her evenings on the streets of LA.  My exposure to this culture was quite humbling. You see, most of these people had lives similar to mine at some point. They had friends, families and jobs that quickly disappeared due to unforeseen circumstances, which were almost always related to losing ones health, most often a manifestation of stress indirectly or directly caused by the current housing crisis, which I explain in my campaign. Losing employment was commonly a byproduct of losing ones health. I am sure you can imagine how the rest of the story goes. Recently, I  have begun sharing my own story that involves battling near homelessness, which has caused a myriad of unsuspecting humans to open up to me about their struggles as well.

 

If you’ve been following the news over the last month, you will notice that this guy name Zack Danger on Kickstarter, has received over $61,000 in contributions to make potato salad. At one point, I think he had more backers, but some people have revoked their donations. Non-contributors were really angry at Zack and were speaking out in their personal blogs and in the media. They were questioning his integrity, values, etc. I am not one to join the masses without inquiring further, so I decided to personally write to Zack to hear from the potato salad master himself about how he had planned to use his money to serve the greater good. And let’s remember not to blame Zack. He only asked for $10. I think it’s the contributors we should be questioning.

 
He responded:

Hey Elizabeth! Thank you for your message and for your concerns! Skepticism is important and I would be in your shoes if I saw someone making 50k to make potato salad. First, I do plan to give a significant portion of the leftover money to charity. I’ll be creating a permanent fund to fight hunger and homelessness. Second, I don’t want you to feel like people are throwing money away. This is an upside down model of entertainment. Instead of charging people before entertaining them, I charged after! I think this is a fun way to spread a joke. And I like that people who can’t afford to pay still get to experience the humor. I wish you luck on your campaign! Peace, love and potato salad!

His response led me to ask many questions about the collective consumerist culture here in the United States? Do we really need more entertainment? Will we ever understand the value of using food as medicine? I responded to Zack Danger by sharing my story and my campaign link. I let him know that my “Tiny Living, Big Thinking” campaign was about hunger and homelessness. I never heard back from Zack.

Zack’s response essentially proved to me how much the world needs my campaign, but here are the staggering facts:

  1. We are 6 days into my campaign and contributions are totaling $595. Our goal is $60,000.
  2. Our campaign page has had 776 visits.
  3. We have had a mere 14 contributors.

A friend of mine came over for lunch the other day. He runs kickstarter campaigns professionally. We watched my campaign video and read my campaign content together. He explained to me that I would have trouble gathering contributions, because my call to action wasn’t soon enough for our culture that has a limited ability to pay attention and focus on any one given task. He said my expectations were too high, hoping that people would sit through a video of a few minutes in length and then read through some meaningful content. Furthermore, I wasn’t giving away anything to consume, so it wouldn’t help the “what do I get?” mentality of potential backers. I was thankful for my friend’s expert advice, but I also felt really sad. I felt sad that we have trouble giving selflessly unless we get something tangible in return. I felt sad that I am expected to cater to a nation of people who don’t have time to read anymore. I thought to myself, “this is a major problem and if we keep plowing through life at this pace, without a focus on quality, there is no way we can be in touch with our bodies and our minds, which means that many of us are closer to crossing the threshold into the cycle of homelessness than we might have previously suspected.”

My conclusion is that I am not going to change my campaign to cater to the potato salad contributors of the world. Just in case you weren’t aware, Zack’s campaign page has no video. In fact, it is just a stock photo of potato salad. He only wrote one line in his campaign which read, Basically I’m just making potato salad. I haven’t decided what kind yet.” There are still 12 days left to Zack’s campaign. As I conclude writing this post, he has accumulated $61,151 and has been backed by 6,281 people.

I challenge viewers to spend under 10 minutes to watch a video and read a story of a real person who has struggled on the verge of homelessness in pursuit of health. I think it is great that people like Zack plan to contribute to help fight hunger and homelessness, but I think that we often forget that we don’t need to search far and wide to find people who need our help. These people are our family members, friends, colleagues and mentors. I challenge people to break down stereotypes involving homelessness. I have to wonder if Zack took me seriously based on my well-written inquiry. Educated people can’t become homeless, right?