Which came first for you - the desire to live more simply or the 'greening' of your spirituality? This was a question posed to me by elderwonman. A very good question I might add, because it made me think. I feel I’ve always leaned towards a natural, down to earth lifestyle with concern for the environment.
I was in my thirties when I started taking a serious look at what I believed. After much examination and consideration, I stepped away from religion altogether, having realized I did not need organized religion to walk a spiritual path. For me God was more real and accessible through the natural world that surrounded me than through church doors and doctrines. (I mean no disrespect or offense. I understand and respect the fact that religion and a church community are meaningful to many.) Perhaps this was the beginning of my spiritual greening.
Then when in my forties I took a serious look at who I was…
By the late 90’s my children were no longer at home needing my attention, It was at this time during my forties that the distinct desire to simplify and to get to know myself as more than just a mom, wife and employee become prevalent. Mind you, I wouldn’t trade the roles of mother and wife for anything, but I realized I had little identity aside from these things and I wanted to literally find myself. I also missed being at home, tending to domestic things. I wanted to return to a simpler life where my time and energy weren’t exhausted doing things I had no real interest in. I finally left my job to be at home where I took up daily meditation and journaling. My desires and what gave true meaning to my existence and mattered most to me became much clearer. They were the things that (I think) matter most to (I hope) nearly everyone; peace, contentment, loving relationships, freedom and the time and energy to devote to the people I loved and the things I cared about and enjoyed.
I like to think that the older I’ve grown, the wiser I’ve become. My propensity for all things natural has certainly grown. There’s no doubt the further enlightened I became, the more I felt connected globally and the larger my sense of response-ability became. This naturally led toward a simpler and greener lifestyle. My evolution has certainly led to an expanded awareness of society’s workings and a realization of how brainwashed we are led to become through the media’s convincing us of a false need to have and consume. Awareness has reinforced the desire to be more environmentally responsible and to simplify further. In the end I cannot say with conviction which actually came first, my spiritual greening or the desire to live more simply…the two most certainly have walked hand in hand. I believe however, that the path to authenticity led to simplicity and simplicity has turned me a much deeper shade of green.