When I chose the name “Path to Green,” I was thinking in terms of environmentalism, in terms of being greener for our planet, reducing our reliance on commercially-produced products that leave a long trail of waste in their wake, and reducing exposure to scary chemicals in commercial products. And I’ve told the story already of why I got started with this in the first place, no need for repeating. I was also thinking in terms of helping out others, compiling recipes and advice in one place, helping make it seem “do-able” to make lots of small changes that eventually accumulate into big change, and adding my voice out there to say that we can do this together.
But what I didn’t realize was the bigger picture in my life. When I chose the name Path to Green, I wasn’t thinking about “greener pastures” in the larger sense of my life. I was thinking specifically about being green in the environmental sense.
But it ended up being a piece of the puzzle. See, I started this whole writing “thing” in the midst of some big life changes. I had just left my teaching career behind and was adrift looking for something new. And I started simplifying. First with the basic recipes I’ve been posting, and then it expanded from there. This simplification has opened up a space in my life that wasn’t there before. I connect more with the people around me. I make and maintain stronger relationships. New ideas and relationships flourish where mental clutter and stress used to be. I’ve become more in touch with my own self. I have a stronger voice. I feel more relaxed and settled in a job I probably never would have considered before, but it’s a good fit for me. I have ended up somewhere I never thought I’d be. And it’s a much better place.
This experience has truly taught me a lot about letting go, about knowing when to quit, about how to listen. Listen to my body, my inner voice, my inner artist, my hopes, to others, to our planet.
And yes, this “path to green” has led me on a path to freedom, and into a path of artistic expression. Maybe I’m not an “artist” in the traditional sense, but I definitely hear the voice of my creative force that inspires me, I feel the pull to create, and I artistically express myself without reserve. I draw, paint, quilt, write, dance, sing, play piano (again!), and sew. And I wouldn’t have any of these wonderful things in my life if I hadn’t embarked on this journey. If I hadn’t opened up the space for it.
It all starts with awareness. My career change helped me to be genuinely aware of myself and helped me to sort out what’s truly important from what I had attributed false importance to. Even something as simple as cutting back on commercial products and making my own opened up space for awareness.
It’s also about listening. There’s a little voice in each of us that is like a compass: it will point us in the right direction (where we need to be) if we’re still for a moment to listen. I still feel unsure, but I know I’m on the right track. And I also know that voice will always be there when I need help.
And it’s about faith. At times it’s been hard to trust that little voice and to know that it’s never wrong. Mine pushed me somewhere scary: out of the only career I had known and into somewhere completely new. But I’m in a better place, and I’m learning something new. And it’s certainly better for my well-being than my stress-filled teaching job was.
It’s not just about the environmental path. This experience has taught me a lot about all kinds of paths. And it all starts with the first step.
How do you make space in your life?