Practicing Mindful Sustainability
There are so many ways in which we can make an impact (or less of one) on the planet, on ourselves, on other people. Often those moments, or choices, or ways in which we can affect change or be impactful, sneak up on us and before we know it, we’ve made a decision that has changed the course of things.
Today, for instance, I was buying a late lunch at Whole Foods. I got to the checkout line and saw the cashier there, but she was studying something under the counter. I was hungry and today had been (and continues to be) a busy day, so I wasn’t really paying close attention. I asked if she was open and she hurriedly, apologetically and slightly distractedly looked up and said, “Oh, yes. I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have been doing that. It’s just that was my daughter and she’s having panic attacks. She’s 15.” And I felt silly for having rushed this woman out of a text that was assisting her daughter in an extreme moment of need. So I apologized and offered the only thing I could to a woman who was in distress and obviously hurting for her daughter, I gave my own story, my own advice, though I kept my story to the relevant part, since this was in a checkout line, after all.
I shared that her daughter could benefit greatly from meditation, but also from yoga or any exercise that focuses on the breath. In fact, I said, “Tell her to breath when she feels one coming on, and all the way through it.” It’s very hard to fully give in to a panic attack when one is focused on breathing. All it takes is one more breath, and we can all do that. Just one more breath.
She really seemed to be listening to me and I shared that all those things had helped me through some very serious panic attacks and that I no longer suffered from them at all. That brought such a look of relief to her face, I could have hugged her. I offered lots of love to both her daughter and herself and walked out. Interestingly enough, this conversation probably took about five minutes, an eternity in a checkout line, but no one else walked up to the register during the entire exchange. I love it when space opens up like that.
So what all does this have to do with being green and sustainble? Not all that much at the outset, but on closer inspection, I think it has everything to do with it. I truly believe that if we pay attention to others around us, which also means paying attention to ourselves, we realize that we are all connected and that our actions and decision affect others. Once we accept that fact as easily as we accept breathing, we will all be making choices that sustain us and keep ourselves and our planet healthy.
Headline image © Toshimasa Ishibash