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Permaculture, Pachamama, Privilege: Deep Ecology of Wellness

Getting off the boat at Deep Ecology of Wellness, we were greeted with freshly cut coconuts, a perfect beginning to what would be an immersive, insightful, and inspiring week.

Article Photography by: Ashley Drody

I was one among thirty participants and ten teachers who spent a week living out the Deep Ecology of Wellness retreat organized by Yoga Trade at Punta Mona. The Punta Mona Center for Regenerative Design and Botanical Studies is an off-the-grid permaculture farm and educational retreat center on the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica. Launched in 1997, it is considered one of the most established and bio-diverse permaculture farms in Central America, with over 300 varieties of fruit and nut trees, as well as over 150 medicinal plants. Punta Mona’s mission is to practice and teach a simpler, regenerative way of living.

For most of us during this gathering, it was our first immersion into a permaculture-based lifestyle. As we learned during the workshops, permaculture is a holistic design system for creating sustainable human settlement and food production systems. It combines three key aspects:

1. An ethical framework
2. Understandings of how nature works
3. A design approach

Applying the permaculture principles to human relationships, communities, social systems, and networks is known as social permaculture. According to our teachers, social permaculture can be considered “the art of designing beneficial relationships” and includes the interrelationship among humans, plants, animals and the Earth. It thus comes with no surprise that permaculture stems from a strong emphasis on indigenous wisdom regarding how to live lightly on the planet.

At Punta Mona, every day began with yoga. A lovely tree-enclosed yoga shala housed our sessions allowing us to not only connect with our breath and bodies but also the natural environment around us.

In addition to fantastic yoga instructors, we were blessed with an incredible line up of passionate and wise workshop facilitators. I share a few of the highlights below:

– Founder of Punta Mona, Stephen Brooks, shared with us his excitement for fruit trees and knowledge of the jungle during tours around the land.


– Lala Palmieri, herbalist and co-leader of the Village Witches gave us an eye-opening tour of herbs, plants, flowers and their medicinal properties.


– Co-founder of the Permaculture Action Network, Ryan Rising, gave us the 101 on permaculture design, principles, and ethics. He also facilitated an “asset mapping” activity where we quickly realized how many of our needs can easily met by others in our communities and networks.


– Self-proclaimed Mother Nature representative and Village Witch, Sarah Wu, guided us on an insightful shamanic journey exploring deep ecology.


YogaSlackers power duo Sam and Raquel not only taught us how to do yoga on an inch-wide piece of fabric but also shared their tips on conscious-traveling as modern-day nomads.


Jess Taing, an experienced Kirtan teacher, facilitated a restorative mantra singing circle.


– Sustainable-surfer, yogini, and writer activist, Tara Ruttenberg, catalyzed us into deep introspection during an open dialogue on the important topic of privilege and responsibility.

Mary Tilson, an international retreat leader, helped us explore the complex topics of addiction, trauma, and ways to recovery.

– Bodyworker Lynn Alexander led us through a powerful breathwork workshop, in which many of us were able to deeply connect with our energy bodies and release old emotional experiences.


– Yoga Trade co-founder, Erica Hartnick, showered us with her love and visionary ideas, in particular during our opening and closing ceremonies.

Incredibly, the wisdom-sharing did not stop there. Mealtimes turned into fascinating discussions during which many of the participants shared their own expertise and experiences. For instance, I learned more about Ayurveda during one dinner conversation than during my entire lifetime.

In one of our final sessions, a question came up regarding how to take back and implement all that we had learned during this week into our daily lives. I share three main take-aways:

1) Privilege and Responsibility

There is no doubt that those of us lucky enough to travel for pleasure have been granted privileges in life that a majority of the world’s population does not share. The question is how do we respond to that privilege. Shame and guilt, which some privileged people often feel, are closed-hearted emotions that do not help anyone. It is okay to take time to mourn the suffering of others, but then it is critical to move into radical acceptance. It is not our fault that we have privileges, but it is our responsibility to be aware of them and use them for the betterment of the world. As Tara shared in her workshop, one way to do this is through mapping our privileges to better understand them and how they play out in our lives as travelers. You can read more about this in her recent post.

2) Asset Mapping

To improve individual and family well-being requires communities, neighborhoods and their residents to be involved as co-producers of their own well-being. Everyone has something to contribute and we need everyone’s “gifts and assets”. Using the principles of Asset-Based Community Development and asset mapping we can help create powerful community partnerships to build healthier, safer and stronger neighborhoods and communities. At the most basic level, you can carry this out in your community by bringing people together and asking them three questions: What assets do you have? What skills do you have? What do you need? Then have people share and see what needs can be met by the skills or assets of others! You can also follow a more detailed process using this toolkit.

3) Healing Through Herbs

Herbal medicine traces its roots back to earliest civilizations. While conventional medicine often treats symptoms of acute illnesses, herbalism fosters preventative health and addresses the roots of chronic health problems. With little effort, time, or money, you can grow our own herbs, make your own medicines, and care for yourselves and families. Why not start your own herbal garden today?! See a list of medicinal herbs that you can grow here.

 

Naima Ritter:  My mission is to help people deeply connect with themselves, with others, and with the universal flow of life. As a Conscious Living Coach, I help other people reawaken their inner sparks and embark on journeys towards tapping the full potential of their lives, in particular through seven levels of awareness and action around grounding your energy, sacred sexuality, BEing/DOing, loneliness, conscious communication, positive thinking, and spirituality/higher purpose. After completing a Masters in International Development Management at the London School of Economics, I co-founded Conscious Co-Living, a consultancy that supports the development of co-living spaces built around connection, authentic relationships, and harmony with the natural world. Born in Guatemala and raised in the USA to Costa Rican and German parents, I consider myself a multi-cultural child of the universe. When not deliberating on the state of the world, I can often be found dancing, acro-yogaing or trying to plan a much needed global drumbeat movement revolution. 

CONNECT:

Living Simply: Ngalung Kalla

With the recent and rapid rise in technology, there are fewer places in the world we can be completely off-the-grid. Places to slow down, to enjoy the quiet, to learn from the elements. These types of sanctuaries are becoming a sort of endangered species. Yet, there are some amazing people out there who are walking the path of their dharma to keep these kinds of places alive. People that prioritize living simply, hope to create a better world, believe in harmonizing with nature and realize the benefits of multi generational environments. People that have a desire (vision), make an intention, and take action! The Sea family are some of these people. In just several years, they have brought their dream into reality and have created a full-on inspirational wonderland and educational/retreat center in Sumba, Indonesia. If you are someone who is curious, finds delight in exploring, and enjoys connecting with natural rhythms, you will love the magic of Ngalung Kalla.

From the words of Ngalung Kalla visionary, Christian Sea:

“We aim to be a small family owned and community led retreat where people can come to a very remote place and have an unforgettable experience. We offer accommodation, fresh local grown healthy food, excellent guiding to areas unknown, and empower visitors to live more simply and enjoy life more fully. We strive to do so in a low impact way utilizing solar power, permaculture principles, efficient and indigenous design, and local materials and staff whenever possible.

A trip to Sumba is not complete without a stroll through one of the incredible villages. A look inside one of their houses, a chat with an elder, maybe even a shot at the betelnut experience. We are not your average hotel. Nor are we your above average hotel. In fact, we don’t consider ourselves anywhere within that spectrum. We are a retreat away from the modern world and anything else. We consider ourselves (and are) a part of this unique community and our aim is to share this incredibly authentic life and place with you.

The majority of the people here still have “Marapu” as their religion. This literally means “the way of the ancestors” and is an animist system of medicine men/women, priests, kapus (Adat), and many associated ceremonies at the right times of year (also common for births/deaths/marriages). They use the moon, the tides, the animals, plants, the land, the forest and many other aspects of nature in determining their steps. It’s a very magnificent existence really. Their lives are still very much devoid of currency exchanges. Instead they use the things they can raise (food and animals), and make (hand woven fabric and mats, spears, knives, jewelry, etc.) for trades. What a beautiful concept!”

 


 

Newly certified yoga teacher and world traveler, Amanda Bertucci connected to a work exchange opportunity thru Yoga Trade and spent two months at Ngalang Kalla in 2018. Below, we catch up with Amanda as she shares about her experience:

Can you tell us what a typical day was like for you at Ngalung Kalla?

At Ngalung Kalla, your body clock is reset to align with nature. Live by the sun and eat when hungry. My morning would typically start between 5 to 6am, either on the boat, in the ocean or the yoga deck, during or just following sunrise. The yoga class schedule is determined nightly for the following day and caters to what the guests desire (sunrise yoga, dawn patrol surf or dive, early bird-watch hike, sleep in). Typically, if not on a paddle board or meditating on the floating pontoon in the bay, I would be found stretching on the deck. Waves crashing, flowers falling, tropical breeze from the overhead trees circulating calming aromas, this space is unlike anywhere I have ever practiced and meditative in itself. 

Following practice is smoothie and breakfast time! Fresh coconut water, papaya, and spirulina, and either a sweet or savory healthy brekkie combined with the shining sun supplements. A complete energy source for the day. The retreat is located in a bay shared with a local village and is home to some pretty special snorkeling and a premium right-hander surf spot and inside learner’s wave. This is usually where I’d be throughout the day, if not running around with the kids or exploring the jungle on a land mission.

Afternoons start with a yummy lunch usually followed by a boat adventure, surf, hike to the cool springs, tidepools, village, or mellow hammock hang time with a book. For the yogis we’d sometimes have multiple practices a day or kiddie yoga if the little ones want to wind down. Often, I’d find myself in the kitchen during the scorching parts of the afternoon, laughing with the local women as they would teach me to speak Bahasa Indonesian.

In the evening, we all gather by the campfire and watch the sky change colors as the sun sets over the bay. Cellphones, computers, and televisions are non-existent and not necessary when surrounded by the Ngalung Kalla family of like-minded, wonderful people. Conversations never fall flat and there is always the possibility of creating a special connection with someone new. “Sumba Midnight” is usually around 8pm after the sun has set and dinner has everyone feeling happy and satisfied. By this time, I know I’m ready for an ocean lullaby and dreamy sleep. Gratitudes to the island, this life and stoked to do it all again tomorrow.

What is your biggest take away from your time spent there?

Embrace the simplicity, less is more. Take quick efficient showers. Shout out to Christian on this one for a much-appreciated lesson of where the water we shower with comes from. From a hand dug well, water is carted and carried and can in fact run out if not conscious of our usage. In the villages, women and children of all ages walk for miles to and from the well with heavy loads of water for their families. Food for thought next time turning on a tap. Another big takeaway is understanding that what we need, we have. We are all so very capable of more than we may realize and give ourselves credit for. Openness to learn more about that which we don’t understand can change our lives in more ways than money. Leave mama nature better than you find her. Please and thank you. Less if not any plastic, more environmentally conscious (homemade and waste-free when possible) products, and please double check that your sunscreen is reef safe!

Describe the Sea family…

When you visit Ngalung Kalla, you are literally visiting the home of the Sea family. Three young girls; Deha (9), Kamali’i (7), and baby Wren Kaleleyanu (1), all raised on the island, fluent in Bahasa Indonesian and crazy intelligent. Full on jungle girls, kind, fearless and full of life. Credits to the radical parent duo Ka’ale and Christian who have lived on Sumba the past 14 years after moving over from Hawai’i. Deha will tell you that the animals are part of the family and I certainly agree! More than 20 “pets”, not including the geckos, toads, wolf snakes, mice and other creature friends they adopt. Five dogs, chickens, a pigeon, goats, ducks, and Lily the pig, Kamali’i’s sidekick and best mate. All cared for by Deha and Kamali’i. Some of my favorite days were spent with the girls, frolicking barefoot through the jungle, using fallen logs to jump over and splashing around in desolate cool water springs. Dressing up with monstera leaves and dancing around. Enjoying nature’s obstacle course.

Can you explain the benefits you see for families to visit Ngalung Kalla?

I think visiting a place like Ngalung Kalla and seeing how simple and doable sustainable living can be, is inspiring for anyone and everyone, especially families! To slow down and reconnect with nature is not only a humbling and grounding experience for adults, but an important part of childhood development and connecting to the roots. Socializing with new friends, talking about the environment, witnessing a beautiful culture, and creating bonds with animals. The lack of modern day distractions allows families to be completely present with each other and experience compassion and gratitude for being able to enjoy something so magical, together.

Did your relationship with nature change at all while you were there?

Totally! And once again I have my two favorite little jungle sisters to thank for that. I’ve loved being outdoors and surrounded by nature since I was really young – digging out worms in the garden to save them from the birds soaring above. At Ngalung Kalla, sleeping in the open air, showering outside and counting on one hand the time I even wore shoes, truly strengthened this bond. My curiosity about permaculture and living off the land heightened and in the same moment I realized how little I was among the vast ocean and jungle. I know that my life course is directed to living as closely with nature as possible.

What’s next for you?

Following two months at Ngalung Kalla, I spent a short time travelling before fully immersing myself into the yoga community on Bali and taking the time to expand my personal practice. I’ve always been a kinesthetic learner and teach based on experience rather than theory. I spent a month of daily Mysore with an incredible mentor, expanding my practice to new branches of asana and meditation and finding my niche. While I love the challenge of an intense practice, my teaching style guides me in the direction of active restorative and conscious vinyasa. Healing pain and ailments in the body through simple, balanced movements, while strengthening the core through combined breathwork. I will be returning to teach at Ngalung Kalla for March and April 2019. As of now I do not have further plans and will be feeling out opportunities, open to what the universe has to offer as I continue traveling and teaching.

Anything else you’d like to share?

I consider Ngalung Kalla to be the most epic and untouched oasis I have been lucky to have come across on my journey through life and around the world. Picture this: you get off a plane only 50 minutes from Bali, to an island untouched and uncrowded. Inhabited mostly by locals in homes so beautifully created by the land’s offerings that they are camouflaged within the surrounding nature. Ngalung Kalla is an eco retreat with that same naturalistic design, with a focus on permanent agriculture and operating as sustainably as possible. Fresh, organic, home-grown fruits and veggies and a coconut grove that would bypass any palm tree lover’s wildest dreams. My favorite thing about Ngalung Kalla, besides the ocean view villa, delicious fresh food and killer weather, is the ability to learn something new everyday if you’re willing. There truly is something for everyone. For me it was tying different knots, finally learning to play chess (thanks Kama!), operating the boat, identifying wildlife, plant medicine and of course, surfing. This time around I’ll be spending more time in the garden. In my opinion, raw luxury is the best way to describe Ngalung Kalla; rugged and natural with comforting amenities like a hot shower and cozy bed. The retreat isn’t a one-size-fits-all kind of place and each individual is bound to have a different experience and gain a new perspective on a unique type of life. But that’s just my take. My suggestion: fly way outside of your comfort zone, explore the beauty Sumba and Ngalung Kalla have to offer and get inspired!

Connect with Amanda and follow her on Instagram here:  @amandabertucci

 


 

Ngalung Kalla is a remote family owned and operated eco-retreat and farm in West Sumba, Indonesia. They provide an adventurous, healthy, comfortable experience for guests. The center is designed with maximum respect for the Earth and consideration for the local climate and people. The local indigenous culture and community have a high priority in all aspects of this retreat’s design and implementation. It is a wonderful place for families, friends, and solo travelers. Experience simple goodness. Visit Ngalung Kalla!

Website:  ngalungkalla.com

IG:  @ngalung_kalla

Check out this exciting and upcoming event they are offering in March 2019!

 

 

Deep Ecology of Wellness GIVEAWAY!

***UPDATE***

Today is December 18th, 2018 and we have picked the winner at random. Big CONGRATULATIONS to Yoga Trade member @bevinking !!! YOU WON! See you in the jungle! Big thanks to all who participated! A few more days to sign up with our earlybird pricing. Use the discount code AMIGOS at checkout to receive $200 off before December 20th!


Yoga Trade is excited to announce our Deep Ecology of Wellness GIVEAWAY!

One lucky member will receive free admission (5 nights shared glamping accommodation, three meals a day, all workshops and classes) to Deep Ecology of Wellness, April 9-14, 2019 at Punta Mona, Costa Rica. ($950 value)

Deep Ecology of Wellness is a unique and special retreat gathering (limited to 100 participants max). It is will be held at an off-the-grid botanical center where the rainforest meets the Caribbean sea. A space for Yoga Teachers, Wellness Professionals, Permaculturists, and those with a desire to learn from around the world to come together in an intimate and natural conference setting. Enjoy Movement, Yoga, Nature Connection, Community Building, Continuing Education, Storytelling, Permaculture, Regenerative Design, and Joy. Check out the incredible line up of passionate teachers HERE.

HOW TO ENTER:

(Please read directions carefully, it’s a 3 step process)

1. To enter, log into your Yoga Trade account and LEAVE A REPLY (post comment) below at the end of this BLOG post. In the comment, state why you are excited to attend the Deep Ecology of Wellness event! Within your comment, feel free to also share about your own experiences with Yoga Trade. You must be a Yoga Trade member to post a comment. (If you are not currently a member, you can sign up at yogatrade.com)

2. Visit the Facebook page for this event (https://www.facebook.com/events/329849784255275) and mark that you are either ‘GOING’ or ‘INTERESTED’.

3.  Finally, SHARE about this BLOG/EVENT GIVEAWAY post on at least one social media platform of your choice (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc.). You must share this link:  https://yogatrade.com/deep-ecology-wellness-giveaway/

That’s it. You’re Entered!

Thank you for contributing to this flourishing community. We look forward to growing together!!!

The WINNER will be chosen at random (random.org) and will be announced on December 18th, 2018.

*Only ONE entry allowed per person. You must be a real human to enter. The giveaway is only valid for persons age 18 and above. The event ticket is not transferable to another person if winner is unable to use. The event ticket includes full admission (shared accommodation, food, and classes), and does NOT include transportation to the event or other travel costs. The event ticket is not redeemable for cash. 

How Every Yoga Teacher Can Benefit From a Permaculture Design Course

As a student and teacher of yoga, I am consistently  called to continuing education. This January, I completed a Permaculture Design Course at Punta Mona: A Center for Regenerative Design and Botanical Studies. It is situated in a unique and remote location where the rainforest meets the Caribbean sea in Costa Rica. The property has one of the largest collections of useful plants in the country and is a beautiful place to deeply connect with nature. Besides the center and facilitators being top quality, there are also these draws: daily yoga classes, the ocean front location, and the fact it’s called “The land of freedom!”

What is Permaculture?

“Permaculture is the art of designing beneficial relationships.”  -Starhawk

“Permaculture is a system of agricultural and social design principles centered around simulating or directly utilizing the patterns and features observed in natural ecosystems.”   -Wikipedia

We can create and nurture beneficial relationships many places in our lives; in our gardens, our home design, our community, our businesses, on our yoga mats, etc. Permaculture can be applied to all aspects of our lives and society. It teaches us to observe patterns so we can design our lives with a holistic mind set and return back to the basics and live simply.

Permaculture helps us gain practical life tools to see the land as a canvas for opportunity and to see the Earth with fresh eyes. Practicing this philosophy is a great step in an important life long journey to see the world in a new way.

Permaculture Ethics:

Earth Care: Cultivating a deep respect for nature.

People Care: Self care for ourselves and others.

Future Care: Living with the intention to create a positive legacy.

Fair Share: Letting go of the competitive mind set and thinking about ‘co-opertition’.

The basic curriculum in the course includes class topics such as; ethics, principles, design, soil health, water strategies, plants, energy, earth works, and social systems.

How Permaculture Compliments a Yoga Practice:

-Ignites progressive thinking and regenerative design.

-Empowers leadership and positive action.

-Encourages creative problem solving. “The problem is the solution.”

-Inspires a return to the basics. Simple living.

-Builds resiliency practices.

Participating in a Permaculture Design Course creates space for amazing potential to birth new projects and collaborations. It is a wonderful place to build lifelong friendships that have optimisitc solution based perspectives.

Grow. Expand. Take Action.

Create your guild!

Deepen your practice as a student and a teacher by blending Permacutlure Design into your life on and off the mat.

Visit this educational paradise!

Punta Mona:

puntamona.org

FB: puntamonacenter

IG: @puntamona

 

 

 

Erica Hartnick grew up in the Sierra Nevada foothills of California, and enjoys all things wild and free. She teaches nature inspired yoga and leads mindful adventures in California and Costa Rica. She gets excited about; LEARNING, intense weather, glassy ocean peaks, pillows of fresh powder snow, crystal clear water, positive people, cultural travel, thriving vegetable gardens, fresh mint chip ice cream, nature’s glory, LIVING YOGA, and connecting with others. She is passionate about the collaboration with friends that led to the creation of Yoga Trade, and is devoted to connecting the yoga community with infinite opportunities!

 

Mystical Yoga Farm

Nourish your soul and tend the land. Find harmony and sustainability within your community. Bonnie Norton is the Operations Director at the Mystical Yoga Farm in Guatemala. Here she fills us in on the innovative projects and sustainable programs they offer at this magical learning and growing center.  

Tell us about the “sustainable living” at the Mystical Yoga Farm…

We are proud to be an education center for sustainable living. We like to take time with our decisions, in order to support the long term well being myf5of the land, the community and the growing retreat center. Currently you can come and learn about compost toilets, solar power energy, grey water systems, grey water urinals, permaculture structures, on-site food gardens, re-purposed building materials as well as sourcing staff from the local community. Each day we strive hard to live within the means of our lush piece of Mayan land to ensure that our lifestyle here at the farm protects people, present and future and most importantly, our planet.

What projects are you involved with to help the local community?

We are so fortunate to have worked on many community projects. We work with Seed Bank, helping Guatemala maintain food security by keeping native seeds alive. The village nearest to our farm is Chacaya, where we’re always trying to manifest higher life quality for everyone. One of the programs there is called Chacaya School Projects, with topics such as english, health, nutrition, yoga, sustainability and education. Furthermore we’re supporting Local Farmer Training, which teaches traditional and sustainable farming techniques to ensure local food sustainability. Also, we are working to grow our Child Education Program, where we organize to send a child to school for $50 a year as well as Comida Vida, about nutrition education for women and families. We also cooperate closely with Justa, a holistic network that connects indigenous artisans, global designers, and sustainable projects.

Do you offer work exchange or volunteer opportunities?

The Mystical Yoga Farm thrives as a place of learning, growth and transformation. We do provide work exchange opportunities at the farm – our goal is to allow you to dive deep into your spiritual practice whilst living and learning in a supportive and inspiring community. We have myf2our Spiritual Alchemist Work/Trade Program for the duration of 21 days, offering an unique opportunity to bring your practice off the mat and into the work we do,  whilst engaging on a transformational journey through the Shamanistic Medicine Wheel. We provide a platform and tools to transform anything that no longer serves you. We also offer Tribal Leader staff positions, with a minimum 3 month commitment in exchange for direct trade. The staff form a community and work together to deliver results in many areas on the farm; Land Development, Permaculture Gardening, Sustainable Food, Ayani Harmony and Divine Art. Besides that we have many other staff positions and conscious exchange opportunities available. We are always striving to accommodate personalized work trade opportunities for the right situations.

Your Mystical Shamanism programs are quite unique, can you tell us more about them?

The Mystical Yoga Farm is the home for the School Yoga Institute. SYI offers Yoga Teacher Trainings 9 times a year at MYF as well as all over the world. The 200 hour level trainings are unique as we offer a transformational process guided through the Medicine Wheel, shedding our physical myf3attachments in the cycle of the Serpent, facing our inner darkness and conditioning during the cycle of the Jaguar, finding joy and bliss through understanding our calling in this life with the Hummingbird and lastly flying with perspective and strength in the cycle of the Eagle. The powerful process is guided by incredible facilitators, and supported through a group of souls called together at that time. We stay close to Mother Earth as we unfold and explore the cosmic unknown, reveal our own soul’s journey and manifest the beauty in life. This program is for those who wish to dive deeper into the healing gifts of Shamanism, Mysticism and Yoga.

 

 

To learn more about the soul of this learning center and to find out more about the volunteer opportunities and programs they offer, visit:

 

www.mysticalyogafarm.com

www.schoolyogainstitute.com

or email info@mysticalyogafarm.com

myf4

A Better World

This is a repost from our friend Liz Clark and her blog at Swell Voyage. Thank you so much Liz for your bright light, for being an outrageously inspiring adventurer, teaching us how to “live yoga”, and for sharing these tips on how we can help to make a better world.

You can find the original blog post here: http://www.swellvoyage.com/inspiration/a-better-world-what-we-can-do/

1. Spread Good Vibes!  Simply be nice to each other!

Life can be testing, but being negative only makes things harder for you and those around you. Try not to loose your cool. Keep kindness and good vibes flowing through you and to those you encounter throughout the day. Positivity is contagious, healing, and unifying. A peacefulliz1 world starts in our own hearts, so our job as individuals is to check ourselves when negative emotions arise and take another direction before they become overwhelming and cause harm to ourselves and others. In a better world, we must treat each other and ourselves with kindness, compassion, and integrity!

2. Your dollars are your Voice: Buy Organic, Local, Non-toxic, and Mindfully.

Let your purchases speak to your eco-values. We can make a positive impact everyday by supporting brands and people who love the environment as much as we do. By doing so, we tip the demand toward sustainable and eco-friendly goods. Buying local offsets carbon. Supporting organic farmers helps reduce degradation and pollution of our soils, waterways, and oceans not to mention our bodies. Boycotting brands containing GMO ingredients tells Monsanto we disapprove of Big Ag, Round-up ready varieties, and their monopolizing of our seed banks! Opting for sustainably-sourced wood and paper products can help preserve biodiversity and the Earth’s remaining forests. Refusing to buy chemical-based shampoos & body wash, laundry & dish soaps, toothpaste & cleaning products means fewer toxic chemicals end up in our bodies and waterways. Do a little research, beware of fakes, read ingredients and labels, and look for minimal and recycleable packaging! Check out Patagonia, Mizu, Zeal Optics, Eco Flex Moss Research Surfboards, Avasol Suncare, Enjoy Handplanes, to learn more about these highly mindful, authentic brands who love our Earth!!

3. Reduce, reuse, recycle & refuse SINGLE USE PLASTICS.

Our oceans are becoming plastic soup. I find plastic debris lining the beaches of tropical islands thousands away from any trash source. This plastic never biodegrades, only breaks down into tiny toxic pieces that pollute our ocean ecosystems and enter the food chain–killing wildlife ranging from plankton to seabirds to whales–and rendering seafood toxic. It’s time we demand and implement non-toxic plastic replacements and stop using something that will last forever–plastic bags, bottles, straws, etc—only one time!? It makes no sense!? 50 billion plastic beverage bottles are produced each year. At least 40 billion of them end up in our oceans and landfills EVERY YEAR, not to mention a stream of other plastic bags and trash. Let’s stop our single-use plastic addiction and lead the way toward a world of biodegradable plastic alternatives. Get a reusable water bottle, install a water filter in your home, bring your own shopping bags, dine-in, refuse plastic straws, avoid brands using excess plastic packaging, and speak up with friends and merchants about this important issue! Check out Mizu’s stainless steel waterbottles and campaign to #protectwhereweplay!!

4. Eat less or no meat!  Animal agriculture is killing our environment.

Why do they keep telling us to ‘turn off the lights’ and ‘carpool’ to help save the planet when eating less meat & dairy for a week could decrease liz2your personal eco-impact more than carpooling for a whole year? Animal agriculture is the leading cause of the greenhouse gases responsible for climate change, soil degradation, water pollution due to animal waste runoff, ocean acidification, rainforest clearing, and extinction due to habitat loss and destruction. The energy and water that go into meat production are astonishing. It takes an average of 660 gallons of water to produce a single hamburger!? Despite that the meat and dairy industries have us thinking animal protein is necessary for our health, studies prove otherwise. Meat and dairy are proven to cause cancer, hormone imbalance, high blood pressure, obesity, and a host of other unpleasant effects. Plus, we’ve sadly overlooked the horrifying treatment of these sentient animals in America’s factory farms. Fish and shrimp farms are generally extremely environmentally taxing and their end-products lack nutrition. After switching to a plant-based diet in 2012, I can assure you that I feel SO good that the thought never enters my mind to go back!! If you’re not ready to give up meat entirely, try to choose wild, sustainably-caught, or humanely-raised meat, poultry, and seafood. Check out the documentaries “Cowpiracy“, and “Earthlings“, and read up on The China Study!!

5. Support alternative & free energy solutions

Free, clean energy is absolutely possible and available to us, and has been so for a long time. It’s just not in the interest of the very powerful people who prefer we stay dependent on buying their fossil fuels. They are destroying the planet just to get richer…it’s rather short-sighted and selfish, no? So where we can, let’s go off-grid, use solar and wind-power, drive more fuel-efficient cars, demand better public transportation, walk, ride a bike, and support alternative energy systems and free energy solutions! Watch “Thrive”!!

6. Dedicate yourself to personal growth & self-awareness!

A better you makes a better world, and I believe we cannot truly be fulfilled without making a constant effort to grow and evolve into a better version of ourselves. It’s easy to point fingers at everyone else and blame our problems on the other guy, but this helps no one. Going within takes courage, but the rewards are unlimited. Even small positive changes in our negative behavior patterns can improve our lives and relationships drastically, and inspire others around us to do the same. Don’t wait for someone else to change, change yourself. Find where you can be more open, kind, loving, positive, flexible, courteous, patient, forgiving, honest, humble, etc. We all have our issues, our struggles, our hardships. We can either use them as stepping-stones to our greatness, or allow them to make us bitter and victimized. Choosing the latter leads only to further darkness, so we must use our adversities as opportunities to grow, learn, and move closer to the Light!! Check out my Reading List for helpful book recommendations in this department!

7. Get Outside and connect with Mother Earth!

Whether you just stop & take a deep breath and look up at the sky, or smell a flower, go for a nature walk, surf, hike, swim, or the likes–doing something everyday to acknowledge our connection and dependence upon the Earth helps keep the important things in liz4perspective. We often forget that we depend on a healthy Earth for every meal we eat, each drop of water we use, and every breath we take. A life acknowledging this connection to the Source of our existence cultivates gratitude, balance, respect, and a feeling of Oneness with Nature and the Universe. Get off the beaten path and go fall in love with this magnificent planet in your own beautiful way!

8. Plant a garden or create a permaculture yard.  Let’s take back our food!

It’s amazing what we consider ‘food’ these days. Growing a veggie garden and planting edible plants in your yard is not only the best way to ensure that your food is chemical and GMO-free and charged with love, but you also reap the benefits of re-connecting with your food and gaining respect for the growing process. You automatically reduce your carbon footprint, contribute to local biodiversity, save yourself some cash, and put the power to feed yourself highly nutritious food back in your own hands!! Veggie Garden Cheat SheetHow to Build a Permaculture Vegetable GardenStarting Your Permaculture Garden

9. Buy Less, Waste Less, Upcycle, and Get Creative with what you have.

Nature knows no ‘waste’—matter and energy are always reused and transformed. Our current economy is based on the impossible premise of infinite growth on a finite planet, encouraging us to blindly consume and throw away. We spend our time earning money to buy things liz5that often don’t enhance our well-being or happiness. This one-directional ‘buy & toss’ system is not sustainable! We must reject this model by refusing to buy things we don’t really need, offering services rather than goods as gifts, finding ways to reuse and reinvent things that we would normally throw away, or giving them to someone who will. We must find a way to close the loop on our waste stream, and be as clever as nature at utilizing, recycling, and transforming our resources!

10. Do what you Love!!

We are all here for a unique and beautiful calling. Each of us contributes to the diversity and evolution of humanity when allowed to develop into our fully blossomed Self. Take a risk! Follow your dreams and live up to your potential, so that you may be happier and more inclined to want to give back to the world. Choose joy and passion over security. Abundance always follows people who live in their true calling or joy-space. The alternative is a life of gray, haunted by internal whispers of what ‘could have been’. Money and comfort doesn’t really make us happy, only genuine self-love does. I believe ‘too comfortable’ can become caustic, and the only real failure is having never tried. We can’t wait for the system to change, we must leap with relentless positivity and energy toward living a life we dream of. Once you go for it, you’ll look back and see how your hardships were part of your path to fulfillment, and a deep Trust may be born in the Greatness and Perfection of it All. Compassion flourishes, competition melts away, and we come to see and feel the interconnectedness of all our stories and struggles. Understanding and feeling this Oneness, we realize that we cannot truly rise unless we rise together. Hence, we strive to lift up our brother and sister humans everyday!

Liz Clark has been sailing the seas since 2006. She is a surfer, captain, yogi, and environmentalist who is living passionately and following herliz6 heart. She is making waves of positive impact in this world and continues to inspire with her sustainable lifestyle and adventures. Catch up with Liz here: 

www.swellvoyage.com

Instagram: captainlizclark