Thursday, 18 May 2017

its all about balance

I have the career of my dreams as a textile artist.   Therein lies a trap, however.  Work is work, however much you love it and we all need balance.  I also thrive when I am doing more than one thing.  Preferably lots of bits.  So this week it is back to basics.

A simple low cost cycling holiday, this is how I think and write...

that means keeping simplicity principles and  values at the core of what we do.    Your principles and values may be different.  The important thing is that you know what they are and can use them as a guiding light. 

Our values are: 
Mental and physical health first
People- those we care about who also care about us
Start by building community in our own locality
By doing the above we inevitably end up being healthier, saving the planet and saving money
spend less that we earn
No debt ever again

So exactly how does building community make us healthier, save the planet and save money?

It works like this:
When you are involved in your local community there are consequences for things.  Offend someone, and the next time you want a plumber, it turns out the person offended is their second cousin once removed.  So no plumber for you.  In other words, being involved makes us behave better.

When you shop locally, you get to know people, chat, see posters and get to learn what is going on in the community.  Then you can go to local things because you know they exist.  Contrast that with someone who drives to work in another town.  They will typically shop at a supermarket on the way home so may never go in a local shop and don't tend to know about local activites.  They get less exercise than the person who gets the bus to work.

The person who works in another town but gets the bus  on the other hand, meets others on the bus.  They will buy groceries on the way home after they get off the bus and meet yet more people.  And have got exercise walking to and from the bus stop.

For us, the expense of running a car averages out at £300 a month, including replacement of the car every few years, So Health, the environment and finances all benefit by the one action, getting the bus. Cycling to work or working locally have similar benefits and there is always more than one way to achieve a given outcome. 

Janet returning from her ten week cycling project, 'Knit 1 Bike 1'

So now you may be thinking 'I can't get a bus to work'.  It doesn't matter, the same logic can be applied to many different things.  And the 'green triangle' as it is called, seems to work regardless.

For example, when we originally decided to spend less on food many years ago, we cut down on eating out, ate less meat and ate more pulses and vegetables.  Our health benefitted and so did the Planet.  We ended up with a better diet, travelled less by car and there was less packaging on the food we bought.   We were healthier, saved money and reduced our environmental impact.  Then we decided to grow more vegetables and the benefits multiplied!

So back to work.  I simply like doing more than one thing.  A couple of years ago, I cycled round Scotland.  Since I was a textile artist, I decided to do workshops on the way, in exchange for a bed for the night or a hot meal.  Apart from meeting some wonderful people, I camped for the first time in years, spent 10 weeks travelling alone and wrote a book about it.  It also led to an exhibition.  See more about Knit 1 Bike 1 here.

The whole thing was transformative and I came home really fit.  Two years later I am still fit and the garden has benefitted from my extra fitness too.  So now we are growing even more vegetables and have wwoofers come to stay with us.  That is volunteers who help with the garden and textiles. There have been positive benefits socially, health-wise and for the environment yet again.  

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