What We Can Do Every Day to Care for Ourselves and Our Planet

In the face of climate change, as the protections for our glorious planet begin to fade, how do we proceed?  How do we, as mindful people, find our way forward? How do we take care of ourselves, our families, and our communities, while working toward the stewardship of our earth?

We must begin by taking care of ourselves. The platform of all external action must be internal presence. Commitment to self-connection, a purposeful and intended commitment to quieting the mind, is essential for perspective and for possibility. If we look only outward, our external actions will lack sustainability and our efforts will be compromised. The inward gaze must be cultivated, with commitment and loving-kindness, in order for us to successfully move forward.

How can you take care of the planet that you are? What can you do to move your body? How can you practice quieting your mind? What relaxes you and brings you to the flow state that Swami Kripalu called “the nobility of retreat”? Neuroscience tells us that meditating for five to 10 minutes a day changes the chemistry of the brain. Consistency rather than length of practice supports the balancing of the brain, body, and behavior. What can you consistently do to relax, breathe, and come back to a place of neutrality?

Once the commitment to practicing self-connection is woven into your day, how can you bring that deeper presence to your loved ones? Perhaps scheduling a family play night, an intentional check-in, a date night, or, even better, a mystery date with loved ones? Mindfully cultivating deeper, richer connections with the people we adore, no longer taking for granted nor assuming the habitual connections are enough …. This is the time to make our time together more intentional.

And then, in terms of your community—first, look around. If called to external action, what can you do to support the recycling efforts in your town, to help at the homeless shelter, to join the conservation committee in your county? How can you awaken to the needs of your community and step forward? Check out local papers, community college announcements, networking posters in health food stores. Get connected to others you do not know. This is a healing step forward for us all.

And finally, let’s consider the bigger picture. How can we get involved on a national or international level, to work toward the protection of our planet? Explore the options available, the many organizations that hold the bigger picture and move toward right direction and right action. There are many solid, responsible organizations working for environmental protections. Read, without allowing yourself to become overwhelmed. Participate by donating money, resources, or energy. Keep abreast and join up, from a place of being grounded in self, family, and community. 

And perhaps, most importantly, through fresh eyes and a reopened heart, enjoy the earth. Get outside, smell the air, walk, move, watch. Notice the glory of the light coming into the day. Become attuned again and again with the sunsets, the pageantry of colors and shades of fading daylight. Listen to the bird calls, put up a feeder, watch the dainty, resilient little birds celebrating life to its utmost. Let’s enjoy our earth; let’s walk upon her with newly committed care. 

May this time of unexpected and unwanted changes be an awakening, the beginning of a renewal of commitment and caring for our planet.

Aruni Nan Futuronsky is a Kripalu Yoga teacher, life coach, and Legacy Faculty member for Kripalu R&R and Kripalu programs.

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