Connecting Wellness, Spirituality and Sustainability

man on rock in nature

Have you ever noticed that health, spirituality, and sustainability seem to be linked?  Think of all your nature-loving friends that eat healthy raw foods, meditate regularly, love to spend time outdoors with their reusable water bottle and Patagonia packs.  That might even be you!  Or it might be who you are striving to become.  Or, you might be a little turned off by it because you find it all a bit cliché.

And it IS cliché.  There is a reason we can all conjure up an image of someone we know or have seen that fits this stereotype.  And if you are here, my guilty granola friends, I am afraid you might be well on your way to becoming this even-tempered, healthy, loving, sustainable stereotype most frequently found barefoot in the wild.

Because I believe that our search for one of those three ultimately guides us to the remaining two.

And it doesn’t matter where you start. 

yoga backbend

in the pursuit of wellness

If you begin to pursue health, you start to realize how your environment impacts your physical state.  You find that the products you use have toxins in them; the produce you eat is being watered by plastic rain; the ocean where you get your seafood is going to have more plastic than fish in it in 20 years; and the meat you consume is packed full of antibiotics and growth hormones.

So, you inevitably start down a journey of reducing your own exposure to these things.  And when that happens, you start to learn more about sustainability in a more global sense. 

This is when you start to realize not just how the environment is impacting you, but how you are impacting the environment.  How we have harmed our own health through our actions against the environment.  You recognize an interconnectedness to all things on this planet.  How your choices and actions have real consequences, both to yourself, and the world around you.  As you learn the impacts your actions have on wildlife, ecosystems, nature, and weather, even, you start to appreciate the small nuances of the natural world.  Isn’t it crazy how all these systems are in perfect balance, and the Universe hums with harmony in its daily, monthly, seasonal and yearly rituals?

Well, now you’re a big picture thinker.  By recognizing the perfect balance of the natural world (that we are causing so much harm to), your sense of awe is sparked.  That awe and wonder rejuvenates your spirit. Suddenly, before you know it, you’ve come full circle to be a wellness-focused, sustainable nature spiritualist seeking your medication from the woods.

bulk foods in reuseable containers

in the pursuit of sustainability

Or you may start with the pursuit of sustainability.  You may have a logical, pragmatic approach to the systems of this planet, and understand the natural balance through a scientific lens.  But as you start to unravel the impacts humans have on species, ecosystems and weather patterns across the globe, you start to learn how the same actions are impacting your health.  It is inevitable, because our resources come from this planet.  If we trash the planet, we trash our resources, we trash our own bodies.  Understanding how connected your health and well-being is to a healthy planet, you work toward sustainable actions that improve your physical health through nature. 

You’ve now recognized your emotional well-being is critical to overall wellness.  Through your pursuit of emotional wellness, you seek calm and higher-level thinking that inevitably leads you to feel comfortably small in this wide world.  And you develop a sense of spiritual place within it.   

In seeking solutions to maintaining balance in the closed planetary system, you find a great respect for the natural systems, and begin to seek balance in yourself.  Physical health, emotional well-being and a spiritual connection to planet, people and species grow stronger.

man praying at dawn

in the pursuit of spirituality

Or maybe you’re starting in a spiritual place.  You already have a deep connection to nature and a sense of belonging to something greater than yourself.  You believe that actions against one another, wildlife and the environment are actually harm against ourselves.  After all, we are of one interconnected energy.  In this case, sustainability is a natural progression for you.  The connection between spirituality and sustainability is evident. Spirituality stems from a great respect for this planet. Sustainability is the act of protecting parts of this planet, including people and wildlife and nature.  All the parts that help make up this interconnected universe, including yourself.

From there, you recognize protecting the physical embodiment of your energy is critical.  And you seek physical health and emotional well-being, because negativity and positivity, components of emotional and mental wellness, are influential forces. 

No matter where you start from, an interest in sustainability, well-being, or spirituality can lead you to the others.  Once you start listening and learning about one of these, there is an integration you inevitably reach.  You’ll become acutely aware of what your body needs, you’ll start to find solace and calm within the ebbs and flows of nature, and you’ll never buy another plastic water bottle again.

You’ve made it.  You’ve become the best stereotype there is- found on spirituality and sustainability and wellness.  Now go chew on an organic carrot and wash those dirty feet.

Or not.  You’re just going to go put them back in the dirt anyway.

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