The beginning

This will be the first post of many as I document my process of living the life my heart longs for.

My desire to live minimally and more consciously began long before I even realized I had already begun to adopt the lifestyle.

When I first left home at the age of 14, I had one backpack and a garbage bag. Since then, I have moved over 29 times in my life, lived in 2 continents and about 6 different cities. Traveling was (and still is) a passion and because of it, I understood what and how to pack the things I needed into one bag. Now, with a child, we obviously have accumulated more things, but before my son came a long I enjoyed being able to fit my clothes in one suitcase and two decades of my belongings in just a few boxes. My aim is to not only to get back to that, but more…

This blog is not just about me living more minimally. This is a life long journey to live a more sustainable, greener life. This means to me, living a zero waste life. It means becoming incredibly conscious of how I spend my money and on what. It means making my words and my feelings in direct alignment with my actions. I realize now that this may mean that I may not have a lot of people to walk beside me, that I may be lonelier but I know in my heart that if I do not pursue this path, that I will only become more miserable and I will resent myself for it.

Over the past few years, particularly since my marriage ended, I have become more aware of consumption. Years before that, I studied earthships. A few years ago I came across plastic manners, and stopped purchasing anything that came in a plastic bottle. Then I stumbled upon, Zero Waste Home (I love her – a family of four living a zero waste lifestyle since 2008), My Plastic Free Life, Food is Free Project, Tiny House Living, and Trash is for Tossers and many more inspiring stories of people and families living a minimal lifestyle with similar goals of consuming less, living more and reducing their own carbon footprints.

As a self-employed, full-time single Mother of one beautiful baby boy, I realize this will come as a challenge, but I know I can’t keep living the same way I have been and still be happy in the long run.

The truth is I have had dreams of opening up a store with a cafe and a studio, but every time I sit down to write the plan all I can see in front of me is everything I need to purchase and everything that will end up in the garbage. Even though 90% of what we (Dream Love Grow) makes is upcycled, I still can’t shake the feeling of discomfort. I was never a fan of retail – the BUY! BUY! BUY! SALES! SALES! SALES! The pressure of making people waste their money on items that aren’t really useful and that don’t last. I hated it partially because I don’t buy a lot of things. If I do, I try really hard to buy from a thrift shop, a locally owned business or ones that are transparent in their efforts to be sustainable. I don’t buy Christmas presents for people and if I give them anything, it’s a piece of art.

Making art for me has always been a need. It was a way for me to express myself. Over the years, my art form has changed to more digital: video and photos. It meant less canvases and paint purchases. More water saved. Less paint down the drain.

The more time passes, I realize I am changing in every way. I struggle with it, but I am changing. I am in business, but my values are changing.

I live in a city (Ottawa) that I have seen grow into a mini America. The forests I used to play in as a child are now box retail stores. And while the restaurant industry has become more diverse and Ottawa has a culture here that is beginning to emerge, I have been left feeling like I don’t really belong. Being a Mother and having an amazing opportunity to work for myself while taking care of him, has really changed me. I have focused on the simple things: cuddle time in bed, hanging out with Papa, cutting newspapers up, having him help me wash vegetables, reading stories, going for walks outside and looking and staring at the moon and the stars. I am not on welfare. I do not have thousands in the bank but I am rich beyond compare. I have a certain freedom that the typical way that society wants us to be, will never fulfill for me.

I plan on building upon that freedom. I plan to live simply.

I have slowly been taking the steps to move towards this lifestyle and the more that I am aware of it, the more I am becoming consumed with consuming less and focusing on living more. This past year I have:

1) Begun downsizing everything from clothes to kitchen things.
2) Searched for a smaller apartment in order to have less things
3) Got rid of most of my son’s plastic toys and now just have a small box of toys and books
4) Spent less on material items and on clothes
5) Created most of my art work with items and paints already on hand
6) Purchased mostly in bulk from Kardish, Rainbow Foods or in the produce sections at the grocery store, searching hard for products from Canada.

I have not been perfect. I eat out. I still buy items wrapped in plastic. But I know I can and will do better and even though I have been able to save money, I know I can save more money to do the things I love with my family.

I am documenting everything here so that I can see my progress and my change. I may only be one person, but I am enough. I have always dreamed of being self-employed. That dream has come true. I have always dreamed of being a Mother. That dream has come true. I have many dreams and aspirations and I still want to do everything I love, but this, this is my journey to a dream lived greener.

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8 thoughts on “The beginning

  1. I came across your blog when i went onto the ‘becoming minimalist’ website which then took me to the youtube channel ‘exploring alternatives’ and i saw your video ‘zero waste’. I find your blog very intriguing and it really hits home. Iv always had a minimalistic view on life – though there are lots of things i dream of – e.g New Rock boots – iv been very used to having a low income which means no crazy spending = owning less and i like it that way.

    Iv recently been decluttering my room as somehow items have appeared such as gifts from friends at christmas, souvenirs, and just junk i dont know really..after reading many blogs i have been given fresh eyes to see with. So whilst im shrinking my items and trying to become more minimalistic i will be following your blog to learn more about zero waste and trying to change my ways. First step i am making sure i recycle. I used to do this all the time as a kid as it was one of our chores at home to sort the recycling bin and bags but since moving around a lot and never feeling comfortable it became less of priority, plus each area has a different way of recycling, i ‘never had the time’ to find out how but looking back i had loads of time! I just made my own little recycling box for my room so plastic etc never goes straight to the bin bag, then the next step is to use the materials for art or like yourself, stop buying stuff in packaging.

    I also enjoy art too, I like to paint canvas’s . Personally i couldn’t bring myself to go digital, i love the internet and all that but to me i love the feeling of sitting in a quiet room with my paints and imagination, online is very distracting for me and it doesnt seem as tangible. Though i am extremely curious about your comment about paint water? I never thought of that, could you tell me more as to why paint would be bad down the drain?

    I also would be curious to find out how to make items such as shampoo, body wash etc as they always come in plastic and would like to find a way around that…

    Sorry this was long but i find your blog awe-inspiring and extremely interesting, i would like to learn more.
    Good luck
    Best Wishes

    Sarah from England, UK 🙂

    1. Hi Sarah,
      Thank you for taking the time to write me! I always love reading people’s comments or emails when they send them and even though I’m busy, I at least try to make time to connect in return. I am happy that you are doing your part in small ways. That is the most important thing – that you even are trying. As for the paint, acrylic paint going down the drain is pretty toxic for the environment. It’s what I was using mostly. Not to mention it comes packaged in plastic. You can find a lot of articles online about why putting paint down the drain can be harmful, for the pipes and for the water itself. As for recipes – I will do my best to share my recipes with you. There is something called Soap Nuts that we are selling on our site (www.adreamlivedgreener.ca) that can be used for shampoo and body wash as well. As well, as our vegan shampoo bars. You may have something similar in the UK. Either way, I’ll do my best to share some more on my blog about beauty/body care. Thanks again!

  2. I also saw this on exploring alternatives. I became a fan of Rob Greenfield and his exciting adventures in minimalist travel, gardening, and living. But I have to say, your artistic approach really resonates with me. The shots of the interior of your place seem to showcase the beauty of found items, and style that trusts that just the right things come and go in and out of our lives… and we can take a moment to change them, display them, and then just pass them on. Very cool.

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