We are, to some extent or another, a product of our environment. With that, most people would concur. From the air that we breathe, the upbringing we experience and the culture that surrounds us, we are shaped on all levels. Out environment will affect us biochemically and therefore physically, emotionally and mentally. It won’t determine who we are but will have a strong influence over what we perceive to be our options.
All around are people caught in cycles, doing the same thing and the body holds the pattern as it seeks to find balance. From addiction to stress or to sugar, to routine or to adventure, we propagate the environment around us to hold us in our cycles and our cycles become ‘who we are’. We define ourselves by being light sleepers or morning people, go-getters or home bodies, by our frustrations or our raging passions.
But the truth is, until we have an environment that allows for clear signals and true feedback, how on earth can we pin ourselves to our current definitions? If we know that we are sitting in patterns that don’t serve us, in lifestyles that don’t nourish us and surrounded by some people who don’t inspire us, who is to say that our current perceptions, our daily health and our existing mood is actually representative of the fulfilled and united self?
To change it is not to opt out or to give in. It would make sense then, that one of the things we can all do is seek to improve our environment, step by step, iota by iota and nuance by nuance.
Walk up the stairs instead of the escalator, sit straighter in your chair – the baby steps to improving physically aren’t hard for most of us. Then there is a tendency for people to look at diet and mental wellness and throw their hands up to the sky. Most of us feel disempowered, disconnected and disillusioned. But in truth, the baby steps are just as easy. Throw in a salad a week, opt out the chips the same, and you’re on a better road. Allow yourself to feel something without berating yourself, take a deep breath whenever you feel yourself getting swept along an emotional wave, the same.
At the end of the day, each baby step is about awareness and awareness is a practice. It’s a practice because it takes courage. It takes courage because most of us know what is out of alignment in our lives and what is not. And most of us instinctively know that to pay attention to it, is to challenge ourselves. And most of us know that to challenge ourselves is a lifelong journey. So it’s ‘safer’ not to really look, not to embark on something that resembles work.
And the amazing thing is, if we all strived to be but a whisper more aware? The environment around you would be a far cry from today’s. If everyone you knew looked at their life with awareness, they could find one thing that they knew wasn’t serving them and, with that new awareness, could look to improve it. And if we all did that? Well then we would all have to take back some of the responsibility to make this world shine: person by person, home by home, neighbourhood by neighbourhood and ever-reaching around the globe and back again.