State of the Homestead: Self-Sutainability

I thought I’d do some updates on what’s going on here. I know I haven’t been blogging much lately…I hope no one’s pining away between posts. 🙂 I’ll post these as a series over the next few days.

Area One: Self-Sustainability. A big part of what I’ve been doing lately is to actually practice techniques that can help me slow down and live at a sustainable pace. That old adage “Do all you can, and still get up and do it again tomorrow” does have TWO clauses, after all. I burned out pretty badly last summer…I really didn’t want to do a damn thing all winter. And yes, I know winter is traditional rest time, and there’s always a ton to do while the sun shines, but as the weather warmed up again, I realized it didn’t want to launch right back into the fray.

I still read other people’s blogs and think they just DO so much more than I do. I have time every day (almost) to read, watch a movie, get some extra sleep, and be cozy or silly or whatever with my sweetie. I have no kids (and no plans in that direction), no pets, no livestock. I do have a full-time job, but I also have a short commute and I truly get to leave my work at work after 40 hours each week. In many ways, my life is very, very easy, and I struggle with guilt about it being too easy. So I try to remember I am at my very best for the rest of the world when I do perceive myself as having rest, and time, and a lot of choices but few obligations. I can actually be more generous with my energy if those needs are met – so there’s no shame in getting a lot of rest and all that. And frankly, I hate feeling frazzled. Being stressed out isn’t some sign that I’m leading a good and proper life (no matter what this country’s work ethic has to say about that). So a couple of changes I’ve made:

  • Switching from aerobics to qigong and pitta-pacifying yoga. Quigong (or chi kung) focuses on moving slowly and allowing (not causing) energy to flow through the body and earth and sky. Pitta is the name of a body/personality type that’s very go-go-go. Having an excess of pitta leaves one feeling harried, manic, and overheated. So instead of pushing my yoga workouts to be cardio or strength-building, I’m focusing on “not working too hard.” (As my book says, “A Pitta working at 75% of her capacity is still doing more than everyone else in the room.” It’s a good thing for a lot of us “do-ers” to remember!)
  • Scheduling events in groups, rather than spreading them out. If I have two Preserving Traditions events in a month, I try to group them on adjoining weekends, so I still have a couple weekends in a row off. I’m also doing more repetitions of existing workshops, rather than building new workshops for every event.
  • Blogging less. I still value sharing ideas and the online communities I’m part of, but this is one area that was feeling like a burden: to not just do, but to then analyze, photograph, and post about it. I also let the “Cooking with Laura” project go. I still have a pig’s tail in my freezer…maybe I’ll do that this summer…but it was just to much to commit to.
  • Health. I’ve had some odd health things going on this year, but they seem to be clearing up. The severity of my cycles has eased noticeably. I’ve also been getting a worsening face rash for almost two years now. I had a couple months where I swear I was a were-teen: every full moon, my face would break out in an odd acne-like rash. A diagnosis of “rosacea” is not all that helpful, it turns out, and I ended up doing a number of things on my own. Don’t know if they helped, or if it just spontaneously went away on its own, but a combination of acne cream, soothing my inner Pitta, and a very “woo-woo” allergy-treatment and “DNA reset” technique (where the doc basically asks your body, “Hey, are you aware that you’re making her face look like a bad run-in with a yellow jacket hive? You are? Wanna fix that, or what? You do? Excellent.”) have seemed to do the trick. At least the miserable lumpiness is reducing and no longer increasing.
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4 Comments

  1. aimee said,

    June 7, 2010 at 2:37 pm

    don’t feel guilty – rationalize! Doing LESS is one of the easiest ways to be green. What could be more climate friendly than a day spent reading a book or playing a board game with your sweetie? Just thing of all the resources you aren’t using!

  2. Suzie said,

    June 7, 2010 at 6:37 pm

    Everyone reads your blog and think you do a lot more than them. Sometimes it’s true, sometimes it’s perception.
    The yoga is a good thing – I’d like to find a class I like out here. It was sort of a revelation that I can just be doing something restful, and that is all for me.
    Events- I’m with you – I’d much rather have commitments on the same weekend than commitments on multiple weekends.

  3. Toni said,

    June 10, 2010 at 11:38 am

    I’m in a similar situation: 1 full time job, 1 hub, no kids, livestock, etc, big garden and burgeoning blog. This is our first year in this home and garden, and we just can’t seem to get enough hours in the day! I can’t figure out where others get the time to raise kids, etc! I think they just get less sleep and aren’t as healthy. I’m convinced that all this stuff builds up and can really hurt you in the end. I too ended up with weird rosacea rashes at one point, but I’ve really found that a more balanced life makes a HUGE difference. As did bodytalk–was that your “woo-woo” technique too? 🙂

    Hope you don’t give up the blog entirely; I’ve just found it! But taking care of yourself to be able to give to the world is the most important thing. Good luck!

  4. LakeLili said,

    June 11, 2010 at 3:01 pm

    Oh I have one kid, one dog, one father and no hubbie… and there are no hours in the day ever. I long for the days when it was just me and an active social life with people who wanted more than chicken and rice every night. And Toni you’re right, if I get 6-hours a night, its been a good night’s sleep. As much as I miss what I had, I wouldn’t change it. I have big gardens, run a home based business, home school my kid and am active in a wide variety of his activities and community organizations. What I do miss is the finacial freedom I had before my child came along…


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