Friday, January 24, 2014

Holistic Living - A Definition

Since receiving your comments asking for posts on holistic living, I've given the topic a lot of thought. While the way I live my life is holistic in many ways, I've never really thought about it or considered it's relationship to living green. To get us started, I'd like to share my thoughts on what holistic living means to me. It is, by no means, the absolute definition ... it is simply my definition and what I'll use as the basis for future posts. Ready to explore the subject with me?

Holistic Living - A headache can cause irritability.
Have you ever noticed how a very small ache or pain has the power to make your day less than enjoyable? A slight headache can make us feel irritable ... a hangnail can cause us to be grumpy. Why is that?

One explanation is that when we are focused on pain, we lose the energy to think clearly. When we can't think clearly, we feel a sense of being "off" or out of balance. In essence, when the mind is tied up with the body's discomfort, our spirit is low. The spirit is that part of our being which allows us to feel joy, happiness, and peace.

The mind body spirit connection of holistic living.
Holistic living attempts to find a balance between mind, body and spirit in a natural way. It takes a look at the whole person and their environment. Why natural? Perhaps because there is a natural order to life ... a system which is not determined by human beings and, when left alone, is perfect. When we respect it and live in harmony with it, our life seems to progress as it should. On the other hand, when we try to take control, life seems to be nothing but a struggle.

In today's world, convenience has blinded us to the connection between our life and nature. We can buy fresh vegetables at any time of year, flip a switch to make our homes warmer or cooler, and turn on a faucet to get a clean glass of water. These things are not necessarily bad, but they make it easy for us to ignore the cost to both nature and our health.

Our ancestor's understood the link between health and nature. Concepts like companion planting, preserving food and the solar orientation of our homes aren't new. Early people worked with these ideas to create a comfortable, safe life.

I believe that we can find a place, somewhere between today's convenience and yesterday's awareness of nature, where we can live a holistic life. My guiding principals, for every decision I make, will be to find balance between the mind, body, spirit and environment.

What is your definition of holistic living?

Sneak Peek: Considering a plant-based diet? In our next post, we talk about getting started.

Image courtesy of watcharakun & marin /