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Posts Tagged ‘consumer’

Note: I will be Counting the Omer for a total of 49 days, from Passover to Shavuot or from Slavery to Freedom. For many, this is simply the Counting the Omer; for others, it is a tool for exploring the kabbalistic teachings in an organized way. For me, it is a time to actively reflect on my Journey Towards Wholeness. The more I am whole, the more free I will become.  [http://t.co/dBPYjDxSGj . . . .]

shop conciously

For me, Counting the Omer, means being reflective on how I count and how I move through this period of time.

Life is a holy journey, so I need to consider how I want to live, what I want from life, and how I want to make the biggest impact.  And since I am part of a larger community, country, and universe, I need to actively consider not only myself, but the larger world too.

Since I am currently looking at ways to develop a stronger sense of wholeness within myself, I am considering all the different ways that I can grow as a human being and to celebrate the changes that have already been made.

The first decision my family made as conscious consumers was to only buy fair-trade chocolate. At first it felt daunting, but then it felt so right. The cocoa beans industry is known for their use of child slave labor. As soon as we learned that, chocolate became bitter unless it was fair-trade.

One of the most important questions is how can I be the most thoughtful consumer and honor the workers in the best possible way?  This may appear like a choice to many, but to me it is a given. Below are some core ways that each of us can become a good or better consumer.

  1. Get educated – For me, it all boils down to what companies are following ethical practices for their workers and the workers that create/grow the products they are selling.

    Part of being educated is checking the facts – Just because you read something from one source doesn’t mean it’s true. Check the facts by doing your research and by following up with the company themselves. I have seen time and again how common rhetoric may not actually be true.

  2. Hold companies accountable – The more you learn about the companies, the more you are obligated to make your opinions known and/or refrain from purchasing from unethical stores/businesses.  Companies will not know what you think unless you tell them. And the more folks that tell them, the more possible it becomes to impact a company’s business practices.
  3. Shop locally – By shopping locally, you are supporting your community and lessening your carbon footprint.
  4. Shop second-hand – Buying second hand is great for recycling, carbon footprint, and often for your wallet.
  5. Share what you know – We are all partners in taking care of the universe. Period. If you want to impact the world for good, you can start by making good decisions and then you look for ways to inform others the information you are learning and the values you are choosing to live by.

While I am sharing some ways to grow into a more positive consumer, it starts with one step and then another one. You don’t have to become the perfect consumer overnight.

Personally, my goal is to continue my progress to be a really thoughtful consumer and an overall ethical human being. There is always so much to learn AND companies are constantly evolving. Some businesses that once made ethical choices, may change their ways over time and the reverse is also true. With that in mind, I need to stay on my toes.

May we each be a conscious consumer with every purchase we make.

With love, light, and blessings,
Chava

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The art of writing is the art of discovering what you believe. ~Gustave Flaubert

Welcome back to my journey towards Seeking My Own Path to Simchah (Happiness):  My Own Personal Happiness Project.

Writing allows me the space to cultivate ideas. Through writing, I hope to challenge others as well as myself to grapple with ideas and seek the answers to questions that we sometimes don’t even know we have. For the next two to three weeks, I will be sharing 11 or more commandments or guidelines that I am developing for myself in my journey to simchah.  Looking forward to hearing your thoughts and ideas as I openly work towards growing into an even happier human being.

Simchah (happiness) is a beautiful emotion.  Personally I perceive it as being an ecstatic emotion that is somewhat beyond what I have been known to feel. There have been moments of joy, but I am seeking more.  Here is where I tell those that know me personally to stop feeling melancholy for me.  OK? I am a really content person overall: I love life and love living in it.  At the same time, I am on a journey to actively seek what I think might be a higher level of contentment; I am seeking inner simchah, a more enduring sensation than contentment, maybe even more contagious too.

Over six weeks ago, I had planned to do a 13 part series called, “Seeking My Own Path to Simchah (Happiness): My Own Personal Happiness Project”.  The first two parts of the series are:

Now I have decided that although I am extraordinarily busy, I am absolutely ready to continue this journey that was inspired by Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project.

Moving forward – Commandment 2: “Be the change you want to see in the world.” ~Mahatma Gandhi

Wow, this theme seems to come up in my life again and again.  Even last night I mentioned this commandment in my last blog.  Little did I know it was a recurring theme in my life.

About 8 plus years ago I changed my first and last name.  My first name is now Chava and it essentially means life.  I love life; I am alive.  I feel that gift each and every day.  My last name is now Gal-Or, meaning wave of light.  I gave myself that name for two simple reasons:

  1. I wanted to acknowledge the light that exists in others and in most situations.  (That is how I made it through tremendous darkness within my childhood and in the years my son was ill.)
  2. I always want to remember the light within me.

For me, living in this world means that I need to consciously be engaged in how I connect with the world.  While I feel compelled to navigate the world by considering my footprint in every way; I also find myself considering how I can share what I know.  My goal is never to make someone feel bad, but it is important that folks make conscious decisions when they can.  Perhaps they will consider new realities or share what they know if I am making an incorrect assumption based on incorrect information.  In the end, we all benefit.

‘Be the change you want to see in the world” means that I need to live consciously and treat others with kindness and love even when challenges exist.  Sometimes it means that I need to walk away when the space that I am standing is no longer sacred and when I stop being able to be the person I think I should be.  Admitting it is time to move forward is an extension of living with integrity and therefore taking one more step so that I can “be the change. . . .”

Here is just a small list of what our family does to be the change:

  • buy fair-trade chocolate.  The chocolate industry utilizes child slave labor at every turn.
  • use environmentally friendly products and make our own cleansers.
  • use an electric lawn mower instead of gas.  We would love to find a manual lawn mower next.
  • try to send thoughtful cards to people.
  • purchase and consume organics.
  • limit our trash as we can. (moving was not good for us in this department, working on improving again)
  • support businesses that have good business practices.
  • refrain from using businesses that do not share our values.
  • refrain from purchasing gas at Chevron, BP, Exxon, Shell, Mobile.  Trying to figure out who might be good.  Any ideas?
  • remember the workers.  We always try to tip for service rendered even when it isn’t the norm.
  • are always kind to strangers and people we meet wherever we go.
  • do not purchase anything made in China unless it is used or recycled.
  • actively pursue human rights in any way we can.  We actively do our part for Palestinians, folks in Darfur, workers in China, immigrant workers, etc.  Sadly, the list goes on and on.

We have much to learn, but with each new piece of information we try to incorporate the knowledge so that we can be conscious consumers and human beings.  Change in the world begins with each individual actively doing his or her part (large and small).  If each of us made a difference in some small way, our collective consciousness would grow.

My second commandment is that I need to be the change I want to see in the world.  I need to remember that with each step I take.  Complacency can never become a part of who I am.

With each smile, with each small step, I can be the change I want to see in the world.  Can you?

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