Inspired Action: Life Vows

A few months ago, I asked, “what does it take to change the world?” and “how do we translate good intentions into inspired action?”.

Through our guest blogs, we’re sharing ideas for Inspired Action from several of our volunteers, partners and guests. We’d love to hear your ideas too!

Ben Stopford and his partner Leisha came to stay at Eco Retreats last year, and – as it so often happens with our guests – Angus and I quickly entered into some fascinating and inspiring discussions with them. Ben is a traveller, environmentalist, writer and founder of Conscious Roots, a platform for the union of philosophy, ethical living, sustainability, and spirituality. Ben is writing a book on Conscious Living with lots of practical tips for simple changes that can support people in living life in a more ethical and fulfilling way. Ben is an inspiration because he practices what he preaches and his life is a real-life experiment in living more consciously. He’s even planning a 100 mile walk in May, eating only food he forages!

Below, he shares some personal reflections on how setting core values and “life vows” can guide our day-to-day decisions. We’ll be sharing more of his tips and tricks soon…

“A massive part of my adventure into living well has involved consciously choosing to take on personal challenges and delving into the scary depths of my thoughts on a variety of values and concepts. I have been inspired by the natural world, by meditation, Buddhist ethics and often by Rob Greenfield’s environmental activism: it is non-confrontational, entertaining and poignant.

I initially had the idea of trying to write down four words that I could refer to during any time of difficulty and have applied these words to all areas of life. They have become an invaluable tool as my guiding wisdom. They are: non-judgemental, moral, compassionate and simple. These four little words make hard decisions easier. I know I want to live by them, so if something does not for any reason match up to them, it is likely that I should not do what I was planning on doing. These are a guide and I often catch myself falling on one front and succeeding on another, but that is their value - they help me to catch myself and realise when emotions, fictional stories or ego are ruling me. These four words allow me to stop and consider what my truest self would and should do in any given scenario.

I have applied these words to life and come up with some vows that act as a further guide for me. I have tried to make them realistic and will likely add to and adjust them as time goes on – they are fuel for continuous work. It is a list based on how I want to live my life and what is important to me. It has been fun to think about and has helped me to highlight the areas of my life within which I was, unconsciously, not being true to my real self. Here they are:

I vow to:
  • Volunteer 2 weeks of my time per year for positive projects
  • Live as close to zero-waste as I can
  • Neutralise all fossil fuel usage, through Gold Standard projects and tree planting, for example
  • Only shop second-hand or from ethical companies that are making genuine positive impact on the world
  • Live a minimalist lifestyle
  • Donate 10% of all my earnings to charities such as those engaged in tree planting
  • …and everything above £10,000 per year
  • Eat organic, ethical and local and grow as much of my own food as I can
  • Cycle or use public transport and rideshare instead of driving
If you feel like vowing to make some positive changes, write yourself a list, stick it somewhere visible and enjoy the feeling of being true to your core, loving self.”

Inspired? You can read the full blog here.

I love this idea of getting clear on our guiding life principles. Just as in our meditation practice, we come back to the breath again and again as our mind wanders – so in our lives, we can adopt the practice of coming back to our guiding principles again and again, even if we wander off course.

We’d love to hear your vows, and how we can best support you to live by them in practice.

Spring is a wonderful time to reflect on our values, plant seeds in our own lives and feel the excitement of new beginnings emerging. Eco Retreats is the perfect place to getaway and rejuvenate in the forest after the long winter. Check our availability and secure your spot here.

We look forward to welcoming you here soon!

love
Margaret

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Eco Retreats
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Emma Leigh Burton
Emma Leigh Burton
2019-10-13T17:43:06+0000
We have just had the best weekend here in the ash valley yurt ! It’s definitely a holiday everyone will remember for a long time ! Thank you for making such... a special placeread more
Suzy Box
Suzy Box
2019-10-01T14:52:05+0000
Great place to unwind and reconnect as a couple
Natalie Morris
Natalie Morris
2019-08-28T15:32:34+0000
Just had an amazing few days relaxing in the River Yurt. Beautiful stunning location, peace & tranquility a time to just chill out and watch our daughter play... on the open meadow & river. The outdoor bath was perfect on a summer evening to lay back and watch the sky come alive with stars!! Would definitely recommendread more
Rachel Harper
Rachel Harper
2019-08-26T10:57:20+0000
We’ve just had the best 2 nights in the Ash Valley yurt! The outdoor bath was brilliant! Complete privacy, if you don’t include the sheep 🐑 my 11yo boys... have loved chopping wood, starting fires, making dens and playing in the stream whilst my partner and I sat back, relaxed and enjoyed the peace 😌 I would 100% recommend this place, Margaret and her daughter were most welcoming. You have everything you need already there. Thank you for such a lovely experience xread more
Charlotte Edwards
Charlotte Edwards
2019-08-23T15:10:33+0000
Absolutely magical 😍 I so wish I'd booked for more than two nights! We stayed in the meadow yurt, complete privacy, surrounded by forest and mountains, and... nothing to hear but for birds and waterfalls. There is so much on site to explore we didn't have time to see half of it! We spent an afternoon climbing up the hill behind the yurt and swimming in waterfalls before jumping in that beautiful wood fired bath 😍 and visited a few beautiful spots in Snowdonia. Can't wait to come back!read more
Chris Lowe
Chris Lowe
2019-08-22T19:48:00+0000
Peaceful, wonderful setting.
Shea Hollis
Shea Hollis
2019-08-18T16:05:41+0000
Honestly, this place is truly magical. Utter blissful escapism for all ages. Fireheated outdoor bath and your own private waterfall? Just perfect.
Vik Taylor
Vik Taylor
2018-10-24T19:49:57+0000
We enjoyed our 1st stay last week for 4 nights with our baby in a tipi and we loved every second of it. we had a warm welcome when we arrived, tipi already... warmed up too. we were supplied with every thing we needed. we enjoyed the lush hot bath looking at the clear sky at night. the view every morning was beautifal. everything so peaceful and quiet. all we could hear was the sound of the running water, trees rustling in the wind and the shoothing sound of wildlife. It was perfect. thankyou to Angus and Margaret. you literally thought of everything. thankyou. Will be booking for next year. cant wait.read more
Stewart Hoyle
Stewart Hoyle
2018-08-24T20:01:19+0000
a get-away from technology
Karen Morley
Karen Morley
2018-07-24T20:27:58+0000
Had a brilliant time in the meadow yurt with our 2 children. It was so peaceful and relaxing, everything that we needed was supplied. It was lovely being... able to sit outside by the fire toasting marshmallows and having bbqs. The bath was amazing being able to totally relax outside in the peace and quiet. Our boys loved it especially the bath and paddling in the river. We would recommend to go try it to every one.read more
Neil Stanton
Neil Stanton
2018-06-18T14:38:49+0000
Beautiful location and the facilities were excellent. Spent a very relaxing weekend in the Cwm Onnen Tipi enjoying the scenery. Very comfortable and loved the... wood-fired bath. We'll be back next year (hopefully with slightly better weather).read more
Jason Stirzaker
Jason Stirzaker
2018-04-04T11:02:49+0000
After a last minute decision to go away for the night we came across Eco-Retreats and their amazing looking Tipis and Yurts, set in equally amazing... surroundings. They were so accomadating for us as we could only stay one night, and had rang up on the same morning we were staying. We got such a warm, friendly welcome and they really do go out their way to be there to meet & greet you (you'll understand just how much when you go). What a truly beautiful site quite literally away from it all. We stayed in the Forest Tipi which was set within it's own patch of land up a short trail to really give it an extra isolated feel. The outdoor bath really is amazing and well worth the wait to warm up, even in early April temperatures and light rain so would be absolutely perfect on more warmer nights. The Tipi itself was equipped with all that you'd need and the Chimenea did a good job of keeping us warm, even with the surprise blanket of snow we got in the night. I'd highly recommend this place to anyone wanting a truly different experience and appreciates being close to nature and getting back to basics, while still retaining the comfort of a bed at night.read more
Eric Stannard
Eric Stannard
2017-08-21T20:43:59+0000
From booking to arrival they were very helpful. After a quick overview of how to operate the tipi and fires we were left to our own devises to enjoy the... tranquility and setting of the waterfall tipi. The tipi has everything you need for your stay and we found it warm and dry despite the wet weather. The fire in the tipi takes the place of the TV and the dancing flames soon become mesmerising; the background sounds of the waterfall and rain on canvas are relaxing and the dancing flames of the tea lights in the lanterns complete your escape from the modern world. The rain stopped long enough for us to enjoy a warm bath in the open air in the woods and is well worth the effort of keeping the fire going. All in all a fantastic escape away from modern distractions.read more
Louise Gresty
Louise Gresty
2017-07-26T17:43:03+0000
Brilliant feeling of being miles from anywhere, in a lovely peaceful setting with amazing views, having your own fire either indoors in the stove or outside... campfire and it was very comfortable too.read more
Dan Shephard
Dan Shephard
2017-07-23T21:05:33+0000
Christopher Charles
Christopher Charles
2017-05-25T07:10:31+0000
The most beautiful and remotest place I've ever found in wales � we go back year after year and it just gets better... ����������������read more
Gracie Hindley
Gracie Hindley
2017-05-15T08:29:13+0000
My boyfriend and I stayed in the Meadow Yurt last weekend. The trip was everything we could have wanted, and more! Beautiful yurt filled with all the equipment... you need for your stay. The wood fired bath was also a huge highlight for us. Would thoroughly recommend to anyone wanting a quiet, stress-free getaway!read more
Andrew Calogirou
Andrew Calogirou
2017-05-04T05:36:23+0000
Amazing location and the River Yurt is amazing. Been 2 years in a row now and want to go again already.
Megan Hunt
Megan Hunt
2017-05-02T22:11:54+0000
We loved it here and can not wait to return one day.
Rachel Smiler Berwick
Rachel Smiler Berwick
2017-04-27T14:02:26+0000
Cannot recommend this place enough. It was our 2nd year back this year with our 4 year old & it never fails to impress. We just love staying in the waterfall... Tipi :) booking process is excellent & the stay is even better especially being able to have a bath in the forest ;) thankyou again and we will see you next year xxxxread more
Kerrie Henriques
Kerrie Henriques
2017-04-14T18:58:51+0000
Absolutely amazing, such a great experience. Super friendly staff. Thank you �
Will Sfakiotakis
Will Sfakiotakis
2017-04-14T18:53:22+0000
Highly recommended! (River Yurt) A beautiful place to be, hosted by genuine, welcoming, and helpful staff. We will be coming back! A truly grounding and... humbling experience. Loved it ��read more
Robert Cox
Robert Cox
2016-10-13T19:11:56+0000
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Ben Stopford

Ben Stopford

Ben is a traveller, environmentalist, writer and founder of Conscious Roots, a platform for the union of philosophy, ethical living, sustainability, and spirituality. A keen outdoorsman, he is currently training as a Bushcraft Instructor and will soon be running a variety of courses from foraging to deep ecology. A great believer in voluntary simplicity, the Dana economy, Ecocentrism, and meditation, he spends much of his time exploring the complexities of these ways in daily life.
Ben Stopford

Ben Stopford

Ben is a traveller, environmentalist, writer and founder of Conscious Roots, a platform for the union of philosophy, ethical living, sustainability, and spirituality. A keen outdoorsman, he is currently training as a Bushcraft Instructor and will soon be running a variety of courses from foraging to deep ecology. A great believer in voluntary simplicity, the Dana economy, Ecocentrism, and meditation, he spends much of his time exploring the complexities of these ways in daily life.
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