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:
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.”
- 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
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!