Today is the Summer Solstice. The longest day in the northern hemisphere and it always gets me thinking. Humans used to be hugely connected with nature. The ebb and flow of the oceans, the thunder & lightning in the sky, the waxing & waning of the moon. Then time marched on, humans developed and this connection with the earth diminished. Our time spent outdoors has diminished too. Despite being an INTERIOR designer, I very much appreciate the EXTERIOR environments and our need to create sustainable spaces inside as well as out.
Today I feel that due to the “inconvenient truth” of climate change, it has become near to impossible to ignore the radical changes in our weather systems everywhere, the continual editorial debating about the truth about climate changes, the melting icecaps and the sad stories about the endangered species like the lovely Polar Bears that are losing their natural environments to live.
Despite these dark times, I feel that this renewed awareness and connection to the outdoors is a very good thing and much needed.
You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make. ~ Jane Goodall
Americans spend statistically speaking about 90% of the time indoors. According to Pew Research Center, 41% of Americans feel that are worse off than they were 50 years ago. Coincidence? Well, I do not really believe in just coincidences. There are patterns and everything is connected. Personally, I feel there is a direct correspondence between the lack of being connected to our planet/nature, our addiction to work and consumption and the decrease in our overall balance/health.
I was one of those American’s a few years ago. I was so out of balance and did not spend hardly any time outside. So I made a change. I moved to Spain to change my life into a more sustainable one. Want to learn some more about my story? I’m in NYC on July 31st to share my story. Join me. RSVP to Design a Sustainable Life on July 31 in NYC HERE
However, even with this BIG CHANGE, last year I was diagnosed with LOW VITAMIN D. I mean, really?! How is that even possible since I live by the sea and I spend more time outside now than I have ever as an adult? Well, it proved to me, that even with my increased time outdoors, it is still not nearly enough. More change is necessary to rebalance my life.
What is necessary for optimal health & happiness, then? Well, the first step would be to start spending more time outside. In an effort to reverse the results by the Pew Research Center and get people starting to be happier again and feeling their lives are moving in the right (better!) direction we need to SLOW DOWN and to spend more time OUTSIDE.
To get through the hardest journey we need only to take one step at a time, but we must keep on stepping. ~ Chinese Proverb
Of course, we need to be realistic, right? It is a nearly IMPOSSIBLE task in our present world and life condition, to spend even 50% of our time outside though I feel if we start to recognize the interconnectedness between our inner happiness and our outer time, we will start to take a more positive stand on all the things that really matter most. Like our health and happiness.
So there is a GREAT opportunity starting TODAY! Since it is the LONGEST DAY of the year, this is the perfect moment to start a commitment to yourself to REBALANCE your life and start spending more time OUTSIDE.
With more hours of SUNSHINE, it is frankly just easier to fit some outside time in-between all the other life obligations that we have like sleeping, working, commuting, showering, eating, etc., etc., etc. More about decluttering your life and slowing down in other posts, but for now, today’s focus is about reconnecting with nature and spending more time in it.
Here are some of the small steps I took when I moved to Spain, to change my space and change my life. Small habits and small steps in the right direction. Not all perfect, but one step in the right direction is a good step if you keep on going.
Lee’s TOP EXAMPLES of ways to redesign your life so you can spend more time outside…
- I walk to my class instead of taking the bus. This takes me more than 20 minutes each way, which is possible to do in 5-10 minutes by bus, but this defeats the purpose. Walking is exercise, gives me time to clear my head before & after class, plus gives me access to sunshine (and Vitamin D!)
- I meditate outside. I do not do this always, but when the weather is nice, it is a goal of mine to get outside and meditate in nature. I can of course simply meditate in my apartment but the connection to nature always enhances the experience, so I try to do this half of the time.
- I live in an apartment with a terrace. This is allowing me to have direct access to the outdoors, even when I can’t seem to get myself to stop working or to leave my place. This little slice of outdoors has changed my quality of life drastically as I can sit outside every day (when it is not raining that is!), and read my book, drink my coffee and even work on my laptop with the sunshine up. Plus, it allows me to have friends over and entertain in a lovely way that is fun, casual and allows us all to be outside!
- I plan activities for walking or being outside. I live in a lovely part of Spain that has a lot of mountains and hiking, so it is not a very difficult thing to do. Or is it? It took me a while to find people that wanted to go hiking plus to learn enough Spanish to make walking alone an option I was comfortable with. But I made a commitment to myself to make sure to get outside twice a month and do a trek of some sort. I do not always meet my goal, but it’s there as a constant reminder.
Today is the SUMMER SOLSTICE in the northern hemisphere. This is the day with the most hours of sunlight. It is a special day and though many of us don’t celebrate it with a dance around Stone Henge, there is still an opportunity to pause for a moment and give thanks for our earth, our planet, the sunlight that feeds our souls.
With this, I want to offer you a special GIFT. When the autumn is upon us and the days are much, much shorter, I am hosting an amazing event in a magical city to share some tips on how to redesign your life intentionally. A lot of this will be done in a lovely villa estate in Marrakesh, Morocco and we will spend a lot of time OUTSIDE, meditating, talking, eating while staring at the stars over the desert while dining on delicious Moroccan tagines. Sound good?
If you decide to honor yourself with this, I will honor you with a gift of my own. You will get a special gift from me while at the retreat and if you book before July 13th, I will honor a 5% discount. Make sure to tell me SOLSTICE when you book so I know to gift you this when you pay the balance.
Change Your Space, Change Your Life:
a Retreat to ReDesign Your Surroundings & Make Your Soul Sing
30 September – 5 October