It has been a little over a year and a half since I began my journey towards living a more sustainable and conscious life. In this time, I have learned numerous lessons and have tried to incorporate them into the way I live my life. One such lesson has been to acknowledge and celebrate “varying pace.” as part of this practice, I try and recognize that each one of us is on their own unique journey and path. This practice has been a guiding force in my life as I try to live my life in a more sustainable and conscious manner. In fact, it has been one of the most transformative shifts that I’ve made in recent times. I have been able to make this shift using two rather simple practices – watching and accepting varying pace manifest in my own life and doing the same with others.
Watching varying pace manifest in my own life
As someone who believes strongly in the words “be the change you wish to see in the world,” I decided to start by looking at my own behavior and being more mindful of it. I began by watching how accepting I was of varying pace manifesting in my own life. I would frequently have to pause and remind myself to respect my own pace and to make choices that “worked for me.” I reminded myself not to put unnecessary pressure on myself to do “all the things all the time.” I constantly needed to remind myself not to be hard on myself when I could not commit to certain shifts and focus more on the ones I was able to.
Sustainable and conscious living looks different for different people and as we navigate through these shifts it is easy for us to forget that we cannot possibly tick all the boxes that everybody else does. For instance, in my own journey, I have done extremely well with some choices (like shifting to a vegan diet) and not so well with others (like composting at home.) Acceptance of varying pace does not necessarily mean that we keep making or encouraging poor or harmful choices. It translates into allowing ourselves to make choices at a pace that “works for us.” to stop beating ourselves up over something we have not been able to do, and focus more on what we have been able to.
Celebrating varying pace in a more expansive way
I feel that this acceptance of our own varying pace; is a great initial step that eventually enables us to extend the same acceptance to others that we have taught to treat ourselves with. In-fact, once aware, it is only natural to extend this notion to everyone.
In most situations and interactions, I remind myself not to focus on what someone “isn't doing” but be more curious about what “they are doing.” I remind myself that just like me, they too might struggle in some aspects of living a sustainable and conscious life; and just like me, even if they might be struggling with this one aspect, they are probably making strides in other areas. Instead of bringing attention to what they aren't doing, I try and ask questions that can help me get in touch with the other unique and ingenious ways in which they are able to live in a more sustainable and conscious manner.
The idea is to recognize and accept these differences is situations, ability, means, and intent and instead of beating ourselves up over something we haven't done, to acknowledge and celebrate what we have. I find that this approach of respecting our own pace and that of others creates a magical and safe space. It creates a space where we can all learn, make mistakes, grow, but most importantly – it creates a space where we all can do it in a way that celebrates our own authenticity and ingenuity.