Being Girly AND Environmentally Responsible

The pagan Goddess-worshipping Womens Mysteries facilitator in me wants to shout in response to this title, “What are you talking about? Being female is all about being responsible, in all ways!”

Before you jump down my throat and think that I am equating being feminine and girly with somehow handing over one’s power or maturity to someone else (such as a man), let me explain what I mean.

I’m not a “girly girl” as many people understand the term. A lot of my clothing is flowing and feminine, very hippie-style, and although I wear jewellery, it basically consists of a lot of crystals and pentacles. But apart from that, I don’t wear any make-up, I don’t wear any high-end label fashion, I don’t usually defuzz any part of my body, and although I love a good massage and body wrap, I don’t spend any length of time at the beautician’s or the hair salon.

When I had dreadlocks, one of the things that I loved the most about them is that they are THE cheapest hairstyle around. Dreads can’t handle regular shampoo as the residue it leaves causes the dreads to untangle. So although you can use specially formulated dreadlocks shampoo, most dreadheads simply use bi-carb soda. By the way – I recommend people with un-dreadlocked hair use bi-carb soda also, it’s a brilliant cleanser, and combined with apple cider vinegar it leaves you with the silkiest tresses. (See below for more information on this).

Anyway, a small pack of bicarb soda can last six months to a year; compare this with the fact that the average woman spends $50,000 at the hair salon in her lifetime. (Yikes!) However, this kind of DIY approach may be a big jump for some ladies, who may love nothing more than going to the salon to get their nails done, getting their hair styled once a week, wearing large amounts of make-up and buying the latest styles from high-end brands.

Is there something wrong with being this kind of girly-girl? Is there something wrong with being “high maintenance” or maintaining a certain appearance? Not at all! But if you think about the amount of resources that go into being a girly girl, there’s probably a bit more of an environmentally friendly way to live.

Am I saying stop your current lifestyle? Not exactly. Yes, I do believe that there are some things we take for granted as part of a daily beauty routine may be things we must kiss goodbye to. But you may be more thrilled to know that there is an increasingly large amount of alternatives, such as environmentally friendly products and ethically made clothing.

Here are a few dot points.

Cosmetics and Skincare

In the 90s a big deal was made about animal testing. As a teenager I was a member of Choose Cruelty Free, which releases directories of products that do not test on animals, and these were so helpful. However I think a lot of people would be alarmed to know that even after all the air time that was given to the issue, a lot of products still do test on animals. Furthermore, the majority of products utilise chemicals that contain by-products which are bad for the environment, and for you.

But there is a growing number of small businesses making products which are just as good if not better than chemically derived ones. A quick Google search will find them easily, (I recommend body products made by a friend of mine at Chirinka Natural Therapies). Natural products might be less widely sold and may not keep for as long, but if you use them wisely that won’t matter. If brand names and prestige are important to you, why not be the first in your group to discover a new brand and talk it up? Tell people how good you’re being to the environment with your new choices; who cares if you’re only being environmentally friendly to be cool, the environment still benefits.

Hair

Henna hair dye has been around for a long time, and some people avoid it because it only gives the same color and can come off a bit weaker than chemical dyes. I’m not too much of an expert on this point, so I don’t know if this is one of those areas where we might need to just adjust and learn to love our natural colours. But there is a plethora of natural hair care products out there. As well as the bi-carb soda and apple cider vinegar tricks, there are natural shampoos, conditioners and styling products. As well as that, simple things like scalp massage can give you luscious locks, while enabling you to feel you’ve had a treat at the salon.

Clothing and Accessories

The problem with clothing is that we can know nothing about the person who made it for us. In my research, I found that many fashion designers have had their brands associated with sweatshop and child labour scandals. Many of these reports are from several years ago, but I would still have reservations about using them based on these reports. You might expect that a more expensive garment would be not be made in a sweat shop, as the label would be able to afford to pay a skilled worker a good wage to create it. But evidently not so. I’m not going to put every high-end fashion label in the same basket, but I will recommend highly that people do their research before they choose to purchase from a designer. Would you really feel good about yourself if there was a chance that the gorgeous shoes or dress you just got were made by an 8 year old child who was forced to work a 14 hour day for a measly pittance?

For those of us not able to buy labels, or who like the feel we’ve gotten a bargain by buying styles from department stores, we too must beware. The larger department stores, the kind that can be found at every mall or shopping centre, have a huge buying power in order to bring you the product at a lower price. They have a very large customer base, so need a lot of each garment in each size and colour. Fashions come in seasons, so they need to get it quickly enough and move it quickly enough because in a few months something new needs to come in. So often these places can be the worst offenders, with a large number of sweat shops where people churn the garments out in sub-standard working conditions.

Again, research is the word. Check out who you can and can’t trust. In my research I found  the SweatFree Shopping Guide, which is very helpful, and the 2010 Sweatshop Hall Of Shame (although I think this one is aimed mainly at Americans). If you know what stores are the offenders and what stores are the champions, you’ll be able to reward the right people with your business.

There are also plenty of people in your local community who design and sell their own clothing, which can take a little longer to create and ship but can be so worth it. True, shipping something from a long way can add carbon miles to the product, but you may be able to find some very close to you, or who regularly attend markets in your area. (Plus the stuff the big designer stores import has come from sweatshops in faraway countries anyway.)  I myself just received a lovely dress and top from HolyClothing just yesterday, and it feels so good to know that I have something rare and beautiful, which somebody lovingly created in a healthy environment. If their clothing isn’t your style, find somebody who makes clothing that is. Social networking can be great for this – most of these businesses have their own pages, so ask people on your friends list to clue you in.

So I guess these points are just the tip of the iceberg, really, but there you go. We can be girly girls, enjoy our beauty treatments and lovely clothes, but still do it in a way that does not hurt our fellow human beings or the planet. And now here’s that info about the bi-carb and vinegar.

RECIPE FOR BI-CARB SODA AND APPLE CIDER VINEGAR HAIR TREATMENTS:

Take a little bi-carb soda (also known as baking soda) and put a small amount in your palm. You’ll get used to how much you need based on your hair length but just a few clumps.

Add a few drops of water from the shower to make a paste. Use like regular shampoo.

You’ll notice it doesn’t lather like regular shampoo so you won’t need to rub more than a few times on any one patch of your head. Rinse.

Dilute a small amount of apple cider vinegar in a glass with water from the shower. (A ratio of about 1 part vinegar, 9 parts water is fine. Don’t use too much or it’ll weaken your hair).

Use as a rinse, pouring it over your hair. You’ll find the results are better than any conditioner.

Musings on Coffee and Meat

A wee bit of interesting reading to start your day with: the world is running out of coffee. Apparently, a fungus, pests and weather are all contributing to making that loveable morning cuppa something you might one day be unable to afford. As they say on TV, well, dang.

Now as someone running a herbal tea business, I can’t say I would be sad to see coffee go. I don’t drink much of it myself, and we all know tea, even black tea, is healthier than coffee. But coffee’s not quite the anti-Christ. It does have health benefits if you enjoy it rarely. (By the way – 3 times a day is not rare. Talkaboutcoffee.com states that two cups a day are okay, but then again they’re in the business of getting people to drink lots of coffee. I did a little research and it turns out two 8 ounce cups is an acceptable limit according to some medical bodies, however personally I still think it’d be healthier to cut back to one or even less. It’s easy to get stimulants – legal ones – elsewhere).

Anyway, so coffee’s becoming harder to get. The article I linked to above is the short version; here is the longer, more interesting version for those who have the time to read it.

While we’re on the topic of food and ethical choices, this picture has been doing the rounds:

A lot of meat eaters like to raise points such as this one, waving things like this in our faces with glee, revelling in the fact that vegans, vegetarians, or those who aspire to be either, “don’t even know” about stuff like this. This has been a frustrating confrontation I have dealt with for a large portion of my adult life.

Look…yes, probably, in this day and age at least, it’s very hard to avoid using something that has some form of animal product in it. But we can try. And if we happen to own an emery board that is made out of a cow’s skin and we don’t know it…so what. Avoiding animal products as much as possible is still going to make a positive impact on the planet, even if animal products creep into our lives somehow. Using an emery board is not the same as chowing down on a steak meal 14 times a week. Please.

As with coffee, meat or animal products are not the epitome of evil. You can have some if you need it. As a friend of mine says, in order for us to live, something has to die (and she’s not just talking about animals there, she is talking about plants dying to nurture us too. Something has to give way so that we can flourish).

The thing is, surely there’s a better way of doing this. Surely marching thousand of animals towards the killing floor of an abbatoir each day is not the best way for us to get our protein. I’m not even going to start on the things that are wrong with killing animals in abbatoirs (Goddess, we’d be here all night) but I’m sure there is a cleaner, healthier way to get meat. And if animals can live a fairly happy life before we slaughter them as humanely as possible, great, let’s dig in. But they’re not happy in many of the situations we put them in, and there is a lot about abbatoirs that are not humane.

I won’t go into the evils of factory farming (that’s a totally different blog entry!) but I am definitely in search of alternatives, such as small local organic butchers. When I find ones I am happy with I will spread the word here so those of you in my area can buy from them if you choose to. I am toying with the idea of creating some sort of listing of brands and products that I am satisfied with so that we can share the love when it comes to things like this.

I do love how blog entries pan out. I started this intending to talk about the plans my fiancé and I made the other night to, well, basically, live forever. OK, I’m exaggerating there, but we did talk about how we don’t want to let our lifestyles shorten our lifespans. I have one grandmother in her mid 90s and another in her late 80s, so I’d hate to let the team down. But I guess I kind of did talk about this anyway.

Healthier food equals a healthier body.

Non-Crappy Alternatives To Milk

So, let’s admit it, how many of you want to find dairy alternatives but hate the taste of soy?

When I first started trying to get animal products out of my diet, on my first attempt years ago, I thought soy was the only alternative to milk that there was. So all gung ho, I bought some soy milk, and started drinking it and putting it on my cereal very enthusiastically. Well that enthusiasm lasted maybe a week or more, before I just couldn’t handle it anymore. It was slightly bearable on my cereal than straight, but in the end…yuck.

I tried many times over the years to experiment with different brands, to no avail. I then discovered that the way soy is cultivated is not necessarily brilliant for the environment either, despite soy milk’s positive image. Fortunately, it was around this time that I found other alternatives such as rice milk, almond milk, cashew milk, and now oat milk.

So far, I have to say, that without a doubt, oat milk is my favourite. It tastes slightly like muesli or cereal, which therefore makes it the perfect milk to use at breakfast time, when a lot of people consume a lot of milk. You don’t have to go far to find the best tasting brands, as they will be down in your local supermarket. Also, because of its nice taste it’s pleasant to drink straight. My fiancé, who loves his meat and dairy products, even drinks it straight instead of dairy milk.

Rice milk is alright as well, and almond and cashew milks I enjoy as additives. (My favourite chocolate shop uses cashew milk instead of dairy milk in their hot chocolates as part of an old Egyptian family recipe – yum). Rice milk would be second place in terms of my favourite milk alternatives, but it’s really up to you in terms of what you prefer.

There is also the nutritional aspect to keep in mind as well. So here are a few pointers to help you make your mind up:

Oat milk:

–          Higher in fibre than most milks

–          Good serving of protein

–          Cholesterol free

–          Contains folic acid

–          Many brands say gluten free but some do contain gluten so beware

–          Higher in sugar and calories than most milks

Rice milk:

–          Higher in sugars and calories

–          No cholesterol

–          Gluten free

–          Low in fat

–          Non-allergenic

–          Low amounts of calcium and protein

–          Some contain added sugars, so look for the kind with no added sugar.

Almond milk:

–          Lower in sugar and calories than most milks

–          Contains the same healthy fats found in olive oil

–          Low in protein

–          Good source of magnesium

Cashew milk:

–          Low in fat

–          Contains magnesium

–          Good serving of copper

In my research I also heard about hemp milk, which is something I’d never encountered before. Apparently it contains very high amounts of omega 3 fatty acids but is not very high in protein. As I’ve never tasted this before, if anybody has tried it please let me know what it’s like.

There is also coconut milk, which is far more than just a curry ingredient, and non-cow animal milks, such as goat, sheep and buffalo. All non-cow milks are far better for the environment as the production of these milks has a smaller carbon footprint, but I do not personally have a lot of experience with these. I’ve heard goat milk tastes awful but again, if anybody is well acquainted with these milks feel free to comment.

So there are my recommendations. My hope is one day to be able to make my own almond and cashew milk so I’ll let you know how that goes when the day comes, too.

A Tribe Of 5000: Why Our Brains Haven’t Evolved For Facebook

Tonight I am reflecting upon the effects that connections over the web can have on our lives.

What I’m referring to specifically here is the fallout from having hundreds of “friends” on Facebook, or having thousands of people follow you on Twitter.

OK, so not all of us have such large numbers, but there are people who do and we all know them. Some of you reading this right now might even fall into this category. Don’t worry, this post is not going to judge you or tell you that it’s bad to have so many online connections; I’m just going to explore the consequences of being in such a position.

If we take a moment and think of how human beings developed socially over hundreds of thousands of years, we can view this situation in a different light. Imagine you are from a tribe of hunter-gatherers living in the middle of nowhere. Realistically, how many people do you know? 50? 100, max? Not only your immediate family, but your extended family, the other tribe members, even people from tribes in the local area that you encounter from time to time on important occasions such as a wedding or festival.

Some of them you know well, others you know less well, some you barely know at all. In all honesty, who is aware of the events in your day to day life? Your immediately family, yes. Most likely the other tribe members, although they might not know all the nitty gritty details. Would the people from that other tribe that you never see except once a year know? Probably not.

So when something happens such as, let’s say, seeing some beautiful flowers in a meadow while you’re out gathering berries, every person in your life is not immediately aware. You might tell your family around the campfire that night, and you may mention it in passing the next day to a fellow tribe member. But you sure as hell do not send up smoke signals to the other tribe going, “OMG TOTALLY PRETTY FLOWERS OVER THERE!”

Do you have the right to send up smoke signals telling the other tribe about the flowers? Hell yeah! But would you really do it? Probably not.

So you see – tweeting or posting about every single damn thing is akin to sending up smoke signals to every person you know.

Now, some people may want to send up smoke signals about every event in their lives. It may be a great way to stay in contact with the “other tribe” that you never get to see, and they may even send smoke signals back engaging in a conversation about the flowers. That’s cool, that’s your right. But think about it; at the end of the day, do people from other tribes far far away need to know every little thing you are doing?

The scientific truth is our brains just plain did not evolve to be able to handle this. I read a study a few years ago – and I can’t remember who it was by, otherwise I’d link you to it – that explored how many faces a human being could properly recognise and identify. The number was approximately 80 if I recall correctly. This study put forth that this was the number of people in our clans or tribes thousands of years ago. The study then went on to provide an explanation for our obsession with celebrities in the 20th and 21st centuries. When we see our favourite starlet in a magazine or on TV, we recognise a clan member; one of the 80 or so faces we’re most used to seeing. We feel we know them, when we have never met them even once.

(Did you hear that? You are not a Kardashian! No matter how many times you’ve watched the show! I know, it hit me hard as well!)

With brains that are tuned to be part of clans of approximately 80 people, we cannot keep up with the 5000 friends that Facebook allows us to have. Sure, you can have 5000 friends if you want to, but when you have posts from hundreds of people flooding your page – even when you tune your newsfeed to perfection, or try to ignore it as much as possible – it’s information overload. We now get more interactions in a day than we might have gotten in months back in prehistoric times.

The other aspect of this is the pure energy this can drain from you. I’ve been feeling the sting of this lately spiritually and metaphysically. Feeling my energy being sapped is a very tactile thing for me (some may think this is bullshit and they have the right to believe that, but I’m just presenting you with my experience). I was in a position where I had over 200 people friended on my Facebook page, some quite close to me and whom I saw very regularly, others who I’d formerly been close to and had drifted away from, and still others who I’d met once, possibly intoxicated, friended them, and my only contact since had been online.

Normally I have no problem at all with friending people I’ve met once, or with staying connected to people I’d drifted away from. But I was feeling that the people I’d only met, I hardly knew. It felt like a stranger had access to my thoughts and life events. And the people I’d drifted away from felt like strangers. Some I had drifted from after painful almost-falling-outs, and whose friendship contained awkward memories. Others just started making posts that I didn’t like or agree with and I began to wonder if I’d ever truly known these people at all.

Hide them in your newsfeed, I hear you say. Yes, I did that, but it still felt odd being connected to them. Block your posts from being visible to them, I hear you say. Yes, but I confess I never quite learned how to do that. Facebook changes itself every 5 minutes and I can’t keep up with the how-tos. Plus social networking should not be that difficult – it shouldn’t take me an hour to figure out how to prevent one person from seeing something I’m posting. Honestly, the cleanest and easiest process was to just break the connection.

I wanted my own energy back, and I feel that I now have it, to a large extent. I believe I may have stepped on a few toes but I had to do this. I don’t think any of these people had any intention of being energy vampires; in fact the suggestion may even hurt their feelings. But I just had to end the connection to save myself. Maybe I’m crazy, I don’t know. But I just don’t think every random tribe member I ever meet needs to know what I ate for breakfast.

I’m almost ready to jump back into Facebook again, and it could be that I’m about to meet hundreds of awesome new people and have more friends than I’ve ever had. You may indeed read this in a few months time and go, “What the hell! She’s got 1000 friends!” But that’s fine by me. What I’ve become aware of is that it’s important to understand the way your interactions with people on the internet drain you, and to know when to pull the plug on some. It’s a skill we could all gain from having.

The Environment and Being Childfree

Today a subject that is on my mind is that of parenthood, and making the choice to be childfree.

I’m not going to get into too much detail about the specific plans my fiance and I have regarding parenthood. I will say however that we do plan to have children. However, the process might not be as simple as some would think as I have polycystic ovarian syndrome. So we might end up being the parents of a couple of cats and dogs rather than some human babies.

We don’t know exactly what will come to pass. But we do know that, no matter what, our lives will be full. They are full now, thank you very much. And we resent the implication that somehow our lives are not complete until we pop out a couple of kids.

For those who know me offline, it might come as a shock to hear me say this as I have spent a lot of time facilitating and attending Womens Mysteries events in the past. I won’t explain exactly what Womens Mysteries is (or it wouldn’t be a mystery!) but in a nutshell, it is the teachings imparted by women from generation to generation relating to a woman’s varying roles throughout her life; specifically in relation to her menstrual cycle. Also, being a pagan, we honour the Maiden/Mother/Crone archetypes, and I have done a lot of study on the use of bellydance to prepare a woman for labor. So yes, I do think motherhood and childbirth are sacred amazing things and I support anybody going through them.

But if I don’t go through them, whether by choice or by circumstance, am I less valuable a human being than a person who does?

Sometimes the implication is that I am. And I think it’s worthwhile for everybody, no matter what walk of life they come from, to take the time to consider why that is.

But all this aside (as it’s really a different to issue to what I intended to blog about today), let’s focus for a moment on the idea of being childfree. Being childfree is different from being childless, as the word “childless” indicates a person who wants to have children and cannot, whether due to infertility or some other reason. The word childfree indicates a person who has chosen not to have children.

This is not a new idea (organisations supporting childfree adults have been around since the 1970s) and anybody who has spent any time on the internet may have bumped into a few childfree communities here and there. Unfortunately there is a bit of a negative view of childfree people, and a lot of terms have been bandied about, the most common one being “selfish” (inferring that if a person chooses to focus on themselves instead of bringing other humans into the world, they must somehow be a horrible selfish person. I do hope very much that all the readers of this blog understand how ridiculous such a statement is).

But although the reasons for a person choosing not to procreate are varied and many, I would like to focus on just one. The idea of not having children because of the environmental impact they may have.

We all know about overpopulation. Incase you are not up to speed, we recently hit the 7 billion person mark. That’s right, 7 billion human beings on this tiny wet rock spinning around in outer space. And whilst opinions are varied on just how many people the planet can handle at any one time, one thing is clear: it sure as hell can’t support 7 billion people who all need access to clean water, clean air, adequate food and all the other things people in developed nations take for granted.

So, if anybody in a developed nation decides they can handle not having kids and proceeds to live their life this way, I say go for it!

I have several people in my life who have made this choice. They reserve the right to foster or adopt at a later stage, but for now, they are completely secure that they have made the right choice not to procreate. This has immediate benefits for them, in that they can focus on their careers, travel, study, even adopt more pets than they otherwise would be able to afford. One couple are even in the process of building an environmentally friendly house which they would have no chance of building if they had kids.

But more importantly, the Earth benefits with one less mouth to feed and water at the quality and rate that people in developed nations demand. Yes, even the environmental grounds for being childfree have come under some criticism, and some have stated that being childfree can actually have a negative effect due to providing a society with a lack of a workforce, and so on. But with 7 billion people on the planet let’s not pretend that we have a shortage of people! Perhaps if our birth rates in the developed world are declining, we will have more room in our homes and hearts for refugees who are already seeing the devastating results of too many people using up natural resources.

In my opinion, people in developed nations choosing not to have children is a good thing.

To those who can make this choice, I raise my glass. Thank you.

Reducing Fish Consumption

So the latest thing I’ve been trying to focus on is my consumption of fish.

You probably don’t know many people who cut out fish but not other meat for moral reasons – a lot of vegetarians cut out beef, pork, chicken and other meats but continue to eat fish for nutrition. (Not only is it a good source of protein, but deep sea varieties contain essential fatty acids).

However lately I’ve been feeling prompted to cut out fish rather than other meats. Of course, it would be great to be able to cut out all meats completely (the goal is to be vegan again!) but if I must make a start, fish is what I want to stop eating first. My main reason for this is I discovered the most recent stats on what overfishing has done to our oceans.

Firstly, the oceans cover 70% of the planet and contain 80 per cent of all life on Earth. Not only large and small fish, planktons, and mammals such as cetaceans and seals, but an array of plant life and a whole host of creatures that are completely undiscovered. Knowing that the oceans have the overwhelming majority of life on our isolated little planet should encourage anybody to care about it’s health.

What’s very alarming though, is the fact that 80% of the world’s fisheries (fisheries referring to any area where fish live) are overexploited and depleted. (See overfishing.org). On top of that 90% of large predatory fish are gone. A lot of people are unaware what large predatory fish actually are, but a few examples are tuna, perch, shark, sea bass and salmon.  

90% are gone! 9 out of every 10 large fish are taken away – just taken. Why are we not freaking out about this? 

With modern fishing methods – trawl nets that literally sweep the sea clean, trapping cetaceans, turtles, even sea birds who get caught in the nets when they try to fish – how much longer do we realistically have before these species are gone forever? The answer is, not very long. Experts’ predictions range from 25 years to less than 10.  I’m personally even less optimistic than that.

Is it any wonder that we have wound up in this situation? There are apparently enough fishing fleets in existence to cover 4 Earths. I think we’re kidding ourselves if we think the situation is going to change on it’s own, without the average person taking some sort of action.

So first and foremost, we can make better choices with what we eat. I have personally cut out all tuna – which was admittedly painful, I love sushi! – and am trying to drastically reduce my servings of salmon. I also highly recommend doing a bit of research on what other seafood is ok to consume. The Australian Marine Conservation Society has created a smartphone application that I am loving so much right now; it lists what seafood is ok, what you should avoid, and what you should think twice about.

So although I do eventually want to stop eating all animal products, I feel like this is the best start I can make, as we have no shortage of cows, pigs or chickens, but we do have a shortage of fish. I personally would like my children to be able to enjoy a tuna sandwich, or some sushi, on rare occasion. I’m also trying to get a little more involved in some other projects in the hopes commercial fishing vessels will change their methods, but that’s probably a topic for another blog.

I’d love to hear what you all think on the topic and if you have any tips regarding better seafood choices, do share.

Welcome

Well hello there and welcome to my new blog.

It’s been quite a few years since I blogged, having being immersed in the (somewhat mindless) ocean of Facebook all this time. But prior to that I did blog for several years over at good old Livejournal, which, though it had it’s ups and downs, enabled me to connect with a lot of people who had some really great ideas about a lot of things.

In those days I was a missionary in Thailand, and had just discovered bellydancing. So my journal was mainly about the ins and outs of working at an orphanage, looking after 50+ children whilst doing admin for other arms of the organisation (which spanned 4 countries!) by day, then at night devoting myself to the art of bellydance. A rather juxtaposed existence and not particularly enjoyable when it boils right down to it, but by blogging I was able to document the transformation I went through.

It really was a metamorphosis, as shortly after I moved back to Australia and was able to further immerse myself in the world of bellydance, I had what had been bubbling away for a long time; a change of religion. A few years on, and I’ve gone from being a born again Christian to a pagan witch, and while I don’t bellydance anymore (long story…I might get to it one day) my point is, the blog was the map of the start of my journey.

So here I am, on the start of another journey, hoping a blog will help me make sense of things, and hopefully help a few other people too.

I’m 29 years old, and am engaged to a wonderful man. We live in Melbourne with my fiance’s father (henceforth referred to as my father in law, even though it’s not strictly true yet). I work in a call centre and in my spare time run a small business creating blends of herbal teas. My fiance is between work at the moment but has worked in radio for several years. Yes, I’m a witch, and yes this means I do spells, and no it doesn’t mean they’re the kind of spells you’d see in a Harry Potter movie. I, and fortunately most of my witch friends, have what I think is the rather delightful trait of being spiritual but at the same time very cynical. We believe in evolution and science as much as we believe in spirit and magick (they’re kind of the same thing if you think about it) so I’m certainly not one of those airy-fairy type people that you see around psychic fairs and so forth.

My fiance and I live in Melbourne but we are planning a move to the Gold Coast – or at least somewhere sunny – because I really struggle with Melbourne’s cold, gloomy winters. We have chosen to buy, so this move will also involve the purchase of our first home. And then there’s our wedding. We aren’t the type to have a big lavish affair (eloping has been really tempting at times!) but once we’ve bought a home we would like to tie the knot finally. So there’s a lot in the works for us.

On top of this, I have always had the feeling that there is something not quite right about how the most of us in Western society live our lives…the competition, the consumerism, the using up of resources we just don’t have, working our fingers to the bone to end up with nothing but bills. I guess I am a born hippie (I had dreadlocks to my butt until I cut them off because of the headaches, and used to be a vegan). So I am always trying to find a way to live ethically. But, like most people, I’m constantly falling off the wagon here. I’ll give meat up then take it up slowly because it’s just so darn yummy and I need the iron anyway. I’ll get passionate about a cause then forget about it when the next cause comes along. And so on.

I’m certainly not going to pretend I’m perfect, and I think most people fall into this same trap. We do care, we really really do, but our lives as they have formed in this society can sometimes outweigh our desire to make a better choice. Our day to day requirements can mean that it’s too hard to do that thing we vowed to do, or avoid that thing we vowed to avoid. Or sometimes people get so overwhelmed they just say, “I give up!’ and do nothing.

I think that, at the age of 29, I’ve become rather conventional now. I mean, if you don’t take into account the whole witch thing, or the facial piercings I still have (can’t quite bring myself to part ways with my labret or nose rings yet). So what this blog will also be about is just one normal chick trying to live a normal life, but trying to do it in a better way.

Trying to find the way of living conventionally without destroying the environment, or overusing resources. Is it even possible? Time will tell. When I make discoveries I want to share them with you, so in your own lives, with all the things you have to think about and all stresses that are involved, you can know you are making a little bit of a difference. Likewise if you also have a discovery please tell me so I can give it a shot.

Here’s to a great blog. *clink*