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2018: My Life Vows

Updated: Apr 7

Dear Reader,

A massive part of my adventure into living well and in reality has involved setting myself 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 Vipassana and Zen meditation, Buddhist ethics and often by the human spirit. A beautiful example of this spirit is Rob Greenfield and his humble approach to environmental activism, it is non-confrontational, entertaining and poignant. I noticed that he has a series of interesting lists (I love lists) to outline several of his ideas and to encourage others to change for the betterment of themselves and the world. It worked- it was a wonderful idea and I have decided to publish my (initial) vows to the world. Accountability is a powerful tool and part of why I write this blog, knowing that others are watching is another good reason to always make ones best efforts.

This list has been written after many hours of deep thought, of questioning my core moral values and attempting to apply them to the way I live my life. 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 that thing. These are a guide and I often catch myself falling on one front or another but that is their value- they help me to catch myself and realise when emotions, fictional stories or ego are ruling me, allowing me to stop, be mindful, 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, as they are 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 areas of my life where 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 (zero-waste blog coming soon with more detail on my interpretation of this)

* First minimize to the greatest degree reasonably possible, then neutralise all fossil fuel usage (through Gold Standard projects and tree planting)

* Only shop second hand or from ethical companies with positive impacts on the world

* Live a simple minimalist lifestyle

* Donate 10% of all earnings to environmental and social justice causes

* …and everything above £18,000 pa

* Eat organic, ethical and local and grow as much of my own food as I can

* Cycle/use public transport/ride share instead of drive a car

I would love to hear some thoughts on these, share your ideas and 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.

Love Ben

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