A kind friend shared this video recently (The Land) and even after a few days, I can't quite lay it to rest.
The awe inspiring lady is living something close to the life I'd like and am working towards, but there are two things she mentions that really struck a chord. The first is her mentioning how much her and her mum laugh. Laugh! Sad to say that I'm really not sure how many people laugh nowadays. Not comedy show laughter, but the deep belly laughter of good times with friends and family. Her simple life provides her with the head space to do this and, looking at her face, you can see the peace and contentment in her heart. I haven't seen that elsewhere for a long time.
The second sentiment is that of the value of community. As she points out, those that choose a life such as hers are often short of cash so rely on others for their skills and time. I see so many people around me struggling and wonder how different it might be if they felt they could call on neighbours. And more importantly, what more I can do to share what I have freely. Sharing naturally builds community, and strong communities build resilience to change, banish loneliness and restore laughter. We need less because more is given. We are so often too proud to ask and too suspicious to give.
And against that backdrop of pondering, I saw this UC Middlesbrough video. The street is maybe half a mile from where I live and I know it well. Behind the lady's house is an alley, and part of the alley has been systematically transformed into a thriving community garden. There are plants and ornaments and paintings, children play safely, people meet to share a beer and a cheeky cigarette. This weekend, we're holding a party there with films, a campfire and the unveiling of the most beautiful mural, cleverly painted by Jo from a neighbouring street with poetry from another valued member of the community, Bob. This is just yards away from where this lady feels so isolated and so worried about her future.
And there it is: if she knew, she would find so much love and so much caring so close. She would find her community. It wouldn't necessarily change anything, but maybe it could make her life a little more resilient, a little more laughter filled, a little more peaceful. I do hope we can find her in time to tell her.
Time for a change eh?
Treading Lightly is simple living, within your means and the means of the planet, and making a minimal impact on the Earth. Find out more here about Catherine, of Barefoot Solutions, does this from day to day.