I’m a greenie – an all-out advocate for Mother Nature.
She features highly in my trainings and commentary around women thriving in life and leadership as we reconnect to our very source, following her ebbs and flows. In addition to this I also own two zero waste retail stores. These stores allow me to do my bit to make living a low footprint life accessible to us city dwellers.
Our Earth is too precious for us to continue to disrespect and disregard her needs. We need to honour her life force and tread lightly on her fragile soul.
So as a former Senior Executive leader (SES) in the public service, how did I end up here?
This is a question that I get asked often. Given it’s Plastic Free July it seems like the perfect time to provide the answer!
It all actually started with two random conversations.
The first was with a friend who wanted to retire at 50. To do this, she told me she’d started asking herself every time she wanted to buy something – will this help me to retire at 50? I fell in love with this idea of becoming a conscientious consumer. So, while I didn’t want to retire at 50, it left me thinking about what questions I could ask before mindlessly buying something new.
The second conversation was with a work colleague who told me that her friend had gone for a whole year without buying any new clothes, only wearing what she had in her wardrobe. Again, I loved the sound of this as I had a wardrobe full of clothes, some that I hadn’t worn for quite some time. So, I decided to give this a go too.
In making the decision to become a conscious consumer and do the wardrobe challenge, I then made the decision not to buy any bathroom products until the ones in my bathroom were used up. With my daughter being a hairdresser apprentice, we had half empty shampoo and conditioner bottles needing to be used up. Couple this with a hubby who has a penchant for hotel samples and a lifetime collection of gifted of soaps and body lotions, it took 10 months before we needed to resupply. I then did the same in the pantry and moved onto the cleaning products and so I continued…
The more I did this the more something inside me began to shift. What started as a fun challenge stirred something deep inside. I started questioning myself about the way I lived my life and what I wanted for the future. I started to reconnect with myself, my own desires, and my true values (not the ones I thought I should have) as I entered a new phase of life.
My husband and I had also started talking about me giving up work and us doing something together on our farm.
And then as life would have it, we were in Sydney for a wedding and saw a zero-waste store, looked at each other and said this is it – this is what we want to do. Make plastic free pantry shopping mainstream. Make a low footprint lifestyle available to everyone, regardless of where they lived.
At the same time my contract for my government role was coming to an end and so between the moving the parts, the universe (as she so beautifully does), delivered a viable option. I’d forgotten about my earlier retail roots working at a jewellery store at 15. Moving into the office doing various roles as I put myself through university. Opening a retail store with my mum when my oldest was a baby. Moving on from that to doing retail training which was the experience I needed to get my first government job when I moved to Canberra!
And so, the circle has been completed. I’m back where I started! My formative work experiences combined with my values and passion for sustainable living coming together at the perfect time.
Life is a mystery waiting to be unfolded. It can take one idea, one conversation, one change of habit to start us on the pathway to our next chapter.
It was from this very same place that I gave up alcohol (here’s a link to my blog about that), and it’s that same place where I now find myself again. Burnt out from hustling and working by continually doing. And so, yet again, I find myself opening to a new possibility – a new way of being as I evolve just as Mother Nature herself does. Letting go to what I thought I was supposed to do and surrendering to what is possible.
No wonder it’s so much fun being a greenie!