Self Care, Intersectional Environmentalist, and Social Justice

How are you doing? I know this is a blog post, so seems like a silly thing to ask knowing I won’t be able to hear your response unless of course you email me or message me on Instagram! (Which you’re welcome to do) But I truly want to check in with everyone right now. There is so much going on around us that directly affect the way we live every day. Not just all the personal stuff, but the stuff we are all experiencing! One particular virus which we all know too well has made us dress for the occasion (i.e. mask up) whenever we enter society. But more so on my heart today is the racism war going on around us. So how are you? How is your head and heart dealing with and responding to change?

I’ve always been a big component of self-care (hello, I’m a counselor by trade!), but I’m also a big component of social and environmental justice. Also aren’t we caring for ourselves when we care for our community? Not as martyrs but as a family, we can care for others and ourselves. As an artist, I try to do some good along with making pretty things. I don’t see my work as superficial. I see beauty as a very meaningful part of our world. Beauty and pain are very real. I can appreciate both. But I’ve also tried to use my business platform as a way to directly give back. Throughout the years, I’ve joined with organizations like Trees Atlanta and Hemlock Restoration Initiative and more recently Hosea Helps and Your Rights Camp to donate a proceed of sales to the work they do. At the heart of who I am is someone who wants to share beauty in a truly meaningful way and to give back to the social and environmental efforts leading to positive change.

I am currently using what I have learned so far about our history and the things that need to change to look at my business and myself. You may or may not know that my business name “Between the Evergreens” comes from a John Muir quote “Between every two pines is a doorway to a new world.” I chose this quote because it is exactly how I feel about nature – once you enter into the natural world, you will find a new place of peace and joy! What I didn’t know until recently was the history of John Muir and some of the racist comments and beliefs he held. Without delving into this topic too much, I want you to know that I don’t want to have a person who believed such things as the center of my business. Because of this, I will be taking the quote off of my website and not using it or other John Muir quotes on products that I sell or material that I put out.

We are on a journey and some of us will disagree. I know not everyone will like me saying this. I’m not going to focus on how terrible John Muir was or what good he did or didn’t do. What I am going to focus on is the fact that we can do better! The meaning I’ve attributed to my business name still exists, but I want it to be a message that I believe in and I believe that everyone has a right to the benefits of nature and that many injustices have taken that right away in the BIPOC communities. So Between the Evergreens (that’s me!) is on a journey toward positive change!

You can help me in this effort! If you have a recommendation for an organization that I can partner with, I am all ears (or all eyes I guess if it’s via email). I am looking for organizations in the Intersectional Environmentalist area to contribute a portion of all sales to. I am currently doing my own research, but I am sure there are people out there who know more than I do, so feel free to share! Also if you don’t know what IE is, it basically fights for social and environmental justice protecting the communities as well as the land. This speaks to my heart 100% right now and I hope to yours too! As much as I love our natural world, I believe people are more important and I’ve been looking for a cause to partner with that shared my concern for people and natural resources.  

So going back to my original question, “how are you?” If you are learning (like me), you may feel tired. I remember grad school – I slept well with all that information spinning in my head. Well worth it by the way. If you are a BIPOC, you must be so tired. I don’t pretend to understand what it feels like, but I see the pain there. I hope to be a better person and advocate and business owner.

I will say, if you need a little joy and love in your life right now, I have a few recommendations.

  1. Listen or read The Book of Joy. The Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu get together for this conversation on joy and it is so humbling and loving. I love these two people, because they share messages of joy in the midst of a painful and unjust world. They fight and cry and laugh! This combination is exactly what I needed to hear when so much of my community is grieving over unjust losses and little regard to their precious lives.
  2. Take a bath! I know it’s so basic of me to say, but a lot of people find healing in water (uh, me at least). A bath can, not only be a good time of reflection and a pause in the chaos of your life or mind or both, but also a healing for your body. I recommend grabbing up some Lula Naturals products and taking a minute to make some quiet space.
  3. There is a meditation for everyone if you’re willing to practice. Walking meditations are perfect when you can’t sit still. Take a walk around a lake and listen to nature. Sometimes I do this until my mind stops chattering and I feel fully present again. You can also do a moving meditation via yoga. I recommend Yoga with Adriene. Another way is to sit still in silence or listening to a guided meditation. You can find many good guided meditations online for free.
  4. Take a drive. Sometimes this really helps me to focus and it’s a great option to get out but not be around people. As long as I can get to a road that is quieter than a busy interstate, I feel more peaceful and have time to clear my head.

Thanks for reading this August edition of my blog! I hope you are healthy and find peace and joy right now. Take care, friends. 

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