Sustainability: Mindful holidays

‘Tis the season for going through the days on autopilot, checking off items on lengthy “to do” lists by rote. You can do things differently by living mindfully.

Living mindfully involves being fully aware of each moment, which allows you to align your choices with your beliefs. In practice, it means slowing down your busy life enough to fully appreciate the cornucopia of riches right in front of you.

Even when you are busy with kids or trying to keep up with a high pressure job, you can take a deep breath and really focus on your actions. A slower pace and mindful attitude give you more opportunity to experience a deep level of gratitude, just in time for Thanksgiving and the holiday season.

Perhaps this is the year your family will volunteer at one of the free Thanksgiving meals.

Maybe you have fallen on hard times and need the assistance and good cheer from participating in a free meal.

We can all be grateful for community support.

Christmas is rapidly approaching and Hanukkah starts Dec. 1 making this the perfect occasion to start living mindfully. Think about the impact your choices have on the world around you.

When contemplating gifts for friends and family, consider whether the recipient really needs more stuff.

Making a donation to a worthwhile cause is an especially thoughtful gift. Although the local Alternative Christmas Fair is over, Grand Valley Peace & Justice will be taking donations until December 15. Director Karen Sjoberg said nearly half of the donations are made after the actual fair. Go to http://www.gvpeacejustice.org or call 243-0136 to take advantage of this option.

Help your kids sort through their toys, donate unwanted ones to The Salvation Army, Goodwill or Latimer House and make room for new presents.

Shopping locally is important. Try giving a gift of art or poetry. From one end of the valley to the other local artists and artisans are producing amazing works of art. Craft fairs abound and also offer local goods.

Fortunately, there are several published poets in the western Colorado. My favorites include Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer (http://www.wordwoman.com), Dr. Luis Lopez (lluislopez.com) and Suzanne Bronson (suzannebronson.com). Their books are available online and at some local bookstores.

Purchasing Fair Trade gifts is another way to demonstrate mindful living. Uniquely Yours on Main Street in Grand Junction carries Fair Trade items and locally made crafts.

If you can’t find Fair Trade items in the area, Green America has a great list of businesses at http://www.greenamerica.org/guides/holidaygifts/index.cfm.

When the festivities are over, take the time to recycle everything possible so you won’t have trashcan after trashcan full of packaging headed to the landfill.

By living mindfully you help create a stronger home, stronger neighborhood and stronger community leading to a truly sustainable environment.

Adele Israel is a Grand Junction writer who has been involved in sustainability efforts for some 20 years. Have a question or column idea for Adele? E-mail her at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


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