Toptal Scholarship empowers women leaders to change the world.

I believe I am one of those women.

Creating changes in the world can start small and with the simplest choices.

Everyday we wake up on this earth we are given the opportunity to make decisions for our lives that can affect the rest of the world. This starts small, locally and on a micro level

I want to help people cultivate awareness of their connection to our earth and to take responsibility for the choices. We choose the clothes we wear and the materials we surround ourselves with. What are our material and product choices based on? Do people have the awareness of why they choose things?

I believe all living things are connected and all living things support one another. One way we can stay closely connected to the earth is to choose natural materials and resources for our lives. Everything holds an energy, positive or negative. It’s all in relation to its sourced material and the steps taken to produce it. We are products of other humans, our parents, and we carry the same genes. Products made from living materials follow the same pattern. When we go to the source first, we become more aware of the bigger picture and how we are affected.

 

There are various factors that are considered while making decisions about the things we buy and choose for our life. Cost is most often a factor, and one way to save money is to buy plastic and synthetic materials that are poor quality and often short-lived. Cost is a relative term, because our planet has a cost. The planet has to sacrifice its health and longevity to support inorganic, synthetic materials. Cost doesn’t not always quantify to a dollar amount. It’s easy to save money quickly and not worry about the future. People don’t worry about what will happen to a thing once you cannot use it anymore. It just gets ‘thrown out’ and someone else deals with it. Most of the US population lacks responsibility and awareness of the sustainability of our planet. Looks is a factor in our decision making, and often people are attracted to something so much they don’t care what it is made of. I always wonder how someone feels around certain things and in certain spaces. Do cost and look affect the way we feel? Or is how we feel purely based on the energy the thing carries and any association we may have. “Oh this couch reminds me of the one my aunt had when I was a kid!”  For the most part humans want to feel good and be comforted. We want to feel good with the things around us and generally want the things around us to make us feel good. The clothes we wear affect how we feel; the weight, texture, look and fit. The food we eat and what we eat it out of. When I consider the difference between eating food out of a plastic container opposed to a wooden bowl, I know my experience will be nicer eating out of the wooden bowl and the food will taste better.

I make things, I started doing this when I was a kid. Without a clear intention, I chose to only work with natural materials, I still do this. Sometimes I would try working with a synthetic materials and it just didn’t feel right. I didn’t fully understand why that was the case until I learned about the effect on our planet and ourselves. For my own life I choose natural materials for the products I make and for the things I buy for my life and my family. This feels good to me, because wood carries an energy, glass carries an energy, fabric from plant fiber carries an energy. This energy I can describe as simple, whole, clean, and supportive. Maybe it is more work to carry wood and glass, they are heavier. But this brings a new responsibility and that is to take care, pay attention, go slow, keep track of your things. I often get looks when people see that I carry my own jars with me along with wooden bowls and cloth napkins. It is a small burden to carry my basket around with this heavy stuff. It is a small price to pay for what I receive. I do this so I can make my own food and have an easy way to transport and consume it. One may be curious as to why I go through all the work to make my own food and carry it around all day when I can easily buy it somewhere and not be burdened with bowls, jars, utensils and napkins. There are days I go without this weight and I feel a little disconnected. Making and carrying my own food takes time and energy. I know exactly what goes into my food, the source is the ingredients and me.

The clothes we wear cover our bodies for most the day, unless we live in a hot climate and tend to wear less clothes. Our skin is imbued with the energy of the fabric and the history, where it came from and how it was made. We don’t feel it so much and even if its on a micro level we are affected either positively or negatively. I choose to wear only natural fibers because I like how it feels, how it ages, how it looks, and what it is made of. I understand plants, chemicals I do not. I would like to have an affect on people by living the way I live. And with the products I design and create for specific purposes and practices. All will benefit from living in a healthful mindful way.

Here are some principles of mine that I do my best to follow:

1.Wear natural fibers to stay closely connected to the earth

2.Wear the same thing everyday, as it serves life’s activities

3.Remove your shoes, along with hat and coat upon entering the home. Keep outside energy out.

4.Ride your bike whenever possible

5.Avoid disposable and plastic products, use cloth napkins and towels

6.Cook in cast iron pans

7.Eat out of ceramic and wood, use wood utensils when possible

8.Use wooden spoon for honey to avoid leaching and chemical reactions

9.Grow, harvest, gather, forage, find and cook your food

10.Eat local seasonal organic fruits and vegetables, and local quality meat. Avoid processed foods

11.Give your food your full attention.

12.When sitting in tea ceremony: place your empty cup on the tray to be served again.When you are finished turn your cup upside down

13.Most things you enjoy doing at home, you can do anywhere

14. Burn dried sage, cedar and juniper for clearing, prayer and offerings

15. Plant things

16. Respect your elders and those wiser than you

17. Don’t take things personally, not everything is about you

18. Always be responsible for your part

19.Own your emotions and blame no one for what you feel

20.We know very little about what other people are thinking.

21. Ask questions instead of making assumptions.

22. When resolving conflict, use ‘I’ statements and ask questions

23. Do your best to use positive words to express negative ideas and experiences

24. When you wake up in the morning, walk barefoot on the earth

25. Jump into cold water and soak in hot water, all year round

26. Never ‘should’ someone

27. Hydrate enough so your body doesn’t need to ask

28. Collect fresh water

29. All that we have is all we need

30. Practice physical, mental and emotional movement

31. Listen to your body

32. In regards to your lifestyle practices, always consider if you could do that in the woods

33. Always have compassion

34. Pay attention to the phases of the moon and honor the cycles

The Toptal Women’s Scholarship will help me finish my MFA degree and allow me to develop my product line, and publish a book about my lifestyle principles with extra things like recipes and health practices. The resources I will need are my materials to create work to inspire healing and change