My personal journey of adopting a simple and sustainable lifestyle began shortly after my move to San Francisco in the early 90s. Some may say it was the left coast’s air and water, but truly, it happened by accident and out of necessity.
When I suddenly found myself having adverse reactions to a wide range of conventional fruits I had always eaten, an introduction to their organic counterparts immediately set me on a new path. I was sold on the merits of putting my money where my mouth is.
Food was the gateway to a more mindful approach in my life. It led me to seek ways to mitigate a lifelong challenge – asthma that was easily triggered by chemical sensitivities. I was nearly dancing in the aisle of a local co-op when I realized I’d found a laundry and cleaning supply department that did not send me reaching for an inhaler.
Learning there were alternatives to what I’d always known was a revelation. Navigating the gauntlet of commonplace things that off-gas and finding healthier options (that were just as good if not better!), even it if meant taking a little bit longer to locate what’s needed or desired, became a test of patience. Along the way, my thinking and behaviors shifted, and with them, my values and priorities.
My work as a photo editor during these formative years also had a great impact on me. The themes and images I was exposed to and researching on a regular basis – a diverse range of socio-economic, political, and environmental issues – contributed to my deepened awareness of cause and effect of our collective local and global actions and choices. Working with documentary photographers taught me a lesson: It is vital to be an engaged and informed global citizen.
I have learned to be curious and discerning while actively seeking answers and trying them on for size. Books, lectures, friends, farmers, and people I continue to meet in my day-to-day comprise the stream of information for my perpetually hungry mind. The more I learn and experience, the more I can share with my clients and community. And along the way, my partner, Sven, my collaborator in life, laughter and eco-citizenry, helps me to stretch, evolve, and continue leading and evolving by example.