The Kind Life is a community around Alicia Silverstone and The Kind Diet where friends, doctors, experts in green living, and members share vegan tips.

Kind 101

How to Save the World without Losing Your Mind

I’ve been obsessed with “saving the world” ever since I was a kid. As a result, I’m passionate about a lot of issues. Sustainability, health, and animal rights top the list, but those causes alone have seemingly endless facets. Maddening facts whirl through my mind and conversations about factory farms, chemical concoctions marketed as food, deforestation, toxins in our homes, political corruption, and so on.

Given enough time at a party someone will occasionally ask me, “How do you deal with all that information in your head?” Privately I’ve certainly had some major cry-outs, fits of rage, and profound sadness. What I’ve come to recognize on a deep level is that we really can’t save the world without saving ourselves. More importantly, it’s not our job to save the world; it’s our job to love it. So if we want to shift global circumstances for any cause we need to shift our inner/outer dialogue and crank up the love. We also need to decompress and recalibrate regularly with habits like these:

  • Deep breathing or meditation 5-30 minutes a day
  • Affirmations
  • Mind/body exercise like yoga at least weekly
  • Lots of laughter
  • Sharing your frustrations with someone who can relate without compounding them
  • Celebrating the progress being made with the causes you care about (write out a list and talk about that at the next party)

As activists it’s also extremely helpful to know when to take a break from overwhelming information. In addition to self-preservation, when we’re balanced and hopeful we inspire more people to get involved. So if you’re feeling the groove keep up the good work, but if you’re in a funk take a little break and consider these tips:

  • Give yourself permission to unsubscribe from some nonprofit email updates
  • Limit how often you frequent sites or news sources that make you feel disempowered
  • Limit how frequently you watch heavy, cause-driven documentaries

Again, these recommendations are for anyone who’s already rolled up their sleeves and is striving to make a difference. It’s not an excuse though to sit back and let others do all the work for us. Creating a better world is about balanced teamwork.

So, despite how horrific and urgent things can truly be, many causes (and activists) are best supported when the element of fun is woven in too. Vegan potlucks, clothes swap parties, and planting edible gardens at schools are a few of my favorites.

Let’s keep saving and loving the world while simultaneously giving ourselves the same gift. Let’s strive to infuse the light and joy into every detail we can. Sometimes we’ll feel like the world is just too crazy and we’ll wonder if we can keep our sanity intact, but if we consistently utilize these tools and rally together we’ll transform everything from the inside out.

 

Bio:

Rachel Avalon is a Holistic Nutritionist & Eco Expert who’s been nationally honored as a leader in sustainability and conscious living. Her work emphasizing plant-based recipes and detoxification is featured in multiple media sources, plus she coaches clients (including celebrities) nationwide. Additionally, she serves as an ambassador for the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics as well as Healthy Child, Healthy World, two non-profits dedicated to calling on corporations to offer safer products for the whole family.

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  • http://wheninrogue.tumblr.com/ Mariel

    Ahh, thank you for posting this. It’s comforting to know that there are others in the world that feel the weight of the world on their shoulders and are overwhelmed with compassion and urgency. I tend to overlook the small steps of progress being made every day and look directly at how the big, global picture seems to remain the same. I’m now trying to focus on the small impact that I am able to make on the people around me by trying to set an example (and the occasional preaching). I also recently went an on unsubscribing rampage because it was getting to the point where I would tear-up and be overcome with hopelessness every time I would open my inbox. At first I felt guilty, but the feeling has gone away as I know that those causes are still deep in my heart and consciousness. I continue to educate myself, voice my opinions, sign every petition I can, and donate when my wallet allows, but I truly believe that a huge power exists in how you spend your every dollar.

    • http://www.rachelavalon.com Rachel Avalon

      You’re SO welcome! We’re definitely all a work in progress. :) It sounds like you’re doing some amazing things (internally and externally) and in a healthier way now. Well done. i think it’s great you mentioned how we spend out money too. In pretty much every speech I give I mention our purchasing power because it really does shape the world around us in a major way. Shine on!

  • C. Blake

    Thank you Rachel and Alicia for sharing this. In my humble opinion and beliefs, I think we should keep in mind how far the small actions we take can go and feel good about them. Making vegan, local and eco choices in food and other products and actions are some examples that I’m sure you know of but, also just planting a seed in someone mind and heart at the store or where ever about a plant based diet, etc. makes me feel good. Just putting the re-usable grocery bag on the checkout counter makes a statement or gifts that show you care, not only about a person, but the planet that they live on as well. Rachel, kudos to you for your impressive, extensive involvement in the causes that are healthy for our planet. The guidance you have given and listed is very helpful and important. I find myself taking on the mindset that I can’t take on the whole world and when it comes right down to it, the Creator of all things has it all under control and will do what is best, (as hard as that may be to embrace or comprehend with all that is going on in the world. It seems that a lot of things are coming to pass that have been written and our efforts to respect life and creation does not go unnoticed) and I feel the need on occasion to acknowledge life itself and literally say, “thank you God” out load for this gift. This of course is my personal belief system that I would not try to impose on you however, if it relates to yours then I would encourage you. I agree with having fun in our endeavor to bring harmony, respect for life, and health to the planet. I love the vegan vegfest and being a part of this online community and I’m having fun all the time because my affirmation (if I am using that term correctly) is just what I have stated above about recognizing that every action is significant action. I do feel on occasion that I should be more involved but a least the desire is there, I’m having fun and I will probably always feel like I should be doing more. Last but not least, we are very fortunate to have activists like yourselves and fortunate that the awareness is spreading. People will learn, maybe too late, but they will, in the end, know that life itself was worth pursuing and respecting. patience = strength.

    • http://www.rachelavalon.com Rachel Avalon

      I totally agree that every act of consciousness counts. Thank you for sharing your additional beliefs in such a sweet and respectful way too. I believe gratitude goes a long way in life, whether people consider themselves religious/spiritual or not. Your trust and gratitude is a beautiful thing. One of the things I love about interacting with people is being reminded of the positive action I’m taking and new ways I can grow as a person/activist. If we all keep cheering ourselves and each other on while challenging ourselves to further refine our eco, plant-based habits we’ll create some incredible transformation. And hopefully, that’ll happen just in time.

  • Elizabeth

    Thank you very much for this. Recently, that inner Dick Cheney hidden deep within all of us has been surfacing, saying “screw it, I just want to not think or care about the rest of the world.” This post came at a time when I really needed to hear the message.

    • http://www.rachelavalon.com Rachel Avalon

      Haha! I’m so glad these words could serve as an intervention. Whenever that inner Dick Cheney starts to surface re-read the blog and see how you’re doing with the tips suggested. We all need reminders of how to stay healthy in our activism. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, which I’m sure plenty of people can relate to. :) Stay strong and shower the world with love.

  • Debi Cole

    xxooo thank you!

  • NCC22

    Thank you for posting this! I needed this and love the tips on staying sane!

  • LeanneSouthall

    Rachel, thank you for highlighting and reminding that we can give ourselves permission to pick our battles, if you will. It has been my life’s work to find the balance between caring for myself and my family, while addressing larger social issues that need action. The elimination of mainstream media played a major role in my ability to stay positive. I have found that I am just as up to date as I need to be – without watching media – because I intentionally search out the issues of the day that are relevant and important to me – animal welfare, environmental, support for new mothers, children and nature. Keep up the great work, Rachel!

    • http://www.rachelavalon.com Rachel Avalon

      You are so welcome and thank you for taking the time to share what’s worked well for you. It sounds like we have a similar approach that fuels or joy as well as our activism, all while keeping our sanity in tact. :)

  • Frenchpetal

    I’m teary eyed because this is exactly what I was up half the night worrying about…almost pissed that everyone in the positive energy movement (people I LOVE, such as Alicia, Kris Carr, Louise Hay, etc.) says to keep it positive/remove toxic ideas/ignore the negative/etc. – and I WANT to do that – but I also don’t want to look away and ignore the very huge, real, negative things in this world that I MUST be a constructive part of to bring about changes in those areas.

    I’m not kidding – this blog post is a gift to me from the Universe. :’) THANK you Universe…and thank you Alicia and Kind Life, and thank you Rachel Avalon!!!!

    • http://www.rachelavalon.com Rachel Avalon

      Thank you so much for your beautiful words. It’s such a gift to hear how you feel about the blog. Directing your thoughts towards positivity while honoring your activism is such an interesting dance. I think all of us who do it need to give ourselves and each other more credit more often. Thank you for your caring heart and your passion for creating a world filled with integrity and kindness!

  • Frenchpetal

    I wrote a great two paragraphs on why this was a gift from the Universe to me, but I don’t see it anymore. Anyway…thanks Rachel for this post. It is wonderful!!!

  • Lainey

    Very thankful to have the opportunity to read this after a rough night of feeling defensive of my own choices and actions. Much love <3

    • http://www.rachelavalon.com Rachel Avalon

      I’m so grateful it resonated with you! Thanks for sharing. Wishing you lots of peace and positivity in your journey.

  • Pippi Hepburn

    With so much bad going on in the world now, I pray everyday, meditate, workout 30 minutes almost daily, and read and wish love and great care to animals and the world. I also give to charities. Also, read some Anne Lamott. She says, just do what you can.

  • Lisa Havner

    I am going to ta key her advice. I get so depressed about all the evil in the world. Perhaps I’ll try meditation