Sustainable Living Lessons Learned from the Maui Eco Retreat

“Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect.” ~Chief Seattle, 1854

As human beings, we sometimes look at nature as being something outside of ourselves, forgetting that we are also part of nature and interrelated with nature in every way. Connecting with miracle of nature is a pathway to connect with the deeper, more spiritual aspects of ourselves and each other. This is what my husband and I were seeking when we booked a recent trip the the Maui Eco Retreat. In addition to having an incredible experience of being emerged in gorgeous nature, we were also reminded that part of conscious living is taking responsibility for our environmental fingerprint.

The following are some lessons I learned about sustainable living that I have worked to integrate in my everyday life–and you can too!

1. Hand washing dishes can be an active meditation. In addition to conserving water and electricity, hand washing dishes can be a relaxing and meditative ritual; one that can bring a moment of peace and mindfulness a few times a day. Meditation reboots the mind, body and spirit and brings peaceful awareness to the mind and body.

2. Wearing your hair natural can be freeing.

In addition to conserving electricity, save yourself some time, space, hassle and heat damage by taking a break from your blow dryer, curling iron and flat irons. I found wearing my hair natural reminded me of younger versions of myself, which helped me let go and play as we hiked, climbed and swam. This was an exercise of detaching from ego and connecting with essence which I found liberating and relaxing.

3. Saving your food waste for the chickens, 

worms and compost is fun. The goal of zero waste can be a fun game and increase awareness of tendencies towards excess or being wasteful.   When you do something good for the earth, you feel good.

4. Limiting access to wifi and cell reception is good for your mental, physical and spiritual health. Intentional access to wifi twice a day created time and space for relaxation, art, music, inner peace and connection with one another. Consciously unplugging reboots the mind, body and spirit.

5. Sleeping when the sun sleeps creates life balance. Nature knows best. We found ourselves waking early, going to sleep early and feeling well rested and energized throughout the day. Solar lighting and candles created a restful and romantic ambiance during the evenings. These practices conserved electricity and improved our energy.

6. Limiting use of plastic and recycling paper, plastic and aluminum is essential for the earth. Being conscious of these behaviors reduces guilt and promotes inner peace that you are doing your part.

7. Opening windows instead of using air conditioning connects you with nature and is restful. It’s healing to hear the wind through the trees and feel the breeze on your skin and smell the scent of fresh air. All of these experiences are mindfulness practices that can connect us with deeper aspects of ourselves and the world around us.

8. Showering outside is the best experience ever! Water cleanses our bodies as well as our energy field. Showering outside among trees and flowers and the open skies is healing, freeing and rejuvenating.

9. Being mindful about use of towels and rewearing clean clothes not only conserves water and electricity, it saves time and feels good.  These practices made me away of how easy it is to mindlessly try on an outfit or use a towel once and have it end up on laundry. This kind of thoughtlessness hurts our earth.

Being kind to the earth brings about the kindness within you and makes it even easier to extend that kindness to others. I loved practicing yoga and visiting with other people staying at the eco resort who shared these values of sustainable living and connecting with the divine within.