Elaine Butler – Changing and Loving Her Life Through Exploring Sustainability

Life Through Exploring Sustainability! In this episode of Outer Travel, Inner Journey, we look through the eyes of a prolific sustainable living activist, Elaine Butler. She maintains a website wherein she shares information about concepts related to sustainable living and what can people do if they want to start living in harmony with nature.

Her journey started when, as a young mother, she wanted to contribute to improving the world, to be part of something bigger than herself. She joined an environmental political party in Ireland and heavily lobbied for environmental policies for 4 years. She realized in the process that the more she researched, the less she knew, especially with the basic things about environmentalism and sustainability. She noticed that even simple things like the disposable coffee cups that she drinks from are neither recyclable nor biodegradable. From then on, she kept a record of everything she was learning and shared it through her blog.

For her, the last 6 years of living sustainably are not only about choosing differently, it’s living with a different set of priorities. She chooses to live opposite the traditional way of overconsumption, overindulgence, and convenience. In trying to avoid buying stuff, she opts to borrow, lend, repair items or get them second-hand. To do this she connects and operates with her community, interacting with people more than the traditional way of living.

Elaine underscores that taking action on climate catastrophe in every way possible should be encouraged. Instead of waiting for billionaires and large corporations and pointing fingers to act on it and be responsible, individuals can start somewhere simple which eventually, along with like-minded people, will make an impact. She emphasizes that everyone should take the first steps in protecting the planet, no matter how small that step may be.

Elaine lives in a way such that the planet’s health and resources will still be available for future generations to come. She said sustainability and climate chaos exposed how interconnected humanity and nature is. And being in harmony with nature is also reconnecting with ourselves and our communities.


Links mention in the podcast

Pocket Quotes

  • Sustainability is living in a manner that protects the planet and resources for future generations. Similar to the native American way of approaching things where they make decisions with the next 7 generations in mind. – Elaine Butler
  • We all have to do our bit. Rather than pointing a finger and saying “well, I’m not doing anything because that person’s not doing something”, I would rather do my bit and point finger at the other person and say “well, you need to try harder”. Whereas (if) we all just stand and watch the world burn pointing fingers at one another, does it really help us? Even if it’s not fair, it doesn’t help anybody to do that. – Elaine Butler
  • Overall, what we have to do in the overdeveloped world is to reduce our consumption levels. They are just, completely on whack, they are not sustainable. – Elaine Butler
  • I feel more connected to humanity. The challenge of sustainability and climate chaos is that we now are seeing how interconnected we are. – Elaine Butler
  • I am doing this because I believe it’s the right thing to do. I do think my life is so much richer and so much more rewarding doing this than it was previously where I struggled to know what my purpose was and I don’t feel that now. – Elaine Butler

Guest Bio

SustainabilityElaine Butler is a designer and environmentalist, managing her website Living Lightly Sustainably in Ireland since 2016. She shares in her website practical ways on how to live a sustainable lifestyle. She has appeared in various radio shows and contributed to a number of newspaper companies and websites. She gives talks and on sustainable and zero waste.

Shawn Flot – Feet on the Ground: Exploring the Mind, Body and Nature Connection

For more than a year now, many of us have been stuck at home. Well, not literally, but the home-grocery routine. Maybe a short occasional stroll outside. But many times we’ve said we’re missing out on a lot of other important things from the human-and-nature connection aspect because of this prolonged isolation.

We also know that we should be moving around more throughout the day to stay healthy. However, working in an office, working at home, or even staying at home can mean you don’t get the chance to get up and wander around at regular intervals throughout the day.

Physical activity doesn’t need to be complicated. Something as simple as a daily brisk walk can help you live a healthier life. Turning your normal walk into a fitness stride requires good posture and purposeful movements.

All of us are born with a sense of movement, and our bodies have their unique language. Some of us lose touch with this sense of movement due to lack of use, illness, disabilities, or blocks from how we perceive ourselves. A movement therapist’s role is to help the person tap into this sense of movement and express themselves, particularly thoughts or issues that may have been repressed.

Shawn Flot, PT, and wellness coach of Moving Into Harmony and Well-Explored Life is back here with us. He studied Manual Therapy at Dynamic Manual Interface w/Frank Lowen. One of his passion projects is encouraging movement with nature by providing online guidance and conditioning to hikers, backpackers, and thru-hikers.

In this podcast, Shawn and Alex share knowledge about moving our feet and going outside with nature. Shawn talks about the coordination of our system and our body when moving. He also shares some experience about his profession and gives some tips on how we should move our body with the right timing of breathing.

This episode is sure to encourage and inspire you that moving outside with nature will help you not just physically but also mentally and spiritually.

Links mention in the podcast


Podcast Highlights

  • 3:08-7:40 – Getting out of your comfort zones
  • 8:08-11:40 – Connection between our Nervous System and our Feet
  • 15:47-22:14 – People Shawn works with
  • 25:42-28:36 – Walking in Nature
  • 28:57-32:29 – The Trapezius muscle
  • 35:42 39:01 – Felt sense

Pocket Quotes

  • “Walking in nature is freeing myself of things I get stuck at. It allows me to feel more inspired.”- Alexandra Kreis
  • “We’re so uniquely different and we come from such different realms of how we operate our lives.”- Shawn Flot
  • “Find yourself a little bit more. Don’t work so hard at it and that’s the key”- Shawn Flot
  • “Reconnect into the body and let the mind be just the feeler of what the body’s amazement can do.”- Shawn Flot
  • “The feet are one of those places where we regain our fluidity and our ability to move in the world”. – Shawn Flot

Guest Bio

Shawn Flot studied Manual Therapy at Dynamic Manual Interface w/Frank Lowen, Hatha yoga at School of Shadow Yoga, and Spec. Hon. Kinesiology and Health Science at the University of Colorado Boulder. He is a Physical Therapist and wellness coach of Moving Into Harmony. Also, Shawn Flot has Online Personal Fitness Training at A Well-Explored Life, LLC.  Doing online guidance and conditioning hikers, backpackers and thru-hikers.

Surrender to boredom

[vc_row padding_top=”0px” padding_bottom=”0px”][vc_column fade_animation_offset=”45px”][vc_column_text]I think it’s interesting that people are constantly trying to escape boredom. What is it about feeling bored that we find so terrifying? We are surrounded by a limitless amount of entertainment, often right at our fingertips – so is it that we are forgetting we can be alone, with no one to communicate with and nothing to do?

Boredom is important.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row padding_top=”0px” padding_bottom=”0px”][vc_column fade_animation_offset=”45px”][vc_column_text]When we experience feeling bored, it is the first time in that day, or for a long time, that we are inactive. Boredom can be a sign that we haven’t completely stopped in a while, after a long time of constantly receiving input. And so after this time, when space arrives in the form of—nothing to do, nothing planned or nothing that triggers our desires—we are arriving in a place of stillness.

From both an Ayurvedic and a psychological perspective, boredom can be a positive thing. If it wasn’t for boredom, we probably wouldn’t get anything done. Professor Angela Duckworth, author of Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, agrees that boredom is useful for the progression of humankind.

“If you ask a simple question, why we have emotions, the answer seems to be that evolution gave us emotions for survival. So, fear is useful. Anxiety is useful. And even boredom is useful, because you don’t want an organism who just does the same thing over and over again without learning anything.”

When we are bored, it’s only a sign that there is suddenly some space in our minds of non-thought, non-desire and non-attachment to anything. And we need to be able to feel this. In Ayurvedic terms, boredom is the opening-up or the quietening-down of the internal wind, as people begin to perceive the space that they live in. And in this space, creation happens! In order for us to perform in excellence, or even at a genius level, we need to find these places of boredom and silence, with no plans for where to go or what to do. And it’s important to make time for these spaces in our lives. 

These days we don’t often find ourselves in spaces to properly perceive stillness, unless we decide to do something like travel out into nature, go for a walk in the woods, and leave our trusty smartphone behind. If we don’t try to take breaks from using our phone, we will continue to be hit with a constant stream of input. Of course, I can’t say this is all bad. It can also be a beautiful thing, as it gives us the freedom to choose information and decide how we want to build our world. But on the other hand, we are becoming all-consumed as we are getting addicted to this type of input. We are becoming less sure about ourselves, and instead more sure about what more we need and what is missing in our lives.

All of this ‘putting in’ will defeat the self. And when we are defeated we are less likely to put out, or we put out under pressure. But this forced form of ‘putting out’ makes us enjoy less of what we’re doing. More and more we are performing at a level of capability, but not at a level of excellence. In The Big Leap, Gay Hendricks shows us the many ways we can self-sabotage our dreams and how when we are feeling safe we are underperforming. Allowing yourself to feel bored might come out of your comfort zone, but it’s essential to perform at your highest potential or to ‘put out’. 

Boredom can be a good friend indeed, a friend that teaches us to become more aware of details. This reminds me of a yogic friend of mine who never really never got bored. She would become sucked into observing her cup of tea and the way the water would turn, or the change in colour when the bag dipped in. And she could sit for hours with that cup of tea. I think this is a nice symbol for boredom, and that it is just a perception of a speed, rather than something that means slowness.

So my advice is to arrive at a level of excellence, or you could call it a level of output, instead of only input. In my work and day-to-day life, I come across a lot of people who are creative, but this isn’t necessarily coming from a zone of excellence, it is from a zone of capability. Imagine what these people could create if they allowed themselves more space. If they allowed themselves those moments of silence throughout the day in order to become quiet and come to boredom. We all need more time for that. So think about where you can take the time out of your day to get bored.

If you want to get inspired for a slow life, tune into my new podcast Outer Travel Inner Journey and start to discover your inner peace.