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No Impact Man: A Dose of Clarity April 10, 2010

Posted by nrhatch in Gratitude, Happiness, Life Balance, Sustainable Living.

In No Impact Man: The Documentary, we addressed one New York City family’s efforts to  reduce, reuse, and recycle in order to lessen their carbon footprint on the planet.

Goofy-Riding-A-BikeIn No Impact Man: Pedal Power, we addressed the not-so-earth-friendly neighbors’ complaints about where the family parked the tricycle used to transport their 18-month old daughter around the city.

In this post, we’ll address how the somewhat-skeptical wife summed up the experience at the end of the twelve month experiment.

Had she felt deprived?  Nope.

Had she felt unhappy about giving up her self-proclaimed addictions to reality TV, take out food, and shopping?  Nope.

Had she felt resentful toward others who were able to eat out, and shop, and rely on disposable items in their daily lives?  Again, nope.

Instead, the experiment had caused “the fog of daily living” to lift ~ as if she had received a “dose of clarity.”

As the year moved forward, and she grew accustomed to the changes, she felt more joy than she had in years.

Asked why, she couldn’t explain the gradual transformation from guilt and uneasiness to joy and happiness.

She just knew that she felt better about . . . well, everything.

My theory:  In making the shift from “conformist consumers” to “low impact city residents,” they had to make a corresponding shift from looking outside themselves (for others to emulate), to looking within for answers about what they needed right here, right now.

As they moved farther and farther away from the external reference point that so many of us use as we make choices in our daily lives (what do “they” think I should do, buy, say, eat, watch?) to an internal reference point (what do I need to be happy?), the  constant chatter and confusion settled down and clarity appeared ~ perhaps for the first time.

As the fog lifted, they realized that owning and buying things would never make them happy.

Instead, once they stopped looking for happiness in external things, and voluntarily relinquished their consumer-oriented lifestyle, joy and happiness immediately flooded their being.

What a great message to share as Earth Day 2010 approaches:

Joy is never in things . . . it is in us!


1. RichardWScott - April 10, 2010

I think your evaluation is right on. Making a change, any major change, focuses the mind in unexpected ways. We modify our vision, and begin to see things that have been all around us, but have been invisible by and large.
Becoming “No-” or even “Low-” impact families will not be easy. It will take committment and effort, but much like the concept of the “100th Monkey”, a shift in society can take place. We must just fine the “Tipping Point”.

nrhatch - April 10, 2010

The more we choose to look within . . . and use our internal reference point . . . the greater our clarity as we proceed through our daily lives.

Thanks for your feedback!

Happy Earth Day 2010!

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