This is the most important relationship you’re probably not thinking about


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Photo: Stocksy/Alina Hvostikova

Everyone has relationships, from romantic pairings to workplace friends. But there’s one that deserves more attention, says Well+Good Council member Kelsey Patel. Here, the reiki master and wellness coach explores the important relationship that doesn’t get the attention it should.

While this may not be the sexiest, most exciting, or most satisfying relationship in your life, I would say it is actually the most important and the most reciprocal one. It’s the relationship that most people, including myself, want to believe they’re really concerned about—but in actuality, they also ignore the problems and hope that some passionate, smart, and innovative people are taking care of those issues.

The relationship I’m talking about is our earth—and the energy and action we put out that it naturally returns to us. I know that reading about this relationship can seem boring or, conversely, scary and anxiety-ridden. But before you click away, just stay for a few sentences.

I decided to write about this topic because I’m not an expert. But I’ve heard many experts talk about the environment, and even after hearing some very dire statistics, I still found myself back in line at Starbucks or the grocery store with single-use plastic. I’d notice how lazy I was about recycling and how incredibly wasteful I was by getting rid of clothes after a few uses. (Did you know that producing one cotton T-shirt takes around 715 gallons of water? That is almost three years’ worth of drinking water!)

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Photo: Stocksy/Boris Jovanovic

Then I started to be more mindful of my relationship to the earth. The more I did that, the more I became aware of my family’s consumption, and the more I was able to start impacting some of our decisions. (And, let me be very clear, we are not a perfect family. So many times I’ve had to point out that the frozen pizza box doesn’t go into the trash, but into the recycling bin.) The reason this matters is because we are all consumers. We’ve been consuming since the day we took shape in our mother’s belly.

The truth is, none of us are perfect when it comes to the environment.

The truth is, none of us are perfect when it comes to the environment. We’re all raising our consciousness one step at a time and realizing how our actions have impacts on the planet. The challenge now is that we’re running out of time to get it right—so while we don’t have to aim for perfection, we all need to shift our thinking in both big and small ways. Here are some of the ways I started to make small changes, so I could become part of the solution instead of the problem.

  • Minimize purchasing of single-use plastic. If you go to a coffee shop, choose to enjoy it with a mug there or bring your own to-go cup. For water, do your best to have your own refillable or reusable water bottle, especially at airports or when traveling. There are lots of free water bottle filling stations meant for this purpose. Skip the plastic straws, too.
  • Recycle. Check what is recyclable at your work and home and make sure you and your family or roommates stick to their guidelines. Be aware of what you throw away because it will end up somewhere.
  • Consume less red meat. Some say that reducing your consumption of red meat and dairy is the single biggest way to impact your own personal carbon footprint on earth.
  • Print as little as necessary! We have these electronics, so let’s put them to good use and skip the paper when possible.
  • Keep reusable bags on hand. At the market, when you travel, whenever you know (or don’t know) that you’ll go shopping, keep a reusable bag tucked in your purse, bag, or backpack.
  • Become a conscious water user. No need to radically change your rituals or routines, but when you become aware of how much you use water, you’re able to make more conscious and loving decisions for our mother earth.

The bottom line is this: We are the change—truly. And, at this point in human history, we can actually still save the planet. Your big and your small choices make all the difference. Mine do, too. Let’s do this together because we know it matters. Because you matter. We matter. This matters. So let’s remind our earth—which gives us so much each day—how much she matters and that ours is a relationship we know is worth fighting for.

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Photo: Kelsey Patel

Kelsey Patel is a sought-after spiritual empowerment coach, yoga teacher, reiki healer, and meditation teacher. She is also the creator and founder of Magik Vibes, a soul-enhancing lifestyle brand, the resident reiki instructor for Soho House, and a head teacher at The DEN Meditation and Unplug Meditation in Los Angeles. Kelsey has been featured in publications such as US WeeklyHarper’s Bazaar, and The New York Times.

What should Kelsey write about next? Send your questions and suggestions to experts@wellandgood.com

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