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Sustainable wellbeing and green living

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Labyrinth Walking as Meditation

Labyrinth walking is an ancient practice that is featured in many religions or spiritualities for the purpose of prayer, contemplation, and finding one’s inner peace through meditation. Walking a labyrinth can be great for meditation, as you are able to incorporate some gentle movement, which can be beneficial for those who have trouble standing or sitting still! What exactly is a labyrinth? A labyrinth is a geometric pattern that serves as a guide for you to walk in a pattern, allowing you to walk longer without going far. Upon first glance, it looks similar to a maze, but the design objective is different. Unlike a maze which serves to confuse users, a labyrinth contains one path that leads to the centre. This path is also the same path used to find your way back out. This single path folds in on itself many times, creating a long winding journey with many gentle twists and turns. One need not worry about hitting a dead end or getting lost, as labyrinths are quite simple to...

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Yoga for All

Yoga is a mind-body practice that has been around for thousands of years and continues to be a popular method of exercise and wellness today. And good news, it is not just for the fit and flexible. There is a yoga practice for every body type and ability. Some physical benefits of practicing yoga include increased flexibility, increased muscle tone and strength, lowered blood pressure, better posture, and improved balance. These physical benefits are accompanied by many mental benefits as well. Yoga practices often incorporate meditation and breathing exercises in order to reduce stress, increase awareness of your body and movements, aid in sleep, and increase mental clarity. There are hundreds of types of yoga practices, meaning that there is a yoga practice out there for everyone no matter your age, size, health concerns, range of mobility, or experience level.

One of the most commonly practiced types of yoga focuses on breathing exercises and physical movement. Postures such as...

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Conscious Kindness Day

May 15th is Conscious Kindness Day, a day dedicated to spreading love through intentional acts of kindness. Conscious Kindness Day was first created in Winnipeg, Manitoba by the Winnipeg branch of United Way. The United Way is a Canadian non-profit organization that serves thousands of communities throughout the nation. The local and national goal of the United Way is to create opportunities to improve lives and communities. This includes addressing issues of poverty, providing support for children, and creating connected and vibrant communities. Conscious Kindness day has been celebrated annually since 2015. Although the celebration initially started in Winnipeg, other cities have begun celebrating the day as well.

In previous years, local efforts to spread kindness have included installing pop-up stations at major Winnipeg intersections and handing out treats and coffee to people passing by. Kindness can also be expressed on a smaller scale with person to person interactions. The...

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Rooftop Gardens

Gardening is a great pastime that benefits your mental and physical health, and allows you to create an aesthetically pleasing environment and harvest different fruits and vegetables. That being said, not everyone has access to a yard or garden. Living in an apartment building may mean that traditional forms of gardening are not an option for you. However, rooftop gardens are a great alternative for those who have limited space. The easiest approach to rooftop gardening is the use of containers and planters. This method is affordable and practical, as the containers can be easily moved around to suit your needs and preferences. Alternatives to container gardening include installing a permanent green roof. Green roofs have soil and plants built directly into the roof structure and require professional design and installment. Make sure to check with your landlord before implementing a rooftop garden as there may be certain regulations you must adhere to.

Some considerations you might...

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Flourishing Things: Public Meditation Spaces

Taking time to meditate is a great way to recharge and centre yourself throughout the day. Some of the many benefits associated with meditation include reduced stress, improved focus, re-energization, improved sleep, and increased attention span. You don’t need to be at home or have a large block of time in order to meditate. Meditation can be done on the go whenever you have a few minutes to spare. Public meditation spaces offer individuals a quiet and peaceful place to reflect without having to relocate to a completely private location.

One solution to meditating in public spaces is making use of mindfulness or meditation pods. These are structures which are designed to allow individuals to escape from the business of everyday life. The creators of Headspace, a popular meditation app, worked with architects at Oyler Wu Collaborative to create a meditation pod which combines natural materials such as wood and screens that allow users to access Headspace guided meditations....

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Flourishing Things: Gardening

Gardening is good for the soul! Getting outside in the fresh air and physically connecting with nature is a great way to improve your physical and mental wellbeing. The act of gardening provides individuals with a form of physical activity that is not only enjoyable but helps to burn calories and reduce blood pressure. The mental benefits of gardening include reduced stress, increased happiness, and overall mood enhancement. Research has shown that soil contains natural antidepressant microbes! If these reasons alone aren’t enough to get you digging in your garden this summer, consider the visual and aesthetic appeal you will be adding to your yard!

Caring for plants is a great way to immerse yourself in the outdoors and better understand and appreciate what nature has to offer. Interacting with the soil and greenery lets you connect with nature by engaging your five senses. You’re able to see your plants transform from sprouts to seedlings, develop buds, flower, and...

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Flourishing Things: Gratitude Practice

While our lives aren’t always perfect, it is important to acknowledge the things we are grateful for whether they are big or small. Simply taking time to notice and reflect on the things in your life has the ability to change your life for the better. In expressing gratitude, you will be able to change your perspective by focusing on the things that bring you happiness, peace and comfort. Practicing gratitude will allow you to experience more positive emotions and celebrate life more effectively!

One of the best ways to practice gratitude is to write down the things you are grateful for. Gratitude journals are a great place to reflect on moments, activities, people, and things for which you are grateful. One of the best things about gratitude journals is that there are no rules when it comes to expressing your gratitude! Entries can be as long or as short as you would like and can be about anything, no matter how small or insignificant it may seem. In fact, being as specific...

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Flourishing Things: Ikigai

It is no secret that people feel happier and more fulfilled when they feel that they have a purpose in life. The Japanese word Ikigai, which roughly translates to “reason for being,” refers to having a direction or purpose in life through balancing passion and practicality. Ikigai can be found at the intersection of what you love, what you are good at, what the world needs, and what you can be paid for. Being able to balance your career and your interests, or in other words, find your Ikigai, will result in a life full of happiness and fulfillment.

Although it can be financially beneficial, pursuing a career solely because it will bring you wealth leaves you with a sense of dissatisfaction and meaninglessness. This way of living becomes unsustainable as it is difficult to find the drive to continue with your work if you are not emotionally and spiritually invested in it. On the other hand, if you are only focusing on things that you enjoy doing and are passionate about,...

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Flourishing Things: Learning by Walking

The dérive is a psychogeographical concept coined by Guy Debord in 1956 in his work "Theory of the Dérive.” The dérive refers to an unplanned journey through a landscape (often urban) where participants "let themselves be drawn by the attractions of the terrain and the encounters they find there." This concept was critical in the development of psychogeography which centres around playfulness and the exploration of urban landscapes. Dérive encourages participants to stray off the beaten path (both literally and metaphorically) and let their surroundings guide their movements. This type of movement and exploration facilitates experiential learning.

The best way to learn about a landscape is by immersing yourself in it. Letting yourself wander through an area gives you a tactical and rhythmic experience that cannot be replicated by looking at a map, viewing images, or reading about the area. Physically interacting with a landscape allows you to feel...

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Why Earth Day needs a re-branding

Today is the 50th anniversary of the first Earth Day, and in this strange time of the global pandemic due to the Coronavirus, COVID-19, we are seeing decreasing pollution all around the globe as our travel has dramatically decreased, along with decreased economic activity due to the pandemic. I thought it might be a time to re-think Earth Day. It’s not that environmental issues have gone away; they are actually more relevant than ever. It is just that the conversation about environmental issues has expanded, as have many of the problems since those first Earth Day teach-ins in 1970.

Don’t get me wrong, I consider myself a strong environmentalist and have spent my entire adult life in environmental education and working towards sustainability. So of course, I love that we have at least ONE day a year when we are guaranteed some attention to promoting these issues. But it is only one day. And really, I think that we all know that a one-day feel-good event is not going to...

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