Hey everyone, Erica here with WILW ED #33. Hope you all have the best day ever!

What I'm Loving Wednesday - Edition 33

Reading:The Elephant Journal

I have to admit that reading Elephant Journal articles that I find on Facebook is probably my top form of procrastination, however I always seem to be reminded of something small, but important, by each article. They allow me remain engaged with spiritual and moral concepts and development through the medium of social media, which is generally not so good at promoting such wellbeing. I like the concept of 'curating' your Facebook/Instagram/Twitter feed in such a way that when you do fall down that rabbit-hole you are exposed to largely positive influences and intellectually stimulating content (despite the entertaining qualities of cute dogs and funny cat videos). Elephant Journal is one of the pages on Facebook that I like to consider a source of intellectual and spiritual content in my feed.

Watching:The Wrong Girl

As a die-hard Offspring fan, I was naturally sad to see the season end and remain hopeful that it will return next year. However, Channel Ten has not failed to satisfy my mid-week Australian drama TV cravings with their newest show - The Wrong Girl. Based on a book by Australian author Zoe Foster Blake, The Wrong Girl follows the daily mishaps and awkward encounters of the protagonist, Lily, as she attempts to navigate delicate situations in her work, family, social and personal life. The parallels to Offspring are abundant - a strong, loveable female lead, crazy family and friends, interconnected home and work life and so on - but I am equally enjoying the fresh, quirky nature and never-ending plot twists of The Wrong Girl.

Listening to:Sticky Fingers

Last Friday I had the immense pleasure of attending the Sticky Finger's concert in Montreal, which was nothing short of electrifying. With the energy of the people in the mosh, the crowd-surfing and the stage presence of the band I couldn't help but think that this is what I imagined concerts of the 60s and 70s would have been like. Perhaps it was my vintage Vegemite jumper that aided in this impression...

After the concert was over a series of random events resulted in me finding myself backstage in the dressing room, amongst a bunch of strangers and having a chat to the band members, who were seriously down-to-earth dudes. Of course, photos were taken as evidence of a night that I am sure I won't forget in a hurry!

Quoting: The only real valuable thing is intuition - Albert Einstein

I have a poster on my wall that features a colourful drawing of Einstein (one of my constant inspirations in life) surrounded by a collection of his quotes. I saw this quote this morning and it struck a cord, so I've decided it will be the quote for this week. I don't think a lengthy explanation is required, suffice to say you should always trust your intuition!

Eating: green smoothies

Much to Peta's delight I have recently started having green smoothies every day for breakfast. I have always enjoyed green smoothies but they have never been a part of my daily routine in the same way that they are for Peta. However, after one week I have become pretty hooked on these blended green delights (I promise they taste good). My recipe varies slightly each day, however my basic is as follows: 1 kiwi fruit, half an inch ginger root, 1 baby cucumber, 1/4 avocado, 1/2 small lemon or lime, as much spinach as the blender can hold, cinnamon, chia seeds, Great Lakes collagen protein, maca powder and water to blend. I also sometimes choose to transform them into smoothie bowls, topped with all kinds of goodies, as shown below!

Green smoothie bowl topped with coconut, peanut butter and mixed nuts.

Pondering: escaping consumerism and the authenticity trap

This morning I had a lecture in Canadian studies from Andrew Potter, who co-authored a book called The Rebel Sell, upon which his lecture was based. Potter basically explained why most of the developed world now exists in a positional, status economy, in which wealth is not a matter of having access to goods that others can't afford, but in which our purchases serve to distinguish us from others. In his proposed model consumerism and status-seeking is not something that we can opt out of, simply because living in societies like we do means that we are automatically placed in an arm's race of consumption. He further explained that counterculture movements, in resisting the mass conformity of consumerist societies, actually act in the opposite way, as the actions, purchases and choices of the 'rebel' serve to distinguish them from others and in this way feed the competitive cycle. And as history has shown, the things that start off as edgy and alternative usually end up creating the mainstream "cool". Effectively, no matter what you do or don't do, you are in some way feeding the competitive consumerism cycle.

He went on to outline the evolution of consumerism, from conspicuous leisure (in aristocractic times), to conspicious consumerism (keeping up with the Jones post-WW2), to conspicious counterculture (hippies, punks, "cool" in the 60s and 70s) and lastly the current phenomenon of conspicious authenticity. In his point about authenticity he emphasised how consumers nowadays want to get away from the fake, alienating nature of modern society and return to the roots of community and environmental care. Under this model things that are "natural", "organic", "artisanal" and "authentic" have become the fuel for consumerism, as consumers purchase such products and adopt such ways of life in an attempt to distinguish themselves as "authentic" people, perhaps attempting to display a level of moral or ethical superiority. He highlighted the popularity of yoga as the prime example of this "conspicious authenticity" in today's society. I was left quite offended and taken aback by some of his suggestions that no matter what I do, or how I live my life, I cannot escape this consumer culture, and that my attempts to find authenticity in my life may actually just be status-seeking actions. After all, I effectively epitomise the 'conspicious authenticity'-type consumer.

Fortunately, in his final point he made an important note that relieved at least some of my existential anxieties about being a cookie-cutter product of consumerism, in stating that you only have to ask yourself one question... "What if everybody did this?". If you would be okay with everybody doing it (yoga, buying organic, natural etc) then your motives for doing that particular thing lie elsewhere and not in a status-seeking attempt to make yourself distinct from others. Although this lecture has still left me with a lot to think about, there is a great deal of comfort in this question, because for at least the few things that I have considered I would not only be okay if everybody did it, but I would be happy if everybody did it. After all, I don't do yoga, meditate, drink green smoothies, exercise and try to minimise my environmental impact in order to achieve some kind of status, I do it because I believe those activities to be worthwhile and in alignment with my authentic values. 

Detoxifying: BPA-free water bottle

In the last few years public awareness of the health consequences of chemical BPA (bisphenol A) in plastic products and tin cans has seriously increased, leading to a flooding of the market with BPA-free plastic products (I guess Potter would have something so say about these products as examples of the conspicuous authenticity consumerism). One of the best ways to avoid excessive exposure to this chemical, and others found in plastic products, is to invest in a good BPA-free drink bottle. After all, if you are drinking from the same bottle day-in day-out, it is important to make sure that bottle isn't leaching harmful chemicals into your water. The worst thing you can do is re-use a disposable plastic drink bottle, so if you are doing that please go and throw it out right now!

Your water bottles need not be expensive or extravagant, most supermarkets will stock a range of drink bottles labelled BPA-free. However, I have personally fallen in love with the Frank Green range of bottles, which are pretty, solid and not only BPA-free but tick a range of other boxes with regard to ethics and sustainability. I have both the Frank Green water bottle and hot drink cup from Happy Place and can honestly say I love them. Not only are they good for your health, and the environment, but numerous people have agreed that the "flow" from the bottle opening is just right and they don't leak, which is good news for the important documents and objects that share a bag with your drink bottle.

Moving: trail running

Image may contain: 3 people , outdoor

On Sunday I took on the challenge of a 11.7km fun-run, despite having only recently gotten into somewhat regular running. It was a freezing cold day and what I didn't realise was that a large portion of the run was actually trail-running - think wet, muddy, rocky and steep uphill trails! Although it was quite a challenge, especially those uphill parts, I managed to finish in 1:25:07 (average pace 7:17 min/km), which isn't bad considering just how hilly and wet it was.

Grateful for: Peta

I have previously expressed my gratitude for my friends, family and generally supportive and amazing people in my life, but never explicitly for Peta. For those of you who don't know us, Peta and I are metaphorically joined at the hip, due to the fact that we live in different cities (and for the moment different countries!). Since arriving in Canada there has been rarely a day that goes by during which I don't speak to Peta at least once, if not twice. She has been that one person who listens to me talk about absolutely everything that I do, and all of the thoughts that I've had. I am so grateful for having Peta in my life, she is my daily inspiration and my best friend, and I cannot foresee a time when that might change. I am also grateful that despite the physical distance we are only getting closer and closer as time flies by. Lastly, I am grateful that I will be seeing her in only 44 days!!! 

Let me know what you've been loving lately? Stay positive, stay happy, stay healthy!

Love Erica x