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A personal life style based on "what other people think, the latest fads, or any other external influences." It is about making choices based on your own inner voice! It speaks the real truth.

That fact was eloquently expressed by a neat woman named Julia who posted her thoughts and views on the NEAT WOMEN INC bulletin board:

Spending my energy as I choose

Posted by Julia on Thursday, 1 November 2001

I just had to express myself after reading the N.E.A.T. page discussing American consumption, obesity, working more and sleeping less for less reward, etc. Check it out!

Maybe someone will find my ideas helpful. This is a passionate area for me.

I refuse to let this modern world rob me of my energy. My energy is my well being emotionally, physically and mentally. I don't think the modern world is very healthy for humans or the earth that we live on, but we live in it. I choose to do so on my own terms. My money is also my energy. It is very difficult to obtain and I feel that I should be very conscious of where and how I spend it.

I don't support businesses, activities, or groups that contribute to the "rat race" whenever possible. I am not a fan of large corporate entities. My first choice is to buy products made by local people and shops owned by local people, or shop with individuals/small businesses that should be supported. Often this means that I don't have hundreds of choices, but hundreds of choices can be a full time job anyway. What I do have is unique values that are more than suitable. I eat organic food, have original articles throughout my kitchen and house, and sleep well knowing that I am comfortable and a family is fed, rather than padding a CEO's pocket with an outrageous profit margin to support his outrageous salary.

In fact, my very first choice of all that I support, are businesses and services run by women. Women are still undervalued, underpaid, overworked and treated unequally/unfairly. I have experienced life from a woman's point of view in all the classic cases of discrimination before the equal rights bill was passed and after the bill was passed. Women are still oppressed economically and socially. I choose to support women first. I like the way they do business. There is nothing comparable to the "woman's touch" in all aspects of life. This was not as easily done as said. I did have to work through this. We have all been conditioned from birth to respect and support white/male privilege above all else. I had to learn to trust in my abilities and in the abilities of other women to over come this.

caryl-fashion industryI do not support the fashion industry. I am not embarrassed about my liver spots, crow's feet or needs for comfort. I buy what I like and just what I need. I have a few grooming products that work for me, so I am clean, smell ok :-), and feel great about myself. I don't change out my wardrobe every season, wear spandex and nylons, or cram my beloved feet into shoes that do not resemble the human form. I chose to throw out the make up. Why do I need to make myself "better?" Who said that I am not fine as I am? A big corporation that's who. My aging process is sacred and powerful. I will not be intimidated into hiding it at great expense to myself, because someone else builds expectations that women must be young, sexy and "made up" to be of value.

I don't eat processed foods, convenience foods or fashionable foods anymore. Diabetes is an epidemic in this country, and I blame the food industry for it. Thousands of years ago, women knew of over 800 food and health items that the earth provided sustainable. Now we are being served only a fraction of that. Most of the common vegetables we eat from the frozen food section lean overboard on starch. There is no balance. Processed foods involve chemicals, hormones, pesticides, and processes that never existed in nature before. Companies are feeding us genetically engineered foods and they don't have to tell us, and no one knows what the result will be in our health. Genetic foods cannot produce ongoing sustainability in farming. It is an outrage. I am overweight and have Type II diabetes, and did not realize what had happened until it was too late. Now I know, and I choose better health. I am losing weight (over 20 lbs. so far) and making my own food from scratch, making my own convenience foods from scratch (Frozen dinners) and I know where every ingredient came from. Mostly, I know what each ingredient is. I have an exciting variety in my pantry. I have an exotic restaurant in my own home.

I don't shop every day. I make a plan, plan my trips to cover more than one errand, and it feels really good. I am not caught up in convenience shopping, spending money everyday, driving my car, polluting the air, or spending my time on someone else's terms. I am at home or with my friends in intentional gatherings. I have time to cuddle the kitties, read books, nap, cook, think, keep in touch with loved ones, and most importantly, to create. Looking back, I am shocked at the roller coaster that the world is riding on. It wasn’t' fun. It was a job that I was not paid for, and instead paid someone else as I worked for their benefit. I am free!!!!

I don't buy the latest of anything. The latest and newest costs too much. If you wait a bit, the price goes down and you probably find that you didn't need it anyway. All these convenience gadgets are a hassle to me. You have to fiddle with instructions, programming, batteries, maintenance, etc. etc. etc. In fact, I am quite pleased with my outdated computer. I still get around, but am too outdated for some of the latest viruses! I use what enhances my life and do not listen to anyone else's viewpoint. Usually they are sales people anyway. I don't want to carry a cell phone like a ball and chain. I value my privacy and my schedule. I want to live in the present with all my intent focused on what I choose to do.

I got rid of the charge cards. I do have a debit card. Now I keep money set aside for when I need "credit", and pay myself back. I don't charge myself interest, embezzle myself, or spend hours a month writing out checks for bills that never seem to decrease enough. Life is simple. I pay what I have to pay to survive. I am not rich, but I am not in debt either. I am not worried. I care for myself as my own mother, stick to my budget as much as possible, and all of my needs are met. I have plenty of extras too, even though I am well below the poverty line.

I don't support Hollywood. Those people are actors that are paid to pretend. It's not real life. I don't listen to what they have to say. They are really not supporting life in positive ways as a majority. I don't like the way they treat women, the myths they perpetuate, or the value they place on my intelligence. The media is self-serving. My life is just as rich and exciting as a "star's", and I have my own problems to deal with. I don't need added stress from them. I choose entertainment when I want it, select what interests me, and ignore the rest. I am left with more money in my pocket and a lot less static in my life. Seriously, turn off the TV for a week or two and then go back to it. I didn't realize what it was doing to me until I did.

Same goes for commercials and ad campaigns. They try to appeal to me, but I always ask, "who benefits?" Most of the commercials deal with convenience food that is bad for you, but you need the convenience in order to manage the lifestyle that they impose on you. Work, shop/run errands and sleep. Some of the advantages of a product only exist if they can make you believe it exists. I show my opinions by withholding my money or by spending it if I benefit from it.

I hope some of my personal views help someone out there. We need to stick together. One of our greatest assets is our age, experience and the fact that we are women! If all of the women, especially those our age, stood up and said, "STOP IT!" they would have to stop. They would have to listen and rework, rethink, and realize.

I am a happy woman. I have lots of true friends, am loved, have a comfortable home, am surrounded by activities that enhance my life, am constantly creating with my hands and my mind/heart, enjoy my own company, am regaining my health, and participate in the sacred act of rubbing kitty bellies every day. A few younger women honored me by showing me that I am a role model to them, and I am so touched. And...... I achieved it all without a palm pilot and spot cream!!!!!! :-) Blessed Be!!!!!

Kudos and orchids to Julia! We think it takes real courage to heed one’s inner voice AND speak out about it! "Courage is the ladder on which all the other virtues mount." Clare Boothe Luce

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