Why I Went a Year Without Showering
I recently wrote a story called Lessons Learned from a Year without Showering that was picked up by The Huffington Post. If you haven’t read it the link is there, but basically I went a year without taking a conventional shower and instead just went for a swim when I found a lake, river, or ocean. The story created quite a splash, but why, oh why, would I do something so silly?
One word can sum it all up: freedom.
Freedom from ourselves, freedom from social norms, freedom from money, and freedom from systems that don’t serve our best interest. My activism goes much deeper than the simple act of bathing and it seems most people got the message but here it is again, loud and clear.
It’s about embracing our bodies just as they are. It’s ok to smell a little bit. It’s ok to have blemished skin. It’s ok to have frizzy hair. It’s all just ok. We can’t buy beauty because we are all beautiful and our beauty reaches far beyond the skin holding us together. It’s a message to our youth to let them know they are wonderful just as they are and they should spend their time pursuing their dreams rather than pursuing a flawless face in the mirror.
It’s about inspiring people to pay attention to their daily actions and learning how these actions affect the environment, animals, and other people near and far. It’s about putting what we learn to good use and making conscious decisions in our daily lives.
“Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.”
–Martin Luther King
It’s about freedom from cosmetics. Our cosmetics today are full of nasty chemicals that cause harm to our bodies, contaminate our drinking water, and have adverse affects on our natural environment.
It’s about getting past our little differences and being nicer to one another. Whether or not someone showers should not be a judgment on the content of their character. More importantly we shouldn’t judge each other based on race, gender, political affiliation, or sexual preferences. We are all one race and we are all equal beings. The differences between us are minor compared to the similarities, but that little bit of diversity is what makes our race so magnificent, so interesting, and so entertaining.
It’s about changing our pursuit of money to a pursuit of health and happiness. In doing so, we need to reduce our dependency on money and start living in a more self-sufficient manner. The earth provides us with all we need and we’ve only recently put our health and happiness into the hands of the corporations. Let’s live meaningful lives full of purpose and make the pursuit of freedom available for everyone.
“We’ve got everything we need right here, and everything we need is enough.” -Jack Johnson
It’s about taking back the human body and realizing that it’s ok to show our skin. There are 7 billion of us on this earth and every one of us has a body, there is no need to hide them.
It’s about abolishing social norms that provide little benefit to our society and our environment. We can still be contributing and valuable members to society without following the social norms. We can still fit in and live normally even if our priorities differ from those around us.
“A small body of determined spirits fired by an unquenchable faith in their mission can alter the course of history.” -Gandhi
It’s about seeing life from a new perspective, a fresh perspective. I’ve learned that simply by changing my perspective I can change my world.
It’s about remembering to have fun and not take ourselves too seriously.
It’s about being resourceful and following the 3 R’s, Reduce – Reuse – Recycle.
It’s about being a part of nature and spending time away from our computers and cell phones. It’s about finding a balance between technology and living simply in harmony with our land and water.
It’s about inspiring activists to accomplish their mission in peaceful and positive ways. It’s about inspiring artists to use their art, writers to use their writing, workers to use their work, creators to use their creations, all for the good of humankind. It’s about inspiring individuals to find their passion and use it to make the world a better place for us all.
“Almost always, the creative dedicated minority has made the world better.” –Martin Luther King
It’s about boycotting corrupt systems. It’s about taking away the control from the corporations and giving the power back to the people. That power comes from needing less, wanting less, and being happy with what we have. It’s about supporting companies that really care and are looking out for our best interest.
“The more you know, the less you need.” -Yvon Chouinard
It’s about appreciating the simple things in life like clean water, fresh air, healthy food, and shelter.
It’s about following our path of life with ultimate vigor and zest while respecting all paths that are taken.
It’s about keeping your childhood dreams alive and living carefree like you did when you were a kid.
It’s not about giving up the life you love. It’s about falling in love with a new way of living. A way of living that is good for the earth, your friends and family, your community, yourself, and all the other creatures that we share the earth with.
The power lies in the hands of each of us as individuals in our every day actions. What we eat, wear, drive or ride, buy, and do.
“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”- Gandhi
How can you start being the change today and make a positive impact?
1. Adopt a whole food, primarily plant-based diet. Eat more veggies, fruits, grains, nuts and less animal products.
2. Start riding a bike, walking, and using public transportation instead of driving a car.
3. Go local. Eat local, shop local, play local.
4. Reduce- Reuse- Recycle- In that order. Recycling comes last! Don’t use one time use anythings (bags, take out containers, bottled water, straws, napkins, etc.)
5. Share your stuff and share others’ stuff.
6. Dedicate time to helping others.
7. Conserve water and electricity. Just be conscious of your usage. There are 100’s of ways to cut back.
8. Positive consumerism. Buy from businesses that are using business for good. Buy less stuff and purchase used stuff when you can.
9. Simplify. The less you need the easier it is to be friendly to our earth.
10. Grow some of your own food.
11. Stand up for what you know is right. Stand up for others when you see them in need and stand up for yourself.
12. Be nice to everyone.
Photography by Brent Martin