It is early Monday morning and my best friend since high school Christyn is sliding around my kitchen, preparing her ginger tumeric tea. Her daughter (my goddaughter) eight-year-old Sage is asleep on an air mattress in the other room. They have been visiting since Friday from deep in the Vermont countryside.

Christyn and my paths have in some ways seemed very different. She went all country while I went all city. But we always marvel at how similar many of our choices ultimately are. For instance, we are both therapeutic yoga teachers. We wound up in exactly the same career.

Anyway, whenever I hang out with Christyn pretty much all of our conversation revolves around living more truthfully. And she has been a huge inspiration to me (if you take my yoga classes you have certainly heard of her as she’s a regular character in my teaching narrative).

Christyn and her husband Matt met in an environmental education camp for kids. Pretty much every decision they’ve made since getting together has been rooted in honoring their passion for sustainable living. They built (with the help of some friends and family) a round house with an earthen clay/sand/manure floor in Cabot Vermont for their young family.

They live in a community of like-minded families that all contribute labor to maintaining the land and incredible garden they all eat out of (see photo of Christyn and her purple potatoes above! You should have seen the giant bag of vegetables I brought back to Brooklyn with me last time I visited!). And their career choices genuinely reflect what they want to contribute to the world. (Matt works for a wilderness education school that serves troubled teens.)

I love hanging out with Christyn because I feel like her presence gives me permission to get more real about what my top priorities are in terms of how I live, eat, shop and contribute to the world. And lately I’m having a kind of crazy urge…

What if I aimed to lived with absolutely no compromises on my authentic values? What if I shaped my life according to exactly what I believe is important?

Here is a run-down of what’s important to me that I might need to shift:

  1. Housing – is my 2 room apartment really the most ecologically sound choice? There is no actual radiator – it is only heated by the pipes that run to other apartments. So I like that. But maybe I should consider living in one of these co-housing situations? And just have a room in a bigger home? This would also address my issues with debt.
  2. Travel – riding on airplanes is extremely luxurious and spews lots of pollutants on the land. Maybe I should minimize my airplane travel. It’s a BIG DEAL to fly across the country. Perhaps I should just do it once a year (if that). Or even better, what if I rode a train across the country instead?
  3. Cars – I don’t have a car since I live in NYC and don’t need one. But sometimes I still ride in cars. What if I purposely planned my travel to almost always take public transportation? No compromise on easy Lyft rides…
  4. Food – Plant-based, organic and local dude. I would just love to eat according to what I can get locally and seasonally. Keep all my purchases within 100 miles of my home to minimize the distance my fruits have to travel. And it would also be amazing to learn to pickle and jar foods in the autumn so I can have a variety through the winter without purchasing tomatoes from Argentina.
  5. Shopping – It sure is hard to know where the stuff you buy comes from. What if all of my shopping was completely conscious? I only support companies I believe in? This would mean only getting clothing and products from companies with sound environmental practices, that harm no animals, and pay their employees well. Ideally also from companies that give back and have systems in place to be of service to less fortunate communities.

I could go on, but these are my initial thoughts on what would need to shift for me to move closer to No-Compromise living. I’ve been edging towards this for years, but these days I’m increasingly tempted to get more hard-core about it.

What do you think? BTW, I don’t think that we should have the same values. Yours might be quite different from mine. I’m just interested in no-compromise according to each of our individual inner compasses…

I’m curious how this post has colored your crystal… Are there ways, big or small, that you are compromising in daily life? Are you interested in shifting them? Or are you content in how you move about this world? Do you feel stuck or free? Does it stress you out to think about this because you’ve strayed so far from your heartfelt values (I just ask this because it’s really common)?

Tell me tell me tell me!!!


*I’m @arielkiley on Instagram

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2 thoughts on “No-Compromise Living

  1. Thank you…im not much of a writer and i feel like you’ve taken my thoughts and organized them for me. I am trying…been biking only, live and work out of my 1 bedroom with my wife, have made travel plans based on not flying regularly…I would like to live like your friend and really struggle with the food part. I feel like it’s all or nothing; I get overwhelmed that it’s not all uncompromised so I say eff it and pay no mind and go back and forth like that.
    I feel recommitted though…Im with you. I think I will thing to not compromise on at all to start things off.

    1. Love this! That’s such a cool approach – to choose one thing to not compromise on. When we try to rush change we tend to stumble and fall over our own feet! I’d love to hear what it is that you pick… 🙂

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