Monday, 18 April 2016

Are you a hippie?

  • Do you believe in peace and non-violence?
  • Do you care about the future of the planet and all life?
  • Do you actively simplify your life to reduce your impact and aim to be zero-waste?
  • Do you grow (some of) your own food and/or support sustainable local food producers and fair trade suppliers? 
  • Are you into permaculture, urban farming and community food systems?
  • Do you connect with your community and neighbours and do projects together for community and environmental benefit?
  • Do you wear simple clothing, possibly home-made, second-hand, or made ethically using natural fibres?
  • Could your wardrobe of clothes easily fit into a backpack - shoes included? 
  • Do you like going barefoot and connecting with nature?
  • Do you use natural personal care products and possibly even avoid wearing makeup?
  • Did you build your own eco-home, or live simply surrounded by natural materials?
  • Do you create your own flexible work based around your passions and interests with an eco-social focus?
  • Do you find ways to not let money be the key driver in your choices and decisions?
  • Do you love independent and world music, and attend music festivals?
  • Do you homeschool/unschool/worldschool, and/or immerse your kids in nature and community?
  • Do your life goals include wanting to make a positive contribution to society and to leave the world in a better state than how you found it?


If you relate to more than half of the above, you possibly could have already been labelled a 'hippie'.  I reckon though, the real hippie days are long gone.

It could be said that a lot of the actions and values I've described above have been influenced by the radical hippie movement of the 60s and 70s - living and working for social change, peace, freedom and the environment -  but there have also been many other philosophies, discoveries and ideas that have contributed to this way of thinking and living over the past 40 years too.

Am I a hippie?

I relate to all of the above points, but I don't identify as a hippie (I'm too young). I particularly try to avoid the hippie tag because of the negative connotations that typically come with it - I don't smoke or drink or have never been into drugs.  I try to avoid other tags too - it becomes to easy to be parcelled up and dismissed. Tags and labels seem to close people's minds to new possibilities and interesting ideas that are worth exploring.

I know I hold a bit of fear of being labelled a hippie. Considering where I live and what I do, I am an easy target. A recent article about my way of life had the title "Earth Mother, Eco-teacher". I admit I shuddered when I first read the words 'Earth Mother' describing me. It felt like a hippie label, but when I read the article, I realised the title had been given with much respect not condescension.  I think in that moment, I let go of some of my fear and I felt encouraged that this way of life is seen as a positive aspiration.

I love my work, particularly the Nature Kids and permaculture programs I run for kids and the community.
I am not trying to drop out of society. I have my whole life been dropping into living a positive, healthy, community-connected, earth-connected way of life. This feels purposeful to me and brings me a deep sense of joy and meaning. I live in an ecovillage, grow food, teach permaculture, live simply, dress simply, homeschool my kids... Does that make me a hippie? No.  I perhaps embrace a number of hippie culture qualities - love, peace, care for the earth, care for people, living simply and ethically - but I'm just me - me in relation to my community and environment.

Relaxed and happy - barefoot in the garden spreading compost, mulching and planting.

Labels are a great way to be boxed, dismissed and/or marketed to - best if possible to be avoided! Be free, be open, live well, love life, connect and make a positive contribution.






12 comments:

  1. Lovely article, I feel really identified with your words, I have been also classified as a hippie in the past and it wasn't until I was actually surrounded by people that think of themselves as hippies that I understood that the term 'hippie' had nothing to do with me, despite my love for sustainability, peace, the environment and using less stuff. Thank you for writing about this, I think is a very underexplored topic that need to be addressed more often :)

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    1. Thanks for sharing Jenn. I sometimes think there needs to be a new term, but then we'd just be boxing ourselves again. I think it's best just to be what we are, live our life fully, walk our talk, be leaders in change by doing it, living simply and having integrity.

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  2. Well said, Morag, I am definatly not a hippie but try and live a simple, small life without harm to other people or the enviroment. I love peace and quiet and being in my little garden. It brings me a bone deep contentment that nothing else can. Have a wonderful Non-hippie day.

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  3. In my 60's now - and proud to still call myself a hippie, though many would use a different term. I agree with your sentiment and understand the stigma. These days I often identify with the tag 'minimalist'. A year ago I bought a house in Wollongong and I'm turning the large garden into a permaculture garden, as best I can. I find it a little difficult as I have not yet found a local 'tribe' and others to share my passion and possibly help me! I would be up there in northern NSW with all the other like-minded people, but I have family down here and want to be an involved nanna. I love my life!

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    1. Thanks for writing Anna. I guess a tag is useful if it supports what you are trying to do and be, how you feel and who you connect with, where you've come from. What I have found, and was trying to express in this post was that a tag can also become a limitation. We can still be all those things we love - sustainable, earth connected, peace-loving... without having to give ourselves a label. By moving out of a certain clique, we could open ourselves to new and unexpected connections and pathways.

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  4. I think we're more 'cynic' (the philosophical definition not psychological one) than hippie/hipster. I'm inspired more by the early Greek philosophers than the 60s flower children counter culture simply because there's less hypocrisy. Which I already have plenty of!! ;)

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  5. Well I think the term hippie is an honourable one, and being an earthmother something I aspire to!

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    1. Good on you! I love hippies and earth mothers, but like I wrote in the article, I am personally trying to avoid labels. This is particularly because I teach a lot and do a lot of public speaking. So often I hear the term 'hippie' used as a way to dismiss/marginalise ideas around living simply and sustainably. The less excuses there are for not taking action the better - e.g.: to hard (I offer simple techniques), too time consuming (I offer super quick methods), too 'hippie' , to this, to that.... :-)

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  6. great article!
    it's true too about labels limiting us, thanx for the eye opener!
    thanx for sharing

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  7. Hi Morag, lovely article. I am in my late 60s so remember well the Hippie era. I was never a hippie but I do appreciate the simple things in life much the same as you do and it is nice to see a young person who is not caught up in the materialism of these times like so many others your age are. Love your blog by the way.

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  8. I found that list interesting Morag. I can tick quite a few of those boxes, and my life is happier for it. Your workshops, have enriched my life. The first workshop I ever went to you mentioned Northey Street City Farm for organic food, and from there I went on to being an allotment holder so that I could grow my own organic food, and found so many like-minded folk at the community garden. It's all good.

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