Beyond the Light by Abby Jacques
The other night I sat in the forest, just beyond the reach of our porch light. The air was cool, the stars were bright, and I could hear the forest coming to life. As I sat there, completely comfortable, engulfed in the night, it hit me that so many people would not feel this way. We are trained as young children to fear the woods. We have stories of the big bad wolf, evil witches, creatures that lurk in the dark waiting to snatch us away. Even though I was sitting steps away from my home, with neighbors just down the hill and the sound of gentle hums from our generator, my mind began to wander. I have been on many night hikes, so pushing out the thoughts of monsters was easy, as I knew exactly what roamed our land. However I couldn't keep the thought of our porch light out of my mind. I thought about stepping back into its safety. I thought about how something so small could make us feel calm. That tiny little ring of light is a comfort zone for so many people, and I was just outside of it.
There are a lot of people who would rather stay near the light. To them, the wilderness is a scary place, and why would they venture further when they know they are safe right there? But if we do not venture into the forest, how could we possibly begin to save it? We are losing our wild places. Many choose not to acknowledge this because it is outside of their comfort zone. It is hard to hear, and even harder to make big changes to stop it. I have been told my entire life that there is no point in trying because one person won't make a difference. But what I have found is all it takes is one person to inspire the world.
You see, moving outside of your comfort zone doesn't always mean wandering into a dark forest. What it means is allowing yourself to be vulnerable. Honestly a lot of people would pick the first option given the choice, because in order to be vulnerable you have to be willing to learn a lot about yourself; you have you accept that your views can change. Not all comfort zones are bad. In fact, boundaries themselves are important. The difference is being aware of if you are doing something because it is healthy, or just because it is comfortable.
When I went to Northern Michigan University, I studied ecology and outdoor recreation. I was surrounded by people that were so ready to jump outside of their comfort zones. I think college is a great time for that. Specifically, people were really passionate about wilderness and our environment. I met so many people who were unafraid to ask questions about what they didn't know, and give up their comforts of life in hopes of preserving our wild places. But when I moved away from Marquette, I found less and less people like this. I could even feel myself slipping into a safe little bubble. I wasn't boldly forging a trail for others to follow anymore. I often hoped no one would notice my digression of environmentalism. But I noticed.
There are many things I love about Beth Millner Jewelry, however the thing that stood out from the start, was her pledge to recycle and reuse. This goes as far from using recycled metal, to reusing packaging. When I started this ambassadorship, I was inspired. After years of watching others, and myself, pick the easy path, here she was staying true to her vision. I am no where near where I want to be with jumping back outside my comfort zone, but the past three months have encouraged me to get back on track. I wanted to dedicate my last blog post as an ambassador to encouraging those who are already changing the world, and urging others to start. Beth's pieces capture the beauty of our natural world. A world I desperately want to help save. We might not be able to do it alone. But WE ARE NOT ALONE!