Our Usha Blog is a place to showcase our products and to educate customers on how our products are made and the local crafts people who make them. We also want to share stories about the people we meet and come across in life that inspire us, teach us and live the kind of lifestyle we want to live.
We are still learning, and we truly believe that is what life is about. There is something to be learned from everyone. We recently met Keira, who is a creative and beautiful soul, we talked to her about living a slow and sustainable life in Bali.
We hope you can learn and be inspired by our chat with Keira.
Keira can you introduce yourself to our readers – who you are, where you live, and a little about yourself?
I’m Keira Mason, I’ve spent 27 years circling the sun and have loved every bit of the journey so far!
My husband, Jared, and I are from Australia and currently living in beautiful Bali, Indonesia. We visited Bali in June 2017 and fell in love with the culture of slow and sustainable living here, so much that we moved here 10 months later!
I am happiest when I am either immersed in creativity or cooking so my work as a content creator for ethical and sustainable brands and health coaching is pretty much the perfect situation for me!
Can you tell us what slow and sustainable living means to you?
Slow and sustainable living for me, is all about patience, self consciousness and environmental awareness. I used to live such a busy life that I was never able to process, let alone act on my emotional and physical needs at the time. I now live a much more sustainable lifestyle by creating space in my days to meditate and listen to what my mind and body is communicating to me and acting on that rather than obligations. Sustainability is a huge part in this. I find that the current ‘fast and cheap’ lifestyle that we have conformed to as a society doesn’t allow room for thoughts on the social and environmental impacts that we cause. It also encourages us to over consume and aimlessly spend. In order to become connected to our planet and it’s needs, we need to slow down ourselves; take a moment to reflect on our personal contributions, pick up rubbish we see on the ground, or spend a little more on purchases to ensure we are backing businesses who support our planet.
Is there a before and after in your life concerning slow and sustainable living? If so what made you change?
To be honest, it came about through my anxiety surrounding social pressures in my younger adult years. I came off confident but I was always seeking approval through my appearance. Every time I went out I felt like I needed to have a new outfit which was exhausting, unsatisfying and sent me broke. I was the classic example of a fast fashion millennial. Over time I came to learn about the social and environmental impacts my fashion habits had on the planet and started to slowly buy less and ethically. From there I started learning more about sustainability and then the concept of slow living.
It is not easy to slow down in a society that seems to reward and appreciate speed. What tends to be the most important obstacles that we have to negotiate to slow down?
Expectations of ourselves: The decision to make a lifestyle change is one that doesn’t come lightly. We can sometimes expect that it’s something we can change overnight and become discouraged when we fall straight back into our old routines and habits. Change can be a slow process and we need to give ourselves grace in each stage of change.
Others Expectations of us: It is absolutely true that we live in a fast paced society, so when you decide to slow down, you might find yourself having to manage the expectations that others place on you. ie, you might need to have a conversation with your boss to let them know that you won’t be checking emails after 7pm, or let your family know that you will be having 10 minutes of quiet time in the morning where you would like not to be disturbed. Communication is key.
If someone wanted to start living slower and a more sustainable life, what advice would you give them?
Creating boundaries is so important when it comes to slowing down. I have created boundaries for screen time, work and even social time. You will be surprised by how much time you free up in your day by not participating in mindless activities.
The other thing that has been huge for me is comparison. Don’t compare yourself to others around you. Live within your own means and decide what pace is right for you. It won’t happen all at once, but it will happen eventually.
What is your approach to health and wellbeing?
I could answer this question for days, so I’m going to try to keep it simple. Firstly, health looks different to every person and I always remain aware of that. For me, I eat a whole foods, plant-based diet (with some exceptions), I exercise regularly and consciously move as much as possible, I meditate most days and create pockets of mindful moments, I spend time grounding, and am always sure to create time to connect with people that I trust with my thoughts and emotions.
Do you meditate or practice mindfulness? Do you think that some form of meditation is important when adopting a slow lifestyle?
Yes! I never thought of myself as a meditating kind of girl but it is so integral to my daily wellness now. I think that anytime spent mindfully is such a treat for our hard working minds and bodies because we are consciously choosing to spend time nourishing ourselves over all else. I also recommend sleep meditations, they are amazing!
You recently moved to Bali, can you tell us a little about your decision to move to this little island?
Jared and I lived a wildly busy life back in Australia. We both worked full time and commuted a combined total of 35 hours a week for our jobs. I was also studying and working weekends as a makeup artist. We felt disconnected and trapped by our life and knew we needed to go out of our comfort zones to seek the change we were desperate for. After visiting Bali on our belated honeymoon last year we decided to quit our jobs, sell everything and move to there to start to create a new way of living and develop wellness habits that we could apply for the rest of our lives.
What are the benefits that you have found in your lifestyle from living in Bali so far?
The freedom to decide what we are passionate about, what drives us and how we can continue to do it forever. We have also really truly loved the time it has give us as a couple. Exploring new levels of connection and trust has been incredible.
What are some of your favorite sustainable products?
Haha oh, there are so many! The one that stands out the most would have to be my menstrual cup. I have been using it for nearly a year now and it is a game changer! The other would be my silicone food pouches. They are essentially a reusable silicone ziplock bag. Genius.
What is your quote of the day every day?
This changes all of the time but my favourite quote at the moment is by Naomi Judd, “Your body hears everything your mind says.” - brilliant.
What is your advice to the next generation of women?
Firstly, you are a magnificent creation, far more complex and special than anything else on this earth. This is a truth for you to keep.
My advice is to find other women who seek to connect, encourage and empower one another through life, and do just that. I wouldn’t know what to do without the support of the humble yet strong women who stand beside me today.
And finally - can you tell our readers why you love our Usha Bags?
I love that these stunning bags have been made with the environment and workers in mind. And they tick so many of my clothing boxes: Beautiful, minimal, functional and unique!
Please follow Keira on her instagram - @keiramary_
Thank you so much to Keira for creating such beautiful photos and for chatting with us, you really are a beautiful soul.