Tread lightly

Being asked to assist an organisation develop a lighter environmental footprint resurrects an idea and an unpleasant encounter with aggression points to the emotion - health connection.

At 5th Place we (Matthew and Chantal) aim to live a life that treads lightly on our earth. We have made some lifestyle choices and changes that are in alignment with this aim and in the process have attracted interest and attention for how we do it. We have been asked by several people to show them our setup, and have been told that we should do workshops to show others how to do it too.


A long time ago in a…

Not a bad idea, we thought. Let’s do it! We set up a branch of 5th Place that we called Lightr Feet. We planned monthly in person group workshops for the year and we started marketing. That was the beginning of 2021 as we emerged from a year of Covid-19 chaos and closed-in-ness hoping for connection and openness.


Then the second (or was it the third) wave hit us. Hard. Once again we were closed in, closed down, masked up. No connecting, no crowds, no nothing was going to happen. So we cancelled all those plans and shelved the idea. For good, we thought, until we were asked to use our knowledge to assist an organisation that was trying, but not quite succeeding, to have a lighter footprint too.


The Earth can live without us. We can’t live without it… Time to live with Lightr Feet.

Stepping out of the shadows

Lightr Feet stepped out of the shadows, dusted itself off and presented a solution borne of trial and error, sweat, research and bloody-mindedness. Bloody-mindedness because, as Matthew tells it:

“Everything I learnt about composting didn’t work. I had to work things out myself and what we have now works!”

Yes it does, neatly, contained and easy to process - a modular urban composting solution. In all likelihood Lightr Feet will be tripping the light fantastic teaching, training and supporting this and other organisations to dance, do and be with less weight on our earth.

The change to living more nimbly is not difficult but it does require a will, and want and a different do. This is where things can get heavy. Now we have to think before we throw, discard and trash. Not all of us feel inclined to make a difference. Not all of us care.


It’s aloe time again and the bees are loving it!

A leaning to obstruct

In fact right now, with times full of ambiguity, volatility and disquiet, there is more of a leaning to obstruct, shove away and stamp down hard on anything or anyone that gets in the way. We felt the full force of this response en route to delivering a session on breathwork. The person who almost rammed us going round the traffic circle could have done with a few deep breaths.

First he felt it was his right of way to try to nudge his very large and very expensive SUV past us. He hooted violently when he could not get by, threw a few thumping zap signs out the window and ended his silent tirade with the burst of a large gob of spit projected out of his open window at us as we turned right and he drove on.

“How embarrassing,” said Chantal, “A grown man, spitting like that. And we did nothing wrong!”

“The escalation of his behaviour was a bit crazy,” remarked Matthew waving a palm over the boom sensor so that it let us in. “Imagine where it could have got to. That kind of behaviour can end up in a shooting.”


This time of year also lends itself to some beautiful sunsets in our part of the world.

Fenced in fear

We shuddered at the thought and the madness that sends grown men into irrational, violent, abusive behaviour. The suburb where the school is located where we were going to work has been completely fenced in and roads have been closed to keep the residents safe. Safe, not from men like him, but from criminals. What actually happens, though, is it creates that kind of behaviour in the fear that it holds captive.

That fear which presents itself as aggression, rage filled and flailing, can and does make people sick. When we are incapable of acknowledging how we are really feeling it gets buried and eventually shows up as illness.

To a large extent we are incapable of acknowledging how we are really feeling, primarily because it is so terrifying. To acknowledge how we feel is to be vulnerable. To be vulnerable is alien for many of us. We prefer to keep our feelings under wraps especially the messy, unpleasant, painful ones.


We had a go at making simple stained glass birds and supported our local community in the process. Being creative is good for your wellbeing too!

Emotion - health connection

However, Science has a lot to say about the connection between our emotions and our physical health. There are many studies that show how our emotions and thoughts can impact our brain, hormones, immune system, and thus our overall health.

When we experience strong negative emotions such as fear, stress or anger like our dear Mr SUV driver did, our body goes into the "fight, flight or freeze" response. This results in an increased heart rate, increased blood pressure, and the release of stress hormones like cortisol. All of which can lead to a variety of health problems, including heart disease, diabetes, depression and a weakened immune system.

If we suppress or ignore our emotions, they don't just go away. Instead, they will continue to affect our body and mind, often in harmful ways. Science reminds us that suppressing emotions leads to increased stress, poorer mental health, and even poorer physical health.

And what about being vulnerable? That champion of vulnerability, Brené Brown, has shown that vulnerability is not a weakness, but rather a strength. According to Brown, vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity. It is the source of hope, empathy, accountability, and authenticity.

And we think the world could do with a lot more hope, empathy and authenticity, don’t you?

Until next time.

Yours in feeling,
Chantal & Matthew

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About the author

5th Place

5th Place is a dynamic organization that's passionate about emotional fitness. We're the creators of Shape of Emotion, a revolutionary tool that's changing the way we understand and manage our emotions. But we're not just about theory - we're about practical, tangible change.

We offer Emotional Fitness Classes and courses that help individuals, from children to adults, build emotional resilience and well-being. For our younger audience, we've created the Vibarealm, a vibrant universe that encourages a healthier interaction with emotions.

Join us on this journey to emotional fitness and let's make the world a better place together.

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