One small step at a time toward an intentional and sustainable life.

When something on social media gets my attention, it’s usually enticing me toward more — more art, more articles, more pics, more picks. That’s why I’m so grateful that I didn’t scroll past the post that dared to invite me to consider less.

On October 29, 2021, in the midst of the pandemic, Amy Oprean posted:

And so the seed was planted. I looked around at all the single-use plastic cluttering my world and looked forward to checking out Walking Lightly for myself — ASAP. In the time warp of COVID, seven months passed before I finally laid eyes on the bright blue brick facade facing Hilton Road in Ferndale.

I walked in and was struck by awe and childlike curiosity. So many things to discover and incorporate into my life!

How do I do it all on a limited income?

At the time I was working part-time doing legal document review and getting paid every other Friday. I decided each time I got paid, I would return to Walking Lightly and try one thing.

First visit: Marley’s Monsters UNpaper Towel.

From there, I learned that there is so much opportunity to improvise and make new sustainable rituals of my own. Tessa Benziger, Walking Lightly’s owner and curator, showed me how to wrap the UNpaper towels around a rack to have the traditional set up of a paper towel roll around a post and have them unroll one at a time. Or just to fold the UNpaper towels and stack them in a bowl so I can quickly grab one at a time. And so my one-small-step-at-a-time journey toward an intentional and sustainable life began.

Between that first visit in May 2022 and the end of the year, I returned to Walking Lightly at least a dozen times. I fell in love with the space and the people and the products and the experience and the positive changes I feel daily. I brought friends with me into the shop. I brought it up (organically) in conversation. I introduced Rabbi Jeff Stombaugh to Walking Lightly and soon The Well collaborated with Hazon and Interfaith Power and Light on Shomrei Adamah. I was honored to photograph and write about the event for the Detroit Jewish News.

A highlight of each visit was seeing Tessa. We became fast friends.

Tessa closed the shop for a couple weeks over the winter holidays for some much needed rest. I found myself counting down the days to January 4.

After I paid for the refills I was picking up, I decided to make a list of products now a part of my routine. Tessa gave me a slip of paper. As I started writing from memory all the products now a part of my life, I almost needed a second sheet. Tessa and I were both impressed by how much positive change I have incorporated in less than a year.

The new year always brings with it new opportunities and challenges. I wish you the best with yours and, who knows, maybe we’ll bump into each other at Walking Lightly.