Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Food Choices, Fossil Fuel And Gratitude

Yesterday I was so proud of myself for not taking a plastic bag from the cashier to carry my avocadoes and onion home with me from the supermarket. However, later I realized that those avocadoes and some oranges that I bought were from Mexico and California respectively. Meaning they had been transported over large distances, which involves trucks, fossil fuel, possibly some electricity. And that reminded me that I had also committed to at least trying to eat only locally grown foods. I was struck with the enormity of the task at hand....how does one NOT take part in anything that creates a carbon trail? What CAN one eat if one wants to pledge to eat only locally grown foods, and it's the dead of winter in your town? These are questions that beg to be answered. And I will get back to you with that information. In the meantime, I realize that it is ok if I eat avocadoes. If I think about the truck and the driver and the fossil fuels involved, I could even be grateful for all of it. Those marvels of science and technology make it all possible for me to eat such a delicious food in February in New York. That kind of awareness makes a huge difference. Gratitude for the things that make your food choices possible is powerful energy. Working out the issues around eating local food will happen in its time. Check back tomorrow for more of my adventures participating in No Impact Week.

Monday, February 22, 2010

No Plastic Bag For Me, Today, Thank You

Yesterday at the first meeting of No Impact Week with Colin Beavan and Leah Mayor, one of the things that I agreed to be concious about this week was not buying anything with packaging. That is a the usual for me, being that I am a mostly raw vegan. In fact one of the most amazing things about living the raw vegan life is that you realize that you are definitely NOT contributing to landfills...... with your food at any rate. Jumping off from that point, I wanted to push the no impact envelope a bit. I went to the supermarket for some avocadoes and an onion. And I forgot to bring a cloth shopping bag with me. Yet I also refused a plastic "t-shirt" bag that the cashier packs your groceries into. With that change of habit, I had a new experience of avocadoes and onions. I saw that they each already come in their own bag, right off the vine/tree/earth clod. "How clever" I thought of that lovely old Mother Nature! I carried three avocadoes and one onion in my hands and there was one more avocado in my coat pocket. And I went home and had a nice salad.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

No Impact Week

Today was the first of the 6 meetings that make up Colin (No Impact Man) Beavan's first live, in person No Impact Week Workshop. It is a beta version of a program he conducts online and is based on his one year experiment of reducing his family's carbon footprint down to ZERO! I was amazed when I came across Colin's experiment. I found the goal to be so admirable and his and his family having achieved it to be extraordinary. I was eager to join this group because I wanted to meet Colin, meet other like-minded individuals and see what new, interesting things I could learn and/or be inspired by. Anyone is welcome to join in for the balance of the week, so if you think you would like to see what we are doing and you are in the New York area, please contact me at drawingonthemoon@gmail.com. Below is a brief description of what the first meeting was like.

This first meeting of a handful of serious and thoughtful individuals was well planned and Colin, along with his co-facilitator Leah Mayor, of the Cloud Institute, kept the material moving along at a good pace. It was a small group, but each attendee took part in the discussions and overall it was a very exciting and energizing two hours. Both Leah and Colin asked thought-provoking questions which gave each of us the opportunity to decide what low- or no-imprint actions to take. There was no guilt-tripping or pressure in any form. And it was exciting to be part of a new program that can help other people and help the earth.

We each made commitments in each of the following three categories: consumption, trash and travel, which are assigned respectively to today, Monday and Tuesday. There are four other categories which we will discuss and prepare for at our next meeting on Tuesday.

There was so much much material, that I will go into more detail about what changes I agreed to commit to on in a future post.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Divesting Stuff and Discovering Magic

Well ok haven't written for a while, but I've been so busy....as you will see below.

I moved twice since December. (The why's and wherefores of that are a story for another day) In preparing for both moves, I did a lot of purging, what I like to call "divesting" stuff.

Two blogs that have interesting takes on the subject of reducing one's possessions and from whom I've gotten a bit of inspiration (even though they are both more advanced compared to myself)

There are many, many more people out there in cyberland who are teaching and practicing this new way of living the good life, but these two are the ones I first came across on the contemporary blog scene and have learned a lot from.

For me, it is still the beginning of a journey to "stufflessness." In the meantime, what I continue to discover is that by divesting myself of stuff, I truly do experience:
A) a sense of liberation
B) a clearer mind
C) a feeling of being energized

It does require some courage, though, because the mind is tricky and will make you think that you need the thing you are about to purge. If you can just be strong and either throw it out or give it away, you may have some wonderful experiences such as I have had on this adventure. Well, they are wonderful after a brief period of them being perturbing. But the wonderful part that comes after the perturbing part is really, truly wonderful. Here is one example:

Let's say that you have something you've been saving because you tell yourself you might need it someday. You've had it for years and haven't ever found a need for it, yet you struggle with some anxiety in getting rid of it. You finally find the courage to throw it out. Ironically, a day or two later there actually arises a circumstance where that thing finally would have come in handy. This is the part where you find yourself feeling somewhat perturbed, anxious or something equally uncomfortable. You thought that throwing the thing out would have settled the initial anxiety, but here it is again.

Try this: Sit still with the feelings that arise with this experience. Feel them. Feel how they are making their presence known through the sensations in various parts of your body. Give this a few minutes. You will be surprised how quickly they pass if you give them some breathing room. Then, tell yourself that you will come up with a more creative way to solve whatever problem that thing was going to remedy. And then try to keep track of the next few days, because what will probably happen is that the need you thought you had will actually dissipate without you even noticing. You might not even be able to remember what the thing was that you threw out!

It's like magic. And in a way it is...it's the magic of your mind. You thought you would need it so you did. When you thought you might be ok without it, you were.

This is just one of the wonderful things I have learned on my "Divestment Journey." There's lots more. It has helped me enormously as an artist, and I will be writing that in my next post. Which will be soon!