Some triumphs and some insights this week. I have been far less wasteful about food this week … and even remembered to take my bags into the supermarket. It felt great unpacking my tote and not having to deal with a mountain of plastic bags. Less clutter in my house, less clutter in my life … and less clutter for the earth. Now I have to remember to wash my bags and put them back in the front seat of my car for the next trip to the supermarket. Changing habits is a never-ending challenge. One good day may deserve a pat on the back but I need to move on immediately to the next challenge and not lose momentum. When I do take positive action, it also changes how I think about how my actions affect the world around me. I begin to see another way of being … to live a different kind of life where I consume less but savor more.
Although I want a healthy planet with clean air and water, I’ve often resisted being identified as an environmentalist because it felt like people were trying to take things away from me. I’ve lost enough … don’t tell me that I have to give up more. Don’t scold me for liking my old lightbulbs or buying convenience foods or for not paying attention to all the plastic bags the store clerk is using to bag my groceries. I don’t want criticism; I just want to get through the day without worrying about everything. What can I do — it is what it is. But am I really happy with just accepting that “it is what it is.” There is a difference between changing things that I can and accepting the things that can’t be changed at this moment — and being cynical and avoiding the discomfort and anxiety of embracing change. I am seeking to lead a holistic life — to calm my sometimes troubled soul by unifying my body, mind and spirit. What I feel, what I think, what I do affects my physical and emotional health. And it also affects how I interact with the world. When I feel like everyone else is winning and I am losing out, I am less willing to share. I feel alone and suspicious. That’s when I find it hard to care about the world around me. On the other hand, when I challenge those negative thoughts and acknowledge the fear behind them, I realize that I am not alone and want to cooperate. What I give up is nothing compared to what I gain by joining with my neighbors to share our resources.
Talking to people dropping by the SouthCoast Energy Challenge table at several events this week, I saw myself in a number of them. It’s really not about not liking the new lightbulbs or the other eco-friendly “inconveniences.” It’s being worried about a changing world and feeling left behind. I need to help them to realize that they are gaining far more than than they are giving up.