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I really didn't intend for this first part to kind of be a poem... I don't really know what it is... but it's how my feelings came through in that moment so I'm going to honour them that way,
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This wild thing we call reality.
by the earth, and the wind's rhythms,
the sun, and the smiles we encounter.
But it's shape,
that has been established by,
the cluster of experiences before us.
There is this space inside us
feels connected to things,
that in a deeper sense,
have no meaning.
When we open our eyes,
we see that the external reality,
has moulded our minds to think
that physical objects
and packaged goods,
That we need
to cure our sleepless nights.
to cover our addictions.
to soothe our stress
And within that,
turn our body's source of energy,
into a material object,
wrapped in plastic,
and sold to the consumer.
Dipped in sugar,
fried in oil,
and even cold pressed from veg.
the pieces of fuel they choose to put in the bodies,
has come from a factory,
no matter what the ingredients.
no matter what the ingredients.
plastic bottles of organic juice,
plastic wrapped fruit,
or salt and oil ridden junk.
We've lost touch.
We've lost touch.
When I began my zero waste journey last year, I did so because it aligned with my ethics.
I didn't want to hurt the planet. I certainly did not. And I knew that this way of living was possible. I had seen shining examples of it. I knew that without plastic, I would most likely be forced to eat healthy food. Which I thought would be a good switch.
For the first few weeks, there were certainly countless "screw ups." I'd be out and about and find myself eating packaged granola bars, or snacks, or buying vegan cheese from Whole Foods simply because I couldn't turn it down.
I knew there would be mess ups. That was okay. I was okay with it. It was a transition, after all. It was all fine.
As time went on, I noticed there was this feeling I couldn't shake; a feeling I had no idea my mind even possessed.
I had already gone on this long self love journey. I had grown and learned so much about myself and the world around me.
I thought I knew myself pretty well after a deep (very very deep) 3 year introspective & spiritual growth journey. But, as the first few months of zero waste transitioning started to go by, I started to buy more and more plastic than I did before. I noticed that in telling myself "I couldn't have it," and putting myself in a restrictive mindset... fear set in. Survival mode set in.
As silly as that sounds because we're literally talking about plastic wrapped food here. But it's true. I think anyone else who has survived an eating disorder, (or any sort of addictive behavior, for that matter) has a similar fear of finding themselves in another "lack-of" or "limited" period of life. And cutting plastic really triggered me.
So I quickly shifted my mindset to abundance.
And it REALLY helped. I opened my eyes to all the good I was doing, rather than seeing it as something I was simply "avoiding the bad" of, I was "finding the good" in every choice I made. Instead of looking for the things I "wasn't allowed to have anymore," I started to look at the abundant variety of new things I could bring, or bring back, into my life.
But, even after more than a year (1 year and 4 months, to be exact), of transitioning, I still find myself in attachments to items I never knew I had such a strong pull on. Fancy vegan products like vegan meats/cheeses and granola bars, specifically. I would get into certain moods where I just really mentally craved one of them and kept telling myself that having a nice treat would help me cope with stress. And that it was okay because "today is the last time." I was putting my mental health first. Which I'm glad I did! When things were crumbling, if a dang granola bar helped me calm down, so be it. We'll learn how to make a zero waste version gradually (and I did).
That went on for a few more months.
And then one day, honestly, I just didn't want them anymore. I sat down and really thought about why I was attached to them. Why I felt like I needed them in my life. And I dug into that. I dove right in. I picked up attachments and chucked them out the door. For the first time in a year, I felt freer than ever.
I'm not saying this to say, "hey look at me! I'm creating almost zero trash now!" because I certainly am not. I have mess ups on travels, things where I don't plan ahead, and there are several things I don't have access to and still buy wrapped in plastic, like anyone else! And I mean, even if you have access to bulk everything, we do live in a linear economy still so there's still waste there.
But what I am saying is, if you've been trying to cut plastic and you've been holding on to something specific. You're not alone. I was there. You'll get through it. It's hard when our minds, and the way we view the world, has been so trapped into seeing it one way. We've been moulded to live in a man made society and we know certain comforts. It's messed up, but it's our reality. And then throw mental illness and addiction in there, and we have ourselves a party.
What I would say is, don't ignore this attachment. Dive into it. Uncover why you feel like you need it. Get to the root cause. Because if you just cut it out today, forever, you won't have that closure. It's about a long term sustainable change. Dive in and find the root. Why are you attached? What's the real cause? Is it emotional significance? Picky-ness? Are your tastebuds addicted to processed food? What? (I don't want this to come off as permission to go haywire though, just don't beat yourself up if something comes up, I suppose. It's kind of a fine line?)
Once you make the realization, then make the change.
And when you do get to the point of active change, I really suggest starting a trash jar! I used to think they were stupid. I really did. But I just started one that I will keep for the next 30 days or so (probably not forever but we'll see), so that I can physically SEE how much trash I create.
I'm glad I didn't start a jar in the beginning, I would have certainly been too hard on myself had I done that. It works for some people, but for someone who struggles with perfectionism and beating themselves up sometimes, it just wouldn't have worked. But now felt like the perfect time!
I hope this helped at all.