Before we get started with taking action, I think it’s really important to lay the foundation, by observing where you are now. This will give us a baseline, allow us to understand where our waste comes from, and time to take stock and get mentally prepared and inspired for change. It’s important to emphasize here that we will be observing without judgment or shame. Most likely, once your eyes have been opened to the plastic around you, it will all feel very overwhelming and hopeless. At least, that’s how I felt. But it’s important to realize that how we were operating before was not wrong or bad. We simply were not informed and supported by society to make sustainable + healthy choices. It’s as cut and dry as that. Moving forward, we will know better, and we can do better. Feel any feelings coming up and let them go one by one. Environmental anxiety for some can be overwhelming. It can be helpful to go into a quiet spot in nature to release these. At the bottom of the page I’ve included a short meditation that may be helpful if you experience anxiety or the impulse to control.
i. This week, I’d like you to take inventory of the ways plastic comes into your life, without trying to change it or judge it. Just go about your business as usual, but audit the contents of your trash can and the new plastic/disposable items that come into your life + home. Keep a running list for each day in your notebook.
ii. At the end of the week, I’d like you to take some time to sit down with your notebook and organize the data into categories. Groceries, beauty, cleaning, clothing, work/office, school, takeaways, kids, etc. You can either tally up your categories on paper or you can just glance through them and see what’s sticking out to you. Where is the majority of your trash coming from? Knowing this is a great starting off point- it’s not the same category for everyone and getting the clarity makes it easier to make big impact and get motivated. Again, no self judgment here. We live in a linear economy- society as it currently presents does not support learning about or living a circular lifestyle.
iii. Next, I’d like you to choose one thing from the list that you’d like to actively work on changing, something achievable. Perhaps it’s bringing your own reusable water bottle, packing your own lunch, making your own almond milk, bringing your own tote to the grocery store, bringing your own mug to get coffee in…you choose something that is doable that you’d like to reinforce a reusable habit for. No need to take action yet- we’ll work on that next week in the “SHIFTING” module- but it’s good to roll it around in your head a bit, maybe mull it over.
a simple meditation for letting go
v. Practice this meditation as often as you need to, when fears, anxieties, or feelings of guilt come up. You can either read through the text and practice it self-led, or plug in headphones and listen to it via the recording. Something to cover your eyes- smooth river rocks, an eye pillow or mask- can allow the meditation to be more impactful. You can adjust the meditation to whatever feels right for you- putting the worries in a box and smashing the box, putting them in a balloon and popping it, going under a waterfall and allowing the rushing water to wash them from you and back into the earth.
Find a space where you will be undisturbed- a room, a bath, park bench, a favorite spot outside in nature. Sit comfortably, either reclined in a chair or crosslegged- or lie down, whatever feels most natural and comfortable for you. Start by closing your eyes and taking some deep breaths. 5 slow counts in, 5 slow counts out. Repeat this as many times as you need in order to start relaxing. If thoughts keep coming up for you, don’t force them out- simply acknowledge them and shift your focus back to the breath- 5 slow counts in, 5 slow counts out. When you feel ready, transfer your attention to your body. Do a quick head to toe scan of your body, noticing where you’re holding any stress, tension, or stagnation from the day and actively releasing and relaxing that part. Now shifting to imagining. Imagine you are in your favorite, calm place. This could be a spot in nature, somewhere from your childhood, anywhere really where you feel safe and calm and supported. Where you don’t have to worry because you are already being lovingly taken care of. Now bring up any worries that are coming up for you, the triggers that you've been feeling. Now take each one, and one at a time, put it into a pearly bubble. Hold it in your hands, acknowledge that it is valid, and then let it go. Watch it float away into the clouds until you can’t see it anymore. Feel the extra lightness from letting it go. Take your time and work through all of the fears and anxieties coming up. When you’re ready, wiggle your fingers, open your eyes and journal anything that came up for you- sometimes insights can come easily this way.