While I’ve been editing my book, Consciously Creating Clear Space, I find myself questioning what I see around me all the time. I've realized over the past 6 years that in order for most people to clear their space and let go of things, we are inviting the wrong things into the environment, like plastic and other objects that are harmful to the earth, and therefore, harmful to us.
There aren’t perfect recycling options for many things, like styrofoam or used ziplock bags, and when will we have another option other than PLASTIC GARBAGE BAGS?!! It can be maddening at times and I have to remind myself over and over again, we all just need to do the best we can for now.
Until better solutions are found, I am asking for all of us to look at our current shopping habits and start realizing that everything we purchase will ultimately end up in the ocean. When we can refrain from buying the unnecessary and make the earth's health our number one priority, and start looking for eco-friendly choices, the plastics industry will have to change the way they do business.
A couple of weeks ago, I stopped in Nordstrom Rack to grab a white tank top. Like most who shop in these types of stores, I browsed a bit, but I’ve become very good at staying focused on what I need and getting out. As I was waiting in line to make my purchase, I noticed the woman in front of me pick up a bottle of water. You know how they do it in these stores, line up all those "convenient" items so you can mindlessly grab them.
I thought about her actual NEED of this bottle of water. Surely, she should have a refillable water bottle instead. Maybe she could wait until she got home, it wasn’t that hot out. As I judged this woman, I started noticing where my thoughts were headed and let it go. It’s none of my business what this woman’s choices are and I should just focus on myself.
A literal moment later, as I moved closer to the register, I was face-to-face with dark chocolate covered caramels and dark chocolate covered toffee. If you don’t know this about me already, I am quite the candy connoisseur and a serious sugar addict. I don’t say this for exaggeration, it’s actually true. This was one of those moments when I got swept away by “caramel or toffee?” They were both salted and beautiful; I could tell either would be a spectacular treat. I opted for toffee. I wondered if I had ever actually had salted toffee.
At the register, the cashier gave me further evidence of my expert eye and said “Ooooooh, these are GOOOOOD! I have them at lunch everyday!” I may have felt another drip of judgment here, but I refocused on paying my bill so I could get outside and delve into my treats that were sure to make my taste buds go wild.
As I continued to walk down 6th Avenue on my way to an event, I wrestled with the packaging. Because of my sugar blindness - a term I just made up to explain that I can’t see anything but candy when it’s in front of me - I didn’t even notice that my chocolate delights looked so amazing because they were in a clear plastic box, sealed with tape. My heart sank. Who am I to be telling people to be mindful when they are shopping? I had just judged a woman for buying water seconds before I made my own mindless purchase that was not only bad for the environment, but also feeding my sugar addiction.
So here’s the bottom line. We aren’t perfect! It’s not possible or healthy to expect ourselves to be. We need to celebrate the small victories and do our best to eliminate some plastic from our purchases. Doing something is better than doing nothing. We have to be kind to ourselves and others if we want to make any sort of progress. I am celebrating that I gave up my daily drinking straw habit. It may not feel like enough, but as our awareness and forgiveness grows, powerful shifts will happen.