Yesterday I stared into nine month old Aayla’s potty of her morning excrement. A bright pink balloon was staring back at me as if saying to me again “what are you doing?”.
Even though we were careful, she had somehow found and eaten and thankfully pooped out a balloon.
It reminded me of the video I watched of The Midway Project where they photograph carcasses of birds decaying, exposing their insides full of plastic. This video really affected me as I thought about all the plastic trinkets we have had at birthday parties, festivals, camping and on and on. A party often feels like an exception to be less mindful as we bring out the plastic toys and disposable cutlery to celebrate the event.
I think a lot about discontinuing my use of plastic as a way to support the earth. I know others are doing it and I could too but I haven’t yet.
But this post isn’t about feeling guilty. It’s about finding what inspires you to be better and do better as it leads towards our ultimate fulfillment.
Stick with me.
I have been sitting with these feelings for a while. I ponder them as I haul out massive garbage bags to the back to magically be taken away and be buried into the earth. I can see the overflowing dump from the edge of town. It is surrounded by fields of food growing around the massive heap. Garbage that has flown in litters the wheat and peas and barley and we see each other at the post office and smile as if it doesn’t exist.
This is only a small drop of polluted sand in Saskatchewan compared to the other problems like the chemical runoff into fresh water which is also the water we drink.
My neighbour doesn’t live there anymore but she comes back once in the summer to douse her yard on a windy day with chemicals. It’s just a few feet away from where we grow food. What are we doing?
I’ve sat with this for a long time, waiting to feel empowered by love and not my anger.
The time has come.
I love watching my children playing with such easy joy in the sand. We went to the lake yesterday. I sat with Aayla while she slept. I watched our future unfold as Michael walked around picking glass and other garbage out of the earth where they were playing. I noticed the children begin to follow him around and Nova even began to help him pick up. She came to me curious about things that biodegrade and things that don’t. She began putting various collected garbage in water to see what would break down.
These events inspired in me the thought
that if we leave places better than when we got there, it could make a difference.
It feels good.
I continued to sit and was startled by a mama and baby ground squirrel at my feet. I watched as they ate the food we had carelessly spilled. I welled up with tears as I realized that nature wastes nothing. It’s here to recycle, reuse and to remind me, when I’m open to it.
Nature wastes nothing.
And I am nature. I am nature, wasting nothing.
With this understanding I will do better. I will use it to guide my actions and follow my heart.
This morning, Michael has continued my thoughts and taken them even deeper as he so often does. I’m very excited about what we came up with.
He too wants to clean up. This takes it even further than my desire produce a zero use of plastics and such. This is a negative use that helps to clean up what we’ve done. It feels important on not just a physical level but emotionally and spiritually too. I’ve made a lot of messes. Big, festering bags of sopping garbage that wasn’t properly taken care of and now it’s time to use that experience to inspire something new.
Eventually, we need to succumb to a slow stillness that will surrender us to what wants to happen. Balance wants to happen. I see it as our lakes become full of algae in response to toxins but it’s use of oxygen kills a lot of the fish. I have seen this in the stillness.
So with all of that, our family is moving towards cleaning up the messes we’ve made. We are going to inspire others to join us. We will start with the local parks we frequent and the dark, dank basement where we live. Clean up will also mean healing our thoughts about how we live. In this, we move toward more sustainable ways of living that support all of life.
Healing is happening. Let’s heal the water, the land and the air so that maybe the Brown Barbaloots will come back to play. That’s what we are here to do. To be of service, to love one another. I love it when I see my way to do this. What is your way of being connected in the world?