I don't know how to break this to you, but living Plastic-Free is easier than I thought it would be.
Do you know when you make a wild decision and you can't possibly imagine it panning out? But you put one foot forward, and before you know it ground is just rising up to meet you, like it was there all along? Well I hope you know what that’s like, because that’s what is happening in my plastic-free month.
I’m surprised to say that living Plastic-Free and buying no new plastic is completely doable. I would even be as bold to say that with even the smallest amount of intention and resolve, it’s been effortless. (Bear with me.)
My two greatest plastic consumption areas are (were) 1. Food, and 2. Cosmetics. And like I reported before, ditching new plastic in my food consumption came naturally. My neighbourhood grocery store Nester’s Market stocks all kinds of conscious and forward-thinking goods, including plastic-free bulk products and of course plastic-free produce.
(Watch this space for a full and detailed rundown of my challenges and successes.)
And cosmetics. Without any precedent, I have stopped wearing makeup. For now. I didn’t see that coming, but it happened and all I can say is it’s awesome. My face is great!
All that remains in the realm of cosmetics, after switching to toothy tabs and unpackaged deodorant, is disposable razors. Sigh. So easy, so unnecessary. Fortunately, I haven’t had to buy a new one, so using mine is technically within in my “No New Plastic” guidelines. (Would it be the end of the world if I just stopped shaving?) This is a frontier of my comfort-zone I have admittedly not yet explored.
But as you can see, the scale of my plastic-free woe has been trivial at best. My last dirges of new-use plastic exist around hair removal and packaged soba noodles – both of which I can manage without. Larger scale long-term plastic appliances are my next frontier.
But with the exception of razors and granola bars, this project has unfolded very naturally. It feels likeI have unconsciously lined up these changes my whole life, so now they make sense. All it takes is one simple intention to link it all together, to follow through on a deep-seated plan and quickly redefine my habits around consumption. One tiny seed of purpose has effortlessly unraveled some deeply ingrained rituals in my life, like wearing makeup and using toothpaste tubes. This feels so right!
Above all, the biggest theme I’m seeing in my experiment is FAITH. When my path is clear, intent, and committed, everything falls into place. No matter how far-fetched or seemingly impossible, with clarity and purpose, obstacles become prancing grounds and heart-felt goals become possible. Knots unravel and proverbial red carpets roll out to meet me. My dream to consume no new plastic is absolutely within reach. And better still, it’s easy, tasty, and fun.
The ground is rising to meet me, and my path lies joyfully ahead. What trail are you blazing?
Oh Plastic, you're so great. So convenient, so malleable, so pretty, so waterproof, and so good at everything do you. Why would I ever leave you?
Sigh, my tumultuous love affair with plastic. I never want to send my beloved to live without me in a landfill. Or worse, to swim the depths of the ocean forever. That's why I want to learn to use it wisely, to take on only what I can keep long term, ideally to be united forever in my home.... Or maybe not.
But you see where I'm going with this. Plastic is a super resource that I want to use, not abuse. And one day also to not waste.
So how’s it all going so far? Well, tumultuous. Ground rule #1 has been easy – no buying plastic. Thanks to solid intention and planning, I’ve successfully been grocery shopping twice without plastic (yay!).
But then I bought new running shoes, which I’m certain contain lots of polymer.
… Running shoes guilt aside, my biggest challenge so far has actually been in using existing plastic at home. I find myself choosing plastic over alternatives for its convenience. A Tupperware here, a disposable razor there - Still using plastic casually makes it harder for me to rewrite an existence without it.
So at regular intervals I find myself called to reevaluate my level of commitment. I have to remind myself “Choose glass jars, choose degradable, choose the new deodorant, choose unpackaged spices.”
The choice is really the challenge. And it’s a big one! But I suppose that’s the same with every challenge – we are constantly met with opportunities to make choices that test our resolve. And it’s in those small and insidious choices that results actually happen.
Good thing I love a challenge!
Results so far:
Grocery shopping and food. The good people at Nester's Market in Whistler carry plastic-free produce, and their thorough bulk foods section uses compostable bags. Perfect.
Deodorant! I discovered that Lush Cosmetics make deodorant, toothpaste, shampoo and conditioner all in bars totally free of packaging. Hallelujah!Their toothy tabs are honestly weird, but thankfully packaged in recyclable paper.
Packaged spices (Is life worth living without cinnamon?), and fresh produce covered in plastic tape.
Razors. Dental floss. My hair brush.
House appliances: my magic bullet, food processor, and dehydrator are all plastic. All 3 are second-hand. Do they exist in other materials?
Workplace plastic: Trying to do my job without plastic waste. (This one is a work in progress.)
If you have any tips on how I can get spices or dental floss free of plastic packaging, please leave a comment below! Until then, watch this blog for all the gory details to come.
This plastic-free thing has ruffled some feathers in my community. I feel people reacting with fear, with distrust, maybe a little hate.
So I have an open message to the world: Dear world, dear friends, dear clients, dear colleagues: I love you. And I’m doing an experiment around my personal use of plastic. I want to explore my plastic consumption (waste) so that I can broaden my application of consciousness. This experiment is just about me. Me, no better or worse than anyone else. Just workin’ on myself.
Please accept me trying on a new shoe around plastic use? I mean no harm to anyone. I want to step into power around my goals and intentions.
Without question, I accept you completely however you choose to use or not use plastic. You and me, our relationship has never hinged on what either of us eats, drinks, does or doesn’t consume. So let’s keep it that way. I promise not to judge you as a part of my experiment. Can you forgive me for being different?
We’re all walking down this path of life together, side by side, step by step. Just putting one foot in front of the other, each of us doing what we think is best.
Let us both be generous with abundant forgiveness; letting go of this, releasing judgment of that, creating along the way a joyous and beautiful journey. It’s possible. Are you with me?
Let's get real. What exactly am I doing in this "Plastic-Free" Month? It's time to weed out some unrealistic goals.
Will I give up all contact with plastic? No way.
Will I toss perfectly good plastic products just for spite? Nope. I'll use them to the end of their lives, then replace them free of plastic. That is the experiment. Can I live freely, healthily, and happily without purchasing plastic goods?
Time will tell.
Let's lay some ground rules. Here we go:
To examine my use of plastic that eventually becomes waste.
I accept that I create wastes. Garbage, poo, farts, bad ideas. I also acknowledge that I unconsciously create more waste than I need to. And that some of it sticks around for a while. I want to reduce that.
Did you know that Black Diamond Power Yoga is for you? Yes, you. Diligent yogi, at your exact physical level, Black Diamond Yoga is all yours. And it's fun.
Let me explain. Black Diamond Power Yoga is an advanced class that I teach Friday evening at White Gold Yoga. It's called "Black Diamond" after the steepest and most challenging ski slopes on nearby Whistler Mountain. As the name suggests, the class is stimulating and the progression is steep. And like the slopes, it's invigorating and inspiring.
To me, a snow-loving Whistler resident, it seems obvious that "Black Diamond" translates to "wow fun." So I was surprised when recently a friend approached me to inquire if she "could attend the class." She was recovering from back trauma and was nervous that she might be unwelcome or in over her head. It seemed that she felt less than "good enough" at yoga to join.
So I'd like to set the record straight. Black Diamond Power Yoga is for you. If you are willing to step into that room at 5:30pm on a Friday, you are welcome. Because there's no such thing as "good enough at yoga." Your interest in attending and being challenged and stimulated is requirement enough. Period.
I offer you stimulating postures and a challenging physical experience. It is at no time my place to judge your ability level good or bad, right or wrong. Plainly, I have no interest in evaluating whether you are "good enough" to be there. More pertinently, do you want to inspire yourself? And is an Advanced Power Yoga class a tool that will serve that goal for you?
Are you dying to express yourself through creative and dynamic movement? Do you love the satisfaction of a rigorous sweat? And are you willing to burst open the boundaries around what's possible for you? To learn practical tools for new physical abilities and deeper personal knowledge? To broaden the spectrum of your options and set higher the bar of possibility in your life? And to discover how to be compassionate with yourself as you diligently work towards goals?
If you answered "a lot" and "yes," then Black Diamond Power Yoga is for you.
Move off-piste, move into your deeper self.
Please join us. We'll be waiting.
Below is the correspondence between Super E and I, in which I explain why she should come to Black Diamond Yoga. The same message applies to you and every willing yogi.
Hey, so kinda good kinda not good news from my trip to the hospital yesterday, ... I can now start trying exciting stuff in yoga with a bit of help at first - yay!!!
My question is.... Do you think I could have a go at black diamond yoga tonight or would that be silly and should I wait a couple weeks?...
I wanted to check what you thought, I also don't want to ruin any experience for any other yogi if they get partnered with me and I hinder them because you need to be super super flexible and yoginess to have a go at the class, if that's the case no worries.
11:00am Maeve Jones
That's great news Super E!
In response to your question, I have a question. How confident do you feel modifying? In Black Diamond I teach advanced variations of the poses, and of course there are always reasonable modifications for any confident practitioner. And you are a seasoned practitioner, who I think has the self-body knowledge to approach the practice consciously and safely. The biggest challenge for you will be a mental game - are you confident and prepared to modify your poses in a room full of egoic yogis showing off their most advanced moves?
While I strive to banish egoism from every class, it remains present. And in an advanced class your challenge will be to negotiate between ego "I've got this," and your most loving true self "Let me approach curiously and be present where I am."
Actually I would love to have you in the room modifying confidently, because it's something that I want to see more of in every student! We should all be tuned in with our own bodies enough to take expressions of the poses that serve us. And whatever one's ability level, everyone benefits from conscious and mindful modifications.
Long story short, if you feel prepared to advance your personal work by approaching the Black Diamond Class with curiosity, humility, and a willingness to grow, then yes, please come. I would love to see you tonight.
11:06am Super E
Thanks so much for putting so much thought into your response, you have just inspired me to come and made me feel comfortable and safe in the idea of coming because I'll be in a safe and non judging or pressurising environment because you will be my teacher! Okay cool, fingers crossed I'll finish on time to come x
Starting May 1st, I will consume no plastic for 30 days. I will completely avoid single-use plastic containers and packaging, and cast a bright light on the waste that I produce.
You and I use and dispose of a lot of plastic. Are you conscious of it?
Well, I’m not. But I know that I create a positive impact in my world. That means I leave a friendly emotional footprint: I live in compassion, I engage with creatures at a soul level, and I take responsibility for myself. Now I want to leave a friendly material footprint as well.
It’s time for me to take a long look at the ‘stuff’ that I consume, waste, and leave behind. To examine my material output with the same rigor I apply to my energetic output.
And I'm going to start with my favourite and most overused resource, plastic. Let the next 30 days be a willing experiment to stop plastic consumption and examine my relationship to plastic use. Even my yoga mat.
Typed with love on the plastic keys of my keyboard,
Watch this blog for details (and hopefully insights) to follow!
Do you have thoughts about plastic usage in your life? Or are you curious to try one day without plastic just to see how it goes? Please leave a comment in the box below and engage with this conversation!