Acceptance vs. Self-judgment

by Yogi, Healer, Traveller, Activist, and Dreamer Jolene McGill

Here we go again. Giving this writing thing another shot. Maybe you noticed and maybe you didn’t but I have not written a blog in almost a year’s time. I am not sure why I deny myself the pleasure of writing to you as I journey down this road to a plastic free life and ultimately a world that is free of the heavy use of fossil fuels, but yet I do.

So here I am after jet setting around the globe and travelling in one very beautiful but complicated Veg oil bus. I find myself writing to you from Cape Breton Island, my home for the summer.

As I get settled in to my life here I begin yet again to collect all my plastic waste. Something I started doing while I was living and travelling in our veg oil bus that I mentioned above. I got this idea from Beth Terry, The author of Plastic Free: How I kicked the plastic habit and you can too. She offers it up as a way of becoming aware of the amount of plastic waste that you generate. I find it is a simple way to shed light on exactly how much plastic is used and for what. My hope is that through collecting my plastic waste I will begin to become a more conscious consumer and ultimately use less. Ah the dream!

So I have picked up an old cardboard box from my work and decided that all the plastic that both Kyle and I use will go in there. Then once a week I will empty out the contents for recycling and document them here with you.

The results for this week are in:

  • Plastic wrap- from a journal, which was a gift
  • 2 almond milk tetra packs
  • 1 mango juice box with straw and of course the wrapper for the straw was in
  • Packaging for veggie sausages
  • Pro bar wrapper
  • 2 Organic produce tags from kale
  • Packaging from celery
  • Chocolate bar wrapper
  • Styrofoam bowl (cringe!) with plastic lid
  • 2oz plastic cup with lid
  • snack bar wrapper
  • dental floss packaging, thus we must include the floss container and floss itself
  • chip bag
  • Saran wrap from Broccoli
  • random plastic bit from condiment top
  • 6 salt water taffy wrappers

 My thoughts on this:

At first I was upset with myself for not being more conscious while I shop. Considering I just came from Central America where it is very evident that we have a plastic addiction. I mean It is literally everywhere down there. It  covers the streets, beaches and roadsides. You can’t even take a step without seeing at least 10 (and believe me it is much more than 10) pieces of plastic trash. Our throw away culture strikes again. Hurray Humanity!

Plastic waste collected on small isolated island off the coast of Belize. Collected all of this in 5 mins in under 10ft.

Plastic waste collected on small isolated island off the coast of Belize. Collected all of this in 5 mins in under 10ft.

Ok, ok, I know there are a lot of us out there trying. Myself included but the problem does not seem to be going anywhere. Plastic trash is gong to keep piling up throughout the world, and unfortunately in our oceans until we wake up and shift away from this disposable culture we have created.

Then I thought back to a teaching I found through yoga. When we practice yoga we aim for complete awareness. When we are aware of our impact on the world and the power that our individual choices have then I believe we can begin to wield that power and create change. 

I think a big part of creating that change comes from cultivating acceptance about how things are here and now. Accepting that we are human and that life has purpose above and beyond our control. And once we can fully and completely honour this life and accept it and ourselves for all that we are then maybe we have a chance. And maybe, just maybe if we approach our plastic culture with acceptance, curiosity and interest, rather than self-judgment we can begin to awaken great change in the heart of humanity on a level that we cannot even fathom. I mean after all if we are all one and all connected then when we DO make these changes in ourselves we are in fact making them in each other.