Tuesday, September 30, 2008

EcoBliss: You're Trashier than You Think

Ash.

Listening to: This should wake you up!

Bliss: Signs of Halloween are popping up all over. The mums are blooming. Time to get out the spooky tree candle holder, I think!

My name is Blisschick and I am a piler. Yes, I pile things. I pile paper things in particular. Piles of books. Piles of folders. Piles of pieces of paper -- and I mean pieces. Pieces ripped from here and there and everywhere. Piles of ideas. Piles of thoughts. Piles. Piles. Piles.

Ask my partner about my piling. Poor thing. She is not a natural piler and my piling is a source of distress for her.

Years ago, when we redecorated the living room, my goal was to get rid of piles, including the inevitable piles of knick knacks and candle holders. I wanted clear surfaces. That lasted about a month.

Now I am an altar builder, which you can read as "formal piles."

So, if our external worlds are a reflection of our internal worlds, what the heck does this say about me?

I know what it says. My brain is in a constant state of whirling and twirling and restacking and dumping and building all sorts of piles. Piles of memories. Piles of information. Piles of dreams and goals and to-do's and shoulds and coulds and woulds. It's hard to get anything done in there, as you can imagine.

The desk I am sitting at is covered in small piles -- books and DVDs, catalogs, papers, pictures. My keyboard is on the top of a pile, essentially.

But I look outside or I think of most people's homes or offices or I think about the trash bags put to the curb every week on my one small block in this one small city and I know that this is not my problem alone.

We recycle, of course we do, but that is not enough. We are always skipping the most important part of that phrase: recycle, reuse, reduce.

Reduce.

For just one example, what happened to the computer making a paperless office? From my experience, the computer has increased paper. People are constantly printing out new versions of the same thing. Change one word? Print it all out again.

We want everything to look so tidy and pristine that we've made an utter mess of it.

Here's something to do: Sit and breathe and get really quiet. Get as quiet inside as you can. What happens after a few moments of this? Typically, it gets very loud and messy in there. Now, open your eyes and look around. What is your world reflecting back to you?

I think of all the people in the United States especially who are obese or who are being treated for depression.

Both of these "diseases" can be said to be about trash. We put too much trash into our bodies and get fat, and we put too much trash into our minds and become overwhelmed and apathetic.

So that's really where we have to start with cleaning this planet -- we have to clean out our minds. Get to the source.

Why are we over-consuming and thus so very trashy? Only until we figure that out will we ever be able to have clear surfaces in our living space.

Tomorrow: I'll be posting an interview with a writer from England who has written this wonderful guide to rubbish.

9 comments:

Sacred Suzie said...

I am not a big fan of stuff. The only stuff I accumulate these days is for my crafting and my jewellery making and in some ways it drives me nuts. I have to hold back the urge to purge. Doesn't help that my guy likes to hold onto everything, LOL. I don't get the need to own but I know a lot of people have that urge. I think it brings them comfort.

Caroline said...

I am a piler (but I only have 1 pile). It's a pile of papers and things that I need to do (drives Mr. Virgo crazy...as he is a "filer"). Ha!

In general I don't like "stuff" my Mom is a hoarder (depression generation) and I can't think in her house...it's too much! I like to let things go...

merri martin said...

I have been trying to reduce my consumption for the past few months as well. Interestingly I don't miss shopping or buying things and I am actually happier now that I am wasting less. Things I do buy I really want or need and appreciate more. Good luck to everyone else trying to reduce!

differenceayearmakes said...

I can't tell you how many times in a given month I have to declutter and organize my desk - it just seems to attract paper and other bits, lists and notes and flyers and stuff.

My house is currently filled with the clutter of paints and canvas and brushes. Oh, and lets not even talk about books, books and more books everywhere!, somehow they will not be confined to my library. And oh, lets not even talk about the library.

Even though I made a conscious decision a few years ago to reduce my consumption, and continue to work at it, still there are books and art supplies that I can't resist.

And I have been working deligently, room by room, closet by closet, at decluttering and giving away stuff for a couple of years now. And while I think it breeds in the dark or something I realize that what really happens it that in decluttering its give away one, oh, keep these two, give away one, oh....... I figure if I just keep at it eventually I'll whittle it down.

There is just so very very much available to us. And unless we are very very focused, and how many of us can say that, we have accumulated a pile of interesting stuff before we know it.

And then time works against us - over time, and various enthusiasms, we just accumulate stuff - and we hang on to it. Till someday we decide to declutter and give stuff away, unfortunately usually to make room for a new enthusiasm :).

Yep, I'm a little junkyard.

treehousejukebox said...

I'm totally a piler!

You're right - REDUCING is so important.

I can't keep up with all the paper junk mail that comes here, even though I've tried to get off mailing lists. It's overwhelming...

nirvana diva said...

so i guess it comes down to whether you are a "piler" or a "filer", huh? lol!

nollyposh said...

lol! my eyes opened to dust bunnies...
dust = too still/not enough action?... and perhaps i have left the dust to settle for too long on shelves too high
... ?

blisschick said...

This issue of "stuff" is difficult. Everyone has a different definition of what constitutes "waste." I think things like craft supplies and writing and reading supplies can never be seen as waste, for example, but someone else would certainly disagree. I remember a conversation I had once with a Benedictine with whom I worked. I was expressing some guilt over a newly started (small) collection of fiestaware. Dishes, for goodness sake, that we USE every day! She asked me if I was "lording them over anyone," she asked with an elfin grin. Her point was taken. And I guess, there's a line we can draw for ourselves -- and as usual, it has everything to do with intent!

blisschick said...

A P.S. to my own comment: it's interesting that she was a Benedictine, whose "Rule" is all about people having different needs. There was a monk that came from a poor family and so thought his straw bed was an amazing thing, but wondered why the guy next door got a pillow. Benedictine explained to him that that guy had been a prince, and so his single pillow seemed like quite a sacrifice to HIM. To each his/her own -- especially in terms of spiritual paths!