Gift - Over ConsumptionBeth Terry – the amazing plastic-less advocate – has a brother named Will.

Will is a “normal guy and not some tree-hugging freak.”

He says he’s a slacker by nature. But he clearly loves his sister and he’s proud of her too.

As time moved on, he couldn’t help but fall under the spell of her plastic-free passion.

Remarkably, he’s now standing up and confronting his own plastic consumption. He’s searing a hole through his irrational beliefs that have allowed him to consume plastic willy-nilly.

But he needs help. Its’ not easy. He can’t go plastic-less overnight. He needs to sneak up on mindful consumption. So he’s asked Beth to come up with 3-5 of the most important and high impact ways to reduce his plastic usage.

Bravo, Will. You have guts.  And an awesome sister too.

Fostering Understanding and Acceptance

Let’s face it – most of us are like Will. Even if you are a card-carrying green living, plastic-less, minimalist, vegan activist right now, chances are you were once like Will.

It’s not easy to be green.  It’s not easy to suddenly engage in mindful consumption.  It’s not easy to be different in a culture that lures you into competitiveness and a sense of scarcity through Black Friday mega-deals.  How do we support and help each other? How do we avoid righteousness and arrogance?  Because people change through receiving love, not hate.

I’m not 100% pure myself by any means, but I’m willing to keep training to become better.  In the meantime, I want to foster understanding and acceptance instead of judging people for their current choices.

Reflection: Nourishment and Healing

This week’s reflection is one way to train in mindful consumption.  It is one of the Five Mindfulness Trainings from Thich Nhat Hanh called “Nourishment and Healing.”

What’s the real point of conscious consumption?  It deeply nourishes your body, mind, and spirit. It makes you happier.  At the same time, it nourishes and heals the planet. It’s a win-win for all.

“The practice of mindful consumption and mindful eating is the object of the Fifth Mindfulness Training. The Fifth Training is the way out of the difficult situation our world is in. When we practice the Fifth Training, we recognize exactly what to consume in order to keep our bodies, our minds, and the Earth healthy and not cause suffering for ourselves and for others. Mindful consumption is the way to heal ourselves and to heal the world.”

Nourishment and Healing – The Fifth Mindfulness Training

“Aware of the suffering caused by unmindful consumption, I am committed to cultivating good health, both physical and mental, for myself, my family, and my society by practicing mindful eating, drinking, and consuming. I will practice looking deeply into how I consume the Four Kinds of Nutriments, namely edible foods, sense impressions, volition, and consciousness. I am determined not to gamble, or to use alcohol, drugs, or any other products which contain toxins, such as certain websites, electronic games, TV programs, films, magazines, books, and conversations. I will practice coming back to the present moment to be in touch with the refreshing, healing and nourishing elements in me and around me, not letting regrets and sorrow drag me back into the past nor letting anxieties, fear, or craving pull me out of the present moment. I am determined not to try to cover up loneliness, anxiety, or other suffering by losing myself in consumption. I will contemplate interbeing and consume in a way that preserves peace, joy, and well-being in my body and consciousness, and in the collective body and consciousness of my family, my society and the Earth.”

from The World We Have, A Buddhist Approach to Peace and Ecology by Thich Nhat Hanh

Yep, Thich Nhat Hanh is suggesting a few huge leaps.  What, no alcohol!

As a start, this passage is simply food for thought, something to reflect upon.  Later, you might enjoy reading it – or the parts that resonate for you – regularly as a way remind yourself of the main point and to help you gradually train in mindful consumption.  Or you might like to read Oprah’s Interview with Thich Nhat Hanh to give you more of a feel for his beauty and approach.

I realize for a guy like Will, this might sound exotic. He just needs it straight.  But I hope this quote might inspire and resonate for some of you.

Will, thanks for helping me to remember what it’s like to make new changes. I will definitely be thinking of ways I can make it easier for others.

I would love to hear your thoughts about supporting each other and about the Fifth Mindfulness Training.  Does it resonate for you?

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Thanks for reading. If you liked this article, please share the link with others.  Thanks so much,  Sandra