September 10, 2008

Interact with Waste

It’s been a while since I have written on the progress of the project that I am calling Transformation. I know I got out of the gates strong, and now that “real” life has started, it may appear that I have forgotten about the self-promises I made, but let me assure you- as well as myself that this is not the case. Here is a brief point-by-point outline of what is and isn’t happening.

1. I am in my third week of waking up 5:30am. Just getting up has been a real challenge for me. I have forced myself to spring from bed as soon as the alarm goes off. I am not allowing myself any snooze or time to wake up. I am up and starting my morning routine. I spend 13 minutes on the elliptical machine. I listen to music, usual Dead Prez, but today Jack Johnson. I get my heart pumping and break a little sweat. Sometimes I zone out and hit a nice meditative state on the machine.

I have been scrawny my whole life. Being thin I have seldom felt my body. This may sound strange to you, but when you have no muscle or fat nothing jiggles or flexes. Skin and bone are difficult to feel. These mornings on the machine I can feel my leg muscles working. I am not exercising to bulk up or look different. I simply want to connect to my body. I have always seen my body as something outside of myself. I think this phenomenon may explain my sense of alienation. I simply don’t feel at home in my body.

I finish off with a push-up and sit-up routine and a 15-minute Zazen session. So-far-so good. I will add some Pilates soon. I am only eating cereal in the morning. This is a problem, and I need to refocus my energy and eat better. I am back to my bad habits. I didn’t eat any lunch at all today. I will write soon on the effects of the meditation.

2. Speaking of food, you may remember my Enchilada post a few weeks ago. I made Enchilada’s again the other night and I made my own tortillas. It was easy, fun, and another great meditative experience. The act of rolling out the dough and investing my time and myself into the act of cooking made the meal that much more enjoyable. Next time I will hand make another portion of the meal. Like the salsa that someone suggested. Baby-steps.

3. After reading plastic ocean, I have been plagued by how immersed I am in plastic. It is everywhere. Even if we forget the overly packaged foods we buy, and the bags we are forced to take at every store, we are still left with benign plastics like shampoo and medicine bottles, and the one that stuck out to me the other day- deodorant.

I finished my speedstick and without even thinking went out and bought a new one. As I was throwing the old stick away, I realized how much trash I was producing. It got me thinking about why I use deodorant. I am lucky that I do not perspire much. I could easily spend a day, even in this Doha heat, and not smell the worse for it. The only reason I use deodorant is because I have been trained since high school to worry about my personal hygiene at an unnatural level.

After I finish this stick, I will look into using crystal deodorants, or even, gasp, stop using it all together. Not using deodorants is not a huge step, but I need to interact with my waste thoughtfully. Only then can we start making bigger choices. Next time you throw something away, stand at the garbage can and really think about that piece of “waste.”

  • Where did it come from?
  • Where is it going?
  • Could you live without it?
  • Could you have bought something else that produced less waste?

  • Then make some changes! The transformation is inching a long slowly. I am planning a small garden on my porch and will fill you in on the details as they happen. Otherwise, it is late and I need to get off this machine. I have a quite Jack Johnson DVD to watch and spend some time disconnected and alone.


    1. Congratulations! As a fellow non-morning person, I know what a success it is to just wake up at 5:30 every morning. To wake up and also exercise! Wow, that's dedication.

      I also hear you about being in touch with your body. I am not scrawny by any stretch, but I find that I have spent most of my life in my head. My family valued being smart, and that is what I focused on. And I do value being smart, but I also have had to focus a lot on learning to use my body in healthy and graceful ways. Swimming was the magic key for me. If you can't feel your body easily, being in a medium which touches every part of your body every time you move makes a huge difference.

      I know several people who don't use deodorant, not for any grand reason, but just because they found they don't need it. Or in some cases they found that it made them smell worse. Just curious, if you think you don't need it, why will you keep using the current stick?

    2. @deanna

      You are right swimming is great exercise, but I never seem to have enough time to get to the pool and swim. It is something I would love to do more often. Although I go to the pool a lot, I am usually playing with my daughter.

      Thanks for the support; it feels good to be making these small changes and moving toward the type of person I want to be. It is a long road and we all keep walking at our own pace.

      As for the deodorant, I suppose I am still using it because I bought it and to throw it away now would be counterproductive. I might as well use it for what it is for since I have already I bought it.

      Thanks for stopping by.