Monday, September 28, 2015

Thoughts for the Future, Part III

 One last thought on reducing our consumption of resources. One of the biggest contributors of greenhouse gases are the beef, pork, and dairy industries. A few cows in a pasture are not the problem. Factory farms are. They pollute, they use huge amounts of resources, and the animals live cramped, tortured lives in terrible conditions. Our obsession with cheap hamburgers and cheap ham and cheap milk are killing the planet and causing terrible suffering. Many ways we eat and shop can help. 
  • Eat a lot less meat. 
  • Buy local meat that is humanely raised. Know your supplier. 
  • Buy organic and locally grown foods.
  • Avoid processed foods that require a lot of resources to manufacture. 
  • Grow some of your own food.
  • Eat low on the food chain — at least one meat-free meal a day — since 18 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions come from meat and dairy production. 
Food writer Michael Pollan sums it up well: "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants."

Maybe we can eat for the future, not just for the moment. 

Friday, September 25, 2015

Is overeating immoral?

Poem 275

A lightening bolt
of realization
crept on me
one day last week
And I saw the wider impact
of my current untamed demon
The resources used up
to feed my endless hunger
in a way
that will never work
This is my version
of the cruise ship
the flight to Thailand
the gas-guzzling SUV
My contribution no different
and I felt something
shift in me
A vow, a commitment
to consciousness
in a new way
And I left the ice cream
and the cookies
for another
and came on home.

Jill Kelly
September 2015

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Thoughts for the Future, Part II

Did you know that buried in landfills produces methane, a potent greenhouse gas. We can slow that by keeping stuff out of landfills by composting kitchen scraps and garden trimmings, and recycling paper, plastic, metal and glass. We can let store managers and manufacturers know we want products with minimal or recyclable packaging.

Most of the changes we can make are going to be hard. We are used to such convenience, such luxury. It's hard to make simpler choices. And we won't know if our sacrifices will come to anything. Does it really matter if I take long showers? Idle my car for 10 minutes waiting for a train to go by? Run my air conditoner all the time in the summer at whatever temperature I want? Buy fruit from Chile all winter?

But what if there's a chance that 10 or 15 years of those decisions can make a difference for some child or animal yet to be born to have enough food or clean water or breathable air? Is that worth it?

What I'm arguing for is consciousness, real consciousness in all these choices. For myself and for others.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Poem #280

My sweet black girl
stands in the doorway
wanting, dreading, turning away
She eats from the
just-in-case bowl
on the terrace
then joins me on the swing
presses up against me
rumbles at my caresses
We're still friends
still close
but the silver kitten inside
is more than she can handle

Jill Kelly
September 2015

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

The coming of Josie, Part I

I admit it. I'm a cat lady. I don't know yet about the "crazy" part of that label. I may not be the best judge of that. But I do love cats and wish I could rescue them all. A few weeks ago, I accompanied my friend Pam to the humane society where she got two charmers: Bubba and Jolene. Of course, that set off my own yearning but I knew the timing wasn't quite right although I was thinking about it.

Two weeks ago, I went back to visit a tuxedo girl who'd already been there for a month. I knew what I was doing. I wanted my beloved Nellie girl back and hoped that this girl might be enough the same to fill the bill. She didn't. She had come from an investigation of abuse and needed a home with adult humans and no other pets. But then I met Josie, a tiny silver tabby, and I lost my heart to this little girl.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Thoughts for the Future, Part I

I've been thinking a lot about the future. Not mine, but the planet's, and by extension, humanity's. Things aren't looking so good for us. A lot of terribleness is already in motion: the melting ice caps, the droughts, the storms, the fires. Mother Earth may be doing a deep cleansing that we cannot fathom. But I am most intrigued about the ways that we can make a difference, that we can actually do something about this. We may not be able to stop it but we can slow it if we are willing. The question is are we willing?

One of the biggest contributions we make individually to the crisis is air travel and cruise ships. These two choices use huge amounts of resources and pollute heavily. Although I'm not retired, many of my age mates are and they are travelling a lot all over the world. Flight after flight after flight. Cruise after cruise. Because they can afford it. Sadly, the planet cannot afford it. And in essence, what they are doing when they fly or cruise is using up resources that could be saved for future generations, including resources that might make the lives of their own grandchildren and greatgrandchildren more comfortable. I know they don't think about it that way. But it is true. I gave up my own plans for big travel years ago when I became conscious of the carbon footprint issue. I still fly once in a while but not far and not often.

Can we sacrifice our desires to see the world in order to save the world, at least for a bit longer? I don't know. But it's worth talking about.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

These words from Leo really hit home with me

Posted: 07 Sep 2015 11:59 AM PDT
By Leo Babauta
We all want to do so much: take on every request that people email us, complete our neverending list of tasks and projects, help everyone, travel everywhere, learn a ton of new skills, read every book and watch every good film, be the perfect partner and parent and friend …
And yet, we can’t possibly do it all.
There isn’t enough time in the day, nor do we have the attention bandwidth to devote to everything. Even if we were perfectly disciplined, we couldn’t possibly get to even half of what we want to do. Just as with eating, where our eyes are bigger than our stomachs … our hopes are bigger than our actual bandwidths.
So I say, give up on trying to do it all. Simplify. Don’t try to be perfect. Don’t try to have the most perfect life you can create.
Instead, make your days count.
How do you do that? Here are some ideas:
  • Pay attention. When you eat a good meal, it’s wasted if you don’t actually pay attention to it and are reading on your phone instead. It’s an amazing meal only if you really savor it. In this way, if we savor each moment, they really matter.
  • Curate your days. Put only the best things in each day — don’t just let any junk into it. If you are going to read, be choosy, don’t just click on things because you run across them. When you’re going to choose your tasks, choose the important ones, not just the little busywork tasks. If you’re going to say yes to someone, make sure it’s worthy of being in your life. Would you pay $100 to say yes to this request? Would you pay $20 to read the things on your reading list for an hour? If not, it’s probably not worth it.
  • Be ruthless. You need to filter out the things trying to overwhelm your life. More things try to get into your attention bandwidth than you can possibly handle. So filter them out: say no to most requests, don’t make it your job to respond to everything, don’t just read everything possible, don’t have the firehose of social media always on, turn off your phone for awhile. Each day, take a step back and think about what you want to fit in it.
  • Be satisfied. We always want to do more, be more, experience more. And so, we’re never satisfied with the little we actually can do and experience. Instead, we can learn to be happy with what we’ve chosen to do, knowing that we let go of the rest for a reason. We can be grateful for what’s actually in front of us, for the experience we are given, rather than always wanting the greener grass that someone else is experiencing.
  • Be OK with imperfection. Even if you filter and curate, you’ll never create the “perfect” day or the “perfect” life. You’ll never be “perfect.” Those ideals don’t exist in reality. In this messy life, the reality is that what we experience will never fit with an ideal, and will always be imperfect. We can either accept that, or be dissatisfied. I suggest we accept imperfection, and be OK with what we are, and the messiness that finds its way into our lives.
  • Realize that we’re not really in control. The first few items on this list might give you the idea that you can control your life by simplifying … but the reality is that your day will never go as planned. You can try, but there will always be the unexpected, the unplanned. That’s just how things go. If we want to be in control, and things don’t go our way, it’s frustrating. If instead we realize we’re not really in control, but just experiencing what comes at us, we can learn to appreciate that experience as it comes, whatever it is.
I realize that some of the things on this list seem contradictory. And they are. That’s because these ideas are meant to remind us to be mindful of what we’re holding on to, and practice letting go.
Each idea can be practiced at different times, and we’ll see that we’ve been holding onto something: our distractions, our ideas of perfection, our desire to be more, our desire to say yes to everyone, our hope that we’ll get to the end of our task list or email inbox, our desire for control or simplicity or doing everything. None of these things is essential to life — they can all be let go of, and we can accept the reality that is exposed when we let go.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

What I learned at Camp Innerkid

I went back to work on Sept 1 after three weeks off work, something I hadn't done in more than 25 years. I didn't travel or have great adventures. I stayed home and was with myself. Oh, I had lunch with friends and went to the gym and my 12-Step meetings and did all my normal routines, but I spent a lot of quiet time with myself. Here's some of what I learned.

1. I can do nothing, literally nothing, for longer periods of time than I ever imagined without going crazy.
2. I do not have to work in order to feel good about myself.
3. Idle afternoons were greatly enhanced by a lot of ice cream, something I suspected and now know to be true. The ice cream was usually followed by a nap (aka sugar coma). Therefore, work and overeating are not necessarily linked. Afternoons and overeating seem to be the combination.
4. I revived my old interest in going to the movies in the afternoon (I saw Trainwreck, Inside Out, Love and Mercy, and Amy). I went with friends and by myself.
5. I read a lot, five or six books, and with great pleasure.
6. I wrote on my novel quite a lot.
7. I loved coloring but the joy in it wore off after a couple of weeks.
8. August didn't turn out to be a great month to do it because our weather was so hot that being outside was not a pleasure except in the very early mornings and my art studio was an oven.

I will do this again. Probably next year. But not in August.