Opening your mind to the possibilities of the world can be terrifying, but it can also be the best thing you’ve ever done. You can’t knock it till you try it, am I right? Mindfulness practices work your mind in a way that can effect your physical body as well as your emotional, and mental states. Mindfulness practices allow your creative thoughts to flow and your knowledge to expand. I can speak from experience when I say that meditation has given me time to think about things I don’t normally consider during the average day because it might not bother me. Things like waste, pollution, and issues of 3rd world countries are major wicked problems that I don’t necessarily feel like I can fix, for obvious reasons. However, it is extremely mind boggling to comprehend that a small change in my life (recycling, voting, etc.) can be the start of something really good in someone else’s. The issue with our society today is that with so many people on the planet, it is so easy to think that your choices don’t make a difference. Interestingly enough, they do. In fact, this thought alone is likely one of the biggest wicked problems in my opinion; ignorance. As they say, ignorance is bliss, because no one will want to do anything they don’t have to, and no one will have to do anything until the world is basically on fire, sadly. Educating yourself can simply turn into educating people you know, which can turn into them educating people they know. I have found that mindfulness practices give me time to build confidence in myself and my part in changing the world. I want to make a change because I have come to understand that the trajectory of my actions will fall onto my legacy. Deciding to research things that I can do to better the world around myself and acting on these things will in turn benefit my mind and body while changing the way I think to be more sustainable and less problematic for the world. Though being mindful and thinking has done so much for me and myself, I have taken it upon myself to research and spread the message to people within my family, what it is they can do at home to contribute in making the world a better place. For my husband and I at home, we have began watching what we buy. Things such as the type of food and container it is in, clothing, and even cooking utensils or products. We’ve switched to reusable ziplock type bags, we have a water filter instead of water bottles, and we use mainly reusable/ washable type cleaning tools. My parents have reusable to-go style containers that they use for lunch, as well as a garden in their backyard which doesn’t need to be plastic bag wrapped or labeled. Most everyone in our immediate family has switched to reusable grocery bags! When it came to switching to things like this, I decided to take into account everything I put in the garbage and consider reusable or more sustainable alternatives, for those I couldn’t find, I turn to recycling. All of these things together have thoroughly changed my outlook on the life I live now. I feel better about the decisions I make, and I get excited to work on something new. Being mindful and thinking more compassionately has made me a better person, and has allowed me to in turn, think about the effects that all my actions on others, as well as the Earth.
So far, my compassionate curiosity has taken me to understand certain wicked problems in many ways I hadn’t thought of before. The mindfulness practices I have tried to do more often have allowed me the time to do this. It is very humbling, taking the time to put yourself in the shoes of others. It’s been said many times, but out of sight, out of mind is another major unconscious decision people in our society live by. This is why educating the people I know has come to be one of the biggest leaps in my personal sustainability journey. To be more specific, my compassionate curiosity has brought me to think about where my waste goes, who “takes care of it”, and who deals with the effects of its pileup. This goes for more than plastic. As stated before, I now think about everything I put into the trash, and come up with another solution for it. One issue I have personally come to a cross roads with is coming to understand that it is okay that I can’t fix every problem, but I can do my part in trying to. Specifically when it comes to waste, I have had a realization that although it is not completely under my control where these things go, I can recycle, donate and support organizations that are green, as well as educate my family and friends on what they can do to help. Though doing all of these things are awesome, I have also had to conclude that I am just one person who can only relay the message, but it is enough to make a difference somewhere. Starting the steps toward the sustainable life I live now has been very eye opening as to how wasteful and harmful I was with my actions and daily choices. Everyone, everything and every moment matters when it comes to working on the planet. We actually wouldn’t be here without it, so that has to be an attention grabber for someone, right?
I believe with the little it feels like I have done to make a change in mine and my immediate families lives, it couldn’t be much more difficult to expand. It has actually become kinda fun thinking about what else I can change around my house in order to save the planet! I have also come to realize that in the long run, I won’t have to pay for these things over and over again, so it’s almost like they’re free! No? I guess not exactly free, but it’s very enticing to think about the fact that sustainability is cheaper than waste. That statement alone is one of the biggest things that has gotten most my my family members to change their mind about the things they buy. This is just the beginning too, which makes it all that much better. There is so much more than waste that we can focus on when it comes to wicked problems, so the next step is taking it outside our homes. Thinking about what we can do at work, at school, and even within our community is another prime example of the butterfly effect. Once you get going, trust me, it’s not easy to stop. Although it is hard to grasp the idea that we cannot solve the puzzle completely as most wicked problems are site specific, we can work on our end of the issue as much as possible to start a difference. Mindfulness thinking is the first step, a huge step, into making human life better. After all, wicked problems are essentially impossible to solve, so there is no time to think about what you can’t do, instead do what you physically and mentally can!