Are you crazy?
Absolutely! Aren’t you? I believe life is an adventure of
learning and experiences. In the words of Aldous Huxley, “experience is not
what happens to you. It’s what you do with what happens to you.” This is how I
live my life. I put myself into situations where I challenge what I know to be
true, where reality seems to be different than the reality I’ve been fed, and I
have to learn, adapt, and evolve to move past the experience. This makes life
an adventure in expanding my consciousness, and above all else, having a really
fun, magnificently interesting time.
Why in the world would you want to do this?
There are a few reasons…
First, the world is in a very interesting place at the moment. We are facing challenges of magnitudes far greater than at any other time in history (as far as our little egos can tell). Environmental degradation and the resulting collapse of all ecosystems, species extinction and global pollution are no longer issues that define rabble rousing environmentalists and granola eating hippies. We all share one planet. One planet. Dig?
One planet. Liberals, conservatives, democrats, republicans, greens, libertarians, Christians, Jews, Hindus, Muslims, indigenous peoples, men, women, all races, etc. One planet. That means we all have to start participating in the care of that planet and in our mutual sustainability and survival. This project is one small way for me to participate in that process in a creative way. Keeping all of my trash for a year gives me a chance to see a part of my impact on the planet first hand, in a way I otherwise could not see.
One of my favorite readings that I share with groups in the
wilderness goes like this…
“When I was a young person, I wanted to change the world. I found it was difficult to change the world, so I tried to change my nation. When I found I couldn't change the nation, I began to focus on my town. I couldn't change the town and as an older person, I tried to change my family. Now, as an old person, I realize the only thing I can change is myself, and suddenly I realize that if long ago I had changed myself, I could have made an impact on my family. My family and I could have made an impact on our town. Their impact could have changed the nation and I could indeed have changed the world.”
This project is one of the things I do to change myself. It challenges me to see my blind spots to see the truth of things right in front of my face instead of coasting through life gathering what I can for my own personal pleasure.
Keeping my trash also gives me an opportunity to see what I consume, in addition to what I create as waste. It’s fascinating to say the least, to look a pile of what I have consumed over an entire year. It is a virtual diary of my eating habits, the way I spend money, my urges and impulses, my hobbies, etc. A look at a pile of my trash is a revealing insight into who I am, like looking at the contents of my refrigerator or the titles on my bookshelves.
It’s also fun and different than the usual and it creates
conversations that ripple far beyond me, far beyond the project. Anything that
can achieve that and contribute to the collective dialogue is a good thing in
my mind and in my heart. At a time where much of the world is engaged in
militaristic battles, or fully pacified and numbed by passive worship of media,
conversation of any kind is desirable.
Has it impacted your sex life?
What sex life?
Do you have still have friends?
Yes. Oddly enough :o) The reaction of my friends has been largely supportive and interested. Many have actually modified their own habits and behaviors as a result of this project. For some friends, like Eduardo, the bread maker at the Berkeley Farmer’s market on Saturdays, the project has become a hallmark of our interaction. Whenever we see each other it is one of the first things we check in about together.
Did you ever have friends?
Sure. Some real, some imaginary.
Have you told your parents?
Yes. My mother came to stay with me for a week in September, 9 months into the effort. I had to give her the heads up. She thinks it’s great!
Didn't you have anything better to do with your time?
That has actually been the biggest challenge. Like so many other people who feel that time is moving more rapidly than ever and life is busier than ever (time actually is moving faster than before, but that’s another conversation) my life is marked by constant movement. I wanted to film the entire project but was too busy to do so. But because I can’t abandon the idea, I’m going to save my trash for a second year and make the time to film it. I plan to make a movie about it a la Super Size me.
In addition to saving my trash for a year, I am the CEO of a
. We have to main areas of business – we are an organic catering company and we take people on sacred wilderness journeys. I also play music, read constantly, practice yoga, cook, and play with friends. At the moment I am also in love with a beautiful woman.
So the short answer is yes, I have a lot of other things to do with my time…. And I still chose to do this.