My conversation with a smoker about tossing butts on the sand
So it’s Monday now and from Thursday through Saturday I was pretty much stuck in bed sick. It’s been a whirlwind week first week of this 91 day program I joined…chock full of new challenges, obstacles and an entirely new mindset that my body and mind needed time to adjust to.
There goes my candidacy for the Superhuman, Immune to Everything, Award for 2018. 😒
Since Thursday morning, I’ve been surviving on endless amounts of cold-pressed juices and broth soups along with mega-doses of vitamins, kombucha, and back-to-back consumption of natural cough drops to sleep.
Clearly my body needed me to sit still and I answered the call.
Despite my low energy and ridiculous cough, I woke up yesterday, took a hot bath, washed my hair…even threw on some basic make up…and headed out to Huntington Beach to pick up trash for an hour. The weather was cloudy and damp yet plenty of people donned their beach gear to play volleyball or surf for the day.
With bag in hand, I began picking up every tiny, medium and large piece of debris I could find. This is definitely a beach that is kept clean. However, it has its fair share of micro-debris that required fingers or tweezers to pick up…piece by piece.
I reflected on how much plastic regularly goes into the oceans. According to PlasticOceans.org that’s a whopping 8 million tons of plastic…each year!!
I must say, while I no longer get plastic bags at the grocery store, you best believe I’m now rethinking my Starbucks strategy for when the Blonde Flat White with Almond Milk calling kicks in. If I can reuse a bag why not a coffee thermos?
I stopped using straws unless I’m driving, though now I’m inspired to simply give up on them completely until I find a cool reusable one on Amazon.
I have glass jars 80% of the time for my water consumption. The other 10% comes from plastic (which I do recycle) when I buy alkaline water from the store. Here again, I’m now rethinking that as well.
Why haven’t I invested in an alkaline water machine for the house yet? 😮
I did all of this BEFORE this weekend’s internal dialogue just because it felt like the right thing to do.
And while the random bits of plastic had me traveling down the rabbit hole of finding ways to respect the Earth that much more, there was one thing I could not get out of my head:
Why in God’s name were there SO many cigarette butts on the beach?!?
Without judgement or disgust, I picked them up with love. I was just happy to be out of bed and out of the house doing something I could be proud of with what little energy I had available to me.
Instead of throwing mental daggers, I curiously declared, I’d like to have a conversation with a smoker to discuss why they may not litter with big trash yet do so with butts. And if there’s even a difference to them? With that thought, I found large debris, focused on filling up my bag and the thought about the conversation left my mind.
Getting ready to leave, I typed the next destination into my gps and decided to arrive to my meeting a bit early…having no clue how I’d muster up the energy to make it through the next three hours of waiting for the meeting to start.
Broth, that’s doable.
Phew…that’s a solid plan!
I TOTALLY got this!
In complete conviction that everything would work out perfectly, my meeting gets pushed up by an hour and a half. In such divine synchronicity, my colleagues ask to meet for lunch instead at a place where I can safely order broth to continue my fourth day of liquids. And all without even a mention of what I knew I needed to get through the rest of the day…
When I arrived at the Anaheim Packing House, the lots and surrounding spots were all full, save one lone spot right in front of Farmers Park.
Go figure. An overgrown veggie garden and in need of a little TLC?
Yep. This is my kind of place 😍
I walked slowly around the planter mounds, talked with the veggie and herb plants, delighted over the herbaceous smells wafting from the out-of-control celery plants and 5' tall flowering dill. I looked down and saw a few weeds, picked them out then moved on to the next mound. All the while enjoying every foot step.
Not MY garden, however, I’m happy to contribute to the cause and be productive outside in a place where everyone benefits.
Clearly my mood screamed,
“Beatify ALL the things!”
When my time to meet up for lunch came, I passed by the most lovely scented orange blossoms to get to the main building.
I couldn’t stop smelling them. 😝
People probably thought I was crazy…picking weeds in a public park AND sticking my face in the trees.
I was among the living once again! Nothing was going to steal my joy!!
I met up with my colleagues at our destination.
As they are both bartenders at another local restaurant, we sat at the bar. Naturally we all knew the fun and great conversations are always to be had while sitting AT the bar of a super cool restaurant.
And, as expected, the bartender immediately struck up a lunch-long series of conversations…
We chatted about every random thing under the sun from boiling pottery in lyme before cooking to growing up Mexican (and yes, I AM Mexican. My grandfather came from Mexico with a second grade education and I grew up with that branch of the family more than any other.).
Then, in an almost perfectly pieced segue we ended up on the subject of cigarette butts on the beach!!!
I expressed to him what I did that morning at the beach and how surprised I was to see so many butts thrown carelessly around. He proceeds to tell me he used to smoke and throw his butts out carelessly until he saw his sister collecting them to properly dispose of them in the trash when she found one or arrived home.
The dialogue went on to explain how his sister’s consideration of the impact of her cigarette butts got him thinking…
Why was littering considered UNacceptable to him when throwing butts on the ground was completely fine?
It was enough to help him stop separating the two acts of littering and choose to be more aware of how we was making excuses for his actions! How freaking cool is that?
In a flash, I reflected on how I’d asked for this type of dialogue not one hour earlier!
Moments like this happen for me when I need to be reminded of how fast our prayers are answered in the space of no resistance. In this case, my inquiry came out of pure curiosity.
No judgement, no fear, no doubt.
Just an honest desire to openly discuss a topic I wanted to know more about from a demographic I didn’t have much contact with in daily life…
A chance to better know my fellow Earth dwellers and see the world through their eyes.
Needless to say, I was pleasantly surprised by his candor and thankful to have had the chance to understand his views.
Imagine how much more creative and inspired we’d all be in life if we started seeking out experiences like this more often! Life would free-flow instead of feeling rushed, pressured, or awkward. Conversations would feel more abstractly aligned instead of fearfully rigid and purposefully non-confrontational.
What could we choose into if we stopped allowing limits to determine our approach to creating life?
What kind of people would we meet if we stopped worrying about judgements ahead of time?
What risks would we take if we stopped needing so desperately to validate ourselves as victims or failures?
The whole world opens up to us in full creative power when we let go of our need to limit our own potential and that of others by setting up expectations based on lack mentality. Simple inquisitiveness and a desire to connect on a soul level can spark child-like imaginative powers within the human mind.
Before long, through this blissful perspective on life, we find the clarity to transform the way we perceive AND interact with the world around us.
If there’s something in your life you want to learn, do, or be, approach it with fresh eyes and a willingness to receive the wisdom of the lesson…not just some random data to prove your point of view.
Get to know people.
Get to know you.
Get to know life.
And have fun in the process.
The more you do this, the clearer you’ll get with manifesting what you REALLY want in life. And trust me, your future will thank you. I promise.
And for the record, I began work at 5am this morning feeling fully recharged and ready for conquest. It’s now 11:30pm and I’m just now about to hit the hay. Nothing like a little beach time and genuine conversations to reset those feelings of abundance, eh?!
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About the author:
Alida is an Intuitive Life Strategist, student of comparative religions, and co-owner of Mind Soul Fit OC in Newport Beach, CA. Her coaching company, Ambassador for Goodness, hosts various workshops on mindfulness, spiritual entrepreneurship, intuitive eating, art therapy, and relationship success. This blog is also a podcast called Wisdom Nuggets and can be found on iTunes, Anchor, Google Play Music, Overcast and Pocketcasts.