09 August 2010

Taking Myself Too Seriously

So far I've written posts from a chair at my neighborhood coffee shop where, at certain hours it's difficult to find a chair close to the outlet or power strip. But I love this place, even the name - Sunergos. When I first moved to the neighborhood a barrista told me it means "we work together." Always, an interesting variety of college students (we're really close to U of L here), neighborhood quirky characters (might I be considered one?), and people with kids can be found in this old storefront given over to the pursuit of the perfect cup of coffee.
But - I digress.
My thinking when I clicked on the Create a Post button was to talk about my recent efforts to scale back my impact on resources - natural and otherwise - and how these efforts have thrown me in social and other groups of people that I've previously avoided - among other effects. The coffee shop is a good example though. In turning off internet access at home and using it here, or in other public places (I swear, every McDonalds has WiFi now), I'm saving my own scarce resources and interacting, of necessity, with others doing the same thing. I've lost track of the conversations begun with people leaning over to plug their computer into the power strip at my feet. But now - well, even if we don't smile at each other when we're both here, we at least acknowledge each other's presence.
Big deal - you might be saying. But over the years I've become a believer in the possibility that we truly do impact each other - in ways we may never know, and with an importance that we often downplay to ourselves. While standing in wait for my large half caff I made what a friend used to call "cheap conversation" with the barrista, discovered he was in massage school and looking for people to work on for practice. I've become a regular, and grateful for his passion and desire to explore new techniques and methods. He's learning and I'm getting the healing my body desires.
Changing other habits of using up scarce resources requires some work and a lot of intention. The air conditioning in my car died earlier this summer. Either bravely or stupidly - only at the end of this, one of the hottest summers in memory, will I know which - I decided not to have the compressor replaced. This has made me very conscious of whether or not I really NEED to get in the car, and quite vigilant about planning grocery runs and other errands so that everything is the shortest route possible. Though, sometimes I choose the shadiest route instead, for the change, and to feel the coolness overhead from fully leaved trees. Either way, I'm making conscious what my actions are, what I'm motivated by, and how often I think casually about driving and shopping.
And I suppose that's - mostly - the point of all of this. Sure, I am living somewhat 'greener' by making an effort to eat from one of the many, daily, farmer's markets in this town, but the larger impact is that I'm making an effort to wake up to what I do, how I do it, and who I do it with. I run into friends sometimes at the one or the other market. Just last week I met my friend Marilyn when we were both admiring the purple tomatoes of a farmer from Richmond, and she told me about a workshop on Finding the Myth in Your Life that she and her partner are hosting on 9/11. I mean - come on - how synchronistic is that! And on how many levels! And a perfect example of how one change, one risk, may actually make a signpost appear at that fork in the road we often dread to reach.

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