I bought toilet paper today, and the main thought running through my head during this shopping experience was, “How does Taina get toilet paper?”
To give you a bit of a back story on this seemingly random question, my friend Taina is endeavouring to live 2010 without acquiring any new items containing plastic or contained in plastic. And, she tells the story of her plastic-free adventures on her blog, Plastic Manners. Her posts are well written, entertaining and thought provoking, and I have been an avid follower of her blog since the beginning of the year.
Before Taina’s blog, I thought of myself as a bit of a rock star in the realm of plastic-use reducing. I carry – and use more than 95% of the time – a travel mug and reusable shopping bags, I clean the plastic bags you put fruits, veggies and bulk goods in and take them back to the store for re-use, and I always recycle. But, Taina’s adventure with plastic-free living has put me in my plastics place. In the music festival of plastics consumption, I might get a chance to perform, but Taina is the artist everyone is there to see.
She has a bone and boar bristle toothbrush. She is a shareholder in a herd of cows, so she is able to get milk without creating plastic waste. And, she carries around a stainless steel straw. I could go on and on.
One of the definitions for inspire is “to draw forth or bring out.” And, in a way, this definition captures the way Taina inspires me. Her complete commitment to living a year without plastics draws forth, or brings out, an awareness of the plastics surrounding me in my own life. And, I often find myself thinking thoughts like, “Taina can’t even have this,” or “What would Taina do for this?” – just as I did today with my toilet paper.
Through her blog, Taina has further educated me about the truly horrific impact of plastics, helped me recognize the prominance of plastics in my life, and inpsired me to further reduce my use of plastics (especially single-use plastics). She is a powerful teacher, not because she knows a lot about plastics and the harmful effect they are having, but because she is living her message.
And, to tie this post more deeply to yoga, the same must be true of a yoga teacher. I know that I will not be an inspirational yoga teacher because I know how to balance on my forearms, cue perfect alignment or put my body into a Gumby-esque position. I become a teacher of yoga when my day-to-day way of being embodies the practice – when my life is my message.