Wednesday, October 20, 2010

To sacrifice is to make sacred

I have been asked several times about what I have had to "give up." People wonder whether it is it even possible to have a fully functioning social life by living trash free, or even trying to. Am I an annoyance to others around me, with my constant requests? I would like to think not, and I can attest to you that this project has not negatively impacted my social life the slightest bit. In fact, it has made interactions more interesting, more provocative and more meaningful.

Back to the conversation at Crazy Wisdom Tea Room with Laura, Laura, Sherri and Katherine. The issue of sacrifice was brought up, and Laura (Smith) said one of the most profound things I have ever heard. She said, "To sacrifice is to make sacred." It is hard for us in a culture of consumption and excess to take a step back, pause for a moment, and think about what is truly important to us. Many of us don't have the time to reflect like this, as we move from one instant message window to the next, multi-tasking while eating dinner. But there are some people, that every now and then, especially around religious holidays, that do think about sacrifice. Indeed, I would like to think that traditions such as Ramadan and Lent exist to make us realise the importance of what we choose to give up. Being hungry or thirsty, even if for a day, makes us realise the importance and sanctity of food and water. It is hard for one to have these realisations if they haven't gone hungry or thirsty. But once someone does have a realisation, I would hope that it is so impactful on them that they cannot tolerate food or water being wasted. (Of course, I am not talking about leaving a little bit on your plate if you are full...)

We are constantly surrounded by news of ecological degradation, oil spills, miners trapped underground (not only in Chile, mind you, but also in China and Ecuador) and fish being caught in plastic bags. To sacrifice the things that are causing these harms is to recognise that our Earth is sacred.

People think of sacrifice as a negative word. But many fail to think about all we have to gain through sacrifice. Sacrificing watching TV allows one more time to talk with my housemates. Sacrificing fast food makes one eat healthier, and feel healthier. Sacrificing a little bit of sleep allows you to go to a late night showing of your favourite movie. It all comes down to what one thinks is important. If you say to yourself, "Soccer is one of the most important things to me; I will do everything I can to play for an hour everyday," then you make other things in your life flexible, and sacrificial, because you have recognised the importance of something (maybe something else) in your life.

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