Day 10: Floating… and A Garbage Essay

Quarantine Diary:

6AM. Day 10 – double digits, exciting!! Five more days to go, the fifth one the release day (I’ll be out of here the morning of October 23).

This morning, I have a craniosacral session with Birgit. As I lie comfortably on my bed, her gentle voice guides my attention to the breath and the delicate layers in the body. I discover the ever so subtle movements in the pause between exhaling and inhaling. It’s a subtle emptying, the gentlest squeeze. Amazing. As her imagined hands move from place to place on my body, this attentiveness follows along, expands, is completely absorbed in sensory revelations. Boundaries between body and environment become fluent. It feels like floating. Whatever tensions there were are released in the gentlest way, and the channels are opening to the simple primal heartbeat, thump-thump… thump-thump… I follow the spine to the brainstem, experience deep connection. Full support. Carried by Life. Like a baby being held with such care. The sweetest release at the end when we touch the feet with this attentiveness – vulnerable, loving trusting, surrendering… images appear of all the loved ones whose heartbeats now continue in the beyond (my parents, Richard, Namgyle, Hana, our cats Bella and Mea); tears flowing from tenderness…Life! What a gift!

thump-thump

A line from a Hafiz poem floats through the mind, “I’m a hole in a flute that the Christ’s breath moves through. Listen to this music.” And I’m reminded of Orland Bishop and what he said about the sacred activity of attentiveness (mentioned in yesterday’s blog). The deepest purest giving. Gratitude.

Time to dance. “When love comes to town” (Herbie Hancock) – such a good song to groove with. Time to have breakfast. Time to draw a little. Time to write. Time to have a shower… Yep folks, I admit it – haven’t had a shower in a few days; just haven’t felt the need to… haven’t changed my clothes either… whoops 🙂

Garbage Essay

My friend and fellow blogger Alison was interviewed recently on her unconventional life. Check out her blog at alisonanddon.com. When asked for one piece of advice for travellers she said, “Bring your own water bottle and find a way to refill it. Stay away from buying bottled water.” Such good advice!  Plastic garbage is a huge issue, especially in the developing world where it ends up everywhere in the environment because of lacking infrastructure. I understand the need for packaging in tropical countries where humidity or contamination can spoil food quickly. The amount of plastic bottles, bags, containers, caps, beach toys, tags, wrappers and even cheap broken plastic furniture floating in the ocean, swept up along beaches and river banks, in estuaries, even in rice patties and national parks is unbelievable. You have to experience it to believe it. I’m sharing a few photos here, but they only capture a snippet; and include a link to Kaya’s garbage essay.

Some of the most polluted places I’ve seen are Kota Kinabalu in Borneo, Cat-Ba Island and Ha-long Bay in Vietnam; of course India (though I don’t have recent photos); Mexico, Indonesia (Bali). The list continues. It can be disheartening. On the boat ride from Kota Kinabalu to Sapi and Manukan Islands, Kaya was almost in tears over the floating garbage along the way. The islands themselves were not too bad. In many places I’ve met locals and expats who are hopeful and doing their best to make a difference. This was one of them. Talking to a hotel manager on Manukan, he enthusiastically shares his initiatives – organizing weekly beach clean-up days, installing water dispensers, using paper straws in the restaurant to name a few. Thank you! I’ve seen tourists in “clean-up tours” in an estuary on Borneo. I cleaned up a small beach during a boat tour in Ha-long Bay. It looked pristine from the boat, but I ended up wading through clear plastic bags and all sorts of trash. So I just picked up a bag and filled it with everything plastic I could find. Had a chat with the tour operator and suggested to offer clean-up tours.

This photo shows a “canang sari” offering basket (Bali) which is made from all natural materials. Before plastics, we used mostly plant and animal materials as containers, wrapping, etc. Those we could just throw anywhere and they would biodegrade. We’ve kept the “throwing away habit,” but the materials changed… except for these baskets.

Taiwan is looking pretty good! People seem to care and have the means and infrastructure to deal with trash responsibly. Apparently, Taiwan was once known as “Garbage Island.” Now, it has an impressive recycling rate of 55%. That’s just behind Germany, the world’s leading nation.  And where does the trash go? General trash goes to landfills or Incineration Plants. Recycling requires complex processes and faces many challenges; unfortunately some recycled plastic garbage can end up being incinerated despite local residents’ efforts. They don’t have garbage days once a week here, nor big trash cans. Instead, yellow garbage trucks followed by compost and recycling trucks blasting classical music (For Elise – I wonder what Beethoven would say) collect trash several times a week. Compost, recyclables, trash are separated. Wow! Taiwan, you rock!

A huge amount of global recycled material ends up being shipped to Asia, including Taiwan. China, the world’s largest importer and recycler of scrap metals, plastic and paper, has decided it will no longer take what it calls “foreign garbage”, and is set to ban imports of 24 types of waste. This may force industrialized countries to recycle more of their own waste.” (I sure hope so!) Some of this info taken from the News Lens” article from April 2019.  

Photo by Alex Fu on Pexels.com

So, here I am, in quarantine, supplied with plenty of plastic water bottles, take out food containers and the rest. At least some of the containers are biodegradable. Arrgh, not a whole lot I can do about it. So far, I separate my trash into recyclables and garbage, but am pretty sure it’s handled as contaminated once I place it outside my door. Cause who knows, I might have Covid. Well, let’s see – I just sent a text to hotel reception and “ping,” indeed, they confirm that all garbage is handed to the Taipei City Department of Health for disposal. Sigh. I guess I don’t need to bother during quarantine… However, I guess this quarantine business will go on for a while, so I will make a few suggestions re more sustainable water sources i.e. larger reusable dispenser, water filter, or such to management.

Well folks, let’s do what we can to reduce, recycle, clean up, educate ourselves and others, and support local initiatives. Yes?

“When the heart breaks it’s painful. But it can also break open more, include more. You have enormous capacity to bear what is here. In that opening there is a deepening intelligence.”

~Gangaji

John Lennon singing “Imagine…” in the background right now…

What a curious combination came through on the blog today – floating and a garbage essay… that’s life. Hope you’re enjoying the unfolding of your day!

Vietnam, Northern Loop, shared dinner at a Homestay Hostel

4 thoughts on “Day 10: Floating… and A Garbage Essay

  1. I was brushing my teeth this morning the thought arrived- I wonder what Suarti’s posted ? I’m now in the habit of reading your blog every day – thank you 🙏 your words and wisdom are inspiring- photos are great – I imagine you’ll slow down the pace of writing once you’re “out” and I’ll miss it,

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    1. Hi Kathy, sweet to receive your words. Thank you. I started this blog mostly to keep myself grounded, and have a way to look back at this time. Having people along for the ride, sharing their thoughts with me is so lovely to receive. Yeah, I’ll definitely slow down once out and about – there’s a world to discover and move around in. But I will do my best to share regular updates. Day 11 has started! xoxo

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  2. The floating craniosacral sounds heavenly. I don’t know if I’d be able to concentrate/focus well enough for a remote session like this. Lucky you.
    As for the garbage – it breaks my heart. And then I remind myself this is a duality. We are wise and we are insane, we are clever and we are monumentally stupid, we are neat and we are messy. For everything there is its opposite. Remembering this helps stop me from tearing my hair out (if I had any – we buzzed each other tonight). People should be more conscious damn it!!! Oh really? Should they? Um no, I tell myself, they should be the way they are.
    You’re into day11! Not long now.
    Alison

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    1. Yes, I do love the craniosacral work. Birgit is in Vancouver and does hands on if you want to try it. Her office is on West Broadway in my Kits neighbourhood.
      You had me laughing – now I know why you shave your head 😉 to keep yourself from tearing your hair out! Just joking. It suits you. I think I won’t try it again after that last time… unless I have to.
      Yeah, Life, the ever surprising unfolding. What’s next? We’ll see. Will I like it? We’ll see. So glad to have you along.
      Day 11!! Today plus three and I am free… to go places. Wondering if I will stay up until midnight on the 22nd and go for a little stroll…or just go to sleep and get up at my usual time? Actually go to a place for breakfast! Wondering if I’ll miss this room?
      xo

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