The pursuit of a more meaningful, conscious, and waste-free life was always at our core. In 2017, more than ever before, we dove into more discussions about Zero Waste – from a more general discussion on Zero Waste Living, to explorations of Zero Waste Ways at Home, in Travel, and in Business.
The New Year ushers in hope that we can change for the better, and that this year is “our year”, but we don’t need a new year to be more mindful of the better choices that we can make day to day, and the unhealthy habits (including our attachment to wasteful ways and material things) that we can leave behind.
We can go to bed each night grateful for the little joys, successes and challenges of the day, and wake up each morning with the acknowledgment that this new day is as good as any to do good things for ourself and the planet — asking ourselves: What good should we hold on to, and what bad can we let go?
To live a truly waste-free life, it requires us to think of only that which is truly essential to our lives, which does not cause detriment to our own health (physical and otherwise), those around us, and the environment.
And while it is noble and good to endeavor to eliminate single-use plastic and packaging, or switch from non-toxic to an all-natural products, or consume more fresh, plant-based food, or curb our unplanned retail compulsions, it is also essential to consider the wasteful rubbish in our minds that hinder us from living more fulfilling lives.
Here’s what I hope we can all leave with 2017:
- Thinking little things don’t make a difference
I’m a big believer in the cumulative difference small acts can do, even if some may say conscious consumerism won’t save the world, because it won’t, not alone. But it’s a start, and I believe it leads to bigger and better things, and that these little choices are critical to us living a more and more sustainable life. (And yes, the aimless lingering on social media for ~10 minutes every 20 minutes or so vs. getting more shit done makes a difference too!)
- Berating ourselves for falling off track
Remember: Progress vs. Perfection. It’s really about making better and better choices as best as we can, in the circumstances we’re in. There will be times that our options are limited. Other times, you really just wanted to break your own self-imposed rules in favor of convenience or comfort. It’s okay. Just think about your reasons for making that choice. If it was sound and reasonable, forgive yourself. If it wasn’t, how can you enable yourself to make a more conscious choice next time?
- Fear of stepping into our bigness
This Marianne Williamson quote sums this idea up best: “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
What I hope I can embrace in 2018:
- Being open to other opportunities to make a difference
Sometimes, we can be set in our ways or attached to our initial goals and ideas that we fail to see a greater potential in the pursuit of other endeavors. More and more, I’ve come to realize that my strength, joy, and impact comes more from developing learning events like our MUNI Meetups. And we seek to create more meaningful learning and reach new audiences through more workshops, learning expeditions, employee engagement programs for sustainable living, and online resources.
- Enabling others to create impact
While we’ve sought to involve and engage other people throughout the years, we lack the structure and systems in place to really empower others to further spread these messages of mindful living, contribute their time, talent, knowledge or resources to share with the rest of the community. One concrete way by which we can do this is by creating a comprehensive database for sustainable living – products, services, suppliers, organizations, and finding ways to replicate our MUNI Meetups in other locations. How else can MUNI enable you to create more impact?
- Being bold (and humble) enough to ask for help
As much as I am a seemingly extroverted meetup moderator and online community-builder, I’m also oftentimes a reclusive introvert who constantly seeks alone time, and likes getting things done on her own. I’ve come to recognize though that I’ve done little to really make it more apparent how more people can step in to help in a more involved capacity. However, I’ve always seen MUNI as something that is beyond me, and something that I hope others can own and take on. 🙂
I’ve been on the quiet side these past few weeks, reflecting on the year that has passed and planning for life in the year ahead (as best I can).
In this “pagmumuni”, we’re deeply humbled and grateful for all the support we’ve received from our existing community in 2017 (and the years before), and all the new members that have joined us on our mission to create a culture of mindful living, for a healthier, more sustainable world.
The first quarter of the year starts with our upcoming MUNI Meetup: Manila – Zero Waste Ways in Self-care on January 13, our first MUNI Meetup: Bacolod on March 9, and another first with MUNI Travels: Negros on March 9-14 – where travelers also get time to learn, reflect and create positive impact on the planet. Other things in the works, and we hope to have more updates for you soon.
In the meantime, I’m relishing these tranquil moments in the early part of the year, and really saying THANK YOU for your continued support.
The past five years have had its ups and downs, moments of doubt and weakness, but your words of encouragement, attendance and validation of our events keep MUNI going. And we hope to keep growing with you, creating better experiences and lessons for you and for a bigger audience for these messages of mindful living.
With each new day, we can continuously endeavor to live an increasingly waste-free life, in all senses of the word. We hope you’ll join us on this journey to a new year, every day.
To brighter days ahead,
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jen Horn is the founder of MUNI, an advocate of responsible travel & consumption, and a communications and community engagement consultant. She enjoys being in, on, under, or near the water, eating veggies, witty remarks and sarcasm, and learning about link between psychology and pro-environmental behavior. She works to use jedi mind tricks to help the world triumph over apathy, single-use plastic, among other things we don’t need in the world. Follow her at @jenhorn_.