A Brief Introduction

Endeavoring to define myself outside of a "job title." I'm a nomad of sorts who fell in love with technology, activism, and helping others. I run a web & media consulting firm, have a blog specifically for activists & non-profits, and travel often. I love talking about theology, politics, and social change. I love doing something about it even more. I also like to be a well-rounded and fully present person. That's why I write here. Connect with me on twitter

Monday, July 28, 2008

Today, I did not smoke 59 cigarettes

At the Northeastern LGBT Conference, workshop leader Jessica Pettitt, while speaking about advocacy, made an analogy to her efforts to quit smoking. "At my peak, I was smoking sixty cigarettes. Sometimes I would quit for an hour, sometimes for a day. Ultimately what worked was when I found a buddy and when I started thinking from a place of power." Instead of viewing each cigarette as failure which would lead to a downward spiral only fueling further addiction, Pettitt learned to take stock of the positives in her life. "If I smoked a cigarette at noon, that was 29 cigarettes I didn't smoke. That is much more encouraging to help me get through the rest of the day. At the end of the day, I could say, look what I accomplished, Today, I did not smoke 59 cigarettes. That's something to be proud of.'"

Jessica's example is applicable in different areas in my life. Recently, I've been thinking a lot about the effects of my behavior, specifically my consumption. What does it really cost for me to run the water, to buy new tshirts, to throw out plastic bags, to let food spoil, to run the air-conditioning, to eat meat, to consume non-local food. It sounds overwhelming. But rather than focus on the catastrophe of overconsumption, Jessica Pettitt's approach to quitting cigarettes provides a helpful way to view life: as a series of accomplishments.

I shared recently how, though I've adopted a vegetarian diet, recently, I've been eating meat. I also run the air-conditioner, buy snacks that I don't need, and search Uncrate for things to get myself. Without erasing the effects meat consumption, non-renewable energy, and selfish consumption, I am able to recognize the flip side of my actions. Every time I turn on the AC at night, I've gone all day leaving it off. For every indulgence, there are countless more acts of restraint.

So yes, I eat meat. But I also go stretches without eating meat. I run the after work some days, but I leave it off all day and usually all night. I'm probably going to buy an iPhone in December but I rarely drive. I'm finding simple victories every day and counting them all as cigarettes I did not smoke.

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