Renounce and Enjoy

Writing in a blog can sometimes feel like you’re creating a façade. A filtered version of yourself or your life’s actions for the entertainment of others. Usually there is some goal that focuses what is going to be written about, some theme that will bind all of the potential readers together into an online community. You sit down, like I am now, and construct an entry to further those ends. Normally, I would save this kind of writing for my personal journal. In fact, everything I have written so far could have (and perhaps should have) been written in my journal and kept out of the public eye altogether.

Chances are if your reading this, it is because you know me somehow. Maybe you come to our yoga classes with Angie teaching and I accompany class on classical guitar. Could be you know us through Pure Kirtan and we have chanted together. We could have met in India or at the Co-Op. Perhaps you found my side music project while searching for the definition of extraneous solutions (unlikely). It possible that you knew me in high school or college and we’re connected on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. We could be colleagues or you are one of my students. It is also possible we are related. And if we are meeting for the first time here, on this blog, then wow, “Hello, I am Josh, Nice to meet you.”

I find little reward in being dishonest or acting out of some inflated sense of self-worth. The short comings I have, I will openly share, and the successes I achieve are but stepping stones to a higher purpose. Sharing photos of my trash is not to say “look at me, I am sooooo Environmental” but instead it is an effort to document, coldly and rationally, the direct link between my consumption choices and the impact it has on the Earth I love. I know when I turn my lights on, fire up my music studio, write this blog, or get in my car and drive, I am renewing my link to a system that desperately needs to change. That my actions, my very lifestyle, are perpetuating the destruction.

But how am I to change that lifestyle? How am I to eat, keep my house warm, make an income, support my family?

In 2000, I wrote a song called “The Cost of Living” and in it I wrote a line that goes “I wonder if we can agree to use less.” Well, how can you agree to something I am not willing to do myself? So I start with me, with my family. We constantly evaluate our lifestyle, just ask my daughters. We experiment with our independence, our detachment from the larger destructive system. It takes many forms. How much food can we grow and store? How much oil do we really need to heat our home? When we stopped eating all meat and dairy it was as much for health reasons as it was for the environmental impact and respect for animals. Seemingly crazy decisions to stop drinking coffee or alcohol, or stop eating bacon, cheese and milk chocolate are all part of the effort to detach. What we have experienced is that detachment leads to true happiness. Finding joy in simple things that do not bring unnecessary suffering to the rest of the planet fills me with peace.

In the end, working toward zero-waste is an act of detachment.

A renunciation of the prepackaged life and I am enjoying every minute.

Thanks for reading,



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