I've been working on a teaching project about ethics for about a year. The project, called Doing Theory, considers the precepts of a yogic path (quite similar to the commandments and other religious/ethical guidelines) in the context of here and now, through a lens that is distinctly feminist, intersectional, artistic and socially engaged. Last fall I started working with Saucha, the practice of cleanliness, by picking up trash on my favorite hiking trail. My meditation is to think of someone who has picked up after me and extend them gratitude every time I pick up after someone else. As soon as I decided to do the project I started finding biodegradable bags that folks had dropped on the path. It was as if the forest spirits knew what I was doing and wouldn't let me have an excuse of having forgotten a bag. I've noticed my irritation and boredom with my own apathy arise when I pick up careless litter like cigarette butts and wet wipes. I've noticed profound gratitude with big pieces of trash like bottles or full wrappers as I think about my family and friends who've totally picked up messes I made and couldn't clean up. I notice infinite shame and sadness with all the tiny pieces of wrappers and my thoughts go towards the ocean, the air and the millions of people who live with, and are trashed by constant Western consumption. While I don't think that my small acts really make that much difference on their own, I think that all of ours combined could. What spaces do you love and how could you care for them? Who picks up after you and how can you appreciate and assist them?
Participate in this project with me by documenting the trash you pick up, or the ways you help keep spaces clean, and share your stories and photos on Instagram with the hashtag #itsawash