Plans & plenty: A musing on waste

Or … plenty in the midst of waste

Waste in the midst of plenty…

I could start by saying that my life did not, has not, turned out according to my careful plans. (Okay. Let’s be honest here. My plans were not all that careful. They were actually pretty vague, now that I come to think of it. I really just wanted to save the world … & live happily ever after.)

And … whose life does go according to plan?? Do we know anyone whose life has??

I could start by saying that plans are neat, but life is messy. But I already wrote that essay some years back. Plans = Neat. Life = Messy.

I could mention that this quotation resonates for me utterly:

“My predominant feeling is one of gratitude. I have loved and been loved. I have been given much and I have given something in return. Above all, I have been a sentient being, a thinking animal, on this beautiful planet, and that in itself has been an enormous privilege and adventure.” Oliver Sacks, doctor, neurologist, prolific author, in his book Gratitude – essays written during his last 2 years of life

 As does this one:

“I was stunned. I was, and I knew it, an ordinary person who long after he was grown up retained the childhood assumption that the people who largely control our lives are somehow better informed than, and have judgment superior to, the rest of us; that they are more intelligent. Not until Vietnam did I finally realize that some of the most important decisions of all time can be made by men knowing really no more than, and who are not more intelligent than, most of the rest of us. That it was even possible that my own opinions and judgment could be as good as and maybe better than a politician’s who made a decision of profound consequence. Some of that childhood awe and acceptance of authority remained, and while I was sitting … it seemed presumptuous that ordinary Simon Morley should question the judgment of this board. And of the men in Washington who agreed with it. Yet I knew I had to. And was going to.” (from the amazing novel 'Time and Again' by Jack Finney - published in 1970)

I could point out that my own personal “This changes everything” moment occurred when my 20-year “perfect” marriage blew up in my face.

It really did change everything! For me… for my children. It was a huge line in the sand to be propelled across. Nothing has been “the same” since. (The fallout was/is extraordinary.)

I could say that for a long time, I was prepared to take all the blame (Hell: I was prepared to take 500% of the blame!) for the failure of that marriage … & long since now no longer do. I understand it all better now. It’s complicated. Pedestals are involved. & other things. & also this:

“Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forwards.” – Søren Kierkegaard (1813-1855), Danish philosopher

I think now that maybe the big mistake I had made was in thinking my (then) husband & I & our family were not “ordinary people.” I think I thought we were extraordinary people. (Just the usual delusions of grandeur, I suppose.)

Now I just think there has been one awful hell of a lot of waste in my life - & I the person who abhors waste of any kind, & thinks the very worst human species fault is that of being so horrifically ginormously inexplicably unforgivably appallingly wasteful!

& of course

  • All of it

  • All of it

  • All of it

has taken place in a particular context

at a particular (rather extraordinary)

time period in the history of the human species.


We were not extraordinary at all

My ex-husband & I!

We were as ordinary as grass.

(Ordinary people living in extraordinary times, perhaps)

As wasteful & deluded – as individuals

As our species has shown itself to be

On the species level.


I personally believe it is all not merely heart-breaking.

It is tragic.

Gut-wrenchingly AWFUL.


And all this waste

Smack in the midst of plenty!

A planet that might as well be called Eden.

As indeed it was, I reckon, in the now-rather-distant past.




So huge

One cannot even really get one’s mind around it!



I am gobsmacked & horrified

& heartbroken

(though I’m sure it is not considered quite acceptable

to say so publicly

but I just don’t feel like apologizing for excessive honesty.

We have already established that I am weird, after all…)

Horrified & gobsmacked & heartbroken at both the unexpected tragedies that came/have come to plague my own little life

… & at the parade of greed-waste-stupidity-violence

Our species has likely become known for – notorious for perhaps?

Across the Universe?


& still.




** I wrote this while out on a walk, pausing to sit on a bench by the lake on a simply stunning Sunday, the last day of June 2019 – in the midst of a climate chaos Big Picture Blowout that will ultimately, I firmly & sadly believe, lay waste to us all – all of us, species-wide. In time. (Likely sooner than we think, I think.)

Still, & always.

The simple habits of


& gratitude

pretty much

save my ass!

Whatever it is or was I may have “planned”

for this little life

of mine

That of course was never really “mine” at all

Was it???? Nor was it, or is it, so “little.”

We are vast!


p.s. I heard the amazing Joanna Macy speak in Toronto about 10 years ago … & posted about it here. She said “Our roots, our true nature – is vast.” & that resonates for me … still. Sadly, we have made ourselves small. Getting caught up in ego (& separation) has made us small. But never mind. We can each still get in touch with the vastness. If we choose.

p.p.s. other things #savemyasstoo. Food. Beer. Friends. Loved ones. Music. Books. Activism. Trees. Water. Birds. #lifeisrich!

A Few Quotations that Spring to Mind

“Apology is a lovely perfume; it can transform the clumsiest moment into a gracious gift.” – Margaret Lee Runbeck

“Fate deals the cards, but you play the hand.” – Anonymous

“Don’t fight forces – use them.” – Buckminster Fuller

“It is better to be alone than to be living at half throttle.” – Marianne Williamson in A Woman’s Worth

“…the world sometimes feels like the waiting room of the emergency ward and that we who are  more or less OK for now need to take the tenderest possible care of the more wounded people in the waiting room, until the healer comes. You sit with people, she said, you bring them juice and graham crackers.” From Traveling Mercies – Some Thoughts on Faith, by Anne Lamott

“It’s funny: I always imagined when I was a kid that adults had some kind of inner toolbox, full of shiny tools: the saw of discernment, the hammer of wisdom, the sandpaper of patience. But then when I grew up I found that life handed you these rusty bent old tools – friendships, prayer, conscience, honesty – and said, ‘Do the best you can do with these, they will have to do.’ And mostly, against all odds, they’re enough.”    From Traveling Mercies – Some Thoughts on Faith, by Anne Lamott

“Separateness is such a delusional idea. What many of us try to work toward now is understanding that our bodies are not separate from ourselves, our bodies are not separate from the earth, and they are not separate from each other. There is this sense of binaries, of division, of brokenness. People are not understanding that they are part of the same human family.” “When you’re in community, you begin to not be separate. You begin to be your right size. You’re not too small and you’re not too big. You’re just the right size within that community. When you’re alone, you’re either terribly diminished or utterly grandiose, you know?” – the amazing Eve Ensler, quoted in an interview published in the Buddhist magazine Lion’s Roar, July 2019