Forget 100%

at least 99% of the time. At one point I realized that living consciously or subconsciously chasing after the 100% experience or providing it is detrimental to my self-worth and quality of life. It can be hard to let go though. The promise of the 100% lurks everywhere, mainly in advertising, where everything is made to look perfect.

When I look at some of the vegan Insta posts of incredibly sculptured dishes, beautiful cakes and scrumptious desserts I say to myself this is art. This requires a lot of time, talent and effort. That way I don’t feel intimidated and still can enjoy it. Real life is just so much messier. Same with hair, clothing and looks. Same with everything.

When asked if I am completely vegan, I answer that I strive towards eating and living 100% vegan but in regards to food I am probably at 95% simply because of uncontrollable factors and my few times a year changing to vegetarian for hospitality, travel and other circumstances exception. As far as living concerns I only wish it were over 80%, which is my golden numeric gate into the zone. But if I think of the flying I did over the years, which clearly contributes to the destruction of the rainforest and its wild life… much less than animal farming but still…or the thousands of critters killed for my clothing, household items and electronics. And yes I wear leather shoes and currently own three purses, recycled and certified as leather obtained from fair trade/meat industry waste sources.

When I cut a person’s hair  I know how it feels if the result is 100% visually, kinesthetically and energetically. It is incredible, magical, unforgettable and it is rare. So I set my standard to providing 90%+ haircut experiences, which translates into very good. And I share this with my students. Don’t get lost in trying and perfecting when there are things, which you cannot influence. Know when to stop.

Sometimes we wait before doing something because we imagine the experience to feel a 100% right.  But how can it feel already 100% right, if it hasn’t happened? The decision to do something definitely needs to feel good and strong but since everything can be different right after it can’t be a guarantee.  Or if we wait before we loose some weight, before we get a photo taken, before we design a business care before we step out and share our gifts.

I conclude. 100% can be a carrot dangling in front of us. It can be a false promise or an illusion. It ultimately is a gift. And we just don’t receive or create gifts 100% of the time.



Who still needs a New Year’s resolution?

I have an idea for you! I had only one resolution for the year 2017. I did not want to take or use any plastic or other disposable cutlery while out and about. So I bought a SPORK, a cutlery combination out of a SPOON and a FORK. This tool made of titanium, which is a light and  durable metal got a permanent place in my purse. I had decided that if I forget the SPORK, I either eat with my hands or not at all, so as not to jeopardize the success of my only decision.

Now I look back on the year and what happened with this one decision. Three times I made an exception. In two different vegan ice cream shops, the waiter put a small plastic spoon in my cup before I could stop them. Since they would have thrown it away, I decided to accept it and then recycle. The second time I was in a supermarket with a friend. We bought a soup, took a seat outside and my SPORK was not in place. I had forgotten it in the dishwasher. So I learned that I must immediately inform with the order that I won’t need any cutlery and second, immediately after the use of my SPORK, I need to clean it and put it back in its place. I could, of course, buy another SPORK to avoid this problem, but I would feel that this could dissipate the focus on optimal sustainability. With only one SPORK, I train my presence and my ability to prevent an undesirable outcome.

When we make resolutions, when are they actually a success and when did they fail? I did not achieve my goal. I stand by that and need no comfort and no reminder that I used my SPORK on the 363 other days or at least had it in my pocket at hand. I am also checking if the reasons for the failure … not informing in time … and forgetting … could be a pattern keeping me from reaching other goals.

In any case, my SPORK remains always in my purse.

8 Degrees of Sustainability

Lately I am thinking a lot about sustainability and what it means. What repeatedly comes to my mind before anything else is recycling. Perhaps this is because we recycled long before the term sustainable became popular. But sustainability is so much more, especially since it starts long before we actually recycle what we purchased.

The other day at a party a woman asked me what I was doing and I said I work with people’s hair in a sustainable and holistic way. I cut hair, I write, teach and research. She asked back whether that meant that I was making wigs. She was a former hairdresser and then went back to college and acquired a B.A. in social work. I was pretty stunned. That experience taught me that sustainability is still a new concept and term for many and especially in regards to hair.

In order to manage the theme of sustainability I like to use a scale from -10 to +10. From the worst possibly pollution and destruction over cigarette buds tossed out of the car window to a state of ignorance and unknowingness at Zero and then starting at +1 with first thoughts and actions in regards to recycling and consumerism.

A lot of us are on the path of increasing sustainability in our daily and professional lives. During conversations I often hear people express that they wish they could and would do more and I sense their guilt and pressure.  I am doing what I can one step at a time. Guilt and pressure are not emotional sustainable or life-affirming. That’s where the concept of the various degrees comes in handy, at least fore me. For many of us perfectionists  it is important to let go of the idea that +9 or +10 are attainable in this world right now unless we would completely live off the grid. Another example of an impossible goal in that vein would be to live 100% vegan. One would have to stop bicycling as the tires contain animal by-products, to name just one of many examples.

I am living towards a +8 and I am having fun with it. I try finding solutions, and wonder for example why not all product labels peel off easily and if it is more sustainable to recycle the glass or to wash it out with lots of water. Yet, when I have all my food stored in glass although I only did maybe a +2 action towards sustainability at least I feel like a 10!