Transcript: Podship Earth Episode 46: RESOLUTE
JARED BLUMENFELD: Welcome to Podship Earth. This is your host, Jared Blumenfeld. Happy 2019! This week, sustainability concierge, mom, and outdoors advocate Friday Apaliski, sits down with me to discuss how to be resolute in 2019.Hi Friday.
FRIDAY APALISKI: Hi!
JARED BLUMENFELD: I'm just used to writing 2018. Actually, mostly I write 2016 2017 and that they'll have to write 2019.
FRIDAY APALISKI: Yeah, I can't wrap my head around that yet.
JARED BLUMENFELD: I could never really understand New Year’s. It didn't really make any sense to me, like why did people celebrate New Year's? It's just the passing of a day, but now I kind of like it a little more. So, Romans began each year by making promises to the God Janice. You know what January is named after? Janice. I thought Janice is like a two-faced Monster, but I guess it's also January.
FRIDAY APALISKI: I did not do well in my mythology class in college.
JARED BLUMENFELD: Back like in the 1900’s not that many people made new year's resolutions and it's grown each year. People make more and more and more resolutions.
FRIDAY APALISKI: This year in particular, actually, so many people I know are having get togethers to do goal setting, meetings or group kind of workshops to put some energy and thought around what has just happened in this year. Like take a pause and think about it, and what was good about it and what wasn't good about it. It allows you to take a deep breath and think about what's your intention for the next year and there's all this information about if you write it down that it will be, or it's more likely to be.
JARED BLUMENFELD: I mean if you don't write it down, if you never conceive of it, it's not going to happen.
FRIDAY APALISKI: Well that's for sure.
JARED BLUMENFELD: So that's important.
FRIDAY APALISKI: Yeah.
JARED BLUMENFELD: I often forget that.
FRIDAY APALISKI: So, of course, resolutions are good.
JARED BLUMENFELD: Friday, a study of New Year's resolutions said 35% of people failed their new year's resolutions because they were unrealistic goals. 33% of the participants didn't keep track of the progress and a further 23% forgot about them completely. And then one in 10 said they'd wait made way too many new year's resolutions. So, there's some pitfalls.
FRIDAY APALISKI: Yeah, pitfalls, once I get going, I’m like I want to do this, and I want to do this, and I want to do this. Maybe instead of saying, here's all my resolutions on January 1st that on January 1st I'm going to have like three and then on March 1st I'm going to have three more resolutions. Stop and evaluate how am I resolutions going, and can I add some more?
JARED BLUMENFELD: I was talking to the people at the gym, and they said gym membership goes way up in January and then by March, like 40% of the people that are trying haven’t gone to the gym.
FRIDAY APALISKI: Interesting.
JARED BLUMENFELD: Do you know what I mean? Like so we get this big rush of enthusiasm to do stuff. It actually kind of feels like environmental conferences. Everyone leaves them,
Yes! We made all these commitments and then, yeah, well what were those commitments? We made too many of them. Oh, we didn't track them, or I forgot about them.
FRIDAY APALISKI: I was at this goal setting meeting a couple of weeks ago and this one girl pulls out her laptop and she has the most incredible like excel workbook and it's not even one page. It's like multiple pages and it is color coded for like all the goals, and how she's tracking towards the goals and there's like all these conditional formulas on like, if you do well on this one then what does that mean for the rest of them? It was phenomenal.
JARED BLUMENFELD: When I was in law school Friday, I had all these things that made my work more orderly. Like I had hole punches, right? Special hole punches. Then I had the binder, then it had the binder separators. Then I had the binder separated colors than I had the labels and I realized I spent more time reading the order than I ever did reading them. So, maybe she might have a super colorful, incredibly laid out excel spreadsheet of her actions for the year, but she may be spending just a lot of time on them.
FRIDAY APALISKI: I think that is totally true.
JARED BLUMENFELD: Maybe or maybe she's just awesome.
FRIDAY APALISKI: Well, there are some awesome people. And there are some awesomely organized people. I'm definitely not one of those. I would like to be one of those.
JARED BLUMENFELD: There was a New York Times article a year ago about if you look at someone's desk, the person with the messiest desk is often the most creative and intelligent.
FRIDAY APALISKI: Oh, that makes me feel nice.
JARED BLUMENFELD: Yesterday you were in the New York Times on Sunday.
FRIDAY APALISKI: I know!
JARED BLUMENFELD: How huge is that? Congratulations!
FRIDAY APALISKI: I know, it’s kind of insane.
JARED BLUMENFELD: That feels like if you had a resolution at the beginning of 2018 it would be, how do I get in the New York Times? You did it.
FRIDAY APALISKI: Can we work backwards actually on resolutions?
JARED BLUMENFELD: That's a good way of doing it.
FRIDAY APALISKI: That was my, that was it accomplished. The New York Times is like that.
JARED BLUMENFELD: So basically, your quote in the New York Times was, give us your quote.
FRIDAY APALISKI: Oh my God.
JARED BLUMENFELD: It was about Christmas trees.
FRIDAY APALISKI: It was about Christmas trees and if you leave anything on your Christmas tree, it's garbage.
JARED BLUMENFELD: I love this Buddhist philosopher Pema Chodron and they have a little, you can see it right here. It's kind of like Mao's little red book except it's a yellow book, so I'm going to read Number 15. It has really cool little sayings. This is “a more adventurous way to live.” “There's a common misunderstanding among all human beings who have ever been born on earth that the best way to live is to try and avoid pain and just try to get comfortable. A much more interesting kind, adventurous and joyful approach to life is to begin to develop our curiosity, not caring, whether the object of our inquisitiveness is bitter or sweet. To lead a life that goes beyond pettiness and prejudice and always wanting to make sure that everything turns out on our own terms to lead to a more passionate, full and delightful life than that, we must realize that we can endure a lot of pain and pleasure for the sake of finding out who we are and what this world is, how we tick and how our world ticks, how the whole thing just is.”
FRIDAY APALISKI: Two things I was thinking when you were reading was –
JARED BLUMENFELD: Maybe someone else should be reading it?
FRIDAY APALISKI: No, I like your voice.
JARED BLUMENFELD: I wish cousin David was here to have him read it.
FRIDAY APALISKI: I love cousin David. I like really love him. Anyway, no, I was thinking of the woman, the swimmer.
JARED BLUMENFELD: Kim chambers.
FRIDAY APALISKI: She doesn't go swimming because she loves it. She goes swimming because she's scared of it.
JARED BLUMENFELD: Yeah.
FRIDAY APALISKI: And that she's going to conquer it and that she was talking about getting eaten or stung by those-
JARED BLUMENFELD: Jellyfish-
FRIDAY APALISKI: Like time and time again and I was like, ah. And then the next thing in my mind was you talking about how when you're in nature, you're so with yourself that if you aren't comfortable with yourself, it could be really uncomfortable to go hang out in nature.
JARED BLUMENFELD: Yeah. No totally.
FRIDAY APALISKI: Rather than comfort. Yeah. It like, in order to know yourself, you got to be outside of the comfort area.
JARED BLUMENFELD: For instance, like people say to me, Oh you need so much money to have an adventure. I'm like, just buy a greyhound ticket to somewhere you don't know with very little money in your pocket, you will have an adventure.
FRIDAY APALISKI: Yeah. Right.
JARED BLUMENFELD: It will be an amazing adventure. You'd meet people you never could have imagined meeting and yet, you know, we want to make sure it looks like an Abercrombie and Fitch commercial before we're ready to embark on it.
FRIDAY APALISKI: I was having this conversation over the holiday break with my niece. She's on a little break between finishing school and starting school to become a physical therapist. And so, she wants to travel. Travel now is so different. Like I was, I was trying to tell her about when I was traveling alone and when I was traveling most and there were no cell phones then.
JARED BLUMENFELD: Right.
FRIDAY APALISKI: And all the like crazy adventures that I had were a result of not having a cell phone. I didn't have a phone and I was in the wrong part of town and there was no way for me to take a bus to get back in time. So, I like stopped at this light and looked at all the cars and picked the newest one and like knocked on the door and said, Hi, can you take me downtown? Then I got in this guy's car and he took me where I was going. Buthe's telling me like, oh yeah, well, I'm headed downtown because I got to get a drug test and so that I could get my contractor's license and this is my third try. I keep failing the drug test, and I was like, oh my God, who's car did I get into?
JARED BLUMENFELD: He was trying, come on Friday, he was trying.
FRIDAY APALISKI: He was a very nice person. Yeah. The adventure for me at the time was figuring out that I could solve a problem. I could survive in uncomfortable situation, and if it were today, it would have gotten off the bus, pulled up my phone called an Uber. Maybe actually your adventure is better if you have less.
JARED BLUMENFELD: There’s an amazing book called Shambala, The Sacred Path of the Warrior by Chogyam Trungpa. Here's the quote. “Some people feel that the world's problems are so pressing that social and political action should take precedence over individual development. We have to recognize that our individual experience of sanity is inherently linked to our vision for a good human society. So, we have to take things one step at a time. If we tried to solve society's problems without overcoming the confusion and aggression in our own state of mind than our efforts will only contribute to the basic problems instead of solving them.
FRIDAY APALISKI: Do as I say, not as I do.
JARED BLUMENFELD: There's this sense like, I can be unhealthy because I'm pursuing this grander vision of trying to help the planet. And I think what this is saying clearly is, one's got to come first. If you're not healthy, you can't give anything healthy back to society or the planet.
FRIDAY APALISKI: I agree with that 110%.
JARED BLUMENFELD: So, with that, how do you think about your own health?
FRIDAY APALISKI: For me, the key particularly to the gym is to have someone there to hold me accountable. And I could just tell you after how many years of resolutions that if there is not somebody meeting me at the gym, I'm not going. I won't go.
JARED BLUMENFELD: Yeah. And you know that about yourself.
FRIDAY APALISKI: But if someone I know is going to be there and be ticked off and I didn't show up. I'm there.
JARED BLUMENFELD: So, gym buddy.
FRIDAY APALISKI: I need a buddy I need. I need an accountability buddy.
JARED BLUMENFELD: And what about mental health?
FRIDAY APALISKI: Well, definitely one of my resolutions for the new year is to do more beach cleanups, which I think will help with my mental health because I think being at the ocean and hearing the sound of the waves is really therapeutic. However, as I was sifting through all the microplastics and the pieces of styrofoam, I was also like, what is going on in our world? This is terrible. Where did all this styrofoam come from? Who are these people using all this styrofoam?
JARED BLUMENFELD: That sounds like anxiety causing.
JARED BLUMENFELD: And now back to Friday and me talking about making resolutions. Friday, at the other end of the spectrum from Calm (a meditation app) which is very therapeutic, is Instagram, which drives me bonkers.
FRIDAY APALISKI: I actually hate Instagram. I hate doing it. It’s not interesting for me at all.
JARED BLUMENFELD: But it feels like, I have to.
FRIDAY APALISKI: But I feel like if I'm not there, how do I prove to people that I know what I'm talking about? How do I get people talking about me?
JARED BLUMENFELD: Which is so crazy, right? I mean-
FRIDAY APALISKI: Like how do I do this business without that?
JARED BLUMENFELD: Yeah, like there’s a correlation like that you fear that people won't know what you're talking about because you don't have a big enough Instagram presence, right? And at the same time, those things aren't correlated.
FRIDAY APALISKI: They're totally not.
JARED BLUMENFELD: Whether you've got a great picture of your Christmas tree, or can help a client through a complex situation on recycling. They're not probably connected.
FRIDAY APALISKI: They're not connected. And somehow that's the thing that tethers me.
JARED BLUMENFELD: Maybe that's a resolution.
FRIDAY APALISKI: Yeah. I think trying to work through that.
JARED BLUMENFELD: To care less about what people think.
FRIDAY APALISKI: That's always a resolution.
JARED BLUMENFELD: That's a hard one.
FRIDAY APALISKI: That is a hard one.
JARED BLUMENFELD: I struggle with that. I really believed that I was someone that didn't care what other people thought. But then the more I analyze it, the more I realize I was just fooling myself. I really care. I can't a little less now because I understand it, but it's hard.
FRIDAY APALISKI: Oh no, I care a lot. I care a lot. And I actually think that it's something that guides my every day. Sometimes when I do something that pushes me outside my comfort zone or something, I feel like I don't have time to do, but I do it anyway, often the thought in the back of my mind is, this is what a good friend who does. This is what a good citizen does, and there's someone, I don't know who it is, that's looking at me and judging me based on that.
JARED BLUMENFELD: Well, you.
FRIDAY APALISKI: Yeah, me. Maybe it was just me and I didn't care what other people thought. Maybe I wouldn't do that. But because I do care what people think and as a result of this crazy year that I've had, it's very morbid to say this, but honestly I think about like, well, if I were to die tomorrow, if I got hit by a bus tomorrow, what would people say about me? I would want them to say that I was really great friend and I was really generous with my time and I was very purposeful. So, those are the things that drive me. It's literally what those voices would say about me, I think that means 100% that I care what other people
JARED BLUMENFELD: But that’s partly a conversation with yourself, like wanting other people to see you as generous. If you just inverted it, it would be, I want to be generous.
FRIDAY APALISKI: Oh yeah. Yeah. I want to be generous. I don't care if people think I'm crazy cause they all do. They all think that I do all these things that are ridiculous. Like picking up the trash in front of my house and all this other stuff.
JARED BLUMENFELD: Well that does give you leeway to be anyone you want.
FRIDAY APALISKI Right, yeah.
JARED BLUMENFELD: If they thought you were very straight laced and very conservative then you might not be able to do those things because of fear that people would think you're crazy. But if they already do and you're fine with it, probably a good thing.
FRIDAY APALISKI: Maybe it’s is the best gift ever from my in-laws is that they're from the east coast and I was the crazy hippie from California who came home with their son and they were just like this girl. And from then on, I'm like, yeah, I'm her. So, since I'm already here, but it's going to own it and be all of it. I was trying to think about what are my environmental goals or resolutions for the year and kind of none of them are the like bring your own cup and do all the stuff in part, because I've made habits out of many of those things, but I do want to help other people do that. I think that that's important. But the two things that really came to me are spending more time outside, like really in the trees. I need more like literal tree hugging and more activism. So not so much, oh, look at me, I have a carbon free Christmas tree, right? Like the lights on my tree are powered by the wind and the sun. Not so much that as like, okay, I'm going to take the privilege that I have and join up with these other moms and say the air in this other neighborhood is not clean enough. Let's go clean it. Clean air and clean water. We can all agree on that. Nobody wants their kids breathing bad air period.
JARED BLUMENFELD: You're helping people being environmental buddy. Cause sometimes it's just too hard to do it yourself.
FRIDAY APALISKI: Totally 100%.
JARED BLUMENFELD: Actually, kind of the do it yourself mantra, this kind of male rugged individualism the Marlboro man on is kind of built into American culture, right? Which is if there's a problem, I'm going to solve it myself. I can get it to come up with a solution myself as opposed to like, how do we work with other people to get the problem solved?
FRIDAY APALISKI: Yeah, and it does very much feel like when you say “I need help” that it's like failing. That you should be able to do it all on your own. But we are justnot built that way. It's not how it works for us. So, we got to shift that thinking.
JARED BLUMENFELD: Yeah.
FRIDAY APALISKI: I love this idea of accountability buddies, right? Somebody who helps you.
JARED BLUMENFELD: Or support.
FRIDAY APALISKI: Yeah, support.
JARED BLUMENFELD: I mean to me it's not –Accountability and discipline. You have to have discipline. And I think we kind of think that, you know, the, the magic of Instagram and social media is that all this stuff just happens by happenstance. Oh, there's no planning. They just, you know, Kim Kardashian just dresses like that and gets out, you know, she doesn't need to even put on makeup. It's just all looks that great. Right? It takes a lot of discipline to do any kind of resolution whether it's a new year's resolution or not. I always thought disciplined came from the outside. Someone was going to discipline me. Like in school I got disciplined a lot. But what I've realized is discipline is from inside.
FRIDAY APALISKI: At least the kind that works the best.
JARED BLUMENFELD: Yeah. But it’s a friend to me, like my discipline helps me do the things I want to do.
FRIDAY APALISKI: Yup. So, a true real resolution. Like every single month, one weekend we are going away from the city and we are going to spend time in nature.
JARED BLUMENFELD: It's a great goal.
FRIDAY APALISKI: Yeah, and it feels totally attainable, especially where we live, there is so much nature.
JARED BLUMENFELD: It just needs to be planned.
FRIDAY APALISKI: It just needs to be planned. I'm just going to block three days on my calendar and go through the whole entire year and be like, this weekend we're going here, and this weekend we are going here and then it's on there and we're done. Just trees and nature and bugs and dirt and the whole deal.
JARED BLUMENFELD: I worry that we hang our hopes on these resolutions and commitments that are made by global leaders and yet they're not really doing very much.
FRIDAY APALISKI: I'm always torn about, okay, I recognize that the scale has to be really big and so these big nations making commitments with each other is an important aspect, but to some degree I'm like, of course they're not going to hold each other accountable or do these things because at the end of the day, the people who are making it happen are me and you and our neighbors. It's just people, right? This stuff works from the ground up and not so well from the top down, and so it doesn't really surprise me that these big giant at the very top commitments kind of don't happen.
JARED BLUMENFELD: So, I think that means our new year's resolutions even more important. Yeah.
FRIDAY APALISKI: Yeah, I agree. I think our New Year's resolutions are pretty important.
JARED BLUMENFELD: Well, I think a lot of people are going to have new year's resolutions to go vegan, for instance, and there's probably nothing that they could do in their life in the year ahead. They would have more of a beneficial impact on them all the planet, right than going vegan.
FRIDAY APALISKI: Maybe we just go into the year saying, I'm going to be good to myself and I'm going to be good to the people around me. I'm going to love them for who they are, and if we all can love each other for who we all are, then maybe we can counter some of that toxic societal pressure maybe. And as that relates to being vegan, I would love to be vegan, but I don't have the willpower to not eat those foods that I love. But I have found that when somebody cooks vegan for me, it's delicious and amazing. And I have not yet learned the tools on how to do that. So, for me this year I would love to learn how to cook vegan, but that means that I'm going to eat vegan, not 100% but maybe half the time, which so much of resolution and goal setting feels like a hundred percent or 0%.
JARED BLUMENFELD: Exactly.
FRIDAY APALISKI: And I feel like maybe what we say to the people who set their resolutions to be vegan is, “go you. And don't be upset at yourself when you aren't perfect.” Like if you are vegan for four days a week or for lunch and not for dinner, that's still big deal. That still helps the earth. It still helps your body.
JARED BLUMENFELD: I agree with you.
FRIDAY APALISKI: Yeah.
JARED BLUMENFELD: Okay. Talking about Pema Chodron, this is directly on point, Friday.
FRIDAY APALISKI: Oh good.
JARED BLUMENFELD: So, the title of this little one is “why we don't need to change ourselves.” “When people start to meditate or to work with any kind of spiritual discipline, they often think that somehow, they're going to improve, which is sort of a subtle aggression against who they really are. It's a bit like saying, if I jog, I'll be a much better person. If I only could get a nicer house, I’d be a better person. If I could meditate and calm down, I'd be a better person. But loving kindness toward ourrself, doesn't mean getting rid of anything. It means that we can still be crazy after all these years. We can still be angry after all these years. We can still be timid or jealous or full of feelings of unworthiness. The point is not to try and change ourselves. Meditation practice isn't about trying to throw ourselves away and become something better. It's about befriending who we are already. That's the study. That's what we come to know with tremendous curiosity and interest.
FRIDAY APALISKI: That's my resolution for the year. I'm just going to copy that little thing and keep it in my wallet and carry it with me everywhere because that is totally it.
JARED BLUMENFELD: There is this idea that the resolutions are going to change us.
FRIDAY APALISKI: Right.
JARED BLUMENFELD: As opposed to get to a place where we're good with who we are.
FRIDAY APALISKI: Yeah, I mean, I hope that my resolution actually just helps me be better me, like I love the trees and the nature.
JARED BLUMENFELD: But there is no better you though. That's what she's saying. You are perfect. It's just coming to grips with that.
FRIDAY APALISKI: Oh wow. That's even more interesting. That's a tough one. It would take some meditations to come to grips with that, right?
JARED BLUMENFELD: When I ask people if they meditate, the number one answer is I'd love to meditate, but I'm just way too busy. Which seems both ironic and scary.
FRIDAY APALISKI: Insanity.
JARED BLUMENFELD: Yeah.
FRIDAY APALISKI: Like, yeah, because we all know that it's not true. Absolutely, because we all know that you go to work and he spent a whole bunch of hours at work not doing work. And then you have these bursts of really productive, super great time. And if you could just go to work for the really productive time, oh my God, think about how much more time you would have.
JARED BLUMENFELD: You want to show people Friday at work that you're super busy. Oh my God, I'm so busy. When do I have time to do this? And that kind of creates this anxiety and angst around like how many things you can do, and oh, I couldn't possibly think about like how much plastic I'm consuming because I'm just so busy.
FRIDAY APALISKI: Who created this problem that you're so busy and how do we undo that?
JARED BLUMENFELD: It was the confluence of this maybe in the 1950s it's this belief that time is money, right?
FRIDAY APALISKI: Right.
JARED BLUMENFELD: So, my time is very, very valuable because it's been commodified. So, when you commodify time, then everything is like on the clock.
FRIDAY APALISKI: What a depressing thought.
JARED BLUMENFELD: Like, how quickly is the Amazon person that will soon be replaced by a drone moving the boxes around the warehouse. If you waste time, right, you're wasting money. Having the luxury to think is classified as wasting time because how productive is thinking.
FRIDAY APALISKI: Yeah, but that's where all the good stuff happens.
JARED BLUMENFELD: So, maybe one of the resolutions I'll add is that in 2019, I don't want to be busy. Busy kind of connotes there's a lack of control. There's chaos. Yeah. That's a good resolution.
FRIDAY APALISKI: Alright, let's review our resolutions. One weekend in nature, every month more with the clean air moms. More mom activism.
JARED BLUMENFELD: Yeah. Yeah.
FRIDAY APALISKI: I’ve been watching a lot of nature shows lately, my son is all the way into them, so maybe part of this is really stemming from that? And there's like no filter, right? I mean, I can’t remember what plastic thing it was, something and Everett just looked at and he goes, mom, is this plastic going into the ocean?
JARED BLUMENFELD: Maybe that's a show we need to do. How to talk to your kids about the environment.
FRIDAY APALISKI: Oh yeah, Let's do that.
JARED BLUMENFELD: How much of this plastic is going into the ocean?
FRIDAY APALISKI: Is all the plastic going in the ocean?
JARED BLUMENFELD: No, just 10 million tons a year.
FRIDAY APALISKI: So, for me, the resolutions that you bring to mind are just enjoying the life that we have. Not at the expense of ignoring all the terrible things that are happening. I really love your resolution of spending at least one weekend a month outdoors because I love being outdoors. You get more energy just being around nature, you get like a new lease on life and you sense of possibilities. That's going to be one of my top ones as well.
FRIDAY APALISKI: Oh good.
JARED BLUMENFELD: And being less busy.
FRIDAY APALISKI: Yeah. Well they kind of go hand in hand.
JARED BLUMENFELD: Podship Earth goes into 2019. Who would have thought?
FRIDAY APALISKI: Oh, we all thought.
JARED BLUMENFELD: Every week, I never really know, like that “Week in review.” That was horrendous to put together. Oh my god.
FRIDAY APALISKI: Was it?
JARED BLUMENFELD: I thought it was going to be easy. I talked to Rob and David and I was like it’s Christmas. Let's just put together really easy shows.
FRIDAY APALISKI: Look back at all the work you've done for a year.
JARED BLUMENFELD: Anyway, thank you so much for being part of Podship Earth.
FRIDAY APALISKI: Thank you for having me.
JARED BLUMENFELD: Abig thank you to New York Times featured sustainability guru Friday Apaliski for hanging out with Podship Earth this week. Living with intentionality is not easy, but being able to say the words, “this is my life and I'm living it” is why we're on the planet. I love the idea of creating an eco-buddy network where you can get paired with people that realize that we can't do it alone. If you haven't read Pema Chodron before, you are in for a big adventure. She taught me the importance of letting go and that being compassionate requires that I first be compassionate towards myself. In that vein, don't worry if you can't meet all your resolutions all the time, but don't stop fighting to make them happen. Taking care of our own health is the first step to taking care of the planet's health. Next week we celebrate Martin Luther King by talking with Evelyn Knight, who in 1965, marched the 54 miles from Montgomery to Selma with Dr. King. Thank you so much for being part of the Podship Earth journey. From the entire Podship Earth crew, sound engineer, Rob Speight, producer Nancy Ferranti, executive producer David Kahn, and me, Jared Blumenfeld, best of luck with all your resolutions.