Organic Socks Gone Wrong

I’m one month deep into the Organic Experiment, and have been woefully underreporting my adventures. Apologies. Yet, I’m having many rich moments of bliss, and… well, many shrunken things. While I feel I should be sharing the baseline toxic load data I’ve collected, I’d like to start with a story about organic socks gone wrong and lessons learned.

That nothing is static or fixed, that all is fleeting and impermanent, is the first mark of existence. It is the ordinary state of affairs. Everything is in process. Everything—every tree, every blade of grass, all the animals, insects, human beings, buildings, the animate and the inanimate—is always changing, moment to moment. — Pema Chodron

I shed a lot of clothing as I prepared for my year of wearing organic, which continues to delight me endlessly. Found a like-minded soul – Bindu Wiles – who captured the bliss of limited choice in her “Shed Project.” Bindu, a white chick from Brooklyn who happens to be a Buddhist had the brilliant idea to pair down her belongings to 100 items only, over 8 weeks last fall, and rather than just wax poetic about her solitary journey, she invited the broader community to join her. Read about her experience right here.

Why does it make me so happy to have shed so many clothes? Do the old, toxic clothes weigh down my soul like negative coping patterns and excess weight? Why am I thrilled to have only 6 pairs of undies, 3 bras, 4 pairs of pants and 6 shirts? Why does the vacuous space in my dresser and closet feel like I’m making room for more important ways of being radically and outrageously present in the world?

It’s not all bliss and rapture: my first day of organic on New Year’s Day began with a load of wash which included my 5 pair of organic socks. You probably know where this is headed. My darling husband agreed to put the laundry in the dryer, and sheepishly emerged from the laundry room asking about caterpillars.

“Caterpillars?!” I repeated, stunned but slowly realizing that I had blithely washed my precious hand-knit organic socks, made from the kind sheep at local Petaluma sheep farm, Windrush, in hot water.

“I opened the washer and there were these weird 2 inch furry caterpillars staring up at me,” reports my sweet husband, David Gottfried, “and they looked curiously like the socks you so happily knit a month ago. Now one finger doesn’t fit inside. Sorry, Babe!”

Caterpillars. We all had a good laugh and a reminder about impermance. The Organic Experiment is in process and I’m down a few socks, an expected part of the flow of daily, ordinary life. Weren’t those socks just on loan to me?

The most unfair thing about life is the way it ends. I mean, life is tough. It takes up a lot of your time. What do you get at the end of it? A Death! What’s that, a bonus? I think the life cycle is all backwards. You should die first, get it out of the way. Then you live in an old age home. You get kicked out when you’re too young, you get a gold watch, you go to work. You work forty years until you’re young enough to enjoy your retirement. You do drugs, alcohol, you party, you get ready for high school. You go to grade school, you become a kid, you play, you have no responsibilities, you become a little baby, you go back into the womb, you spend your last nine months floating …and you finish off as an orgasm. –  George Carlin