Feb 272019

I’ve been thinking a lot about congruence — a word and a concept I was introduced to a long time ago. Back then, I was a scrambling single mom so the closest I could come was to know that most of my frenetic activity was aimed toward making a living and being a good mother. So why, then, did the concept of congruence make such a lasting impression?

Why did the concept of congruence make such a lasting impression? Click To Tweet

Congruence is defined, in part, as “agreement or harmony; compatibility.” I remember the workshop leader focusing on those concepts in day-to-day life. She talked a lot about consistently matching one’s behavior to values and beliefs. Walking the talk. The opposite of conflict.

When I worked on projects or for organizations that were headed in the wrong direction, a big part of my job was to ferret out incongruity. Finding out where an organization’s words and deeds were working against one another was often the most direct path to repair.
But how does the concept of congruence apply to individuals? The simplest example is an old meme from the ’60s and ’70s — lecturing about the “evils of marijuana” with an alcoholic drink in hand. Most of our personal peccadillos are not quite so obvious.

There are lots of ways to take inventory of our beliefs versus our behaviors. One tried and true method to find uncover our real priorities is to take a close look at our calendars. Time is not a renewable resource so where we spend it is a pretty good indicator of what matters. Behavior doesn’t lie.

If you’re wondering what prompted this trip down memory lane the answer is pretty mundane. It’s coffee. And product promotion.

So how can someone have a conflict with coffee? There are lots of ways we can overthink these things but for me, it was the coffee maker. Years ago, I was gifted a Keurig. It was a generous gift. A great idea. But after adding little plastic cups to our trash for a period of time, I gave it away. While I liked the thought of making only as much as we needed, it just hurt my heart to think that my coffee habit was adding to the plastic pollution problem.

It hurt my heart to think my coffee habit was adding to the plastic pollution problem. Click To Tweet

About a year ago, another single cup coffee maker made its way into my life. We tried filling individual cups with the blend of choice but quickly tired of the chore. And then, while shopping for gifts for my most eco-conscious family members, the answer came. I’m not usually a product person but I can’t shut up about this one. I “discovered” TaysT coffee, a company that provides completely compostable individual coffee brew thingies. It can all go into the compost — the box, the envelopes the coffee comes in… even the burlap that’s used in the wrapping. And the coffee is good, too.

I don’t generally write about products but occurs to me that I’m excited about this one because it solves a problem for me. Maybe not even a problem but a nagging ethical dilemma. And consistency in this area makes me happy. Are there a million or so ways I could be more congruent or more environmentally conscious? Of course. But I’m one who believes that our climate and pollution problems are more likely solved by 100 million people doing things a little bit right than 10 million doing it exactly right.


  6 Responses to “Coffee and Congruence”

  1. On my travels, I am continuously reminded that time is not a renewable resource. Thanks for sharing your insights, Andrea.

  2. Yes! It’s the everyday actions that make the real difference. We spent the summer recycling for the village an it was very messy but so worth it!!!

  3. Love the word and as I read on I was thinking about my own congruency and then in came coffee- something I am having a rest from, but you have me thinking as we have a machine with capsules and i now have to check on the compostability of these as they have a foil top. I know my worms in my work farm are not keen xxoo

  4. As a vegan, I run into this every time I go out to eat or am invited to dinner at someone’s house, and especially at those not-vegan-friendly church suppers. Do I go against my personal commitments, pretend I’m eating something as I push food around on my plate, or do I just stop going out to eat unless I bring my own and maybe hurt the hostess’s feelings? I’m sorry, but my integrity won’t allow me to go against what I know to be right for me and for the planet, even if it means I go out less … or else find some new vegan friends!

  5. You hit the nail on the head in the last paragraph. Small actions add up.

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