Garth Dickinson: “There are no bad smells”

From the film Imagine: Surfing as Sadhana.

In 1999, while filming Imagine: Surfing as Sadhana, I met Garth in Australia right when I was about to scrap the entire project. Andrew Kidman, an Australian surf journalist, heard that I was making a film about surfing and spirituality. The day before I was about to call it quits on the film and fly back to America, Andrew approached me and said that he knew someone I had to meet. He told me that he had a friend who did not make any trash. With nothing to lose, I headed to a small South Eastern Australian town to meet Garth. Garth was a practitioner of permaculture, a way of farming the land that was completely sustainable. He lived in a three-walled shack, grew his own food, and cooked up delicious vegetarian meals.

Garth recycled everything including our urine. We would pee into buckets. Garth would dilute the urine and use this mixture to fertilize his plants. One night we were eating one of Garth’s delicious miso arugulla salads when the wind changed directions to blow from the direction of the pee buckets. Since we were in a three-walled shack, the smell of stale urine inundated the whole room. I almost choked in mid-bite when I smelled the nasty toilet odor, but Garth kept eating without even flinching a nostril.

“Garth, how can you keep eating with that horrible smell right in your face?” I asked.

“Kozo, there are no good smells or bad smells. There are only strong smells and weak smells. You judge these smells as good or bad. Thus, you create your own misery,” replied the surfing guru.

I try to remember this advice when I am frustrated or upset with something in my life. One could argue that there are no good experiences or bad experiences. We judge an experience, and thus, create our own misery.

Thank you for reading, sharing, or smiling.


6 comments on “Garth Dickinson: “There are no bad smells”

  1. Crystal says:

    Great post, Kozo. I really needed this right now. Thank you for writing it. The last line made me laugh because I actually really did all three… I read, I shared, and I smiled.

    =] Crystal

  2. Kozo Hattori says:

    Thanks for the comment, Crystal. As a lover of books, blogs, and wisdom, I can’t think of a better way to spend my day than reading, sharing, and smiling.

  3. […] ever fruit dish you have ever eaten. How about the best ever walk to school or coffee break? Like my friend Garth says, “Why isn’t it? Everything else is gone. It’s all a dream now. You’ve […]

  4. nick says:

    where can i find this film?

    • Kozo says:

      Due to music rights, I have not released it yet, unless you can get a copy from Japan. I will release the whole film on youtube, however. Stay tuned. Thanks for visiting.

  5. Shuichi says:

    Thank you! He’s my hero when I was watched your film. I wanna meet him.

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