Thursday, January 10, 2013

10/365 Trash Collection

"Real Life Trash Collection"

Today’s photo prompt was “real life.”  That has so many possibilities!  

The other day when the prompt was “movement” and I had no idea where I was going with that, I was sitting at the dining room table drinking my morning coffee as the trash truck came.  We had the last of our Christmas trash out so the pile was bigger than usual.  I watched as the men tossed the boxes into the truck with a rhythm a little out of sync with the truck’s blinking lights.  I thought to myself, I wish that I had my camera in my hand right now rather than a coffee cup because this would be a great movement picture.  I finished my coffee and missed that picture.  But, I did make a mental note about wanting to try to get that picture.

Later that day when I looked at the prompts for the rest of the wee, I saw today’s prompt.  Life doesn’t get much more real than having to collect your trash and carry it to the curb.  I knew what my picture would be.  I  thought again about this picture both literally and metaphorically.

Trash is generally understood to be something that is useless, worthless, broken or something to be discarded.  The stuff that fills the bags we put on the curb for the garbage collector - excess product packaging, paper towel and toilet paper rolls, used tissues (if the dog doesn’t beat you to them), containers from consumables - we all probably can agree are rightfully termed “trash.”  We do our best to recycle what we can and the rest is carried away to a landfill “somewhere.”  Its kind of crazy how this works.  The point here is that dealing with our physical trash is a weekly chore and is usually easily dealt with.

Our metaphoric trash is another story.  We all have the potential to became trash receptacles - either as one of those huge industrial dumpsters where lots of people dump their trash or as just a tiny trash can for convenience.  However much or however little trash our container holds, trash is still trash and needs to be discarded.

Hurtful words, perceived failings, missed opportunities, unhappiness, loss and so on make up our inner trash.  These things clutter the shelves of our hearts and the rooms of our mind.  Just like we throw away that empty paper towel roll (this excludes parents of pre-schoolers who are always asked to collect such things for “a project.”), we also need to throw away the trash inside, the trash of the past.  We need to fill those big plastic bags with the words that hurt us in grade school, or high school or an early personal relationship.  We need to toss all of the “could have beens” and make room for the “can be’s.”  De-cluttering our insides is even more freeing than a clean house.  Yes, I really said that.  Hard to believe, right?

The new year is still young and we are still holding firmly to those resolutions made ten days ago.  It is not too late to add another.  As you are cleaning out those closets, drawers and garages, consider adding the clearing out of the trash in your heart and mind as well.  Make it a goal to throw away those things that are cluttering your inner life and keeping you from living wholly and beautifully.  Toss those things in a bag, tie it tightly  and let them go.  

IMPORTANT: Do not put these things in the recycle bag.  You don’t want them back and nobody else needs them either!

Give thanks today for the waste management professionals in your life - those who literally pick up your trash from the curb and also those family members, friends and strangers who have helped you clear the junk from your inner trash receptacles.