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Dumping Your Trash

I have a close friend, let's call him Bob, who recently related this story to me:

Bob lives in apartment complex and is often outside walking his dogs. Intense frustration is felt when Bob finds trash in the form of snack wrappers and empty water bottles left over from the kids playing in the parking lot. He gets infuriated when he sees the kids' littering but he becomes LIVID when he sees their parents doing it, too.

One day he had enough and, grabbing a trash bag, decided to pick up all the litter he found. But instead of throwing it away and moving on with life, he decided to save the trash and use it as an emblem of his anger at the carelessness of others. When the time was ripe (as was also the trash), Bob approached the parents one evening as they were sitting on a curb, chatting, watching their kids play, and dumped the bag's contents in front of them saying, "Here's your trash. YOU pick it up."

This got me to thinking: How often have I held on to "trash" from others I felt I HAD to pick up, carry with me, live with, smell, and fester in? This trash comes in the form of what other's have said to me and about me as well as my perceptions (or stories) about what other's have done to me over the years. I justified holding onto this trash because it will help me not get hurt in the future. Ironically, it's toxic waste that harms me everyday I continue to hoard it.

Now, I don't think dumping my trash on others is useful, skillful, or will produce any positive outcome. But perhaps by realizing that 1. I am keeping trash that needs to go, and 2. I justify keeping the trash when it makes no sense to hold on to it any longer, I will be more aware of my trash obsession.

The trash you carry around is only stinking up your life. But don't be like Bob....find a dumpster.

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