Do you live in a place that has a hazardous waste day, a time when you can gather up all of the things you can’t put in the trash because they are too dangerous and drop them off where they can be properly recycled or disposed of?
My town does and I’ve been waiting a long time for it to come.
Incredibly, I have over 40 empty or partially used cans of paint, a host of cleaning products we no longer feel comfortable using and lots of small miscellaneous containers filled with I don’t know what exactly. They all need to go and I’m hoping it isn’t too much.
When I looked at the ‘acceptable items’ list it was overwhelming, from aerosol sprays, to fertilizers, fluorescent bulbs, mothballs, paints, resigns, weed killers. There were over 70 items and the first thing I wondered was where they were all going to end up?
It made me realize how much we contaminate this planet, and I pondered the magnitude of the situation. The factories that produce the items, the transportation to get them to market, the consumers who use them, and those who hopefully find safe ways to recycle or destroy them.
A nagging thought popped into my head, can they all actually be handled safely and destroyed, or do they live on and on?
This post was not meant to be a social commentary about our society and how we tend to turn a blind eye to cooperating with our environment. But it is sobering to consider.
I think it would be a meaningful question to ask myself…what is my contribution? Am I being a good steward of the earth’s resources? Most days, I wonder if I am.
And then another thought ran through my mind, offering me a new question.
What hazardous waste do I carry inside of me? What thoughts and patterns do I engage in that create toxic results for me?
I wondered what kind of a list would be generated if I sat with this for a little while. So, I did just that and here’s what came easily to me.
My Hazardous Waste List
Resentments (most of them pretty petty), prejudices (despite my best efforts not to), expectations (of the ways I think things ‘should’ be), anger (typically about things that don’t even matter), assumptions (which often lead to trouble), misperceptions (because I don’t wait long enough to see the whole picture), and blame (for things I don’t feel are my ‘fault’).
Do you recognize any of these? Are you home to any of them?
And given that I don’t like to get stuck in the middle of any process, I began contemplating what I could do with them. Was there a place I could put all these hazardous waste materials (thoughts)? Was there somewhere I could take them to drop them off and be rid of them?
I believe this is a question worth asking. I realize that one person’s method may differ from another’s; however, I think it’s often helpful when you hear what others choose to do because it might also help you and it might be something you would never think about on your own.
So, here’s my choice of what to do. I bring to mind an item from my list and ask myself one simple question.
Do they come from love or fear?
If they come from love, then I choose to keep them, but if they come from fear, I choose to release them. It’s a conscious decision. If, for example, a resentment surfaces, I have to look at it, accept it, and recognize that at least in part, I own it. It is a part of me, but one I no longer wish to keep, so I give it away. For me, I hand it off to Lia, a feminine presence of god that loves me and helps to guide me. She takes it and it vanishes. And if it returns, I give it to her again.
For you, there may be other places to drop off your hazardous waste. You might write them down and burn them. You might send them love and if they come back, send them more love.
Whatever method you find that works for you, I encourage you to let go so that you can live your best life. May it be so.