Running Garbage

A few mornings ago, I set out for an aimless run.  It felt good to carve a new route out of my urban jungle.

Near the end of my run, I saw two gentlemen volunteers picking up garbage in the street.  I felt an immediate sense of gratitude toward them for helping keep our neighborhood clean. 

I was quickly struck by a thought, why don’t I pick up a few pieces of trash as I cross their path.. to help them and our neighborhood. But I didn’t. 

My mind quickly sped through a logical laundry list of why not’s:

  • It’s garbage
  • It’s hot, you’ll end up wiping sweat off your face with a garbage-y hand
  • They are doing it, so you don’t have to

A few blocks later, I came across another garbage collecting volunteer. Between the volunteer and I, was another woman walking to her car. 

I watched as this woman bent down, slowly stretched her hand to the street, and picked up an empty can for the volunteer.

I was immediately consumed by my own sense of shame, of guilt, of love, of connection and of gratitude.  This woman stopped to help another make our neighborhood better, to contribute… where as I only thought about it.

Too often we want change, but we want others to do the work.  We are too busy, to important, to be the person that leads or contributes in making the change we want to see in our world.

The truth is, we all have a responsibility to take action towards the change we seek.  For ourselves, our neighbors, our world.  It’s not up to politicians, or consultants, or coaches… we have to lead the change, embody the change from deep within our hearts.  For it is in doing so, that we can create movements.

Logical laundry list be damned, I stopped at the next block, picked up a few pieces of trash, and threw them into a garbage can before finishing my run.


What changes do you want to see in the world? What would inspire you to create a movement of change for yourself or others?