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My Daily Walk: Lessons From a Recycle Bin

recycle bins

I walk often and enjoy exploring different areas. One thing I’ve noticed consistently in my own neighborhood is that the recycle bins are always strewn about all over the sidewalks and in the road after collection. This is a nuisance and unsafe as there are many walkers and small children riding bikes. In time, this began to anger me so much that it was all I noticed.

Finally one day a garbage truck was working where I was walking. Irritated that it should go without saying, but in as kind a presentation as I could muster, I pointed out what I thought was obvious. The gentlemen informed me that it is a different branch that handles the recyclables. Completely embarrassed, I looked up the road where they had just finished and saw that every single trash can was neatly placed where it belonged. That made me judge the “other guys” even more!

Fast forward to a totally different part of town. Same story. At that moment I realized that improper management was the issue. Perhaps the crews are instructed to get the job done as fast as possible at any cost. Who knows? I was once married to a mail carrier that was trained to cut across lawns to reduce their steps to save time and lengthen their route. This increased my awareness to “seek first to understand” and also made me realize how I was dwelling on this seemingly insignificant situation.

So in my usual fashion, I worked at turning it into a positive. Instead of getting agitated, I simply moved each misplaced bin to a safe place. With every bin, I noticed a bit more anger being replaced with a bit more joy. The simple task of helping instead of instigating, completely transformed my state of mind. It was much easier and took way less energy to be joyful rather than remain angry. Happiness is a choice.

So the next time you are bothered by something, simply “remove the bin”!