I was driving home yesterday, looking for a sign.
I’m planning to spend the month of August talking about signs, since so many of us seem to be looking for them these days. Because I’m writing in the morning this month (or have a goal to do so), I have to find a sign the day before.
So I was looking for a sign. To photograph. And next to a bridge, in a vacant lot, I saw a dumpster with a sign like this one: waste management.
I started to think about managing waste, my own waste.
I realized that I have much waste to manage.
My attention is often wasted, watching email, twitter, Google Reader, the faces of people. I spend inordinate amounts of time looking for reactions rather than devoting my attention to action, whether in activity or intentional stillness.
My anxiety is often wasted. I could often be anxious FOR something to happen, a sense of anticipation, of hope. Unfortunately, I turn that into being anxious THAT something will happen, a sense of dread, of despair.
My abstinence is often wasted. I often refrain from doing things for fear that people will be offended, that someone will not like me. At times, such abstinence turns into an element of pride (“I don’t do that.”) And while you may be thinking about certain activities associate d with that word, how often do you or I abstain from affirming, from encouraging, from laughing, from running with abandon (or scissors).
My activity is often wasted. I do for the sake of doing rather than for purpose. Just so I’m not accused on thinking we all have to be driven by work, the purpose can be to have fun, to do nothing, to be refreshed. But I often abstain from having fun and create activity that looks like work. And that’s a waste.
I’ve only started the alphabet of waste, and now my 15 minutes for writing are gone. But perhaps a long list of areas of waste would be a waste itself. Perhaps the best way to manage waste is to spend less time looking for it and more time creating abundance.
Happy weekend. Don’t abstain too much. Be anxious for nothing.