Seems pretty elementary doesn’t it? I had been looking at the bathroom trashcan for days with frustration and aggravation. It was clearly filled to the top and yet no one would empty it- including myself.
Then today I walked in the house and discovered that the bathroom trash had been spread onto the floor by our tissue loving dog, JR.
Not immediately, but finally I cleaned up all the strewn trash and took the bag outside to the big garbage can. As I did this small task I had a breakthrough moment! I thought to myself, the trash isn’t going to empty itself. Why did it take so long for me to take it out?
What I discovered while completing this mundane task was that taking out the bathroom trash is very similar to cleaning up any “trash” in my life. Here’s how:
- The “trash” in my life, just like the trash in the bathroom wastebasket, generally goes unnoticed until it *reaches the top of the can, *overflows onto the floor (with or without the help of JR), or *starts stinking! When this happens the trash is acknowledged- no more oblivious living.
- Trash won’t take itself out. No matter if it is the garbage in the bathroom or the yuck in my life, it won’t handle itself. I have to make a conscious effort to deal with it. Action is required. Watching, waiting, wondering, wishing- won’t make the trash go away!
- There are obstacles that stand in the way of taking the trash out. In the case of the bathroom trash, one night I didn’t have shoes on my feet and our carport was wet from rain. The next night, the can was out by the road and I didn’t want to walk out that far in the cold. (excuses, excuses) Our bathroom trash was just like my life trash. There were obstacles that stood in the way of taking it out. Resistance to change, fear of the unknown, and feelings of overwhelm are just a few obstacles to taking out life trash.
The thing is life trash, just like bathroom trash, must be dealt with if you want to feel good. Think about it. Do you feel at ease when your can is overflowing? No. Just seeing that mess in my bathroom puts a damper on my mood. As I said, trash cans that need emptying make me frustrated and aggravated. I find it to be true in life too. When trash keeps coming up feelings of frustration and aggravation are sure to be part of daily life.
But once the trash is taken out, voila! Peace and relief enter the picture.
So if you’re like me and occasionally trash comes up in your life, try following these 3 steps to rid yourself of the mess:
- Acknowledge the trash– step forth from denial and recognize the trash that exists.
- Take action– pick up the pieces, take out the bag, clean up the can, whatever it takes. Just take action.
- Bust through the obstacles– break apart any resistance you have to cleaning up your life. Damn the fears and embrace your opportunity to gain peace.
Perhaps if we use these three steps we can avoid the frustration and aggravation that accompanies days of watching trash spill onto the floor.