15 December 2006

Personal Waste

Here in America, we live in a disposable society--paper cups, plastic razors, polyester clothing. Disposable diapers, disposable people. As a whole, we have a pathological need to bypass the process and get to the result--whatever result--as quickly as possible. A lot gets thrown out--both literally and figuratively--and not even half of the trash is chaff.

Ever asked yourself just how much you (and your family) throw away in a day? Set aside a designated wastebasket this weekend and use only it. Hide all the other trash cans from yourself for 48 hours. Watch how much you accumulate. Then ask yourself, is this the way I dispose of the other things in my life as well -- the messy relationships, the untidy feelings, the whimsical goals and dreams which don't fit my chosen lifestyle or would offend my friends or family?

Then get a recycling chart and go through your trash and see how much of your waste can actually be reduced and reused if you separated it out, made room for it in your recycling bin, and took it to the center. I'd bet that there's a proportional relationship between what you toss literally and what you toss metaphorically. At the very least it would make a useful, self-reflective exercise.

We live in a disposable society. It's not our fault--it's the way we were raised and what we were taught to value. But we can change our own selves and our own habits once we become conscious of them. And if enough of us make that change, then the world will change with us.

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