Lately, I have taken to picking up trash from the street during my daily walks. I am not sure exactly how it started, but before I knew it, when I would get back to the office, my hands and pockets were beyond full. For the past two weeks I have continued to do this rather mindlessly, and somewhat neurotically as I tried to pick up everything that I would see.

Today ,however, was different. I woke up feeling very tired. Often a walk is just the thing to wake me up; so right before lunch I put the ipod on and headed out. I began to come across the usual pieces of trash; papers, cups, used cans, etc. However, as I went to the reach for the first one I hesitated and then passed over it. I rationalized it by saying it was cold and I needed to keep my hands in my pockets. But as I began passing by more trash, I became concerned. I felt like I was letting some unknown force down for not “doing my part.”

Where had my drive gone? Had I given up? Was it just a bad day or was I starting not to care? It turns out, it was none of these things, but more about that later. A little further on I saw a bottle. Suddenly and without hesitation I placed it in my pocket. A few moments later some scraps from an old box, then two paper cups, some soda cans, etc.

As I continued on I saw several more containers and pieces of garbage; but by now my hands were quite full. So what the heck does this have to do with Addiction with Purpose? Trust me I am getting there.

Today I learned that I cannot pickup all of the trash that I see on my daily walks. While I have been rationalizing not picking up trash at the ends of my walk because, my hands were full, I could not offer myself the same grace at the beginning of my walks. In turn, I would load myself up with trash early on and then I was left with no capacity as the walk went on.

Have you ever felt this way? You take on a whole bunch of trash only to find you have no room to do the things YOU really want?

In an instant, I saw the metaphor between picking up trash and taking on to many commitments. Often, I cannot say no to anything; even when I should. I keep taking on more and eventually I get paralyzed. Today, the garbage, taught me that perhaps it is ok to pass on occasion so I have room for later. Not everything that comes my way is right for me. Simply put, I need to stay true to my path.

It may sound simple, but this really was a revelation to me. It turns out by waiting I could pick up more things along the walk, by not being so burdened up front. I am taking what I have learned and after I finish typing this I am turning down an opportunity that has recently come my way. I am passing on income, but also the time consumption and stress of something that is not aligned with my path. In turn, I trust that I will be ready when the next right opportunity comes my way. Wish me luck and good luck to you, staying on your path!

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