l

The 77% Weekly Newsletter

SPIRITUAL NOURISHMENT DELIVERED FRESH TO YOUR INBOX 40/52 WEEKS A YEAR. FREE.

I guess it’s up to me

As a guy, I feel safe being outside before it is light. This allows me to jog around my neighborhood before my brain awakens. And, that’s great, because if I go out early enough, I don’t really remember that I really did it, which his good, because I don’t enjoy this form of exercise.

 

In Portland’s six-plus months of winter, I often wear gloves. I do this for warmth and because it allows me pick up trash with a diminished “yuck” factor.

 

A little more than two years ago, I began what is now my routine of picking detritus as I go.

 

Questions and answers about my practice:

 Is this my job?

Yes. 

 How do I know?

Because the trash is there.

 

Did I drop that trash there?

That doesn’t matter.

Whose turn is it to load the dishwasher?

Mine.

How do I know?

There are plates in the sink.

 

If I’m in the house and there are plates in the sink it’s my turn to load the dishwasher.

 

If I’m out walking and there is a piece of trash to pick up, I’m going to do it. (On my home island of Manhattan, my custom is not to do so.)

 

If I want a flourishing democracy, I’m going to go to the phone bank again this Tuesday night and encourage voters to get out there. If I want racism to stop, I am going to use my voice in the moment  – even if it is awkward.

 

It’s up to me.

 

And, it’s up to you.

 

You don’t have to like doing it, you just need to do it.

 

 

With pleasure or not, still do it.

My friend Pierce, a peace activist often says,

There is a big difference between saying ‘I have to’ and ‘I get to.’

So, how am I going to approach this task that is assigned to me to do? Am I going to approach the “work” ahead as something that I have to do, or am I going to approach it as something I get to do?

 

All the tasks before me, when I look at them with the right set of lenses, are meditative, inner practices.

 

Am I my brother’s keeper?

Yes.

 

Am I the one upon whom the balance of the world depends?

Yes.

 

And you are too.

 

Yes.

My friend, John Pavlovitz, puts it this way. He says, “At the end of the day, the world will either be a more or less kind, companion  and loving place because of your presence. Your move.”

 

What are you going to do about this world with all of the garbage around you?

 

Spiritual bypassing ≠ help

by•pass/’bīˌpas/ – a secondary channel to allow a flow when the main one is closed or blocked.”

Reality at times gets too much to handle and we need an alternate route. Shock and denial displace us from reality but this dissociative calm should not be confused with true peace. It is not. A larger than normal number of people are frightened and acting irrationally and you believe you feel magical peace? (You don’t. You are dissociating. Come back, we need more help.)

I know a lot of people who wish and wish and wish that the garbage in the world just go away. It won’t. 

Get out there and pick up trash!

 

Conclusion

There’s a quote in Jewish wisdom literature that dates to before the year 200, a saying of Rabbi Tarfon:

“It is not your responsibility to fix the world, but neither are you free to not do anything about it.”

I’m not gonna fix the garbage situation, but that doesn’t mean that I can jog past trash on the ground without picking it up.

 

I am hereby challengeg you to do the same: fix this world. Make it heaven on earth.  Get out there and pick up trash!

TOOLS TO CONSIDER:

[featured_products per_page="8" orderby="menu_order" columns="1" order="ASC"]
Hello!

Hello!

Rabbi Brian Zachary Mayer

I’m glad you are here. Really. I know this is just a website. But, if I think of it as my home on the web, I want you to feel at home. Let me know if I can be of help. And, if you haven’t signed up for the newsletter, let me suggest that you do. It’s pretty awesome – something spiritual in your in-box 40 / 52 weeks a year.

Patience. Dog

Patience. Dog

Walk number one After dinner, before bed. A summer evening. Emmett and I are walking JJ around the block. We are chatting. About Minecraft and magic tricks. We are buddies. > Em, can you help me think something out? > Sure. >People always say that they wish...

read more
Labor Day. Together.

Labor Day. Together.

“You need to give me an overview of which way we are going.” Jane is driving. I am crocheting yet another hat in the seat next to her. Driving makes her feel a little more secure and in control. There are a few sermons in this. About perceived control. About knowing...

read more
The SIXTH Love Language

The SIXTH Love Language

A NOTE FROM THE FUTURE: Hi. This is Rabbi Brian in 2019. August.  The article below was written in 2014. It's wonderful. But, not how I'm thinking today. The difference is... THE 6th LOVE LANGUAGE There is another love language -- fidelity, faithfulness, doing the...

read more
The Thirty-Five Year Gosub Redemption

The Thirty-Five Year Gosub Redemption

October. Portland. Bedtime. Annie’s room. 2018 "But I shouldn't be in that group," my daughter wailed over and over again. Annie was put in remedial fourth-grade math at the start of the school year. She hadn't learned her times tables. Her teacher explained that...

read more

Few problems are solved by an email your in-box.


This is an exception.

40 curiosity-satisfying, soul-nuturing messages (with a little spunk) from Rabbi Brian. Raw, honest, vulnerable reflections on faith/religion/spirituality. Without being dogmatic, pompous, or woo-woo. Or overly Jewy-McJewish.

Plus $130-savings on $180 patience mini-course.

Wonderful! You did it. Look for an email soon! (Unless you want to work on your patience, of course.)