A favorite location for many of my activities is the Sheyenne National Grasslands in the Leonard and McLeod, North Dakota area. Jorgens Hollow Campground makes a great place to park, organize, refuel, and relax while accessing the North Country Trail. Along with the pump for cold, fresh water, I make use of vault toilets within the primitive setting.
As a person who often reads signs, this one made me chuckle and contemplate. I understand in a primitive "pack-it-in, pack-it-out"campground someone may want to easily and anonymously discard their garbage. Human nature is fickle in that we desire pristine beauty while believing someone else can pick up our garbage.
What made for the contemplation is the thought of someone else removing garbage from the deep, blue pit of waste products. Why do people feel responsible to pick up the discarded garbage of others?
A fable written by the late Rabbi Edwin Friedman entitled, "The Bridge" speaks to the aforementioned reality. A person was being responsive to their new vision for life. While crossing a bridge on the way to pursue that opportunity, a passerby gave the person the end of a rope. The passerby jumped off the bridge being tied to the other end of the now taunt rope. The passerby, dangling from the rope said to the person on the bridge, "Remember, if you let go, I will be lost." Verbal exchanges continued between the two. "Why did you do this?" the person asked. The one dangling from the rope responded, "Just remember, my life is in your hands." The person on the bridge finally said, "I will not accept the position of choice for your life. You decide which way this ends." The other shrieked, "You cannot mean what you say. You would not be so selfish. I am your responsibility." You can find the conclusion to this fable by using the link above.
Questions of responsibility are cast about frequently today. The unpleasant situations of life are thrown into the hands of others. The question needs to be individually answered, "Do I want to remove someone's trash from the pit?" Do I want to create and foster dependency? Do I desire to promote that all people are able to respond to their circumstances? What is the difference between assisting personal development and taking care of someone else's life and behaviors? Are the lives of other people in my hands?
My outlook has become focused on responding in conjunction with my core values. I am able to respond as an individual. I choose how to act. My action will not "change the world." I do not have that much power. I do believe that when individuals respond in agreement with their core values greater changes occur. The critical work for each person is the foundational work. It is discovering and living into a vision of self-empowerment which by its nature will impact our surroundings and society.
Please do not throw garbage into the blue liquid pit and expect someone else to remove it. Take care of your business!
If you want to view my video reflections, here is a link to my YouTube channel.