Winter Waves with Why’s Sighs
Walking up to the ocean yesterday I saw bursts of blue and white as the surf coming was churning—pelicans and other sea birds dove in and out of the breaking waters to grab fish that were perilously swimming near the surface.
As my children and I set up our minor camp devoted to playing in the sand and snacking, I was upset to see that there was more trash than usual on the shoreline. I grabbed one of the extra plastic bags I had arrived with and set to work. It’s become an automatic part of my beach ritual—shortly after setting up our spot in the sand, I start picking up any trash within sight and sometimes walk further on to take care of any debris/refuse I see. I’m not better than anyone else for doing this. A switch went off in me one day and I began picking up any garbage at the beach because it’s just the right thing to do.
Sorting through the mounds of seaweed I found everything from plastic forks, drink bottle caps and other random human artifacts. It occurs to me that we are so busy with our things that we consume and the people we associate ourselves with. Without meaning to, we can become pretty cold and detached with each other whether we know each other or not.
There are simply times in life that we need to do the right thing regardless of whether we get recognition. If everyone who visited the beach worldwide picked up whatever trash they ever saw no matter who noticed them—I don’t think we’d even know that litter on seashores was an issue at all. It’s amazing how powerfully beneficial we can be when we work in unison toward the common goal. Taking personal responsibility is a remarkably simple, singular concept that our human society is nearly incoherent in while we advance with break-brain speed in digital technologies.
My Sand Thanks Your Sand
Later in the day I ended up at the local mall and unexpectedly walked up to the Santa Claus photo line with my children in tow. It was during that cranky late afternoon that most parents care to avoid as I was plowing throw at this moment and a young man came up to us with a pleasant greeting. That he managed to get one of my kids smiling after having just been in the throes of a tantrum was a welcome miracle. It’s amazing how such a little kindness can have such a grand flood of gratitude in its wake.
Unfortunately, given our frantic pace these days in our respective lives, it is more common for those waves of thankfulness to be followed by a calm sea of inaction. I am thoroughly guilty of this on a continuous basis. The best thing we can do is try to reach out and let those people or entities (like a company) know that we are appreciative.
After our Santa Claus meet-greet-photo-and print adventure, I took a mall comment card and wrote in detail my thanks to the photo staff. Pushing my active children in a massive double stroller I maneuvered to the Mall Information desk and after they asked what they could do for me I replied, “Just want to say thanks!” and handed them my completed comment card. The three ladies stared at me aghast and the one in the middle said, “We hardly ever hear something say thanks or something good, usually complaints.” We are so programmed to just accept negative and dole out more of the same. This is an energy cycle by people today that yields little if not more negative return in the future. Why don’t we just start in the little ways to say “thank you” already? Why not try to put more positive and focus on what’s working well than always reverting to what’s wrong?
Back to the Beginning: Sand and Sea (See?)
As complicated as our problems have become on a geo-political scale and can make the masses feel paralyzed and powerless—the reality remains that we can individually make a major difference in how we simply deal with ourselves and each other.
Let’s try to do what we know is the right thing whether or not anyone is watching. You see litter, pick it up. You see someone needing physical help, offer it. Instead of us always thinking someone else will do it, let’s be the “someone” and operate as though no one ever sees it’s you doing it.
Those who raised us told us to do it and we tell the next generation the same: say “Thank you.” Let’s try to go beyond just the words and understand that it helps to send a “pearl” letter or note to an employer describing how good your experience was with this particular employee(s). Have we noticed an increase in request for surveys? There are many reasons for that and I believe one of them is to know if people are happy with services/people. Let’s take it to a more personal level, why not send a snail mail note to parent or loved one who helped you when you were growing up and tell them so?
Greeks sigh too, a haunting ballad to the sea: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=seru4FXuydg&NR=1&feature=endscreen