Personal Spiritual Transformation and Development
St Stephens Practice, 21a St Stephens Road
Norwich Norfolk NR1 3SP
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Flapping Cellophane in the Wind

I vowed to change the world today, my goal – to pick up one piece of litter each day. Change comes in all shapes and sizes and although not world saving it is world helping. So, there I was this morning jogging through the cemetery, when my eyes settled on a discarded cellophane sleeve from a bouquet of flowers. As I bent down to pick up my very first daily litter, I caught site of two more sleeves nearby. One became three as I carried on jogging, flapping cellophane in the wind.

I did feel a bit strange. Creating a habit always does but perhaps more honestly, I wondered about my new commitment. What if I couldn’t find any bins and had to keep hold of the litter my entire journey? Would it make me too aware? Instead of seeing the wood through the trees would I miss both the wood and the trees seeing only the litter? Do I want so much litter consciousness? Have I started something that would overwhelm me or swamp me with responsibility?

As the cellophane rustled I knew this morning’s vow was not as simple as just picking up a daily piece of litter. That’s easy, certainly manageable but in the very act of doing I find myself more aware of my environment. As my hand reaches down, the litter becomes my teacher.

We are the earth’s caretakers. We are awakening to the realization that we could have, should have, been aware and put more effort into the job while the earth remaining beautiful and bountiful is getting a bit ragged around the edges.

Life has a natural decay and when anything is left to gather debris, it will. Brought home to us when we have a clear out. Are we not amazed at all the stuff/junk we have amassed?

I think perhaps we have fallen ‘asleep’; turning responsibility over to local government believing it’s their job to do the tidy up. The problem with ‘passing the buck’ is we dissociate from our environment and no longer see the edges starting to unravel.

Imagine, just for a moment if we all vowed to pick up one piece of litter day? Imagine if it just became a habit? If litter consciousness came back into vogue and no longer would crisp packets, soda cans, cigarette butts, candy wrappers hit the ground? Imagine this awareness spreading with more people caring for those edges, our neighbourhoods, streets, parks, and green areas? Mighty oaks from little acorns grow.

Change doesn’t have to be big. A little act of kindness like picking up one piece of litter becomes a gift to us all. Once I settled into my new habit running with flapping cellophane in the wind felt a lovely thing to do.

Today I caught sight of the Earth, as she smiled with gratitude.