I notice something amiss while I'm out on a walk or biking to errands: Last week it was a walnut sized rock in the middle of a busy street--the kind that hops onto car windshields and creates new business for the windshield repair shops. I had already crossed the busy road when I saw it. I was tired from teaching Zumba, and had a shower to take and an office to ready before client appointments. But, I couldn't let go of the thought that the rock had a sizable potential to negatively impact (pun intended) a car driver's day. So I turned around and picked up the rock.
And so it's been: I notice the plastic shopping bag blown onto a shrub, or the Macdonald's order strewn on a sidewalk, or the empty coffee cup or.....
Do I always bother? No, I do not. I cannot stop for every bit of trash I see. Yet I do bother if I notice and am bothered. And I feel good for having acted.
A week ago, I was on beautiful Orcas island in order to give a talk on a Monday night. Fully taking advantage of the free time before the talk, I went for a hike at my favorite park-- always a sacred place for me. And it's also a place where I've been known to lose track of time.
And so it was that while I was well into my favorite lakeside hike I finally bothered to look at my watch for a time check and realized I needed to pick up my pace in order to get to my talk on time. I had a considerable distance yet to go.
And then I heard a sound--a strange squeaky sound coming from slightly offshore. I walked on by the squeaks, but my curiosity got the better of me: What was it? Animal? Log squeaking against another log? I backtracked and listened and looked towards where the sound was coming from. There was a breeze coming off the lake, and I saw a log moving slightly in the water, and that could have satisfied my curiosity--surely it was the log rubbing up against something.
But nope, somehow that didn't seem right, so I gingerly stepped over branches in the water to see what might be happening where the sound came from...
And there it was: a baby goose, one foot stuck between the log and a tangle of branches. The other foot was flailing-ly trying to step up onto the log; but the more lil' gosling tried, the more stuck it got.
I considered: "Shoot, I'm already running late. But damn! Now I'm here, and I cannot un-see what I am seeing." So I initiated mission Set Gosling Free.
First approach was using a large stick to move the branches. No go. Next was trying to move branches away from gosling by inserting hand into branches near his foot. Wow. I never knew a wee gosling could make such a fuss. He flapped his tiny wings and even nipped at me.
Now I was 20 minutes into the mission. Gosling was tired, and I was frustrated, but determined. One last tactic: Put hand firmly on gosling's back, send calm thoughts, and the other hand will extricate the foot without damaging the poor thing.
And it worked and the gosling was free to flap and paddle to the other side of the lake to hopefully join the rest of his peeps (pun also intended).
Maybe it was magic, or maybe the adrenaline, but I somehow reached my car in plenty of time to prepare for and arrive at the talk on time.
It's interesting to note that it does NOT seem to matter that I find these "bothers" at times when I am in a hurry. Maybe it's the Universe's way of saying: "You have GOT to bother once in awhile. Why? Because it counts."
Yes it does. Every positive action I take or you take counts towards creating a world of kindness and caring. And, dare I say, it actually negates a negative action.
That last statement is a statement of faith, not fact. But I believe it's a good faith to have. Go ahead: dare to notice, and dare to bother. The Universe will make time for you.