Dare boldly

A blog by Louise Gallagher

Cleaning up the world around me


The difference was visible yesterday. All I had to was open my eyes and see it.

Calgary can be a windy city. Garbage flies around, plastic bags and other things cling to tall grasses, dig into the bases of trees, get caught on branches. Yesterday, as Ellie, the wonder pooch, and I walked along the ridge overlooking the river, I saw a plastic bag clinging to low hanging bushes at the base of a fir tree. Ellie, always eager to get off trail, pranced in the underbrush as I crawled beneath the tree to pick up the bag (I think she thought I was a little crazy). The base of the fir tree cleared of debris, we carried on our way, my eyes scanning the terrain for opportunities to clean up nature.

And there were. Many opportunities.

In fact, the reason for picking up the bag became apparent not far from where I picked it up. Someone had not thought to pick up after their hound. A pile of frozen dog doo-doo lay to the side of the trail. I used the bag I’d found to clean it up, which, given that I always walk with two bags in my pocket, would not normally be a problem. But Ellie, who ate a tub of fish food the other night, has been somewhat prolific in her bodily functions and I had used, and discarded appropriately, both bags I’d brought.

I wouldn’t have been able to clean up the mess if I hadn’t picked up that bag!

And yes. It is wrong that people don’t clean up after their dogs.

And yes. I was tempted to criticize, condemn and complain about their behaviour. But those are not energies I want to put out into the world, and so, I breathed and whispered a prayer to the Universe that I say when faced with opportunities to give into my lesser emotions. “Bless them. Forgive me.”

It was easy to make a difference yesterday. All I had to do was clean up the world around me and help it sparkle.

Author: Louise Gallagher

I believe in wonder. I believe we are all magnificent beings of divine beauty. I believe we can make a difference in this world, through every act, word, thought. I believe we create ripples with everything we do and say and want to inspire everyone to use their ripple to create a better world for everyone. I'm grateful you're here.

9 thoughts on “Cleaning up the world around me

  1. Mothe Theresa said “if we all cleaned our own front steps the whole world would be clean!”


    • And it’s so true! Thanks Rhonda for dropping in and being part of the conversation. I find that when I focus on what I can ‘give’ or ‘do’ to be of service, I have less time to focus on what’s wrong with the world and other people 🙂


  2. Taking time to clean up what others discard without thinking twice. . . it’s really a bigger thing, makes a bigger difference, than we might at first think. In removing the ugliness and the unpleasant, it gives the world back its beauty and so gives us back an opportunity for inspiration and delight.

    You show how a change in perspective can make all the difference.


    • Thank you Maureen. We all do things everyday to make a difference. What I’m finding beneficial for me here is the intentional focus of writing about it — to create more of what I want in the world. It’s making a difference within me.


  3. you noticed a bag, and an emotion…and both used in a cleansing way.


  4. Great story. It does take an effort to clean up someone else’s mess without feeling anger that they made the mess to begin with. It’s a great way to exercise our forgiveness muscles.


    • It does Carol — and I do find it helpful to simply repeat — Bless them. Forgive me — and move on. I use it with people who cut me off in traffic, don’t wave thank you when I let them in 🙂 — I use it to offset my natural and so quick to jump to judgment voice of critical response. 🙂


  5. Pingback: A Year of Making A Difference

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