Do not ask me where I am going
as I travel in this limitless world
where every step I take is my home
~ Dogen ~
Zen, Tao, Chan
What if… we did see every step we take as being in our own home? What if we did see this limitless world as our home. The place we reside. The place that holds us safe, secure, comfortable. That keeps us surrounded by beauty. That supports the flourishing of our lives?
Would you walk differently? Step more lightly? Tread more gently?
Yesterday, as I got out of my car to take Beaumont for his walk at the park, I opened my door and there beside me on the ground was a pile of cigarette butts. Someone obviously had parked in that spot, pulled out their ashtray and emptied it on the ground.
Later, as Beaumont chased the ball that he insisted I keep throwing for him, I had to keep one eye on the ground to ensure I did not step on leftover evidence of other dog’s presence that owners had not picked up.
On my way home, I stopped at a local cheese shop to pick up delectable morsels for a girlfriend and I to share over a glass of wine. Just outside the shop I spied a discarded wrapper from the sandwich store next door. Someone had omitted to throw it into the cast iron garbage container that stood a few feet away at the edge of the sidewalk.
This is my home. Your home. Our home.
I regularly pick up other dog’s deposits while walking Beaumont. I also pick up litter on the street.
Yes, the original dog owner, the original litterer ‘should’ do it. But if they don’t, who will? Do we not each have a responsibility to take care, to pick up after those who do not?
If I don’t, who will?
The challenge is to pick up with a soft heart. To pick up trash without grumbling beneath my breath about inconsiderate ‘others’ as I complain about having to clean up after them..
To clean up with gratitude for the opportunity to be of service to this world which I call home can be challenging. I want to find the original offender and tell them to ‘do it right’. To quit being slobs. To start taking care of our shared world. Yet, if wherever I travel every step I take is my home, I must find the grace to be at home wherever I am, however the world is around me.
And that includes seeing everyone I meet, everything I encounter as part of my world, a world where I am responsible for the care I take, and give, to keeping my home clean, safe, beautiful and flourishing.
For today, let my mission be to treat all of this limitless world as my home. Let me carry only love in my heart and leave only peace in the wake of every step I take.