Sometimes life sucks. Let’s just put that right out there and make no bones about it. I believe a lot in karma, in positive energy, maybe even a little in luck. I believe that the energy you put forth in the world is the kind that gets brought back to you; good begets good. I believe in the power of thoughts, of intentions. If you think positive, then positive things will happen.
But then I also believe in something I like to call Lisa Luck. Everybody at some point in their lives has experienced Lisa Luck, I just seem to experience it a lot. Lisa Luck is when you do your little bit of good in the world whenever you can, you’re kind to people, you do nice things, you put positive energy out there—then you sit back and watch as your world systematically falls to pieces.
Lisa Luck is the kind of occurrence that makes you want to drop to your knees in front of whichever deity you believe in and yell “Are you KIDDING me?!” it makes you want to run and hide, to assume the fetal position and admit defeat, but it doesn’t care about defeat. It’ll keep beating you up. I’m having an awful bout of Lisa Luck lately.
Usually I can rationalize it. I get overwhelmed and melodramatic sometimes, I’m a passionate and emotional person. Besides, it’s easy to throw a pity party and believe nothing will ever get better when you’re down in the dumps. Life is about perspective, though. It took a woman walking out of the radiology department today while I was waiting to get seen about my flu, tugging a hat down over her bald head, for me to remind myself of that. I’ll bet she’d have taken my petty woes in an instant, over her strife.
When I’m feeling like this, I usually work out. Exercise has been my vice since I was a teenager, when I’m in emotional turmoil I exhaust myself physically and everything gets better. I need exercise to stay balanced. The fact that I haven’t been able to work out in a week and will likely be sick for another week has no doubt contributed to my hysteria.
My other outlet is Mother Nature; when I surround myself with earthly beauty I tend to relax and let go of a lot of stress. The country livin’ is good for that, I’m surrounded by forests and lakes and nature in abundance, including bright starry skies at night. There’s a beautiful trail along the canal that spans for some 40 miles, nothing but trees surrounding you and the soft rush of the canal lulling you into peace. I love running on that trail, parts of it break off into dirt paths right into the forest and there’s something so majestic about it.
I don’t run much anymore (I used to run every day), but even still, this running trail is my favourite. Words cannot describe how much I love it, but it does have a dark side. With the recent warm weather we’ve been having, the snow is melting and revealing the ugliness that lies underneath: litter. Litter everywhere. Soda cans, beer bottles, chip bags. Littering is something I hate. I’ve chased down people in downtown Montreal for tossing trash on the ground instead of throwing it out or recycling it. I’ve picked up cigarette butts and flicked them back on the person who arrogantly threw them on the street. Nothing is more indicative of the self-entitlement of human nature than to look around you and figure you own something enough to pollute it. I hate that.
I needed some air and to get out of the house a bit, so I grabbed a garbage bag and a separate recycling bag, some gloves, and I headed out on my favourite trail. I picked up all the garbage I could find, even rummaging through some dirt to get to a few bottle caps here and there. The sheer amount of trash that people had just thrown there was so disheartening, but also served as a wake up call. I realized that though the trail spanned some 40 miles, I had never actually seen a garbage or recycling bin at any point. It doesn’t excuse the litter, but it does provide insight on why there was so much of it.
My energy is still not up to par so I wasn’t able to tidy up as much as I would have liked. I covered a good 3 miles before I had to stop and pack it in, but the garbage bag was full and the recycling one was half-full, so I felt pretty good about my efforts. It sure looked tidier.
It still seemed unfathomable that on such a long trail, no garbage bins were in sight. Most of the litter I picked up was discarded athletic items—wrappers from energy gels or chews, Gatorade bottles, band-aid paraphernalia. People often bike the full 40 miles and have some sort of energy bar or snack on them, and it would be ridiculous to attempt to hold onto that and steer a bike until you find a bin miles away. I sent an e-mail to the city about the problem, requesting bins at least at every mile or so. Hopefully that turns into something
RYOT Note: Cleaning up the green space in your area is a great way to give back to the community. If everybody did more of that all over the world, maybe we wouldn’t be faced with the terrible pollution problem that is overtaking our Earth. Over the course of a few hundred years, we’ve managed to pile so much waste into landfills and our oceans that many species are at risk of, or already are, becoming extinct. The Ian Somerhalder Foundation raises funds to find eco-friendly and animal-friendly ways of going about our every day life, whether it’s supporting green energy initiatives in companies or helping to save the sea turtles on the brink of extinction. You can help by donating, or by sharing this story.