March 10th, 2012

I’ve been working on a Mindfulness Meditation exercise called “Leave No Trace”. The exercise is to pick one area of your house and make sure that every time you enter that space, or use that space, you leave it in such a way that your best friend, husband, roommate, etc, would not know you had been there. So, in the kitchen – wash the dishes you used AND put them away. In the laundry room – finish the job! Fold an put away the clothes rather than leave them in the dryer or a laundry basket. You get the point…

As I have been doing this, someone said, “You should leave things BETTER than when you found them.” I thought about it, and I disagree. Your intention should be to leave no trace. For example, if I come to stay at your house, and fill your fridge and freezer with yummy things I cooked for you, some might see that as leaving your kitchen better than I found it. But, if someone did that in my house, that would leave me without the groceries I need for my daughter’s snacks at school and the groceries I need for my husband’s restricted diet. Is that better?

As a band, or artist, or office employee, what does it look like to LEAVE NO TRACE? As a friend, parent, child, bandmate? Well, I have some ideas.

What if a band made sure that when they left a gig the stage was clear, all flyers, stickers, CDs and empties were put away or disposed of before load out?

What if your posters were taken down and the cables and mics and stands you borrowed were neatly put away – even if that is just to the side of the stage?

What if your co-workers never needed to empty your trash or recycling? And your mug was always washed and put away.

What if your friends did not need to worry about the emotional baggage you dropped and then blew off?

What if your hotel maid only had to replace the linens and change the bag in your trash can?

Instead of focusing on BETTER, why not focus on what comes before better.

I have found that I am more aware of every dish and spoon I casually reach for. I have found that I am becoming more attentive the little “I get to it laters”. And I have found an extra hour in my day that I am not spending cleaning up old messes and old dishes. Weird, hunh? So, maybe BETTER is just about making sure I LEAVE NO TRACE.


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