In 1968, the sanitation workers went on strike in the city so nice they named it twice. Most people probably hadn’t given much thought to the trash collectors except maybe to complain about the noise they made so early in the morning. Now, everyone was giving the sanitation workers a lot of their attention as clutter and filth filled the alleys, avenues, and sidewalks of New York.
Stiff winds blew flaming refuse down some of the most famous streets in the world. And the rats, and the nastiness, and the disease! Not just ugly, dangerous.
During this whole mess, there was one man who had his trash picked up regularly. Not because he was a privileged character but because he understood something about human nature. Each morning, he would set it out in front of his shop and within a few minutes his rubbish was removed.
Know what he did? He gift wrapped it. Presently, someone would come along, see the thin layer of shiny wrapping paper—perhaps a bow—assume that the package must have value, and steal it!
Gift wrapping the garbage: There’s a metaphor we could play with for a good long while, but let me just run one by you for now.
Let’s say that the garbage is a life situation (job, school, romance, finances, what-have-you) with which we are dissatisfied and feel helpless to change. The thin layer of gift wrapping is the cheap excuses we trot out for our sorry selves. When others accept our excuses or when we buy into our own excuses, that seems to give them validity and value. After a while, if we’re paying attention, we notice that no matter how neatly we wrap, no matter how much we curl the ribbon, no matter how pretty the pattern, the situation does not change. Then, to use On Course terminology, we stop acting like Victims, embrace the Creator role, stop making excuses, and start making progress toward what we want.
Is this a true story? Gary Zukav mentions in his book, Soul Stories, the way a Lakota elder (I’m guessing it was Black Elk) responded when a reporter asked if the story of the White Buffalo Calf Woman was true. The elder said, “I don’t know whether it actually happened that way or not, but you can see for yourself that it’s true.”Read all about it.