I know this sounds like a Head & Shoulders commercial, but when life gives us the opportunity to do something positive, if we can do it, we should.
For instance, I was walking into CVS yesterday when I passed a paper towel lying in a parking spot. It was several feet behind me before I realized it, and figuring I would look pretty strange if I backtracked in the parking lot just to pick it up, I walked inside.
As I was making my way to the back of the store, the paper towel kept nagging at me. I should have picked it up, my conscience scolded. Okay, I admitted, I'll get it on the way out, and stood in line at the pharmacy department. My sense of guilt was relieved as I waited.
But when I made my way out of the store, there was a car parked over the paper towel! Drats!
What was I to do? Wait? Who knows how long that would take? And I certainly wasn't going to climb under the car to get the paper towel.
A couple of years ago, while I walked my dog around the block, I'd place all of the litter I found in a plastic bag. But I stopped because I started getting obsessed with picking up trash--attached, to use Buddhist terms. Really, I was way too interested in neighborhood trash; I couldn't walk three feet without stopping to fill my bag. I think there's a fine line between keeping your neighborhood clean and indulging in obsessions. Now, when I pass some garbage I'll pick it up if I can, but I won't go bonkers about it.
But the "paper towel incident" wasn't a waste; it taught me that if you have the chance to do something good, do it. Don't check, and at the risk of now sounding like a Nike ad, just do it.
Photo borrowed from Creative Commons flickr usr: shaggyshoo.