Sweep Your Side of the Street

Over the holidays I took the time to make the trip back to Vermont where I grew up. It was a good time to visit family, and see my mom on her 96th birthday. God bless her! I took the opportunity to spend some time also with one of my favorite people, you may remember her from a previous blog, I called her the “IT” girl from high school, but today I’ll just refer to her as my one of my best friends.

As we sat at the bar at the Daily Planet in Burlington Vermont drinking tasty yet watered-down cocktails and sharing a plate of sliders we talked about, aside from the usual gossip of family and friends, our own journey towards a better life. Spirituality, signs from the universe and how to interpret them. I pulled out my Spirit of Nature Oracle cards and pulled 3 to find for her the Wisdom of the Green Man. As usual, it was completely relevant to what was happening in her personal life and a resounding ‘sigh’ followed.

Through our lively discussion we talked of focusing on the positive, avoiding toxic people and manifesting our future by smiling at the local barista.

Then she told me a story. Years ago on a visit to her late father he challenged her to ask him one question. The question she chose may have seemed broad, but it opened the door for something that could be extremely and intimately insightful.

It was both.

Always keep your side of the street clean.

That was his answer.

I knew where she was going and it didn’t have anything to do with beautifying your house frontage.

Sweep your side of the street, he said. That way the you know the crap anywhere else doesn’t belong to you.

If you know what you have and you know you have cleared your side of the street, your life, the rest of the crap ain’t yours. It’s on them.


But what does that mean in the real world. In today’s world.

We have a lot of crap. All of us.

We carry crap. We bury crap. We move our crap. We hide our crap. We try to divert attention from it.

But we still got it!

But really, we know. Eventually someone is going to see it, or find it, or dig it up and throw it right back in our faces. Now THAT is going to be a real mess.

Verdict on myself: guilty.

Boy do I have crap. I have gotten really good at avoiding big discussions. That statement in itself is the oxymoron of my life.I’m just gpnna take my crap and put it in the closet, under the rug, in the basement, out in the barn that I built ‘cuz I’m a real man (hard eye roll). Or maybe I’ll just say I’m living a better life and decide to forget I even have crap and then you know what? Everyone else will forget to even look for it.

No they won’t! That’s when its most obvious dude, seriously!

We all have crap.

We all will continue to have crap.

There’s no avoiding your crap.

Not until you deal with it, and that’s hard.

But why is it so damn hard to sweep our side of the street?

Because that crap has been there so long you don’t forget about it but part of you may convince yourself you need that crap, or its not as deep as you think. Or its the same crap everyone has so what’s the big deal?

The big deal is you!

What are you doing with your life? Where do you want to go? Is there something better, somewhere nice, someone different perhaps? And don’t you want to experience all of what life has to offer? But you can’t load up your crap in your carry-on and take it around the world with you.

I mean sometimes we do. We carry our crap with us wherever we go.

Sometimes we leave it at home. And it’s right there when we get back.

Have the conversations that we have built up in our heads as so awkward and difficult and life-changing and damaging and hurtful. (this is so me right now). When really they are just…not. They are just honest. And the sooner we have them the less ginormous they are really. What can start out as a simple albeit significant discussion becomes this dark cloud of dust that kicks in front of your house causing your asthma to spike. And nothing is less manly than seeing the Marlboro Man bent over wheezing and pulling out his inhaler.

“I’m good! I’m good.”

Uh huh.

Dealing with our crap is necessary. I don’t care what kind of man you are, how deep your voice is, how much hair is on your chest or if you wax your man-brows. Your masculinity isn’t in question right now.

Or is it?

Man up!

Sweep your side of the street.

(thanks Krissie, xo)

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