Eliminating Waste

Mike Gellman

“I just had the best pee of my entire life!” a fellow seminarian exuberantly exclaimed as we all settled into our seat cushions on the classroom floor. I was at a personal retreat in Big Sur. Everyone in our class had just returned from a 30-minute silent walking meditation in magnificent outdoor surroundings.

I found it odd and somewhat humorous that someone could get such pleasure out of eliminating waste. At a more recent retreat last holiday season, another seminarian exhaustively exhorted that he was in so much (emotional) pain that he didn’t know if he would be able to bounce back from some unfortunate life events before he “ran out of time.” This was a more dramatic and catalyzing moment for me. I couldn’t help but ask myself how one gets to such a place where they see no way out. I truly felt for him. Instead of physical toxins, my new friend’s mind was filled with toxic thoughts that needed to be released or resolved in some way.

It occurred to me that both situations involved similar obstructions; the former being amusing and the latter being alarming. Both peers had a build up of waste. As it happens, such toxicity is also something that gets in the way of us thriving in our careers. We become weighed down by “unfinished business” that, often unconsciously, draws our attention and energy away from goals we’ve set for ourselves. Instead of being focused on the present and taking positive steps towards the creation of our desired future, we become “backed up” and stuck in the past. Therefore, we must find ways to flush out any toxins taking up unwelcome residence in our minds and hearts.

As the end of the year is upon us, it behooves us to reflect, examine, and bring into awareness any of our own incompletes that interfere with thriving in our respective careers.

In what areas of your life do you have unfinished business to eliminate?