Because I don’t like your behavior, I’m going to hit myself with a hammer


Steve Roberts black ink drawing of man holding a hammer up to a bullseye on his forehead

“I spent the day cleaning up trash people had tossed by the roadside––tires, mattress, refrigerator, endless beer cans and fast food containers––and as the hours wore on I got more and more infuriated at those who created this mess.”    ~ An acquaintance (though it could have been me)

My bet is that only incidentally has the universe created “Green Up” days in order to beautify the Earth Mother, useful as such sprucing is.

A much keener, more healing, objective is to provide us knuckleheads a reminder of how much we blame others for our ruffled peace of mind…and how wildly nuts that is, even if just about every one of us is a champ at it.  Heck, if we couldn’t blame, the planet would be so quiet we’d finally hear worms rapping.

The problem isn’t blame or anger or resentment, per se; it’s holding onto them––not freeing them.  I, for one, have never become more peaceful or joyful or playful while snarking about others.  Quite the opposite, since I might as well be saying: “Because I don’t like your behavior, I’m going to hit myself with a hammer.”

If it’s true that we’re all responsible for our actions, litter-meisters are responsible for their littering, but not for my feelings about it.  That’s on me.

Life gets pretty electric when we begin to let in the possibility that how we define our world creates our world.  Pretty soon we’re asking: “Why am I defining my world in such a way that someone else’s behavior determines the quality of my happiness?”  (Even if that behavior is wretchedly harmful and we’re motivated to work like crazy to change it.)

Is it possible to respond to the racist remarks of NBA owner Donald Sterling without being angry?  Is it possible to go to war without hating your enemy?  I think so, but it takes work.  Blame is so seductive: making others responsible for our misery.

Imagine what life will be like when we’ve grown to consider “Green Up” day a sacred ceremony to beautify not only our external world but our internal world as well––dumping everything that isn’t love.



  1. Wise words Steve – as usual you hit it right on! As Nelson Mandela said: “Hanging on to resentments is like taking poison and expecting it to kill the other person”

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"I honor that we are killing the earth for the same reason I consider being an alcoholic a privilege: it is a doorway to the profound self-understanding required to make truly healthy choices."

The Essay: Honoring the Killing of the Earth