My friend John is an avid hiker and lover of the outdoors. Sometimes when he hikes in the mountains, he notices trash on the trails. In the past, this would upset him. He’d launch into an indignant monologue, saying “How can people be so disrespectful? …What is wrong with them?”
The trash ruined his hikes. Then, he had an idea.
He now brings a trash-collection bag to the mountains. When he sees a piece of trash, he picks it up.
This simple gesture created an amazing change of heart.
Trash was once the enemy. Now it is an opportunity. John feels good when he finds a Power Bar wrapper or a discarded bottle of Gatorade. He experiences profound joy as he makes the world cleaner for himself and others. He looks forward to finding the trash that was once so disturbing. Because now it makes him happy.
How did the trash become treasure?
Trash and other external conditions do not have the power to ruin us, no matter how bad they seem or how righteous we feel about things.
Attitude alone puts put us in a destructive or constructive relationship with what is.
And of course, this story about finding treasure in trash is a metaphor for our lives.
All of the metaphorical “trash” that litters our field of dreams – the confusion, fear, hate, distress that we see in ourselves and others –this is all treasure in hiding. Adversity exists for our awakening. Trash exists for transformation.
But trash won’t change unless we change. We are the alchemists of possibility. We are the treasure-makers.
How will you turn trash into treasure today?
Meditate – Ask yourself, “How will I turn trash into treasure today? Where am I called to serve?”
Practice – Throughout the day, notice what annoys or scares you. This is your trash. Allow it to lead you into service, insight, wisdom, grace, or other….
Advanced Practice – Love the parts of yourself that you have named “trash.” See if you can find the treasure within.