Finding Gold in the Garbage

Sometimes, life just hurts. There are moments when we get caught in the human experience of suffering, trapped in an overwhelming negative feeling, stuck in a painful moment that we think can’t be healed. This is what I call the “garbage” of life. The enormous pains and the little papercuts that can weigh us down. A death, divorce, world news, both personal and global, can sometimes burden our hearts and distract us from our Truth.

Learning to jump into the “garbage” and mine for the “gold” was an enormous lesson that my mom
taught me!

When I was a child, my family was poor. Mom decided that she wanted new carpet for the bedrooms but we couldn’t afford it. So, she became creative. She took us kids to the local carpet companies after they closed and tossed us into the dumpsters. We each picked a color scheme, mine was browns, yellows, and golds, while my moms were green and blue, and my sisters was a pastel palette of blues and creams. Mom would hoist us into the dumpsters and we’d toss out remnant cuts of carpets that fit into our color theme. What I discovered, was that, at least in these dumpsters, there was no garbage. What others looked at as trash, our family looked at as a beautiful new carpet. We found roles of discarded carpet padding and glued the pieces down onto it making a puzzle of different colors and piles. It evolved into a beautiful carpet of color and texture that was unique to us and our rooms. It was lovely.

From the garbage of poverty, mom showed us how to craft a beautiful carpet that was, in my case, literally golden hues. Now, I like to consider myself a seasoned dumpster diver always looking for the opportunity to dive into the garbage and find the gold.

What I have learned is to mine these dark places deep inside me, to go into the sadness, the loss, the grief, and even the pain and look for the lesson that the garbage is teaching me. Over the years, a spiritual teaching, Divine Right Action, has supported me in this process.

Divine Right Action is knowing that the Goodness of the Divine is unfolding and being revealed at all times, even in tragedy or pain, and even if I can’t quite see it. Coming to life with this understanding
helps me jump into that dumpster and sift around for the gold. In the tragedy of a broken heart, a deadly diagnosis, or even a papercut, I find myself feeling the loss and always knowing that something good will come of this.

So, I dive. I feel the suffering, I know the pain, I embrace the fear, and I lean into the Divine with the faith that the gold is always there, even if I can’t see it. I know the gold is always waiting for me.