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The Scraps of Our Lives

Today was my weekly volunteer session at our local food resource center and my job was kitchen prep: chopping peppers and beets (both of which I dislike heartily). While many would see work like this to be drudgery, I find the process of chop, chop, chop to be meditative.

As I turned to add more scraps to my waste bucket, I was taken aback by the gorgeous colors looking back at me. These scraps destined for the compost bin had become like a work of art.

As I resumed my chop, chop, chop meditation, I inwardly considered the scraps of our lives. Those times when we are sure our lives are in the dumpster: divorce, job loss, financial struggle, addiction, loneliness, to name a few.

Often when we are amid challenging times, we swear there is no way out, that our lives are completely trashed. And yet…. how many times do we later reflect on those challenging times and find a gift in them, even a beauty?

When we lost a dear nephew to a car accident, I thought my heart would never heal, that every breath from then on would be excruciatingly painful. The following year when my mom died suddenly, I felt even deeper pain. Do I still miss Tyler and my mom? You betcha! I would never wish such an experience on anyone…and yet death is the one thing each of us will experience in our lives.

Now, years later, I can see that losing Tyler and mom within 18 months of each other started me on my spiritual journey. I had tip toed around exploring alternative healing modalities for years, but their deaths left me so gutted that I finally determined to explore this thing called life more deeply.

In the shamanic tradition that I am follow, there are ceremonies surrounding the tough times, asking for assistance in shedding the grief, pain, and hardship. Just as we build a compost heap with our kitchen scraps, I assist others in invoking Pachamama, Mother Earth, to take the heaviness, the unbearable, and transform it. As we all know, what starts out as cast-off garbage quickly becomes dark, rich soil that helps our gardens to grow. Similarly, our metaphorical garbage can also be transformed into a richness that feeds our soul.

I hope you can take this musing as the springboard for your own reflection upon the scraps of your life and how best to move forward. If you feel stuck in the garbage bin, please know that I am here to assist you.


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