trash and treasure

The most basic service I offer in my work – both with individuals and organizations – is getting rid of debris. Clearing out the unnecessary, both literally and figuratively. We humans tend to collect a lot of crap.  That crap can bog you down: literal stuff, figurative clutter, ideas or things.

It’s funny to think about trash here in Rome, where at least the first 30 meters deep under the city are considered potentially precious archaeological remains. Also, in Italy, working as a trash collector is a pretty wonderful job. They get to wear Prada uniforms, have great pay & benefits (there are lots of hot, lady garbage collectors). There is even a patron saint and feast day in their honor. I have a kitchen table with a broken leg that has been shimmed back together. I have seen table cloths with cigarette burned holes patched and reused. There is a wonderful shop in my neighborhood that can resole your boots. There is a delicacy or recipe for every part of an animal. Essentially, they have a very different relationship with their garbage: they transform it, they repair it, they USE it. Yes – sometimes that means it is also everywhere – but there is even something lovely about that if you think of it more as accepting rather than ignoring.

I am one of those people who picks up junk in the alley. I see possibility in an old rusty utility sink or the 40 year old board games in my neighbors basement. I believe deeply in the power of hand-me-down clothing and trusted recipes. I’m also a huge fan of purging – making sure that things keep moving and stay vital. I also think you can apply this to belief patterns, identities, jobs or even relationships. If it’s not serving you any more: let it go.

I think it is your responsibility to decide when you are done with something (learning, doing or making). Then you need to offer it up to the world. You don’t get to decide how anyone else feels about it – you just put it out there and see what happens. 

Let it go. That thing you are done with might be exactly what someone is looking for.

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