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Magic in the Muck

Have you gotten curious with what scares you? Transformation and growth are not always pretty. Awakenings are not always idealistic epiphanies. The belief we must “conquer” the uncomfortable runs deep. What if we stopped resisting, instead? Digging my hands into rich, damp, soil, laden with remnants of leaves and last year’s compost, I was reminded:


This IS the medicine. This is the stuff we so often throw out... into the trash... “it smells, it’s dirty...” discarding it as waste. And here, as I stirred and tended bits of broken leaves, the moist, messy earth, pungent with fermentation, I found life: an old potato spud about to bud; a small snail, slowly but surely making its way through a mountain of muck; a little patch of moss; and most marvelous of all... traces of the almost-invisible mycelium magic—the life-force network of soil. Nature does not hurry. The darkest night is just as important as the brightest day. The day is not justification of the night, nor vise verse. Rather, each hold meaning. Each belongs. Each is tended. Each matters. This messy, rotting, pile of rubbish is exactly what is needed to create the most nourishing fruit; this rubbish is gold. Nature does not apologize for her night. She is not ashamed of this brewing batch of black earth. For when carefully tended, touched and turned, it breeds life. It provides a place for death. A bed to lie down in, exhale, ruminate and rest. And so as nature always seems to do, she reminds me of simple, profound truths. As challenges urge us to accept, allow, and explore darkness, discomfort, disappointment, dread, sadness, paralyzing fear—and all the things in life we try to “get rid of,” so we can ride the next wave of joy—I am reminded to revisit what the earth has shown me through both ceremony and casual days in the backyard: that which I most fear may be, exactly, gold medicine.




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