Sunday, July 20, 2008

The Soil in Which I Grow

I'm in a spot where I'm winding down, between laundry loads -- last two are folded & put away, the last for the night is in the dryer. In what I find to be the meditative space of folding laundry I was thinking about the weekend I'd had. The bicycling on Saturday and a day of shared chores & dinner today. The time talking in between to CK and with AM. The feelings that come up around being cared for.

I got back to my laptop after getting the laundry done for the moment, the leftovers put away, and sat down to most lovely message from CK. She commented to me how she used to think of relationships as plants, things to be tended. She said that now she saw each of us as a plant, the relationship is the soil in which we all grow.

My eyes closed to just let the words settle. It is so lovely, so apt.

Hogen has told me that all the terrible things that I have survived can become potent medicine. Something so powerful and healing is able to be distilled of awfulness. I had shared this with CK earlier while lying on the bed upstairs feeling the breeze from off the river move over us. I was very mindful in repeating this to her how hard this is to me, how often I observe myself trying to hide or push away the the parts of my history that arouse shame, fear, deep grieving, and worry.

I thought of our compost pile. The things which make a plant grow big, healthy, and in the case of vegetables, most nourishing. Our vegan house sends that majority of all food waste and scraps into the compost. Quite often things go into a very large container at the side of the sink, the mostly clear plastic presents a view of decomposing plant matter. This stuff that looks rather nasty to my eyes will go out into the pile, be broken down further, mixed with clippings, and existing compost. The stuff will get hot, chemical reactions happening all the time, beneficial stuff culturing & growing until the whole of it steams with energy.

In the end it is a beautiful nourishing thing. The compost builds up the hard, clay soil here, slowing helping what wasn't nurturing much of anything into something that will grow the plants that in turn will nourish us. The growing of food is such a direct and intimate relationship with what we eat; all made more productive by having rich soil, compost.

The somewhat overdone plant analogy is a lotus. Out of the nasty, black muck of a pond's bottom a lotus grows. From the deep darkness it reaches upwards to produce the most radiant of blossoms. The lotus represents purity, renewal, creation -- all because it grows out of the nourishing slime.

So is my history. Damned awful stuff I went through, but out of that nastiness I have not only managed to grow, but now find myself thriving. Like the compost pile, it is all thrown in, stirred around, and in the steaming heat all is distilled into goodness, potent medicine.When I allow myself to feel the range of things, even the nasty stuff, I grow. I grow in the rotting, steaming compost of my past and I grow in love.

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