As spring approaches, I’m not thinking about flowers. I’m not thinking about Easter eggs, robins’ eggs, baby bunnies, or ducklings. I’m thinking about mud. I’m thinking about fluctuating weather, water drainage, and how I’m behind on my seeding. I’m thinking about broken equipment, and “spring putzing” as I refer to it with my farmer friends. I’m thinking about getting vehicles stuck in mud, damaging soil structure as tires and boots sink into mud, the tree toad eggs that are frozen in mud at the edge of the garden. As spring comes, I’m not thinking about flowers. I’m thinking about uncertainty.
I love that farming keeps me in touch with the seasons. I love being outdoors. But every year I think that, if I weren’t a farmer, I would probably like spring a whole lot more. I would greet the warm days with an excitement untinged by the dread of being behind on seeding. I would zenfully acknowledge the rain as the work of the weather. I would await the flowers with joyful anticipation along with everybody else.
Instead, I think about mud. I think about the safety of the organisms in my soil and my worries for the upcoming season. I think about how spring is a time of birth and renewal, but for me it doesn’t feel that way. It feels like I’m ankle-deep in uncertainty.
Uncertainty is not my struggle alone. It is part of any transition. It is a part of many days. Uncertainty, on its own, is fine. The problem comes when we respond to uncertainty with fear, anxiety, self-doubt, or worry.
If you are someone who feels uncertainty at this time of year, if you’re too distracted by anxiety to decorate your Easter eggs, or if you feel like it’s harder to pull yourself out of winter than you were expecting, this ritual is for you. I’m affectionately calling it “Sitting in the Mud.”
Sitting in the Mud, a Ritual for Uncertainty
Note: This ritual can be performed just as effectively with a foot bath. To make a foot bath, fill a large pot or clean bucket with hot water, pull up a comfy chair, and let your feet soak.
- Brew a Strong Detoxifying Infusion. Brew an infusion of dandelion leaves, violet leaves and flowers, and plantain (Plantago major) leaves. Depending on where you live and the weather, these may be growing outside already. Make this infusion stronger than you would a tea. Be sure to strain it once it has steeped thoroughly.
- Draw a bath. Add to the water: 1/2 cup Bentonite Clay, 1 cup Epsom salts, and 1/2 cup baking soda. If you don’t have bentonite clay on hand, go outside and grab a small fistful of mud.
- Make your Mud. Mix a few tablespoons of clay with a small amount of water, forming a bit of “mud.” Hold the “mud” in the palm of your hand. With your finger, trace your worries or uncertainties into the “mud.” This could mean writing a word in the mud or drawing a picture or a symbol.
- Add the mud to your bath.
- Sit in the mud. Get in the bath. You are now sitting in the mud of your uncertainty, surrounded by your anxieties and fears.
- Center yourself. While in this state, take 3 deep breaths through your nose. You are surrounded by the mud, but the mud is not your Truth. Your Truth, rather, is what’s inside of you.
- Connect with your Truth. Inhale into your Root chakra. What strength do you find there? What message is there waiting for you in this moment, in the face of your uncertainties?Continue this process, moving up through each of your chakras. What Truth do you find waiting in each chakra? Take your time, breathing deeply the whole while.
- Enjoy it. When you have reached your Crown chakra, take a deep breath and smile. Even while sitting amid your uncertainty and fear, you have accessed the Truth you contain within. You contain this Truth at all times. You are not the uncertainty. You are not the worry. Feel your strength radiate from all around you.
- Let the fear go. As you have been sitting and contemplating, the clay and salts — the “mud,” has been drawing toxins out of your body. We can allow Uncertainty to not just show us our fears, but to draw them outside of us so that we can remove them. Take hold of the detoxifying infusion and pour it over your head, letting it wash down your body into the bath water. Save a little bit to sip.
- Bask in your Strength. Enjoy the bath for as long as you wish, basking in your accomplishment.
- Watch the fear wash down the drain. When you are ready to pull the plug, look around you at the mud, the mud that now contains the toxins and fears you once contained. Imagine the toxins and fears flowing down the drain with the muddy water.
- Rinse. After a detoxifying bath, it’s important to rinse to ensure that the toxins don’t remain on your skin to be reabsorbed.
- Rest. Step out of the tub and lie down to a rest for a moment. Enjoy your newfound strength.