Digging In: Soil Microbes and Our Health

Sink your hands into moist loam, feel the granules massage your fingertips, the heft of soil press against your skin. Lift a palmful to your nose and inhale the sweet, earthy scent, squeeze it into a ball, and then watch it crumble back apart. There’s something so satisfying and primal about the sensory experience of soil. Why is that?

A good part of my love affair with gardening is how it makes me feel. That’s why I was excited when I read research that offers some explanations for how dirt can lift my mood, and how contact with soil can treat anxiety, depression, and a host of inflammatory diseases.

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The Gift of Constraints

Do you ever find yourself saying, “If only [this] was different, then I could do (or have) what I want”?

Many of us resist or lament the constraints in our lives (even ones we have chosen). But they can actually generate a lot of power. Think about the way water moves. Within narrow banks, water flows with greater force and speed, while wider boundaries let water slow and spread. 

It’s no different in our beings as humans. Continue reading “The Gift of Constraints”

Mary Oliver and “Great Moth”

“Moth and Moon” – Onion flower husks on wool

Her work has touched so many of us, lovers of the natural world and seekers of things unseen. Here, I join the chorus of thanks since her death. Mary Oliver, your life invited more life in ours. We’re lucky it still sings out in your poems.

This poem partially inspired my healing practice name. I love how it points to mystery in the mundane, to magic and possibility.

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Changing Shape

My baby is due in a little over two weeks!

To honor this transition for our family, I am going to take a few months off from offering healing sessions in Middletown, starting next week. I will miss working with you folks during my time off, but I am excited and grateful to be able to cocoon away with our new little one. I will let you know when I am back to work and open for sessions.

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True Nature

When I observe creatures and plants in the natural world, I am often struck by how boldly “themselves” they are.

I recently watched juncos bathing in puddles on the first clear day after several weeks of rain. These little birds did not mope about wishing their legs were longer or had more meat on them. Nope. They unreservedly threw themselves into the winter water bath, shaking their feathers, gripping the mud with their toes, raising their beaks to the sun.

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DNA and Choice

For those of you who I haven’t seen in a few months, I have news to share: my husband and I are expecting a baby!

I am six months pregnant with our first child, and what a journey these six months have been for me: Nearly constant nausea in the first trimester . . . the adventure of hormonally influenced emotions . . . developing a relationship with a miraculous, unseen being growing inside me . . . a deepening of trust and newness of purpose with my life partner (the photos in today’s letter are from our recent Southwest “babymoon”).

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At War

“You have suffered enough and warred with yourself. It’s time that you won.”

This past weekend wasn’t the first time I’d heard the song “Falling Slowly,” by Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova, from the film and Broadway musical Once. For several years now, I’ve enjoyed the soulful, raw harmonies in the song, with sweet acoustic guitar and piano. But until this last weekend, I hadn’t noticed that set of lyrics: “You have suffered enough and warred with yourself. It’s time that you won.”

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Sitting with Grief

I have witnessed many sources of grief this month:

An ended relationship, lost pets, a miscarriage, the Clayton Fire, the end of one job for a more desired one (yes, grief even there), the effects of a custody battle on a child, the failure of a long-hoped-for project.

I have also witnessed many sources of joy: garden harvests, vacation with friends, new loves, family reunions, visits among old friends, job promotions, unexpected gifts.

The grief rests alongside the joy, often more quietly. Yet, it is there.

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