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I would be the woman I want to be: more authentic, comfortable, natural. As a therapist I can see this desire to get down in the mud as part of owning the various aspects of ourselves—our need to be clean yet be "earthy" our need to be strong and accept weakness; the knowledge that we are both good and bad, wrong and right. To be mature, we must learn to integrate these aspects into our unique selves.

When we are honest with ourselves, we are aware that we hold these contradictions within us. Perhaps you can remember a time when you were aware that a wrong deed could have been done by you but for a bit of grace. This is an example of understanding the contradictions that live inside of you but are not necessarily acted on. It is a compassionate way to understand that any evil act could have been committed by you but for the grace of your wholeness and your ability to set boundaries with shadow impulses. That self-compassion shows that you honor your "mud self.

Mud is the part of us that can be shaped or molded. When we look at our life and see how difficult it is to change our patterns as we move toward more spiritual living and thinking, we can rejoice that we come from the shapeless mud and still have the potential of shaping within us. We can leave limiting and unkind beliefs behind and ask our spiritual self to help us live in flexibility and generosity.

Mud is often used as the symbol of the unaware man and woman. This is the self that comes from the earth but does not know sophisticated ways. This is also the self that is often seen as base and closer to an animal nature. We can incorporate the best of the self that links with the earth and animal ways. Let us enjoy dirt on our feet and our instinctive nature. Let us enjoy a healthy lust expressed in sexuality. Let us be at home in the world of mud and earth and animal ways. I love the smell of the earth after a rain.

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The smell reminds me of new beginnings and fresh starts. That's what rain has always been about for me—new life for the garden, for crops, a time of tucking in to reflect. I like to use the sound of rain as a prayer, the sound a bridge between my body and nature. The sheen over the pavement and the silver dew on the trees help the world show off its beauty.

Outside our window rain may fall into the tin gutter, dirt softening the sound. Or, as we awake to the steady beat of rain, we might be reminded that we are part of nature and that nature is everywhere. Rain is also a dance as beautiful as the one in Swan Lake where the ballerinas portray the swans in formation, their long, slender arms held high, bent at the elbow, fingers high, looking for all the world like swans' necks.

Rain's dance comes to me as the light under the swimming pool catches drops of rain like stars sprinkling souls over the water. The wind and rain fly to the cape and bonnet of earth. With sticks of rain like thread flying away from the scissor-cut spool, she sews moisture to the cloth of life. Everything is on its way to somewhere , the rain whispers, and like a youngster sharing wild cherries with summer birds, she enters the green grass of the world, her body a sail in the breeze.

Sometimes even with the desire to hold on to something nourishing, change comes and brings something different but nourishing! A client once told me about losing her oversized boots in a fast-rushing creek after a downpour.

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She was so delighted she threw her socks in after them. If we're lucky, we still remember the excitement we felt about rain when we were kids and how much fun it was to play in warm rain and in the deeper creek beds it made. We may remember running back to the truck and eating a picnic in the cab, holding cups out the window to catch the glistening drops.


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I remember letting a rain shower take me in its arms and simply enjoying it. I also remember shrieking with laughter as we bundled up blankets and afternoon playthings. As a child, I made a study of rain in different situations. There was rain that was like someone walking toward our playground all dressed up in light. There were pavements that were drowning, with small worms wiggling up from the earth to live. There was the rain that brought a rainbow, which made me dizzy with excitement because the colors beckoning felt like part of a magic story. Finally, I remember the torrent of rain beating the clothes on the clothes line my mother had hung out back, the clothes poles falling in the wind, reminding me to believe in ghosts and the power of the unseen.

In the language of symbols, rain is seen as life-giving, a blessing from the heavens. It has always symbolized divine favors and revelation or grace coming to earth. Once I gave an aqua-tinted jar of rainwater to a friend, Val, who was about to give birth to twins. The water was from a soft rain that fell several days before the twins' births.

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I wanted to give her a new way of baptism, and I wondered if the rainwater might hold a blessing for her babies. I had a client who would light a candle to pray when it rained. She would pray for the grasses and crops and all that needed moisture. She would pray that there would not be so much rain that misfortune would come. She felt that a deluge of rain might be the wrath of the goddess asking us for better care of the earth, which is another ancient symbol of the rain.

Most of all, she felt rain symbolized a time when the heavens were open to prayers from the earth and a time when prayers would be heard. Hans Biedermann writes in the Dictionary of Symbolism , "The saintly abbess Hildegard of Bingen likened rain to the vital energy of the soul, which makes the body flourish and 'keeps it from drying out as the rain moistens the earth. For when the rainfall is moderate and not excessive, the earth brings forth new life Hopi Indians have their own special rain rituals.

This heart is not the physical organ but a subjective, inner realm Before events happen in the objective world of the senses, they dwell in the heart, along with thoughts and desires. Such acts serve to focus the thoughts and desires so that they can act as very real forces affecting the crops, the clouds, and the formation of rain. For a cloud is not a thing external to the human mind.

It is an event that is in a state of getting later or growing, of transformation," writes James N. Powell in The Tao of Symbols. Rain is always in process: raining, about to rain, or living in our heart. How enriched would our spiritual path feel if we believed that nature starts from within us, the weather simply an outside manifestation of that?

The green growth after the rain a part of us? The rain itself coming from a need in us? Why shouldn't it be true?

It is gorgeous in its shine and detail and size. But is it garbage? Is it just mud of the earth with human life nearby? Is it a statement of beauty and ugliness living together? What she does is ask us to think of the symbolic meanings we associate with the little worlds she creates. It's as if she's asking, what does all this mean to you?

Of course your particular associations with mud will make all the difference to how you answer that question. I have always thought that my spirit lives closer to the mud than to the heavens. So many times as I live my life as a woman in this culture, I have wished to shed all the images of what I am supposed to be and just wallow in the mud. After many good rolls, I would shower outside and forget the uncomfortable shoes.

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I would be the woman I want to be: more authentic, comfortable, natural. As a therapist I can see this desire to get down in the mud as part of owning the various aspects of ourselves—our need to be clean yet be "earthy" our need to be strong and accept weakness; the knowledge that we are both good and bad, wrong and right. To be mature, we must learn to integrate these aspects into our unique selves. When we are honest with ourselves, we are aware that we hold these contradictions within us.

Perhaps you can remember a time when you were aware that a wrong deed could have been done by you but for a bit of grace. This is an example of understanding the contradictions that live inside of you but are not necessarily acted on. It is a compassionate way to understand that any evil act could have been committed by you but for the grace of your wholeness and your ability to set boundaries with shadow impulses. That self-compassion shows that you honor your "mud self.

Mud is the part of us that can be shaped or molded. When we look at our life and see how difficult it is to change our patterns as we move toward more spiritual living and thinking, we can rejoice that we come from the shapeless mud and still have the potential of shaping within us. We can leave limiting and unkind beliefs behind and ask our spiritual self to help us live in flexibility and generosity. Mud is often used as the symbol of the unaware man and woman. This is the self that comes from the earth but does not know sophisticated ways.

This is also the self that is often seen as base and closer to an animal nature.


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  • We can incorporate the best of the self that links with the earth and animal ways. Let us enjoy dirt on our feet and our instinctive nature. Let us enjoy a healthy lust expressed in sexuality.

    Wise Earth Speaks to Your Spirit : Janell Moon :

    Let us be at home in the world of mud and earth and animal ways. I love the smell of the earth after a rain.


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    The smell reminds me of new beginnings and fresh starts. That's what rain has always been about for me—new life for the garden, for crops, a time of tucking in to reflect. I like to use the sound of rain as a prayer, the sound a bridge between my body and nature. The sheen over the pavement and the silver dew on the trees help the world show off its beauty. Outside our window rain may fall into the tin gutter, dirt softening the sound. Or, as we awake to the steady beat of rain, we might be reminded that we are part of nature and that nature is everywhere.

    Rain is also a dance as beautiful as the one in Swan Lake where the ballerinas portray the swans in formation, their long, slender arms held high, bent at the elbow, fingers high, looking for all the world like swans' necks.