There is the mud, and there is the lotus that grows out of the mud. We need the mud in order to make the lotus.

-Thich Nhat Hanh

We all get mired in the muck. We try to keep it under our soles and off of our clothes. But it’s unavoidable—we wade through puddles of our struggles and shortcomings. The mud sticks and we can’t clean it off.

What if instead of ignoring or cursing our mud, we get down and stick our hands in it, and rub it on our faces and inhale it through our nostrils?

Release. Play. Joy. We become attendants to our hurts, sorrows, and insufficiencies. We acknowledge them. We transform them.

There is a tremendous body of suffering enveloping our world today. There are times when it grabs us, pulls us low, and makes us feel helpless. It can become all-consuming, stunting our growth, and muffling our hope.

To find the emergent beauty this world holds, sometimes we need to drop down to the soil level and examine the mud. This is where the roots of the lotus are. This is where compassion rises. This is where the beargrass flower pushes into bloom every seven years. This is where you find people who amaze you.

In September of 2015, we were part of the greatest upwelling of joy we have experienced in this life—our marriage—a confluence of two lives and a celebration of shared humanity. One of our vows, to each other, to ourselves, and to family and friends was to be more attentive and present in our lives—to notice and cradle the simple joys and acknowledge and learn from the suffering.

In November of 2015, we embarked down the road in our 1985 Westfalia. This blog is the place we created to share our stories—stories of emergence, of simple living, of people doing good work, of everyday beauty. And, of mud—of trials, travails, and perhaps the occasional travesty. We invite you to read, share your own stories, and consider Mary Oliver’s “Instructions for Living Life”:

Pay Attention

Be Astonished

Tell about it

We’ll try to stay astonished and write about it, always keeping in mind the words Paige would share with her Kindergarteners when they were starting to feel down:

“Don’t get stuck in the muck!”

-Nick and Paige


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