Fast Wisdom™, Newsletter of Holden Healing Studio
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June, 2016
By Lonner Holden

Soil: Home to All Life

The chocolate crescents under my fingernails smile back at me - the yard soil trapped there after washing my hands sustains an energy, like thin waxing moons connecting my humanness to all of life on Earth.

In this environmental conservation climate our attentions so easily get parlayed out to the diversity of species threatened by our modern exploitation of nature.  We see images of polar bears swimming in an ice-free Arctic Ocean; scalped Amazonian forests; gorillas, rhinos, sharks and elephants poached for their body parts. Insects, plants, invertebrates and corals, all struggling for healthy populations. In our rightful and necessary focus on all these species and our direct relationship with them, we easily forget about the one source of life underfoot which made them - and us - possible: Soil.

In a single handful of healthy soil there is more life than in a single human body and more complexity than the combined surfaces of all the other planets in our solar system. Microbes by the billions are conspiring with mycological (fungal) strands, enzymes, worms, insects, water and heat to break down minerals, proteins and cellulose to form this most nutrient rich compound in the universe.  All life comes from it.  

Plants feed insects and invertebrates, which feed larger animals that feed on other plants or each other. Fecal matter renews the microbial layer. Death occurs, decay of plants and carcasses renew and feed the process as their decomposition creates new soil where new growth reoccurs feeding the nutrient system. Soil transforms all death into life, purifying, healing and sustaining the ecosystem upon which all life depends. The system is perfect in regenerating itself. A perpetual motion machine - the motor of life.

The functional thickness of the atmosphere which contains all the gasses and protection from radiation which sustains life is about twenty miles.  The bio rich layer of soil, on the average, is about a foot thick, usually half that.

Cultures have been honoring soil and dirt for millennia.  Farming, building, medicine (I used a poultice of clay and herbs to save a toe from a serious spider bite recently), bathing and purifying.  Sustainable farmers and gardeners know that to care for plants, you must care mostly for your soil. You care for it and it cares for you in spades.  Have you compared the flavor of a vine-ripened organic tomato in one hand with the flavor of a commercially grown "tomato" in the other?

Dirt and soil are mentioned in scripture as giving life and receiving life back into it: “Ashes to ashes, dust to dust”.  In Hebrew, “Adam” means dirt; “Eve” means life. 

When was the last time you went barefoot in the dirt (not just sand at the beach)? How did that feel? Did it feel enlivening, maybe even like you were connected to a force - a great battery which recharged you?

Soil is the source of all fertility, is the mother of all life. If life is sacred, soil is sacred.  Take a chance and get dirty. Go out and dance in the dirt barefoot. Wriggle your toes in it, dig your fingers down into the dark humus and feel the moist richness weighty in your palms. Smell the aroma of life.

Thank your Mother Earth for her loamy milk and all of her nourishment. Thank the microbes, fungal layer and worms that digest everything after it dies and “comes back home” to become the Redwood, the wolf, the mouse, butterfly, barley stalk and you.

Jin Shin Jyutsu:
  • Hold each ring finger for 5 - 20 minutes each.  Ring fingers facilitate the process of absorbing nutrients and the transformation of nutrient into living tissue.
  • Gently touch the tip of your left middle finger with the palm of your right hand. This gesture represents the communion of the nourishing mother with the nourished child.
  • Touch the fingers of each hand to the palm of the other hand at the same time, making a "finger cylinder" to bring nourishment to every cell in your body.  Let the thumbs relax off to the side of the hand.

Restorative Nature Practice:
  • If you haven't already, make some soil - start a compost bin or pile.  Place all food scraps including egg shells, coffee grounds, grass and leaves from the yard, chicken, horse, cow manure and keep it moist as you turn it a bit every few days. There are also "compost recipes" online. This takes about six weeks of simple, regular attention.
  • Compare how you felt about soil before and how after.
  • Dig a hole in the ground in your yard.  Mix the completed compost with the soil from the hole. Plant a seed or transplant a small plant in it and watch what happens. Add a little water every day.
  • Journal the process.

  • Shop for a few fruits/vegetables from the store of both organic and commercially grown. Buy the same fruits/vegetables.
  • Compare the taste raw, not spiced or sauced and uncooked. You are tasting the difference in soil. One soil is alive and one is synthetic. Do you want what you eat to be alive or synthetic?

NEXT MONTH:  Mentoring: Art of Becoming Connected

PICK OF THE MONTH:  8 Shields Art of Mentoring Workshop, 2016

Lonner Holden:
Being a Jin Shin Jyutsu acupressure practitioner for 24 years has helped me understand the healing potential of the body and the whole person.  A published poet and backcountry guide educated from early life by the natural elements and animals of the Alaskan wilderness, and with Animal Track & Sign certification, my knowledge of dance, trail running, yoga, meditation, body awareness disciplines and indigenous nature connection practices, I bring poetry, nature mentoring and a lifetime of nature awareness to Vive!  Nature Wander™ urban and wilderness treks to enhance awareness, creativity, vitality, health and well-being.


VIVE!  Nature Wander™
Marin County: July and August Summer Recess (Private/Organizational groups still welcome.)

Marin County Tracking Club,
Point Reyes: July 31

Marin Poetry Center Summer Traveling Show Poetry Reading: Larkspur Library July 21; 7:00 pm

Into the Wild Journeys:
Grand Canyon 2016
10% Early-Bird Discount & Video

Writing from Nature Within You
Workshop; Co-teaching with Jim Baldwin at Book Passage Book Store, Marin County, August 21, 2016


See events on calendar »




Fast Wisdom™ is the newsletter of my Holden Healing Studio practice.  Each issue explores a theme of living  in the context of healing so you can live a happier and more vital life infused with well-being, improved health and more effective and empowered recovery.

© 2016 Lonner Holden
Fast Wisdom™
Copyright © 2016 Holden Healing Studio, All rights reserved.

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