I filmed this for Mixed Tape I back in 2014 or 15 (I can’t remember which). It was an exploration of the Gayatri Mantra as recorded by Deva Premal – one of my go to songs to listen to when I need to feel soothed & calmed & grounded & centered.

We’ve all got mud.

In this context, our mud is the muck and mire of our ordinary lives. The issues. The baggage. The traumas. The mind numbing repetitiveness of some aspects of being alive. The coffee grounds in the spoon drawer. The missing socks. The larger sorrows that all encounter – losing loved ones, failing at something, making a mistake, wounding and being wounded.

I have a lot of mud.

A childhood abuse story. An early adulthood filled with all of the consequences of that. Children born into all of that who are now dealing with all the consequences of that. And the things that are happening on a global scale that touch me deeply and leave me reeling. I have some #firstworldproblems type mud, and I have some deep, deep, stinking, filthy, omg what’s down there type mud. And I don’t think I’m alone in that.

“No Mud, No Lotus” is a phrase I first heard uttered during a talk given by Joan Halifax. She was in a conference with other notable Buddhist minds (like Ram Dass and Krishna Das), and she was speaking about these hard places, these mucky, mired places, and how *useful* they are. That really resonated with me. Hearing it was like remembering a thing I’d always known.

My mud made me. I am a sister of clay. I come from the muck and mire of real life.

And I’m a lotus. And so are you.


Some of my most potent art has come out of my mud. This past week, for example, I created a painting that was full of the desire to feel like I had a soft place to land. I was in a muddy place, flailing with anxiety, feeling a little abandoned in the midst of it all, so I took to page.

She popped out.* She’s a lotus, born of the muck and mire of every day life, of great and small disappointments. She’s also magic, because once I painted her, she whispered “Hey, did you ask for what you needed? Or did you just expect it would be forthcoming?”

Heh. When your paintings take you to task like that, you know you’ve painted something real.

The Realm Of The Real Is Muddy

But this is where I live. I get *moments* of transcendence, but mostly, I’m embodied. Mostly, I’m in the trenches. Mostly, I’ve got something to overcome. You, too, right? I mean, unless you’re very, very lucky, you are mostly likely tackling a monster of a thing *right now as I type*.

So, hey. I just wanted to tell you that I see you there, mud wrestling. I see you grappling with your slippery things. I see you taking that deep breath and wondering where your strength is going to come from today. I do. I’m right there with you.

You gorgeous lotus you.


*This angel was painted for a lesson in Mixed Tape II.

Today’s Nudge: Share something you’ve created that feels like it’s a part of your autobiography.

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