Muddy Water

All month the metaphor of muddy water has been drumming in the periphery of my world. The first day I heard it while listening to a podcast about a woman describing how her mother gave her ‘dirty water’ because it was all she had. This was an episode on sexual trauma and the impact it can have on multiple generations. Dirty water was her way of making sense of how her mother’s trauma had impacted how she was parented and in turn, how she learned her value as a woman. A powerful metaphor and one that caught my ear but as in all things, the busy took over and I went on with my week.

The next time I heard the metaphor was in a meeting. Another woman was discussing the metaphor of the lotus rising from the mud. A common metaphor for those who study Buddhism and read Thich Nhat Hanh. His beautiful book No Mud, No Lotus was a regular recommendation that I made to my patients, as they progressed through treatment. Again, my ear perked up but on I went.

Then a week later, this quote by Alan Watts started finding its way into multiple things I was reading, “As muddy water is best cleared by leaving it alone, it could be argued that those who sit quietly and do nothing are making one of the best possible contributions to a world in turmoil.” It seemed too coincidental to have multiple profound muddy water metaphors swarming about from day to day, so I sat back and opened up.

Okay, Spirit. What are you trying to tell me?

What is my muddy water?

I thought of the complex trauma that had peppered my life, the work that I had done to grow through it, and still no clear answers. So then I thought about the progression of the metaphor, what had the women in my life suffered and passed onto me? How had I risen above that pain and found my own healing? And how had I come to the decision to focus on finding peace instead of vengeance for my pain?

Yes, that is very clearly a theme in my life but I can see it playing out in the lives of the women around me too. I see their desire to not pass that pain on to their daughters and granddaughters, to end the cycle of abuse and legacy of pain that began generations ago.

There is a divine feminism rising around us and in us. May we take our rightful place in our power, with the support of sisters who too have been given muddy water but found a way to let it run clean.

And to our brothers, may you also find peace in your journey to healing.

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