Can Mud Make Us Cleaner?

by Jeannine Tidwell

Can mud make us cleaner? It emerges from the ground with a soft, wet, earthy smell in the spring and summer. When the sun hits it, it shines. You can squish your toes in it and feel delight from its cool, smooth dampness. You can slide in it and be surprised at where you'll land. You can build with it, make art with it, soak, or take a bath in it, get a facial with it, wrestle in it, stomp in it, and get downright dirty in it. On top of all that, it's free!

Can Mud Make Us Cleaner?

Mud, glorious mud!

For the modern world, it hasn't always been at the top of the list for plunging in, nor has it had high rankings en masse for those beyond childhood. However when I consider the rich textures that make up life, mud is supreme. I consider it an essential ingredient and a symbol of our connection with nature.

Deep Nature Connection Mentoring

I ran a program with a bunch of kids one summer guiding them in deep connections with nature. They experienced all the rich qualities of childhood. Jumping into the cold refreshing waters of ponds and streams, sensing the palpable hot sun on their bodies, stalking through beds of damp leaf litter and dry pine needles, smelling green, tasting the curious flavors of bitter dandelion and savory chickweed, and getting completely covered in mud.

At the peak of the week, these students crept and prowled through mud, and like a chameleon, their entire bodies completely changed color. After an hour of slowly slithering through a mudslide as a group, one student stood up and faced me directly saying, "Well, now I'm cleaner." This wasn't the first time I'd had students come out of such experiences saying in very profound, simple and remarkable ways that they had just had a purge. A purge from schedules, watches, transitions from A to B and more. It was clear that he didn't take a shower with pert shampoo or ivory soap to get sparkling fresh, all he needed was mud.

Can Mud Make Us Cleaner?

While on their quest with mud these kids moaned and groaned through the entire journey. At the end of it, they couldn't stop talking about how fun and pleasurable it had been getting covered from head to toe in it. They repeated over and over again how it was their most favorite experience of the week.

Nature connection is crucial for it gives all of us, young and old, the opportunities to touch and feel the very real textures that make up life. But nature connection alone is not enough. We need mentors to guide us into uncomfortable growth expanding moments like slinking through mud or creeping through thickets. It is in those thicket moments where we are faced with the very real substance of ourselves. We are given the opportunity to see who we are in tough times and where we are going with ourselves when things get itchy.

While the normal status quo is that children, and in general people, don't get really dirty, substrates like mud offer us the potential to go slow, absorb and get dirty, wet, hot or grubby. With mentoring we are trying to break down and recycle the boxes that say we can't get dirty or we can't do this or that because of whatever reason we hold on to.

Can Mud Make Us Cleaner?

Can mud make us cleaner?

Absolutely. This spring and summer I invite you to wholeheartedly dive into the elements and make meaningful bonds with nature. Embrace the fullness of reality as it is in the natural world, and you'll find that sense of joy and acceptance extending to all sorts of different areas of your life!

Interested in being personally trained in Nature Based Mentoring, on a transformational journey of connection to nature, community, and self?

Check out the Twin Eagles Wilderness Immersion Program.

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