Tag Archives: reflections

How Thick Is Your Seed Coat?

I meant to post this a few days ago but had trouble with my web site, which I am still working through. My new year’s post will be up in the next couple of days. 

(c) Deborah Koff-Chapin, www.touchdrawing.com

One of the ways that anthropologists determine when a particular crop became domesticated is by looking at the thickness of the seed coats or casings. Wild seeds have a thick coat that protects the tender shoot during the cold, dark winter months between harvest and germination in the spring. When humans domesticate crops, they determine where to plant the seeds and nurture the young plants through the growing season—and they save and care for the seeds from one year to the next.
The tended seeds are not exposed to the same harsh conditions as wild seeds, and more seeds survive to be planted in the spring. Seeds with thinner coats sprout more quickly and overshadow those seeds with naturally thicker coats. The “wilder” seeds either don’t get enough sun and other nutrients or they don’t germinate at all. Over time, more and more seeds have thinner coats, showing evidence of human care.
All of this has me thinking about this quiet time of dark winter and the “seed coat” that protects my soul and my life force. Some of us have thicker “skins” than others, and whether that is advantageous for our growth and survival really does depend on our environment and the care and nurturing we get from others—our community.
In this time of reflection, I am wondering if my seed coat is thick or thin, if I am built more for pulling in to survive during the hard times or taking advantage of the warmth and growing quickly.

Winter’s Daily Practice

At Reflections Mystery School, we have seasonal daily practices that correspond to the element of the season: Earth in Winter, Air in Spring, Fire in Summer, and Water in Autumn.  These daily practices are meant to connect us in a physical and energetic way to the element of the season.

In the Winter, we ground energetically and we massage our feet.

Our Feet Touching Means We're Married

Grounding brings us back to the present, back to our bodies. Here and now, we are effective agents of our Work. We are only able to answer the call of our vocation by being fully present. When our minds and our energy is scattered this way and that, like tangled yarn batted about by a small kitten, nothing makes sense. Threads that look like they lead somewhere double back on themselves and leave us feeling frustrated and overwhelmed. Taking the time to bring our awareness back  and finding that still point inside of us gives us the space to listen and move with intent and purpose.

Massaging our feet further focuses our attention to the parts of ourselves that actually move us around this physical plane. When we practice an embodied spirituality, being aware of and taking care of our bodies is a holy act. Our bodies have a great deal to teach us, if we take the time to learn. Our bodies have a great dealt to tell us, if we take the time to listen. Massaging the feet communicates to the body that we do value its messages, that we consider it sacred and worthy of our attention.

Every year, someone asks of our teacher “how is massaging my feet a spiritual or magical practice?” She has her own answer, and mine may be quite similar. There is a saying about magic that energy follows attention. When we pay attention to our feet (our bodies) and care of them as holy, then the energy of healing and love flow to them and to all they do and represent to us: mobility, foundation, support, strength.

Our feet are the foundation of our bodies much as daily practice is a foundation of our spirituality.

Related posts that inspired me to write today:
Katrina Messenger on Radical Self-Care
Ketzirah on Sustainable Spirituality
Christine Valters Paintner on The Exquisite Tenderness of Bodies

Photo of my feet and my husband’s feet on vacation at the Delaware seashore, 2008.