Wednesday, January 25, 2012

GUEST POST: Life as Compost

Many times in our life we are dealt circumstances that aren’t what we would have liked to have happened. We get fired, lose a friend, or have a fight with a family member. Many times we write these experiences off as just negative things that happened to us, focusing on all the bad they brought into our lives without looking for a way to transform it into good. Beneath every challenging circumstance we might endure is a shred of light- an opportunity to learn something about the world around us or ourselves.
When I think of all the negative memories I harbor, I am often able to see how I grew as a person out of the challenges surrounding the negative event. Sometimes it takes years to see what the lesson was I was supposed to learn, but it is there none the less. It seems reminiscent to me of the idea of composting for your garden, when you heap piles of what would otherwise be waste together and in the end after a period of time and decomposition, the same waste turns into some of the most valuable garden soil fertilizer know to man. All this process of decay and time turn something we see at face value as worthless into a completely natural and necessary part of life.
Perhaps the challenges we face with our everyday negativities are in some way fodder for the compost of our soul. Each of these inconveniences or hardships might seem useless or unnecessary, but they in some way transform us over time into stronger, more resilient and more kind and caring individuals.
It is sometimes said that we aren’t able to understand how others truly feel about things until we ourselves have experienced them. Perhaps the “composting” of these unhappy moments allow us the perspective we need to be more cognizant of the feelings of those around us and to be more open to other viewpoints. Maybe these experiences teach us ways to overcome adversity by teaching us what did and didn’t work in a way we will remember and be able to recall for future use. Perhaps the pain of these circumstances isn’t futile at all, but just needs some time to transform into the miraculous gift we can recognize for what it truly is- nourishment for our very souls.
Perhaps then what we need to do in moments of difficulty is remember the kitchen scraps- the eggshells and coffee grounds that make up our garden compost and reflect on ways that this moment of pain can be transformative to us rather than a burden. I have a feeling changing our perceptions this way will help not only in the long term but also in the short term dealing with of the strife as well.

About the Author, C.S.Shride, Author of the Lucy Dakota series of YA fiction (
    C.S. Shride grew up in the western suburbs of Denver at the foot of the mountains. Like Lucy, she was a chubby, rejected girl during her middle-school years and surprisingly enough, she rarely, if ever, ventured forth into the nearby hills. Her pleasures were derived from armchair and bed-top adventures achieved while reading her favorite novels.
    Like Lucy, Shride’s life took a turn for the better when a group she was involved with in high school started introducing her to the mountains, rivers and wilderness areas of Colorado. At that time she discovered one of her lifelong passions, high-altitude trekking and mountaineering, which led to her first career as the owner of a multi-million-dollar adventure travel company. For the next 20 years, she would orchestrate, conduct and lead thousands of clients through the mountains of Nepal and the wildernesses of South America. She spoke to dozens of audiences each year on the joys and beauty of traveling to remote areas of the world. Although she is no longer an international climber and mountain guide, she continues to hike and explore mountains around the world.
    Shride’s love of learning and her sincere desire to share with and help youth led to her second career as a classroom teacher. Even though she had taught hundreds of people the art of backcountry travel and wilderness trekking through her business and volunteer activities with the Colorado Mountain Club, Shride returned to school for a master’s degree in education and began teaching in both public and private schools. She experienced tremendous satisfaction and joy in teaching children in the classroom setting. It was at that point, while conducting a creative writing class for her students, that she decided to write about Lucy’s adventures.

1 comment:

  1. What a lovely guest post and how true it is that difficult or negative experiences enrich our lives and can lead us to positive growth. Thanks for this posting.

    Best, Teresa @ Oak Tree Farm