Cauldron to Kitchen

Paganism, food and spirituality

  • Home
    Home This is where you can find all the blog posts throughout the site.
  • Tags
    Tags Displays a list of tags that have been used in the blog.
  • Bloggers
    Bloggers Search for your favorite blogger from this site.
  • Login
    Login Login form

Modeling Order On Nature

b2ap3_thumbnail_woods2_sm.jpgTo be orderly, tidy, structured would seem to be a human thing as opposed to something natural. A stroll in the woods, a thunderstorm, a wild river; none of these seem at all organized in the way that comes to mind when we used that word. “Organized” is more likely to produce images of a desk with every staple in its place, or a schedule so tight that relaxation time is marked on a calendar. But nature too is organized. In a mature eco-system, each element has a precise role to play. That role is highly efficient in that every plant, every animal, every bacterium performs multiple jobs within the system simply by going about their day.

The elderberry bush produces berries that both feeds birds and humans. It provides shade and shelter for small animals. Its rapidly growing branches create biomass that falls to the ground and nurtures and protects the soil herd.* The creatures the bush shelters poop and pee there, providing nutrients to the bush and the soil herd. The microbiota beneath the bush pull minerals and nitrogen from the soil and give it to the bush in exchange for a bit of carbon sugar that the plant makes special for each type of bacteria. The bacteria also build soil aggregates that retain water, which then nourishes the bush. Myochoriza - thin filaments of fungi – spread their strands between and through the roots, puncturing them and connecting the bush with other plants in the neighborhood. This allows them to share both resources and information.

The “every staple in its place” model of organization is more akin to industrial farming than to the full vibrancy of nature’s constant adaptation. It is not useful because it lacks the flexibility to adjust to changing circumstances.

Creating order is not about being tidy, it is about getting the job done. Sometimes that job ISN’T being tidy. Often it is not. Most often the job is getting the family fed, the kids put to bed, getting the kids up, completing the project while starting the next project, and so on. Too much physical mess can most certainly impede those goals. My husband is very disorganized. So was my step-daughter when she lived with us. Hardly a day passed when there was not a frantic hunt for keys, books, an electrical tool, a wallet, or an iPod. This is not efficient and does not get the job done.

But in order to be organized, one does not need to have every paperclip in its place. One only has to return enough paperclips to their designated spot (or spots) so that they are there when needed, and there needs to be enough empty space so that the needed item is not buried in clutter. Hunting for things is work, and its very stressful! Particularly in case of items like keys, which are expensive to replace (at least for the car) and most often attached to time sensitive deadlines (Must leave NOW!)

All plants have a growth habit which is natural to them. They increase in size and cell number based on their genetic patterns and their environment. Plants do not grow all in a day, they produce new cells based on available resources. Habits are a way of creating organization and form a base from which to expand. For example, one of my biggest organizing issues is having things put away. As my husband likes to point out, sometimes you just need to get things done. But not putting stuff in its’ place leads to those problems I mentioned earlier. So now I put things away in micro bursts. While I wait for my tea water to boil, the microwave to do it’s thing, my breakfast to cook, I take that time to put things where they belong. This ensures that 1) there is always enough empty space so that when something gets put down, it is clearly visible when one goes to pick it up again, and 2) I am moving around, noticing where various things are. When my husband says “have you seen….?” It is often true that I have, and can hand it to him.

Find where you have room to grow some orderly habits. Consider your long term goals and how these new habits fit into that growth pattern. There is no need for straight lines, or pristine surfaces, just the ability to get the things done that further your life goals.

*There is a massive amount of living things beneath our feet.

Last modified on
Selina Rifkin, L.M.T., M.S. is a graduate of Temple University and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. In 1998 she graduated from the Downeast School of Massage in Maine. She has published articles in Massage Therapy Journal, been a health columnist, and published The Referral Guide for Complementary Care, a book that describes 25 different healing modalities. In 2006 she completed her Masters program in Nutrition with a focus on traditional foods, and the work of Weston A. Price.
Currently she is the Executive Assistant to the Director of Cherry Hill Seminary, the first Pagan seminary to offer Master’s degrees.


Additional information