Into the Woods
A Fiber-y Landscape

Developing a Recipe

Thinking about . . . 


Mostly, we live our lives on the surface. Above the ground. That's where we see the world, interact with the world . . . and where the world sees us! 

That's not the whole story.

There's a whole lot more going on . . . under the surface. Under ground. At the root of us.


Our roots might be invisible, deep underground as they are, but they're vital to our ability to function, to thrive, to bloom in the world. We get our energy from our roots. They feed us, nourish us, help us stand tall. A healthy root system . . . is important for keeping us strong and resilient above ground. So it's really important that we pay close attention to our roots. We need to dig down and check them out from time to time (and not just when we notice signs of distress above the ground). 

Lately, I've been thinking about what I need to do . . . to help keep my roots healthy and happy.


In my garden - both indoors and out - I feed my plants with fertilizer now and again. And outdoors, in my garden, I spread compost to feed the roots and encourage strong growth. The plants? They love it! They respond with healthy growth and beautiful blooms.

I decided that my own roots - the roots of me - would probably enjoy a dose of fertilizer now and again, too. So I set out to create a Recipe for Personal Compost.

But what would be in it? What should my ingredients be???

Back in 2017, when my one-little-word was Balance, I came up with a short list of 5 "elements" that I need in my life every single day to keep myself feeling balanced and whole. The 5 things are: meditation, movement, reflection, creative expression, and time outside, and I have been on a mission to include them in my days, every day, since then. In fact, I track them each week in my planner.


When I start to feel out of balance, I can usually see it reflected in my little tracker. If just one thing doesn't get checked off for a day or two, I can really feel it. Then, I know just what to do to pull myself back into balance. 

I decided that my 5 balance elements could be the basis for my Recipe for Personal Compost. But I wanted to come up with a more complex mixture than just my "daily requirements." I wanted to include more long-lasting ingredients - things I need to have in my life often, but not necessarily every day. After all, you don't need to apply compost daily. You just need to apply it on a regular basis, often enough to keep the nutrients flowing to the roots in a steady stream. I needed to add ingredients to my recipe . . .  that would build up over time, with results that would last between compost applications.

I haven't perfected my Recipe for Personal Compost quite yet, but I'm having a great time working on it! Here are some additional ingredients I'm adding to the mix . . . things I don't need every day, but that I do need on the regular to keep my roots healthy and strong (which helps me stand tall and resilient, with vigorous growth and beautiful blooms): 

Time with my family and friends
Frequent naps
Good books
New recipes
Problems to solve
Meaningful activities I enjoy
Continual learning
Novel challenges
Travel and adventure
Time in my garden


While not quite finished, I'm well on the way to coming up with my Recipe for Personal Compost. I'm getting close!


It's a fun thing to think about. C'mon along! What do YOUR roots need . . . to be healthy and strong? What ingredients would you mix in to your own Recipe for Personal Compost?




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This is such a great idea, Kym, and I think I've subconsciously been on the same wavelength in thinking about Balance for me. There are a few things I feel like I need to have a bit of every day to feel like it was a day well spent: some physical exercise, some reading (for pleasure -- I'm not counting the reading I do for work!), some crafting, some time with my family. It seems like any day when I don't get one of those things, I feel a little off, but I've never been able to put my finger on it before. I suppose that's why the busy work days feel so exhausting -- because I've had to sacrifice time for one of these things and it gets me off balance. Maybe now that I'm more aware of it, I can be proactive about making sure to make time for these things on those busy days.


You are so good at assessment, reflection, and problem solving! This makes so much sense, and I love that you've called it Personal Compost, and thought about the activities that would sustain you (kind of like Time-Release fertilizer). I've only just begun to think about it, but I suspect that my recipe would contain much of the same - meditation, walking, time spent in nature, enjoyment of good books, poetry, creative cooking, knitting, doing something new at least every month, and time with family. I've been deficient in so many of these for so long, so it's time for me to make a concerted effort to nourish my roots and start making my rich, organic Personal Compost.


I do require many of the same recipe components and would add quiet time alone in my house. I see your push up checks too...I've got that one going as well!


This is an excellent idea! I know I need (daily) movement, meditation, and reading. I also need regular time with knitting and journaling as well as significant amounts of time to myself throughout weekly. I'm not as sure about things I need less frequently but I'm going to give it some thought.


I love this whole concept and how you tell it, Kym. My every-day-for-balance is decent sleep, moving my body, reflection time, reading/writing, + connecting with Troy over fika or a glass of something. For that extra mix, I thrive when I explore something new to me, indulge in nature, socialize in a meaningful way with people I the top of my head.

I want to keep thinking about this! Thanks for the fertilizing!


You are so very good at assessment! I love the idea of Personal Compost and I love Bonny's idea of time-released fertilizer (stuff you need, but not all the time) Good things to think about as we wind down the first half of the year!


I saw the post title and wondered ... and now it makes perfect sense - what a fun way to frame these practices (especially for you gardeners ;-) Off the top of my head, my daily list includes time outside, moving, reading, time alone, journaling, and naming five things to be grateful for. I need to think about the not-daily list a bit - thank you for the push!


I have some of the same things, I think. Time to read (scrolling online, even good articles, doesn't count for this -- novel reading does), exercise and time outdoors, time alone, 3 meals, tea before bed. Time to knit. And something productively creative, like cooking or painting, at least once a week.

Also - for new recipes, I'm sure you're already tuned in to this, but I have been having hits with Smitten Kitchen recipes lately. The asparagus galette, for instance!

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