We have built a heart bin for collecting thoughts and feelings, discussed the need to breathe, added moisture in the form of tears, and condensed large chunks of story into manageable pieces. It’s time to talk about balance of material in working through your stuff.
In the natural world, decomposition happens on its own, eventually. Composting moves things along more quickly by understanding nitrogen and carbon and their roles in breaking down green and brown matter.
Brown matter includes things like brown bags, dried landscape waste, fall leaves, straw, wood chips, sawdust, and dryer lint. These materials are generally stocky, coarse, and dry. They don’t readily come to mind when you think composting. Their carbon energy keeps things in the pile from becoming smelly and slimy.
Green matter could be coffee grounds, crushed eggshells, fresh landscape waste, small animal bedding, bits of fruits or vegetables, and tea bags. These materials are generally soft and wet. This is what is saved in a bin on the kitchen counter, bringing nitrogen to the pile to keep microbes well fed.
About twice as much brown as green is mixed into the compost pile for good work. Material brought to be processed does not all look the same. Some waste appears obvious and significant like eggshells or coffee grounds. Other ingredients are just as necessary, though they may appear old or dried out or not as glamorous.
Likewise, as you bring the green matter of your heart to your journal, it’s helpful to try to see what brown matter you might add to it. Here is a personal, and timely, example.
I become increasingly agitated when the longings of my heart go unmet. These include, but are not limited to, things like peace in my home, order, connection, time, and space.
Tuesday night instead of peace, there was much chaos and strife, and this is not a guessing game about which child or husband was the source, because it was ME. I was demanding what isn’t in my life right now and failing to recognize all that is.
I told a child I would do something for them, then brought it up later in an unkind way. When I was called on it, I reacted in anger rather than humility. So wrong was my desire to be right. I am the parent. I’m ALWAYS right. Right? (wrong)
As I tried to practice what I preach and retreated to my room (with the unnecessary angry door slam) to write it out, I began to reflect on what had just happened (green stuff) but ALSO what was deeper inside setting me off (brown stuff…like emotional poop).
Overwhelmed heart. Overwhelmed struggle. Wondering how this will all play out. Caught up in the struggle. Trying to grasp. Fighting my way through. Trying to trust.
That is what I dumped into my heart bin for later.
Then I found my child to set right where I was wrong.