Shirin McArthur

prayerful pondering



DSC_1981A few days ago we drove the truck out to a friend’s house to fetch some manure that’s been aging in her back yard. She has three horses, so she’s got all the manure I need for the plants and planting beds in my garden. The good thing about having her age it on her property (where her horses couldn’t care less) is that it was dried out and not smelly when we shoveled it into the bed of our truck.

I’ve actually been writing a lot about manure lately—a series of articles for a client. I’ve learned a lot, and remembered some things I had forgotten. Most manure cannot be used fresh on the garden, because it’s too “hot” (with quick-release nitrogen) and will burn the plants. Instead, it should be aged (or composted, which will also kill any viable seeds) prior to spreading around plants.

Aging is on my mind right now, as I turn 50 years old this week. A lot of people have talked with me over the past few months about how they’ve celebrated milestone birthdays, and while those activities sounded great for those folks, none of the ideas really appealed to me. Then, a couple of weeks ago, I realized that what I really wanted to do was take some time for retreat. I wanted time in quiet and stillness, away from words and the computer, and the busy activities of my life.

I also want the time to reflect on my fifty years of life. Like the manure we shoveled, much of my life is well aged, and sometimes even composted. There’s a lot of nutritional value hidden in there—and it feels very important to spend some time digging into that compost pile of my life and spreading those nutrients around a bit in my internal, spiritual garden.

So I’ve carved out three days (plus travel time) to take myself on retreat this week. I invite your prayers for me in this time. I’m trusting that much of what I dig and discover will find its way into my blogs and the other facets of my ministry in the months and years ahead.

Are you in need of some time to dig into your own spiritual compost? Are there life experiences which are aged enough to be of value to you now?


Author: Shirin McArthur

I'm a spiritual guide, retreat leader, writer and editor.

4 thoughts on “Manure

  1. happy happy birthdy shirin! may your retreat and the 51st year of your life be especially blessed! we are almost exactly the same age too! much affection victoria


  2. Thank you, Victoria. I trust that the coming year will be a blessing for both of us!

    with affection in return,


  3. Shirin, going on the yoga and dance retreat in Mexico for my 65th in February was one of the most nurturing, important things I’ve ever done for myself. I wrote a ton in my journal, but mostly just soaked up the gifts of nature in a more tropical climate… all the time aware that I would never choose to LIVE there! I was restored in many ways and affirmed in my gifts as I move forward. May it be so for you, dear friend!
    Blessings as you sift through the compost!
    love, Jan


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