Nature’s Lesson on What Flows Under the Surface

There are places here on the Western Slope of Colorado that are absolutely barren.

The only thing one sees in these areas are the grayish-brown clay hills called Adobes. The Adobes are made up of Mancos Shale, which are packed full of saline, nitrites, selenium, and a few other oddities to include uranium.

Low laying pasture lands that overlap the Adobes have a hard white crust from the saline that wicks up out of the ground—nothing grows on it.

Yet, there are other places where the shale does not reach and are absolutely gorgeous; lush and green and everything seems to flourish and thrive without effort.

Funny, one moment you’re driving through some of the most beautiful areas on earth and the next moment you’d swear you’re tumbling across the surface of the moon.


Farmers here have their own lingo and you’ll pause while your circuits work out the meaning.

“Yeah, it don’t matter none that the water ain’t flowin thro’ all y’ar marks, it all subs out from thar.”


Well, marks are those little channels in a field that are evenly spaced and allow water to flow, gravity fed, to the end of the field.

The word sub means that the water soaks into the ground and subterraneously waters your crops where you can’t see the water flowing.

Even nature teaches us that what flows under the surface in dark and unseen regions will affect what grows or doesn’t grow on the surface.


To thrive and flourish we’ll need to be in a better place than an Adobe field and we’ll need to have some fresh wholesome water flowing through us.

Here are some thoughts to ponder…

  • Change the surroundings, get out of barren land. This might mean a geographical move, but most time this just means changing who it is we spend our time and energy with. Drama, negativity, gossip, are all bitter waters which will wither any green living thing.
  • Changing what comes up out of our wells. A mentor once told me, “What’s in the well, will always come out in the bucket.” True. Listen to someone long enough and they will tell you everything you need to know about them. Yet, we sabotage our lives all the time with, “I’m stupid” “I’m not that smart”, “I can’t…”, “This always happens”, “Why me?” Stop reaffirming negative, self-defeating statements about yourself.
  • Surround yourself with people who are positive, believe in you, and will hold you accountable for your self-talk. This is a combination of the two above items. It’s almost impossible to change if you are around negative people who expect you to remain negative about yourself and life. Because it’s a habit we developed early on, we need help from those who aren’t afraid to gently remind us that we are better than what we believe of ourselves.
  • Write down, every day, how you feel and what makes you feel that way. Don’t spend a lot of time on this, but just a few moments at some point during the day. I do it in the morning when I’m fresh. This simple act will help you identify patterns and from there you can begin to develop a plan on how to change how you react to certain things that suck the life out of you.
  • Reflect and forgive. This is so tough. We have high expectations starting out in life as young adults that when reality hits, it sends us reeling in bad decisions, mistakes, and dark detours. At some point, we awake and shake our heads like a boxer who just got knocked out and say, “What the hell just happened?” Regret sets in, and those hellbent on drama stand on the sidelines to mock, condemn, and ‘tell us so’. We feel ashamed and just don’t like ourselves. It’s as though our water supply got poisoned and killed anything fresh inside.

This is where we need to take an honest look at our mistakes and supposed failures and realize that reality never matches up to expectations and ultimately we are human. Learn what we can from them so hopefully we don’t repeat them. Then forgive ourselves. This did not happen overnight for me. Nor will it for you. But, couple this with cutting out negativity, allowing ourselves more positive self-talk, and giving ourselves a little more wiggle room in the area of decision making will certainly help.

  • This brings us to…Learning to Love yourself. This and forgiving myself was by far the hardest thing to learn and to apply. Loving yourself means a lot of things. The best way I can explain it is how it was explained to me…you see a little child on the side of the road crying, alone, confused, and lost. You don’t yell and scream at the kid for making a bad decision to wander and get lost…you compassionately try to calm the child down. Holding the child till the sobs subside and the breathing returns to normal with your soft voice and strong arms wrapped around while getting the child back home to safety. How does that look like for you? Being compassionate with yourself is one of the greatest gifts you can give to yourself, and the water that flows from that one thing will cause new things to sprout.


Life is so different now that the waters that flow under the surface of my life are filled with hope, peace, love, and…life.

I hope some of this helps.

Posted by Christian Martin Jr.