The Agitation of Preparation


I’d like to wish you all a blessed Eid of Sacrifice. On that note, sacrifice, preparation, and progress are all closely intertwined. We’ll pick back up on preparation this week.

Many of us make use of a metaphor that invokes the concept of planting seeds when we try to progress or implement change of some sort in our lives.

Presumably, we are planting seeds of change that will blossom into life-giving turnings of the tide – progress against a cycle of oppression present in our lives. This is a great metaphor, but it excludes the precursor to planting those seeds – upheaval.


When a farmer or gardener sets out to plant seeds for a growing season, they first till the soil that the seeds will be planted in. Tilling is the preparation of soil by agitation of various types, such as digging, stirring, and overturning.

This allows the soil to be in the proper state to receive the seeds that the farmer hopes will yield a bountiful harvest. Similarly, we must till our spiritual soil in order to receive the seeds of change we hope will grow into the fruits of truth, mercy, justice, and the like.

We can’t simply plant seeds. Our spiritual soil has to have been prepared to benefit from the seeds. Otherwise, no lasting fruit will be born from the seeds. They will simply perish in our unwelcoming soil.


This preparation is a process of agitation and upheaval – of what we think we know and who we think we are. Challenging our preconceived notions and comfort zones is essential to effectively “planting seeds” of change in our lives.

If we claim to be planting seeds but aren’t experiencing, or haven’t at some point experienced, agitation and upheaval of our claims, we’re most likely not welcoming those seeds into very welcoming conditions for their nourishment and growth.

As the troubadour Yusuf // Cat Stevens melodiously put it, “To be what you must, you must give up what you are.”

Happy tilling,


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