I recently was asked how I cope among despair. I think this is a great question and I often ask others this. Since it seems that we are all faced with overwhelm and despair. My answer is that I stop. I go outside and spend time with Nature, particularly the Plants. I look around. I move around. I taste, I smell, I touch, I breathe. As my nervous system calms and my Heart rate slows, I feel a different overwhelm. This overwhelm is from Beauty and awe. While here, I listen.
Being able to communicate with Nature has greatly improved my life. This skill has helped me receive healing, discover solutions, and enhance my emotional well-being. Besides the personal benefits that I’ve received, I feel that knowing how to communicate with Nature is imperative to helping us live in balance and helping us to navigate the changing Earth. We are surrounded by wise Beings, many of whom have been on this Earth for longer than we have and know how to live in community, who can offer us their wisdom, healing gifts, and perspectives.
I am passionate about Plant Communication because I feel that this is a main component in our thrival. Best of all, communicating with Nature is an innate skill. Pam Montgomery calls it our birthright. It is just that we have been cultured to think it is crazy or only for special people.
I have been teaching Plant Communication for over ten years. I have learned that helping people remember how to communicate with Plants is the easy part. The difficult part is helping them to understand HOW to communicate in general. In other words, we struggle to communicate well with one another, yet alone another species!
I have discovered three guidelines for improving communication (with ALL species).
1) All good communication occurs through the Heart.
I’m sure you can remember a conversation when no matter what you said, the other person was not understanding you and vice versa. You just could not connect.
Hopefully, you can also remember a conversation when you felt connected and seen and you wanted it to last forever. It felt like the best part of life.
The difference between these two scenarios is that in the second one your Hearts were entrained or in alignment. Our Hearts are amazing! When they are in coherence, we are calmer, more receptive, solution focused, happier. Our nervous system relaxes, our breathing slows, our stress reduces and we are able to see a broader perspective and more able to connect with others. Which means that we are likely to communicate better.
There are many ways to help you experience Heart coherence. One of the easiest is to focus on gratitude. Start listing everything that you are grateful for, soon you should feel a shift, both physiologically and energetically. I know it’s simple and it works! (This may not be so simple, when you are upset. However, if you keep trying to think of what you are grateful for, you will still feel a shift.)
2) Communication is more than verbal.
Communication is about gathering information. And ultimately, communication is about common union (as Pam Montgomery says). When we communicate with another human, we gain information via the tone of their voice, their posture, their facial gestures, their overall energy and so much more. When working with my clients, these often tell me more than the words they are saying. Compassionate healers and therapists are adept at understanding the non-verbal. Our bodies do keep the score of our life events.
To communicate well, we want to use our observation skills and senses. Well, maybe you don’t want to taste every human that you are communicating with; however, when we communicate with Plants, taste does convey some great info! The point is if we want to be good communicators, we need to remember that communication is much more than the words we speak. This becomes even more important when working with other Beings (including other species) who communicate in a different language than us.
I think that this may be the biggest area for us to improve. So often we think that communicating is about expressing ourselves. When we are in a conversation with someone, there is a tendency to focus on what we will say next, without really paying attention to what the other person is saying.
We learn more from listening than speaking. If we are going to speak something, then we actually already know it. (Sure, sometimes, it helps to talk through an issue to help us realize something, but a part of us already knows it.) When we listen, we get to learn about the other person or Being; we get to understand what their experience is. Since the Plants are our Ancestors and Nature has been here much longer than we have, I think it is wise if we sit down and listen. We might be astonished by what we learn, including perhaps, ways in which to live co-creatively.
Too often when people tell me that they are trying to communicate with another species and it just isn’t working, what they are doing is telling the other species what to do without listening to what the species is trying to convey. This is not communication. This is dictation. Nature does not work that way. If ki did, all the grass lawn lovers could simply tell the Dandelions not to grow there.
As much as I want to dream about a world which we can create simply by speaking our desires, this really isn’t to our benefit. When there is a situation that feels out of balance. Perhaps Rats, Groundhogs, or Japanese Beetles are eating all of our garden. Or an “invasive” Plant is taking over an area. We could stop, connect, and listen. We could see what this Being needs, what message they are conveying, or perhaps, what role they are playing.
For instance, Japanese Hops has been taking over some areas of the Sanctuary. I have known that ki wanted to communicate with me and yet, I did not sit down with ki. When I finally did, one of the many things I learned is that they were doing this to get me to engage with an area that has needed my attention. The Faeries have been asking me to work on this area since I moved here. The first year, we cleared out the trash and junk that was dumped there. The Faeries have shared with me the vision for what is to occur next, though I have been overwhelmed with the scope of the project, so I haven’t done it. Since I have been reluctant, Japanese Hops has moved in (ki was not there the 1st year) to get me to act. Ki is also helping to heal the land until I am willing to bring the vision into form.
Had I not communicated with Japanese Hops first, I could have pulled them out (and probably gotten angry with them for growing in such abundance) and most likely, would have had to repeat the action because I didn’t understand what was being conveyed. This way, we feel more alienated by Nature and feed the paradigm of dominion over Nature. However, when we truly communicate and listen, we realize that we have support from other Beings, we become co-creative partners, and often utilize less energy/efforts to accomplish what we desire.
As I’m writing, I am thinking about our interactions with other humans and how powerful it would be if we took the time to listen and understand what someone needs. (I am not the first to wonder this, as it is part of the basis of Non-Violent Communication.) I recently learned of a man who was sentenced to life in jail for stealing $50.75! (It was his 4th conviction, so he was given life under the three strikes law. Fortunately, he was just released, though after serving 36 years!) I wondered what would have happened if instead of sending him to jail, someone asked him why he was stealing $50. And then perhaps, tried to help him fulfill that need. In this case, taxpayers most likely spent over $500,000 to keep him incarcerated. While his family was unable to have him in their lives and he was unable to share his gifts with this world.
How much better would our world be, if we took the time to listen to the needs of one another and tried to have these needs met?
I have learned much from the Plants. They have changed my life in many ways. I know that communicating with them has helped to improve my interactions with other humans too. I absolutely love to have those great conversations where I feel the connection and where I learn about the world (with all Beings). I think these are part of the essence of life. They help me to remember that we are all in this together. From here, the overwhelm and despair is replaced with Joy, Hope, and Love!
May you too find a way to move beyond despair and overwhelm.
“Communication will bring understanding and understanding will cause harmonious mutual relationships which can establish peace and stability.”