The last few days over Christmas and New Year I’ve been caught up in an inner downward spiralling conversation which has drained the joy out of my being. I kept asking myself ‘Is it this? Is it that?’ But I’m realising that depression is far more of a default emotion than I gave it credit for. It’s an emotion I learned to cover up a long time ago in my childhood. Now I needed to acknowledgment it and make a decision to live the life I’d love regardless of its whisper. And all of a sudden I was drawn to this ‘note’ I’d written on FB about 8m ago and it has lifted my heart. If you’ve been feeling aloof, separate or alone this may touch your heart too…
Some of my friends and family are used to me acting as if ‘pets are people too’ but its a new revelation for me to consider plants as people. So what does this mean? A friend of mine pointed out that this can’t possibly be true but for me its a relational thing. If I think of pets as pets and plants as plants then I separate myself from them and put myself above them in a hierarchy. From this perspective I can’t enjoy the relationship I want with nature which is a two way flow of communication. So to even start this level of connection with the world around me I need to label it in a way which is far more conducive to conversation. This way of thinking was inspired many years ago by a Hollywood man called J Allen Boone who wrote Kinship with All Life, an extraordinary book in which he shares his conversations with all different types of creatures – from a film star alsation to an army of ants. His number one rule was to speak ‘across’ and never ‘down’ to whichever animal or insect he wanted to connect with. I have never forgotten this piece of advice although I’m still a baby talker to cute kittens and puppies.
Talking ‘across’ to plants began on my recent stay at the magical Eco Chateau when Ruth Phillips, the visionary owner, taught me to forage. Every day I’d collect a bag full of five or six different plants we usually call weeds, to put in a potent wild and live salad which in fact did curl my hair! I got into the habit of thanking the Earth for her bounty as I plucked these plants leaf by leaf. This simple mantra developed into a wonderful gratitude ‘high’.
Even if the plants I look at aren’t potential food I am far more aware of them now and their life force and I cannot help but admire and appreciate them as I pass by. Last year a particular journey brought it home to me as I sat in the back of a car as a group of us drove to a stretch of wild Welsh coast for a Sunday amble in the drizzle. I found myself communing with nature as we drove along the windy roads, immersed in its beautiful green presence and its abundance.
We passed a shoulder of grass awash with yellow from spring daffodils and I wondered if I’d cut them just to bring their beauty into my home. A whole new ethical question arose which had not been asked since this new space of love. Now I’m not a vegetarian and when asked how come I eat meat when I love animals I am uncomfortable because I don’t really know how to answer this question. However if I open myself to communication between all the realms, how on earth would I eat anything?
I remember having read some inspirational spiritual books years back about how everything on the planet has its role and even though I don’t buy that everything is here for the benefit of mankind I do love taking my imagination to the outermost limits of what this world may be about. If everything and everyone has a role, and if bodies die but life itself doesn’t, then perhaps plants and animals can be here to serve us. I also sense that every human on the planet is here for some sort of service with many people serving animal and plant-kind with a commitment that can, and does, sometimes take their lives too.
So what am I trying to say here? Intuitively I was guided to spend time in nature and experience that there is a ‘bond’ and I’ve also been guided to explore chaos in order to drop beneath its surface into the calm. In asking my intuition what message completes this blog I’ve just got an extraordinary sense that life here on this amazing planet has true ‘give and take’ – like an in breath followed by an out breath. Without both of those every mammal would be dead. Maybe we can call it ‘give and receive’. When we follow our inner guidance, or our lionheart as I call it, we cannot help but be in this flow and flux. We may appear to receive with one hand but we will give with the other – this is simply a law of nature. In this extraordinarily magical place of following this flow and flux emanating from our heart or spirit we will always be guided to create balance, whether we are aware of it or not. In this deep space we are ‘bonded’ with all life and this ‘bond’ supports us in a way I’ve yet to experience enough to put into words.
And what has this to do with plants being people? Relationships are what we all want – we hope for the one ‘soul mate’ relationship which we think will fulfill us the most. Yet in my mind relationships of all kind are valuable and through each one we see an aspect of ourselves we may not see elsewhere. And through relationships we have conversations which can help us grow and learn. When we share ourselves with another they can also grow and learn. When a person, pet or plant receives love they blossom. Can nature as a whole benefit in this way too?
So my ‘soul’ relationship is the one with all of nature, all of life and this includes plants and animals – and the planet herself! Imagine each and every day you converse with all of life – imagine what it would be like? Imagine if our individual appreciation of nature affected her in a positive way. If we all spent time indulging in these sorts of conversations could we transform the planet? Could we change the weather patterns, alter the level of disasters, transform the crime statistics, increase the crop yield?
Maybe we are not just little people made out of skin and bone attached to a massive rock by gravity – maybe we are far more than that – a stitch in the arran jumper of life, each one of us (whether animal, plant or mineral) made from the same spiritual ball of wool, uniquely necessary to keep it from unravelling and co-create a thing of beauty.
So maybe life is not a box of chocolates but a ball of wool! All of us knitted from the same fabric so that essentially everything on the planet is a person too.