building a beautiful and bountiful world in collaboration with nature

Archive for the ‘Awareness/Consciousness’ Category

The Gift of Rose Potpourri Sweet Corn

imageI harvested the first of the Rose Potpourri Sweet Corn on Friday and served it for dinner that night.   My husband and I each took our first bite, looked at the other and exclaimed, “Oh, My God!”  This is an amazing sweet corn!  The response to it seems to be universal.  Whether sharing it with friends, apprentices, or other farm guests, everyone has that OMG reaction.

The beauty makes it special: a feast for the eyes and mind.  The flavor makes it special: a delight for the taste buds and body.  And there is something more: an intangible quality that feeds the heart and soul.  This is Mother Corn.

We opened our weekly farm stand at Bluebird Farm a few weeks ago, and at the end of that first meal, I asked my husband, “How much would you charge for this corn?”

“$12,” was his reply.

“Per ear?”


And then we both laughed, because we know that few, if any, of our customers would pay $12 for an ear of corn.  And because we know that to put any price on it belittles its true value.  This corn – and every other ear of corn grown with love and attention and appreciation – is priceless.

We won’t be selling this corn at our farm stand.  It is a gift from Spirit, from Sun and Earth, from Love.  We are enjoying sharing that gift, as a gift to others.  And I love hearing those receiving this gift spontaneously exclaim, “Oh, My God!”


A Note:  For those who wish to try this corn next year – we bought the seeds from Turtle Tree Biodynamic Seeds company.  What an incredible deal!


What Are Plants Talking About?

IMG_4100I am in the middle of Spring. Sowing seeds. Thinning or pricking them out. Forking air into the soil of the beds. Sifting compost. Spreading it. Transplanting. Watering. Mulching. Moving electric fencing for the goats. Moving electric fencing for the sheep. Thinning fruit on the peach and pluot trees. Weeding. Picking strawberries. Building support for the raspberries. Guiding the growing boysenberries. Building new compost piles. Sowing seeds.

On days when gray clouds billow in the sky and the weather shifts back and forth from misting rain to warming sun, I feel the thrill of Life awakening all around me. There is a freshness in the air that happens only at this time of year. Spring is bouncing out of the cave of the dark winter light, and I can’t get too much of it. Taking my hands from the fluffy, moist soil to send them tapping over a keyboard – a part of me asks, “Why do that, when there is so much beauty and fun here?” (Thankfully for this blog, day does end and darkness falls, or some afternoons do get hot.)

The Red Malabar Spinach germinated today. Yes! A friend returns for a long season of mutual affection. How do I know it is mutual? Because I know that plants have both senses and social lives. For a peek into them, check out this Nature program What Plants Talk About. The time lapse photography in it does a great job of diminishing the seemingly vast differences between plants and animals.

Who are your favorite plant friends?


Rock Talk

Smithsonian 8-10-09 - 209

Smithsonian 8-10-09 – 209 (Photo credit: Orbital Joe)

Last year I asked the question, “what is the potential ecological role for humans within Earth’s ecosystems?”  Searching for clues and answers has led me on a wonderful journey of exploration, but it has been harder and harder in the past few months to form my emerging understanding into words or to format it to a reasonably readable blog.  When the stones and plants communicate they send vibrations, encoded information packets of energy/feelings.  Words seem so shallow and one-dimensional in comparison, and it is challenging to find enough of them to really deliver the full picture/feeling of what has now been downloaded into my body/mind/energy system.  There are a few things, however, that I want to pass along.

In October, I started practicing a technique taught by Paul Scheele and Win Wenger of Learning Strategies Corporation called “image streaming”.  The idea is to get somewhat relaxed, close your eyes, and describe out loud the images that present themselves to your mind’s eye.  No editing, just describe whatever you experience in there, including any smells, sounds, tastes, or tactile sensations. It is important to do it out loud (and preferably to another person or into a voice recorder) because that is the part of the process that builds the connective neural circuitry between the left and right hemispheres of the brain.  That connective circuitry is what allows us to access much more readily the 10 million or more bits of information registered by the right brain/heart/intuitive mind each and every second and get relevant pieces transferred to the left brain/rational/normal consciousness mind.  We’re talking about noticing and interpreting all the information/energy being delivered to us by rocks, plants, and everything else in the Universe every day.

This technique, coupled with a book I happened so see displayed at the library and checked out because it had such gorgeous photos, has broadened my personal horizons a hundredfold.  101 Power Crystals by Judy Hall is a wonderful entry into the world of gems and crystals.  Both my husband and I started reading it and quickly found ourselves browsing the shelves at our local Crystal Rainbow Rock Shop as well as renewing our relationships with the assortment of rocks and gems already in our possession.  I’ve long had an affinity for rocks, but I hadn’t really registered how alive they are.  Over the past few months as I have taken the time to breath and relax and sit with them, I find my ability to listen/feel their energies has grown dynamically.  Each day it gets clearer and more natural.  I find myself wondering why I haven’t been more conscious of this my whole life.

Sitting with a small tumbled amethyst one day, I felt – simply, clearly, effortlessly – the chain of being on this planet that at a certain point expanded to encompass rocks and eventually plants and animals and then eventually humans.  I discovered in a shockingly visceral moment that the rock in my hand did not think of me as “other”.  It could understand my different-ness, my individual-ness, but had no concept of me as an “other”.  In the amethyst’s perspective, I am – we all are – walking, talking rocks.  This perspective is increasingly supported by science which describes the liquid crystal nature of our cell membranes and of the DNA and of our bodies in their wholeness.

Welcome to the new world!

(To be continued…)

New Life, New Love

The fall rainy season has arrived in earnest.  Frosty nights have put an end to the summer garden, blackening the peppers, tomatoes, and squashes, as well as putting an end to the tasty greens of the strawberry spinach (an excellent substitute for regular spinach).  The kale, meanwhile, looks reinvigorated, and the one broccoli plant I didn’t pull out in June has delivered a meal’s worth of yummy side shoots.  The end of one garden heralds the beginning of another.

I’ve been experiencing many closing cycles lately, along with a few new opening ones.  We have sold our cows, saying goodbye on Friday as we loaded them in a trailer and saw them off to a new home just down the road.  We simply don’t have adequate pasture for cows in our current location, and didn’t want to keep spending such large amounts on hay.  I have a good amount of their manure composting for next year’s gardens – and I hope to find a way to return to a life with cows in the future.

Another closing cycle was the death of our Queensland Healer, Trinity, who died unexpectedly in mid-October.  She was a gem, and her death has been a heart-breaking open experience for me.  When she died, I was sure it would be at least three or four months before I would even want to consider getting another dog, but almost right away both my husband and I started getting intuitions and signs telling us she was coming back much faster than we thought possible.  Friends started telling us about a litter of Queensland/Kelpie crosses.  Tom got a fortune cookie saying, “Go get it, it’s ready to be picked.”  I had dreams about a Trinity tree with multiple fruits and other dreams with reviving puppies.

We’ve had Topaz for 2 weeks now.  She has fit right into our lives and family without missing a beat, bringing laughter and joy with her.

In the week after Trinity died, I sat down and spoke with the Violet plant who lives in a pot just outside my front door.  She is a dear friend, and violets are known to help heal heartache.  This is part of what she told me:

Plants do not seem to have a heart, and yet the sap rises and falls in us and we have our rhythms.  I am Green blood and you are Red blood, and these are the colors of your Christmas, of your marriage to the Love within.  Your microscopes cannot see my heart, but the energy of it pulses in me nonetheless.  My leaf is heart-shaped.  I am the limitless nature of the heart covering the ground in love.

Do you know what Love is?

Consider that, please.  Is it a warm feeling?  An impulse?  A desire?  A guiding light?

From the Violet perspective, Love is a binding force that ties the energies of opposites together in perfect balance.  Male and female bound in Love creates a new body, and ,more than that, a new expanded Life.  What you think of as gravity is actually two energies – gravity and levity – bound in balance by Love in the ideal state for this planet.

Everything bound by Love pulls in two directions, just enough to cause growth and evolution.  To fall in love is to let yourself be stretched into growth, for Love is naturally creative in its binding power.  You have loved and it has caused you to grow.  Through my experience of Love the energies of soil and earth are married to the energies of light and cosmos, and We all grow and evolve.

Something to think about as the Thanksgiving holiday arrives.  Blessings to All.

Striking Teachers, Plant-Eating Insects and the Movement Toward Collaboration

Rose and Insect Collaboratiom

I was listening to the radio this past week and heard a news segment interview with a striking teacher in Chicago.  When asked what the strike was about, the essence of his response was, “The administration thinks this is a hierarchy. We think it’s a collaborative.  That’s the issue.  They want to tell us what we do, while we want to work with them on that.”  These few words express so beautifully the heart of the paradigm shift that humanity is moving through.  I see signs of it everywhere, with pioneers in every field pushing the edges in all forms of relationship to evolve past hierarchical thinking and move into partnership and collaboration.  Buck Brannaman and Pat and Linda Parelli are at the forefront in natural horesmanship; Marshall Rosenberg has Non-Violent Communication; Cesear Milan’s concept of calm-assertive leadership is reprogramming the dog world.  There is also freeschooling, community supported agriculture, couch surfing, ecological forestry,… and plant spirit communication.  Collaboration is breaking out all around us.

Like most (all?) of us, I was raised by people who had themselves been indoctrinated with the thoughts and beliefs that create hierarchical structures and “power over” relationships in human societies.  Like many of us, I am on the path of rewiring my body-mind system and forging new perceptions and interpretations of who I am, who we are, and how I/We are connected to – really the same as – what seems to be “outside” our selves.  I am part of the whole that is carrying humanity past this 5,000-year-old infatuation with hierarchy.

The garden is a great place for me to become aware of and let go of the old wiring, while choosing and creating the new wiring. Plants, insects, microbes, soil, and water are all calmly persistent (or calm-assertive) when it comes to delivering the feedback, the messages, that can move me into collaboration. When the harlequin beetles get busy eating the broccoli, I can use a domination approach – a nice, organic neem oil spray, for example – or I can take the time to sit down and tune in and find out what message they carry.  I still sometimes use the former approach, but more and more and more often, I remember to slow down and take a breath and gently begin the process that moves me out of the back-of-the-mind-almost-invisible-thinking that causes the panic that leads in the direction of that magic bottle/pill/gun/stick/neem oil spray.  Now I can choose to sit down and listen.

There is a wonderful new book out called Building Soil Naturally, by Phil Nauta.  I highly recommend it because his main goal is to build soils that will vitalize plants to such a degree that they can take care of themselves when it comes to insects and diseases.  That’s right.  Plants can be empowered to take care of themselves.  We don’t have to think of them as helpless children or poor unfortunates that have no legs and can’t get up and run.  Healthy plants – truly vital, vibrant, balanced plants – create an internal chemistry that is insect proof because insects don’t have the enzymes necessary to digest healthy plant tissue. Insects are out there with their antenna, trolling for plants that emit the universal infrared signal for “I’m unhealthy, eat me!”

The next time you find an infestation of plant-eating insects in your garden, thank them.  They are doing you a favor by cleaning up the less vital plants, the imbalanced plants, the plants that can’t offer you, the human being, the high quality nutrition you need and deserve.  They are your wake up call to do whatever it takes to understand healthy soil and get busy building it  They are the equivalent of striking teachers, letting you know that it’s not a hierarchy, it’s a collaborative.

Connecting to Earth’s Internet

Standing Stone

Standing Stone (Photo credit: Bruce)

The human body is an aggregate of an energy field, and that field is interconnected to everything that exists.  Energy is the engine that drives everything, including our consciousness, and, as such, energy can influence us and we can influence it.  This energy field is a force and it is full of information….    Freddy Silva, Legacy of the Gods

This is the paradigm we are currently in the midst of absorbing and understanding, this vision of energy as an information-dense foundation that patterns and structures our consciousness and our physical reality.  Freddy Silva’s book, Legacy of the Gods, is a fascinating and gentle walk into this new paradigm, with a focus on the structures bequeathed to us to help us make this transition:  the ancient landscape temples and sacred sites scattered across the globe.  From the Giza pyramids to Chartres Cathedral to the sacred mountains of the world, we are surrounded by places capable of tuning and training our consciousness to deeper/higher levels of awareness.

These are places and structures that are also capable of responding to us.  They tune us and we tune them.  Those who built them had a very clear understanding of the energetics underlying water, electricity, magnetism, geometry, and stone.  They knew how to organize these elements to create stable energy/information patterns capable of supporting a more coherent structuring of human consciousness.  To receive this support one needs to add the element of intent.  “As a living entity, a purposefully constructed [temple] is able to read intent like an electric lock reads a PIN number….Like any functional partnership, you have to meet it halfway.”

I am not going to review the tremendous amount of information contained in this book.  Just read it.  It’s worth it.  For myself, I have carried from it a heightened awareness of Earth as a living being; one who is also an aggregate of information-dense energy, now patterned into this beautiful matrix of oceans and continents, all conscious to the core.  Earth’s energy/information has the power to act on my mind-body-consciousness.  My energy/information has the power to act on her.  I am not just a speck on a whirling ball.  We are two conscious beings in relationship.

As I read Silva’s book, the living energy grids of this planet became more real to me.  The dragon lines of China and the ley lines of Europe are here in North America too, though less often marked as such by people, and they are available to those who seek them.  The Hartmann net, an energy grid aligned to the poles and encompassing the entire planet in a rectangular grid of 9 inch wide lines spaced 6 feet 6 inches by 8 feet apart, also interacts with and influences our body-mind energy systems.

Over the past nine months, I have been drawn to regularly sit at and meditate at a place that I now recognize as an energy node of a feminine ley line, a deeper pooling of the energetic flow of the land.  My visits there have been mutually beneficial.  I can feel this place “waking up”.  It becomes easier to connect to ease and joy and knowing when I’m there, as the flows of energy have changed in response to the appreciation I have offered.  We’ve been helping each other, this place and I.

Research has shown that it takes less than 1% of a population meditating regularly to drop crime rates for an entire neighborhood or city.  This makes me wonder, what if some of us found and tended to these special places?  What if this is one of the primary roles humans are designed to play on Earth?  What if this is the beginning of the natural Internet – the network that connects humans to rock and water and soil and plants and animals and oceans and ecosystems and planet?  What if we each had a special place, a place in the planet’s energy grid, where we go for rebalancing and for a daily information download from the planet and cosmos?  What if, as we are there, quieting our minds, opening our hearts, and offering the clear energy of love and appreciation, this place, too, is able to rebalance, refresh, and reboot?  What if this is how mutual, cooperative and conscious evolution takes place?

The existing power places have their guardians; there are those who have and who do quietly tend to the energy needs of these well-known locations.  This is not about rushing off to Stonehenge, or about building another pyramid.  This is about the little places, the supporting links, the small streams that eventually feed the bigger streams.  This is about enhancing the energy/information patterns of this planet by bringing our conscious awareness and appreciation to the neglected energy nodes that permeate our landscapes.

Is there a place that has come to mind as you’ve been reading this?  Go there!  Bring a small gift – a flower, a piece of fruit, bread with honey, or what ever else your instincts say to bring.  Sit for a while.  Breathe deeply.  Meditate, if that comes naturally to you.  Open your senses.  Use your peripheral vision.  Close your eyes and listen.  Smell the scents.  Feel the sensations on your skin.  Feel the sensations inside.  Tell this place what is in your heart.  Ask for help for yourself, and ask if there is anything you can offer beyond your love and appreciation.  Notice anything that happens, any thoughts that arrive, as feedback.  Do this regularly for a few weeks or months, and perhaps you, too, will feel that you have found a doorway to the new Eden.

Link to Freddy Silva’s website.

Brain Care for the Awakening Gardener

crop circle - echoes

crop circle – echoes (Photo credit: oddsock)

My latest summer reading is Freddy Silva’s newest book, Legacy of the Gods.  The title doesn’t begin to explain what this book is about.  I’m thoroughly enjoying it, and it is 100% relevant to gardening, but I want to finish reading it before I say more about it here.  So today I’m going to prepare you for future blogs on that subject by talking about what I learned from another book on my summer reading list: Awakening the Brain, by Dr. Charlotte Tomaino.  Because our nervous systems are what it’s all about.

Dr. Tomaino is a neuropsycholgist whose first vocation was – are you ready? – nun.  Her book is a perfect example of the many ways that science and spirituality are converging in this century, and her life is an embodiment of that process.

What I came away from Tomaino’s book better understanding is how the brain and mind interact and how much the choices we make in our minds influence our brain and its structures and biochemistry, which in turn influence the mind and our thoughts…. It’s a critical feedback loop, and taking care of these delicate and sensitive nervous systems is not something that is yet taught in most families or in school.  Tomaino’s book is like a mini-course in learning to recognize and respond to the signals that tell us when our nervous systems are getting stressed and about to head in a direction where the amygdala is about to take over and clear thinking and openness to opportunity is about to disappear.  All politicians could benefit from this kind of information.  Anyone who spends more than 60 seconds in a day listening to politicians could benefit from this information.

The basics are deceptively simple: keep hydrated and oxygenated (as in drink plenty of water and breathe deeply), get plenty of sleep, eat well for your body, and get good exercise.  Yeah, yeah, yeah.  But try all of those things for just one day and let yourself start to notice the difference.  I know my garden and plants really appreciate it when I am the kind, patient person who has taken care of herself first.

The other element that Tomaino adds in is the concept of “neurochoice”.  Each decision we make is contributing to how our brains structure their networks, and once a neural path is established, the tendency is to keep using that path, making it wider and bigger.  Spouses, parents, and children are the people who know how to “push our buttons”, but really all they are doing is showing you a ‘neurochoice’ made long ago that has now fixed into a strong neural pathway.  It’s up to each of us to restructure our brains and make new choices about what pathways we’re going to let fire up.

My response to gophers in my garden is a good example.  I can see evidence of gopher damage and decide (or allow myself) to think nasty thoughts about gophers. This will begin the process that revs up the stress systems in my brain and body, sending cortisol and other stress hormones into my bloodstream, further firing up the parts of the brain that react instead of think.  The long-term result may be a few extra dead gophers, but it’s also going to be my chronic ill-health.

A different neurochoice is to slow myself down, breath deeply, notice all the plants that are still thriving and reach for the creation of a neural pathway that acknowledges the benefits of diversity.  This keeps my brain in a  mode that allows me to notice what responses will most benefit me and the garden as a whole.  Some trapping may be in order, but it won’t be a stress reaction, it will be a well-considered response.

Both my husband and I have read Awakening the Brain, and the biggest change we notice in ourselves is how much more compassion we have for other people.  Whether it’s the angry person in line at the gas station or the vitriolic outburst we witness somewhere, we tend now to turn to each other and nod our heads knowingly; that poor person has no idea how to take care of their nervous system or how to make healthy neurochoices,  and is clearly suffering the repercussions.

I’m sorry I couldn’t find a way to make this more lively, but I do hope you get the idea. Drink plenty of water, breath deeply, get plenty of sleep, eat the foods that leave you feeling calm and healthy, and exercise.  Take care of your nervous system first. Next time I will talk about how doing these simple things will help us to live the full potential of our ecological roles on this lovely, marvelous planet.