Serene Sunday: Mother Nature’s Hidden Eyes and Ears

I have proof positive that plants can TALK…and actually HEAR what’s going on around them. What?! you say… That’s ridiculous! Without mouths, without ears???

Not only that, but we humans can communicate with them! It takes time and patience, but well worth the effort. 🙂

Charles Darwin, 150 years ago, imagined a world far busier, noisier and more intimate than the world we can see and hear. Our senses are pitifully weak. The world is buzzing all around us. Darwin sensed this. “Let it be borne in mind how infinitely close-fitting are the mutual relations of all organic beings to each other,” he wrote. He was speaking of the intricate web of life — the interrelationship of animal, plant, mineral kingdoms and lively interplay of communication which we humans generally ignore. Darwin was way ahead of his time. He must have been, to give in to wild imaginings of talking plants and earthworm wisdom!

Fast forward 145 years, and you have another “man ahead of his time” with a film about strange blue people living in a rainforest and referring to a big tree as their “mother”. Avatar was a landmark film that showcased Nature’s intricate web of interdependent life. Director James Cameron’s message was that human beings CAN live in peace and harmony with other species. The magnificent “Tree of Souls” nurtured the Na’vi people and protected them. In return, these grateful Na’vi maintained the sacred space, worshiped and prayed at their jungle altar. This is literally Mother Nature communicating with her beloved children! Her forest was a living, breathing entity pulsing with life supporting itself. Can you imagine living at this level of consciousness and awareness? And when it was threatened with modern technology, this powerful natural intelligence with help of the Na’vi tribe, fought back in ways that I can’t even adequately describe. You’d have to see the movie.

Back in real life… We don’t exactly live in a world like Pandora, but there is an efficient ecosystem within our earth’s forests called Mycorrhizal Networks. It’s how trees and other plants communicate, and it’s with fungus! But before you scrunch up your nose and say, “Yucch!” just know that we have Mother Trees safeguarding these systems in forests throughout the world. Each one sustains all the other plants by means of a sophisticated network of fungi. These white fungal threads transport critical nutrients underground from overstory trees to roots of seedlings. Walk through a forest and pay close attention to the bustling activity of this mighty matrix… You’ll also see them at work in the movie Avatar. Again, Cameron’s salient message is that we MUST conserve the Mother Tree. Without her our delicate forest ecosystems can’t survive — that’s a sobering fact.

Come see what this strange lifesaver looks like:

You get my drift. Some species don’t need a mouth for talking, ears for hearing, or eyes for seeing for that matter. Most of us have heard of telepathic communication with animals. With plants, it’s much the same. You can simply tune into their frequency, ask a simple question of the flower, bush, fruit tree, and the “answer” comes in feelings and images… It’s a pleasant way to pass the time. Even if you don’t “get anything”, you’ll feel a sense of peace and contentment.

Darwin said our human senses are weak. That may be so, but like muscles you can exercise your senses to make them stronger. There is life teeming all around us, in the earth, up in the trees. Just be aware, engage your 5 senses — See, Hear, Taste, Touch and Smell this incredible natural world. Plants like cabbage can emit a volatile gas, namely “methyl jasmonate”, that warns their vegetative brethren that a herbivore is in the ‘hood — annoying things like caterpillars or garden shears. In flower beds, their roots are clicking merrily away, sending key signals out. Corn husks rub against each other in the fields, creating loud vibrations (gives whole new meaning to “ear of corn”!).

Oh my gosh, we’re living in the midst of a huge biological Internet!!  Kinda makes you want to get out of your chair, go outside and breathe some fresh air. 🙂

So the next time you stop and smell the roses, be sure you speak to them too!

Blogging 101: Community Inspiration and Sharing, Part I

Sometimes the newest blogger will offer the freshest ideas and most intriguing challenges. I’ve found that with Shauna at when I read her first blog post: “Why Here, Why Now?”. She says it’s a work-in-progress, which pretty much applies to all of us bloggers! So here’s my comment:

“You are off to a great start! Your first post is short & sweet, just perfect for a new blogger. I also love applying timeless wisdom to modern lifestyles, and just attended a workshop entitled “Tools for the Urban Mystic” which resonates with your theme 🙂 I’m looking forward to seeing more of your posts, and you’re welcomed to view mine:
My latest post for Blogging 101 may help you, as you develop your writing style.”

I think that asking a direct question is one of the best kinds of titles your blog post can have. People sit up and take notice, right away thinking of how they would answer the question themselves, or curious to read the blogger’s own philosophy on the matter. Being a sensitive, mystical or spiritual person caught up in the day-to-day mundane routines of urban life is a modern day challenge that makes us ponder why we are here, and what kind of difference we can make, individually and collectively. I have heard this world referred to in many ways (some nice, some nasty) but seldom do I see our world described as “stylish”. I see no reason why it can’t be so, and simply envisioning a world of culture and refinement can actually help manifest such a desireable scenario. As a Law of Attraction Coach, I would go on further to say the more we visualize an ideal world, capable of sustaining a higher consciousness and heightened awareness, the greater our capacity for inspiration and sharing. It seems worth the effort, and the rewards are there for everyone to share!

In Part II, I will expand the concept of being a “pebble in the pond” and reveal how even small acts of kindness (coming from inspiration) can create huge shifts in consciousness for people everywhere.

Blogging 101: Balance btw. planning and being spontaneous

I’ve always wanted to be a celebrated columnist, and now I’m doing much the same — on the Internet, in cyberspace! It’s even better because I am co-creating a new community of bloggers, not just tooting my own horn to a bunch of avid readers.

The cool thing about blogging is that you give in to your spontaneous side when you write. Nothing is chistled in stone. Everything is subject to change at your whim and/or discretion. You’re not writing an article to publish in a magazine (or now obsolete newspapers). You’re free to create with eager little fingers whatever is on your mind at the time. What’s more, blogging is by nature “conversational”, which you don’t find in most magazine articles or nonfiction books. The conversational writers with whom I’m familiar are Neale Donald Walsch (Conversations with God books) and Marci Shimoff (“Happy for No Reason”). They both write as they speak, which makes for an easy read. But how did  they develop this casual, give-and take dialogue approach? This is part of my creative flow solution to writer’s block. As I’m still getting used to writing posts, I realize that blogging is indeed a casual platform that serves spontaneity and practical matters with equal alacrity and ease. I just got an email from Blogging Coach, Molly Greene on “How to Build a Perfect Blog Post”, and she’s successfully honed a standardized approach to creating blog posts. This is the planning part, but it allows plenty of room for spontaneity too:

I’ve gotten used to shortening my URLs with Twitter, as I’m happy to do here… One thing that writers Marci and Molly both recommend, which I haven’t done yet, is having a “Call To Action” at the end of each post. Marci Shimoff has many bestsellers to her credit, and she wouldn’t have been so successful without a particular routine or method for organizing her thoughts and ideas. She decides early in her writing drafts what the ultimate call to action will be for her audience. Marci is also a strong proponent of the “shitty first draft” and not being afraid to write badly. (I call it writing from your subconscious mind, where there’s no judgment). Of course, it makes perfect sense for bloggers to also use CTA in their final draft to “stimulate reader engagement” as Molly says so they can grow their own following, and help others do likewise.

Therefore, I’ve decided to present again my introduction at the beginning of Blogging 101, which follows the suggested format (it’s clearly standardized for our Community) and asks questions at the end (Call To Action) while offering a fun and spontaneous way of alleviating writer’s block OR freeing yourself from those nasty gremlins that ZAP your creative energy:

Hi everyone, I’m Jacqueline and I’ve found a way to deal with writer’s block that works quite well. It isn’t the only way, but it definitely gets me in the flow and keeps me there in spite of a multitude of distractions! (Hint: I got this technique from Marci Shimoff, author of “Love For No Reason” and “Chicken Soup for the Woman’s Soul” books).

My excerpt: My intention is to be of service to other bloggers, by offering a breakthrough approach to overcoming the nefarious and nebulous writers block which is a common affliction for us creatives. And that includes anything which disrupts the flow of your creativity, and keeps your Muse from inspiring you~!

Goal: Actually the excerpt IS my stated goal for this post and theme for my entire WordPress Blog.

My Questions: 1) Do you believe that writer’s block truly is a common concern? I don’t actually reveal the specific method of banishing writer’s block, or why it’s so consistently effective. I am reverse engineering instead, by showing the end result of freestyle writing, which is a verrrry rough first draft (with corrections) as I did with my first three posts. 2) Do you think this will peak curiosity of readers to find out exactly how, with some illustrious help, I’ve conquered this problem?

Link (Optional):

Call To Action: Once you’ve read my early posts, I’d appreciate any suggestions or insights you may have. Thank you!

Serene Sunday: Little known fact about famous prayer

Every day of our lives presents a new opportunity for personal growth. If you firmly keep the faith and believe in yourself, you can stand strong no matter what happens in your life. I know it sounds facile and simplistic, but it’s true! Many of us are familiar with the Serenity Prayer, and if you’ve ever recited it, you know it goes like this:

God grant me the Serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
Courage to change the things I can;
and Wisdom to know the difference.

But it doesn’t end there, this famous prayer/poem goes on to say:

Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.

I continue to find comfort in saying this prayer, in its entirety, and thought I would share this little “revelation” as most people only know the first few lines. Whether or not you’re in recovery, I believe that if you declare yourself willing to surrender to your Higher Power, that opens the door to God’s grace and eases pain and suffering. Serenity is a divine gift that is yours, if you but have the courage and wisdom to claim it… Blessings on the path!

Banish Writer’s Block: Could You Be My Dream Reader?

I would say that my “dream reader” loves to challenge prevailing notions, taking a fresh look at a popular topic. He/she is an avid writer/blogger as well as reader, and doesn’t hesitate to turn an issue inside out and examine every angle, assuming it’s an interesting enough topic in the first place…

This particular topic is one that’s crucial to really understand. Let’s no longer pay “lip service” to it like the news media does, but instead sincerely deal with the ramifications of such a profile for individuals.

We’ve all heard how important it is to be open and vulnerable, as that reveals your true self to the world. It’s all about being “authentic”, so your audience knows who they’re dealing with. In speaking onstage and doing webinars to promote yourself, the advice on how to be most effective always comes down to that: Be Vulnerable! Only then can your audience or listeners relate to you. You are establishing common ground, which is important so people know you are a flawed human being, like the rest of us. That’s all well and good, and it sounds like reasonable advice to someone who wants very much to put themselves “out there”. But then you have to ask, “Where does all this openness and vulnerability leave me?” Well, that’s a thorny issue. In this day and age, with violence occurring in the least likely places, and families being out of touch (literally lacking physical touch, as we’re connected through mobile devices now) the reality doesn’t exactly measure up in a supportive fashion. Ah, but when you’re a writer, shielded behind your computer, with flying fingers across the keyboard, you can certainly be “open, vulnerable and authentic” in a safer way than say podium speakers in a crowded auditorium. The Internet makes it possible to reach millions of people without ever going out your front door. That’s truly amazing, when you stop to think about it. We’ve successfully leveled the playing field (to some extant) between big wig corporations and small businesses. When it comes to influencing minds and hearts, one person actually CAN make a difference. 😀

My idea of being vulnerable and authentic is not necessarily “telling all” as in a juicy expose (unless you’re into that sort of thing). It’s more of an honest revelation of your feelings on a subject in a calm, dispassionate manner that invites others to comment in the same way. Not everyone wants to share personal trivia about their family or where/when they grew up. It isn’t relevant most of the time, so who cares? In my spiritual coaching practice, I suggest my clients “drop their story” usually when they seem to be over-invested in the past drama of their lives. Be the “ever-present witnessing awareness” as Deepak Chopra says, and cultivate non-attachment to outcome of your endeavors. That is the most “authentic” way anyone can truly be!

Banish Writer’s Block: What IS Absoulute Beauty?

What a wise and wonderful question! Every person will have an entirely different answer, based on their own unique POV. Mine is rather unorthodox, maybe even unsettling. That’s the “beauty” of it, and not limited to eye of the beholder as with museum art or an attractive body. I’m exploring the other senses, feelings, emotions, within a natural healing process than can turn our perception of “ugly” into something beautiful…

I begin my answer with another question: Why should we be afraid to show grief when we’ve suffered a loss? Maybe “afraid” is too strong a word. More like self-conscious and unwilling to look messy or ugly, as with a face scrunched up with tears. We women know that means mascara running down our cheeks — “Oh-my-gosh, can’t allow anyone to see me like this!” It’s embarrassing, and more so for men due to society’s double standard. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Having a “good cry” is therapeutic, shows our sensitivity and we feel so much better afterwards, don’t we? After a rainstorm, the air is so fresh and clean and everything looks beautiful. Whenever we have a drought (as now in California) the raindrops become our Heavenly Father’s merciful tears nourishing the parched earth below. Likewise, when we give free reign to our grief, there is a catharsis taking place which is very healing. Those who hear someone crying, have a natural urge to help that person out of sympathy and kindness. We have a causal relationship here that is “beauty” in action, not just a superficial perception of what we consider attractive, and THAT is the essence of compassion. The tear-stained face is beautiful and the offered shoulder to cry on provides blessed relief. Who knew that you could be at your most “attractive” when grieving the death of a loved one? This emotion is an inherent part of our human experience; an absoulute expression of the Soul. Think of it as the ultimate gift to yourself — the freedom to breathe in the grief and embrace tears you shed as a testament to the one you loved. One of my favorite quotes is from Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice, “The quality of mercy is not strained. It droppeth as a gentle rain from Heaven above to the earth below. It is twice blessed; it blesseth him that gives and him that receives.”

A compassionate heart, humbly baring its soul. Ahh, I can’t think of anything more beautiful than that.

Banish Writer’s Block: Unleash the Flow of Creativity!

Blogging is new to me, though I’ve been writing ever since my chubby, grubby little hand could grasp a pen. I’ve only posted three entries previously, and will be writing another tomorrow. I’m very grateful to have discovered this cool new community of bloggers. What a useful and timely gift! My intention is to be of service to other writers, by offering a “breakthrough” approach to overcoming the nefarious and nebulous “writers block” which is a common affliction for us creatives. Before “Blogging 101” I figured I would post once a week. Now I see that more activity would certainly move me along the learning/growing continuum faster, like every day (What the hey?!) I’m hoping that “Blogging 101” will get me into the habit of consistently offering value to my readers (What? – Where are they?  – Don’t have any yet…) so I may earn a place in cyberspace, and become revered in the “blogosphere”. I am a certified Law of Attraction Life Coach and Qigong Master. I gently guide my clients to meditate while doing flowing movements. I’m all about being “in the flow” and moving through life with more ease and grace, whether writing a poem or doing an exercise. I just never knew that blogging online could be an avenue for creative expression… Now I’m boldly venturing where I’ve never gone before, not sure where it will take me, but knowing I will eventually get there – Woo Hoo! 😀