I was in my garden one sunny winter’s day, happily popping perfectly ripe, sun-warmed cape gooseberries into my mouth. Straight off the plant. Enjoying the tart sweetness that exploded on my taste buds, I was suddenly overcome by a feeling of deep gratitude to this plant. I realised how it nourished my body, pleased my sense of taste and also, because of its simple, spindly beauty, how it added to the aesthetic value of my garden.
Glancing around me at the other plants in the garden, I remembered how Echinacea helped keep me healthy when the flu bug was doing the rounds. Lemon balm always offers a soothing cup of tea when times are a bit stressful. Peppermint always brings cheer and not only sorts out an unhappy tummy, but also makes quick work of a headache. My eye landed on Lavender and I remembered how she always helps me sleep better when I go through times of struggling to get good rest.
Then I thought of how the plants also feed animals and other plants, and more than that, how they have provided medicine to animals and other plants for aeons. As humans, we get so absorbed in ourselves that we hardly ever consider that plants have been around for so long, much longer than what we have been here. Plants didn’t just become medicinal when our species came into existence. They have been nourishing and healing each other and the fauna kingdom for a very long time. They provide food and shelter and even water to the insects and birds that make a home within their foliage and branches. They create the very air that we breathe and are even so generous as to perfume that very air with their exquisite and subtle (or sometimes bold) fragrances. They beautify the environment with their floral expressions and geometry.
Then I thought of how kindly the plants offer themselves up to me in service in my creative outlets and my business too, and it struck me with great force that I would not be able to express in a physical manner many of my creative urges without the co-operation of the botanical kingdom. The essential oils I use to infuse my potions with fragrance and healing power… the herbs I blend to make tea and medicine… the vegetable oils that make up the base of my balms and lotions…. On and on I could continue about natural dyes and pigments, paper and wooden products, fabric for making clothes and furnishings…
In that moment of humility my love for the plants deepened many-fold and I said a silent prayer of gratitude for their many wondrous labours and gifts. Then, from somewhere in the garden, or perhaps from everywhere, an understanding was sent to my heart that the plants are also grateful to those humans who employ their help in creation and healing. When we join forces with them it allows them to become something more, just as the human with which they are teaming up. A-HA!!! Co-operation and co-creation finally became more than just a concept, concepts that we as humans seem to only place in relation to other humans, without thinking for a moment of the co-operation given to us so freely by the plant, animal , mineral and elemental kingdoms.
What a precious joy to be alive on this beautiful planet.
A SMALL MEDITATION
You will need a journal and a small offering. Please be sure to pick a safe place and take some water and perhaps a hat and a warm item of clothing.
Get yourself into a garden or park, forest or some other place where there are many plants.
Find somewhere comfortable to kneel or sit. I like to kneel.
Take a few deep breaths of the fresh air and quiet the mind, centring and grounding yourself by imagining roots connecting you to the earth that carries you.
Take a slow look at the plants around you and even if you don’t know what their names are or how they might be used, acknowledge that they do sustain your life.
Notice the little creatures that live in and under the plants, how they too are sustained.
Breathe in the beauty and love of the plants and as you exhale send them gratitude and love in return.
Feel the earth underneath you and give thanks to all the plants that have lived over many millions of years, feeding and healing, clothing and housing each other and everybody else.
Stay in this sacred moment for a while and when you are ready offer a final thank you and perhaps a token, like a stone, feather or a bit of Himalayan rock salt. It may also be a good idea to jot down in your journal any thoughts or impressions that came to you before continuing with your day.
Flora love and blessings!