A few weeks ago, I’d been flattened by a particularly nasty infection that had me in bed for most of three weeks. My son and I were away from our hometown at the time, ostensibly on vacation, which turned into something else entirely due to the depredations of a shellfish-borne neurotoxin. For a while, I thought I was dying.
Returning home never felt so sweet. And, I found myself longing for herbs – specifically, lavender, sage, mint, thyme, rosemary, and basil. I could feel my whole body yearning for their scent, longing to imprint and integrate the specific patterns held by the Devas of each of these herbs.
So, I went to a garden centre near my house. This was not a simple undertaking. I was still very ill; my legs felt like vines, bendy and yielding to gravity with every step. I couldn’t feel my feet, or my lips – neurotoxins will do that. But the herbs were calling my name, so off I went.
Because our growing season is so short here in Western Canada, our local garden centre has a massive set of greenhouses, in which they grow annuals from seed, and nurture small, tender plants until they’re hardy enough to move to more permanent homes outdoors. It also houses huge, tropical specimen trees, which cannot survive Canadian winters except in the shelter of a greenhouse.
The moment I wobbled into that greenhouse, my legs felt sturdier; my spine straightened, lungs expanded, shoulders dropped. Plants are powerful medicine. One by one, their Devas greeted me.
Plants are among our most ancient relatives. There are species of mosses that have lived on this earth for 400 million years. The common horsetail, which grows exuberantly in ditches and along roadsides all across the Pacific Northwest, is over 300 million years old.
The greenhouse was warm, lush, misty, redolent of loamy soil and flaring plant life, all breathing together, moist and fragrant. Some of the plants offered themselves as nourishment – tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, lettuces. Some were evergreens, ranging in size from seedlings to towering giants that brushed their heads on the greenhouse’s tall, steeply pitched plastic roof. Others were annuals, showy and gorgeous, wrapped in Schiaparelli pink, or brilliant cadmium yellow.
Shy or prickly, modest or showy, tall or stubby, they exuded delight and purpose. It takes a massive amount of energy for a plant to grow, and they were growing exuberantly, each into the pattern of its species.
Greenhouses and the plants they shelter are a masterful collaboration between the elements – light, water, air, earth – us humans, the Devas of various plants, and their natural habitat, which is built into their emerging structure. Plants have both provenance and terroir, even when they are exotic species grown in greenhouses far from their place of origin. A good gardener works with the plants in her care to replicate the conditions in which they naturally thrive.
Plants are photosensitive. They absorb light and, through the magic of photosynthesis, transform it into sugars that fuel growth, that provide energy and release oxygen into the atmosphere. That greenhouse pulsed with enriched oxygen, with the fizz and froth of life.
It was a cavernous space, flooded with light filtered through thick translucent plastic overhead. The woman who was clearly the head honcho there was slender, sturdy and reassuringly knowledgeable, with her short grey hair, clear grey eyes, a green apron, and an obvious love for plants. She was briskly kind, patiently answering my questions as I bumbled my way around the greenhouse, a little dazed by the overwhelming greetings from the plants all around me.
The greenhouse was organized in sections – long, rough wooden tables with half a dozen varieties of lavender, different species of mint and thyme, sage and rosemary. A shady section held orchids, some with small, shy flowers, others queenly and blazing. Succulents and cacti had their own sunny spot, as did miniature ficus and other bonsai trees.
Roses lived in their own section of the greenhouse. I stopped to bury my nose in each one’s belly, breathing in softness and vibration as much as fragrance. Some of them were old-fashioned, shaggy and gorgeously scented. Others, elegant as ballerinas and scentless, as though their beauty needed no further enhancement.
But I was stalking herbs.
The first one that brushed against my belly, making me pause and laugh, was a leggy Salvia with lovely, small red flowers like eyes at the ends of each stalk.
Even though we give them Latin names, for ease of categorization, plant species each have their own true signatures, their own names, if you will, hiding in plain sight. The clues are in their pattern of growth, their structure, their color, texture, flavor, their terroir.
Each plant is an emanation of the Deva of its species, and each Deva holds the pattern, including the name, of every plant in that species.
Me, I wanted sage, that holiest of healers. And lavender; many different kinds. Stubby little compact varieties, elegant, tall purple French; one riotously pungent Spanish one, being romanced by a bee; and others whose names escape me now.
A good greenhouse is mostly but not entirely an orderly universe made up of colour, texture and scent, light and air, human and plant life, money, labor, craft, art, time and energy, among other things. It is a living community whose sole purpose is to nurture plants in a kindly environment until they are ready to move out into the world.
Commercial greenhouses are a lot different than the greenhouse you may have built in your backyard to start annual seedlings; their plants will eventually be sold, while yours will likely find their way into your garden, and perhaps be shared with friends.
All greenhouses are hotbeds of plant vibrations; each plant has its own energetic signature, as does each handful of soil, each glazed pot, each swath of diffuse sunlight. Certain plant species harmonize well with others of their kind.
In the greenhouse I visited, the woman who showed me around clearly knew which plants belong together; which ones live well together; how they blend and enhance, or clash against each other, energetically as well as aesthetically. Intuitively, and through years of experience and close observation of the plants she worked with, she had created a world of beauty, attunement and choral harmony in that greenhouse.
In addition to being home for tender young plants, a greenhouse both segregates and unites. Within its vast, light-filled sprawl it carves out spaces for intimate groupings – families, if you will – of plants that need similar conditions in which to grow. Spiky succulents and flaring orchids alike receive the precise quality and quantity of light, water, soil, and food to thrive.
A greenhouse nurtures a variety of plants, from flats of barely budding seedlings to lemon, orange and grapefruit trees. It protects them until they grow sturdy enough to take root outdoors — in a patchwork community garden, a neighbourhood park, or someone’s back yard.
Ultimately, a greenhouse is a co-creative partnership, an ecology within which humans and plants, earth, sun, and sky, water and air, work together to help plant beings grow into the next stage of their evolution.
They also grow the hearts, bodies and spirits of the people who work there, whether the greenhouse staff are conscious of it or not. It’s difficult – though clearly not impossible — to tend to green, growing plants, which require care, attention and love, and which reciprocate in kind — while simultaneously nurturing violence in your heart.
Pay attention, the next time you’re in a greenhouse or garden, or in a woods or meadow. Take time to get to know each plant; its texture and colour, scent and architecture, the terroir to which it belongs, how it lives with its neighbours. Plants will reveal their innermost hearts to you, when you bathe them in love and appreciation. Like people, plants want to be known. Loved. Understood. When they are, they grow, exquisitely themselves.
Which brings me to Become Your Own Business Adviser, my 12-week soul-business program, which begins on September 23rd. In its own way, it’s a greenhouse — a safe, radiantly nurturing space in which to grow yourself and your business beyond anything you may have dreamed possible. When you align yourself with your truest desires and values, your soul and the soul of your business create an ecology in which both of you flourish, as does everyone who enters the greenhouse of your business.
Fuelled by your natural curiosity and your willingness to do the work, by your courage in remaining openhearted through lavish and rocky times, you come to know each day as your co-creative partner – one that offers you miraculous opportunities to grow your business in a way that is generous, beautiful, and serves your community.
What happens, in a greenhouse like Become Your Own Business Adviser, is ultimately a dance with Mystery. Together, we build and care for our businesses, and our world grows greener and more radiant as a result of our devotion.
Each of us nurtures one green and leafy denizen of an exquisite cosmic forest.
If you’re ready for growth in alignment with the pattern of your soul, and the soul of your business, please join me for this live session of Become Your Own Business Adviser.
You and your business will be sheltered in the lushest of greenhouses, so you can grow into the pattern of your being.
Practical. Powerful. Soul-dappled.
Be warned: Soul is not a trickster, but it cares little about your goals and plans unless these are in alignment with your truest purposes.
You may want to take your business sky-high, whatever that means to you. Or down into the belly of the earth, or just into speciousness, ease, and time to breathe, play and celebrate your life even as you create and serve your community.
Some of you come to BYOBA with concrete goals that unfurl as beautifully and naturally as any herb or flower that called to me that day in my neighbourhood greenhouse. This unfurling happens because there is a powerful ecology that supports you; because your outer goals are aligned with both your inner vision and embodied reality.
Other times, your soul has other plans. In the greenhouse of our work together, that which needs to fall apart can safely fall apart. Toxic or simply unequal partnerships dissolve. Bodies rebel, demanding what they’ve long been denied, gulping down air, space, light, nourishment, community, solitude, rest, softness, simplicity, beauty, play.
As entrepreneurs, money is part of our inner negotiation with the world. Unless you live entirely off the grid (not possible for most of us) you need money to live. You need it to provide for those you love. You need it in order to create, to care for and nurture your work and your world. How much of it you need, and what you will do to acquire it, will depend on your nature, the nature of your business, the relationships you cultivate in the greenhouse of your life and work, and the world in which you function, among other things.
The Deva of money is a being born of love. It’s been abused and neglected, used to manipulate and control others in utterly unethical ways, but in itself it is a Deva. It holds the pure pattern for what money can be and do. Primarily, it serves by providing — safety, provision, choice, access to a wholesome, fulfilled life for all beings.
Each of these elements is essential for healthy growth, as is the greenhouse that shelters them for a while.
If you want to grow yourself and your business, first ask yourself why. What is it that you want next? How does what you want, harmonize – or not – with the pattern of your own being, with your soul’s desires and those of your personhood? How does what you long for harmonize with your health, your wellbeing, your relationships, your creative desires, your community, your world?
Stop doing what no longer works for you. Tear down the old greenhouses – the ones that sheltered you at one time and may be a different shape and terroir than you need now.
Build a new greenhouse to shelter your life and business. Give yourself time, space, gently powerful support, and come grow with me.
Grow yourself. Grow your business. Grow into the fullness, beauty and truth of your own being. Grow your business into its true self too.
In Become Your Own Business Adviser, you will choose how, when, and in what direction you want to grow yourself and your business. And you will do this within the nurturing environment of this particular greenhouse.
You will also be held in a greater ecology that is more complex, miraculous, mysterious and generous than anything you can imagine.
No idea what that means for you and your business? Read or watch testimonials from some of my past students here. They generously share what the program has been like, for them, and what they have created as a result. May their stories inspire you so you can catch a glimpse of how your truest desires can unfold.
Not prosperity at any price, but prosperity rooted in wholeness and peace.
This is business as soul partnership, an intimate relationship between you, your business’s Deva, and the ecology within which your business is nested.
As my 70th birthday approaches, I feel Time sloping gently beneath my feet, a meadow, a soft descent into Mystery. While I still can — and still want to, which is a whole other story – I’ll continue to share what I’ve learned through a lifetime of practice, teaching, soul work, energy alchemy, and practical mentorship. If you have the desire to grow into the greenhouse of your Self, and to craft the greenhouse of your business, join me for this session of Become Your Own Business Adviser.
Whether you gently radiate, are naturally wildfire, or are a human unicorn, if you’ll take this journey with me, with faith and patience and the willingness to work for the joy of it, you will grow into your true nature; you will grow your business into its true self too.
This is how we change our world, some of us — others have other paths to follow. We listen for and embody a pattern of Divine Order in our own lives and businesses. We do so with tenderness for our own flawed and perfect being.
If this is for you, eminently soulful, eminently practical – then please do register. I look forward to creating something true, radiant, prosperous and generous together.