Translating The Multiple Languages Of Life

Dog I walk with Mugwort. Photo by Heather Sanderson

Communication is complex and we are all constantly translating.

We know it’s not as simple as saying something and having it be heard, as intended. That rarely ever happens fully. Communication (both sharing and receiving) is dynamic and has embedded within it every psychological desire, every emotional behaviour, every energetic gesture (or what we have often called body language) all personal, inherited, and then a part of the larger collective belief system (and more!).

Then, throw in multiple languages to access, multiple ways to access and interpret communication, and diversity of ability, range of understanding, across human beings, and animals, and then plants! It’s easy, sometimes to say “forget it.” Complexities can be hard. Yet, the potential for growth, nuance, deeper understanding of others, the world, Self, becomes so dynamic and engaging when we start to look at communication and translation not as an obstacle, but as an enriching soil, full of untapped potential and fertility.

Communication is vibrational.

I was recently at an in-person party. The first large room of people I’ve been in for over two years. Many conversations were struck with complete strangers and it felt, to me, energizing and engaging.

One of the women there was interested in different models of education and intergenerational gatherings as a part of that. We followed the thread and ended up talking about human interactions with plants. She spoke about the science experiment many of us have seen posted around the internet where someone spoke only kind, encouraging words to one plant, and degrading, harsh words to the other. Not surprisingly, the plant that was given nurturing words flourished, the other didn’t grow as big or strong, shrinking and shriveling away.

I have seen this experiment posted many times and yet, in listening to her describe it as if I was hearing it for the first time, something new emerged:

It’s the vibration.

We are all feeling, sensing beings. That is part of the operating system of pretty much every living creature here on earth. No matter what we believe about being emotional, the energy body, or being “too sensitive,” or not sensitive enough.

While, perhaps, the plant could hear the words being expressed, it occurred to me that it’s much more likely that they are feeling the vibration emitted through the person’s body and energy field, then interpreting the data, and responding accordingly.

The same goes for humans, of course, and interacting with animals. Dogs, for example, as my friend Jessica Latour taught me, only really know “safe” and “unsafe.” This is the foundation of their communication and, therefore, how they go about making decisions and living.

If you watch a dog closely, you’ll start to notice when and how they pick up on the stimuli around them: the vibrations of the environment or of other dogs and people. Notice when they shrink away (unsafe) or grow bigger (safe).

Think about this for yourself. How does communicating with another person make you feel? When do you shrink away? Step into your power? When are you nurtured? Or afraid? What happens in the body as a result and, how do you respond? 

What is our capacity to create safety through communication?

It’s not just speaking either. Think of all the times you have read an email or a text and have inserted a tone you believe is behind the words. A tone is a vibration. Where does that come from? Is it true knowing of the tone embedded from the sender? Or your own projections and stories that you place into the email to reinforce the beliefs stored within you? Or both?

Even when no words are spoken or written, communication happens. It’s felt–emitted as vibration from one person to the others around them, including non-humans and the environment or ecosystem of which they are a part. And we have the ability to witness the vibrations we emit to others and, in time, there is the possibility of choosing what vibrations to emit. Play with this–see what happens!

See, complex!

I have Mugwort to thank for initiating some of these new and evolving thoughts. Her book, Dreaming with Mugwort recently wanted to be translated into Spanish! As a non-Spanish speaker, this presented a new challenge of how the heck to do this…and one that was met with love as my friend Mary Santivanez kindly offered to read over an auto-translated version of the manuscript.

Mary took such great care with this midwifery–even asking others about some words and what the best option would be (since the Spanish language and meanings vary across different lands and people). So today, we welcome Soñando con la Artemisa: Una lectura corta del espiritu de las plantas into the world!

Which brings us to that whole other channel of communication and vibration: speaking with the plants. Each of the plant and tree spirit books goes into this in detail and offers different ways to access and work with the consciousness of the plants. 

This is also vibrational. Those vibrations are the communication only, this time, instead of a human coming at a plant with their vibration, it’s more of a merging or entering into a safe container where some kind of experience can take place.

For some, they may use words and receive information like a stream of consciousness, a story, or one or two words. Others may tap into this vibration and see images or visuals, feel sensations in the body, dance, move, sing, play music. 

Here is the beauty of complexity: this kind of communication only has right answers. The trick is finding ways to access the information that is all around us, all the time, emitted constantly by the plants and trees.

When we enter into this kind of communication, there is more nourishment and nurturing, different kinds of awareness. Generative creative fertility of a give and take. A reciprocity and balance which, eventually pours over into other ways of thinking, being, communicating with non-plant species. 

Mugwort, I think, wants to help lead the way and collaborate on establishing new ways to dream, create, and communicate with humans. I wonder if that’s why her English book is the top-selling Plant Spirit book of all time? Why she grows prolifically at least here in Brooklyn, and why hers was the first to be translated into another language?

Who knows? Perhaps that is too much projection, and it makes my own vibrations buzz with joy to think that it’s a possibility.

Which plants or trees are you called to communicate with? How does moving you your body add to your vibrational experience of communicating with others? Does yoga help? 

I’m asking lots of questions because I’m curious as this new world opens to me. One I’ve been exploring for years now through so many different healing practices, and feel ready to open yet another door and see what wants to be learned and embodied with respect to communication. There is much more to uncover and understand–and I’m excited by the possibilities yet to come.

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