Out on a Limb
I am about to make all of you jealous. Are you ready? I just had the wonderful experience of reading Out on a Limb for the first time! Do you all remember how that felt for you?
Believe it or not, it took me 38 years on this earth to find my way to and to read Out on a Limb. (Of course, once I started, I could not put it down.) I do have the distinct memory of seeing this book in hardcover on my mother's bookshelves when I was young, but then my mother went through a "religious" experience of some sort when I was about 14 and all such books--including Out on a Limb--disappeared from our house.
Fast forward 30 years or so, and I found my way back to the book. But Out on a Limb was not my introduction to Shirley MacLaine, rather--in a long line of synchronistic events that involved my best friend dying suddenly and my trip to Santa Fe for yoga teacher training (I had no idea at the time that Santa Fe was Ms. MacLaine's home)--the audio version of Saging While Aging.
So . . . Here I am having just read Out on a Limb for the first time. Would anyone like to discuss? I'll start with the first sentence or two that I underlined in the book:
" . . . tropical plants and flowers. They were cared for by a Japanese gardener who loved them like children and believed that Peter Tomkins was correct, that plants had emotions. I remembered how silly Gerry thought I was when I first mentioned the concept to him.
'Plants can feel?' he laughed. 'Well, I'm just glad they can't talk back.' I had wanted to pursue the conversation, but his sardonic laughter nipped it in the bud, so to speak.' . . . "
Well, everyone . . . let's not allow that conversation to wane any longer, eh? Anyone want to talk about the spiritual lives of plants? I have one crazy cactus that I'd love to discuss with you!
Okay, gosh dang it, you are right, Steph .... I am jealous!! Having read OAL for the first time decades ago (same year as your mom, probably!), I can still recall the astonishment of one "AHA!" moment after another as I rapidly devoured the pages. :eek:
I have loved Shirley MacLaine and her (at the time) "radical, woo-woo" opinions ever since; she feels like a kindred spirit, and I believe that all of us here, who landed at - and stay at - this site are probably in the same soul group. Hence, that makes us family! :D
Plants have emotions? Well, DUH!! Yes, of course plants can feel!! :rolleyes: I heard a fascinating report a number of years ago on PBS -- someone did a study on three different fields of hops in England. In one field, they played rock 'n roll music continuously; in another, a talk show; and in the last, relaxing classical or chamber music. I can't remember the exact degrees of difference, but I do recall that the hops 'nurtured' by the soft, non-verbal music grew faster and straighter and healthier than the other two fields. The talk show hops finished a pathetic third -- in fact, many of the plants shriveled up and died.
Oh, and for years and years and years I had a crazy snake plant named Fred, which I'd bought at a church fair for probably 25 cents when he was just a teeny little snip of a thing in a palm-size flower pot. However, Fred was like the plant in "Little Shop of Horrors" --- he grew and grew and grew CONSTANTLY; God alone knows why. I kept enlarging Fred's pots, until finally I had to have them custom made. By the time I moved to the convent, I'd had Fred for about 25 - 30 years, he'd adjusted to six major physical moves and he was still healthy as a horse. He now has a room of his own in a former neighbor's home on Peaks Island, where I hear he continues to flourish.
Oh! And it anyone has a plant that is a tad droopy? If possible, put it near - preferably on top of, your tv set or radio. Plants DEFINITELY pick up outside energy and respond to it!! Guaranteed - your plant will perk up in no time (providing you are tuned into a favorable channel!)
Of course plants can feel and i'm looking forward to reading about your crazy cactus :cool: :D
I too enjoyed Out On A Limb, very well written and engrossing.
Did you know that prince Charles talks to his plants at his Highgrove home and he's not embarrassed to say that.
Hello! So glad I got some company here!
Thank you so much for posting that story about the hopfields, Lura. Now, did the story tell you which hops made the best beer? You'd think the rock-n-roll field would hold claim to that, but perhaps not. And that is hilarious that the talk show field hops shriveled up and died. They must have not been playing Shirley MacLaine interviews! :-) I'm going to have to do some research and try to find that story. I'd love to listen to/read/watch it.
And I may have a cousin of Fred's . . . let me tell you the story of this yet unnamed cactus . . . my dear friend Anita died suddenly at the age of 37 a few years ago (fell off a golf cart, of all things!) . . . in addition to me, Anita had two other very close friends, and we were all friends in graduate school. The trio of us each now protect 1/3 of Anita's music, books, and plants--one was this crazy cactus from which each of us took one tiny cutting (one is in Florida, one in TN, and mine in Chicago). I'm attaching a photo here of the current status of this thing. I'm not sure what the heck it thinks it is doing, but it seems to be having some fun. Anyway, each cutting has grown into a completely different looking creature. Mine is in my basement yoga room and is surrounded by Anita's books and music. It gets a healthy dose of regular incense, morning meditation, jazz music, Shirley interviews, and gets to watch me routinely practice yoga. Perhaps all those different stimulations has given this plant the courage to follow its own true bliss--which is a bit nutty. I am inspired each time I breathe and sit with it.
I've got other spiritual plant questions, but will save them for later.
Oh, I love your plant, Steph!! S/He definitely looks like a free spirit, lol, that will not play by any "normal" plant rules! What a cutie! His/her name will appear to you in due time...
If I get a chance, I too will try to locate the hops story.
Just wanted to say, I definitely remember reading OOAL for the first time. I realized then that there were other people who had the same "crazy" ideas that I have. I have loved Shirley ever since. With each new book, I always feel a little thrill of anticipation when I start reading.
As far as plants--I tend to become attached to them and cannot let them go unless they are just too far gone. I have a small bamboo plant that might or might not make it. Was thinking about putting it outside in the summer to see if it perks up. Does anyone know anything about bamboo and how to make it thrive?
Hello Joanne, I don't know anything horticulturally speaking about bamboo, but emotionally/spiritually, you may want to try reading some Rumi and W.B. Yeats to (or at least in the presence of) your little bamboo plant. In particular, poems with the reed flute image--it abounds in Rumi's poetry and may inspire the little fella to achieve its true poetic potentiality, as Deepak Chopra might say. W.B. Yeats had that durn reed flute imagery running around in many of his poems, too--I argued in graduate school that Yeats was quite influenced by the mysticism of Sufism, etc. (not really a controversial thesis). If the poetry does not lift your bamboo's spirits, it will certainly enrich yours and maybe conjure up a dead poet or two in your midst during the reading! "Not a bad way to spend a Friday night, eh?"
Anyone else have thoughts on this?
Namaste and two hands together from the melting Midwest,
Alright . . . before I get wrapped up in my storyline of a work life here, I have to say that on the (long!) commute into the office, I was listening to an archived Independent Expression Radio show where Shirley was talking to Rebecca Skeele about co-creation. She--Skeele--was giving advice about using the essence of flowers as a way of opening the heart, the chakras, and moving from the "story" life to an "intentional" life. I like the sound of that, but when Shirley started asking her the practical questions for an individual, for example, living in the city--what's a city gal to do? Go to the local florist and choose the flower that resonates most vibrantly to her? No, said Skeele, ideally go out into the wilderness and choose flowers from there.
Excuse me? Harvest wildflowers?! This is where I put the brakes on in the conversation. While they did not address this fundamental problem in the conversation, I think we could talk about it here. Harvesting wildflowers? As a lover of nature, the wilderness, our national parks--especially the Smoky Mountains which have the most variety of species of wildflowers in North America--I am pretty shocked at the idea of stripping wildflowers from their home so that I can soak up their essence for my own personal use. It kind of sends shivers up my spine even typing that.
So . . . if you cannot go to a florist (and I understand the complicated ethics of flowers in a flower shop--have you seen the documentary Love, Women, and Flowers?! Most flower shop flowers/plants have had such a tragic life imbued with violence imposed upon them and the women in the factories!) and you cannot harvest wildflowers (thank goodness!), where do you get your flower essence from? . . .
I suppose one obvious answer is that we must grow our own flowers--as we should our food we consume as well, eh?
Any thoughts out there on, to coin a phrase from Shirley this morning, our petal people?
Alright...into the story work day I go!
Hi Norma, I loved your advice about reading Rumi and Yeats to my little plant. Since I love reading poetry anyway, this is right up my alley. I will let you know the results.
I know of the IE interview that you speak of. I have to say that I , also, would have an extremely hard time plucking wildlife flowers. Years ago, my husband and I were hiking on Mt. Rainer and came across a meadow of exquisite flowers. All kinds and colors--it was breathtaking! Well, there were two woman ahead of us that felt the need to gather some for themselves. For what purpose, I'm not sure. They were probably wilted by the time they reached the bottom of the mountain. That has always stayed with me because it bothered me so much. Sometimes beauty is just meant to be enjoyed and not owned.
Nice to meet you here, by the way!
Nice meeting you, too! And call me steph. "Norma Rae" is just a pet pseudonym I use on occasion.
Wow, that's a shocking story about the wildflower poachers at Mt. Rainer. I've seen similar disregard on occasion in the Smokies--usually young adults who have forgotten how to respect nature (and have not yet rediscovered that lost compassion). And let's not even get started on corporations wrecking havock on the natural resources and pure essence of this Earth (said the woman who just drove 2 hours to get to work! *sigh*). Or maybe we should? . . .
Yesterday and this morning during my horrid commute to the office, I listened to two really inspirational conversations on the environment between Shirley and Forest Guardians Executive Director Susan Trixier and the other between Shirley and Kuki Gallmann. Both were just wonderful and are certainly a continuing conversation of Shirley's initial question in Out on a Limb: "Do plants have emotions?" Traffic was so brutal today, that I was able to write down a few thoughts from Kuki related to this topic:
"Listen to the voice of the Earth, the plants, the trees."
"Plants have many secrets."
The ancients certainly knew this; poets and artists know this; beings from other planets and solar systems--I am certain--know this; people from less industrialized countries than ours must know this; the shaman knows this. We've forgotten, but at least it seems that some of us are trying desperately to remember the thing(s) we've forgotten. What is it that we've forgotten? The feminine? The yin? That we are all energy and all connected?
Should we continue this conversation or switch gears to another line or two from Out on a Limb?
namaste from the soggy midwest!
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