“You didn’t come into this world. You came out of it, like a wave from the ocean. You are not a stranger here.” – Alan Watts
Avatar by James Cameron is one of my favourite movies of all time. Those of you who watched it would remember “The Na’vi” – a race of sentient extraterrestrial humanoids who inhabit the lush jungle moon of Pandora. Their long braided hair is an extension of the nervous system, used to form tsaheylu, a neural connection to nearly any part of the Pandoran ecosystem. They connect with animals to command a mount with their mind, sensory organs bonded so they feel real pain if the connected animal is injured. They connect with fauna at the Tree of Souls, a vast network of connected plant nodes that serves as a biological memory for Na’vi ancestors.
Although we don’t have a visible extension of our nervous system like the Na’vi, it is quite common for some of us to feel how other humans, animals and even places feel. In this second post of my “A Good Place” series, I want to dive into how the interconnectedness of all species, matter and space, form energies for places. Can places be an organic, changing environment, holding the frequencies of their habitats, the energies of thoughts and memories?
The energy of places
I remember vividly that, as a child, when I would walk in a room I could easily tell whether the people in it had an argument. The tension would linger long after they left. Sometimes I could feel an energy so heavy that you “could cut it with a knife”. No, I am not talking about humidity in the air or dense fumes. I am referring to actual energy, the unseen and subtle “stuff”. The energy of places is not just a concept seen in sci-fi movies. It exists. Cesar Millan, the famous dog whisperer, refers to his “calm-assertive energy”. Dogs can feel it, children can feel it and if you are a sensitive person, it is quite likely you know what I am talking about.
My mind wanders to one of the saddest recent events, the Australian bush fires that burned roughly 25.5 million acres, killing more than a million mammals, birds and reptiles, wiping out 30% of the koala population, causing massive evacuations and the worst pollution ever recorded in Australia’s capital. What are the effects of such an event to our collective energetic shift? These fires are not only a cause but also a function of a much bigger problem: climate change. How has each one of us, regardless of where we are, knowingly or unknowingly, contributed to such a disaster? And what is next?
As Charles Eisenstein beautifully explains; “If climate change has a cause that underlies all the other causes-that underlies the pesticides, that underlies the fossil fuel emissions-it is our disconnection from this living world. Our desacralization of this world, our diminishment of this world into something less than what it really is.”
How is it possible to reconnect to nature, this living world? How can we see the purest form of a good place, beyond our mental fog, like the Na’vi in Avatar?
The secret life of plants
What if we could connect to plants more consciously? What if we could hear, understand and even co-create with plants? Joe Patittuci is an explorer and manifestor of such concepts. In his words, he is a multimedia healing artist working to foster connections to intuitive states and the natural world.
I met Joe in Tulum when I joined his Plant Music Workshop at Sferik IK, with no idea what to expect. Lucky me! I was amazed by what he presented to us, his genuine passion for creating good places. His company Data Garden is best known for the product PlantWave, wearables for plants that allows humans to listen to their plants play music. It detects slight electrical variations in a plant via two electrodes placed on the leaves, graphed as a wave, which is translated into pitch messages that play musical instruments designed by the PlantWave team. The result is a continuous stream of pleasing music that gives you a sonic window into the secret life of plants.
The next day I joined Joe’s Plant Music meditation in the wonderful ambience of Sferik IK. With the plant music in the background, it felt like tsaheylu with Tree of Souls in Avatar. We agreed to meet a third time, for an exclusive interview for Conscious Learning Tribe. In an interview of around an hour, we talked about a variety of topics including the technology behind PlantWave, future plans for Joe’s company Data Garden, business challenges, his personal experiences with ayahuasca, Vipassana, the cosmic consciousness of children, living with technology and finally “what is a good place?”. Here are some highlights from this interview.
The Data Garden team is a collective of explorers, experimenting and learning in workshops around the world. They are planning to roll out new agnostic products to offer music and healing services for ecosystems, and even for corporations. Healing services are great for adults but when it comes to children, Joe suggests “They already get it. They don’t need education as much as we think, parents need education. We shall not be in their way, and bringing their cosmic consciousness they came to earth with. We can receive that, instead of trying to control them and turning them into robots, like us.”
The first time Joe did his plant music workshop, eight years ago in Philadelphia Museum of Art, a little girl named Melany walked up to a plant and started waving her hands towards it as if she was doing reiki. She turned to her mum and said: “Mum, look, all you have to do is to think light is coming out of your hands and the plant will sing for you.” Most surprising is that, according to Joe, the first response for every child in his workshop is to raise their hands.
Finally, I asked him: “What is a good place for you?” He smiles with a spark in his eyes: “A good place is where I can walk barefoot and be connected to the earth. A good place is where I have access to clean water to drink and to swim.”
Using our technological advancement, but making it work with Nature rather than being something separate from it. That would be the way to go.
You can listen to full interview here.
AHO to FOCUS!
At the end of our interview with Joe, we both said: “AHO to focus!” “Aho” means “yes, I agree” in the Lakhota language. It has been borrowed by many other North American languages as a result of hearing the word at pow-wows throughout the 20th century. It is used in prayers in somewhat the same way that “amen” is used (“amen” means “I agree”), but it is not used exclusively in prayers. So yes, we agreed to focus, the only gateway to our connectedness.
Focus, no matter who we are, where we are, is our gift to ourselves and to each other. Only with focus emerges peace, what wants to be heard, recognised and embraced by us. Let it be our emotions, memory of our ancestors, laughter of children or songs of plants. Let’s open ourselves to being present, and receive every moment, as it comes, as the most precious gift.
Let’s focus on being good places for each other.