In this Episode
- [00:39]Stephan introduces Fran Sorin, a renowned gardening evangelist, coach, entrepreneur, and author of Digging Deep: Unearthing Your Creative Roots Through Gardening.
- [06:25]Stephan asks Fran to share how she got into gardening and what benefits people can enjoy from this hobby.
- [11:11]Fran shares a pivotal moment in her life that involved nature and gardening.
- [16:57]Stephan shares his experience after getting touched by a monk in India called Deeksha, Oneness Blessing.
- [22:22]How Box Breathing allows you to focus on what you’re doing and your dreams and stops you from judging yourself.
- [27:19]Stephan and Fran discuss how negative emotions are just fleeting, external influences that you can get away from using mindfulness.
- [33:16]Fran’s tips on getting started with gardening.
- [38:02]Why having fun and taking yourself less seriously is beneficial for your life.
- [43:23]How the future holds many possibilities and why it’s imperative to stay updated on what’s going on with technology.
- [47:56]Stephan gives an example of how you can multiply a baby’s intelligence using certain techniques.
- [52:53]How taking time each day to awaken your senses will change your life.
- [54:55]Visit Fran Sorin’s website and read her book, Digging Deep: Unearthing Your Creative Roots Through Gardening, to learn more about how you can change your life through gardening.
Fran, it’s so great to have you on the show.
Thank you, Stephan. It’s really great to be here.
You were just in Israel for 18 months. We were speaking just a few minutes ago about that. I was in Israel with my wife, Orion and our baby for nine months. We got back in late April, but you just got back.
I just got back a few days ago. I have grown children and grandchildren who live there. For the past 13 years, I’ve been spending 6 to 9 months out of the year there and I was actually planning. I went in December of 2019 thinking I’d be there for my fourth grandchild’s birth, planning to leave in June of 2020, and I didn’t leave till June of 2021.
You were there for the rockets that were fired over Israel. Were you scared? How was that for you?
Well, it’s interesting. I’ve been on the other side of it because my daughter moved there in 2000 or 1999 when the Intifada took place, the second one. On the outside, it’s actually scarier to be on the outside and having loved ones in Israel worrying about them. Of course, I live in Tel Aviv, but there were rockets hitting around us, but we weren’t scared at all.
Israelis by and large, this is part of their life. I don’t know the words to put it, but I would say it’s probably one of the safest places to live, which is almost paradoxical to the belief that so many of us have.
There is a lot of misinformation out there about Israel, safety, and its culture, and so forth. One of the most beautiful things I’ve learned about Israel is that the origin of the Amber Alert actually came from an American who was visiting Israel. Yes, I met her actually, she’s a very cool lady.
She explains that what happened at one point when she was there in Israel is that a young child went missing for just a few minutes. The entire square, the entire area of people were all galvanized looking for this person, this little child. Many dozens of people, they were all unified in this hunt for this little child. Of course, she was fine and she was reunited within a couple of minutes with her parents.
This woman who invented the Amber Alert, she turned to one of the Israelis and said, “Wow, that’s amazing, we should do that in the US.” She’s like, “That’ll never happen there.”If you learn to slow down, observe, and listen, life will change, and things will come to you. Click To Tweet
There we go.
She’s like, “What do you mean? You Americans aren’t like us. The Israelis are always banding together to help each other out, and they see themselves as a tribe, whereas everyone for himself mentality more in the States.” That really struck her and she decided, “I’m going to change that, I’m going to come up with something that is going to effectively replicate what happened in Israel on that day. “
I love it. That’s a great story. One other thing I just want to add in because the whole thing with Covid and how Israel really move forward in immunizing back in Israel, the country’s totally open up as you probably know, by late April if you were there, but it’s such a small country that comparisons between the US were worth 330 million people and Israel is 9 million. We’re small in Israel and it makes a huge difference, the size of the country.
Another thing that I think is important for listeners to understand is how stress inoculated the population is, sirens go off, a bombing happens, rockets over the city. I wouldn’t say unfazed, but they are not terrified in the way that you might hear.
Yes, it’s part of the culture. I will say though, and I’m an Israeli citizen, I’ve been one for the past 14, 15 years. It was so interesting throughout Covid, Stephan, we all did great. Even during the bombings, everybody was fine.
Life goes on.
It was afterwards that all of a sudden it was like we were just exhausted, and just the feeling of how much more we can take, but the cafes filled up right away, and we were out swimming, and we were on the beach and I’m a rower. I’m down at the rowing club every morning. Life goes on.
Life goes on. All right, let’s talk about how you’ve gotten into gardening, and how important this is for our listeners to understand the benefits, and just the cathartic release and the benefits for our listeners.
I would even take it a step further. When I wrote my book, Digging Deep, the original one in 2004, it was the first book that addressed gardening as a conduit for spirituality, creativity, and health. Now it’s being written about a lot.
For me, it’s such an integral part. I think what’s happened in western culture is that we now talk about connecting with nature, because we are so disconnected. In fact, we are nature. Curious, and until we claim this as our rightful self, that we are no different than trees, the flora and the fauna that were integral to all of this, and that we don’t control it, we’re missing out.
From nature, we learn wisdom, we learn about the meaning of life. Yes, gardening is something I’ve been passionate about for, I don’t even want to tell you how many decades. The underneath piece of getting your hands in the soil beyond co-creating with nature is really something incredibly primitive, primordial, an archetype of the meaning of life. I always say to people, before you get into therapy, go spend time in the garden.
Because it pulls you into a zone, it pulls you into another portal of consciousness if you allow it to, that will infuse you with a meaning for life that you might not experience, dare I say, otherwise. Nature is solely a place where it is the great equalizer.
We are nature.
It’s so magical, it’s so miraculous. The things that grow in the ground and how they grow, it’s just awesome.
It sounds like you’ve gotten your hands in the dirt somewhat.
When I was a child, I did a little bit of gardening. My aunt was into it, and then when I lived with my foster mother, she was into it as well. I can appreciate it. I didn’t carry that over into my adulthood in terms of continuing it on but I do appreciate it.
Just going, I always tell people, just even on a break, now people are working from their home, but in past lives, when you were working in the city, go outside on a break for your lunch, sit under a tree, and just breathe in the air. Trees are majestic beings that we can learn so much from.
I’ve had so many great privileges and one was when I used to have a garden in suburban Philadelphia, and I ran community projects with inner-city kids, and they would come to my garden. To watch them come alive, kids, and not just from inner cities, but also the suburbs of Philadelphia, they had never seen tomatoes grow on a vine. Just the basics and the excitement, like you said, the magic, the mystery, it’s all there. It’s better than any sci-fi movie that I know of.
Yes. One thing I learned recently is that trees have souls. I never realized that and I actually learned this this year. There’s a holiday called Tu BiShvat, which I know you’re familiar with. I was in Israel for that holiday. My sister-in-law told me about the trees having souls and once she said it, like, “of course, they do.” It makes total sense and the way that I’ve connected with the trees in the past and still do makes all the more sense.
It’s a place of comfort, beauty, and grace.
When you think back, I used to have a talk radio show on CBS, a gardening one, it was almost like a spiritual calling where people at 6 AM, we get on, and truckers throughout the country would get on. We all have childhood memories, something with nature. It doesn’t matter what, and a lot of us have trees as part of our childhood memory. You are right on target that they do have souls, and it’s a place of comfort, beauty, and grace. I understand what you’re saying for sure.
Beautiful. What has been a pivotal or a transcendental moment in your life that involves nature, the forest, the trees, the plants, the gardens?
It’s only in hindsight. That’s a great question, Stephan. I was raised in the very middle class. It’s not like I was raised out on a farm somewhere in the southwest or Vermont. It’s the small things that I remember when I was a child like the smell of the boxwoods sitting under a willow tree, a huge majestic willow tree in Rochester, New York.
To our new home in Rochester, after moving from Dallas, we pulled up the driveway, I got out, and there were rows of peonies, which are these glorious aphrodisiac flowers, and I put my face in one to smell it. You could say it was an altered state at that point.
In hindsight, in university, I had 50 plants in a basement apartment. I was always immersed without even knowing I was immersed. It wasn’t until we moved to this home, a new home, when I was the mother of an infant and a newborn, where it was really ugly. It was like a McDonald’s, McMansion, whatever, and the landscaping was so bad, I mean ugly, that I became more than a weekend gardener. I went from this weekend gardener to well-known in the field, and more importantly just to this day there’s nothing I love more than being in a garden and being in nature.
I think like most people, if you’re curious by nature, you will do anything to learn as much about it as you possibly can. I ended up apprenticing at a DuPont garden and I was studying like crazy. There’s nothing I love more doing than being out in the garden, getting my hands in the dirt, and planting. I’ve traveled around the United States talking for years about gardening, and garden shows, and other forums.
People always say to me I’m afraid. I say, “Afraid about what?” That I’m going to kill a plant, because we’re raised in this perfectionist society. I said, “Well, the only difference between a successful gardener and those who give up is our willingness to kill a plant six times before we get it right, before we can finally grow it.”
This is just part of nature that we’re not in charge of. You do the best you can do out there and you just enjoy the process. That’s the key is the process rather than the end result with everything in life.
That’s profound. One thing that I’ve heard time and time again is that if you have this spiritual intention or you have a positive vibration that you bring to your, whether it’s gardening, or just your house plants and caring for them, they survive and thrive better than if you mindlessly take care of them.
That’s for sure. They’re living things with feelings. We are somewhat primitive in the way we deal with them because we try to interpret everything from a human’s lens. When you think about what’s going on underground with the mycelium and the soil, I don’t want to get into it here, it’s fascinating. It’s really the internet of the soil. It is true that when you give them love and care, and talk to them—I made fun of Prince Charles 30 years ago, he was right on about talking to plants.
Enjoy the process.
I never understood, when I left my home in Bryn Mawr in 2009, I literally cried. I didn’t cry leaving my home, I cried saying goodbye to my plants. It took me years to understand, it was a loss of a relationship. I was leaving them to tend to themselves. It is fascinating. I just designed a garden at Tel Aviv Rowing Club and it was very tough for me to leave them because they’re my new friends.
It makes sense. I recently learned about how trees and different plants communicate with each other. For example, in Aspen Grove, it is almost like just one organism.
Exactly. And they cooperate with each other. We’re still living with the Darwinian Theory of the survival of the fittest, and no, plants don’t do that. They really help each other out. It’s really about collaboration and cooperation. We have a lot to learn from nature. That’s for sure.
One thing that is interesting to learn from the plants is the appearance of Fractals, Sacred geometry, patterns that can then be emulated from nature into architecture into biomimicry. What are some meaningful things for our listeners to know about that topic?
I hardly feel like I’m an expert on it. For me, it’s really about observing. I‘ve always said go out for a walk, take off your headphones, I don’t care if it’s 5 or 10 minutes, slow down, and literally stop at a tree, bend over a plant, whatever it is, and come into close contact with it. I think you’ll be shocked. You don’t need psychedelic drugs, everything will open up for you.
When you look at the texture of a leaf, when you watch a caterpillar, even all the beneficial insects that are on plants, because we tend to think of insects as bad, and there’s so many great ones that are on plants. I think it’s a matter of looking and of course, there is geometry with everything in life. Certainly with plant structure, there’s tremendous geometry.
It’s really about observing.
When you said psychedelic, I was reminded of not—I have not done drugs, but I had essentially a psychedelic trip after getting touched on the head by a monk in India. It’s called a Deeksha, Oneness Blessing. I’ve mentioned this a number of times on my podcast, but what I think is important to explore about that experience that I haven’t really talked much about is going outside afterwards, that deep sense of peace and connectedness to all of creation, the entire fabric of creation, not just the Creator Himself.
I was agnostic my whole life up until that point when I got this experience, the divine. The divine is an experience, not just a belief, and boy did I get it. I had the most exquisite experience outside after I walked out of this palace that the event was taking place in. Everything was this incredibly vivid green, the trees, the grass, everything was like a cartoon, and it was in technicolor. It was beautiful. It was like the life force was broadcasting out to me and I was finely tuned into its frequency.
Once that happens, even though you may not be able to maintain it, and I don’t know, I’d like to hear from you if you have been able to, the memories you can recreate in yourself because the memory is so strong.
Yes, I have not recreated it yet, but it’s indelible in my memory. Like the dream I had that was given to me from the higher realms several months ago. I’ll never forget that dream. It had a quality to it that it was heavenly, multi-dimensional, higher-dimensional. It was like watching color TV for the first time after a lifetime of black and white.
You change the headphones? That’s what’s shocking, that we’re walking around with a set of headphones on, and we don’t understand that the program can be changed and we can change our headphones. Once that happens, it opens up different states of consciousness that we didn’t know existed before. I can see it in your eyes that you’re very alive, you’re sparkling, which is really exciting.The only difference between a successful gardener and those who give up is the willingness to kill a plant six times before you can finally grow it. Click To Tweet
For me, that’s critical. If there’s one message, whether it’s through gardening, or through opening your heart, or doing meditation, through music, is that the rapture of being alive—I’m going to sound like Joseph Campbell from so many years ago—but it is the rapture of being alive. The moment by moment, the opportunity we have each moment to feel grace and to feel all and bring it into our daily lives. It’s not about obtaining success at something, it’s the pearls of the day, throughout the day, that has such meaning for us. That’s why I love nature because it’s accessible to everybody.
Are there any particular experiences that you can think of that you want to share with our listeners so that they can understand?
I think through a mutual friend, I think you know that I’m a deep meditator, and unabashedly, I’m also a minister. I’m an interfaith minister. I’ve been involved in spirituality since I was very young. I was lucky at the University of Chicago to study with Erica Frank who was one of the founders of auto-hypnosis.
I had plenty of wild experiences then, but I’d say in recent years, thanks to Joe Dispenza, that I’ve been able to enter realms that I didn’t know were possible. It really is about focusing on your dreams and the future, and getting out of yourself, and going into the quantum world, which is getting out of your head, and getting away from materialism, and thinking about yourself.
That’s happened to me, not the way you’ve described it, but there have been times in meditation, certainly in the garden, where it’s just this mindlessness, where you’re literally one with nature, literally. It is majesty galore. It’s exquisite. That’s the best way I can describe it.
I’ve been on trips with Pachamama Alliance, the Ayahuasca thing, I never chose to do it. I really am from the school where we have all the tools within ourselves. We’re such extraordinary, powerful beings, and we got the tools to make it happen within ourselves. A simple suggestion would be besides going for a nature walk, even if you take a minute a day–if you’re not used to doing any meditation–just breathing in and out and sitting quietly to start somewhere, to get out of your head.
Do you have a particular breathing exercise or modality that you practice?
That would be the seal one, the five, it’s the square one, where you sit for five seconds. I don’t know if you know it, it’s five seconds where you sit, then you breathe in for five seconds, hold for five seconds, release for five seconds.
Box breathing. Thank you. That seems to be a good one, an easy one, because it allows you rather than staying stuck in your brain and judging yourself, it allows you to focus on what you’re doing. I also want to add that this whole thing in our culture, we have been brainwashed into believing this whole thing about not being good enough or needing to do more. All of that is nonsense.
We are not born that way. I want people to understand that. This is a cultural phenomenon. A colleague of mine, Dan Brown, was once interviewing the Dalai Lama. Somebody asked him about how we can get the voices in our head out of our heads, those voices, the negative voices, and he knows how to speak English very well, the Dalai Lama.
He turned to his assistant and spoke to him, I guess, in Tibet. When he came back, he said, “I don’t understand what you’re talking about. We don’t have that where I live. This is not normal, something’s very wrong.” Again, it’s up to us to realign ourselves and adjust and understand that just like the little sapling that you plant in your garden, or I used to do when I got started, I buy a $5 evergreen at Home Depot, and I watched it grow into a majestic tree over 20 years later.
You’re beautiful, you’re born as this beautiful exquisite being, just as you are when you’re born, and you have all the power within yourself to live an extraordinary life. You don’t have to do anything about it. It’s just being open and surrounding yourself as much as you can if you’re not lucky enough as a child, but as we grow into adults, by people who support you. Keep on imagining and dreaming and finding joy in every day, which I know sounds easier than it is for a lot of people. Folks are so encumbered by the weight of our culture, I believe.
And I think the negative news cycle and being trained to find what’s wrong instead of what’s right.
I think we’ve been brainwashed.
I agree with you. We have it all lopsided as if going to the right schools, achieving, all of that’s going to lead to happiness. I think we’ve been brainwashed, and it’s the opposite.
Mister Rogers was the radical disrupter. He told the kids you are perfect exactly as you are. We say in our culture, think about what parents tell their kids. What do you want to be when you grow up? Shame, shame, shame on us. What do you mean what do you want to be? You are who you were when you were born, and that’s the beauty of it.
It really is almost breaking away from what our culture has taught us about needing to achieve. I’m not against achieving, but in the most ideal form, it comes from a place of passion, real desire, wanting to learn, curiosity. I’ve had many, many years, now as a grandmother, it’s the greatest joy, just being able to play with my grandchildren.
My rule of thumb is as far as friends on having my back totally supporting me, wanting to see me happy and achieve whatever it is, for me, it’s about joy. It’s about being of service to the world. Other people, if you don’t fit into that, no, you’re not a part of my tribe. Because as you said, with the new cycle, and just the way the world is culturally, you need to strongly embrace people who have like-minded values, and who love you for who you are and not what you do.
If you have family members, or friends from childhood who don’t vibrate on that same frequency, you can love them from afar, but you don’t have to have them part of your daily life, because you are the average of the people you hang out with the most.
It’s really true and it’s draining. There’s only so much energy that we have. Even if you say, “Oh, it’s okay.” I’ve had instances since coming back to Philadelphia, seeing a few people that I hadn’t seen for a while, and I’m not deleting them from my life, but after I left I went okay, that’s not a healthy place for me to put myself.You're beautiful, just as you are when you're born. You have all the power within yourself to live an extraordinary life. Click To Tweet
Related to something you said earlier about the negative voices and the Dalai Lama’s response to that, something I learned just this year is that these negative voices aren’t your head, like your brain just randomly firing synapses. These are other entities that are infiltrating you because you’ve lowered your vibration. When you’re stuck in this negative news cycle, or finding what’s wrong, or terrified of what will happen next for humanity, for your family, et cetera, you let those entities influence you.
When you raise your vibration, the inspiration that you get, the intuition, those moments of insight that happen are the angels who are talking to you or your higher self.
What you’re saying with the angels, that’s not a term that I would use, and I appreciate it, because I don’t have a lot of knowledge in that arena. I appreciate what you’re saying, I agree with you wholeheartedly on your belief system. What’s going on in your head if you are focused on joy, and like you said, raising the vibration, or I might say, raising your energy to a different level.
When you are totally embraced with love and self-love, which is critical, there’s no room for the other. One that I do like with Jon Kabat-Zinn, the founder of mindfulness meditation, he’s one of the great leaders in the field, though, you can’t get away from messy feelings. You can’t feel joy and ebullience all day long.
There’s going to be sadness, there’s going to be frustration, there’s going to be anger. That’s part of being human. If you’re feeling sad, like I was for two days after the bombing in Israel stopped, I just let it drop, I didn’t deny it, and I understood that this was impermanent, and let it just go through me. Because all feelings are impermanent and they are not you.
If you are feeling angry, you’re feeling angry, you are not angry. It’s not who you are. I think our use of language, how we express ourselves is critical. Just become aware of those little innuendos, it makes a difference.
We are co-creators of our own reality, and so when we say something about ourselves or something about another, we make that real, we manifest it through our words.
For sure. It’s interesting. When I work with my clients, I’ve been asking them to also begin to write down why they’re falling in love with themselves. It’s interesting to hear people very often begin with the external attributes, because I did this versus I’m falling in love with myself, because I feel this.
For me, the name of the game is being open-hearted, because when you’re open-hearted, the whole world is your oyster, when you come from a place of instinctive feeling rather than this. We’re very well versed in this using our brains.
For those listening and not watching the video, she’s pointing at her head.
I think it was Descartes who said, “I think, therefore I am.” Contraire, it took me many years to figure out. No, no, your instincts really are where you need to go and it is a combination of brain, heart and work.
He got it backwards. I am, therefore I think.
Exactly. Can you imagine how extraordinary the world would be if we taught our children from the time they were young to listen inside, and to listen to what’s going on, to be kind, to take care of others, and most importantly, to take care of themselves, and respect themselves? It would be a very different world.
The name of the game is being open-hearted.
I have a one and a half year old and one of my insights through this experience of these spiritual awakenings is to teach him meditation, teach him how to listen, because to pray is to talk to God, to the divine, but to meditate is to listen. If you’re not in a dialogue, both listening and talking, and ideally listening more than you’re talking, then you’re shut off and partially disconnected. I think one of the most important things for a child to learn is how to meditate, how to listen, and how to dial into the higher vibration.
That one, I need to hear from you, if not now, if it’s not the appropriate time, how you’re teaching a one and a half-year-old how to listen? That’s some feet.
He’s teaching me as much as I’m teaching him, because he came into this world with a high vibrational state, so it’s a blessing. I would love to hear some more about how to type stuff around gardening so that our listener who I think, I hope, sold on the concept of connecting to nature more and even having their own garden perhaps if they have the room for it. Or at least having some more houseplants, if they can take some initial steps on this journey.
Sure. The simpler, the better. Again, I think it’s always, if you have the attitude of—this is curiosity, it’s going to be fun. Because if it’s not fun, don’t do it. If you see it as a chore, don’t bother. Let’s say you have an outdoor area that you have a deck, and you do not have a place where you can actually plant, put up a garden bed in, just do some container plantings. It’s as simple as going and buying some really good potting soil.
There are good ones that are organic, and they’re made with compost, and humus, which is not the food we eat in Israel, and make a decision. You can go to any of your local garden centers, and you can either buy seeds, or you can buy a plant.
Also watering is critical. Believe it or not, more people kill a plant by overwatering it than by not watering it enough. If you have an outdoor area, and let’s say you have a garden bed outside, a small one, I’m a really big seed person. I would just buy, there are some great online sources, I just ordered when I got back to Philly, where you can buy some sunflower seeds.You need to strongly embrace people who have like-minded values and love you for who you are and not what you do. Click To Tweet
It’s easy, just put them in the soil if you get more than six hours a day and it’s like jack in the beanstalk. I think one of the great, great magical gifts is a tomato plant. Buy yourself a tomato plant, it’s too late in the season to start it from seed in most parts of the country, and just either put it in a container outdoors or also in a garden bed. The key is though, to use a lot of good organic fertilizer, which is mulch, or humus or cow manure. It’s very simple.
What are your thoughts on Miracle-Gro or some of the stuff that—yeah, that’s a no.
No. Actually in townships, most townships even in Philly, downtown, usually your township now because they have leaf mulch, and they take it, and they shred it, that’s one of the greatest kinds of compost that you can buy.
You can buy bay compost at a garden center and that’s phenomenal. No, no, and always look, and do not buy anything with chemicals. That defeats the whole purpose, and it’s bad for the environment, and it’s bad for you and your family.
Right. It makes me cringe every time I see somebody with Roundup and they’re spraying it on their weeds.
It’s just shocking. There are things, I mean, it’s easy. Even at Home Depot for years now, there’s been things like neem oil, or you can go online. There’s a wonderful site I’ve been using for decades called gardeners.com, it’s all organic. You can buy everything organic there.
Organic has become part of mainstream at this point. There’s no reason to use chemicals at all. I will attest to the fact that my 42-year-old son who’s now growing his own herbs from his apartment in Israel has a window box. He’s a chef and he said, mom, it’s finally taken.
I can attest to the fact that when you cut your own herbs for a meal or watching dozens of tomatoes grow from a tomato plant is one of the greatest miracles in life. It’s like from this little seed, this is what’s happening. It’s beyond joyful.When you are embraced with love and self-love, there's no room for negative emotions. Click To Tweet
Are you familiar with the brand John and Bob’s?
I’m not sure what they are. What is it?
They have organic fertilizer, soil conditioner, and soil amendments.
Are they in your part or they only grew out in California?
I’m currently in the Miami area, but they’re nationwide, and they have an ecommerce site. I hadn’t heard of them before. They contacted me earlier this year and another client, because I do SEO, Search Engine Optimization. We’re helping them with SEO. They’re a really great company and have great products, they have lots of videos.
Where do they originate from?
They’re out of California, but I’m pretty sure they will ship all over the place.
Okay, good. Thank you for that. Another point that I forgot to mention that I think is really important, or that I want to convey since you’ve given me this forum, you’ve been kind enough, is about being playful. With whatever we do in life, people, we tend to be very serious.
Whatever your intent is, you can take your work seriously. Don’t take yourself seriously. Be goofy, be fun, learn how to laugh. When you think about if you need to retrieve memories from your childhood, or if you’re lucky enough to have young children or like me with my grandchildren, man do they keep it the playfield level, because I’m just constantly hysterical with them because of such fun.
Studies have shown that laughing every day is actually good for us physiologically. It’s good for our health. Not to take yourself so damn seriously. We’re all impermanent, we’re all part of nature. We’re all going to be recycled, or buried, or however we choose to dispose of our bodies, where we drop our bodies.
Just have fun. We’re on this glorious earth of ours. It doesn’t have to be angst-driven and serious all the time.
Doom and gloom.
The garden is a great place to play, just be playful. I always laugh because being part of garden shows and being on gardening tours for years, there’s a competition in the gardening world, and you can see from the OCD Gardeners that everything’s in order and it’s the end result. I was always the gardener. You can see if I’m on video, you can see I’m hardly—I’ve got this curly kind of wild hair. It’s like just being who you’re meant to be. Most of us, I think our basic nature is to be playful, fun, and childlike on many levels.
Have you heard of laughter yoga?
I have. Have you done it?
I have, not that often, but I learned about it on a Tony Robbins Platinum Partnership and the founder of it was teaching us how to do it. It was fun and I could see how it could reverse diseases and things. I knew it came from an inspired place. It wasn’t just some random idea.
There are churches, one of my spiritual teachers was Catholic. She’s now dead, but she used to go to a church where they just had laughing sessions, like, that was part of the prescription there, and they would just start laughing. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen the ads on a subway where somebody starts laughing, and then it’s contagious, and everybody.
Just think about when you laugh or when you’re even thinking of something that brings you pleasure, it infuses your whole physiology and your neurology, and your neuroplasticity, everything. It’s all for the good of our health.
I don’t know about you, but I remember my mom had a great sense of humor, and she would look at me when I was young. Actually, when we used to go to synagogue on the holidays in Rochester, and the rabbi would be speaking, I just found the whole thing hysterical, and my mother would give me a look, and she’d have to put me down in the pews.
I’d have to go down because I was laughing so hard because for me, that whole scene, but the point is, I’ve never lost that ability to laugh, and it’s such a wonderful tool, and it’s free. You don’t have to pay for it. You just have to go inside and discover it.
And it really is healing. It’s healing for you and for everybody around you. I remember the movie Patch Adams. I saw that in the last couple of years. It’s a great movie and what a great story. Patch Adams is based on the actual person, Patch Adams.
Even for people who are the very stressed oriented lives and they’re working long hours, even if you take 30 minutes a day, and turn on an old Seinfeld, something that makes you laugh, just the release of that—I found this new podcast during a friend of mine told me, SmartLess with Jason Bateman, Will Arnett, and Sean Hayes, the three of them together.
I’m walking down the streets of Tel Aviv, after the rockets and I am hysterical. I’m convinced that it helped me to heal, because the laughter is just delicious.
That’s awesome. Now, how does this all tie in with your bent towards futurism? You are a futurist?
I am. I think you and I met because of Peter Diamandis.
We were both in Abundance 360, and it was a fellow 360 member who suggested that I have you on on the show.
I’d love to hear how this ties in for you.
There are so many incredible possibilities that are coming to fruition.
It’s really interesting, because I found Peter just once by listening to him. I was so taken aback by his unbridled passion about the future. Even though much of technology doesn’t interest me, per se, I’m a nature geek, that’s where I thrive. Some of what’s going on with AI is not where I want to put my time.
On the other hand, I think it’s effing phenomenal what’s going on for the future. I think there are so many incredible possibilities that are coming to fruition now. That’s how I got turned on to the future. Since then, I haven’t looked back. It’s like, of course, I mean, of course.
Now I was reading the article yesterday about, I forgot the name of the group. They’re young guys who are disrupting Elon with their reusable rockets. They just got $500 million in financing. If you want to stay relevant, and you want to be a part of this world, and you feel that the future is exciting rather than living in the past–and I’m always pointing towards the future–then I think it’s imperative to stay abreast of what’s going on. I love it. I love learning all the latest things.
Was it Rocket Companies? Is that the name?
Hold on, I have it on my phone. I actually sent it to a friend of mine. I’ll send it to you afterwards. Peter had them on before. It’s two young guys who work for Jeff Bezos and then they just left. They wrote Mark Cuban a letter and he financed them.
Oh, so they 3D print their rockets. It’s a relatively new space.
They’re disrupting Elon now. These guys, I think they’re not even 30 years old yet.
Very cool. What is the thing that excites you the most out of all the different technology areas and innovations that are here, or coming soon, or in the next five years? What’s the one thing that stands out as the most exciting for you?
That’s a tough question and I’ve never given it thought. My arena is food and feeding, everybody having healthy food. That’s actually not the most exciting thing. I am excited by it. I think about what can happen as far as educationally because I am very passionate about education, and how kids have been taught not to think and not to feel.
I believe that with assisted AI, it is possible for kids, and also virtual reality, there’s some incredible things going on with AR, but I think in the form of education, I’m thinking kids who really could use an AI assistant to help them navigate their way through their days and learning how to clock in, what they need to learn, but also their own specific strengths, and how to tune into their passions, and how to optimize our own potential. That’s really exciting to me educationally, because they are the future.
Have you read the book The Diamond Age by Neal Stephenson?
You’re going to love that book. The subtitle is “A Young Lady’s Illustrated Primer.” It’s a novel about the coming age of nanotechnology, molecular nanotechnology, and this young girl has an AI based device that’s teaching her everything. It’s pretty amazing.
The book gives you a sense for what’s coming in terms of all the technology and everything. It was written maybe two decades ago now, but the sorts of innovations that were dreamed up in the book, many of those are coming true, and are in the midst of being invented now.
I think you’d really love that book. It gives you a sense for what’s coming in terms of the innovations and inventions, especially related to nanotechnology, and the way that the main protagonist, this girl is being taught by this AI, I think you’ll find very fascinating.
The thing I think is most exciting about education for children is not future-focused. It’s actually something that was developed 40 years ago. I just had Janet Doman on this podcast, and she talked about how you can multiply a baby’s intelligence using certain techniques.
She went through a couple of them, but I’ll give you an example of one of the techniques that I learned from her—it’s how to teach your baby math is one example I’ll share. Instead of showing the symbol, the number five or whatever, that’s not the fact. The fact is, let’s say five dots on a white sheet of paper.
What was the thing? Do you remember? It was like a game, but you would move the…
If you show the baby dots on cards, big dots and big cards so that it’s big, bold, and bright, there’s a lot of contrast there, they will learn very quickly, and then you can graduate to equations. You could show them a dot card with 48 dots on it, and one with 49 dots on it, and they’d be able to tell you which ones which.
Fascinating. That’s fascinating.
It’s really cool. I’m teaching my little one not just math, but encyclopedic knowledge. Speaking of plants, he’s learning all these different trees, and different flowers and so forth, because we have what are called bits of intelligence.
If you can send me the name of what the technique is.
It’s developed by the Institute for the Advancement of Human Potential, iahp.org.
Got it. The other thing I will say to get my last word in for nature, there are many phenomenal nature schools happening now. Learning in nature is huge. If kids get a foundation in that as a base of who they are, it’s a wonderful tool. It’s a wonderful foundation to carry through life.
Right. Even just teaching them at home how to care for plants, how not to overwater them, how to…
To even notice them, out in the landscape. I ended up pulling my kids out of school. I homeschooled my kids 30 years ago. A person like me did not homeschool kids 30 years ago. It wasn’t the celebrity status thing, but it was the best thing I ever did for them, because it pulled them out of being enculturated and not thinking into a world of doing things they love to do, and they both have excelled in their own way. I feel good about that.
That’s amazing. Congratulations on that and what a great job you did. What a great sacrifice too because it’s not easy.
Back then, it was super difficult. But I believe so strongly that when you’re passionate, you got it, you can’t just think things, you got to live it.
So true. One last question, a question about the topic of gardening. What are your thoughts on hydroponics and aquaponics in terms of the home gardener or somebody who even may not have space outside to grow plants? Is this a viable option?
It is a viable option for sure. I am definitely biased. I make no bones about it, that the soil is where the microbiomes. We know about microbiomes in our gut now, but we’re still not talking about the microbiome and the soil. You are what your plant eats, eats.
The point is that what our plant, the nutrition and all the energy that the plant is getting from a healthy soil, we’re just beginning to understand. I will always choose healthy soil over anything that is hydroponically done. That’s my bias. Other people will say something else.
Right. To circle back to something you just very briefly said at the beginning of this conversation, you mentioned mycelium, so the mycelial network is something that exists in the soil and wouldn’t exist in hydroponics.
For sure. You’re talking about intelligence. One of the great mycologists, Paul Stamets, is my hero.
He’s amazing. You know?
I heard him speak a couple years ago at Summit LA.
That makes sense. He’s a jewel. The truth is, we do not have the words to understand the intelligence of this network. It’s the internet underground and we need to for our own well being begin to revere what’s happening there. Yes, I’m a soil geek.
That’s amazing. If you had any parting last words of wisdom to share with our listener, something that we maybe haven’t touched on yet, what would it be?
Take time each day to awaken your senses. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, think about what your senses are. Its smell, touch, sight, auditory, and literally begin to your heart will be touched by it. These are the jewels. It’s not the big picture we’re talking about here, it’s the little jewels every day, and if you can open up to your senses, it will change your life. It’s less than that and it’s free.
Like aromatherapy therapy, having some essential oils in the house, having going on nature to smell the flowers.
For basic, get outside in nature and smell. I just came back to my apartment in Philly and I have cut flowers all over the place because I don’t have a garden here. Yes, but as soon as we’re done, I’m going to go out for a walk. Even if it’s 10 minutes today because I’m so busy, just get up to a tree and also observe. Observe people, observe nature, and slow down.
If you learn to slow down and observe and as you said, listen, life will change and things will come to you. It’s not your job to make things happen. The universe will provide.
Life happens for you, not to you. Actually, there’s another level I recently learned from Neil Cannon: “Life happens by you.”
Interesting. I’ve never heard that term.
That’s that idea of co-creating with the Creator.
It’s co-creating, and we have so much more power than we’ve been led to believe, yes?
Yes, for sure.
So exciting. This has been a pleasure, delicious. Thank you so much for having me, and to be continued.
Yes, thank you so much. If our listeners want to read some of your books, or follow you, or learn further from you…
Get to my website. I have my book, Digging Deep: Unearthing Your Creative Roots Through Gardening. Truthfully, I’m very quiet right now. People, I trust the universe. If somebody wants to find me, if somebody wants to work with me, people have found the way to get to me. I’m not advertising at this point. There you go.
Thank you so much. This was fabulous and inspirational, too. Thank you, Fran.
Have a beautiful day.
- Fran Sorin
- Facebook – Fran Sorin
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- LinkedIn – Fran Sorin
- YouTube – Fran Sorin
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- Digging Deep
- The Diamond Age
- Janet Doman – previous episode
- Dalai Lama
- Dan Brown
- Elon Musk
- Fred Rogers
- Jason Bateman
- Jeff Bezos
- Joe Dispenza
- Jon Kabat-Zinn
- Joseph Campbell
- Mark Cuban
- Neal Stephenson
- Patch Adams
- Paul Stamets
- Peter Diamandis
- René Descartes
- Sean Hayes
- Will Arnett
- Abundance 360
- Amber Alert
- Gardener’s Supply
- Institute for the Advancement of Human Potential
- John and Bob’s
- Pachamama Alliance
- Patch Adams
- Summit Events
- Tony Robbins Platinum Partnership
- Box breathing
- Darwinian Theory
- Laughter yoga
- Sacred geometry
- Tu BiShvat
Checklist of Actionable Takeaways
Take breaks to simply breathe. Having quiet time is a healthy way to get in touch with nature while enjoying downtime from my busy life. There is beauty in simplicity.
Learn gardening. Connecting with nature can help me gain wisdom and understand the meaning of life as I get my hands dirty.
Focus on my dreams. No matter how challenging, I should never lose sight of my goals. Achieving them is only impossible if I don’t try.
Let go of materialism. Chasing after trends will only rob me of my hard-earned money. Instead, I should find what truly brings me joy and focus on that.
Leave unhealthy environments. I’m not obligated to stay in places where I’m unhappy and stagnant. Instead, I should find the strength to walk away and cut off people when I have to.
Stop dwelling on negative feelings. Emotions are fleeting, and I should learn how to manage them. By letting negative sentiments pass, I’m able to focus on the positive ones instead.
Always be curious. Having the attitude to explore what I find exciting will open possibilities for me. It allows me to test my limits and go out of my comfort zone.
Don’t forget to laugh. Life doesn’t always have to be so serious. Letting myself have fun is beneficial for my physical and mental health.
Take time to awaken my senses. I should learn how to slow down, bask in my environment, and open up to nature. This habit allows opportunities to flow into my life freely.
Visit Fran Sorin’s website and read her book, Digging Deep: Unearthing Your Creative Roots Through Gardening, to learn more about how I can maximize my experience gardening. Then, check her out on Twitter and Instagram for more updates.
About Fran Sorin
Fran Sorin is an author, gardening evangelist, an open-hearted coach, futurist, and social entrepreneur. She is passionate about helping individuals experience healthier, more joyful and creative lives. Fran believes deeply that we all possess the innate ability to use our imaginations to dream big and live our dreams.
Disclaimer: The medical, fitness, psychological, mindset, lifestyle, and nutritional information provided on this website and through any materials, downloads, videos, webinars, podcasts, or emails is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical/fitness/nutritional advice, diagnoses, or treatment. Always seek the help of your physician, psychologist, psychiatrist, therapist, certified trainer, or dietitian with any questions regarding starting any new programs or treatments, or stopping any current programs or treatments. This website is for information purposes only, and the creators and editors, including Stephan Spencer, accept no liability for any injury or illness arising out of the use of the material contained herein, and make no warranty, express or implied, with respect to the contents of this website and affiliated materials.
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