September 02, 2023
I didn’t find out until I came back from Nepal – that one of my heroes had died.
It’s funny how you can feel such a deep connection with someone you’ve only met once.
In some ways, I suppose it’s like one warrior meeting another warrior. You know the depth of what you’ve seen.
My first introduction to Stephen Harrod Buhner was reading one of my favorite books on the planet: The Lost Language of Plants
Long before the emergence of trendy words like ‘microbiome’, Stephen poetically articulated the spiraling effects of chemicals, antibiotics & pharmaceuticals on the planet – and our culture's tendency to go to war with nature.
He also brought to life the extraordinary power and wisdom of plants & how nature is a reflection of our own otherworldly, vastness as human beings.
The Lost Language of Plants was one of the few non-fiction books I read voraciously like a teeanger devouring a juicy cheeseburger after a track meet.
It was one of those rare times in life where I felt truly understood – like somebody thought the way I thought, felt the way I felt, saw the world the way I did.
And his writing! It’s not just words on a page.
It comes alive within you.
In a single paragraph, Stephen can crush your naivete and leave you hopeless at the current & impending doom of our planet, or life itself – while simultaneously making you breathless at the exquisite beauty of the natural world, and the utter miraculousness of being human.
When I wrote my own book, I turned to Stephen for advice through another one of his books: Ensouling Language
It taught me about ‘finding the golden threads’, a practice I still use in my writing & life today.
Stephen also wrote my most cherished book endorsement for Flowerevolution:
— Stephen Harrod Buhner, herbalist and author of The Lost Language of Plants, The Secret Teachings of Plants, Sacred Plant Medicine,and Herbal Antibiotics
I read it again now and hone in on the word ‘courageous’.
How did Stephen know how hard it was for me to write that book? Did he know how difficult it was for me?
I didn’t tell him that I wrote 35,000 words and then threw it away to start over. I didn’t tell him I isolated myself at a coffeeshop for a year away from my team to consume gallons of espresso & Inspired Action in order to face my fears of being exposed as a quack, a weirdo, a flower freak not to be taken seriously (or to be persecuted) in this stark, reductionistic Western world stripped of its innate magic.
Did he know how hard it was for me to share my intimacy with the unseen forces among flowers?
I met Stephen face-to-face when I connected him with Nick Polizzi, a filmmaker who was doing a series about herbalism.
Soon after, I found myself in Stephen’s kitchen in Silver City, New Mexico, sipping an herbal tea, enjoying his interviews with Nick & the film crew.
Earlier this year, I was shocked when I found out Stephen was gone.
I searched for him online, and found the most exquisitely-written excerpt from his new book: Earth Grief
It was such a gift. And today, as I read and reread it, each time I understand something different about myself.
There’s so much about this excerpt that I sincerely feel everyone should read it.
"The interior world has been abandoned for the outward. Our hearts have been trained to sleep, our minds to distrust feelings, to distrust the touch of one human heart upon another, to distrust the touch of the world upon our senses, to distrust our feeling responses to that touch. Because of this we have lost, not only in our medical system, but as a nation, the understanding that grief is part of our human journey. Sooner or later, each and every one of us will travel into grief, that is just the way it is. If we love, grief will always come to us sooner or later."
This is but one tiny drop of a waterfall of material that reminds us of what matters most. It helps us make sense of how our mind operates when it faces pain.
Reading this excerpt is an instruction, a method and a practice, all at the same time.
It’s so touching, that I want you to read it out loud to someone you love this weekend.Or at the very least, read it quietly when you have a moment to yourself.
Skip over whatever parts don’t serve you & find where your heart connects with his – a human being facing death.
Stephen is a legend. His writing ignites a fire within you. It plants seeds inside you – that you’ll never forget.
If you have Sacred Heart Elixir, Mist or Anointing Oil on hand, use it liberally on yourself and/or your loved ones while you read it out loud to each other.
Click here to find the excerpt.
Love & flower petals,
P.P.S. If you haven't read Lisa's recent insightful writing about losing both of her parents, find it here.