How to Connect with Nature on a Deeper and Totally Personal Level: Wise Words with Tanah Whitemore
Updated: Mar 4
She's the kind of woman that once you meet her, you can never be the same again. Tanah and I met five years ago at her ranch in southern Montana. Her ranch, her home is a special place. Indeed, it's appropriately called called Sacred Ground Ranch.
When you arrive, she'll smudge you, hug you and enthusiastically get you a glass of water—blessed water that comes from a pure spring on her property and helps you get in-synch with the land.
"Alright" she'll say. "Let's go greet the land!" And up you go, along the fence line, and through the first gate that leads up to the mountain where her buffalo live.
"This land belongs to the buffalo. It is their home, so when we arrive we say 'hello', and ask permission to be here."
She leads you through the tobacco ceremony, giving thanks for the sunshine that day and all of the life around us. If you're paying attention you'll feel the grass bend in acknowledgment and thanks. You suddenly feel very welcomed.
Over the years I've been back to Sacred Ground many times to visit and harvest plants for Elixirs for Life, and earlier this spring I sat down with Tanah to ask her to share how she guides people to develop their own personal connection with nature. Tanah's personal connection to nature is the way she lives her life. She's in constant communication with the birds, the flowers, the water, even the storm clouds. This connection to nature, she explains, is available to everyone. For me, learning about this connection has changed the way I live my life. It's given me a pathway to walk through the world with joy and deep gratitude, so I'm thrilled to be able to share some of Tanah's Wise Words with you.
KT: For someone who is learning to communicate with nature, and wanting to have their own experiences and conversations, what guidance do you provide to them?
TW: It is a very simple example that I give: if you wanted to get to know a new co-worker, perhaps you see them in the cafeteria, you recognize them, but you don’t know them at all. How would you get to know them? You would probably walk over and simply introduce yourself, shake hands and maybe even have lunch with them. You'd start a dialogue. Even if it's a tiny one, maybe just an introduction. But importantly you have acknowledged them, and they have acknowledged you. It’s the same with nature. In the end, that person may likely turn into a friend, which expands and enriches your life.
How do you begin? Go outside and talk to you grass. Say, I’m about to cut my grass, so please be prepared! And thank you for being such a beautiful yard! Start a conversation. You’ll feel really good. Teach your children that it's an awareness that everything is living. So, now you wouldn’t just pick a flower and throw it on the ground. You would ask permission from the flower to pick it, and maybe now you’d take it home and put it in some water and allow it to beautify your home.
KT: What I’ve experienced is that when you start this dialogue, you begin to see everything in life as sacred, valuable, on purpose—here for a specific mission. It's changed the way I walk in the world; when everything around you is loving. It's such a different perspective.
TW: You just said a very important word there; loving. The whole idea that the plant kingdom can love you back is very foreign to many people.
KT: The conversation that I often have with other herbologists is about their conflicted feelings around harvesting plants. Aren’t we destroying nature?
I love the wisdom that you bring to that dialogue, which is to say that part of the role of the plant kingdom is to provide. And our human responsibility is to demonstrate honour and gratitude for the amazing plant gifts.
TW: Yes, you’ve got it. The love doesn’t stop just because you’ve picked a plant. Life is continuous. When you utilize your plant, and tinctures, and candles that plant is still living and contributing! You think that plant isn’t grateful for that? Look at all of the lives it gets to touch! It's very hard for us to wrap our heads around the idea that a plant can be grateful, but I tell you it can!
Who am I to pick it? Well, that’s where the important conversation has to happen. I’ve watched you harvest. You’re going along, taking some from a group that wants to be harvested, and leaving those that don’t volunteer, You begin to feel that, and you know instantly. The ones you harvest want to contribute in this way. They want to be out in the world. They want to be of service.
If you'd like to support Tanah and Sacred Ground International, a registered non-profit organization, you can do that through her Adopt a Buffalo Program. Every bit counts, and supports their mission of inspiring and informing others about the sacredness of all life.
Or you can purchase Sacred Vision Spray. This collaboration Elixir spray, made entirely from botanicals harvested from Sacred Ground Ranch, helps you to come into a greater and inspired vision of who you really are. Proceeds from the sale of Sacred Vision are donated back to Sacred Ground International.
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Stay tuned for more Wise Words coming soon from some other amazing women I've been sooo blessed to have talked to!