Learning to Live What I Sell

Recently, I met a participant during one of my workshops.  She recognized me from a few years before when we had become acquainted during a play date. She explained that she had been exploring all that Pineapple Acres had to offer and wanted to be doing what I was doing. She said she wanted to be me. Of course, this statement can do wonders for a person’s ego, but I realized that besides making me feel good, perhaps I was doing something right.

So what does Pineapple Acres sell?

To keep it simple: an experience. I hope it’s a connection to nature – a spiritual journey to peace. But it may simply be where your journey needs to be in this moment. And that could be learning a new plant; solving a pest problem in the garden; or creating space for mindfulness in your yard.

I always encourage participants to work from where they are with what they have. I’d like to take that a bit further – and add from who they are. The reason: you’ll be more likely to keep at it and succeed when you acknowledge your reality.

Rome wasn’t built in a day, so we need to stop imagining we can change in a day, a week or a month. Through gardening, Pineapple Acres offers mindfulness as a journey – not an end goal. Read about garden therapy here to get a better idea to what I mean.

And what better way to make this happen then by living this journey myself. It’s a journey that ignites my curiosity; encourages me to learn; and inspires inner awareness.

Seems to be my most authentic marketing tool. I may be on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, a website, flyers, Meetup, etc., but living my slogan: Make every day better with mindfulness in nature, may be an unseen winner in the marketing race.

Because Pineapple Acres isn’t solely about identifying plants and helping them survive. It’s not even about a pretty display of well-placed plants. It’s about accepting where you are and connecting to that moment. Maybe you’re not meditating at the beach. You’re more like me – meditating for 10 minutes amongst the chaos of the afternoon. Maybe you’re not preforming flying crow in your yoga practice. You’re simply standing as a warrior in an unfinished workshop in the company of scattered tools. Wherever you are doesn’t matter. It’s being who you are and moving forward despite or in spite of what that may be.

How to discover this experience with Pineapple Acres?

  • mindfulness in nature workshops (i.e., meditation and yoga)
  • gardening workshops
  • guidance in holistic landscape (aka sustainability, regenerative, permaculture)

How did Pineapple Acres come to be?

Pineapple Acres is a reflection of me, which began here at this blog. Pineapple Acres is this blog come to life. But I don’t want you to be me. I hope to inspire, educate and guide you to speak your own truth while experiencing a deeper part to your own inner peace. That’s big. And, yes, I truly believe gardening and being in nature has that power.

You just need to have the courage to go there.

Pineapple Acres – Where you can hear the whispers of your soul, ground yourself in nature and find inner peace through plants.

Learning How to Communicate: Well

We communicate every day. With technology the opportunities are limitless. We can talk, write, email, text, post, blog, Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, etc. You’d think we’d be amazing communicators with all these avenues. Yet, some of us really suck at it.

I have an admission: I’m one of those people. I am a writer who has no idea how to communicate well.

I lay out elaborate sentences filled with charming characters. A reader may feel the cool silk on their skin; smell the vomit-enticing retch of wet clothes that were forgotten for days; or taste the sweet, tangy flavor of a peach, but this does NOT make me a good communicator. It simply means I can create pretty mind pictures.

Poetry comes easily to me. You know why? No one has to make sense of it for it to be considered good. The original message can get completely lost and still offer emotionally moving imagery – making it a masterpiece. In real life, in real relationships, in really complicated situations, pretty mind pictures will NOT cut it. Trust me.

This recent realization proves, it’s no use. I’ve closed my Facebook account; my Instagram no longer exists; I threw my cellphone in the trash; disconnected my internet (I found WiFi at a nearby Starbucks). I’m done. After I communicate this blog, I’m heading to the woods. Don’t follow me. You’ll just be disappointed.

Rewind.

Of course, it’s not this easy. It’s silly to believe that if we remove ourselves from society then our communication skills will disappear (though it was a very good fantasy). That would be defined as AVOIDANCE.

So, back to that communicating well thing…

Why do we communicate? We like sharing. We have a particular point to make. It’s fun. To learn something. To feel something. To create. To get something done.

Yet…

Communication is deeper than words. It’s deeper than feeling emotions and attempting to put them into words. Communication is about you and another person. It’s about compassion and understanding.

Often times we forget about that other person. That is what makes us so bad in the game. We forget that it’s not simply our feelings, our words, our point to make. There is another person looking at you, listening to you, reading your words. If there wasn’t, there would be no point in communicating.

So why am I so bad at this?

Well, I know how to handle my own hurt feelings, but I don’t know how to handle someone else’s. This is because of fear – fear that if I ACTUALLY say what I mean the person standing in front of me will leave; won’t love me; will think less of me; will see my weakness.

Another silly fantasy. But this one isn’t fun. It’s painful.

And because it’s painful I’ve found ways to subconsciously avoid those real, raw, direct conversations. So much so that I struggle to communicate what I’m feeling, what I want, how I perceive things. Let’s get down to the nitty gritty…how do we fix this?

How do we communicate well?

  1. Listen. If you aren’t a good listener you will never be a good communicator. The trick to this: live in the moment. Don’t think about what you’re going to say next. Don’t relive what happened in the past. Listen in the now because that is the reality of what is truly happening in the conversation.
  2. Observe. Be mindful of what you hear, feel, see. What a person says is not always the entire story. Sometimes you can see more than you can hear. Sometimes you can listen and understand what questions you need to ask in order to further understand. And if you don’t know the answer. Ask. DO NOT assume (we all know how that one works out.).
  3. Pause. Take a deep breath. If you have the luxury to pause for more than a few seconds, take it. If a person is standing in front of you, this one may be awkward. But it’s better to be seen as awkward than make an ass out of yourself.
  4. Repeat # 3. Pause some more. This one is good if you are experiencing intense emotions. Anger. Guilt. Shame. Rejection. These are NOT EASY emotions to process and should not be rushed. Take your time. Time can shift your perspective.
  5. Respond. DO NOT react. Take that word out of your vocabulary. Reacting is the complete opposite of love. The best option is to respond in love. Even if that means not responding. Silence is a response.

Ok, I’ve convince myself to crawl out of the woods and face these uncomfortable moments. They aren’t going away. But we have a choice: learn to cope or continue to sabotage. I like the idea of coping. If you are like me, there is hope. It will take practice. You’re going to fail and wonder how you will ever learn this skill. But you will. Practice over and over and over again. There are opportunities daily. In the end, good communication skills FEEL better even if it’s uncomfortable. Trust me.