As I’m learning to address plants, animals and nature spirits directly—speaking, as David Abram (in Becoming Animal) advocates, “not about but to the natural world” and calling myself “into the vital presence of that world,” I often come rather quickly to a point of awkwardness. I acknowledge my progress in remembering to greet the nature spirits and trees each morning, to express my admiration and gratitude, but then what? The following transcript from one of Barbara’s sessions with the Council of Gnomes gives a good sense of how the relationships can develop and deepen, delightfully and respectfully.
Mano: The Little Ones have some things to talk over with you. We, the larger gnomes, are here to support them. Officialius is in the speaker’s chair and will speak for the others.
Little Ones: We are angry, hurt, disgusted, sorry and sad. Does that make an impression on you? You are not paying enough attention to us for us to learn what we had hoped from you. We think you are a wind bag, or a thought bag. You think you are doing the work and you tell people about us, but really you are not relating enough for us to learn.
Barbara: I am truly sorry. Truly. I acknowledge my error. Actually, I don’t know what to do with you. I notice what you are doing when you catch my attention, like today in the amphitheater lying beside me, one on each side.
Little Ones: You might ask us what we want to know, what we want to learn. You might consider us as half of this working arrangement and speak to us, not just think you know so much.
Barbara: I can really feel your anger and indignation. I did not want to hurt your feelings. I guess having feelings is a good thing and you can see how unconscious humans can be—how unconscious I can be. Please don’t take it personally. I get caught up in my life, what I see in the outer world, and I forget the inner.
Little Ones: That’s just the point. What we want to learn is how to wake up a human, how to relate with a human, how to make your life easier so you will know we are here. You could ask for help.
Barbara: That sounds like a good plan. What do you do? What can I ask of you?
Little Ones: You have already met Conrad, who works with computers. When you sit down to work, ask him or just the gnomes in general, meaning the seven of us Little Ones, to assist you with the computer. We are in charge of everything that is physical, everything that has form. You could just say, “Hey guys,” and we will be alerted. The first stage of our relating was for you to get the pictures of what we are doing when you ”look in,” and to see that it relates to what you’re doing. This was to amuse you and help you realize that we’re real and not in your head. Ugh. There is no room in there. From our perspective, you have thoughts firing off like rockets every second. This day of meditating 20 minutes each hour should show you how little quiet there is in there. Oh yes, I understand it is better than it used to be. But as far as we are concerned it is still very busy.
Barbara: OK, let’s get back to how we are to relate. I truly want to do this. I feel honored that you have come. I want to be trustworthy and respectful of this connection. What can I do?
Little Ones: Ask and see. Talk to us about your wants and desires in the manifest world; we would like to be of service to you in manifesting your dreams.
Barbara: Have you noticed I do not have a clear picture of what I want?
Little Ones: Start with your desire to paint, to create pictures that are healing. Ask us to bring aliveness to your images, to embody the paints with consciousness and inspire the shapes that have power. Yes, this is possible for us. We are also under the tutelage of Master Gnomes who know how to do this. When we don’t know, they are always there to instruct us. This is the way we learn to work with a human, by being given an assignment and then seeing what we can do. Conversation would be most helpful.
Barbara: OK. I would also like to learn to do this. I guess that is the human’s part of learning to relate.
Little Ones: You humans have been so arrogant for so long, even those of you who are not basically arrogant act in that manner by default.
Barbara: OK, let’s start. I want to have passion and love for the painting process, to be excited about the exploration, wonder and discovery. I would like you to guide my painting to make sure I stay aligned with the Divine. I want to use color combinations that are stunning, to have a balance of hues and incorporate more white than I have in the past. Then when I am at my desk I would like to be efficient and speedy—and the same with packing and email.
Mano: That’s enough for now Barbara. Don’t overwhelm yourself or the Little Ones. They needed to speak their frustration in a way you could hear. Take each of your desires and let it unfold as you start a particular job. The best time to speak to the gnomes is when you begin a task by creating sacred space.