Touching Shame

shame plant

I was out for a walk in the thin swath of wild borderlands between my suburban neighborhood and the high school and I met this plant which I had not seen before. I pulled out my phone and opened up the Picture This plant identifier app and was surprised to see that it* is called a Shame Plant. It is a species of sensitive plants and its’ botanical name is Mimosa pudica.

It was given this name because when you touch the tip of the fern-like leaves, they curl inwards.

During my walk, I was listening to I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness by Austin Channing Brown, and right there in front of me was nature reinforcing what she was talking about — the way the shame plant recoils when it is touched, is how many white people respond to uncomfortable conversations about race in our country. Read More


jack pine 2

During times of crises, either personal or planetary, I often look to nature to see what lessons her 3.8 billion years of collective intelligence can teach me about life and resilience.

As the COVID-19 pandemic spreads, taking over 100,000 lives and counting – further widening the fault lines of predatory capitalism and racial and economic disparity in US society, and then add to that more videos showing the deadly effects of white supremacy and police brutality, it feels like this county is both imploding and exploding.

This catastrophic moment reminds me of what I learned from The Powers of the Universe, by Dr. Brian Swimme. He says that the power of cataclysm is, “As essential to reality as emergence. The destructions, degradations and disasters of the universe are part of the story of its life, a movement from a complex to a simple state that allows for the emergence of newness. Life relies on destruction for creativity to take place.” In this video, he explains, “If universe creativity as cataclysm happens to be your pathway, this means that…the destruction, the cataclysm, the loss in our lives is simultaneously the source of our creative power.” Read More