Episode 316 | May 2, 2023

Awakening Your Inner Nature with Fran Sorin

A Personal Note From Orion

Welcome to the latest episode of the Stellar Life podcast with my guest, Fran Sorin, a master gardener who reminds us to approach gardening and connecting with nature with humility, gratitude, and a teachable mind. In this episode, we delve deep into the Zen of gardening. We also explore the magical benefits of spending intentional and immersive time with nature.

Fran is not just a gardening enthusiast but also the author of Digging Deep: Unearthing Your Creative Roots Through Gardening, a spiritual coach, and a nature and longevity evangelist. Her passion for nature and spirituality has led her to believe that we all have the opportunity to open our hearts and experience a life filled with love, well-being, gratitude, belonging, joy, and awe through connecting with the natural world. 

I am sure you will enjoy our conversation as you discover the joy of gardening and the power of nature in your life. So, don’t miss this episode, and let the wonder of nature transform and empower you. Without further ado, onto the show!



In This Episode

  • [02:44] – Orion introduces Fran Sorin to discuss passion and nature.
  • [04:57] – Fran shares how she developed her love for gardening.
  • [11:35] – As a gardening expert, Fran explains the advantages of grounding and connecting with nature.
  • [23:16] – What are the benefits of gardening? What role does it play in strengthening our consciousness?
  • [27:56] – Fran and Orion discuss how nature helps us come to terms with death and impermanence.
  • [35:53] – How can we replace unproductive habits and ignite creativity through nature?
  • [40:16] – Fran provides her top three tips for living a stellar life.

Jump to Links and Resources

About Today’s Show

Hello, Fran. Welcome to Stellar Life podcast. I’m very happy that you’re here. Thank you for spending some time with me today.

Good morning, Orion. It’s great to be here.

It’s wonderful. Before we start, please share a little bit about your passion and how you got to it.

I remember saying something to my mother when I was a little girl. I think I was five years old. Then, every night, she would come and kiss me. I remember this. I think it’s the truth, although 50% of our memories are not actual memories, Joe Dispenza tells me.

I said, “Mommy, what happens at the time of death? What happens to our soul?” She looked at me and said, “Darling, I don’t know.” I’ve been fascinated with our souls, consciousness, and humanity since I was a little girl. It’s been a passion that has taken me, call it spirituality, call it awakening within ourselves, but this is something I followed straight from childhood to college throughout my adult years.

My other passion is gardening and nature, and I am very much evangelical about them.

Of course, my other passion is gardening and nature, and I am very much evangelical about them. The more time we spend in nature, the healthier we will be, the kinder we will be, and the happier we will be. So even though I’ve been speaking about it for 30 years now, there’s tremendous research showing that that is, in fact, the case.

Right. We spent nine months in Israel during COVID in a tiny apartment we rented. We went there to be close to a relative going through something. Going through those lockdowns, the only saving grace was that we lived near Park HaYarkon.

That’s one of my hangouts.

Yes. We would go for long walks. It’s just so beautiful to connect with nature. When we moved back to Florida, I knew I could never live in an apartment again. Thank God we’re able to afford to have a house that’s close to nature. Putting my feet on the ground every morning is so important to me. It helps me keep my sanity.

The word grounding has become a very popular word. It allows you when you touch the ground and get outside. Even if it’s for five minutes, you’re aligning all of your chakras, touching the earth, and it grounds you, period. It’s that simple.

Our ancestors certainly knew it. All of the shamans knew this from Peru and throughout the world. Yet, somehow, we have forgotten this. A large percentage of us have forgotten it over the past 30 years. My kids grew up in nature. That’s the way they were raised in the suburbs of Philadelphia, and they were outside playing all the time.

Growing up, I spent a lot of time in our backyard. I used to watch all the feral cats. I used to watch them having babies in the spring. At that time, I read Tarzan. I wanted to be like Tarzan, I wanted to be a zoologist, and I watched all the animals.

The Tarzan Collection by Edgar Rice Burroughs

I remember having a lot of imagination, connecting to the animals, and climbing trees. We had a guava tree, especially one that I loved climbing on. It was really fun.

It is fun. Because of my reputation as a gardening expert and garden designer, people often ask me, “What was your childhood like?” Because many people in gardening were really into nature and gardening nerds. No, I wasn’t. I had a very middle-class average childhood. But when I look back, I am incredibly touched by the trees.

I had two favorite trees I would sit under, which I would use as my North Star, or sit playing with potato bugs at my aunt’s house in Cleveland. 

I think Steve Jobs said that only when you’re midway through your life can you see the pieces that led to where you are today. Now I appreciate my love of nature, although not as intense as many people I know. As a child, I was extremely impacted by it.

Yes. Was your grandma into gardening?

No, my mother was. Part of my childhood was in Dallas, Texas. The other part was Rochester, New York. I still think of Rochester as my childhood home. My mother was the gardener who went out and tended the garden, and we grew some vegetables. We lived in a small three-bedroom house in a suburb, but something about it touched me.

To this day, the soil, the earth, I’ve always called it gold. To me, ground and soil are so important because that’s the nutrients that our vegetables, fruits, and everything need. So I’m adamant about soil.

That’s amazing. Because of COVID and food shortages, I thought I should learn how to garden. So I attempted a very tiny attempt of blending sweet potatoes. I have watermelons that are quite big.

To this day, the soil, the earth, I’ve always called it gold.

I’m not surprised. That’s great. I always say anybody can garden, and anybody can be successful. The only difference between successful gardeners and those who give up is how much you’re willing to fail.

If I told you how many times I failed at growing certain plants or certain veggies, you’d be shocked, but I kept at it and kept at it. It’s persistence and knowing some patience.

Yes, I failed a lot. I felt like my sweet potatoes grew to be so tiny.

For example, I had a watermelon grown, and I didn’t know what size it should be. So I harvested it way early; although white, it’s fine.

It’s funny. It would be like harvesting pumpkins in the middle of the summer. Do you know who has considered some of the best watermelons in the world? You know that Israel does.

Yeah, for sure.

Yes, it’s really huge here. You’re right. During COVID, people started growing their food. Gardening took off exponentially because people finally had the time. I do have a vision of everybody growing their fruits and vegetables.

Right, and you can do it in an urban environment too. A lot of people have balconies that are full of incredible veggies and even some fruits.

You absolutely can. Community gardens, also. Germany’s great with community gardens. Where I live, Philadelphia has great community gardens. It’s the will. It’s the breaking through and the choice.

If you follow your passion, you never know where it will lead.

Now, there is a great guy. He started as a guerrilla gardener in Los Angeles but in a rundown section. He just took sidewalks like overgrown curbs, and he started growing things. It has taken over a huge movement. He has a clothesline with Gap at this point. It shows that if you follow your passion, you never know where it will lead.

Cities are beckoning for people to come in. I’ve done community gardens in Philadelphia. Some lots are for sale for a dollar there. It’s a matter of a community taking charge and saying, “Come on, let’s get together to find ways.” It’s the watering and the improvement of the soil. It’s a very exciting time for gardening in the world.

What was the feedback that you got from people who started gardening? What happens to their soul? What happens to their consciousness?

It’s inevitable. First of all, you have to slow down when you garden. There are compulsive gardeners, and I was on the gardening circuit. We had show gardens. It’s like a show dog.

Do you mean Aries like me?

Yeah. You’d be shocked at the competition. There really should be a sitcom about it. But, anyway, it’s a matter of you going out there and teaching yourself to pause, slow down, that you’re not in a race, and enjoy the process. It’s hard not to be overtaken. It’s hard not to feel magical.

When you’re surrounded by nature and digging in the soil at the most primitive level, you’re following the footsteps of our ancestors for thousands and thousands of years.

It’s hard not to feel some awe because when you’re surrounded by nature and digging in the soil on all fours at the most primitive level, you’re following in the footsteps of our ancestors for thousands and thousands of years. It puts everything into perspective: we’re just part of this universe.

Humanity is, in fact, nature. We are not separate from nature. We are nature. Look at us. What are we? We’re skin, mostly water, bone, and blood, and what happens when we die? We’re recycled into the earth.

Once you connect to the natural world, you’re out there, and you marvel at the hummingbird flitting above a flower, the bee pollinating, or the little worms after the rain. It’s magic. Do you want to talk about transformation? I did years of therapy. I always told people that before they start therapy, spend time in the garden because it’s the greatest therapist. It balances and offers a perspective on life.

It’s gardening for the sake of gardening. I know how old your son is. Even if you take them out now, have him put sunflowers and seeds in your backyard. He observes it is germinating in the soil and growing six feet tall. What can be more magical than that? Nothing.

We did this with a watermelon.

There you go.

Yeah, he planted the seeds. It’s actually growing.

How is his response when he sees the watermelon?

He likes it. He takes pride in it. So for him, it’s natural that the seed grows into a flower because he watched it a few times.

He’s lucky. I ran a not-for-profit for inner-city kids in Philly. They would come to visit my garden. Most of them were in West Philadelphia and had never seen a garden like mine. By the way, it’s not socio-economic. Many suburban kids with money didn’t understand that you would go into the garden and see the tomato, cucumbers, or eggplants on a plant. It was shocking to them.

Gardening increases our happiness and decreases our stress levels.

I would say to them with the little cherry tomatoes, “Come on, take it off and bite it.” I love it. With the suburban kids, everything had to be clean. I’d say, “No, no, it’s good; the dirt is good.” Then, when you saw them putting it in their mouth, the sweetness of these delicious tomatoes, what can I say? It’s the richest thing in the world. It’s so natural.

I desire to continue that legacy and get the word out to everybody at any age that being in nature, and gardening is such a natural way of living and such a healthy way of living. It increases our happiness, for sure, and decreases our stress levels. Now it’s backed by research. When I started, there was no research, but it made us more generous and kinder.



I know a few people that need to garden more.

A lot of people. I used to give workshops for the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, and people would come to my garden. Don’t you have a garden? Get a plant or two.

Yes, you can still do it at home.

You’re developing a relationship. For me, the magic connects to the natural world, but what it allows you to do if you’re present, and I call it the Zen of gardening, opens you up to yourself. It allows you to see the best of yourself and just be. The gratitude, as I said, and understanding rather than the top-down that we’re the masters of this universe. No, we’re not. Humanity is not.

We have been taught that, but we’re not. Nature is truly our teacher, our mentor, and our guide. It takes a huge weight off your shoulder. I did one community garden in West Philadelphia at our church and had Drexel University students. I could watch their faces, Orion. Just the joy of being there and saying they didn’t quite understand it, they knew it lifted a weight off their shoulders. Participating in such an integral part of the process was so beautiful.

Yes. I like what you said before that we all return to earth, and the most beautiful flowers and the sweetest fruits go out of recycled little animals. It’s such a wasteful product that the most beautiful thing grows. It’s a great metaphor for our life, I think.

I believe in consciousness living in our souls. Our energy moves on someplace, and our body gets recycled.

It is. It’s only in Western culture that we don’t talk about death. It’s not a part of our everyday life. Think about it. If we accepted it and owned it, my body would decompose. It’s so natural. I believe in consciousness living in our souls. I don’t know how, what, where, or why, but our energy moves on someplace, and our body gets recycled. How lovely is that? It helps to enrich the earth.

There’s a beautiful saying. It’s wabi-sabi, which is about impermanence and imperfection. As humanity, if we can be more accepting and embrace these philosophies, our lives will be richer.

Yes. Since living on bigger land space, I’ve been watching a lot of wildlife. For example, I once had a blue jay that was injured. I tried reviving it, but it died a few moments later. We had ducklings. One of the female ducks had nine, and then they disappeared.

In our butterfly garden, butterflies perish after a few days, and you do see their remains, even a butterfly in a spider net. So you get a close encounter with death. It’s still hard for me to accept death, but I see it more as a part of nature.

Yes. When you garden or spend a lot of time in nature, you become much more accepting of death. It’s interesting. I used to have a talk radio show in Philadelphia and a gardening talk radio show throughout the country. I’d have truck drivers. It was on Saturday mornings at 6.

I would have truck drivers calling in, and there isn’t a person I’ve ever met who doesn’t have memories from their childhood about nature. Somebody would say, what’s this rosebush that my grandmother had? There’s something very, very sweet and primitive about all of this.

If you can embrace these feelings and bring them into your everyday life, I suggest that people take a nature walk, even five minutes. Don’t take your headphones or your AirPods. Turn off the phone. Even if you walk around the block or live in a city, just outside where you live, and expose yourself to some nature, be in nature.

Digging Deep by Fran Sorin

King Charles was very advanced in how he saw things ecologically. He was right about talking to plants and trees 30 years ago. When I walk outside, I’ll say to the trees, “Good morning, good morning,” and I hear myself, my inner voice going, “Thank you, thank you, thank you.” Of course, there’s a selfish piece to this, but we wouldn’t be alive without them.

What I find fascinating, Orion, is that we live in an age with tremendous information. People have all this information, but feelings do not always support it. We know we should, a word I don’t like, we should take care of nature. We should take care of our trees. But I don’t know what most people feel connected to the natural world, as you described with the butterflies.

You were describing the ducklings. I roam in the HaYarkon in Tel Aviv. Everybody down at the river marvels when we see the new duckling being born and how many survived throughout the season. It’s childlike. It is a gleefulness that doesn’t need to be reserved for children. When you have that as an adult, what a gift that is!

Right. People make fun of tree huggers. When you hug a tree, you balance your electromagnetic field. It’s a part of grounding as if we were a battery. I know that when there is a lightning rod, they put it in the ground to take the electricity from the lightning into the ground. That happens in our bodies when we put our feet on the ground and hug a tree.

When my son and I go for a walk, we hug trees. He stops, and he does that ever since he’s very small and can remember. So he’s been hugging trees on walks. I don’t care what others think because it makes me feel good.

That’s brilliant. It goes to show again that our children have the right instincts. It’s what we sometimes take out of them. Think about what the tree is feeling. We have a problem, and we don’t understand the intelligence of the natural world because they don’t communicate. She doesn’t communicate the way we do. People tend to discount it and refer to the natural world as it is, which keeps us disconnected.

Nature is truly our teacher, our mentor, and our guide. Click To Tweet

When I’m in Philadelphia or Israel, I’ll sit in a park and look at one tree. I have my favorite trees, and I talk to them. What are the lessons you’re teaching me? What is it you want to tell me?

Sometimes I get an answer. Sometimes I don’t. It’s okay because something puts my attention there, and my intention and focus are doing something. I don’t know what. It lowers my stress level and gives me a great deal of pleasure. It’s delightful would be the word I would use.

Yes. Just because somebody speaks a different language doesn’t mean they’re not communicating. As you said, you can hear a message if you sit and listen. It doesn’t have to be a voice. It can be a sensation or knowingness.

A knowing. I know you know about this: just the instinct of knowing. You don’t have to second guess it. Something happens where phrases may come out of you. That’s it.

Yeah. I heard something about tiny infants that have colic or have a lot of problems. If you just put them in the park on a blanket or have them touch the grass, they calm down. So if it affects babies like that, it cannot be a placebo because you can see that happening.

Humanity is nature. We are not separate from nature because we are nature.

You’re a hundred percent right. There are nature schools now. When my daughter was in the fifth grade in the suburbs of Philadelphia, they had a class, and you had to apply for it, and it was like winning the lottery. Their curriculum was going to be based near a creek somewhere. Everything was going to be done, math, history, through that creek. I thought, wow, what a way to learn to have these kids in nature hands-on.

There are so many different ways of embracing nature. You asked me at the beginning, when we began to talk, what the benefits are. I went to seminary about 15 years ago, and everybody was pushing meditation. I don’t need to meditate. I meditate in nature, which is true.

I’m a regular meditator now. But when you’re in nature, it is a form of meditation if you calm down. The mindfulness of being present, whether you’re gardening or whether you’re sitting on a bench, it’s a great way of quieting your mind and catching what your thinking about what’s happening in the office when you need to pick up your child or whatever, to just quietly pull it back in and say, “No, I’m here now.”

One of the more mystical practices of Judaism is Hitbodedut. Hitbodedut in Hebrew means to be alone, where you go to nature for at least an hour and talk straight to God. I think the most appropriate place to connect with God is in nature, which God created.

Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker

I agree. I always say to use nature as your church, temple, or synagogue. Jesus used to say that nature is our church, and it’s true. Many great philosophers believe that.

If you don’t have a backyard, you can sit in nature at least once a week for as long as you can afford, put your electronics aside, and maybe bring a notebook and connect and breathe. It’s so hard for us to get into a place of silence because so many distractions surround us. Even at home, without touching our electronics, we hear the beeps from our phones. For me, the dishes are waiting.

There are so many distractions. But things will happen if we take ourselves out of our very modern environment into nature and have the discipline to sit in peace. For people having a hard time, it’s just like gardening. You have to try again and again and be willing to sit there and sit for an hour, be frustrated, and come back home until something opens up.

Yeah. It’s why people start at the beginning of the year at health clubs. They do a membership, start gung ho, and 30 days later, they’re no longer going. My philosophy with everything is bite-size changes because, as you know, and I certainly understand, changing habits is not easy.

Tell me more about it. I have some habits I want to change. Unfortunately, I get sucked into them. How do I stop that, for example?

We have to replace it. I don’t know what you’re referring to. We can talk about it if you want.

It’s just some clips on YouTube that are quick. It’s like TikTok. I love to consume knowledge. I love new things and excitement. It caters to all of my needs in a very superficial and unproductive way. How do you take yourself from a mini addiction like that? I’m not that addicted, but I do spend a minimum of twenty minutes a day on it. It’s just wasteful.

With your schedule, that’s twenty minutes of valuable time. So I hear everything you’re saying. We do live in a society where we believe that the more information you have, the better. 

Some of the podcasts I listened to are top-notch science. I’m very interested in longevity. I’m a longevity evangelist. In other areas, you have Andrew Huberman, Peter Attia, Lex Fridman, and Dave Asprey. You can spend your life listening to these guys.

At a certain point, that’s just them that’s highly selective. How much information do I need? And how much is always when you get into that mindset of more, more, more. It’s well that cannot be filled up with water. It just can’t.

Teach yourself to pause, slow down, and enjoy the process when you garden. It's not a race, and it's worth slowing down to experience the magic. Click To Tweet

I don’t have the answer to this. I don’t pretend to. But even earmarking five minutes daily, I love Andrew Huberman, who I listen to.

Yeah, I listen to him as well.

He’s very special. Beyond being brilliant, it’s his vulnerability. He used to talk about being in the sun for ten minutes. His latest was on a podcast with Peter Attia, which I listened to. I need to listen to that snippet about being out as the sun rises. I’m out a lot during the day. I’m a rower. I’m a huge walker.

To be out when the sun is rising is a matter of five to eight minutes. Even wherever you live, the benefits are huge. But beyond that, think about if you time your day that way that you get out for five to eight minutes in the morning with no headphones, you do not look at your phone, anything, nothing, and you’re just focusing on the sun rising and the beauty of nature, that would be a huge change in your life. It’s the commitment, the intention of this is worth doing. Try it for three weeks and then see what the benefits are for you.

I appreciate what you said about how much information we need to consume. When we gaze at the sunrise, go out, and are in nature, we’re becoming an open channel to the universal Google, the collective consciousness, and our guides, angels, God and whatever, and we get answers. We get to the knowingness that is relevant to our lives and can help us.

Sometimes we get answers because I feel like God communicates in different ways. Where you can open a book and get a message, you can see a video and get a message, or you can get a newspaper in the mail and never open it up, but that day you open it up, there is something there for you. There is that. My yoga teacher said, I don’t know who quotes it, but the person that looks outside is dreaming, and the one that looks inside is awakened.

Your creativity is free to flow as it wants when you’re with nature.

Yes. I agree with that. Your point also, what you get in those five to eight minutes, whatever it is, if I weren’t doing that, I wouldn’t notice the trees. At that particular moment, there’s a breeze with the trees sometimes. I look at it, and I marvel. I look and say, “Oh, my God, you guys are gorgeous. It’s like I’m talking silently to friends.”

Albert Einstein and some of the great thinkers always took walks. Henry David Thoreau, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Steve Jobs solve problems in nature when walking or being with nature because your brain isn’t working. So your creativity is free to flow as it wants.

What are your tips to spark creativity?

Be in nature. I’m a firm believer in a morning routine. I am one of those. I get up very, very early. I’m up between 3 AM and 4 AM.

My goodness, how do you do that? When do you go to sleep?

At 9 PM.

In one of my web explorations, I saw this guy. He’s a billionaire.

Are you going to tell me, Brian Johnson?

You know what, I don’t remember his name, but he looks very stoic. He reversed his age. He’s 45. He goes to sleep at 8 PM every day.

Yes. Orion, a lot of the tech people now do that. It’s in the world of the longevity world. I do not get the “eight hours of sleep.” Seven, eight hours. I’m not a great sleeper, but I’ve always been an early riser. So to feel good, I need six to seven hours of sleep and go to bed earlier.

Yes. Oh, my God. How do you do that?

Can I tell you? That’s been a real discipline. I’ve had to change my life, but I was also clear that I needed to improve my sleep quality. Remember, the indigenous tribes always get up early in the morning.

Anybody can garden, and anybody can be successful. Success in gardening is determined by one's willingness to fail and keep trying. Click To Tweet

I have great admiration. I’ve been very connected to them since my children were young. They finish their work in the morning and spend the rest of the day playing. They follow the patterns of nature. Then, at nightfall, they go to bed. So, again, it’s letting nature lead the way.

I need to go back to martial arts, which I used to do a very long time ago, because when I did that, I used to have more discipline. It’s hard to have discipline because I homeschool my child. There is so much around him. He’s my life right now.

I don’t work a lot. I still run my podcast. I work a little bit. Most of my life is around giving him the most dedication I can for those first few years. When it’s nighttime, he finally goes to sleep. I enjoy every moment with him. He’s the most adorable being. I never felt a love like that.

I’m all about being a supermom. Sometimes I put myself and my needs aside to cater to my son, which is what every mom does. When it’s nighttime, and it’s quiet. I’m like, “Ah, I just want to chill alone.”

I understand.

Yeah. I don’t want to go to sleep. It’s like my life is starting.

My daughter has that same problem. She gets home. She works. She’s lucky about her husband. She has a three-year-old and a seven-year-old and a very supportive husband. She knows she needs more sleep at night but wants to read a little. She wants to watch her show on Netflix. It’s like her guilty pleasure time. It’s tough to cut that out.

Yes. I go to an acupuncturist. He’s freaking amazing. He’s a very special human being. He’s from China. He has studied acupuncture since he was ten and kung fu since he was four. He can read your tongue, eyes, and ears. He’s awesome.

The more time you spend in nature, the healthier, kinder, and happier you will become.

He checks my pulse, and he knows through my pulse where my kidneys are at. So the weeks when I don’t sleep well, my kidneys are weak. I have never seen this connection between sleep and my well-being because you walk through your day and are like, “I’m fine.” Then I go to the oriental Chinese doctor, who checks my pulse and says, “Did you sleep this week?” I’m like, “Not so much.”

I think between 10 PM to 12 AM, I’m probably not saying it correctly, but some of your vital organs are rejuvenating. This is a good time. If you go past this time, you’re removing that rejuvenation.

I didn’t know that. That’s interesting. After not getting a good night’s sleep for one night, you’re working at 50% of your level of cognition.

Also, I suck as a mom when I don’t sleep well. I’m more irritable. All my conscious parenting goes out the window.

You joined the crowd of most parents. Unfortunately, most parents are sleep deprived. Matthew Walker’s book Why We Sleep lays it out. The harm done when we don’t sleep well is startling.

After I read Matthew Walker’s book and he was on the circuit, I’m like, “Oh, my goodness, I need to make some changes.” So that was the impetus for it.

For somebody like me, what mind tricks can I do to get myself to sleep earlier? Do I need to set an alarm clock?

Sometimes, you must quiet down and be mindful of your eating patterns.

Certainly, there are a lot. Number one, committing to it. If it’s going to be 9, that means by 8, you will be reading a book, watching TV, or anything light, whether Kindle, which I still do. Sometimes, you need to quiet down, but it’s also your eating patterns. I know eating your last meal two to three hours before you go to bed is tough. No alcohol.

The Mediterranean. If you live in Italy or Israel, meals can be midday, the biggest meal, and then we just have snacks, like nuts or fruit, later in the day, that’s healthier. So those are some good beginning points. Setting your alarm clock and being rigorous about it, it’s rejuvenating your soul in a funny way. It’s learning to take care of yourself at a different level.

When you’re a mom of a little boy, and you want to meet with other moms, you’re like, “Okay, let’s meet at 9 PM after the kids are asleep.”

Are you kidding? Erika will do that once in a while with her friends, and then she pays for it the next day. For me, with friends, I try not to go out at night. I meet people during the day. At night, once a week or something, do what you can. But no, it’s training your mind as an athlete would.

We have travel coming up. I have a humongous to-do list. Yet, somehow, my brain remembers everything I need to do at 3 AM. A few nights ago I woke up at 3 AM and the thoughts just kept rising.

“You got to do this, you got to do this, you got to do this, you got to do this, you got to do this,” and then I woke up, and I wrote my to-do list. I said, “Finally, now my mind is clear, and I can go back to sleep.” 

When I went back to sleep, there were five more items, and I kept remembering. So I had to memorize them for five times. But what helped me go to sleep was I massaged my palm. There may have been some pressure points. That relaxed me, and I was able to fall asleep.

That’s great. If it bothers you enough, it sounds like this trip is on your mind. If this was a way of life where this was always happening to you, there are some hacks you can use to help you.

Please share some of those.

What I suggest is a behavior that you need to address right away. You’ll forget this list of things if you don’t do it right away versus training your mind to say, “Orion, come on, you can let it go.” It’s going to be there. You know you have this photographic memory. It will be there three hours from now.

I told myself that, and it didn’t help.

It’s not easy to change some of these behaviors. I do know once you’re up, though, in the middle of the night, to stay in bed and force yourself to try to go to sleep is one of the worst things you can do.

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It is better to go into your living room, whatever it is. If I feel drowsy again, I’ll go back to bed. If not, I’m just up, and I’ll put it to use. I’ll put my time to use.

Yeah. I think that’s my challenge because I’m fighting it, because in my mind, “no, no, you have to sleep, you have a very long day today, long drives to take your son to, lots of things to do, you have a big to-do list, you got to go back to sleep.” So when we surrender and accept that it is what it is, that helps. Massaging my palm helps me, stretching, and having a cold shower to wake up or a hot shower to calm down.

Exactly. I was raised in an era where little sleep proved how productive you were. It was like a superpower if you didn’t sleep a lot. Isn’t it funny how things change?

My mom used to tell me that when I was young, I always used to tell her sleep was a waste of time. I would sleep for five hours and run around because I loved life. I still love life. I’m just more tired of loving life.

Having a little kid can do it for you. Homeschooling a little kid will do it to you, also. There is nothing more beautiful than being a mom.

Yes, thank you. With you being in Israel, it’s been turbulent, politically. A lot of turbulence lately. During COVID, how do you keep your sanity, cool, and connection, putting your mindset back into a happy place, even when you see darkness happening around you, or feeling safe even when there are so many things that might be inducing fear in your external environment?

First of all, it’s a lifelong practice. For me, it’s about being aligned or being whole. It’s, in literal terms, the aligning of the chakras. How does that take shape? COVID was very easy in Israel, I must say. We were one of the privileged families. We all live within three blocks of each other, my children and my grandchildren.

I was very lucky. I moved in, actually, with my ex-husband because where I was living, I was subletting. It just wasn’t safe; it was near the beach. So three years ago was very different than where we are now.

I lived with my ex-husband in his place for two and a half years. It was phenomenal. We saw each other. Even when the rules were on lockdown, I would be out at four walking in the morning to exercise. It allowed us time as a family. We benefited as a family, which I realize is rare. It’s just rare.

We were very lucky during COVID. I’ve been in and out of the United States a lot over the past six years. When Trump got elected, I saw how many of my friends were upset about who voted for Hillary Clinton. I would listen to them for three minutes and then say, “Okay, that’s it. It does no good to maintain a stance of anger or toxicity.”

I feel the same way here and in Israel. Whatever you believe or don’t believe, we all have breaking points. I’ve had mine here where I was exhausted and so sad at the state of affairs to see this little country torn apart amongst its people.

Yes, it’s awful to watch because, as an Israeli, one of the things I was always most proud of is, even with our differences, we’re all in this together. There is this undercurrent unity that is now feeling like it’s falling apart. That was so odd to me. It did start with COVID with the vaccinated versus unvaccinated, right versus left.

You’re right about that. A friend of mine who is Israeli is moving to La Jolla. She has children there, but she feels that Israel has changed greatly. I’ve been coming to this country for 40-some years. I love it. Do you know the word balagan? It truly is.

Balagan, yes, chaos. Big balagan. 

It’s part of the charm.

Whatever your political beliefs are, you should be able to see the other person’s viewpoint. You don’t have to agree with it but also have compassion for them.

It’s very intense.

Interestingly, this happened in the 2022 happiest countries for well-being. Israel came in fourth. Can you believe it, Orion?

I can because there was this unity with all the chaos. When 9/11 happened in New York, people came together. People were there to support. Sometimes when dark forces and big horrible things happen, it brings things together. This was the common thing throughout the years in Israel. There are terror attacks. There is this, and there is that. We’re in it together.

It’s true. Even now, with the terror attack that happened recently, there’s been quite a few Israelis do come together over that. It’s just an interesting little country. I think it’s what Americans don’t quite understand.

When you said interesting little country, I was very Israeli, straightforward, and bland when I came to the States. I had a girlfriend of mine who was an artist. She opened my cultural eyes to art. She took me to this gallery opening. I looked at some of the art and said, “This one’s ugly.” She’s like, “When you say something you don’t like, you say, this is interesting.” Like, “Oh, that’s a very interesting little country.” That’s why I was laughing.

It’s true. I will tell you this, Israelis are so kind. If you fall or you’re in an accident, they are there to help you. What’s on their tongue comes out. Sometimes you want to say to them, thank you very much, enough. But, on the other hand, they’re extremely warm-hearted and kind.

I think Americans don’t quite understand this is existential survival. So to try to compare the American democracy with what’s going on in Israel, you really can’t. It’s easy to say, “Okay, the situation is similar. I don’t want to get too political.”

It’s also very easy to be an environmentalist and tell farmers how to grow organic craft before having your garden, see how many years of failure and natural disasters are, and how hard it is to grow organic. But we can always come from an outsider, look mighty, and say, “Oh, just do this. Just be there.”

If you have yet to walk in a farmer’s shoes or haven’t been to Israel, you don’t know what’s happening. So you can have a lot of very fancy ideas, but if you haven’t experienced it or walked in someone’s shoes, you can’t tell them what to do or how to understand it.

That’s a point well taken. What I love is a game I’ve been playing. Daniel Kahneman, who happens to be Israeli, he’s a Nobel Peace Prize and Nobel Economics Prize, is now in his 90s. I think he lives in California. To be able to speak the other person’s arguments.

If you’re very progressive in the United States, talk about why Trump voters are Trump voters. Why? And feel compassion. The same here in Israel. Whatever your political beliefs are, you should be able to see the other person’s viewpoint. You don’t have to agree with it but also have compassion for them.

Also, there’s something about our society. Some say, “Oh, whether you agree with me or not, we cannot have a normal conversation.” In previous years, people with different opinions sat at the same table, could have a conversation, shared what they felt, and agreed to disagree.

Especially with the younger generation, if you don’t feel or see things the way I do, then you are, in a way, an enemy. And I do not even have a conversation with you. That’s wrong. That should be changed because if you have ten people in the room, you can have 20 opinions. People will never agree with each other.

We know that don’t we? Israelis and Jews, for sure.

We can see beyond our differences and communicate on the soul level because we are all sparks of God. In the end, everybody wants to feel good. Everybody wants their family to be safe. Everybody wants to be healthy. We have basic human needs. If we live the external hurrah, media brainwash, and connect heart to heart, our life and community will live longer.

As a mammal, we deeply yearn to belong to a tribe.

Yes, I agree with you. However, I think when you said we want safety, also, as a mammal, we have a deep yearning to belong to a tribe. If you can drop, needing to be right and understand that our similarities are much stronger than any differences we may have.

As I’ve gotten older, I can take on the mantle of being an elder and hopefully have a little wisdom, which is the best gift you can give this world. At the same time, you’re alive while we’re in this skin before we drop our bodies. It is to work on yourself and to go inside, don’t judge other people, and work at not judging other people because we all do, but do the work on yourself. Anytime you see yourself judging somebody or making comments, that’s a clue to go inside. What about me is similar to this person? That’s the biggest gift we can give to the world.

Yes, because everything is our mirror. Everything is our reflection, every quality. So we dislike somebody else and somebody that we didn’t embrace within ourselves, even in the worst people in the worst situation, because as human beings, we are capable of doing great good. But, still, every one of us can do great harm.

Yes, for sure.

When we see the things we don’t like, instead of looking at them, we should turn them in and see what is in us that we need to feel whole about. What childhood trauma must I heal to be at peace with this situation?

Yes. I agree with you a hundred percent.

Before we say goodbye, Fran, this was so nice for now. You’re such a lovely person.

I’m so glad we finally met each other.

I know, and I can’t wait to see and hug you in person.

We will.

Yes. What are your three top tips for living a stellar life?

Have humility, gratitude, and a beginner’s mind. Always have an open mind; don’t think you have the answers. It is being willing to be open to anything that comes along and to live without knowing. We live in a society of performative art, not knowing, admitting that you don’t know, and feeling okay with being uncomfortable about it.

As far as humility, again, we live in a society where we’re being taught to always talk about ourselves, our accolades, and how great we are. We’re all just part of nature. Go out. If you need a whack, sit under that tree, and look at that majestic tree that’s been around for 500 years. It’s not showing off; it’s just being a tree.

Gratitude is something that is part of our lexicon.

Finally, gratitude is something that people say. It’s part of our lexicon. It’s become huge. I’m grateful. Do you think you’re grateful, or do you feel grateful?

Nice because this can be another hype word, where you take the meaning. It’s like saying, “Oh, I love you. I really love you.” When you say I love you, mean it. Be one with your word. If you say, I love you, or if you say, I’m grateful for you, take a moment to feel it in your body, drop to your heart. Am I grateful right now? If you’re not, make yourself because there’s so much to be grateful for.

Yes. We’ve all had instances of feeling grateful if we can go back. During the day, I’ll use the term open your heart, or you may say let it drop into your heart. Some people don’t even know what that means, and that’s okay. But there are some wonderful teachers out there. There are mystical texts. There is so much to learn. If anybody’s interested, they can contact you or me about it.

You must be curious enough to say, “I don’t understand this, and there’s something about it.” I want to get inside of myself more. What is this about opening your heart? Who are these wise teachers like Ram Dass and Eckhart Tolle, one of our great living masters, but so many have passed on?

It’s endless. We can go on and on and on. Keep it simple and own your values. Ask yourself what your values are, two or three things that mean a lot to you that you would die for, and then go after them voraciously.

Yes, amen. Where can people find you if they want to contact you, learn from you, or get your book?

I have a website, but they can also write me fran@nullfransorin.com. I’m on Facebook. I’ve kept a very low profile in the past few years since COVID, but now I’m beginning to come out.

It’s time to roar.

I’m getting ready to roar. You’re the precursor now, but it’s time. Everything in life has a timing to it.

It’s like nature.

Yeah, like nature. That’s right. This has been such a privilege and a pleasure.

I look forward to spending time with you.

Yes, thank you, Fran. Thank you, listeners. Remember to have humility, gratitude, and a beginner’s mind to open your heart. Know that sometimes you don’t know everything.

With a beginner’s mind, you can learn, experience, and be much more than you are experiencing right now. So have a stellar life and a phenomenal day. This is Orion till next time.

Your Checklist of Actions to Take

{✓}Practice grounding to restore energy, reduce stress, and achieve inner balance. Take the time to step outside and feel the earth beneath your feet.

{✓}Be persistent and patient when growing a garden: As in life, you will encounter countless failures. Success often requires multiple attempts and trial and error.

{✓}Embrace impermanence and imperfection to discover a rich and fulfilling life. By accepting our flaws and the temporary nature of life, we can learn to appreciate the beauty around us.

{✓}Walk in nature (for at least five minutes) to gain a new, positive perspective. Spend your breaks outside and explore green spaces.

{✓}Consciously redirect your thoughts to regain clarity and tune out distractions. When you find your mind wandering, take a deep breath and remind yourself to be present.

{✓}Treat nature as a spiritual sanctuary, regardless of your religious beliefs. Consider using nature as your church, temple, or synagogue to deepen your spiritual life.

{✓}Focus on bite-size changes rather than trying to overhaul your entire life overnight. Start small and build momentum over time.

{✓}Powerfully start your day by waking up early to watch the sunrise. Take a few moments to appreciate the dawn’s beauty to profoundly improve your mood and energy levels. 

{✓}Commit fully and set your intention to success in order to transform your life. Developing new habits takes time and effort, but the rewards can be life-changing.

{✓}Visit Fran Sorin’s website and follow her on Facebook. For more healthful insights on how to unearth your creative roots through gardening, her book Digging Deep is a helpful resource.

Links and Resources

About Fran Sorin

Fran Sorin is the author of “Digging Deep: Unearthing Your Creative Roots Through Gardening. She is also a spiritual coach and a nature and longevity evangelist.

Fran believes that each of us has the opportunity to open our hearts and experience a life filled with love, well-being, deep gratitude, belonging, joy and awe. One powerful portal for experiencing these states of being is to create a practice of spending intentional and immersive time in the natural world. The benefits of doing so are magical.

It is Fran’s mission to guide humanity in opening up to the natural world, developing a relationship with her and, by doing so, creating a deeper and more profound relationship with our inner nature.

Disclaimer: The medical, fitness, psychological, mindset, lifestyle, and nutritional information provided on this website and through any materials, downloads, videos, webinars, podcasts, or emails are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical/fitness/nutritional advice, diagnoses, or treatment. Always seek the help of your physician, psychologist, psychiatrist, therapist, certified trainer, or dietitian with any questions regarding starting any new programs or treatments or stopping any current programs or treatments. This website is for information purposes only, and the creators and editors, including Orion Talmay, accept no liability for any injury or illness arising out of the use of the material contained herein, and make no warranty, express or implied, with respect to the contents of this website and affiliated materials.

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