The Secret Behind "Happy Plants. Happy People"
The sun has not yet risen on this quiet morning in March, but inside Caliva, the energy is already flowing - literally. That’s because every Wednesday, Chief Culture Officer Shannon Harder Ronald and a group of employees spend time performing healing energy work on the Caliva grounds.
Harder Ronald, better known as Shanny to her fellow employees, is a Certified Restorative Touch practitioner who, for the last 16 years, has been studying “psychology, quantum physics and spirituality… and how that works, how you become aware of it and how it affects [you].”
Since October 2016, she’s used her knowledge to promote wellness and healing within the plants and people of the Caliva family, helping to align them to their highest potential. Her work began by chance, after a conversation with an employee. “I had started to think, ‘Oh I wonder if I should go work with the plants,’ and I was really feeling drawn to that. At the same time our old grower had said, ‘Oh you’re here, our plants must be happy.’ Then he took me aside and he said, ‘I’m serious! Can you come and work with our plants?’” she says, smiling.
Restorative Touch at Caliva
On this Wednesday morning, Shanny and the group begin their work not with a plant, but with a machine, one that processes trim for oil production. It’s new, part of Caliva’s effort to create consistent, high-quality cannabis products, but like any new machine, it isn’t quite dialed in yet. In other words, this machine needs work - and Shanny and co are prepared to help.
Why start with a machine? Everything is connected, she says during an earlier interview. “We all affect each other and we all are really connected, and we’re only as good as the weakest link so we want to raise each, everyone up,” she says. “So we’re all being successful. We’re all doing well in our lives. We’re all happy in our lives. We’re all being the best person we could be.”
She adds, “What I do with the plants and when I do energy work, it’s about finding the essence of each of us… That’s at a subatomic level and so it’s pulling that out, where there’s blocks, because that’s just pure light, that’s pure goodness.”
The second stop is Caliva’s clone room, to spend time with new sets of clones that have just been cut. Before entering, the group sprays their hands with an alcohol solution (part of decontamination protocol) and leave the past and any negative thoughts behind (part of the energy work protocol).
Amid racks containing hundreds of new Black Jack clones, Shanny begins moving energy around and vocalizes the group’s hope for each clone. “The work I do is a lot of intention,” she says. For instance, as workers place cuttings into rockwool, “we ask that they have good intentions, that this clone grows into really a potent and powerful plant and medicine and product for our customers and our patients.”
That intention stays with each plant. “It goes all the way through that building, from the mother room, the clone room, the veg room, into the flower room, into harvest, drying and curing, being trimmed and then packaged and then sold and then out into the world through our patients and our customers,” she says. “So really at the very beginning when you’re working with that clone, [it’s] the intention that it goes out into the world, that it brings goodness, that it brings happiness, that it brings love, that it brings potency, that it brings wellness, to everyone that is going to ingest it or be part of it.”
In the beginning, Shanny and the group visited each grow room every week. As Caliva has expanded operations with adult-use cannabis sales, that’s no longer possible. “There’s 13 [ grow rooms]. And then the mother, clone and veg rooms… and the lab and the store of course.”
Now, the group prioritizes the strongest needs. “Sometimes people will say, ‘Oh could you work on such and such room this morning, you know the plants are needing a little extra love’ but often times with our little group, we’ll just say, ‘Okay where do we feel like we’re being called to go in today?’ It’s interesting - often times it may be there, that’s going to be the day that the harvest is going to start in that room.”
Today, Grow Room 5 is calling. The room is brightly lit, slightly warm and humid, fans humming as they push around the scent of hundreds of flowering Purple Diesel plants. Though Shanny knows that this grow room needs work, she says, “I’m never quite sure what I’m going to do when I go in each room or work with different people, but I’m just told as I go, like what to do.”
For Grow Room 5, she senses a blockage of energy, and begins opening her chakras to promote healing, asking each group member to open their own chakras as well. Calm begins to overtake the chaotic environment of the grow room as balance is restored.
It’s now 6 am; that’s all the time they have for this week. Group members hug and then head off to their various stations throughout the building, a bit more at peace than when they started.
Incorporating Restorative Touch with Cannabis
Shanny understands if you’re skeptical - she was too, at first. But as she’s studied energy and done the work, she no longer has doubts about the power of Restorative Touch.
“I’ll go in a room and each room will feel different and I’ll get different messages in each room. And sometimes those are quite dramatic,” she says. “That’s been very interesting. I remember going in one room, and these tears just started coming down my face… I just felt so much sadness. And the grower said, ‘Yeah you know, the plants had too much nutrients, so they got burned.’ It was fascinating that my body reacted that way.”
She adds, “One of our old growers said, ‘I don’t know if this helps the plants. I know it helps me, and I know then I help the plants.” No matter what, she says, “I never take any of those Wednesdays for granted. I’m just always grateful that I can go each time.”
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