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Posts Tagged ‘Becoming Intimate with the Earth’

Carolyn-2013-High-Res-Cropped-150x150This Sunday (January 18) I will be interviewed on The LifeBoat Hour, a radio show hosted by Carolyn Baker. Carolyn has been an adjunct professor of history and psychology, a psychotherapist, and has written several books, including Collapsing Consciously: Transformative Truths for Turbulent Times. I met Carolyn two years ago at one of her workshops and look forward to speaking with her. If you miss the program, you can listen to it later and download the episode, if you like.

Here’s the announcement on her website:

Join Me Sunday Night, January 18 With Pauline Le Bel:
Becoming Intimate With The Earth

How do we become intimate with the earth? How do music, art, and, poetry sustain us in turbulent times? Join me at 9PM Eastern, 8PM Central, 7PM Mountain, and 6PM Pacific at http://lifeboathour.podbean.com/
Pauline-150x150

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My friend, Andrea, was feeling elated. She wanted to show me something. She called it “the miracle of life.” The miracle turned out to be an orchid. It hadn’t bloomed for three years but she kept it anyway, and watered it once a month, consistently, as she did her other orchids. Then just the other day, it started to bloom again.

orchid

I thought about all the things I had given up on in my life. The things I nurtured that never bloomed. Sometimes you just have to wait long enough, keep tending to things and they might just flower.

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I feel like the luckiest person in the world. Last Sunday, October 27, my book, Becoming Intimate with the Earth, was launched and is now finding its place in the world. More than 60 people sardined themselves into the LeftBank Bistro on Bowen Island to witness the birth of the book, and to confirm that writing this book about our relationship with the Earth was what I was born to do.

Reading from the book

Reading from the book

Book Launch of Becoming Intimate with the Earth

Book Launch of Becoming Intimate with the Earth

Teun Schut on guitar

Teun Schut on guitar

May we all fall in love with the Earth again, the way we did when we were children. And may we take action to protect the land and the waters so that our children and grandchildren may live on a wholesome and flourishing Earth.

P.S.: Thanks to Will Husby for all the wonderful photos!

Becoming Intimate with the Earth is available at: http://www.CollinsFoundationPress.org/ or from me: songspinner(at)shaw.ca

Signing a book for my friend Robert Ballantyne

Signing a book for my friend Robert Ballantyne

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It’s with great pleasure that I announce that my book, Becoming Intimate with the Earth, has been published by Collins Foundation Press, and is now available for sale. This has been a true labour of love. Love for our planetary home and all those who dwell here.

Becoming Intimate with the Earth

To order the book, please go to http://www.collinsfoundationpress.com/Becoming-Home.htm

I will be giving readings and workshops on the book in the new year. More details to follow. Here is a link to Banyen Books in Vancouver where I will be doing a reading on April 12, 2013. http://www.collinsfoundationpress.com/Becoming-Home.htm

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“Most of us are familiar with the “stars” of the environmental movement—the scientists, the activists, the journalists, the artists, the indigenous leaders, those who carry on the legacy of Rachel Carson, author of The Silent Spring. I admire them tremendously. They do vital work. But activist Ralph Nader believed all justice begins with ordinary people doing ordinary things.

So I’ve included “snapshots” of regular folks, like you and me, regular folks who care about the Earth, who tell new stories with their lives, who use their talent and their passion to make a difference. They volunteer their time in a variety of intriguing ways to heal our relationship with the planet. They’re not paid for this work. They do it because they love the Earth, because they are intimate with the Earth in their own special way. They range in age from 5 to 82, and live in my neighbourhood. They are my Local Heroes. They inspire me. Perhaps they will also inspire you.”

cover of Pauline's book

This is a brief excerpt from my forthcoming book, Becoming Intimate with the Earth, to be published by Collins Foundation Press in September. And for your enjoyment, here is one of my Local Heroes, the youngest, Tyler Matzen:

Local Hero – Tyler Matzen – Honey Water

In a village near Abu Dhabi, Ethiopia, there is a well with a plaque that reads: From Tyler on Bowen Island. It all began with the book, Blue Planet Run, a gigantic book which five-year-old Tyler Matzen wanted to take out from the library. “It’s a great big book,” said his mom, Kelly. “Are you sure you want to read it?” Tyler was sure. They lugged it home. He read about the one billion plus people who do not have access to clean water. He read about the young girls who couldn’t go to school because it was their job to walk miles and miles every day to get water. He read about the 40 billion hours spent each year in Africa to collect water.

Tyler began to dream about how he could make a difference. He decided to raise enough money for a well in Africa because “water gives the most happiness.” He set a goal of $14,000 and started selling energy balls and sprouts at the Farmers Market. He made $350 on his first outing. He went to the bank and opened up an account. Miss Abegail gave him a tour of the vault. Then Miss Alison, a musician friend, pointed out that it would take a lot of sprouts and energy balls to reach his goal; she suggested a benefit concert. The date was set, Tyler’s sixth birthday; 140 people crowded into Cates Hill Chapel for the Water Waves Benefit Concert. Local musicians sang and played. The highlight was Puppy Love, a duet on the piano, which Tyler played with Mr. Daryl. At the end of the concert, Tyler had raised $7,000, which would be matched by Partners in the Horn of Africa, a Canadian charity doing aid work in Ethiopia. Tyler smiles as he remembers what the African woman said about the new water. “It tasted so much better than the old water, she called it honey water.”

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That’s what Thomas Berry wrote in his groundbreaking book, Dream of the Earth. “We’re in trouble just now,” he said, “because we do not have a good story. We are between stories. The Old Story—the account of how the world came to be and how we fit into it—sustained us for a long time. It shaped our emotional attitudes, provided us with life purpose, energized action, consecrated suffering, integrated knowledge, guided education. When we awoke in the morning, we knew where we were.” That old story, he advises, is no longer functioning. We need to learn the New Story.

Thomas Berry’s wisdom compelled me to write the book, Becoming Intimate with the Earth, to be published by Collins Foundation Press in the fall of 2013. In the book, I consider our old stories—stories telling us we are autonomous individuals, separate from the natural world and each other—and how these stories have led to the Big Environmental Mess we are facing today. Fortunately, there is a New Story, one that comes out of very recent scientific discoveries, and resonates with the traditional wisdom of indigenous people and the ancient teachings of spiritual traditions. It tells us we are connected to everything in the Universe, we are wired to belong, to care, to care for. It’s a powerful, hopeful, energizing story and I am thrilled to be able to present it in my own way. Here is a short excerpt-a sneak preview-from the first chapter, Born Into A Story:

I’m always on the lookout, on the prowl for experiences that will provoke me to write a good story—a song, a poem, a novel, a play that will linger in the mind and heart. More often the stories find me. Sometimes they arrive gently with the early morning light: an image, a whisper, a touch. Other times they ambush me, take me by surprise, take me hostage, tie me up and shake me until the words crawl out from the cracks of my grief, my joy. This book was inspired, in part, by a story that pounced on me many years ago and would not let go until it spoke through me.

It was a story that helped me understand why my view of the world was in conflict with my culture, a story that said being intimate with the Earth was a human thing, not a pagan or foolish thing, a story that said being intimate with the Earth was not only rewarding and necessary for survival, but could provide people of all cultures with purpose and a sense of belonging to a magnificent evolving Universe

My late friend, Anne Ironside, introduced me to the story. She invited me to listen to a series of cassette tapes by physicist and mathematical cosmologist, Brian Swimme. Canticle to the Cosmos is based on The Universe Story, a scientific creation myth, written by Swimme and cultural historian, Thomas Berry.

One evening, about a dozen of us gathered in the semi-darkness in Anne’s meditation house. I was skeptical. What could a physicist teach me about my relationship to the Earth, to the Universe? Surely my own storied relationship with Nature, based on a lifetime of deep connection with rivers, oceans, trees, birds and the changing seasons was sufficient. Science didn’t interest me. In fact, all through university, I had managed to avoid taking science courses, unless, like the ancient Greeks, you consider music a science. I had no appetite for the scientific view of the Earth as a machine; in my experience, every living thing is conscious, has intent and purpose. But Anne was a trusted friend, so I stretched out on the floor like the others and crossed my arms.

A few people started to nod off. It was dark after all. But the sound of Brian’s voice and the poetry that colored his words stirred something deep inside me. I rummaged through my backpack for a pen, a piece of paper and a flashlight. As we travelled back into our deep history, I began feverishly taking notes. This cosmological story of the birth and evolution of our Universe was pouncing on me, wrapping me up in its arms. Here was a description of a world much more magnificent than one I could ever imagine. This was the story I had been waiting all my life to hear.

At last, science was addressing the questions I was seeking answers to, while honoring my desire for intimacy with the Earth. Here was a poetic story based on scientific evidence that reflected the wisdom of mystics and primal people, a story that showed how profoundly related we are to each other and to everything in the Universe. Here was the most elegant, the most important story I had ever heard—a vast, majestic container for all other stories. I was captured.

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