Most of us know our grandmothers’ names. We might have a little more trouble with our grandmothers’ grandmothers’; but we knew they existed. Mother to child, child and mother, regardless of bonds of affection, we know that we are formed over time from the bodies of our ancestors.
But how far do you go back? The first humans didn’t pop out of the ether into existence (sorry, Creationists!) They were born from people who looked almost like them, and so on, back and back through primates that grew clever hands, and mammals that became warm blooded, and reptiles that learned how to breathe out of the water, and fish that grew backbones … all the way back to tiny, microscopic life in the ocean soups.
Every living being on this earth is a distant cousin. You hold this life as a gift from every living being that has ever died.
Every living being on this earth is a distant cousin. You hold this life as a gift from every living being that has ever died. And more, you are more of a friendly, cohabiting colony than a human being – fully ninety percent of your cells are non-human. Those clever bacteria in your yoghurt have nothing on the specialised micro-organisms already living in the crook of your elbow.
You see, you have – we have – never been separate from the natural world. Every breath we take in is a gift from other beings. Every breath out is returned to the earth that birthed us. And yet, we have largely forgotten this fact. Unless we make a special effort, most of us live relatively oblivious to the passage of night and day, weather and season; to the migrations of birds and the deaths of species. This is more than ignorance. This is a pathology, and it’s slowly killing us.
My religion, my practice, my philosophy, my life-way, is a balancing act between the infinite possibilities of human ingenuity and the simplicity of the ground beneath my feet. It’s a spending a summer month under canvas with a solar panel to charge my smart phone kind of life. A working mostly from home with a laptop, but still going for a walk before breakfast kind of life. A jumbled altar of murtis, incense, my granddad’s zippo, feathers and stones kind of life.
- the inner song of muscle and bone, organ and sinew, that dances you into being each day
- the grand, ever-repeating, ever-new drama of seasons rising and falling
- the intricate beauty and mystery of each leaf uncurled, each pebble rounded, each shell scattered into sand
Wherever a research opportunity, a teaching engagement or a writing assignment allows me to explore the innate, natural wildness ever within and around us – that is where you will find me happiest.
In this section you will find unique projects, places and workshops born from the old and yet revolutionary idea that all things that move and change are alive and present; and that all life is family. Call it animate animism, if you like, or just call it life.
If you’re really interested in what inspires and powers my work, check my schedule and come and play with me.