What dreams do you choose to grow with the water of your attention?
Creating a better future, one story at a time
On a good day, I go out for a walk in the golden autumnal forest and feel grateful for the wildflowers, the birds, the glint of the sun on the waters. I manage not to think about how this beautiful natural world is under siege and could fall any day to a bulldozer, chain saw or toxic spill.
Did you know that this month the US House of Representatives has voted to slash 39% of the budget of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and 13% of the budget of the National Park Service? It voted to require the Biden administration to advance oil drilling off the Alaska coast and to reduce the salary of the EPA administrator, the director of the Bureau of Land Management, and the Secretary of the Interior to $1 each.
On a good day, I review work from my students and feel grateful that they have taken the time to read our class texts by "women writing to right the world" and comment thoughtfully about key ideas that they might be able to make use of in their own lives. I manage not to think about how humanities departments are being shuttered at American colleges and universities all over the country.
Did you know that in a campaign video, Trump promised to tax private universities with large endowments to fund a new institution called “American Academy”? The school, which would be online only, would award free degrees and funnel students into jobs with the U.S. government and federal contractors. Its ideology would be MAGA Far Right, all the way.
On a good day, I stroke my cat and let her purring sooth me. I get up on my favorite horse and feel my heart and breath slowing to match hers. On a good day, I manage to hold in abeyance my never-ending awareness of the suffering of others and my own complicity in that suffering.
Did you know that House Republicans have advanced a bill to provide $14.3 billion in aid to Israel and to “offset” that spending with $14.3 billion in cuts to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS)? Meanwhile, they are refusing to fund the brave and determined Ukrainians who are holding the line for NATO against Putin.
In my Transition Times blog (2011-2022), I often wrote opinion pieces in which I reacted to the day's news, using writing to process the ongoing trauma of life in the 21st century, while always seeking to offer my readers (and myself) some sort of comfort, a straw of sanity to grasp and hold on to.
Lately I've been trying to sit on my typing fingers when it comes to reacting to the (almost always bad) news. While it's important to be aware, and I am grateful to the news media for shining its light into dark corners, I don't want to grow the negativity with the water of my attention.
I have other dreams I'd like to nurture and grow.
In the Facebook group I manage, Gaia Calling, I share positive stories: innovative solutions, sustainable policies, habitat saved, species rebounding, amazing interactions with the more-than-human world. I figure everyone gets more than enough of the bad news through other channels.
In my college classes like "Women Write the World" or "Leadership, Writing & Public Speaking for Social and Environmental Justice," I choose primary texts by dynamic people reaching for innovative, Earth-friendly and people-friendly solutions to contemporary challenges. This week we are reading See No Stranger, by the brilliant activist and memoirist Valarie Kaur.
In teaching memoir or coaching authors, I encourage people to consider how sharing their personal stories might benefit others, which is my definition of "purposeful memoir." If you share a tough story from your experience, can it be in the spirit of a "life lesson learned" that may help someone else in that situation to come through it with less suffering?
Over time it's become clear to me that creativity can be an important source of resilience.
Just as our nighttime creativity (otherwise known as deep sleep) offers us solace and renewal, without which we could not continue to live, our waking dreams can also be incredibly restorative and energizing.
It's true that there are different kinds of dreams. There are the beneficent, enjoyable dreams...and then there are the nightmares.
It's also true that one person's dream can be another's nightmare, especially in this polarized time.
I believe that it's important to amplify and share our positive dreams via writing and other expressive arts.
The more we share our dreams and visions of a better world, the more we can create the common ground to manifest that better world together, one story at a time.
Think about it: What stories do you want to nurture and grow with the water of your attention?
Yours in the dream of a better future,
Share the dream of Riding & Writing with me!
My Riding & Writing trips are an example of a dream I have been able to make come true by sharing my vision with others. When I first visited Iceland and experienced the magic of riding Icelandic horses in that incredibly beautiful wild landscape, the idea came to me as though someone were whispering my ear: “Riding & writing, riding & writing!”
I listened to that voice, arranged a trip with the good folks at Saltvik, and put out a call for people to join me….and before we knew it, there we were, riding & writing together by the windswept sea of northern Iceland.
The experience was so fantastic that as soon as I got home I started planning for Summer 2024. Next year, from June 10 - 16, we’ll be staying with Gudmar and Christina at Hestaland, their beautiful ranch and guesthouse near Borgarnes in southwestern Iceland.
You can find out all the details of the trip here, but in brief we’ll spend our time riding for 2-3 hours a day, with one optional longer day trip; and writing for 2-3 hours a day; with the rest of the time for exploring, soaking in the hot tub and nearby hot spring spa, and enjoying each other’s company with all meals provided.
I have several places available but they are going fast! If you’d like to come along please let me know by filling out the registration form.
Here’s to the dream of riding & writing in Iceland at the summer solstice, 2024!
Or maybe you prefer the dream of writing memoir in the enchanted landscape Tuscany with me!
As with Iceland, it was such a wonderful experience that I knew I wanted to do it again…and again!
Imagine staying at a meticulously restored 10th century monastery…waking up to a delicious breakfast on the patio by the pool…gathering in good company for writing and sharing…taking stimulating guided excursions into the beautiful countryside, visiting nearby vineyards, cloisters, charming Tuscan towns, and magnificent Siena…coming home to eat a hearty meal and relax with new friends in beautiful surroundings.
This dream can come true! I’ll be back at Borgo San Fedele May 25 - June 1, 2024 for another delightful week of writing memoir!
A la dolce vita!