I come across quite a few inspiring blog posts, articles, and tidbits that relate to nature and spirituality and I want to start sharing them. But blogrolls and links pages are too static and quickly get stale. They also don’t give me much opportunity to comment on my selections. So I’m going to experiment with the idea of using this space to share my gleanings on a semi-regular basis.
So here are this week’s gleanings. Think of them as recommended reading for the weekend.
I enjoyed this blog post by Celia Alario about the powerful role of community gatherings in fostering social change. She calls it “deep offline,” which seemed rather strange to me. Why define something so ancient and enduring in opposition to a recent trend? Why pitch it as the next big thing, when it’s been here all along? But given the overemphasis these days on social media in activism and our culture’s general ADHD, I guess I understand that this might somehow seem extraordinary. But instead of “deep offline” I think of this as “deep grassroots,” or “deep, slow change.”
I loved this piece by Paul Kingsnorth about the need to withdraw from the world as a starting point for lasting change. As a “recovering environmentalist” Kingsnorth explains that he’s not running away from anything, rather he feels drawn to something. “There is something out there, beyond the rational mind, beyond the everyday commitments, beyond the cities in the valleys and the cities in our heads, which we need and have needed for much longer than we would care to admit.” Retreat and withdrawal are necessary journeys towards that vital spiritual knowing that propels true transformation.
Finally, I was moved by some of the things Thic Nhat Hanh said in his interview in ecobuddhism.org. I like learning about Buddhist approaches that emphasize embodiment and activism, so Thay’s book Love Letter to the Earth is on my reading list. In this interview I appreciate the way he speaks of “Mother Earth,” with such love and tenderness. The way he speaks of acceptance also resonates with me. I believe it takes courage to accept the gruesome reality of what we are doing to the planet, instead of avoiding and pretending that everything is really fine.
Have you come across readings you would like to share? If so, please list them in the comments. I would love to hear about them.