The World is Made of Story -- Episode One: Stephanie Mills & David Abram
Our first episode gets its title from something one of our guests, David Abram, says in his interview. I also knew from my first inklings of this podcast that the first episode needs to focus on where we are, our literal ground, the living earth, which endlessly guides and inspires me to find the real story of being alive.
We talk about what we can learn, are learning, and need to learn from where we live about how to live in greater balance with the earth, particularly in times of such upheaval and danger. We also dish about place-based wonders and where we find our greatest meaning and homecoming.
Thomas Berry, in his landmark book, The Dream of the Earth. writes, "For people, generally, their story of the universe and the human role in the universe is their primary source of intelligibility and value. ...The deepest crises experienced by any society are those moments of change when the story becomes inadequate for meeting the survival demands of a present situation."
Thank heavens for visionaries such as Stephanie Mills and David Abram, who embody new stories for meeting our deepest crises and questions.
Stephanie Mills caught the public eye with her 1969 commencement address at Mills College, going on to edit Co-Evolution Quarterly and publish widely in ecological journals. After falling in love with a place by way of the first North American Bioregional Congress in 1984 – where I first met her – she moved from the San Francisco Bay area to Northwest Lower Michigan, where she lives in a small home, surrounded by books and trees. Her books include Whatever Happened to Ecology, In Praise of Nature, In Service to the Wild: Restoring and Reinhabiting Damaged Land, and Epicurean Simplicity. Stephanie has been called by her alma mater “a visionary ecological activist and pioneering bioregionalist whose unswerving advocacy for the preservation of our shared planet and powerful message of personal responsibility teach us that a single voice can transform the world.”
“Imagination belongs to the senses,” David Abram tells us. A cultural ecologist, geophilosopher, performance artist and magician, he is the author of Becoming Animal: An Earthly Cosmology and The Spell of the Sensuous: Perception and Language in a More-than-Human World. He’s widely recognized as a visionary presence, teacher, and writer. His work, according to the Alliance for Wild Ethics, which he co-directs, “engages the ecological depths of the imagination, exploring the ways in which sensory perception, poetics, and wonder inform the relation between the human body and the breathing earth.” He lives with his family in the foothills of the southern Rockies and travels the world to teach and speak. I first met him in 1988 at a bioregional congress held his (and my) favorite places, Squamish, British Columbia.
Special thanks to Kelley Hunt for the use of her music from our co-written song, “The Road is a River,” and thanks to Dianna Burrup for the logo design. See more on this podcast at my website.
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