As far back as I can recall, I’ve wanted to do brave and healing work not out of anger or fear but from a place of joy, peace, and stability. The life-path that deep aspiration opened has been extraordinary. I’ve been privileged to walk alongside revolutionary men and women transforming challenged inner-city neighborhoods, work on behalf of children and endangered species in foreign lands, collaborate with political leaders who wake each day with fresh determination to safeguard the well-being of our nation’s ecological heritage, consult with natural resource and climate scientists (those whose eyes betray profound grief over rapidly degrading conditions), and guide folks who simply want to stop themselves and others from polluting, bring a halt to the exploitation of people and this precious planet.
In the middle of this amazing journey, I found myself carrying the soul-crushing weights of fatigue, frustration, guilt, and despair. This was classic burnout. The opportunity to take a break and realize a long-held dream with my husband to go sailing emerged and I took it. For six years we traveled with our cat aboard a small sloop on the Atlantic. Ever the advocate for social and environmental justice, I brought with me a question: how am I to be in a suffering world? What am I to do? (I suspected I’d get a different answer from nature than from civilization.)
The ocean both delighted and transformed me. Nature, I found, is constantly teaching and the lessons didn’t land in a vacuum. Fresh insights got shaped, clarified, and reinforced by my secular mindfulness practice, one transmitted to me by my spiritual teacher, Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh. But it was the “Great Atlantic Teacher” who completely took me apart, rearranged the pieces, and remade me. Finally, I became the person I wanted to be: a joy-filled, peaceful, and stable actor. What’s more, I sustain the happy transformation in my life now that I’m back on land–even as I engage on the front line of climate justice.
Disasters and discoveries abound in my sailing memoir, Ocean of Insight: A Sailor’s Voyage from Despair to Hope. I share my travels to entertain and to illuminate the spiritual voyage contained within the physical journey. The book portrays the path of a spiritual ecologist, its elements of deep ecological observation, study, wisdom, and action. On this website, I expand upon the practice of spiritual ecology—how to see and work effectively with the oneness of the human heart, mind, and environment. Speaking around the country, I share stories of nature’s lessons and offer ideas for daily living that transform hopelessness, anger, and fear so each of us can know how to be and what to do where we live, so people everywhere can envision and boldly manifest the just and wholesome world we hope for someday in the here and now.
This is a fearless website for dangerous times. I invite you to linger a while on this shore, to sift through the pages. I hope you’ll discover things that change your life and build new skills for the practice and application of spiritual ecology.
Thank you for your tender aspiration to nourish what is beautiful, good, and true. Thank you for your fierce determination to do brave and healing work in the world from a place of joy, peace, and stability. I look forward to traveling together on this journey.
With love and trust,
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