Why I Wrote this Futuristic Book

A 2016 release….

“New Planet, New World” provides a counterpoint to the demise of modern civilization. I chart a Beginning Anew for humanity, a communal Hero’s Journey to reconstruct society based on ecology, caring and sharing. This adventure is not without risk or cost, as power elites ignore their complicity in the destruction of life on Planet Earth.

The book opens with a lyrical and dangerous meeting on a distant planet later this century. The protagonists are from different centuries and cultures. From the 18th century Rising Moon is hurled by shamanic means to Planet Horizon in a nearby galaxy. From the 21st century Catriona gets there from a failing spaceship in an escape module. Wisdom of the Elders meets 21st century Hi-Tech. Instead of killing one another they choose to be blood sisters and embrace survival, accepting nature as a Matriarch. This fragile thread is challenged by the brutal abduction and rape of a main character, Sian the Celtic seer. Her inner strength, of being more than a violated body, inspires the community of pioneers who escape safely from the spaceship. They create a communal structure of living and carve out a home and life on the new planet.

Four Hopi Sacred Keepers offer their lives in a ceremony to enable renewal on a distant planet that none of them will experience. Mysticism combines with hi-tech to enable a Transfer Particle to seed the new planet and establish settlements. The expansion of communities is interrupted by a jihadist attempt to take over. A terrorist cell on Earth hijacks a spaceship and imperils the lives of the pioneers, who respond with tactical violence to kill them. Compassion is exercised towards sleeper jihadists secretly embedded in their midst. The stark violence of survival prepares a backcloth for three distinct love stories to emerge. Ethical settlements grow as a mirror for Tolstoy’s vision of “people of the twenty fifth century” – ahead of their time. The dark episodes and lyrical passages move the story along with action, fear, resolution, death, rape, bravery and exile in a futuristic opportunity for humanity. This action packed book ends on a philosophical note concerning our place in the centuries to come.

Intertwining plotlines arc into the epiphany of the final chapter, which muses about human survival anywhere. This end game is a philosophy of the future. The inclusiveness of science combines with Tolstoy’s vision, Pope Francis’ Climate Change Encyclical and not repeating the mistakes of the carbon cabal. The underlying message is from Tolstoy, the ‘Conscience of Humanity.’ He described humanity’s bottom line as the cultivation of love, the mainspring for authentic and responsible living.

I do not present this as idealism, rather as down to earth wisdom. That is why I wrote this futuristic novel. It is the final bookend of a trilogy – “Chronicles of Awakening.” Redemption is the first book in this trilogy that has Trailing Sky Six Feathers as the second book. The final tome of this trilogy takes characters from the prior two books, placing them in the future on a new planet. I place in the mouth of Dr. Tom Hagen a blistering rant to the UN in 2080 that I would certainly like to give from the future. It is about the willful ignorance displayed by corporate and government cabals invested in the carbon/oil complex, while eco militias murder in the streets and social disorder is a norm.

The First chapter describes tension then co-operation between Catriona and Rising Moon. Instead of harming one another they create a safe haven and save other young people ejected in escape crafts. The Second chapter documents the desolation of Planet Earth, the location of Planet Horizon and establishment of space stations on Mars and Jupiter. Chapter Three relates the destruction of the spaceship and safe landing of some of the pioneer travellers. Chapter Four is a love story and the search for children ejected in escape modules from the spaceship. Chapter Five provides vision for community building. Chapter Six is dark with the tragedy of rape yet permits the human spirit to prevail. Chapter Seven documents the flourishing communities established – Eco-villages and towns plus Wisdom of the Elders villages. The battle with jihadists in Chapter Eight is not for the squeamish. It ushers in the end of innocence and the beginning of wisdom. Chapter Nine is a tender love story, accompanied by Catriona’s shamanic preparation. The final Chapter Ten muses philosophically about human survival anywhere.

Childhood Bedrooms

Extract from Chapter Nine of a forthcoming (2016) futuristic novel titled New Planet, New World, which provides a counterpoint to the demise of modern civilization. I chart a Beginning Anew for humanity, a communal Hero’s Journey to reconstruct society based on ecology, caring and sharing. This adventure is not without risk or cost, as power elites ignore their complicity in the destruction of life on Planet Earth.

Childhood Bedrooms

Igor asked her a surprising question, “When you were a child what was your bedroom like?” Catriona smiled as fond recollections arose in her mind. “I had the most marvelous bedroom. It was more of a music room than a bedroom, full of musical instruments.”

She giggled and clapped her hands, “I had all these stuffed animals and would place them next to instruments and move them around. My father was such a goof. He would knock on the door and ask if he was to be Elephant, Tinkerbelle or Bear and then come in and play their instruments.” Igor was rolling over with laughter. “My bedroom had a large bay window and my father would sit there with whatever stuffed animal I assigned to him. Often my mother would come in and conduct the entire ensemble.” Catriona’s face was lit up with the memories and she turned to him, “What about you Igor?”

Igor pondered whether to reveal too much, then decided to do so. “My bedroom as a child was my sanctuary. My parents were often under police scrutiny for their beliefs. To compensate they created a very safe haven for me.” He slowly gathered himself, “I see the corner where books, paintings and wooden stools are piled up in disarray. My bed had two levels, one for me to sleep upon and the other for my stuffed animals to talk to before sleeping. It was a comfortable bed with large pillows and green checkered blankets. I had a telescope next to the window and I would fly in my mind to galaxies with my favorite animals.” Then he paused, “Perhaps it was too much of a sanctuary, as I did not like to leave this house. I had to when my parents entered the Space Agency in Moscow. I did not want to leave my safe bedroom behind but my father was very smart. He cleared it out and painted it in colors I hated. I begged him and my mother to let me see it one last time.”

There was a tremor of emotion in Igor’s voice and Catriona stayed very still. “On that last visit, mother pointed to the empty window where my telescope once focused on the sky. I felt the loss, stripped down in an empty space once resonant with discovery. I felt my mother’s gentle hands on my shoulder and still remember her saying, “There is nothing to hold you back, Igor. Your dream is still inside. Now step into freedom.” She smiled as I looked for the telescope. Nothing was there. My treasures were boxed and sent on to Moscow. This was their way to move me on from fear rather than cling to childhood safety. My mother held my hand and stared at where the telescope was not.” Catriona reached over and gently held Igor’s hand, “And here you now are Igor.” He raised her hand to his lips and gently kissed her fingers.

Ian & mic snags (2)

“Little” Moments



Originally posted on going outwords & inwords:



If you can practice patience in the traffic jam with a sense of humor
approach or whatever approach you want to use, you are training for really major difficulties in your life. So, it sounds silly, but actually, it’s true. If you’re sowing seeds of aggression in the
traffic jam, then you’re actually perfecting the aggression habit.
And if you’re using your sense of humor and your loving-kindness or whatever it is you do, then you’re sowing those kinds of seeds and strengthening those kinds of mental habits; you’re imprinting those kind of things in your unconscious. So, the choice is really ours every time we’re in a traffic jam.

– from Pema Chodron

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Understanding Suffering

I turn to my teacher Thich Nhat Hanh (Reconciliation: 2010: 64) to open a discussion on understanding suffering.

“Dealing with suffering is like handling a poisonous snake. We have to learn about the snake, and we ourselves have to grow stronger and more stable in order to handle it without hurting ourselves. At the end of this process, we will be ready to confront the snake. If we never confront it, one day it will surprise us and we will die of a snake bite. The pain we carry in the deep levels of our consciousness is similar. When it grows big and confronts us, there’s nothing we can do if we haven’t practiced becoming strong and stable in mindfulness. We should only invite our suffering up when we’re ready. Then, when it comes we can handle it. To transform our suffering, we don’t struggle with it or try to get rid of it. We simply bathe it in the light of our mindfulness.”


First we have to develop and nurture our mindfulness, which means waking up to the reality of our suffering that we would rather avoid. There are clear warning signals if we choose to pay attention. We get caught in our dramas and find ourselves telling and retelling our stories to whomever will listen. We also court our suffering and keep it alive. We often engage in a competitive aspect – my suffering is bigger than yours. The courtship of suffering can be an ugly romance for we enter into a co-dependent relationship, which has to be called by its true name – Addiction. Physiologically and emotionally we become so tightly tied into our suffering that we cannot be without it even though it is destroying our well being. We grasp at brief insights that “Yes – this is suffering” – but deal only with surface appearances. Yet the surface exposure has a long history of gathering momentum and energy until it actually surfaces. The small snake has become a monster. The addiction to suffering is now embedded in our mental state. We respond to any glimpse of suffering with such destructive emotion that we reinforce the causes and conditions that created the suffering in the first place. And so we continue shooting ourselves in the foot, torpedoing our lives – over and over again.

Our suffering is caused by abuse – emotional, physical and sexual – and it becomes an organizing template in our mind. We then create an abusive relationship with that template’s qualities – addiction; fear; co-dependency. To stop the cycle of harm we need an OMG moment. The insight that: OH MY GOD THIS IS WHAT I HAVE BEEN DOING ALL MY LIFE. HOW DO I STOP IT? That insight has to arrive in the mind before we can apply ourselves to developing mindfulness as an antidote to the abusive relationship established with our suffering. It is an awesome realization to penetrate the darkness and realize that the abuse you have suffered has created an abusive relationship with yourself. Mindfulness practice can bring the abusive relationship to a halt. This is the required OMG moment that propels you to get to work. To go backwards from the surface and investigate the causes and conditions that placed you in such suffering. And so we learn the practices, tools and concentrations that support this journey of understanding suffering and taking care of it. We break the cycle through re-training and mindfulness practice. We equip ourselves for a journey to be well that requires our determination to practice mindfulness daily and ensure that we take refuge in wise support.


Ian is the resident teacher at Pine Gate Mindfulness Community. On Facebook search “Pine Gate Sangha” for program, discussions, events and humour.

The Australia Times Interview: Part Two

Interview with The Australia Times: Part Two

  1. You have a deep spiritual connection with Zen. How is your spiritual practice reflected in your poetry?

The focus on daily mindfulness from my Zen practice enables me to be still and clear. From this energy the poems and chapters emerge. I do my best not to write from a space of frustration or of wanting to get the writing finished. I wait until the energy of mindfulness is tangible – then creating the words and text becomes easy.

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2. What do you hope the reader will take away from your poetry?

The courage to believe that they can take steps to transform internally and then make a difference externally. The stories I tell in my poetry and books are offered as a gift to our planet. My purpose in life is to share my wealth of experience on how to live in harmony not just with ourselves but with the place we call home… Earth. I shed light on issues that will affect our world for generations to come. The example of my own challenging journey and personal transformation illuminates a path for others to expand their consciousness and chart the course for a future beyond the abyss. The human race does not need to be stuck with maladaptive options and patterns. We can and must transform. The key to change this deep freeze is Awakening, a spiritual relationship with self and Mother Earth.  My writing delivers a vigorous message about personal transformation in order to become different stewards of the earth and society. I’d like to consider Trailing Sky Six Feathers as the real life version of James Redfield’s best-selling fictional book The Celestine Prophecy. I have nine chapters – loaded with Insights and adventure, plus shamanic training over a period of three decades. Trailing Sky Six Feathers and Redemption are super unique, as they are drawn from my actual lived experience.  Reality based information is in high demand in today’s society, which provides the potential for my project to become a fresh, new icon for today’s hungry culture. Hungry, that is, for authentic transformation.

Front Cover Trailing Sky Six Feathers

3. In what ways has your writing changed you?

In a word – authenticity. I am not good at sitting down and writing four pages a day. I wait until the spiritual energy is present within me, then I write. Sometimes this is frustrating, as I want to get on with it, but when I do not stay still and wait – I simply write garbage! So I use the in between times to do research, edit and look for spelling mistakes and typos. When the energy is sparkling, the writing flows effortlessly.  I do not consider this as a necessary template for others. It is just what works for me to connect to the Muse within.  I trust that far more than any impatience.

Redemption front cover

4. As a peace activist, what do you consider the greatest challenge?

Organization and outreach. Here is an example:

Friends for Peace Canada started on a bitterly cold winter evening, as the Iraq war loomed. I received notice that a Peace Song Circle was happening on Parliament Hill. So I went, accompanied by my wife Carolyn and our dog. No-one else turned up. I remarked to Carolyn, “This is a good idea – it just needs to be organized.” She replied, “Let’s do it.” And so we did and created the nucleus for Friends for Peace Canada.  It quickly grew to a loose coalition of fifty organizations and we asked them to begin the peace process first of all within themselves, then to the community and the world.  Our mandate evolved so that we gave annual Peace Grants to local and international organizations making a real difference, as well as working in concert with other coalitions in the city for environmental and social justice issues.  I also decided at that time to concentrate my energy and efforts locally, feeling that these efforts could infuse global networks from the epicentre created here. I had received many invitations to be a global speaker and teacher, yet felt that a concentration on my home city of Ottawa was the primary focus. I responded to the many international invitations with a gracious decline. I was inspired to devote my time and energy to moving things just a little bit in my city, so that more good things could begin to happen spontaneously. As I soon discovered, there were many good friends across the city more than happy to make this possible.

We organized 5,000 participants at the Peace Song Circle on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, held on a miserably wet, cold spring day in 2003. A sea of multi-coloured umbrellas on a rain swept morning welcomed all those gathered. As other peace protests joined us and sang “All Within Me Peaceful,” the crowd covered the grounds of Canada’s seat of government, all meditating at the end in total silence as the rain poured down on our heads.  The pouring rain was strangely welcome, for it symbolized the tears of Iraqi children, my tears, your tears – transformed into hope through singing for peace with one another and experiencing deep peace.  There was a transformation of anger, anguish and violence into a determined clarity to be peace and to oppose war.  From there we know the wise actions to take.  Those who are waging war would do better if they knew better; but they don’t know better.

Every year since the relentless rain on Parliament Hill, the annual Friends for Peace Days have been memorable. We got rained and snowed on for several years on Parliament Hill, thunder and lightning at Alumni Park of Carleton University – before we moved inside to Jean Pigott Place in Ottawa City Hall. The response to this community activism has blown everyone away, as it went beyond any of our expectations!! The annual Friends for Peace Day is an awesome, diverse, unique Ottawa experience.  It is made possible by the generosity of volunteers and supporters and the diversity of Ottawa who show up to have a good time, be educated and inspired. The Friends for Peace Day creates an epicentre of intent and action – intense at times as people are moved to both tears and laughter. It is fun, poignant and direct. The intensity and joy ripples through the diversity – all generations, faiths and cultures in our northern city. The force of the epicentre roars through the community and activist tables, Muslim families, Asian groups, elders, young folk and the volunteers. The diversity of Ottawa gathers, listens, dances, laughs, cries – and takes home an unforgettable experience of hope and confidence. The family grows bigger each year. All Nations, All Traditions – A Circle of Friendship www.friendsforpeace.ca


  1. What is your favourite quote?

Rumi’s wise words are most cogent: “Sit down and be quiet. You are drunk and this is the edge of the roof.”

Books Available at www.Amazon.com and www.BarnesandNoble.com  

Autographed Book – Order Through: http://www.ianprattis.com

Four Poems.

Four Poems: The Australia Times Interview with Ian Prattis

Short Bio

Dr. Ian Prattis is an award winning author of fourteen books. Recent awards include Gold for fiction at the 2015 Florida Book Festival, 2015 Quill Award from Focus on Women magazine and Silver for Environment from the 2014 Living Now Literary Awards. Julia Ann Charpentier says his: “admirable command of language brings to every scene a striking visual clarity.” Of his Gold for Redemption Anita Rizvi calls it “a riveting novel chronicling one man’s journey through the stages of innocence, darkness, destruction and transformation.” She goes on to say, “What is so exquisite is the tenderness and honesty with which the author deals with the human condition . . . he refuses to ‘sanitize’ experience.” He depicts the stations of a personal Calvary that ultimately leads to Redemption. His poetry, memoirs, fiction, articles, blogs and podcasts appear in a wide range of venues.

Full Profile at http://www.ianprattis.com

Dancing Trees                                                               

Silver birches silhouette the sky

Gather in numbers,


Elegantly, grace “en pointe.”

Sway and breathe

Bend and whisper

Leaves shimmer.

They dance to gathering wind.

Murmur Creation’s tones

In synchrony with stellar rhythms,

Their sound carries waves

Rolling into shoreline rocks.

Silver birches silhouette the sky

Silver beauties

dance for us.

Dancing trees

Dancing Trees

       Lament For a Mariner                                                        

The sea is very thin this day

that Archie Ruag has gone.

Master mariner, graceful navigator,

wise teacher of ocean mystery.

No more to grace the ocean’s ships

returned to whence he came.

My sons at eleven years and ten

children in men’s mourning

saw him laid to rest

in my place.

Storms and hail swept the cemetery

and their small frames

grew in maturing

of Archie’s dying.

And I sit here in Canada

writing, grieving,

Knowing the sea is very thin this day

that Archie Ruag has gone.

I saw him last, pale and weary

with calm before his death.

His spirit surrounded by antiseptic ward,

but not beleaguered.

He knows I was not equal

to his dying.

So he spoke gently to me

of ships

and men at sea.

And moorings

safe to guard our boats

from winter’s cruelty.

And so, in this way

did he gently rebuke

my lack of courage

in his dying.

So that I may have strength

in my own time

of death.

Yet I miss him.

An anchor gone from my seasons

of the sea.

The sea is very thin this day.

     Vietnam War Memorial                                                                   


Gaunt with grief:


Stilled, Silenced:

Cold December day:

Grey and bleak.

I could not move:

Stunned: Frozen in Time:


Damn it all!




It was not my war

don’t you know?

They were not my people

don’t you see?

Do I protest too much?

Name engraved black marble slabs

rising from the earth sear into my soul.

Burning deep to feel the pain, of so many deaths, such futility.

Ball of fire flames my chest,

chills the marrow of my bones.

Subterranean edifice hurts me awake,

transforms deep memories

for my own kind.

Fellow Humans.



All peoples

caught in the sinister web

of dark and deadly shadows

that lurk in all of us:

Hate, Greed and Power.

I circle the profanity of war,

nerve center of our world.

Grimly aware thought:

Our world must be transformed:

Our world must be changed:

And we must do it. Transforming ourselves

then others in swift urgency.

Else the memoirs

of our civilization

are no more than

Monuments To The Dead.

Our Dead:





Let me share it –

This symphony of autumn color,

cascading melody from a sky

pastel grey and fiery red.

Descant to the dancing tones of

a painted forest

cooled by lush evergreens.

Sensual beauty,

rhapsody of forest and sunset sky

fused as a golden sheen.

Caught in a still lake

waiting with patience

Beyond time and space,


to reflect this moment of

splendor –


Let me share it.

Autumn Sunset


Interview with The Australia Times – Part One

Interview with The Australia Times – Part One

  1. When did you begin writing poetry? What were the earliest influences?

In my teenage expedition to Sarawak, Borneo, with Voluntary Service Overseas, I kept a journal of the vivid surrounds and how I was feeling. From that time on I kept journals and scribbled poetry wherever I went. I eventually had trunks full of poems that reminded me of the experiences I went through, particularly in India.  My extensive shamanic training with incredible First Nations medicine people was also carefully logged. My notes were a sign post for me to always be authentic, even when it was awful and hard to re-read. I do my best to maintain that.  As a professor I wrote text books and scholarly papers, which had particular protocols that were somewhat stifling. When I started late on the writing craft – I had to re-learn how to write without sounding pompous, to be mindful of what the reader could take in. I also gave up on footnotes!

2.Tell us a little about your global travels and how they have impacted your writing, particularly your poetry.

My life as a global traveller certainly stretched my attention beyond any limits I could have placed on it. From teenage volunteering in Borneo with Britain’s Peace Corps to being a yogi in India and a Zen teacher in Canada – expansion of mind was inescapable.

Ian in India

My challenging journey navigated shamanic healing of childhood sexual abuse, guru training as well as a near death experience in an ashram in India. From this vast range of experience I found an ability to sculpt narrative in a novel way and this was expressed in my poetry and books. I certainly stumbled through the first part of life, but then stood strong in my own sovereignty in the latter part. In India, Arizona, France and Canada’s wilderness, I went to great lengths to transform karma. My first book – Redemption – was written in 1975 and I wrote it as an extended prose poem. It became a lost manuscript as I did not know how to get published at that time. When I rediscovered it forty years later I could scarce believe my eyes. How could I write like this when I was a total mess? Anita Rizvi had this to say…. “Redemption is a riveting chronicle of one man’s journey through the stages of innocence, darkness, destruction and transformation.” She goes on to say, “What is so exquisite is the tenderness and honesty with which the author deals with the human condition . . . When Callum Mor’s journey moves him even closer to the abyss, the author refuses to ‘sanitize’ his experiences.”  It is important for me to remain true in telling the grittier and more difficult aspects of a poem or story. And also to touch the mystical elements that led to it being transposed to a written form.

In Trailing Sky Six Feathers for instance, readers were inspired by my intention to transcend patterns carried since childhood. Past life memories collide head on with the present, all thanks to a Muse who refused to give up on me. Karma is reversed; the internal battles are over as I begin to live life as a Meditation for Gaia. The relentless shadowing by this engaging Muse brings understanding not only to me, but to anyone engaged in overcoming the darkness of their past.

Front Cover Trailing Sky Six Feathers

3. How did your hermitage in Quebec and your relationship with your pet wolf enable you to reflect on the natural world?

When I first met Wolfie he was running free in the interior mountains of British Columbia. He immediately claimed ownership — I was his! After showing me his mountain habitat and uncannily appearing every time I visited a cabin in the Mt. Currie area of British Columbia, he chose to live with me in my home in Gatineau Park forest in Quebec. I made the mistake of trying to train him – until I realized how totally redundant this was. Wolfie could read my mind and would always respond. Obedience training was not part of the deal. His presence of gentleness, patience and above all, his loving heart, were felt by everyone he encountered. The companionship with this wonderful creature was one of protection – he was protecting me. He tuned into energies I had no experience of and gently educated me in the way of the forest. He died when I was in Arizona participating in a sweat lodge and he tuned into me. He placed himself in the way of energies that could harm me and paid the ultimate price. The shaman conducting the ceremony after learning this news said, “He will always be with you in spirit form – protecting you still.”

Wolfie in Kingsmere

4. Through your anthropological studies you must have come across many early writings which may have included poetry. Does poetry play a significant role in cultural development?

In my career as an anthropologist I was fortunate to encounter many Native American story tellers across North America – Dene, Hopi, Ojibwa, Algonquin, Inuit – to mention a few.  Their poetic recounting of myths and history had a deep impact upon me. I now recreate this impact in my blog “Awakening – Spiritual Relationship with Self and Mother Earth” on WordPress – a great place to tell stories with an authentic voice. www.ianprattis.wordpress.com

I would say that without poetry cultures implode.  Over a period of thirty years, four extraordinary aboriginal medicine people enhanced my process of remembering the power of the poetic voice.  Through their mentoring, I learned how to reconfigure my understanding of time, place, consciousness, and re-write some of Carl Jung’s psychology. I chose to listen to the feminine voice of Earth Wisdom rather than to the multitude of competing voices in my deep unconscious. This shows up in my writing.

5. You have studied a number of spiritual teachings. What insights has this brought to your writing?

I am a Zen teacher, also a recognized guru in India. My initial task is to refine my own consciousness, so that I can be an authentic vehicle to chart a path for spiritual friends. This is through the creation of a meditation centre – Pine Gate Mindfulness Community – and an activist spiritual vehicle – Friends for Peace Canada. Both based in Ottawa. Slowly but inevitably these vehicles are helping to change the nature of the city of Ottawa – thanks to the many groups and organizations (over fifty) that are part of a loose coalition for change.  If I did not do this, then I could not write the way I do. My 2014 books are screenplay-worthy epic tales that weave together seamlessly to create inspiration for a wide range of fellow spiritual seekers, environmentalists, Generation X, feminists, students and academics alike. Global citizens are staring into the abyss – yet instead of being eaten up by it all, I say to them: “Awaken Spiritually,” for that transforms everything. We have made our world an unpredictable beast because we fail to work with it intelligently.

We have to take back control of ourselves and this is a spiritual matter. Turning on the switch of awakening seems to be a good idea right now. That is the prod and direction of my poems and books. We just need to touch the sacred in ordinary experiences of life to find the courage and determination to transform. My writing caps my long-term fascination with consciousness. As a Professor of Anthropology and Religion I taught courses on Ecology, Symbols, Engaged Buddhism and Meditation Systems. I am a healer, mentor and educator, able to encourage people through example to find their true nature so that humanity and the world may be renewed. All of this funnels back into my writing.

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Books Available at www.Amazon.com and www.BarnesandNoble.com   Autographed Book – Order Through: http://www.ianprattis.com

Death and Dying

Death and Dying                                            Henry Scott Holland (1847 – 1918)

Henry Scott Holland was professor of Divinity at Oxford University

Death is nothing at all. It does not count. I have only slipped away into the next room. Nothing has happened. Everything remains exactly as it was. I am I, you are you, and the old life that we lived so fondly is untouched, unchanged. Whatever we were to each other, that we are still. Call me by the old familiar name. Speak of me in the easy way which you always used. Put no differentials into your tone. Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow. Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes that we enjoyed together. Play, smile, think of me, pray for me. Let my name be ever the household word that it always was. Let it be spoken without an effort, without the ghost of shadow upon it.

Life means all that it ever meant; it is the same as it ever was. There is absolute and unbroken continuity. What is this death but a neglible accident? Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight? I am but waiting for you, for an interval, somewhere very near, just round the corner. All is well.

Buddha Picture

THE LAST FRIENDS FOR PEACE DAY www.friendsforpeace.ca

This year the event was held in Jean Pigott Place, inside Ottawa City Hall, on Saturday September 26 from 11am to 3.30pm.  And what an event took place. Onstage the mellow harmonies from The Valley Men choir set the scene, followed by Romy Mounzer – Ottawa’s answer to Whitney Houston. Lalith Gunaratne spoke eloquently about reconciliation in Sri Lanka, a model to break down barriers and cross bridges of hatred and separation. The string ensemble from OrKidstra dazzled, as did the Awards and Peace Grant ceremony that honored the work of Jurme Wangda for Tibetan Resettlement and to Coleen Scott for providing education and opportunity for the Karen people in Thailand.

sticker v41

The Circle of All Nations was a reality – represented by cultures, faiths, languages from across the planet. Kirtan from the Bhakti Connection, exquisite harp from Lucille Hildesheim and the Diversity of Color Miramba band brought the music and dance of Zimbabwe to close this year’s event at Ottawa City Hall. It was a fabulous day with the best ever performances. Everything excelled. We honored our elders, the many communities and the terrific volunteers who make it all possible. The support that poured in was unbelievable – donations to the Servery and Silent Auction by the diversity of Ottawa was heartfelt. Folk left full – not just with great food and bargains – but with a feeling that “YES” we can do it.

Thai Dancers

Friends for Peace is moving into a different focus, rather than the Friends for Peace Day, which takes up a lot of time and energy. We have decided to focus on specific projects with other organizations. For instance our first collaboration is with two church groups who are organizing events and awareness to bring Syrian refugee families to Ottawa. This is specific and the organizers are committed to making change. While the Friends for Peace Day provided great entertainment and brought community together – I would like to see more of a knock on effect. That – yes – folk are moving into action.  So we are entering a new phase, which I think will be exciting and more effective. Stay tuned.

Ian congratulating Orkidstra (2)

Death from “The Prophet” Kahlil Gibran

 The poem on Death has a last line added from a dharma talk presented by Bhante Kovida at Pine Gate Mindfulness Community on September 12, 2015

Then Almitra spoke, saying, we should ask now of Death.

And he said: “You know the secret of death. But how shall you find it unless you seek it in the heart of life? The owl whose night-bound eyes are blind unto the day cannot unveil the mystery of light. If you would indeed behold the spirit of death, open your heart wide unto the body of life. For life and death are one, even as the river and the sea are one.

In the depth of your hopes and desires lies your silent knowledge of the beyond. And like seeds dreaming beneath the snow your heart your heart dreams of spring. Trust the dreams, for in them is hidden the gate to eternity. Your fear of death is but the trembling of the shepherd when he stands before the king whose hand is laid upon him in honor. Is the shepherd not joyful beneath his trembling, that he shall wear the mark of the king? Yet is he not more mindful of his trembling?

For what is it to die but to stand naked in the wind and to melt into the sun? And what is it to cease breathing but to free the breath from its restless tides, that it may rise and expand and seek God unencumbered?

Bhante Kovida and Ian at Pine Gate

Only when you drink from the river of silence shall you  indeed sing. And when you have reached the mountain top, then you shall begin to climb. And when the earth shall claim your limbs, then shall you truly dance.

For life and death are one as the oceans and rivers are one.