Monthly Archives: March 2015

Part Two: Melancholy Memory, Brilliant Book

Xlibris author Ian Prattis once hit rock bottom, but he used this to gift readers with a moving story about depression. Read on to discover more about his novel Redemption, which in a sense has become his own redemption.

SKU-000921572_COVER.indd

More about the Xlibris book

Callum Mor’s bleak solitude is broken when a family with a small girl seeking refuge from a storm come to his house. Slowly, he edges away from his self-destruction. He saves the girl’s life in a blizzard. The glimmer of awakening dawns in him, and this sets the stage for the final drama that illuminates the resilience of the human spirit.

 

From the rhapsody of an idyllic childhood through traumatic tragedies to the derelict zone of alcoholism and then to a state of awakening – I depict the stations of a personal Calvary that ultimately leads to “Redemption.”

 

The book is a lyrical and moving tale of struggle, love, loss, transformation and hope. It reads like an extended prose poem reflecting the primal forces of nature and human nature. Its starkly gorgeous and remote island setting creates and reinforces the central themes of struggle, family, community and wonder at the beauty of the world, and its rich cast of characters offers numerous gripping interludes that brim with complex interpersonal drama.

 

The story centers on and is always connected to Callum Mor – the epic main character – but he is surrounded and influenced by a fantastic cast of family and fellow islanders. They provide a deep well of material; their conflicts and intrigues move the plot forward and offer a vast array of powerfully emotional moments. The story arcs of other characters in the novel offer particularly beautiful and interesting counterpoints to one another and to Callum Mor. Their hopes, desires and difficulties intermingle in a sad and realistic tapestry of human existence.

 

The narrative’s tone is generally quiet and introspective, but it is frequently punctuated by storms both literal and metaphorical.  Callum Mor and his people face many conflicts throughout the story, from poverty, mental illness, unwanted pregnancy, and battles with nature itself – to sexual assault and violent physical confrontation. All of this provides the tapestry for the deeper, more subtle messages of compassion and faith to carefully unfold.

 

A gift to readers

 

I dedicate my book Redemption to the millions of people who suffer from depression and alcoholism, and I stand before you as living proof that it is possible to come through and be whole.

 

I would like to close by thanking Bruce Haring and his staff for creating this wonderful Florida Book Festival. I am deeply humbled and grateful that they chose my book Redemption as the winner of General Fiction.  They confirmed for me that:

 

I WAS NOT DREAMING!

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

Touching the Earth

Touching the Earth Ceremony at Pine Gate Thursday April 2, 7.00pm – 9.00pm

Details below. The ceremony provides a safe environment for releasing the “hooks” from ancestors – genetic, spiritual and land. We choose to retain the virtuous, noble seeds passed on to us, but direct all abusive, negative seeds to pass from our consciousness into the Earth, where they will be composted.

TOUCHING THE EARTH CEREMONY

This practice connects you in a loving way with both the positive and negative aspects of all your ancestors – biological, spiritual and land.  “I see that my ancestors suffered, and their suffering spilled over to others including me.  With this steady acceptance I am ready to transform the suffering and to cultivate the positive virtues of my ancestors in my daily life.”

1.Blood Ancestors
Pain/Suffering may be strong with this contact especially if there was parental abuse/neglect – so also think of parents/ancestors as 5 yr old children – innocent and who also suffered, rather than just as persons who may have caused us deep harm.
2. Spiritual Ancestors
Perhaps those who taught us in our spiritual tradition made mistakes, discriminated, abused us and were not able to transmit the teachings well or did not live up to their calling.  Allow this to pass through and retain the positive qualities of Buddha, Jesus.
3. Land Ancestors
Those who built our homes, hospitals, the original inhabitants in tune with mother nature.  People who offered refuge for peoples of other countries.  Present friends who work so hard to preserve the Earth. Also acknowledge bigotry, racism and cruelty passed on to us that we choose to release from our consciousness.

Retaining the positive qualities from these three roots fills us up with love and wholesome qualities.
1. Extend this energy first of all to those we love – including ourselves.
2. Last step is tricky – extend our wholesome, loving energy to those who have caused us harm or are difficult to be with.  This really makes our hearts more spacious.
3. Each person’s experience will be different.  Truth is in our own experience, not in duplicating the experience of others.  Provides a doorway to reconnect/ fill up with love/ forgive and understand.
4. Part of a timeless flow of life, connect to the no birth no death nature of yourself.  In the Touchings of the Earth we use our body to touch the Ultimate Dimension, to touch the ground of our being, to touch Nirvana and to heal and transform
5. We renew ourselves because we renew Buddhism, for we are applying the Diamond Sutra, The Discourse on Right View and the Sutra on the Full Awareness of Breathing.  In this exercise the teachings of the Buddha come alive in us as experience.

Pine Gate Meditation Hall

Melancholy Memory, Brilliant Book

Maricel Alacantra wrote the two blogs below for my publisher – Xlibris. This was after Redemption: A Novel received the Gold Medal in Fiction at the 2015 Florida Book festival. Well worth the clicks!

http://blog.xlibris.com/author-blogs/ian-prattis-1/

http://blog.xlibris.com/author-blogs/ian-prattis-2/

Redemption front cover

The Century of the Daughters.

I have always thought of the present millennium as the century of the daughters. Not so much as a gender separate thing, but as attributes of a holistic, nurturing presence of mind. This is why, when researching my book Trailing Sky Six Feathers, I began my exploration of the Sedona region of Arizona with Oak Creek River – the feminine face of Water. This was one component of the Five Great Elements in Buddhist thought that I was familiar with: Earth, Water, Air, Fire and Space. I understood the sequence as the correspondence of all things to each other driven by the feminine vessel of enlightenment. Always, I waded into the water so I could feel with my feet the pulse of the arteries of the entire area. I would lie down on larger, flat, dry rocks in midstream or perch atop rock rills and watch the water swirl around my feet, feeling a great sense of familiarity with the universal feminine through this dramatic and melodious river.

Front Cover Trailing Sky Six Feathers

This connection with the feminine was naturally carried into my peace activism. I have been musing about this, particularly reflecting on the annual Ottawa Friends for Peace Day – now in its 13th year. I realized 15 years ago, when I founded Friends for Peace that I was making a conscious choice to focus my energy and work on the local, my home city of Ottawa.  My focus was on mindfulness in schools, city environment, youth at risk and above all else – on the empowerment of women. I am astonished by the results – more true to say “blown away.” For at the local level there was continuity with great women who helped make things happen.  There is now a two week Peace Festival in Ottawa that precedes the Friends for Peace Day – which has become the final bookend of the Festival.  It has all grown in ever increasing concentric circles. The foundation of mindfulness and the empowerment of women through the 50 organizations we partner with have taken root in our northern city. All use some form of the Friends for Peace mandate – peace, planetary care and social justice.

Each year Friends for Peace presents Peace Awards to Canadian citizens who have devoted their lives to securing peace, planetary care and social justice.  The majority of the Peace Award recipients are women. The funds raised from the day are used to issue Peace Grants to organizations, in Ottawa and internationally, and we make a point of honouring women who run organizations that make a significant difference.  In particular we have supported youth organizations to burst on to the local scene guided by magnificent people – I refer to these friends as Kick Ass women. For instance Orkidstra is led by Tina Fedeski –www.leadingnotefoundation.org  – which she established in September 2007. It gives children from under-served communities the opportunity to learn a musical instrument and sing in a choir. They are creating a quiet social revolution in the city. The Dandelion Dance Company is the creation of Hannah Beach – www.hannahbeach.com/dandelion – this Ottawa based youth dance theatre company explores social issues through movement. Their repertoire is driven by the experiences, reflections and passion of young women who range in age from ages 13 to 19, and include children’s rights, hunger, authenticity, bullying, stereotypes and inclusiveness. Both youth organizations perform regularly at the Friends for Peace Day.

The drive is to foster a strong cadre of people in the locality of Ottawa who make a difference and women are in the forefront of this endeavour.

Dr. Ian Prattis

Ian is an award winning author, scholar, peace and environmental activist.  As a Professor of Anthropology and Religion he taught courses on Ecology, Symbols, Globalisation and Consciousness.  As a meditation teacher he encourages people to find their true nature, so that humanity and the world may be renewed.  Ian is a Zen Teacher, giving talks and retreats round the world.

For Further Intel: http://ianprattis.com/Profile.html

Right View and the Four Nutriments

The Noble Eightfold Path is the Buddha’s methodology to lead us out of suffering. I will offer dharma talks on the entire spectrum for the remainder of Pine Gate’s Winter Study Session – beginning with Right View and the 4 Nutriments.  This will be a series of foundation teachings, as everything in Buddhism comes around for this visit to the Eight Fold Path. Recommended reading is Thich Nhat Hanh’s “The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching” Part Two: The Eightfold Path. The dynamic nature of the Eightfold Path will be highlighted by emphasising how Mindfulness and Concentration are crucial to kick start the process by transforming Views into Insight. The views we hold strongly are often attitudes, perceptions and attachments that are capable of cascading through the other components of the Eightfold Path so that Thinking, Speaking and Action are modelled on wrong views. Right View is no view – rather it is insight, which is why Mindfulness and Concentration are required to start the engine of the Noble Eightfold Path.

Thich-Nhat-Hanh-image-5

“Heads up from Lisa!

Please see from minute 17:30 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EfPJ6T-5Z9w

I think Thay was sending you a message!”

Insight and Transformation Review

Trailing Sky Six Feathers: One Man’s Journey with His Muse  is the tremendous story of Ian’s modern day spiritual awakening and discovery of his past life as a Native American leader during the 18th century. Only through the intervention of his spirit wife Trailing Sky is Ian able to defeat his past vices and personal struggles to become the man he is today.  In this exciting Hero’s Journey the reader follows his journey to accept The Muse capable of transforming karma. She shines light on the darkest elements of the human condition, including his. He navigates past and present life experiences from brutal raids on Indian settlements in 18th century Arizona, insane sea voyages off the Scottish Hebrides in the 20th century to surrender to The Muse in the 21st century. The book stares into the abyss, illuminating issues for generations to come – an epic and inspirational quest over four centuries.

Front Cover Trailing Sky Six Feathers

 

This Hero’s Journey is like Indiana Jones meets the Buddha with a dash of Celestine Prophecy. Shamanic healing of childhood sexual abuse, guru training and near death experience in an Indian ashram, has the author stumbling through the first part of life, then standing strong in his own sovereignty in the latter part. Past life memories collide head on with the present, all thanks to the persistence of Trailing Sky Six Feathers, the Muse who refused to give up. Karma is reversed, the internal battles are over as he begins to live life as a Meditation for Gaia. The relentless shadowing by this engaging Muse brings understanding not only to him, but to anyone engaged in overcoming the darkness of their past.

In 2010, after an intense internal dialogue with his Muse, Trailing Sky Six Feathers, Prattis asked if he should write her story. There was a long silence that stretched into infinity until he finally heard her affirmation. He stood up and reached for a backpack and took out a writing pad. There was a gold plated fountain pen in the pack, rarely used. He inserted an ink cartridge into the pen and sat in a chair overlooking the sea and mountains on the west coast of British Columbia. Putting pen to paper he started to write the first line of this book:

“Put down your weapons, my husband,” she said quietly with steely insistence.

Available at www.amazon.com and www.barnesandnoble.com Sites and autographed copy available through http://www.ianprattis.com/TrailingSky.html