Authentic Tapestry.

I was humbled by the reviews of “Our World is Burning: My Views on Mindful Engagement.’ Critics reinforced my attempt to create an authentic tapestry about the state of the world and how we could best engage with it. I could only draw from my experience and hope that would be enough for the reader. My approach to life comes through experience, crises, difficulties and joys that may have common ground with many readers. To the best of my ability, I endeavor to follow Gandhi’s principles of ahimsa and the teachings on mindfulness. These are the guidelines and foundations for my peace and environmental activism. I live very simply as a planetary activist. I am a Zen teacher, also a recognized guru in India. My initial task is to refine my own consciousness – to be a vehicle to chart an authentic path. The focus on daily mindfulness from my Zen practice enables me to be still and clear. From this energy the poems and chapters emerge.

My activism is a result of my internal work. Steadiness, clarity and compassion are within me. I prefer the still-point, uncoloured by the excess of ego and desire for recognition. Such a still-point permits me to be free in my own sovereignty, no matter what I am doing. It also propels me to serve the planet and humanity by creating bridges and pathways of harmony. As an anthropologist, I was fortunate to encounter many 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 would say that without poetry, cultures implode. Over a period of thirty years, four extraordinary 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 and consciousness. I also chose to listen to the feminine voice of Earth Wisdom rather than the multitude of competing voices in my deep unconscious. This shows up in my writing.

My books are epic tales that seamlessly weave together to create inspiration for a wide range of fellow spiritual seekers, environmentalists, Generation X and Y, feminists, students and academics alike. I recognized early on that 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 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 daily life to find the courage and determination to transform.

My writing delivers a vigorous message about personal transformation in order to become different stewards of the earth and society. In the Sixteen Essays of Our World is Burning, I offer reality-based information that is in high demand in today’s society, which provides the potential for my projects to become fresh, new icons for today’s hungry culture. Hungry, that is, for authentic transformation. It takes training, practice, intelligence and creative vision to find the drive to create a tangible spirit of cooperation, the willingness to share and be supportive, and learning how to cross the bridges of conflict. This thread of understanding finds a place in every essay in Our World is Burning.

You can order “Our World Is Burning” ($19.95) and receive one FREE autographed copy of New Planet New World; or Redemption; or Trailing Sky Six Feathers; or Failsafe; plus a Meditation CD as a thank you. Indicate which item you would like, though it depends on inventory what can be sent. http://ianprattis.com/OurWorldIsBurning.html

 

Our World is Burning – Even More Reviews

Barbara A. White, M

  • Barbara White
  • Ian writes with a monastic lyricism that is disarmingly invigorating, and ideologically and pragmatically (that is the point) empowering. Ian is a “meme” catcher, a “meme weaver” of cross–cultural and pan-generational challenges and continuities. Like Franklin with his fabled key on a high flying kite, Ian is standing in the rain capturing lightning bolts. Gird yourself! Our World is Burning is a lightning bolt and it will singe your Western incredulity and cynicism.
  • Michael B. Macdonald, Film-maker, Associate Professor at MacEwan University

I was introduced to Ian Prattis when he was founding Friends for Peace. I was deeply engaged in a personal struggle to articulate a way of living that was committed to ant-oppression, anti-war and anti-inequality. Ian helped me understand that fighting against injustices needs to be built around the cultivation of new ways of being, being together and being on the planet. I began to learn about the importance of consciousness in the struggle to want less, want peace, love. Ian’s vision is complex and important. His ideas are rich and rewarding if you take the time to sit thoughtfully with them. Ian is committed to changing the world, and unlike those who may wait for a new world to come, Ian has developed practices to bring a new world into being. My hope is that this book will be read widely, and ideally, in community.

  • Jana Begovic, Author of “Poisonous Whispers”

Ian Prattis’ essays reflect the essence of his character. A steward of Gaia, in his opening essay “Our World Is Burning” Prattis engages in a dialogue with a nine-year old boy who is terrified of growing up in a world that will burn up. With touching gentleness, Prattis assuages the boy’s fears and paints an image of the role the boy can assume in contributing to the forces of good in the world. Prattis shines the light on the path of mindful living by outlining a series of steps we could all adopt in our effort to reduce the negative imprint on Earth. His other essays exude profoundly inspirational messages and sound the alarm bell, but also light the torch of hope, and possible redemption of a landscape of potentially apocalyptic darkness. This book is a gift.

  • Tonya Pomerantz, Creator of Puddle Jump Coaching

Ian Prattis’ essays on mindful engagement are a crucial read.  Open, honest, down-to-earth and authentic, Prattis shares his stories of family and community. His style of writing is inviting; welcoming the reader on a global journey filled with love, compassion and growth. The reader embarks on a magnificent ride; one full of reflection, a strong support system and above all, mindfulness. I felt inspired after reading these essays. This book should be read by government officials and policy makers. His writing is accessible, not overpowering. We want to continue reading and being part of Prattis’ world. This collection of essays is a gift to the global community.

 

  • Ginette D’Aoust-Castonguay, Wellness Facilitator

After reading this rich collection of essays all conveying pragmatic life lessons, I found Our World Is Burning: Essays on Mindful Engagement to be a profound yet comprehensive guide. It is capable of igniting a spark deep within us as well as inspiring the reader to be present and step up to the challenge.

You can order “Our World Is Burning” ($19.95) and receive one FREE autographed copy of New Planet New World; or Redemption; or Trailing Sky Six Feathers; or Failsafe; plus a Meditation CD as a thank you. Indicate which item you would like, though it depends on inventory what can be sent. http://ianprattis.com/OurWorldIsBurning.html

Reviews of Our World is Burning.

The book has been hovering around #1 in Environmental books in Amazon.ca over the past week. Thrilled and blown away by that. https://www.amazon.ca/Our-World-Burning-Mindful-Engagement/dp/1988058244/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

Here is a sample of early reviews that were quite humbling. The critics liked the authentic tapestry I was creating.

  • Jacqueline Schoemaker Holmes, PhD

Dr. Ian Prattis is a visionary and leader in the world of engaged Buddhism. This book reads like an invitation. Ian provides what we need in troubled times – clear guidance, practical steps to take, and a warm and open hand in a world that so many fear is becoming too cold and distant. Ian’s writing gifts us with the impossibly perfect teachings of interconnection and heart opening. In this book, Ian makes an excellent contribution to existing commentary on world change and inspires action through the wisdom of his engaging story-telling.

  • Jim Ebaugh, Founder of Water in the Wave Community

Dr. Prattis has been a voice, a teacher, a passionate advocate for the earth and all her species for decades and long before the word eco-dharma entered our vocabulary. His books transcend time and space. Ian Prattis was at the forefront of awakening to the threat that climate change posed to our home and our mother – the Earth. Ian’s books are a creative, imaginative read as we struggle to find a new paradigm for our culture – away from rampant, unfettered consumerism and global corporate oligarchies demanding ever increasing short term profits at the expense of earth and all her species. Prattis leads the way in this collection of essays.

  • Peggy Lehmann, Author and Medium

Ian’s essays on mindful engagement are an overview of a lifetime’s work that started with a younger version of himself and a goal of saving the world. Through his books Redemption, Trailing Sky Six Feathers, and New Planet, New World readers saw glimpses of the man and his message both evolving and growing to new levels of spiritual understanding. At a time on earth when hope is badly needed, Ian’s essays have universal appeal, assuring us that a better world is possible and that each of us must contribute to its creation.

  • Melissa Studdard, Author and Poet

Amidst the fear, greed, and pain of our burning world, there is a cool garden where you can recover hope for posterity and cultivate your best life. Ian Prattis’ words are one of the surest pathways to that garden. Both analytically rigorous and fearlessly honest, this book is a must read for anyone asking, “What can I do?”

  • Anita Rizvi, Therapist

Dr. Ian Prattis, with the vision of a Prophet, the heart of a Buddha and the mind of a master Story Teller, offers a timely gift to humanity as our poisoned collective psyche, reflected in the deterioration of our ecosystem, is poised to burn on the pyre of global consumption…. In the midst of it all… a Teacher has come… Now, pick up a copy of Our World is Burning and watch evil leave the room.

 

You can order “Our World Is Burning” ($19.95) and receive one FREE autographed copy of New Planet New World; or Redemption; or Trailing Sky Six Feathers; or Failsafe; or Meditation CD as a thank you. Indicate which item you would like, though it depends on inventory what can be sent. http://ianprattis.com/OurWorldIsBurning.html

Our World is Burning – Back Cover Reviews.

 

  • Allan Green, Spiritual Facilitator

I have eternal admiration for the wisdom, abilities and vision of Ian Prattis, amazed by his continuous supply of such great works. Our World is Burning is so poignant and necessary for the state of our world. This new book celebrates one of the great visionaries of our times.

  • Dawn James, Conscious Living Advocate

This new book from Ian Prattis provides a conscious-raising framework for responsible living. Our World is Burning also challenges one to become a leader for change instead of a passive bystander. For this personal transformation to occur we must examine our values, our behaviours and our consumption patterns. One of the aspects that I love about Our World is Burning is Ian’s ability to describe our global crisis through different lenses, including political, environmental, cultural, economics and consciousness. This book shows us thought-provoking evidence that we are, in fact, our environment and therefore we are responsible to change it.

  • Laurence Overmire, Author of “The One Idea That Saves The World”

Our World is Burning is an inspiring and informative read. As the title suggests, we are living in challenging and perilous times. Ian Prattis offers us valuable insight, wisdom and perspective in finding our way to a healthier world, one based on compassion and commitment, mindful of how everything we do impacts the whole.

  • Susan Taylor Meehan, Author of “Maggie’s Choice.”

Our World is Burning is both a cry from the heart and a call to action. In clear, compelling prose, Dr. Ian Prattis, Zen teacher, ecologist and peace activist, outlines the urgent challenge of climate change and the prevailing attitudes that have enabled it to threaten life on planet Earth. He writes movingly of his own journey towards enlightenment to illustrate his basic thesis: that we cannot heal our planet until we heal ourselves. Drawing from the wisdom of Indian gurus, First Nations shamans, Buddhist teachers and activists, and the probing questions of his own grandchildren, Dr. Prattis shows that we need to undergo a radical transformation of the mind if we are to respond to our burning world. His call to action is for every individual to take up the challenge in mindfulness, love and compassion, and to build the kind of world that nourishes and sustains us all.

 

You can order “Our World Is Burning” ($19.95) and receive one FREE autographed copy of New Planet New World; or Redemption; or Trailing Sky Six Feathers; or Failsafe; or Meditation CD as a thank you. Indicate which item you would like, though it depends on inventory what can be sent. http://ianprattis.com/OurWorldIsBurning.html

 

 

Our World is Burning – More Reviews.

You can order “Our World Is Burning” ($19.95) and receive one FREE autographed copy of New Planet New World; or Redemption; or Trailing Sky Six Feathers; or Failsafe; or Meditation CD as a thank you. Indicate which item you would like, though it depends on inventory what can be sent. http://ianprattis.com/OurWorldIsBurning.html

  • Marianna van de Lagemaat, Herbalist Farmer

The words in these essays touch my heart deeply. For instance: “I don’t want to grow up and live in a world that is burning.” From the heartfelt cry of a terrified nine year old boy, Ian demonstrates in his thoughtful, gentle way how we can, through an awakened awareness, change ourselves as individuals, think mindfully, sustainably and globally as interconnected communities and thus heal our Earth and restore our humanity.

  • Koozma J. Tarasoff, Anthropologist, Peace Activist, Author and Photographer.

Ian Prattis’ new book is an urgent call for action in our troubled world. Environmental pollution, wars, violence, greed, ego worship and crass materialism are issues that urgently need to be resolved for the health of our Planet Earth and its inhabitants. Indeed, we need to release our bad thoughts to the soil and become informed. This is a book for the new generation who also need to nurture a respectful relationship to Mother Earth. Bravo, Ian, for helping to bring the tipping points of our consciousness closer to a critical mass for radical change. Master Story Teller and Healer with a vision for a new world.

  • Gayle Crosmaz-Brown, Master Drum Artisan & Spiritual Activator

Ian’s writing style keeps one motivated to keep turning the pages wanting to know more. His passion for sharing his insights and growth has no bounds, and triggers others to take action. May all who invest their time absorbing these pages find it in their own hearts to live the example being created within his prose. Ian is the stone being tossed into the waters of life. Let his ripple be felt on all shores.

  • Ute H. Webb

Ian has dedicated his life to engaged Buddhism, leading by example and guiding us to become guardians of the earth, always challenging us to reach beyond our comfort zone. Drawing on his deep respect for the teachings of Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh, his long training as a Shaman, and his years spent as a Yogi in India, his knowledge, wisdom and reflections are timely and ever so pressing. He offers, and is, mindful engagement at its finest. In his brilliant conversation with young James in Chapter One he lays out the path we must choose. Failure to do so is summarized in his excellent Rant from the Future – Chapter Two. Rock on Ian!

  • Wendy Martin PhD

This collection of essays, dharma talks, and stories offers compelling examples of how to respond to the most serious social, economic, environmental and personal challenges of the Twenty-first century: inequality, climate change, addiction, consumerism, depression, violence, abuse.  Through integrating personal narrative with insights from Buddhism, anthropology, psychology, and ecology, Dr. Prattis examines the interdependent nature of the self, society and nature, as well as, the integral relationship between self-transformation and collective healing.   He illustrates how individuals can use mindfulness practice to cultivate awareness, as an ethical framework to guide actions, to create steadiness and equanimity, and to replenish body, mind and spirit.  This book offers effective tools and strategies to help identify and transform the causes, conditions and manifestations of our individual and collective fear, suffering and anger into compassion, courage, healing, awareness and mindful action.

 

 

 

 

Invitation to Our World is Burning.

Invitation

 

As an idealistic teenager, I wanted to save the world. I still do. Over the years though, I discovered I first had to save myself, because I was every bit as screwed up as the world.

Indeed, saving myself and saving the world seems to be the same struggle, because we are all connected, one to another, and the forces that warped me are the same that warp the world. These views-essays form the chapters in this book and come out of my long struggle. Please accept them as a gift; my thoughts on how to transform ourselves and our world. The sixteen views-essays are not candidates for academic bickering or pawns in the intellectual constructions of clever talk.

When a breeze caresses a falling leaf, it is transformed in its descent to earth. Sunlight catches one side then glances off the other as the leaf gently spirals down. The impermanence of this gift of nature is part of what makes it beautiful. Yet, notions of permanence reflect our fear of the unknown and foster the limitations we impose on reality. Impermanence connotes our true nature of interconnectedness with a constantly changing web of life. We are fully alive in our connection to everything else.

The theme of these views-essays is change, cycles of transformation and discovering how we contain everything within ourselves. They rest on the ever-changing cycles that mark our journey in these tumultuous and dangerous times.

The opening piece – Our World Is Burning sets the theme for this book and it focuses heavily on climate change and Mankind’s devastating role in this major issue. Rant From the Future and Chronicles of Awakening draw their inspiration from and are based upon my 2016 book New Planet, New World. Ottawa Independent Writers brought out a unique anthology in 2016. My part in that stellar release is Dawson’s Desert Legacy, and I share those views in an expanded manner via Chapter 14’s viewpoint-essay.

Chapter-essay 4 Punk Palace finds its inspiration via an earlier article published in a different form in The Shambhala Sun (September 2005). I expand upon it in this collection of writings on a wider stage.

Excellent editing by Meghan Negrijn and Michael avie ensured that my essays wove an elegant tapestry about how to manifest mindfulness in our difficult times.

“Our World is Burning: My Views on Mindful Engagement” can now be ordered at: http://ianprattis.com/OurWorldIsBurning.html It examines our fragile future and offers an alternative way of living based on mindful engagement. This book is my life work.

 

Press Release – Our World is Burning.

Our World is Burning: My Views on Mindful Engagement

OTTAWA, ONTARIO – This book examines our fragile future and offers an alternative way of living based on Mindful Engagement. In sixteen essays Ian Prattis offers examples of how to respond to the most serious social, economic, environmental and personal challenges of the Twenty-First century. He advocates mindfulness practice to cultivate awareness as an ethical framework to guide actions, to create steadiness and equanimity, and to replenish body, mind and spirit. This book offers a lightning bolt that will singe incredulity and cynicism. Our World is Burning is Dr. Ian Prattis’ life work.

Anita Rizvi, Therapist

Dr. Ian Prattis, with the vision of a Prophet, the heart of a Buddha and the mind of a master Story Teller, offers a timely gift to humanity, as our collective psyche, reflected in the deterioration of our ecosystem, is poised to burn on the pyre of global consumption. In the midst … a Teacher has come… Now, pick up a copy of Our World is Burning and watch evil leave the room.

Melissa Studdard, Author and Poet
Amidst the fear, greed, and pain of our burning world, there is a cool garden where you can recover hope for posterity and cultivate your best life. Ian Prattis’ words are one of the surest pathways to that garden. Both analytically rigorous and fearlessly honest, this book is a must read for anyone asking, “What can I do?”

Please visit http://ianprattis.com/OurWorldIsBurning.html for more information.

Our World is Burning: My Views on Mindful Engagement by Dr. Ian Prattis

Price: $19.95 CDN – published by Manor House, 192 pages.

ISBN 978-1988058 -24-5

Available at:  http://ianprattis.com/OurWorldIsBurning.html

Soon on Amazon, on Indigo/Chapters (Spring 2018)

About the Author

Ian Prattis, Zen Teacher, Anthropology Professor Emeritus, peace and environmental activist, was born in the UK. He has spent much of his life living and teaching in Canada. His moving and eye-opening books, essays and poetry are a memorable experience for anyone who enjoys reading about primordial tendencies. Beneath the polished urban facade remains a part of human nature that few want to acknowledge, either due to fear or simply because it is easier to deny the basic instincts that have kept us alive on an unforgiving earth. Prattis bravely goes there in his outstanding literary work. A stone tossed into the waters of life.

It Hurts – Tragically Hip

It Hurts – Tragically Hip

It hurts
That the “Man Who Walks Among the Stars”
is now there,
poetic, mystical magician of music.
The collective grief of Canada spills
– almost too much for a country
that loved Gord Downie
yet understood not enough of his intentions.
He celebrated every particle of Canada
inviting us to his death, placing his heart
with indigenous brothers and sisters
– a Secret Path and Chanie Wenjack –
to bring lasting reconciliation to the neglected and abused.
Exposing a deep scar on the nation’s conscience,
In his passing he challenges us still –
His flaming torch will not be doused.
I for one commit to pick up this flame
….will you?……

Image may contain: 1 person, on stage, standing and concert
Honouring Gord DownieLike Page

There will never be another Gord Downie. 

The Solace of Winter.

                The wind from the north soughed softly along the shore but froze any man it gripped. Snow lay in drifts, piled deep to the spine of Mount Doracher. A mire of ice covered the window panes. The cold stole into every door and numbed the hands and minds of those unprepared for it. No winter had been like this. Donald stood by his window and breathed on the window pane to melt the frost. He saw a fringe of ice skirting the bay below his house. There was a stoop to his shoulders and his clothes were unkempt. He lifted his coat and scarf from a chair and put them on. He pushed his bed away from the fire that was now cold. The room was untidy and dirty with newspapers and dishes strewn about the place. Breathing heavily from the cold he lit the fire, humming tonelessly to himself, indifferent to the squalor around him. In this, his sixty-eighth year, he simply did not care. No one came there anymore and he chose not to go anywhere. His face was heavily lined, older than its years. His mouth pursed as he sucked at his teeth waiting for the fire to catch. He grunted in pleasure as the flames grew. He spread his large, weathered hands before him to catch their warmth. He shuffled into the kitchen and coaxed a paraffin burner to life and placed a kettle of water on it to boil. He waited, not even thinking of the day and what he had to do. His responses to the seasons and their demands were automatic and often without thought.

He waited in his freezing kitchen for the boiling kettle, then took his cup and made tea. He collected a large spoon and took a pot of cold stew from the pantry and shuffled back to the fire. He sat on his bed and breakfasted on the cold, greasy lamb stew and left the pot by the fire. He drank slowly from his large cup then prepared for the cold. He lined his boots and socks with newspapers and put a layer between his shirt and jacket, and stepped outside. He gasped as the cold hit him and he made hurriedly to the byre. The animals there shuddered at the raw blast as the door opened but quickly recognized him. His hens boldly gathered about him. He talked to them, reaching to the loft for their feed and water.

He set their feed before them and searched their nesting places in the crannies of the byre for their eggs. They offered large brown eggs to this man with the soft voice and gentle hands. He collected a basketful of eggs before taking hay into his cow. He put the hay in the manger and ran his hand over her back and flanks. She lowed softly and turned to rub her head on his leg before picking at the hay. He cleaned the manure from her stall and put fresh water in the trough. The byre was cleaner than his house and some nights he would sleep there next to the sound and warm smell of his animals. He milked the cow, pressing his face to her flank while his strong fingers drew milk from her swollen udders. He hummed a tune that once he danced to, drawing life and vigour from the company of beasts. He left the cow munching at her hay and placed the two buckets, one with eggs, the other overflowing with milk, on a shelf by the door. Taking a half filled sack of cob nuts he braced himself again for the cold.

He trudged away from the byre, feeling the cold’s bite. He searched for the dozen sheep he still kept, thinking of where they would be sheltering from the snow and cold. He climbed the ridge that separated his house from the rest of the village, noticing clumps of moss underfoot and icicles hanging from fences. He looked down on desolation. No smoke rose from any chimney. Nobody lived there any longer. They had left or died. Fences hung in disrepair and empty houses gave themselves to the ravages of time. He shielded his eyes from the snow’s glare and looked for his sheep. In the distance some four miles away he could make out the thin ribbon of the new road, built to take tourists more rapidly from one end of the island to the other, cutting off his village. But it mattered not. Donald was the only one left in the village. He shunned the company of men, preferring his solitude and isolation. He was warmed only by nature and his animals and had long ceased to think about the world he had turned his back on.

He saw his sheep huddled for warmth in the lee of a deserted croft house and he picked his way through the snow drifts towards them. The wind had dropped and the sweat from his body had turned his layers of newspaper to a spongy mass. He shivered as he threw them away. The sheep had seen him and galloped towards him, some floundering in drifts in their eagerness to reach him. He patiently dug them out and fed them by hand from the sack he carried. He led them to a deserted house and opened the door so that they could shelter there. He counted them. They were all there. He shivered as he sat there pressed against them for warmth. His sack was empty but still his creatures ferreted for more. He laughingly pushed them away and stood up to go. He noticed a change in the sky that heralded more snow and pulled his coat about him a little tighter.

He wondered if the post van would have left his supplies by the road. It came with groceries once a week and the driver would leave a box of bare essentials for the man he rarely saw, taking his dues from the weekly cheque from the district office that he cashed for Donald. The two men would hardly talk on the rare occasions they met but there was a subliminal trust between them. If he did not have money then he would leave a basket of eggs, a shoulder of mutton or a box of filleted fish and the van driver would arrive at an adequate recompense. This primitive form of barter suited both parties. He walked the few remaining miles to the road leaving the sheep in the deserted house. Broken fence frames stuck out from the grip of the snow, wooden sheep pens, broken and derelict, groaned with the ice expanding in their seams. Donald had long ago accepted this neglect and desolation.

He arrived at the road and saw that a cardboard box had been left for him. He opened it and examined every article before putting them in his sack. Flour, butter, sugar, tea, nails and cartridges. And a large pot of home-made jam. He smiled at this and muttered to himself, “Nice man that driver, must leave a lobster for him one of these days.” He transferred the sack to his back and walked hurriedly to his croft. Already the day’s light was disappearing. It began to snow as he walked half frozen the five miles to where he remained the sole human survivor. His hands and feet were numb and his eyes staring as he gulped great breaths of air into his lungs on his steady trudge home. He reached his door and fumbled with useless fingers at the latch until it yielded to admit him.

His fire was all but out though he had banked it with slow-burning peats. It had taken him longer to struggle to the road and back than he had anticipated. He took paper and thrust it under a still smouldering peat. His hands could not grip his box of matches and while he tried again and again to take a match between his fingers the paper took flame from the peat. Gratefully he bent to it, placing small sticks round the flame, building it up to take peats that were stacked by the fire. The warmth shot through his hands like a pain as the cold thawed from him. He shuddered at the sensations in his body but did not move away until the flames cast their warmth to the room. He hung the pot of cold stew on a hook above the fire and added flour and salt to his greasy mixture.

While it cooked he went outside again, to the byre, to feed his animals and bring back the eggs and milk. He was tired. The cold had drained and sapped him. It was with relief that he finally closed his door for the night, stuffing paper and rags into the gaps through which winter’s fingers would poke. An involuntary shiver passed through him as he sat on his bed before the fire. His stew boiled and he ate ravenously, spooning it straight from the pot to his mouth, soaking lumps of bread into the gravy and eating them with his fingers. He carried the empty pot to the kitchen and took a long drink from the bucket of milk. It left a white stain around his lips which he wiped with his sleeve. He belched in satisfaction and wearily returned to the warmth. As the fire continued to burn he lay fully clothed on the bed and pulled the heavy blankets over him. He slept the dreamless sleep of the weary.

The winter seemed to never end. Donald was desperate for the spring to come. He needed the signs of continuity and life to guide him on his own peculiar struggle for survival. He had forgotten why he had become so separate from friends and family, if indeed any decision had consciously been made. He had clung to his father’s barren farm, to the hills and his animals and they had nurtured him in a way that human company could not. He was not unhappy, neither was he happy — he was simply content to survive.

“Letter for you.”

Donald was standing by the road basking in the first signs of spring as the van driver pulled up. The driver climbed out of the van with a sack of provisions under one arm and a letter clutched in his other hand. The deep cold of winter had thawed, allowing the first daffodils to poke their heads above ground with their dormant yellow splendour. The thaw had not penetrated Donald. He stood uneasily in the spring sunshine, staring at the letter held out to him. He slowly took the envelope and a faint uneasy memory stirred in him as he recognized the writing.

“I believe it’s from your sister,” said the van driver.

He nodded in agreement and stood still for a moment as he wondered why she would write to him. He stuffed it into his pocket and collected his sack of provisions, then without a word walked away from the van. The driver shook his head slowly at Donald’s retreating back and got out to collect the bucket of eggs left there for him. Behind the bucket was a large lobster. Its claws were bound and the antennae on its head moved slowly when he picked it up. The driver again shook his head at the strangeness of the man he would have liked to know better.

There was turmoil in Donald’s mind as he walked to his desolate home. Moira, his sister, thirty years or more since he had seen her. The letter remained unread for several days, sitting underneath a cup on the mantelpiece with other letters he had received through the years and had never opened. He went about his daily round with his animals and his lobster traps, taking care of the creatures that sustained him. He caught the changing tide in a small rowing boat he had salvaged. He carefully placed several traps by a rock skerrie where he knew the first lobsters of spring would be hiding. But the letter from Moira kept drifting into his mind. It lay neglected on the mantle until he could stand it no longer and hurried home from the oar he was mending and he took the letter down. He opened it and read what Moira had to say, admiring the roundness of her script. She had been to the island several times but could never bring herself to cross the gulf that now separated them. She had seen him from the road last summer.

“So that was the well-dressed body who stared at me so long,” mused Donald.

She wanted to see him. She was widowed. She would come in the late Autumn. She did not expect that he would meet her at the ferry.

“No I wouldn’t do that, right enough,” he muttered to himself. She would make her own way.

He read the letter several times before placing it back underneath the cup. He rubbed his hand over the stubble on his chin.

“I must shave for when she comes, aye and clean this place up.”

He glanced round at the midden he inhabited and smiled ruefully to himself. He liked his walls and took comfort from the simple homeliness of the clutter. He talked and chuckled to himself as he imposed a certain tidiness and cleanliness to his home. All for his sister’s visit, late in Autumn. He was harvesting his main crop of potatoes when he saw her walk from a car that stopped at the road. He went to meet her and greeted her shyly, unsure of what to say to his sister. He admired the cut of her expensive suit and sensible walking shoes and guided her along the path to the house where they had both been children. They talked easily about their lives and different fortunes, letting the other only glimpse the surface and not the depths. Donald had not talked for such length in a decade and was mildly exhilarated at using vocabulary long neglected. He noted that time had not been kind to Moira. Her face was drawn and he saw bitterness in her gaunt eyes that did not reflect the dignity and grace of her expensive clothes.

He led her through the door of the house. There was a large bucket of marsh flowers by the fireplace. He had picked them that morning from the marsh, remembering her love for them. He had rearranged the house so that its comfort would welcome a visitor. Moira looked around and wrinkled her nose in distaste.

“The same old sticks and ugly furniture. How can you live with it still Donald?”

His heart sank with disappointment.

“It suits me well enough for what I want.”

“That is quite evident.” She answered waspishly. Her own house in a fashionable area of Glasgow was polished and gleaming, expensive and cold. Correct for mid-day bridge with her ladies’ committees. A burnished reflection of the constant show to paper over the void of life that she had never lived. Her escape from the poverty of her island life had not provided freedom from her bitterness.

She couldn’t help but to walk round the room and into the kitchen, inspecting the carpets, chairs and ragged curtains.

“You should get rid of all this. I’ll send you what you need from Glasgow. Don’t worry, I’ll pay. The least I can do for my neglect of you.”

Donald was stunned and stood in helpless silence at his sister’s verbal destruction of things that satisfied him.

“Is that all you can see, Moira?” he said gently. “These sticks you despise are just simple parts of what I have here. I’m content with them. If they offend you, look not at them. Did you see the irises I picked for you this morning? In the bucket there. You used to like them.”

She turned and looked at his gesture and felt the mildness of his soft rebuke. She bit her lips and tried to control the mounting venom that came to her tongue. How dare he live in this simplicity? Who was he to turn his back on the world and live just as he pleased?

“Why do you stay here, cut off from everything?” She blurted out.

He shrugged and took his time to answer. “I don’t really know why, it just seemed to happen that way.” He answered simply. His mildness and gentleness were a spur to Moira’s deep well of bitterness.

“I’ll tell you why,” she snapped ” You’re hiding here in this hovel. You could never leave this island because deep down you’re a total failure.” She paused for breath unable to stop the bitterness she felt. “Out there is a world that takes guts and backbone. You-you’re spineless.” She stopped for a moment at the look of amazement on her brother’s face. “You could have been the best fisherman in the Minch, yes and a writer too. But look at you. Secluded here with your sheep subsidies and quiet. You would be exposed anywhere else for what you are. A failure. That’s what keeps you and everybody else here on this island.” She finished with a sharp edge to her words, intended to cut her brother.

Slowly Donald understood the well of bitterness that his sister drew from. With quiet composure he spoke. “If that is so, then why must you come back to reveal this truth to me, Moira? Why do you think you have to make sure I understand why I am here?” At her silence he continued. “I’ll tell you why. There’s a simplicity here that offends you, that reminds you of where you came from, an honesty before God that you fear to recognize. This is a rebuke to the empty round of shallow stagings you fill your life with. That’s why you come back to this island. To fill your emptiness, to scoff at simplicity, while you snatch at it for yourself.”

The colour mounted on Moira’s cheeks as his voice grew more insistent.

“There’s a reminder here, of what you once were and could have been and that’s too much for a creature like you to accept. You chose your life, ashamed of us here but you know full well where the balance of truth lies.”

There was a hushed silence filled only with their emotion and strain. They were both right. They faced one another across the kitchen table, the same one they had cracked crab claws on when they were children. The fury and shock of their words made them tremble. Moira’s lips quivered as she choked off a retort and hurriedly she turned away from Donald’s piercing eyes and words. He let out a long breath and stepped to Moira’s side and put his hand on her arm. “What are we saying to one another Moira? Thirty years and all we do is hurt? We’ve learned very little then. Come and walk to the shore with me and let the autumn breeze take the evil from our tongues.”

Moira nodded through her trembling and reluctantly followed her brother. They walked slowly and Moira slipped her hand through his arm. He pointed out things to her – gently reminding her of what she had come from. Easing her mind with stories of the sheep running away with the washing and rabbiting with their brother Angus. They stood by the shore. Two figures in middle age briefly united in a semblance of peace.

“Well Moira, I may be a bit of a failure in some eyes.”

“No, no Donald please let me take back my words I didn’t mean to……”

“You can have back the pain, my sister, but not the words. There’s some truth in them. But realize that here in a terrible fashion to you and others I at least survive in the shadow of truth and eternity. Derelict and simpleton that I appear, I might just understand a little of the way of things.”

They stood in silence for a long time, tired and spent from their emotion. He walked with her to the road where her car was parked. They were at last strangely comfortable with one another.

“I’ve a favour to ask of you.”

He stopped and listened.

“My youngest son is with me on the island.” There was a note of distaste in her voice that puzzled him. “He’s a businessman and has bought the schoolhouse at the head of the next bay to you. He wants to set up a shellfish factory and needs a site and a deep water landing stage for fishing boats. It would bring business and employment to the island.”

She finished feebly.

Donald looked at her sharply. The only location for such an access was on his farm, the north side of the bay below his house. There the rock plunged vertically into the sea, a natural anchorage for fishing vessels, a haven yet for cormorants and guillemots.

“No, that’s not why I came to see you,” she said hastily at his continued silence. “I came to see you for myself, but will you meet with him?’

Donald nodded and she quickly got into her car, relieved that she had accomplished her purpose. She drove away from everything she feared to be reminded of.

The smells and sounds of morning pleased Donald as he sat in the sun by his house the next day. He was cleaning his shotgun. He cocked his head to listen to the different songs of birds long awake, resting the gun across his knees. He saw lapwings soaring almost vertically to catch flying insects and high above a majestic eagle circling slowly in a sky so clear and blue. He drew breath at the scent of marsh and pasture that drifted towards him. He never ceased to wonder at the regeneration the seasons were capable of. He smiled to himself as he continued to clean his gun, thinking of the mountain hares he must outwit that day. A man, about thirty years of age, approached the house. Donald had seen him for the last mile of his long walk from the new road. As the man came nearer he noticed the smart blue city suit and the small green yachting boots that kept the trouser cuffs from the grass and mud. The man was sweating heavily in the morning sun, his collar tight about his throat. He was heavily set and his breath wheezed harshly as he came to a halt in front of him. Donald inspected him more closely, noting the sleeked back hair, the carefully clipped moustache, and the shrewd, sharp eyes that lurked behind hooded lids.

“I’m your sister’s son, John Menzie is my name.” The voice was soft, melodious and manipulative. It took Donald by surprise. No, this could not be Moira’s son.

“Well, I’m her stepson, Moira never had children of her own.”

So that’s it, I was right not to recognize him as spawned from Moira. Donald pondered in silence at the soft and charming voice that he was not in the least taken in by. He shook John Menzie’s hand and exchanged easy pleasantries about the weather and crops and his sister Moira. He recoiled a little at the smoothness of the man, but nothing showed in his soft blue eyes or mild expression. He listened as his sister’s stepson carefully led up to his business.

It was explained to him why the access through his croft was so important to John Menzie’s business venture. He allowed the music of the man’s voice to continue without his full attention. He patiently listened to the economics of shell fishing, the employment it would bring and the new life and prosperity it would promise. Menzie had already established small ventures on the island that tied in to his mainland business.

“Will it be your money that will pay for all this?” Donald asked.

“Not exactly,” a quick frown wrinkled Menzie’s forehead. “There’s government grants and employment grants for starting something new in an area like this. It just needs someone like me to start it. With present prices for shellfish, a factory here couldn’t fail. There’ll be quite a bit of my own money as well, but most of it will be from the government.” He grinned in an assumed compliance.

“It’s time something was put back into these islands. Well, shall we walk over to where the site would be and I’ll show you what I have in mind?” Donald reluctantly complied. Menzies seemed not to notice his reticence as he talked of book keeping procedures that would bring in the most profit, the money in it for Donald and the good it would do for the island community.

At the other side of the bay John Menzie paced out the factory’s location, how simple and quick then to transfer the fish from a jetty that would abutt the natural landing stage. He was thorough and persuasive and Callum Mor admired his skill. But it was only with half an ear that he listened. He heard the wash of the sea on the rocks and looked at the welter of flowers about him, whose regimes changed with every month. He was no longer attentive to the words of the young man. His mind was open to a different reality. They walked back from the bay. Menzie felt pleased, mistaking reticence for acceptance.

“You’ll think it over? There’ll be quite a pocket full of money for you if this goes through.”

“Oh, I don’t think that’s at all necessary.”

“This is business, you know,” Menzie smiled expansively.

“You do not understand me Mr. Menzie, I do not wish my pockets to be full.” They were back by the house.

“There will not be any jetty on my land for your factory.”

John Menzie stood in silence, but only for a moment.

“Why not?” There was no melody in the voice now, just a controlled harshness. Donald took his time, picking up his shotgun to resume its cleaning.

“There may be a lot you think I don’t understand but this much I do know. You will no doubt be here to receive the government’s bounty in the name of helping this island. But I will not expect you to be here the moment there is a draw on your own finances.” He looked shrewdly at the young man whose face was reddening with anger. “Dreams will be raised, there’ll be a brief life for a few families but you will leave richer and it will be this island that will remain poor. It is better that the flowers and gulls maintain their ascendancy on that bit of my land. They have more respect for it than you.”

A mixture of emotion struggled for expression in John Menzie’s face. He burst out angrily “You bloody old fool. Do you think you can hold back progress?”

Donald smiled at him and said slowly “I think I may be just doing that very thing.” “You’ll not stop me, there are other places and other people who can use money,” Menzie snarled.

Donald calmly indicated with the gun barrel that the conversation was over. Menzie stood for only a moment before striding swiftly away, his green yachting boots brought a smile of amusement as Donald lifted the gun. A blast from the shotgun roared over the morning’s stillness. Menzie threw himself to the ground and rolled into a ditch, and frantically searched himself for pellet wounds. There were none. Slowly he drew himself erect and looked back to where the old man stood with the shotgun in his hands. Donald pointed to the hare that lay twitching in its death throes not thirty yards from the ditch that harboured Menzie.

“It’s a terrible mess you’re making of your fine suit, Mr. Menzie,” he called.

Menzie noticed the green slime on his shoulder and mud on his knees and in fury strode to the already dead hare and was due to kick it until he noticed the shotgun aimed casually in his direction. He spun on his heel and quickened his step. Every time he turned to look over his shoulder he would see the old man stalking him, keeping an easy pace with him. Twice more the shotgun roared, and twice more did John Menzie throw himself to the ground only to have yet another dead hare pointed out to him.

He reached the road and panting in fury and hysteria. Moira was there with the car. She had watched her stepson set the hares coursing for her brother’s gun and relished that her arrogant stepson should be reduced to a frustrated sobbing. He climbed into the seat beside her, struggling for control. She sat silent, coolly smoking a cigarette. She did not offer him one but waited for her brother to walk to the car. He came slowly with the shotgun in the crook of his arm and stood by her window.

“It’s a fine day Moira.”

“Not if you are a hare or a businessman, surely.”

He chuckled softly at her humour.

“Here’s something for your dinner.”

“It’s a good day for shooting, Donald.”

“It is at that.”

They enjoyed an almost private amusement, ignoring the man staring fixedly through the windscreen. Moira exulted in her brother’s surprising invincibility and accepted the hares he held out to her. She smiled openly at him, her brother, without guile or bitterness tracing her features. “Thank you Donald and God’s blessings with you.”

“And with you Moira.”

She drove away. He knew he would not see her again but rejoiced that they could give God’s blessing to one another. Donald glanced at the darkening autumn sky and knew there would soon be a first snow on Mount Doracher. He smiled to himself and returned to his solitude and isolation, relieved once more to shun the company of his fellow men.

 

 

REVIEWS OF NEW PLANET, NEW WORLD

This futuristic finale of a trilogy stands on award winning books – Redemption and Trailing Sky Six Feathers. Buy a copy ($24.95) and receive the two prior books for FREE. Order through: http://ianprattis.com/NewPlanet.html   

Also on Amazon, Indigo, Barnes & Noble.

  • Virginia Minchkin, Poet:

This work is exquisite – the colors, movement, confusion, overlap, confrontation… visceral interpretation of connectedness… these are the words ‘New Planet, New World’ bring up for me. …the last book in a trilogy, bringing the vibrancy, violence, cataclysms, and expansive growth of the characters’ experiences on different planets, back full circle to share in the humanity of hope for us all!

  • Joslyn Wolfe, Editor: Focus on Women Magazine:

Ian Prattis has been gifted with the ability to move, encourage and inspire others through his books.  He writes about ethics, religion, personal experiences, spirituality, transformation and excels at the task. It is time to celebrate his many accomplishments with this recent literary masterpiece.

  • Maggie McLeod, Artist:

I am deeply honoured to see part of this journey…What Ian Prattis has already done for this world and what he continues to do with this book provides a sense of relief and gratitude not only to me but for anyone who turns the pages of this epic work.

  • Camila Reimers, Chilean-Canadian author:

Ian Prattis is a master storyteller. His writing style reminds me of Magical Realism used in Latino American literature, where there is magic in the rational world and there is no lineal time, the characters live in a circle where past, present and future happen simultaneously. At this time of turmoil the message of hope that Ian has to offer is very much needed by new and old generations.

  • John Lundin, author of The New Mandala – Eastern Wisdom for Western Living, written with the Dalai Lama, and Journey to the Heart of the World, written with the indigenous elders of la Sierra Nevada in Colombia.

In his new book, New Planet, New World, author Ian Prattis shares a compelling futuristic Hero’s Journey of hope for humanity.  And he offers an age-old prescription for bringing about the realization of that hope: the cultivation of love, the mainspring for authentic and responsible living, as taught by the elders of all spiritual cultures throughout history. This book is a wisdom teaching of its own, with the past informing a hope for the future.

  • Rabia Wilcox, Counsellor:

Ian Prattis has created a magnificent journey through time and space – dimensions too – in sacred ways of honouring all peoples, their ancestors, future generations and the kindly power of Nature. The acts of generosity, the authentic responsibility explored and experienced throughout this book nourishes my body, mind and spirit.

  • Anita Rizvi, Therapist:

“New Planet, New World” is a powerful novel which explores an alternative to the destructive path civilisation is presently on. The intricacy of many themes keeps the reader engaged with brilliant writing that is exciting, tender, engaging and thoughtful. The underlying message is the fostering of love as the basic philosophy for the future. Most arresting is the fiery rant by Dr. Tom Hagen at the UN in 2080 addressing the stubborn refusal of governments and corporations immersed in the oil/carbon complex to take heed. The relationship between Catriona and Rising Moon is particularly moving.  We observe two young women from different worlds coming together to create a haven for young people, placing their safety above ego fostering. Through these characters, we consider how any two nations can apply similar principles while civilisation still has the chance. The battle with jihadists is riveting and difficult to bear, but even here compassion prevails.

This futuristic novel combines science with Pope Francis’ Encyclical and strong warnings regarding the disregard by carbon cabal leaders. Tolstoy’s assertion of love as the basis for proper living pulsates as an undercurrent throughout each chapter. Dr. Prattis succeeds in offering us a gift of hope in troubled times via the presentation of a new way of living based on ecology, respect and compassion. “New Planet, New World” not only is one of the most important books of 2016; it is a wake-up call for all of humanity. Ian Prattis’ writing moves me… a visionary sent from God to our troubled world.

Dear Ian, I thought the first book introducing Callum Mor in “Redemption” was the best but oh, how I was wrong… I am in absolute bliss reading New Planet New World…it’s hard to explain how it feels to read your work… It is like God’s energy is moving through each word. I cried so much at Catriona’s meeting with Rising Moon…it is one thing to know the general summary of this book, it is quite another to read it…Thank you for being a gift of light to our world, dear friend!

Anita

 

  • Lynn Ross Adamson-Malelli, photographer:

In this original and surprising plot twist, the final book of this trilogy leaps into the near future. This future does not exist as a separate chronological entity, it is simply part of the eternal ‘now’, the ‘now’ that requires mindfulness. We learn through the twists and turns of the individual stories that the spirit of this Mother Earth is in all of us, at all times, wherever we are in the universe. The trilogy as a whole guides us from one man’s macrocosm, through the connectedness of spirit throughout time and out into the expanse of the universal macrocosm.

 

  • Eleanor Aronoff, Reiki Master

The stories in the trilogy are diverse and very human tales that touch deeply into the emotional heart.  The beautiful and evocative writing brilliantly weaves the stories together, carrying us along as we evolve with the author, learning what it truly means to be human.  This final book completes the journey that has taken us across great distances of time and space while also keeping us rooted firmly in our hearts.  I highly recommend New Planet, New World.  Not only is it an inspirational and heartfelt story, it is a magnificent adventure to savour and enjoy.

  • Allan Green, Spiritual Facilitator

This book celebrates one of the great visionaries of our times.