Tag Archives: Truth

Trailing Sky Six Feathers: One Man’s Journey with His Muse

Excerpt from Chapter 3

 

The landscape they traveled through that night had a rare beauty and stillness. It felt as though time itself had stopped. A portent of things to come, a foreboding rebuke to the crisis they already knew they were to face together. By daybreak they found Eagle Speaker, near to death with fever and very cold underneath the weeping willow tree, whose branches touched lightly onto the river’s surface. Trailing Sky knew what to do with the fever to prevent it penetrating her and The People. She asked Rising Moon to fetch water from the river so her medicines could be prepared. She noticed that there was an ancient medicine wheel on a high bluff overlooking the canyon to the east and knew instantly that this was where she must take him. Help was immediately at hand as the Clan Chiefs with twenty warriors arrived.

 

They had carefully followed the tracks left by the three women. Trailing Sky asked the Clan Chiefs to carry her husband to the medicine wheel on a hastily built carrying frame. That was the place where she could summon the Sky People to help her. The Clan Chiefs gently laid the frame down in the medicine wheel so that Eagle Speaker’s head was in the west, his heart in the centre and his feet pointing to the eastern door of the medicine wheel. The eastern door was where the Sky People could enter. Yet Trailing Sky knew by this time that even her medicine powers were insufficient.

 

She called in the Sky People to save her husband, as they had long been her mentors in medicine power. They came as requested. Their light could be seen along the canyon to the east and it spread up to the medicine wheel into which Eagle Speaker had been placed. But Eagle Speaker was too far gone for even their extraordinary powers. Trailing Sky felt a momentary rush of rage at the inability of the Sky People to help her save Eagle Speaker. But she knew that her rage was a product of her grief and deep sorrow. She abandoned it immediately, requesting the Sky People to help her through the ordeal of her husband’s death that she was facing. She then lit four fires of sacred herbs within each quadrant of the medicine wheel to purify him for his journey across time and space. With some water from the river, brought up by Rising Moon, she held his head so he could drink it. Eagle Speaker came back to her for a moment and smiled. A beautiful smile that enveloped her with so much love that Trailing Sky almost broke down completely. She instantly remembered their first meeting – the silent young man offering her a bundle of feathers at a trading parley between her people and Eagle Speaker’s people. He did not speak and did not smile on that occasion – yet here he was dying in her arms with a smile of such gratitude and beauty.

 

It was almost too much for her and she had to hang on grimly to what she knew as a medicine woman and what she now had to do. Eagle Speaker knew it was his time and had no fear, just as his grandfather had known at his time of death. Eagle Speaker felt all the joy from the life he had spent with her. Trailing Sky’s heart was breaking, for she did not want to let him go. Yet the depth of wisdom within her knew that she could not keep him any longer. The grief and deep sorrow abated as Trailing Sky summoned all her internal strength and love to assist the journey from his body across time and space. She beseeched the Sky People to enable her to stay steady and for Eagle Speaker to journey safely.

 

By this time family groups from the village had arrived until there was over one thousand of The People gathered where their leader now lay in the centre of the medicine wheel. The Clan Chiefs had alerted all the families and they came en masse. The families were quiet, knowing that this was not a usual death, but something very different. The Clan Chiefs stood in silence round the medicine wheel. They were instilled with Trailing Sky’s calm and fortitude. Only she knew of her inward struggle and sorrow. She surmounted both successfully and then began to chant the sacred songs of her people. Trailing Sky knew not to vent her grief at this moment of Eagle Speaker’s traversing. As she sang, Eagle Speaker looked up at her with amazement as he had done so often before during their life together. Just before he drew his last breath, she cradled his head in her arms, leaned over and whispered softly in his ear, so that no-one would hear her:

“I will find you, my husband. I will find you”

 

She asked the Clan Chiefs to build a platform for Eagle Speaker, so that his body could be offered to the elements. The burial platform was constructed swiftly with vines strung across to carry the weight of Eagle Speaker’s body and the weight of their collective grief. The platform was placed next to the medicine wheel on the West side. Very tenderly the Clan Chiefs carried Eagle Speaker’s body to the platform that they had erected. The outline against the sky was stark at the top of the high bluff above the weeping willow tree and river, with the dark canyon stretching to the east. The fingers of the dawn had drawn daylight awake so everyone could see. The medicine women had strung vines of forest flowers, herbs and grasses around the four strong posts. She placed her medicine pouch in his hands clasped in front of his body, so that he would have sustenance for his next journey.

 

Then she stood in front of the funeral place of her husband and faced The People. She stood tall and magnificent before the thousand members of The People who had followed the path to this moment. She was calm and serene. All those gathered sensed her extraordinary medicine power. In a steady measure she began to chant the life story of her beloved Eagle Speaker. Her voice was strong and melodious and it carried directly to every listener. The People swayed backwards and forwards in a spontaneous dance that had its own unison. They clasped arms around shoulders that shook with grief as they danced forward and backward to the mesmerizing chant Trailing Sky offered to them. She chanted the circumstances of Eagle Speaker’s birth and his naming after the great eagle by his grandfather. Her voice carried the story of Eagle Speaker’s training with his grandfather in the mountains, desert and forests of their region and how Eagle Speaker came to live his life as constant prayer. She sang blessings for his mother and father and for all who nurtured him. She sang the story of her first meeting with this handsome young man who moved with the grace of a mountain lion, of how he named her with his gift of six feathers, of how their eyes had connected that first time as if drawn together by the threads of time.

 

Strong warriors bowed their heads and wept openly as her vibrant voice shook everyone to their core. Other warriors fell to their knees, overwhelmed by the burden of loss. The People were then uplifted from their sorrow when the chant from Trailing Sky carried everyone to remember all that Eagle Speaker had put in place for The People and the legacy left that they must cherish and build on. She sang his wisdom and patience that wove a tapestry of co- operation between clans and peoples. Then Trailing Sky’s voice fell silent for a moment. After a time that stretched painfully into infinity she announced to all with a voice that now had a deeper timbre and a source of power they were not expecting:

 

“I am Trailing Sky Six Feathers. I ask you all to be a witness of my last words to my husband, Eagle Speaker, before he died in this medicine wheel on the high bluff above the river.” It was as though every one of The People took a deep breath at the same time, waiting for Trailing Sky’s next words:

“As he smiled to me and took his last breath, I said to Eagle Speaker – I will find you my husband, I will find you.”

 

The ensuing silence cut through everyone’s tension, fear and grief. The words, now voiced by Trailing Sky for The People, was taken by a whisper of wind into every heart. The trees heard her words and told the animals and birds. The clouds heard her words and extended them to the Sky People. Across the forests, grasslands and mountains – her words echoed, growing stronger and more penetrating so that the universe itself paused to listen.

 

http://www.ianprattis.com/TrailingSky.html

 

 

 

Book Signing at Singing Pebble, Ottawa, Jan 18, 11am – 2pm. 206 Main Street.

Shattered Earth: Approaching Extinction, Book signing with Dr. Ian Prattis Saturday January 18th, Singing Pebble Books, 206 Main St, Ottawa, Canada, 11:00 am – 2:00 pm

Singing Pebble Books in their January 2020 Newsletter had this to say from the Foreword by Michael B. Davie, Publisher.

“Author Dr. Ian Prattis opens Shattered Earth in the not too distant future with a futuristic analysis of Climate Change and “the inevitable fate provided by the suicide pact engineered by corrupt corporations for most of humanity.” From there, the award-winning writer examines destructive environmental trends and practices and explores ways to protect and preserve planet Earth.

Dr. Prattis employs a skillful blending of fiction, non-fiction and biographical narratives to effectively convey his message in a thought-provoking, reader-engaging manner. Shattered Earth provides both a big-picture look at our planet’s environment in crisis along with a more individualistic-personal perspective, evident in his own experiences shared throughout this book.

Shattered Earth is a joy to read with an underlying message that we need to treat ourselves, our neighbours and our planet with much more care and concern – if you weren’t an environmentalist on starting this book, you will be by the time you finish reading it. ”

  • If you are in the Ottawa area, Canada, would you be so kind as to post this blog to your friends and networks. Thank you so much. Ian

You can use the URL below to get further info and a FREE bonus of a prior book or CD with every purchase of Shattered Earth: Approaching Extinction. 

Go to the Order book Tag.

http://ianprattis.com/ShatteredEarth.html

 

Ecocide -THE MESSAGE TO CONVEY

Excerpts from – http://ianprattis.com/ShatteredEarth.html

Many years ago (2005) I published Failsafe: Saving the Earth from Ourselves. I wrote about homo sapiens as perhaps a Failed Genetic Experiment. I delivered the content of this book to students at Carleton University in a television course on Ecology and Culture. Half way through the course I remembered stopping – I looked out at the young people and offered an apology to them – that my generation had not left them with a healthy planet.

Four books later I released Our World is Burning: My Views on Mindful Engagement in 2017. In 16 essays I offered examples of how to respond to the most serious social, economic, environmental and personal challenges of the 21st century in order to become better stewards of the earth and society. Melissa Studdard, Author and Poet stated “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?

My books reinforce the attempt to change the state of our world – only things have got so much worse since my initial apology. To blaze through the fog I went over to the dark side with my latest book “Shattered Earth: Approaching Extinction.”  A brilliant reviewer of this book remarked at the end of her testimonial – “This book is dark. It is bone chilling. It is captivating.” That is a good description! Jana Begovic had this to say; Dr. Prattis is a recipient and bearer of the ancestral wisdom, He shines the light on what is important for our survival, and that of the generations to come, on the urgency with which we ought to act while there is still a glimmer of hope left before it is too late. If humankind wants to survive, it needs to unite in this very late hour, and attempt to reverse the human greed, callousness and cruelty inflicted upon Earth. The powerful, sobering and timely message of this book should be shared far and wide.

This year (2019) I participated in the Climate Strikes on Parliament Hill in Ottawa. It was quite emotional for me to see thousands of children shouting out for politicians to get behind the science. On the Hill I mused on my book Failsafe: Saving the Earth from Ourselves, published much earlier. I do remember apologizing to my students at Carleton University – that my generation had not left a healthy planet for them. I recalled that apology at the Climate Strike, when surrounded by thousands of magnificent children. I was in admiration of their strike, yet emotional and sad that Earth matters had not changed for the better. I noticed that I was not the only grandparent who cried a bit. I was also thinking about the completion of my new book – Shattered Earth: Approaching Extinction – and decided to dedicate it to the brave children of our world. I was saddened by the COP25 in Madrid where the fossil fuel industry stalked like predators over governments and premiers. Their world-wide stomping was also directed to the brave protests from children. The protests have to continue. Every legal action must now be taken up to drive the oil executives and their government lackeys to change or occupy a jail cell.

Ten years ago a brilliant pushback to climate denial was made by Polly Higgins, a barrister in Britain. She created a campaign to criminalize “ecocide” – whereby environmental damage would be a global crime. This was aimed at the destruction of ecosystems by the carbon cabal and their political lackeys. The legal instrument of “ecocide” has yet to be adopted, though her idea has garnered world-wide momentum to hold corporate executives and governments liable for the damage they do to ecosystems and humanity. The Marshall Islands and Maldives have brought similar legal requests to the UN about their dire situation of rising sea levels.

The legal work of the ecocide movement operates as a counterpart to the mobilization of Extinction Rebellion (XR) and Greta Thunberg’s Global Youth Strike for Climate. The organizations are highly complementary and combine as strong grassroots movements demanding specific legal changes to protect the Earth for future generations of all species.

Unfortunately, Polly Higgins died from cancer in April 2019. Her strong belief was that such a law would change the world. Her work continues with a vast legal team in many countries. Her everlasting quip will never be forgotten:

“I have a choice to protect our Earth, or let it be destroyed.”

These are the stakes we all face.

http://ianprattis.com/ShatteredEarth.html

 

 

This Brings Me To a 2050 Scenario

A harrowing scenario emerged in May 2019 from the Breakthrough National Centre for Climate Restoration in Australia, written by David Spratt, Research Director and Ian Dunlop, Club of Rome. Retired Admiral Chris Barrie, who introduces the work, quotes Professor Steffan:

“It’s not a technological or a scientific problem – it is a question of humanity’s socio-political values. We need a social tipping point that flips our thinking before we reach a tipping point in the climate system.”

The authors take a harder look at Climate Crisis than their scientific colleagues in the UN and Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. They state emphatically that the existing climate science projections and policy making are too conservative. Instead they explore a 2050 scenario of extreme severity, and show that accelerating climate impacts pose very large negative consequences for humanity. In a succession of scenarios from 2020 – 2050, the authors lay out a disturbing vision of human life becoming extinct in a horrible manner.

They predict that between 2020 – 2030 there is abject failure to act on the evidence. Keeping global warming below a further 2 degrees centigrade is ignored and locks in at 3 degrees of global warming. The global heat wave in the summer of 2019 has already increased warming and the lock in of 3 degrees looms closer. From 2030 onwards carbon-cycle feedbacks are beyond predictions so that by 2050 the “hothouse Earth” scenario is realized. The interaction of carbon system feedbacks drive the Earth System Climate so that further warming becomes self-sustaining. The jet stream is destabilized, ecosystems collapse and there is nowhere for relocating billions of people. The sheer scale of predicted destruction is beyond any capacity to model. Outright chaos is all that remains due to catastrophic climate emergencies from 2020 – 2050.

Their bottom line is that a zero-emissions industrial system must be built immediately. And this requires a global use of resources akin to a wartime level of response – something like the Marshall Plan after World War 11 or even a global Green New Deal. Both options are not enough, as they ignite severe political partisanship around the world. Climate science has shown that current projections will likely bring about a further 3 degrees Celsius – a catastrophic explosion across the globe. Without radical change, Spratt and Dunlop’s scenario is a glimpse of outright chaos creating the end of human civilization and modern society. Naomi Klein argues in her 2019 book – “On Fire” – that something like a Green New Deal is a radical change that could transform our economies to meet the Paris Accord protocols.

To conclude – we have a decade to change the present predictions.

http://ianprattis.com/ShatteredEarth.html

 

48 Minute Interview about “Shattered Earth: Approaching Extinction”

I enjoyed the depth of this interview with Robert Sharpe. The conversation rested on specific questions.

  1. YOUR NEW BOOK “SHATTERED EARTH: APPROACHING EXTINCTION” INVOKES AN ALERT. IS THE EARTH OR OUR WORLD COMING TO AN END?
  1. WHAT IS THE MESSAGE YOU ARE TRYING TO CONVEY TO YOUR READERS?
  2. WHAT CAN WE DO TO AVOID IT?
  3. WHAT MEASURES CAN WE TAKE NOW?
  4. IS IT AN INDIVIDUAL THING OR A GOVERNMENT THING?
  5. COLLECTIVELY WHAT CAN WE DO?
  6. AS INDIVIDUALS WHAT CAN WE DO ABOUT CLIMATE CRISIS?
  7. WHAT IS THE 2050 SCENARIO?
  8. WHAT IS SIGNIFICANT ABOUT ANCIENT WISDOM AND INDIGENOUS WAYS?

Listen here to the conversation: https://www.blogtalkradio.com/biteradiome/2019/12/05/shattered-earth-approaching-extinction-with-dr-ian-prattis

 

Should the interview catch your interest, take a look at the Cover, Overview, Foreword, Testimonials, Q&A, and Order of the book – go to the URL on my website – http://ianprattis.com/ShatteredEarth.html

The ORDER tab takes you to Amazon (soon to Indigo), and to the Author’s stack of books. Using the latter option you can buy an autographed book that comes with a bonus – a FREE prior book as a thank you.

KEY WORDS: “Visionary, Mindfulness, Sustainability, Guidance, Gaia, Eco-dharma, New Paradigms, Authentic, Ethical Framework, Analytically Rigorous, Spiritual Warrior, Hero’s Journey, Community Activism, Futuristic, Climate Emergency, Extinction Rebellion, Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Marshall Plan, Political Leaders, Impermanence, Extinction, Darkness, Awakening, Ancient Wisdom, Climate Strike, Eco-cide, Abrasive, Wisdom, Truth, Demise, Reverence, Brilliant, Lotus Revolution, Sixth Sun, Grounded-ness, Bone-chilling, Captivating.

 

Impermanence and Extinction

The point of meditation is to grasp our true nature and accept the inevitability of change. It is impermanence that enables composure in the face of the difficult possibility of Extinction. The Buddha was very clear about “Impermanence.” His teachings on this foundation spur a radical change. The 12th century Japanese Zen Master Dogen writes, “Impermanence is itself Buddha nature.” For the Buddha, Dogen and countless sages this is not a problem to overcome. It is a path, not an attempt to overcome impermanence. Without this insight, we will not be able to change our mindsets about disruptive political and environmental circumstances. We rigidly hold on to views of how it once was, only it has already changed – often dangerously so. This lapse is further embedded by humanity’s general avoidance to value the planet and other people, undermining the possibility of understanding the sheer necessity of “Impermanence.” However, once we can accept that we have created the present deterioration of the global situation, then and only then can we find insights that bring radical change to our values, habits and mindset. Thich Nhat Hanh adds,

“It is not impermanence that makes us suffer. What makes us suffer is wanting things to be permanent when they are not.”

From the Buddha, Thich Nhat Hanh, all the way to Eckhart Tolle and Mooji, poets, seers and scientists – there is a unanimous point of view.

Dogen, from the 12th century, instructs us to intimately observe cause and effect, especially the condition of impermanence and loss. Then he throws in, “…..time is always impermanence.” The bottom line is that concentration on this factor releases us from fear and suffering. I offer a simple four step understanding of impermanence:

  1. Things change.
  2. Accept the existence of the change.
  3. Find your composure about it.
  4. Use meditation and the fullness of your heart to continue.

It is very difficult for western culture to accept death and the notion of impermanence. The usual response to both is fear and denial. We have to re-educate our minds to get past these two obstacles. When we can recognize that our present form of civilization is dying, we will recognize that despair and denial will do us no good. We need to rely on our practice of mindfulness and community-building to provide a measure of sanity. Martin Luther King devoted most of his time and efforts to build “The Beloved Community” as the strength to break through racism in America. With spiritual practice and community activism, instead of denial and despair, a space opens in our mind for lucidity and steadiness to propel our species to live differently. When such a community walks with us, fear dissipates and the dreadful despair and suffering recedes.

Such a future on Earth requires a mass awakening of attributes that run counter to the ecology of greed. It requires a candid acceptance that our global civilization in its present form is coming to an end. Such an acceptance of our reality on the planet enables understanding of environmental collapse and Extinction. Thich Nhat Hanh brings this home to us in a challenging way, making it very clear that any view not based on impermanence is wrong. He shows how the Buddha provided meditations for his followers so they could recognize that the only thing that follows death is the fruit of our action and thinking, of our speech and of our acts during our lifetime. Specifically, on climate crisis he is very blunt:

“If we continue to consume unwisely, if we don’t care about protecting this wonderful planet….the ecosystem will be destroyed to a large extent and we will need millions of years to start a new civilization. Everything is impermanent…. We are our environment, which is in a process of self-destruction.”

The origins of the Climate Crisis can be found in greed, craving, delusion and ignorance, where sanity is crushed by the greed for profit and corporate rules triumph over social responsibility. That sums up our overwhelming retreat into denial. The Buddha advised a long time ago that we need internal changes in our values, our thinking and our ways of life. This means turning away from a system driven by greed, limitless profits, exploitation and violence against people and the environment. By relying on impermanence we can make changes to our collective systems and choose co-operation and living in harmony with the natural world. That enables humanity to flourish in a better 21st Century.

Understanding impermanence brings clarity to our minds and perhaps we can implement ethics, structures and technology while on this planet. We have the job of cultivating a new way of living with one another on Earth. This is what Thich Nhat Hanh means in his homily, “Only Love can save us from Climate Change.”

We must deliberately cultivate positive ethical attributes in our minds. We have to shine the light of recognition and mindfulness on our suffering, so that we become steady and full of resolve to live differently with a community. We have to shift the tide of negativity, change our mindset and not squander our life. With templates like the Mindfulness Trainings we consciously choose to nurture patterns of behavior and habits that are wholesome and generous. In other words, we make mindfulness practice our new habit, an internal transformation of consciousness at the core of our being.

I shape all of this into a simple personal mantra for myself – “I refrain from causing harm.” I know that by refraining from one thing that causes harm, I then prevent other harmful things from happening. It takes mindfulness to do this and the trainings provide the starting point, a guidance system and a deep well of internal ethics to live by. My commitment is to actualize these trainings in my life, and in the lives of others, so that impermanence is understood. To mitigate ecological collapse, the transition from doomed economic and political systems have to change to life sustaining societies based on community activism. There are many hurdles, as people do not see Climate Emergency for what it is, because they are stuck in their personal suffering. The plight of Mother Earth is beyond their capacity to grasp. Spiritual practice and community building of some kind are drastically needed in order to prevent being overwhelmed by suffering, despair and fear.

I could go on and on about the terrible things taking place in society, politics and to the planet – and will divert to that in a moment. It is important to refine a system of ethical conduct. I go deeper into meditation to mainly fix myself to be steady and insightful. I register with Mindfulness Trainings, as it brings out all that I would like to see in people around the planet. The bottom line for me is that awakening and mindfulness are active. Activism, on its own, does not have the inner resources to maintain effective social and planetary transformation. I know from personal experience that re-training the wild mind is a necessary ingredient to precede activism. Becoming environmental or political is only one part of the gig. It cannot be fully effective until the internal spiritual work is in place.

At present, we are totally out of sync with the earth’s resources. The fragile threads of ecosystems around the globe are severely compromised and we are in the position of going down the collective sewer. Earth is like a giant living cell, all parts are linked symbiotically. Biologist Thomas Lewis created this metaphor with humanity as just one part of a vast system. The reality is that the life support systems of our planet are severely threatened by Climate Crisis. Our ignorance and neglect are destroying Planet Earth, because we do not know how to respect ourselves, others, and the planet. We have no alternative but to concentrate on sustainable living, rather than exploiting the spoils of perpetual economic growth. Profit cannot be the sole reason for commerce. There must be responsibility tied into the equation. Unfortunately, we have largely discarded our ability to relate to meaningful values such as compassion, planetary care, love and social justice to mention a few castaways. Unless we radically change, there is no possibility of balance, environmentally or socially.

These issues were examined with great clarity by the awakened mind of the Buddha, 2600 years ago. His teachings are timeless, as relevant to the modern world as when first spoken.  In the modern era Thich Nhat Hanh taught the Five Mindfulness Trainings as a design for living related to modern realities. They are non-sectarian and all spiritual traditions have their equivalent. The first training is to protect life, to decrease violence in oneself, family and society. The second training is to practice social justice, generosity and not exploit other beings. The third is responsible sexual behavior for all people, to protect couples, families and children. The fourth is the practice of deep listening and loving speech to restore communication and reconciliation. The fifth is about mindful consumption, which helps us not to bring toxins and poisons into our body, mind or planet.

Expanding Heart and Mind – Community Building and Activism

I rest on the Hopi Elders’ Prophecy in 2000,

“Create your community. Be good to one another. And do not look outside yourself for your leader… See who is there with you and celebrate…. All that we do now must be done in a sacred manner and in celebration. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.”

I believe, from my own experience, that community activism is a vital action for populations around the world. I would say community building and activism are essential actions in our times. For years I organized a big event in Ottawa City Hall – the annual Friends for Peace Day. This was my job for a decade. It all 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 to protest the bombing of Baghdad. So I went, accompanied by my wife Carolyn, a friend and our dog. No-one else turned up, as it was so cold. I remarked to Carolyn,

“This is a good idea but it needs attention to detail and organization.”

She replied, “Let’s do it.”

So we created the nucleus for Friends for Peace Canada.  It quickly grew to a loose coalition of over fifty organizations in the city and we asked them to begin the peace process first of all within themselves, then to the community and out to the world. Our mandate evolved from peace advocacy to projects on the ground. We gave annual Grants to local organizations making a difference in our city, as well as working with other coalitions in the city for environmental and social justice issues. We organized five thousand participants at the Song Circle on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, held on a miserably wet, cold spring day in 2003.

A sea of multi-colored 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 stillness with this community on Parliament Hill. There was a transformation of anger, anguish and violence into a determined clarity to be peaceful and to oppose war. From there we know the wise actions to take.

The projects in the city of Ottawa supported by Friends for Peace include: the Multi-Faith Housing Initiative, the Youth Treatment Centre, Child Haven International, and Peace Camp Ottawa, which brings reconciliation to Palestinian and Israeli teens. In addition we supported the Physicians for Global Survival initiative to expand the mandate of the Canadian War Museum to include the creation of a culture of peace. There were other projects in Africa, India and Nepal. One planetary care project was the campaign to make the Dumoine River watershed in Quebec a protected conservation park. Peace Grants were also awarded to rebuild the Galai School in Liberia and the Healing Art Project of Minwaashin Lodge – an aboriginal women’s centre in Ottawa. Orkidstra received several grants to expand their children’s orchestra. Other grants were presented to the Dandelion Dance Company and to USC Canada. Ottawa Friends of Tibet received several Peace Grants for their Tibetan Re-Settlement Project, just to mention a few.

Each year since the relentless rain on Parliament Hill in 2003, the annual Friends for Peace Days have been memorable. We were rained and snowed on for several years on Parliament Hill, thunder and lightning at Alumni Park of Carleton University, before we moved inside to Ottawa City Hall. We organized differently there, with peace activist and environment booths along the periphery of the hall, a food court at the back, a long set of tables with items for the silent auction and the stage at the north end. The response to this community activism was beyond any expectations.

The yearly event, held in the Autumn, became an awesome, diverse, unique Ottawa experience. It was made possible by the generosity of volunteers, supporters and citizens of Ottawa who showed up to have a good time, be educated and inspired. It created an epicentre of intent and action, intense at times as people were moved to both tears and laughter. The intensity and joy rippled through the diversity, all generations, faiths and cultures in our northern city. The force of the epicentre roared through the community and activist tables, Muslim families, Asian groups, elders, young folk and volunteers. The diversity of Ottawa gathers, listens, dances, laughs, cries, and takes home an unforgettable experience of hope and confidence.

Friends for Peace presented Awards to outstanding Canadian citizens who devoted their lives to securing peace, planetary care and social justice. Our mandate was always solid throughout the day, at the Welcome and Community Tables, the Silent Auction, Connection Centre and Food Court. Citizens left at the end of the day feeling uplifted, confident and connected. The intent was to create a different form of peaceful expression that appeals to a wide cross section of Canadian citizens who want to create infrastructure in our institutions that value peace and planetary processes.

When I founded Friends for Peace Canada I was making a conscious choice to focus on the local, my home city of Ottawa. My focus was on mindfulness in schools, city environment, youth at risk and the empowerment of women. I was astonished by the results, more true to say “blown away.” At the local level there was continuity with great women who made sure good things happened. Many of the Award recipients were women. The funds raised from the annual Peace Day were used to issue Grants to organizations in Ottawa.  In particular we supported youth organizations that burst on to the local scene guided by awesome women. Orkidstra, founded by my friend Tina Fedeski, provides children from under-served communities with the opportunity to learn a musical instrument and sing in a choir. It is modelled on the El Sistema program, which was so successful in Venezuela for breaking down barriers of poverty and violence. The philosophy of El Sistema has spread to sixty countries in the world, serving millions of children.

In Ottawa, Orkidstra is creating a quiet social revolution on the backs of children – in a very healthy way. Tina Fedeski and two friends drew together a marvelous group of music teachers, promoters, volunteers and educators. There are now 700 children from over 62 cultural and linguistic backgrounds – a huge enrollment beyond the 27 children who started in the program in 2007. Orkidstra is a social development program giving children in Ottawa a sense of belonging and achievement plus fostering life skills. Children from low-income and under-served areas receive tuition, instruments and music – provided free of charge. Each child commits to playing in an ensemble. The program builds community, co-operation, commitment, compassion and self-esteem. This is in the opposite direction of fear, suffering and neglect. The results have been amazing. All graduates go on to post-secondary education making good the belief that empowering kids builds mature citizens and community. In the Orkidstra domain there is no sense of separation, only love. They interconnect with integrity, a recipe that makes the entire organization deeply heart-warming.

Similar support was provided to The Dandelion Dance Company, which has a similar structure. This is the creation of Hannah Beach, who brought forth a dozen young women actors, dressed in black to several Friends for Peace Days. 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 twelve to eighteen. The themes they dance include children’s rights, hunger, authenticity, bullying, drug addiction, stereotypes and inclusiveness. Their performances of John Marsden’s “Prayer for the Twenty First Century” brought the entire audience to their feet applauding their passion for nonviolence and the basic rights for women. The dance alluded to our hope and dreams we want for our society. The Dandelions provide the means to galvanize parents, friends and volunteers so that good kids are created and excellent citizens emerge.

Peace, Planetary Care and Social Justice are alive and well in our northern city. A Circle of Nations no less. Friends for Peace had a fantastic run for a decade, then I was side-lined by surgeries for three years and I could clearly see Impermanence working on me! There is now a two week Peace Festival in Ottawa every September. It has grown in ever increasing concentric circles. The foundations of mindfulness through the organizations we partnered with have taken root in the annual Peace Festival. All adhere to some form of our mandate: Peace, Planetary Care and Social Justice. Concentration on my home city was a primary focus. I was inspired to devote my time and energy to moving things just a little bit, so that good things could begin to happen spontaneously. I soon discovered, there were many good friends across the city more than happy to make this possible – and take over.

This narrative shows how the strategy of community building and activism in the face of Extinction is necessary. This is what it takes to derail the culture of fear and greed. To truly embrace impermanence requires an open spiritual practice, co-operative networks and preparation for community activism to invigorate the values that serve humanity. The required global response to implement some form of the Marshall Plan or the Green New Deal is not likely to appear in time, unless political leaders suddenly become brave and make bold choices to connect rather than separate. In the looming vacuum, deadly forms of Climate Emergency will certainly crash down all over the planet. Yet the organization of community building and activism provides local support with a strong view of impermanence. In my home city of Ottawa, Canada, there are many magnificent networks of solidarity in the city to help and support.

There may well be disaster in our faces, yet there is also solidarity in community activism.  Martin Luther King’s “Beloved Community” no less.

 

Indigenous Ways

My soon to be released book “Shattered Earth: Approaching Extinction” has a final section that draws on Indigenous Wisdom. Look for the book at the end of the month. If in Ottawa – get a signed copy from me.

PART FOUR – ALL MY RELATIONS: ANCIENT WISDOM

My long encounter with Ancient Wisdom enabled my heart and mind to expand in a manner that astonished me. I absorbed the significance of the Earth Mother and saw clearly how humanity neglected the basic respect for all that sustains us. Indigenous cycles of harvesting the Earth were based on an ethic of planning seven generations into the future. Such an ethic is not found in modern society. Indigenous wisdom the world over knows that protecting the Earth is primary to care for ourselves and all species. The era of Climate Crisis and Extinction is not a surprise to them.

My approach to life comes through experience, crises, difficulties and joys that may have common ground with many readers. I was gifted with mentors in the desert, training with sages in ashrams in India and the Ancient Wisdom of Indigenous cultures.  My intensive training in different traditions enabled me to better understand the processes of transformation. There was a lot of mud in my seasons, yet that mud provided the necessary compost to cultivate surprisingly accurate insights. Thus, I was able to anticipate the hard core of Extinction by first of all developing Impermanence. And just why do I – do we – need all of this? It is so we may emerge as the new leaders for the 21st century.

I introduce Sacred Stalker in Chapter 10 and in Chapter 11: Medicine Mentors- my indigenous education. Chapter 12: The Transfer Particle is a futuristic story about Hopi mysticism for a new planet. Chapter 13: The Forest provides a short, sharp finale about my intentions.

Climate Strike in Ottawa, September 27, 2019

I published “Failsafe, Saving the Earth from Ourselves” in 2008. I remember apologizing to my students at Carleton University that my generation had not left a healthy planet for them. I remembered that apology at the 2019 Climate Strike in Ottawa – Friday September 27 – surrounded by thousands of magnificent children. I was in admiration of their strike, yet emotional and sad that earth matters had not changed for the better. I noticed that I was not the only grandparent who cried a bit. Montreal was in the forefront with 500,000 protesters, followed by 100 towns and cities across the country – also around the world. The largest protest ever with over 6 million climate strikers.

I was also thinking about the completion of my new book – “Shattered Earth: Approaching Extinction” – to be released at the end of October.

This book is dedicated to the brave children of our world.

Here is a recent testimonial of this work:

Krystina McGuire-Eggins, Therapist

In Shattered Earth, Ian Prattis catapults the reader into a dark, brutal vision of the devastation on Earth as a result of our willful neglect and abuse of its resources. Prattis shares his abundance of knowledge and experience as a professor emeritus of anthropology and religion, scholar, world traveler, spiritual leader and poet, to present a convincing and alarming view of the future, including a glimpse of the year 2080. Using the wisdom he has gained from his travels to overseas ashrams and monasteries, as well as his time spent with Native American medicine people and shamans, he also provides an invaluable insight into the ancient wisdom that can sustain us. This book is dark. It is bone-chilling. It is captivating.

Shattered Earth: Approaching Extinction

This is my 18th book – the most difficult yet. It is about our broken world – particularly with respect to the impending Extinction brought about by Climate Emergency. The difficulty for me has been the darkness of Extinction despite the pacifying alternative of Impermanence. The testimonials blew me away – here are a few.

Claudiu Murgan, Author – Ian Prattis’s previous books – Failsafe: Saving the Earth From Ourselves; New Planet New World, and Our World is Burning – should be part of our schools’ curriculum. Shattered Earth makes no exception. It has an abrasive message for those that still don’t want to understand that the existing ecological balance is broken and only a sudden halt of the destructive actions fueled by greed and power could dim down the effects. A must read for all that care about their legacy.

Jana Begovic, Contributing Editor of “Ariel Chart Literary Magazine.”- …..Dr. Prattis is a recipient and bearer of the ancestral wisdom, He shines the light on what is important for our survival, and that of the generations to come, on the urgency with which we ought to act while there is still a glimmer of hope left before it is too late. If humankind wants to survive, it needs to unite in this very late hour, and attempt to reverse the human greed, callousness and cruelty inflicted upon Earth. This powerful, sobering and timely message of this book should be shared far and wide before it is too late.

Anita Rizvi, Therapist – Shattered Earth: Approaching Extinction is humankind peering into a broken mirror and seeing the stark reality of Climate Emergency reflected there. Without leniency, Dr. Prattis forewarns of a world with ‘no beauty rising from the ashes’ should we stay on our present course. Amidst the desolate and barren narrative described so beautifully in this book, a solution is born in the mud pits. Civilization can set a new course that will allow our natural state of interconnectedness to emerge.  Shattered Earth is brilliant and asks something of each of us – to become part of the only force that can jointly topple the creators of Climate Emergency. With Dr. Prattis there, it is time for the Lotus Revolution.

The book will be released at the end of October 2019. Copies can be picked up at my home in Ottawa with a bonus. With each purchase you can take home – FREE – any one of my prior books. Email iprattis@bell.net

Vesak in Ottawa, May 5, City Hall 10am – 2pm

The roaring beat of Cambodian temple drums opens the day with a bang.  They are followed in procession by the monastic Sangha walking mindfully to their places next to the podium, led by Bhante Savath from the Cambodian Temple in Ottawa. From the monastic chanting all the way through to the finale – the day unfolds in a majestic way. City Hall is decorated with beautiful artwork, food tables and booths for Asian embassies and other community groups for this celebration of Vesak Day. It is always a stunning day.

Asian Buddhist communities in Ottawa – from Cambodia, Vietnam, Korea, Indonesia, Laos, Sri Lanka, Taiwan and Thailand – created this Vesak Celebration with Visita Leelaratna organizing the many parts of the day. He is the founder of this celebration. The first Vesak Festival in 2014 received guidance from three spiritual advisors – Master Bon Dat, Bhante Rath Sam and Dharmacharya Ian Prattis. They each come from different Buddhist traditions in Ottawa and three different countries – Vietnam, Cambodia, Canada. They established a common cause to spread the seeds of Buddha Mind across Ottawa by creating an atmosphere of generosity, humility and kindness.

The Vesak and Asian Heritage nature of the event brings messages from the Governor-General, Prime Minister of Canada, and the Mayor of Ottawa. This is a wonderful support for multi-culturalism and interbeing from all levels of government in Canada. The vigorous Lion Dance from the Vietnamese Youth Group always lights up the crowd. A talk on Loving Kindness is offered by the Buddha Meditation Centre in Toronto. Lawrence Greenspon also talks about his tour of Buddhist World Heritage sites in Asia. Connections are made, bridges are crossed and the organizers and audience went home very happy.

Here is some background about Vesak and the Buddha.

Buddhism is based on the teachings of Siddhartha Gautama, the Buddha, who lived and taught in India ca. 2,600 years ago. 550 million people in the world identify Buddhism as their religion or way of life.

Vesākha Day is the day Buddhists remember the birth, the enlightenment, and the passing away of the Buddha. The United Nations marks Vesākha Day as an official holiday, worldwide. As Buddhism spread from India, it was adapted to many cultures, and consequently Vesākha Day is celebrated in many different ways in various countries, such as China, Japan, South Korea, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Burma, Tibet, Bhutan, Thailand, and Nepal, the birthplace of Siddhartha Gautama.

Some will visit their local temple before dawn, to raise the official Buddhist flag, which represents a rainbow. Some may bring simple offerings of flowers, candles and incense, which serve as a reminder that just as the beautiful flowers will wither, and the candles burn out, so too is life subject to impermanence. In some countries, birds and animals are released in a symbolic act of liberation. Vesākha Day is therefore a time when we reach out across the various Buddhist traditions to celebrate, and to non-Buddhists to enjoy dialogue and harmony.

And that is what happens in Ottawa City Hall on May 5, 2019!