Starting Point

A Wild Love for the World

This collection is designed to accompany the exploration of our relationship with the natural world, including how a relationship of care might be inviting us to reconnect, replenish, and repair within the contexts of our lives, emboldening us to live into the generative future we hope is possible. Illustration by Annalise Neil

Welcome

As you prepare to enter this space, we invite you to ground yourself in a place in which you experience a sense of connection with the natural world. This could be at a park, in a garden, by a window, or even near a vase of flowers. Awaken your senses to the fullness of what you might encounter in this digital space — and to the texture, wonder, and magic of the physical world around you.

“What a time to be alive,” adrienne maree brown has written. “Right now we are in a fast river together — every day there are changes that seemed unimaginable until they occurred.” adrienne maree brown and others use many words and phrases to describe what she does, and who she is: A student of complexity. A student of change and of how groups change together. A “scholar of belonging.” A “scholar of magic.” She grew up loving science fiction, and thought we’d be driving flying cars by now; and yet, has found in speculative fiction the transformative force of vision and imagination that might in fact save us. Our younger listeners have asked to hear adrienne maree brown’s voice on On Being, and here she is, as we enter our own time of evolution. This conversation shines a light on an emerging ecosystem in our world over and against the drumbeat of what is fractured and breaking: working with the complex fullness of reality, and cultivating old and new ways of seeing, to move towards a transformative wholeness of living.

Video

The Natural World, Joy, and Human Flourishing

A film by Katy Wang, Gabriel Greenough and Gautam Srikishan

This video contains voices and natural world related excerpts from On Being episodes with J. Drew Lanham, Robin Wall Kimmerer, Katy Payne, and Robert Macfarlane.

Oceanographer Sylvia Earle was the first person to walk solo on the bottom of the sea, under a quarter mile of water. She has watched humanity’s enduring fascination with “outer space” while she has delighted in “inner space” — the alien and increasingly endangered worlds beneath earth’s waters. These frontiers, as Sylvia Earle points out, are our very life-support system. She takes us inside the knowledge she’s gathered from a lifetime of research and literally swimming with sharks.

Meditation

Natural World Sound Meditation

A Doorway to the Wild

Step away from the noise of the day and into this sonic pilgrimage through the natural world. Notice how this 12-minute meditation refreshes your day and primes you for a deeper presence with our planetary companions.

Meditation

Remember and Reconnect

Give yourself the gift of being present to what’s coming up for you as you explore these offerings. Whether that means writing in a journal, or sitting with your eyes closed, or even moving slowly in whatever way feels relaxed and pleasurable. Here’s one doorway into deeper presence: ask yourself, where have I experienced a sense of awe, wonder, or mystery in the natural world? Take a moment to recreate that place in your imagination, with as much sensory detail as you can — sensations, sounds, or even smells you remember. Simply enjoy this act of “re-membering” the quality of connection you encountered. You might then ponder this: What is the invitation to reconnect with the world around me, to renew or deepen how I relate to the natural world and my place within it?

The ornithologist Drew Lanham is lyrical in the languages of science, humans, and birds. His celebrated books include The Home Place: Memoirs of a Colored Man’s Love Affair with Nature and a collection of poetry and meditations called Sparrow Envy: Field Guide to Birds and Lesser Beasts. Drew Lanham’s way of seeing and hearing and noticing the present and the history that birds traverse — through our backyards and beyond — is a revelatory way to be present to the world and to life in our time.

This conversation took place in partnership with The Great Northern.

A Buddhist philosopher of ecology, Joanna Macy says we are at a pivotal moment in history with the possibility to unravel or create a life-sustaining human society. Now entering her 90s, Macy has lived adventurously by any definition. She worked with the CIA in Cold War Europe and the Peace Corps in post-colonial India and was an early environmental activist. She brings a poetic and spiritual sensibility to her work that’s reflected in her translations of the early-20th-century poet Rainer Maria Rilke. We take that poetry as a lens on her wisdom on the great dramas of our time: ecological, political, personal.

Katharine Hayhoe is one of the most esteemed atmospheric scientists in the world. She’s made her mark by connecting dots between climate systems and weather patterns and the lived experience of human beings in their neighborhoods and communities. She’s also an ambassador, if you will, between the science of climate change and the world of evangelical Christian faith and practice, which she also inhabits. To delve into that with her is to learn a great deal that refreshingly complicates the picture of what is possible and what is already happening, even across what feel like cultural fault lines. If you want to speak and walk differently on this frontier, this is a conversation for you.

Amidst all of the perspectives and arguments around our ecological future, this much is true: we are not in the natural world — we are part of it. The next-generation marine biologist Ayana Elizabeth Johnson would let that reality of belonging show us the way forward. She loves the ocean. She loves human beings. And she’s animated by questions emerging from those loves — and from the science she does — which we scarcely know how to take seriously amidst so much demoralizing bad ecological news. This hour, Krista draws out her creative and pragmatic inquiry: Could we let ourselves be led by what we already know how to do, and by what we have it in us to save? What, she asks, if we get this right?

This conversation was recorded at the 2022 TED Conference. You can hear all of the talks coming out of the conference by following the TED Talks Daily podcast, wherever podcasts are found.

Closing Invitation

Before you go, take a moment to note:

What touched you? Was there an insight or story that felt like a gift to you in this time? A phrase or word or image that shimmers in a fresh and inspiring way?

Whatever you encountered here, welcome it to linger for a moment longer. Listen for what it has to say to your life:

How might it be calling forth or inspiring something within you? How might you receive this offering and take it with you? And how might doing so bring renewal into your days ahead?

We hope you found some nourishment here. Return as often as you’d like.

 

 

Click here to save these episodes and listen later.