Jul 272008

Just yesterday we received a contributor copy of Derrick Jensen’s new book. It’s entitled How Shall I Live My Life? On Liberating the Earth from Civilization and includes a moving and revealing interview with my partner Jesse Wolf Hardin. The interview, recorded in 2000, focuses on what is most necessary for us as humans to find ourselves, and our place in this world. It about our relationship to self, other and place. Wolf’s years of activism, land restoration, life as poetry and profound commitment to the earth are all very evident in this moving conversation.

Derrick himself is a resolute voice of dissent in a culture of compromise, and we could all stand to take a lesson in courage and conviction from him. His previous books include Culture of Make Believe and A Language Older than Words among others. This newest volume by him includes interviews with notable (and subversive) writers such as Vine Deloria, Thomas Berry and David Abram.

I’m including a small excerpt here of Derrick and Wolf’s discussion about Home and what it means. If you’re interested in purchasing a copy, it’s available though PM Press.

DJ: How did you know this was the place you needed to be?

JH: Finding our home, like finding our destiny, is a matter of getting in touch with our intuition and instinct. And then learning to trust it, and follow it. You can’t pick a home by comparing the facts and maps in some atlas, anymore than you can find your “medicine animals” by drawing cards from a deck. Home, like adventure, is something that becomes possible whenever we suspend our plans and criteria, and feel our way to where we most belong. It’s not only the place our souls need, but also the place that most needs us. It isn’t where you lay your head, it’s where you pledge your heart.

The events leading me to find, buy and preserve the Sanctuary have been nothing short of miraculous, convincing me without a doubt that I was meant to be here serving this place and teachings. And anyway, we can sense where we belong in the compass of our bones. Whenever we leave will feel like we’re going the wrong way. And when we turn back, we know in every cell of our being that we’re headed in the direction of home.

As a youngster I preferred multiple affairs to lasting commitments, variety of experience over depth. I tried to love every place I traveled through in the same way, finding the “goddess” in each, promising to none. Coming here was the end to that, the moment of pledging allegiance, of marrying the land, entering into a reciprocal agreement that demands as much from me as it gives…

  6 Responses to “How Shall I Live My Life?”

  1. Kiva,
    Thanks for posting this. It is lovely and just what I needed to hear at this
    moment in time and in this place where I am currently standing wondering
    what comes next and how to get there. The signature on my email is
    generally: “I’m so far away, each step that I take’s on my way home…” A lyric
    from a BonJovi song. Now I have a direction: “It isn’t where you lay your head, it’s where you pledge your heart.”

    Wolf’s words helped immensely. Thank you and thank him.

    I’ve heard many good things about this book. I especially like the way it
    freaks some folks out. Good!


  2. I ordered this book…can’t wait to read it, and absorb all it has to say!

    I too loved Wolf’s words; they are something for me to remember in my quest for “home”…

  3. I love derrick jensen! I will have to check that book out.

  4. i’ve been eagerly awaiting the release of this book, just as i do with each of derrick’s amazing works.

    thanks for posting an excerpt; this:
    “we can sense where we belong in the compass of our bones.”
    is so beautiful and so so true.

  5. Thanks for this it made me cry. We are in the process of trying to find our dream home so that we can grow our own veg and preserve a little piece of Mother Nature’s Kingdom (not easy when you live in the United Kingdom and don’t have much money!). I have got really stressed trying to find the place and worrying about how we will pay for it. Wolf’s words made so much sense that I started crying. Thank you Wolf, you’ve helped to remind me that the only compass I need is my heart and that the Universe will take care of the rest. I know where my heart and bones feel happy, I just need to trust that all will fall into place.
    Blessings to you all,

  6. So glad everyone enjoyed the excerpt!

    Elly, I’m so glad this touched you so much. It’s true that if we put our heart into our goal we will likely find a way to make it work, not because the universe will automatically provide it to us, but because we care enough to make it happen.

    Wulfie, yes, Derrick (and Wolf) both manage to freak people out with their message. And hopefully get beyond the simple freaked outness of a seemingly radical message to the heart of the matter, and the need for the recognition of our innate connection to the earth.

    May we each find our home.

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