Greetings good soul,
I hope this finds you well in these times.
I am writing to you from the smoke filled Topanga Canyon.
The wind has carried the smoke from a nearby fire,
providing the feeling of connection to the land I might not otherwise.

It is my delight to introduce you to The Listening Tour, a podcast that documents a journey across the United States that features the voices of indigenous elders as they share the old stories, the prophecy stories, and the wisdom stories that are here to serve us in these strange times.

 

I know. It feels odd to strike out on adventure in this time, when all the things in me want to hunker down and get small, safe, and secluded from these strange times. And perhaps that is just it. Perhaps the why now lives in that sensation. That in my heart of hearts, I know that story in its design will always bring us closer. And as a storyteller, there is always an opportunity to decide: what you will you guide people closer to? And in these times... wisdom, courage, resiliance, joy, connection.... these are the threads I wish to weave into the great tapesty of our time.  

AND…there are ways to add your voice, and join us.
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THE INVITATION

Along the way, I will be hosting Listening Circles as I travel across the country. 

A Listening Circle is an invitation for you to gather your community to listen to the elders among you. Because we are in these strange mysterious times of COVID, we’ll be gathering in a group of 10 or fewer outside as we call forth and listen to the wisdom stories that are alive and living among you.

 

If you would like to host a Listening Circle or a Wisdom Stories Workshop in your community in September or October, please fill out this form. Tell us where you are, and we’ll tell you if that is on the way!

 

And there are other ways you can join us….
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The Stories from the past 

must be sung to the present 

so the future can exist. 

~Aboriginal saying

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Beautiful young people are accidents of nature,
but beautiful old people are works of art.

~Eleanor Roosevelt

OTHER WAYS YOU CAN PLAY A ROLE IN THE LISTENING:
As with any great story ~ this one is woven by the threads of many hearts, hands and tongues... if you are inspired to play a role in bringing the wisdom of our elders to the surface and share with our global community here are a few ways you can get involved and where we could use your support:

 

 

  • Nominate an elder in your community: We are booking sessions with Indigenous Elders, and welcome your introductions and suggestions. To nominate an elder in your community who is carrying a wisdom story you want to see amplified, please email us at 2020listening@gmail.com.

 

  • Sponsor our Van: We are still on the hunt for the perfect camper van to drive across the country and back for safe COVID practices. Do you have a campervan you want to sell, rent, or donate, or a suggestion for a sponsorship? Or would you like to contribute? You can donate directly to this project here.

 

  • Sponsor a story: If you feel called to join this mission, all donations great and small go through our 501c3. Contact us to learn more about sponsoring a story.

 

  • Media Partners: These are the amplifiers of this initiative. We are delighted to share that UNIFY and The Shift Network have joined us a Media Allies. If you are part of an organization you believe would want to amplify these stores, please contact us at 2020listening@gmail.com.

 

You can sign up for updates about The Listening Tour here.
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"Grandma, how do you deal with pain?"

"With your hands, dear. When you do it with your mind, the pain hardens even more."

“With your hands, grandma?"

"Yes, yes. Our hands are the antennas of our soul. When you move them by sewing, cooking, painting, touching the earth or sinking it into the earth, they send signals of caring to the deepest part of you and your soul calms down. This way she doesn't have to send pain anymore to show it."

"Are hands really that important?"

"Yes my girl. Thinking of babies: they get to know the world thanks to their touches. When you look at the hands of older people, they tell more about their lives than any other part of the body. Everything that is made by hand, so it is said, is made with the heart because it really is like this: hands and heart are connected. Masseuses know this: When they touch another person's body with their hands, they create a deep connection. Thinking of lovers: When their hands touch, they love each other in the most sublime way."

"My hands, grandma... how long haven't I used them like that!"

"Move them, my girl, start creating with them and everything in you will move. The pain will not pass away. But it will be the best masterpiece. And it won't hurt anymore. Because you managed to embroider your essence."

~ Elena Barnabé
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Aren’t these images just delightful?
“We need to learn to see not just with Western eyes but with Islamic eyes and Inuit eyes, not just with human eyes but with golden-cheeked warbler eyes, coho salmon eyes, and polar bear eyes, and not even just with eyes at all but with the wild, barely articulate being of clouds and seas and rocks and trees and stars.” 
-Roy Scranton

Eyes as Big as Plates is the ongoing collaborative project between Karoline Hjorth and Riitta Ikonen. Based on characters from Nordic folklore, Eyes as Big as Plates has evolved into a continual search for modern humans' belonging to nature.

And with that, I bid you adieu.
If you feel inspired and called to participate in The Listening Tour, I am looking forward to hearing from you.
May your wisdom stories come alive, and may we be so lucky as to keep company with you in such a way to receive the wisdom that flows through you,
Leah 

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