Terry Tempest Williams :: Passionate Presence
in the early evening this past july, i sat awaiting a skype call from one of my all-time-favorite writers and inspirational humans, author and activist, terry tempest williams. i had been looking forward to this conversation since i had had the inspiration for the shakti hour podcast and her wisdom and experience came to mind as an ideal guest. we scheduled a call to coincide with the paperback release of the hour of land: a personal topography of americas national parks.
speaking with her was like reading one of her books - i wanted to stop and go back and read that page again but it was a live conversation so i had to carry on. even so, i could feel part of myself lingering on the last word wanting to savor its meaning. . .
and in that way i felt terribly dull when she would volley the conversation to me, demonstrating how to do it :: how to be inclusive, how to relate, to connect, to build bridges and stay present, how to act in a system of power based in equality rather than heirarchy. my own unconscious affirmations of the old structure were exposed as she invited me in to the fluidity of thought, joy, emotion, intellect, and discovery of right-relationship.
but this is her gift! she is an artist who demonstrates through the medium of language how best to understand her own deeply personal experience of this life
it had been some years since i had spent any quality time with a writer and i had forgotten what a delightful game it is to witness their craft developing in real time. it is truly improvisational speaking, as in Coltrane level improv composition - free but no note out of place.
there is such a strong commitment in the word - somewhere i have previously been either too shy and uncertain or generally obtuse in my expression. her voice reminded me of my voice , her passion enthusiasm care dedication mine as well. we need commitment to truth, fierce commitment . many of have heard of “fierce grace” but what about ferocity oftruth, of self-honesty and compassion . as terry reflects, courage is about being present, a quality of presence. that is bravery. and in these times of great confusion and over-excitement, our first guard on the path is to BE HERE NOW.