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Awakin Calls » Garth Gilchrist

Garth Gilchrist's Profile
Feb 14, 2015: Everyday Harmony



Read: Call Transcript

Garth Gilchrist grew up roaming the woods and mountains of western Washington and California’s Sierra. Ever more amazed by the beauty of wildness, Garth has worked to spark and grow reverence for nature and a sense of connection with what he calls “The Great Life” in people of all ages for four decades. As a poet, a performing storyteller, a writer and an environmental educator, he has used the power of inspired language to illuminate the gifts that nature holds for those who enter not only into nature’s landscapes but into its heart and living presence. In 1979, Garth Gilchrist co-authored with Joseph Cornell the environmental education classic Sharing Nature with Children and taught its philosophy and techniques extensively throughout the United States, Canada See full.
Garth Gilchrist grew up roaming the woods and mountains of western Washington and California’s Sierra. Ever more amazed by the beauty of wildness, Garth has worked to spark and grow reverence for nature and a sense of connection with what he calls “The Great Life” in people of all ages for four decades. As a poet, a performing storyteller, a writer and an environmental educator, he has used the power of inspired language to illuminate the gifts that nature holds for those who enter not only into nature’s landscapes but into its heart and living presence.

In 1979, Garth Gilchrist co-authored with Joseph Cornell the environmental education classic Sharing Nature with Children and taught its philosophy and techniques extensively throughout the United States, Canada and Britain for more than a decade. He explored and developed storytelling as an educational tool, and has produced three collections of original stories: The Living Forest, Flying with the Swans, and Journeys Home. He recently produced two recordings of the stories of the “Father of American Conservation,” John Muir: My Life of Adventures, and Stickeen: and John Muir’s other Animal Adventures. All have been used widely by naturalists and acclaimed in education publications.

In 1998, Garth won the Marin Arts Council Individual Artist Grant Award for solo performance for his first person theater piece, John Muir: Hitched to the Heart of the World, in which he portrays the extraordinary character of America’s “Father of Conservation” whose powerful vision and love of wilderness fueled extraordinary conservation achievements. Garth has performed this work for hundreds of audiences throughout the United States including a presentation in Muir Woods National Park to the Chief Justices of all 50 state supreme courts. Additionally, Garth has published numerous articles in Storytelling Magazine and Healing Story Journal. He regularly teaches workshops at storytelling festivals for the National Storytelling Conference.

"What makes me come alive is connecting with people in a loving, open way, to have my eyes and heart open to see and honor their beauty. I love connecting with nature similarly, with curiosity and openness, to be willing to receive the vast gift that flows through the natural world," Garth says.

In this call with Garth, we will explore Everyday Harmony -- power of stories when we tune into nature and meaningfully engage with life around us.


Five Questions for Garth

What Makes You Come Alive?
What makes me come alive is connecting with people in a loving, open way, to have my eyes and heart open to see and honor their beauty. I love connecting with nature similarly, with curiosity and openness, to be willing to receive the vast gift that flows through the natural world. Beyond this, I love language, its ability to open us to a deeper experience of ourselves, of others, of nature, of Spirit, of meaning, beauty and heart. I love giving voice to stories, poems and writing that open a more heartful experience of Life.

Your Greatest Inspiration?
In the 1970s I lived in a spiritual community in the Sierras called Ananda. The combination of Yogananda's teaching, which were very expansive and life-affirming, living in community, sharing with people in friendship in a very deep and moving way, living in the mountains close to big trees and wild rivers, canyons and peaks, and being exposed to John Muir's writings, which gave me a way into nature that was profound all of this transformed the way I saw the world.

An Act of Kindness You'll Never Forget?
Derek Van Atta was a fellow monk with me at Ananda, and a very good friend. We would sometimes go to thrift stores to buy clothes. I would find a coat or a shirt I was happy with for myself. Derek would say, "Don't you think Eric would like this sweater?" or "This shirt is perfect for David." Or "This coat would be great for Dan." He'd walk out with one thing for himself, and six for friends! He was always thinking of others. Later, Derek started a business that supported dozens of people. When visiting this same friend years later, as I was saying goodbye after the visit he pulled a hundred dollar bill out of pocket. "I've had this in my pocket all week, and don't have any particular use for it. Would it be helpful to you?" He knew I was at a difficult juncture in my life, and this expression was wonderfully kind.

One Thing On Your Bucket List?
I look forward to traveling to South America, to spend time with the mountain people in Bolivia and Peru in the Andes. I want to photograph their faces, feel their being, and hear their stories about living close to nature.

One-line Message for the World?
Life is astoundingly beautiful as it expresses itself in people and in nature. Love Life energetically, and let it bring you alive.


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