e25 shaw – a sense of purpose

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It’s a real blessing to feel a sense of purpose that in these times. It’s a real blessing to be able to take the feelings of fear and grief and actually channel them somewhere into running a group or to making a film or doing your podcasts. I think it’s important that people really tune in to find out what they’re given to do at this time, to really listen to what the call is in you and follow it. I think there’s something that’s very generative and supportive about feeling a sense of purpose in a time of collapse.

michael shaw, conscient podcast, april 12, 2021, australia

Michael Shaw is a teacher and therapist by training. I learned about Michael’s work by viewing his first film, produced in collaboration with Michelle Walter, called Living in the Time of Dying, which he describes as:

The recognition of the stark reality of the climate crisis we are facing, and what it would mean to me in my lifetime, or what’s left of it. When I first began to see it clearly, I felt a sense of shock and fear, as well as a profound sense of sadness. I was unable to pretend I didn’t see what I did and felt internally undone for a considerable amount of time. Eventually I felt a powerful call to action from that place.

Living in the Time of Dying website

With little funds, no experience in the field and knowing that his message might well also be unpopular (I know the feeling!), Michael now makes media projects to engage the public about climate anxiety and grief. 

It is through his film that I learned about the engaging work of dharma teacher Catherine Ingram and her powerful extended essay, Facing Extinction as well as the writings of Dhar Jamail, author of The End of Ice: Bearing Witness and Finding Meaning in the Path of Climate Disruption, both of whom I quote in e19 reality

Similar to my humble aspirations with this podcast, Michael and Michelle’s work seeks to face the global changes and explore how to best live in this ‘time of dying’ (as they say). 

This episode was recorded between my home in Ottawa and Michael’s home in Australia on April 13, 2021.  

Michael and I exchanged on a wide range of issues including the role of media to address the climate emergency, support structures for ecogrief, the role of the arts and the concept of hope. 

As I have done in all episodes in season 2 so far, I have integrated excerpts from soundscape compositions and quotations drawn from e19 reality in this episode.

I would like to thank Michael for taking the time to speak with me, for sharing his insights as a fellow producer of climate emergency media projects and for providing a support structure for those struggling with eco anxiety and eco grief. 

For more information on Micheal and Michelle’s work, see https://www.livinginthetimeofdying.com/

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