Coming Home

I am happy to announce that I have been invited to present The Fire Inside at Columbia College on September 19th.  This is a deeply meaningful opportunity since Columbia is my hometown and the place where so many of my own connections to nature began.  I offer my thanks to Rev. Roy Mitchell for the invitation and also to my sister, Dr. Melissa Heidari who is a professor of English at Columbia College.  Melissa has been an inspiration for me throughout my life.  I could go on for many pages here about my sister but I will simply say that she is a remarkable person who has always encouraged me (and no doubt her students) to explore life more deeply at every turn.  And she inspired in me a love of literature that has provided riches beyond measure.

I’m looking forward to the screening at Columbia College.  It is always a thought-provoking experience to engage with students and faculty on these important issues and see where the conversation takes us.

The Fire Inside Comes to Vermont

I’m in Vermont for the next set of screenings for The Fire Inside. My dear friend (and co-producer) Becky Gould has arranged for screenings at Middlebury College and Ilsley Library. (See dates/times below). This is another completion of a circle for the film project. Becky has played an invaluable role in helping to create The Fire Inside. She has been my sherpa guide through the rich and complex terrain of Religion and Ecology and played an essential role conducting most of the interviews in the film. So it is with great joy that we are able to bring this film to Middlebury and share it with Becky’s friends, colleagues, students and fellow Vermonters. If you are in the area, please join us. We are looking forward to hearing from audience members during the conversations and Q&A sessions after the screenings.

Friday, October 5th: Middlebury College, Axinn Screening Room, Axinn 232

7:00–7:45 PM     Screening

7:45–8:30 PM     Conversation with Phil Walker, Becky Gould, Prof. Jonathan Miller-Lane and Guests

Saturday, October 6th:  Ilsley library in Downtown Middlebury

7:00-7:45PM        Screening followed by Q&A with with Phil Walker and Becky Gould

Just to offer some sense of place – this is what I woke up to this morning.

Old Friends and New

Over the last few days Becky and I reunited with many of the people who participated in the making of The Fire Inside including; Barak Gale, Victoria Santos, Kurt Hoelting and Diana Wilmar.  The film has screened three times in the last two days – twice at the Happiness Conference and once on Whidbey Island.  The real richness of these events has emerged after the screenings as members of the audience shared thoughts and questions about the issues explored in the film.  This is really what we’d hoped for.  Not so much a discussion of the film itself – though that is always enjoyable – but discovering the ideas that resonate most strongly for people.  As well as the issues that push buttons.  Last night here on Whidbey, there was a valuable discussion about contemplative practice and activism.  Do these two things contradict or complement one another?  Much was shared and debated over the course of an hour.  And I learned a great deal from members of the audience.  Thanks to everyone who shared their insights and brought good energy to all of the events.  More to come.

The Fire Inside Comes Full Circle

Becky Gould and I are in Seattle for the next week to present three screenings of TFI. As many of you know, the film was shot entirely in the San Juan Islands and features many people from the area including Kurt Hoelting, Victoria Santos, Stella Chao, Barak Gale, Saul Weisberg and Emi Gunn. Screenings will be in Seattle, Whidbey Island and Bellingham. The only event open to the public is at Village Books in Bellingham. Hope to see you there.

Premiere Screening at Yale

The Fire Inside premiered on June 6th at the Yale Summer Symposium: Religion and Environmental Stewardship. This was a wonderful opportunity for Becky Gould and me to present the film to an intimate gathering of professors, clergy and professionals from various environmental and religious organizations. We heard terrific feedback from our viewers which included praise for the diverse religious and spiritual-but-not-religious voices in the film and the intimate connections between spirituality and nature that the film evokes. We also heard that the film not only demonstrated the deep significance of contemplative practice for meeting the challenges of the future, but also that viewing the film was itself a kind of contemplative practice. Some audience members spoke of breathing more deeply and feeling centered and refreshed by experiencing the film. And throughout the symposium we had the opportunity discuss ways the film could be used for college curriculum or group screenings.

We extend our sincere thanks to everyone involved in creating this opportunity including; Mary Evelyn Tucker, John Grim, Tara Trapani and the rest of the hard-working Yale symposium team.  If you attended the screening (or have watched the film online) please let us know your thoughts and how we can best continue to spread The Fire!