New book club explores spiritual ecology

03/07/2019

Kailea Frederick, a writer and teacher who spent the majority of her life off the power grid in Maui before relocating to Petaluma two years ago, is bringing a book club dedicated to what she calls spiritual ecology to Point Reyes Books this month. The bi-monthly group will meet for the rest of 2019, and there is no cost to take part. “For me, spiritual ecology is a very personal, internal conversation with myself: it is a space in me where I ask how I might be in deeper relationship with the earth,” Ms. Frederick said. She has a unique perspective: her family home, where she has spent portions of her adult life, has solar power and a water catchment system. “I had a very direct understanding of when there is sun, we can turn on the lights, and when it rains, we are drinking and bathing,” she said. She recently completed a spiritual ecology fellowship, a program offered by the Kalliopeia Foundation headquartered in San Rafael. According to Ms. Fredrick’s website, her fellowship project, “Earth is ‘Ohana,” or earth is family, is “an immersive and adaptable environmental educational framework which explores the question, ‘How do we practice returning home to our landscapes in order to regenerate our relationship with the earth?’” Point Reyes Books was a perfect location to start the book club, an offshoot of the project, she said, given the type of books they carry. The first book the group will read is “Spiritual Ecology: The Cry of the Earth” a collection edited by Inverness resident Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee that features contributions from Thich Nhat Hanh, Dr. Vandana Shiva, Wendell Berry and others. Mr. Vaughan-Lee’s introduction cites a keystone document published by Pope Francis in 2015, “Laudato Si’: On Care for Our Common Home,” an encyclical. “For Pope Francis, the abuse and violence of the way we live—which create ‘the abuse and sickness evident in the soil, in the water, in the air and in all forms of life’—are moral and spiritual issues, urgently requiring that we recognize the consequences of, and changes required in, our way of life,” Mr. Vaughan-Lee writes. As opposed to science, technology and money, “The encyclical points us instead to the deeper moral and spiritual ground in which the crisis is rooted, the ground of the soul.” Ms. Frederick said that living in Petaluma for the last two years, where she just had a baby, has shown her for the first time that “it’s so easy to feel disconnected and to be disconnected on a day-to-day basis.” She added, “I am more intentional now in finding connection, getting really familiar with the sky, and re-thinking this idea of nature as wild space. This has been an important update for me, allowing me to deepen my practice around spiritual ecology, becoming more creative and realistic.” The book club’s first meeting will take place at Point Reyes Books on Tuesday, March 12 at 6:30 p.m. It is free to the public and drop-ins are welcome. For questions or to RSVP—not required, but encouraged—email Kailea at kailea.sonrisa@gmail.com.