Internationally renowned author Stephen Jenkinson will soon visit Mullumbimby, speaking on some of the biggest personal and social dynamics we will need to embrace in an age of climate crisis: elderhood and grief.
Having toured the Northern Rivers on two previous occasions — the last one being a sellout event with many dozens turned away at the door — Jenkinson is proudly hosted this year by Renew Fest.
Jenkinson, from Canada, is a teacher, author, storyteller, spiritual activist, and farmer. He is the focus of the 2008 award-winning documentary Griefwalker. He is also founder of the Orphan Wisdom School, a teaching house and learning house for the skills of deep living and making human culture.
Renew Fest director Ella Rose Goninan says it is a deep honour to host Jenkinson and believes he brings a unique perspective to the local community.
‘Stephen Jenkinson is a profound teacher, and meets the conversation right in the heart of matters without apology.
‘The lack of acknowledgment of our human need to grieve and the absence of a strong force of elders in this time, speaks volumes to me of the roots of the current climate crisis.’
Roots of wisdom
Nirado Griffin, a local Orphan Wisdom scholar, is one of the many who are looking forward to what might be the Griefwalker’s final tour to Australia.
‘Stephen Jenkinson provokes wondering, deep down into the origins of things and into the very roots of our culture. By examining our language, our assumptions, and the inheritance of an almost universally traumatised ancestry, he exposes the shattered remnants of a culture adrift from its heritage, from its right relationship to all of life and from the guidance and wisdom of elders.’
Jenkinson inspires many with his equally poetic and direct words.
Nirado adds, ‘Imagine a future that replaces retirement with esteemed elderhood, where young people receive recognition of their worth and purpose, and see living examples of enduring discernment and courage for the hard and often empty times that are upon us all.’
Jenkinson also expresses with much passion and beauty that grief must be part of any mission to create a regenerative future.
‘Grief is the human angel in the world… Grief is the willingness to be claimed by a story bigger than the one you wish for.’
Jenkinson will present two talks in Mullumbimby in May, on elderhood (Friday night May 10) and grief (Saturday morning May 11) to be followed by a 30-hour Vigil For Grief, hosted by Renew Fest. Tickets will likely sell out – for more info go to www.renewfest.org.au.
♦ Luke Jaaniste is a musician and part of the Renew Fest programming team.