Honest Reckoning in Troubled Times
A LIVE 5 series conversation with Stephen Jenkinson and Kimberly Ann Johnson
Registration open through Nov. 14th
Get instant access to the recording to the first conversation in the series when you register.
“You come by your prejudices more or less involuntarily. That means you inherit them. And generally speaking, the world gives you plenty of reason to go with your prejudices and not wonder about them too much. That’s a very potentially dark thing to consider that the world in its conditions is so encouraging of your prejudices, that you could almost be forgiven for being unconscious about them.”
– Stephen Jenkinson
"Heartbreak is how you humanize your prejudices."
The recent August 2021 conversations I had with Stephen Jenkinson are the most listened to podcasts I’ve ever recorded.
They are also a mark in time for me.
There is the person I was before engaging with Stephen Jenkinson and the person I seem to be in the wake of my meetings with Stephen Jenkinson.
I can’t explain to you exactly why. But I can extend an invitation to you to step into the conversation with him and me.
“One part of my particular heartbreaks at this moment is that the unconscious foundation of so much of my worldview, even in its criticisms, is still rooted in individualism, and especially heartbreaking the remarkable individualism of those around me who bang the drum of community.”
- Kimberly Ann Johnson
I can’t give you a neat and tidy summary of the five things I’m doing differently now, before SJ and after SJ, or how my relationships have drastically changed, or how now I feel a new resolve about my work life or mothering.
In fact, in a way things have gotten messier. But the etymology of “mess” lets me know that messes have their origins in feasting and feeding. Maybe my messiness is becoming more fit to bring people to the table.
But I can tell you what changed is the emergence of a bass note that I don’t recall being there before.
When I wake up in the morning, there’s a remembering of the times we’re in and the place I’m trying to find in them. Both interviews registered as an invited indictment- one of the only elders I’ve ever spoken with who wasn’t trying to end on a high note or give me hope or inspiration- in fact, quite the opposite.
Maybe hope-free instead of hopeful and directing me towards perspiration in the form of work rather than inspiration.
And yet, instead of leaving me demoralized, I felt that finally I was hearing a more accurate reflection to what I was feeling and sensing in the parts of the world I am attuned towards, attended to at a depth and a complexity that felt like nourishment, even though he articulates a crisis bigger, broader and deeper than what I imagined.
On the heels of those conversations, I proposed to Stephen Jenkinson that we have a 5 series conversation that you are a mandatory part of.
And you are needed for this conversation.
Please proceed as if that was the case even if the evidence for that might seem thin.
“Seeing things your way is not that big an achievement, but being willing to be heartbroken together while not being in agreement... That's for real, that really counts. That’s how you can tell you’re in the presence of a couple of grownups.”
- Stephen Jenkinson
THIS WILL BE A LIVING EXPERIMENT. NOT A COURSE OR A MASTERCLASS.
You are to send in questions ahead of time, and to listen live. I will read through the questions, amalgamate them, and Stephen and I will have a real conversation.
Not the kind where I ask things and kind of know what he’s going to say, or I try to lead him in a direction, but the kind where what he says influences how I respond, and how I respond in turn influences what he says back, and that I… and maybe you.. can be living it and feeling the quality of an actual encounter in real time, as it’s happening.
We will attend to the questions of these troubled times- the plague, the fracturing of a sense of commons, the proliferation of conspiracies- through the lens of each of Stephen’s books and one of his albums, in the order they were created. We might consider it a type of retrospective, were it not be so focused on the truth of this present moment.
I cannot promise the way these conversations will go or that we will definitely get to each of these topics in this exact order. As rapidly as plague dispatches and rules are changing, we will be in response to the happenings of the time.
IN THIS CONVERSATION SERIES, WE WILL MOVE WITH AND THROUGH THESE WORKS:
- Money and the Soul’s Desires
- Die Wise: A Manifesto For Sanity And Soul
- Come Of Age: The Case For Elderhood In A Time Of Trouble
- Dark Gods and Rough Mysteries
- A Generation’s Worth: Spirit Work While The Crisis Reigns
We will attend to the skills of grief, heartbreak, citizenship, elderhood and culture-making.
$275 or 3 payments of $92
Dates: Nov. 7, 14, 21, 28 and Dec. 5 at 9:00 am pst | 12:00 pm est
Classes will be live on Zoom and will run 90 minutes.
They will be recorded and available to download for the 7 days after the call.
About Stephen Jenkinson:
Stephen is a worker, author, storyteller, culture activist, and co-founder of the Orphan Wisdom School with his wife Nathalie Roy. The school is a teaching house for skills of deep living and making human culture that are mandatory in endangered, endangering times. He makes books, tends farm and mends broken handles and fences, succumbs to interviews, teaches and performs internationally.
He has Master’s degrees from Harvard University (Theology) and the University of Toronto (Social Work).
Apprenticed to a master storyteller when a young man, he has worked extensively with dying people and their families, is former program director in a major Canadian hospital, former assistant professor in a prominent Canadian medical school.
Stephen Jenkinson is also the subject of the feature length documentary film Griefwalker, a portrait of his work with dying people, and Lost Nation Road, a shorter documentary on the crafting of the Nights of Grief and Mystery tours.
Kimberly Ann Johnson
Kimberly Johnson is an author, postpartum care activist, trauma educator, structural bodyworker and mother. She graduated Valedictorian from Northwestern University with a BS in Social Policy (‘97).
She studied yoga directly with the three main lineage holders of the Krishnamacharya tradition- Desikachar, BKS Iyengar, and Pattabhi Jois and taught yoga full time for 15 years, while also maintaining a Structural Integration practice.
When radically rearranged by childbirth, Kimberly’s life changed shape to attend to the cultural chasm of postpartum care, and as a result she trained in Somatic Experiencing and Sexological Bodywork to be able to help women heal from birth injuries, gynecological surgeries and sexual boundary violations.
She is the author of the recent Call of the Wild: How We Heal Trauma, Awaken Our Own Power and Use it for Good published by the feminist imprint HarperWave and the early mothering classic, The Fourth Trimester: A Postpartum Guide to Healing Your Body, Balancing Your Emotions and Restoring Your Vitality (Shambhala, 2017) translated into eight languages
"Right about now, we deserve a good crisis."
- Stephen Jenkinson
I invite you to an honest reckoning.
I came to the podcasts, like I do to most interviews, with earnest questions- things I’m really wrestling with, trying to work out, the tension of the multiple opposites that I’m feeling.
And I’m sure like you- I have a lot of questions, tensions, and apparently competing narratives.
I will come to these conversations the same way.