ABOUT Sara Jolena
The process of ReMembering and teaching The ReMembering Course arise from my own personal and professional journey at the dawn of the Anthropocene Age.
I have not always cared to ReMember.
I used to think that history was interesting.... but not especially important. After all, climate change is happening now.
Once, when working in Kenya near the border of Somalia, I became very sick. The local people there cared for me, giving me their precious water. Their action probably saved my life. Now those same regions are suffering climate induced droughts. My friends are suffering. Landscapes I love are crying out in pain. The Earth, our Mother who gives to us freely is now convulsing with a fever we commonly refer to as "climate change." We need to stop this and create a whole new socio-economic-ecological systems right now.
It was a journey to learn the importance and the power of ReMembering.
As I worked with people directly impacted by climate change in Indonesia and India, I witnessed that recovering their culture - their music, rituals, language, farming practices, and ways of engaging with place and the Divine prior to colonization - was foundational to their processes of climate change adaptation.
Spirit led me from identifying as a social science researcher, with a degree in international development from the Institute of Development Studies, to being a singer, traveling around India, listening to people's stories, and then singing their stories back to them. I saw how much wisdom lies in traditions, long narratives, and community.
To create a new socio-economic ecology is to create a new culture: one that draws from the wells of wisdom of our deepest spiritual traditions and re-joins, re-members, place and people in a right relationship some refer to as the Beloved Community - a way of relating that we have not known how to practice for centuries, if not millenium.
At the encouragement of my elders, I heeded my call to Ministry via pursuing my Masters in Divinity at Union Theological Seminary in New York City. This was an unlikely choice for a Quaker - my tradition does not ordain (or pay) ministers.
There, at an eco-justice gathering hosted by the Center for Earth Ethics, I asked some friends from the Haudashashone (Iroquois) nation whose sacred lakes and lands were polluted what they wanted help on. They said we needed to repeal the substance of the Doctrine of Discovery.
What did the Doctrine of Discovery have to do with climate-justice today? That question led to a multi-year research endeavor cummulating in my M.Div thesis: ReMembering for the Anthropocene Age. It received the highest praise from its readers. And the work of ReMembering is (continuing to) transform my life, leading me on a powerful process of intergenerational healing, greater clarity and deeper love.
To ReMember is to re-weave social, ecological, spiritual, and economic threads too often frayed and left separated. It is a process, a journey, an odyssey, an adventure. To ReMember is to travel a path of healing - for the past, for the future, for ourselves, for our beloved. It is one of many elements of coming back to life.
Let us co-create the Anthropocene Age into an era of Life. Let us together ReMember.
Alongside educating people in ReMembering, I practice eco-theology through:
Sacred Bodywork: a healing practice that integrates my 17-year practice in somatic healing with my theological training and ritual.
Sequoia Samanvaya: An ecotheology company that runs courses, co-designs creative projects to address climate change with a spiritual lens. Above, my colleague Dr. Zoe Luthi and I were traveling in the Himalayas in December 2016 to develop the Alaya project: May All Beings Breath Clean Air.
Speaking and writing
Collaborating with others' artistic creations - See the latest edition of Dark Mountain
Curating the House of Friendship: a place of hospitality, dialogue and fellowship in the Bronx, NY.
Visiting with sacred sites and my family in California, including the Sequoia Trees
Resting - practicing the Sabbath
A batik I made under the tuteledge of the Sundanese Wiwakan people in Java, Indonesia. These images depict their Sacred Mountain, the four directions, and the flower of hope and peace that grows in the sacred forest. The Sacred Mountain design also evokes the internal process of spiritual growth, with differing forces integrating towards harmonious self-realization.