"Begin with delight. Study the ways of a titmouse or an English sparrow until you see the intricate beauty of a single, strange life form.
"Do nothing. Be silent and receptive until you begin to discover what is happening that does not depend upon your doing, making or managing.
"Practice the art of allowing, surrendering, being moved.
"Know little, be a learner. Love comes before knowledge, and trust before authentic action. Dissolve the narrow focus; avoid positivism and scientific imbecility. Learn to be at home in the dark, to enjoy the obscurity of the human condition without having to feign omniscience. Avoid systems that give the whole picture; love the fragments.
"Recover the animal within yourself. Descend into the limbic brain and discover the mammalian wisdom the instinctual knowledge. For a time, silence the inner dialogue of the cortex. Practice smelling. Let your dog tutor your nose in the art of instinctual discrimination. Pay attention to kinesthetic intelligence, to the information that comes through movement. Learn to lop. Walk through a dark woods and trust your ambient vision: unfocus your eyes and take in the entire environment in a single gestalt, like a jackdaw waiting for a grasshopper. The American Indian practice of assuming an animal name testifies to the animalhood of all. Choose a totem animal. Symbolic beastiality is true intercourse between the species.
"Invite inter-species communication. Study for a Ph.D. with a golden plover to find how the bird guides migration unerringly over ten thousand miles of ocean and mountains. Become a voyeur of the courtship dances of the woodcock to learn about the delicate rituals of intimacy. Contemplate the social habits of gorillas to appreciate how the powerful can tame their aggression and avoid war. …
"Become a lunatic. Be sensitive to the biorhythms, circadian cycles and seasonal movements. How does the full moon affect the tides of your mind? The electromagnetic forces pipe a tune to which all cells dance. Anyone who insists on remaining an outlaw, a completely autonomous individual, chooses the illusion of separation and remains a wallflower in the cosmic hoedown. Find out how you are connected to the other dancers, the rhythms and melody that make the music. Take your own sweet time rather than accepting the tyranny of the 8:15 express. The rhythm method may allow you to conceive a new self.
"Practice humble auto-eroticism. Do unto the humus as you would do unto yourself. Love your body. Don't sow plutonium ('plutonium': from Pluto, the Greek god of the dead) or you will reap hell. Don't dump anything in a river you don't want your children downstream to drink tomorrow. Protect our common hope, our posterity, our communal immortality, our incarnate future.
"Get dirty. From dust to dust; give back to the soil what you take from it. Compost. Be fertile-izers. A human being is a recycling system. Open your sphincters and let the energy flow through you.
"Sink roots. Downward rather than upward mobility, incarnation rather than Gnosticism. Be in place. Be grounded in a locality. Learn to love some here and now rather than lusting after the exotic elsewhere. Co-habit.
"Remain frail, vulnerable, open. Learn to respect delicate interconnections and thin membranes. Avoid macho. Disarm.
"Cut nature at the joints. Respect the natural divisions: watersheds, creeks, timberlines. Create a politics of natural divisions. Why is there no advocate for the Ohio river? The Methow valley enfolds a natural constituency, a body politic gathered by the mountains.
"Give voice to the inarticulate members of the continuum. Every environmental designer and land-use commissioner has silent clients bumblebees and, if you are very lucky, a cinnamon bear. Each human voice must advocate justice for all. Speech devoid of love is propaganda. Logos-eros-cosmos live or die together.
"Be grounded in the organic rather than the fabricated. Right the balance between growing and making. Learn to tend as well as produce. Grow a carrot for food and learn a metaphor. Cultivate your garden.
"Use power to protect innocence. Make the body politic strong to protect against the enemies of the land the profiteers, the conquistadors, the agribusiness oligopolies…
"Keep alive in yourself the painful awareness of desecration. Cherish outrage against the pollution."
Back to reading a full review of this book.