The Faces of Our Work
Growing from deep Irish roots comes a love of the land. Out of exhaustion with doing comes an appreciation for slowing down, savoring this moment, being kind. In his book, The Wisdom of Wilderness, Gerald May was inspired by ‘The Power of the Slowing’. Joey, too, felt moved by it on her 336 mile solo hike in the Oregon Cascades and a life-changing vision quest in the Gila Wilderness.
At this time of her life, Joey offers ‘The Power of the Slowing’ through Mindful Rest: Counseling & Classes. Joining the powerful tools of Somatic Experiencing and mindfulness, she offers people the opportunity to slow down and attune to the direct experience of body, grounded and energetic, and recognize the wisdom that connects them more closely to themselves and possibly to the Earth. Slowing to savor; less need to consume.
A practice of mindfulness and meditation helps Joey to be present with adults in crisis, in hospice, in the hospital. Both Somatic Experiencing and mindfulness inform her work as a research assistant in the MindBody Medicine clinic, co-facilitating pain management groups for adults with chronic pain.
At another time in her life, Joey was Director of Environmental Affairs for Connecticut Audubon Society. With a Master’s in Environmental Studies from the Yale School of Forestry, she was a key player in the passage of environmental legislation in Connecticut in the 1980’s. In the 90’s, she continued her engagement in environmental initiatives, assisting in the siting of a Household Hazardous Waste facility in the City of Seattle and serving on the Board of the Washington Toxics Coalition.
The other love of her life has been children. As an educator, she taught in an alternative elementary school program which became the model of her proudest achievement, the founding of a youth program on Lopez Island off the coast of Washington. It connects children to community members who have a passionate avocation related to the great outdoors or the arts. She coordinated another version of this for Vermont girls, empowering their particular ‘Girls’ Eye View’ through the arts of writing and photography.
As a practitioner of yoga and a meditator in the Buddhist tradition, Joey has felt blessed and nurtured on retreats at Metta Earth. She welcomes the opportunity to support the Institute’s vision of sustainable and contemplative living, savoring moments, educating about living on Earth in simple and practical ways. Living kindly and a little wildly, loving the land.
To visit Joey’s website, please go to www.mindfulrest.com.
Surya-Chandra Das began studying hatha yoga and meditation in 1988 and has taught classes and yoga retreats since 1990. His teaching of yoga asana is influenced by his studies with T.K.V. Desikachar and Viniyoga in Madras, India, and with Victor van Kooten, Angela Farmer, and a variety of teachers in the Iyengar tradition. Studies in Authentic Movement and Continuum Movement have contributed to his interest in exploring the formless contained within the form of yoga postures.
Surya-Chandra is a long-time student of Vipassana meditation and Advaita, the non-dual tradition of Ramana Maharshi, having studied with Ramesh Balsakar, Adyashanti and others.
Surya’s teaching is a blend of the various teachings he has experienced and his own explorations in practice. The alignment of Iyengar, the breath focus and flow of Desikachar style Yiniyoga, and the mindfulness of meditation are all woven into his yoga asana sessions. Surya’s teaching is focused on inspiring students to listen to their breath, body sensations and intuition as the ultimate teachers and guides. He supports and encourages a student to let go of striving and becoming; to rest in being. The approach is simple and direct, reminding us to relax and let go into the natural presence and spaciousness that we truly are.
To learn more about Surya-Chandra Das, visit his website rollingmeadowsretreat.com.
Cameron Davis (Cami) is a Senior Lecturer with the University of Vermont’s Department of Art and Art History. She teaches painting, drawing, and courses on art, ecology and community. Her own work includes painting, performance, installation and community art activist projects exploring issues of conscious perception as fundamental to living sustainably in a warming world. She considers her painting to be her primary conversation from which the wider community projects evolve.
In 1999 Davis and artist Sally Linder created the community art Temenos Books Project and event For Love of Earth, A Celebration of the Earth Charter as a way to introduce the Earth Charter, an international document that outlines principles for building a just, sustainable and peaceful global society. With over 22, 000 participants, Linder designed and painted the Ark of Hope as a holding place for the Temenos Books. They traveled to four continents including Johannesburg South Africa for the World Summit on Sustainable Development, Bangalore India for the 2005 International Women’s Conference, and to the Netherlands, for the Earth Charter +5 event, where 8000 children and Queen Beatrix participated in creating books.
Davis continues to collaborate with artists, filmmakers, poets, students and the public including the Quantum Community Project, a participatory ecological event of film, poems, veiled drawings, and yoga practice, created with Metta Earth Institute Co-Director Gillian Kapteyn Comstock.
Davis’ solo and community work addresses climate change. Waxwing Medicine 2006, Messages to Earth 2007, Let Ours Be a Time Remembered 2008, and the Dear World Project 2009, part of the Human=Landscape, Aesthetics for a Carbon Restrained Future exhibition at Burlington City Arts, Burlington, Vermont, were all responses to 350.org climate activist events.
In 2013 Davis created 12 large scaled paintings titled Endless Spring as the stage set for the Emergent Universe Oratorio composed by Sam Guarnaccia. The work represented a three-year collaboration between Sam Guarnaccia, Paula Guarnaccia and Davis collaborating with writers on the Oratorio’s content to articulate a “new story” of shared purpose and emergent possibility at the threshold of the Anthropocene era, where human’s impact is now the major evolutionary driver of Earth’s future. They worked closely with Mary Evelyn Tucker and John Grim using the book and film, Journey of the Universe by Brian Swimme and Tucker, as the framework for the Oratorio.
Currently Davis is working with Ben Bach, Cinematographer, and Fletcher Bach, Creative Technologist, on The Orchard Project: video sketches for the 2015 exhibition, Eyes on the Land, 14 Artists Paired with 14 Vermont Land Trust Properties, Pizzagali Center for Art and Education, Shelburne Museum, Shelburne Vermont.
Jim Merkel is the author of Radical Simplicity: Small Footprints on a Finite Earth and directs the Global Living Project that consults with campuses and municipalities and offers workshops and lectures. His recent work helped Dartmouth earn the highest grade given on the Sustainability Report Card issued by the Sustainable Endowments Institute for the two years he led the campus’s sustainability efforts.
Originally a military engineer trained in foreign military sales, the Exxon Valdez disaster and the invasion of Iraq prompted him to devote his life to sustainability and world peace.
Jim founded the Alternative Transportation Task Force in San Luis Obispo, California, and held an elected Sierra Club position while honing urban simple living skills. He lobbied in Washington for wilderness, peace, and Native American rights. In 1994 he received a fellowship to research sustainability in Kerala, India, and walked in the Himalayas. The following year he founded the Global Living Project (GLP) and initiated the GLP Summer Institute where teams of researchers attempted to live on an equitable portion of the biosphere.
With plenty of help from friends, a permaculture home and demonstration site were designed and built. He instigated a Cycling for a Sustainable Future speaking tour that has logged over 17,000 miles and delivered hundreds workshops on sustainable living.
While at Dartmouth, Jim worked to integrate environmentally and socially sustainable practices into the College’s operations and culture. His projects included Sustainable Dining, Solar Thermal Evaluation, Carbon Reduction, Sustainable Offices, Green Greeks and Solid Waste Reduction.
At the top of Jim’s cycling career, he earned three silver medals in the Empire State Games and raced in the Nationals. Cycling continues to be his favored mode of transportation, around town and for adventures — to Mexico, across Canada twice, and through Europe and India. His passions include wild edible plants, wilderness exploration, and making homestead improvements from articles found at the dump. Jim lives in Belfast, Maine. He writes, teaches, consults and lectures when he isn’t growing potatoes.
Hasita Agi Nadai
Hasita Agi Nadai was born in Vienna, Austria, grew up in Italy, and immigrated to the USA in 1953. Her deep connection with Nature started in her early childhood. She has spent most of her life enjoying Nature through mountaineering, trekking, skiing, and canoeing.
The desire to investigate Nature in all its dimensions led her to earn a Master’s Degree in Cell Physiology at Columbia University and in 1987 to a Master’s Degree in Geology at the City University of NY. She taught and did research in both fields. She recently retired as a project manager for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
In 1987 Hasita became involved in Yoga. She is a Professional Level Kripalu Yoga Teacher and since 1994 she has taught at the Rivertown Center for Yoga and Health for adults and children. She teaches yoga privately and also as a substitute in other centers.
In 1990 she became involved in the Deep Ecology movement. She trained with Joanna Macy and follows the teachings of Thomas Berry and Brian Swimme where ‘our story’ is the story of the evolving universe. Hasita has created Yogagaia, which is about connecting with our body and to our story, based on science – the story of the Universe. Through asanas, dance and meditations, we reawaken the memory of our Kosmic Journey (Kosmic=matter, body, mind, and spirit). It is a journey filled with miracles, and Yogagaia brings to our consciousness our place in the web of life and how we are all co-creators of the irreversible evolutionary spiral of the universe. Hasita gives Yogagaia workshops to various audiences; at the Loyola Marymount University, Lehman College, and several high schools, at the Green Mountain Monastery, Hebrew Learning Center, and organizes programs such as ‘Yogagaia and Hiking’ in the Italian Alps.
Since 1992 Hasita has been facilitating courses on Deep Ecology, Voluntary Simplicity, and Sustainability, developed by the NW Earth Institute at the Environmental Protection Agency. In 2001 she created the Green Yoga Sangha in Westchester County, New York, which meets monthly to discuss selective readings to deepen their understanding of the journey of the universe, to learn about their impact on the health of the planet led by the present world economy, and to explore how they can evolve into healing our planet.
Hasita is co-founder of the Green Yoga Association.
Since 1994 Hasita has been involved in the energetic healing arts. She is a Reiki Master and is trained in Energy Medicine Healing as taught by Jacque Tombazian.
To learn more about Hasita, visit her website yogagaia.com.
For over 15 years, Daniel been a social entrepreneur and community organizer at the intersection of sustainable development and healing arts, helping found over a dozen non-profit organizations, campaigns, and coalitions. His passion is facilitating change and healing with large organizations, small groups and individuals. Recently he co-founded the WholeCare Project in support of ecosystem and communal health within indigenous communities around the world. Formerly, he served as the Cornell University Director of Campus Sustainability, founded New York’s first car-share business, and served as a founding Board Member of the US Partnership for Education for Sustainable Development. In addition, he is a massage and somatic movement therapist. Over the last decade he provided therapeutic services to low-income clients at the Ithaca Free Clinic and was a faculty member at the Finger Lakes School of Massage. He deeply enjoys spending time with his wife, praying in nature, connecting with warm-hearted people, DJing dance events, and eating healthy food.
Social Change Organizer, Environmental Educator, and Kripalu Yoga Teacher, has dedicated her life to bringing forth a more sustainable, just, and contemplative world. She fosters a deep passion for inspiring positive social change through organizing, empowering youth and young adults, and reconnecting people with nature. This passion spurred Kristen to earn her B.S.in Environmental Studies at the University of Vermont.
Over the past number of years, Kristen has taken on pivotal leadership roles. In 2009 Kristen was a leading organizer for the largest student group in the country to attend Powershift – one of the largest youth conferences on climate change in history. In 2010 she assisted Generation Waking Up, a youth social change organization, in building the Wake Up Campaign and developing the Wake Up Experience.
Also in 2010, Kristen worked with the UVM GreenHouse Residential Learning Community to strengthen their environmental program, build community, and empower residents to take leadership roles. Using education as a means to inspire social change, she assistant taught the Introduction to Environmental Studies course at UVM in 2009 and 2010, educated UVM students about sustainability as an Eco-Rep in 2008, led youth backpacking trips for the Colorado Outward Bound School in 2012, and taught Environmental Education at the Keystone Science School to students in grades K-12 in 2013 and 2014.
Most recently, she has worked with NextGen Climate Colorado, a political climate change campaign, to bring climate change to the forefront of politics. Inspired by the hope and generative change possible through public education and activism, Kristen is excited to continue discovering ways in which she can play a role in bringing about a more sustainable, just, contemplative world.