A Conversation with Jocelyn May Anderson, by conference convener, Stephanie Mines.
Jocelyn May Anderson is the Director of Philanthropy at TreeSisters, a global network of women advancing tropical forest restoration. TreeSisters are a passionately feminine global expression of inspired planetary care as an act of faith in the link between women and the natural world. TreeSisters is also a CCC19 partner. Along with founder Clare DuBois and her husband Mark, Jocelyn will participate in CCC19, for herself, the organization she represents and for its worldwide members. “Remembering our sacred connection and responsibility to protect the living world is my priority and it is deeply embedded in the TreeSisters ethos,” Jocelyn says.
But there is also something profoundly personal that draws Jocelyn to come to Scotland, which she describes as “the place my people left centuries ago.” Jocelyn has been singing in Gaelic since she was a youngster. “Perhaps it is my longing for Scotland that keeps feeding this singing of Gaelic songs? My Scottish crest is an oak and the motto is “stand sure.” That is what I am doing when I sing and that is also what I am doing in my reforestation work.”
“I think there is a lot to be learned from our relationship to trees,” Jocelyn continues. “It saddens me how they have been disregarded. TreeSisters aims to restore the lost connection to trees. Our community of thousands in forty-seven countries plant 2.2 million trees annually and this is a growing number. I think my ancestors may be whispering in my ear and telling me to keep doing this and to keep singing.”
“My people are from the lower half of Scotland. It has been quite a task to sort out their travels, but through the deliberate process of learning the language of the Gaelic songs I am finding ways to honor and remember them regardless of whether I have lived in their home places. “
Jocelyn continues weaving this interface between her own personal journey of reclamation and the mission of TreeSisters. Her personal restoration and the reforestation become one and the same gesture of reclaiming. This is an expression of the We that includes the I. When we act for our Mother Earth we are also acting for our own personhood. It is not one or the other. It is always both.
“Restoration is occurring now on many levels and it has all been signaled by the wake-up call of climate change. Climate change activism is not altogether comfortable or exciting, and sometimes the restoration isn’t either. It is happening on multiple levels all at once, individually and collectively.”
“Reclaiming my origins places me on the arch of time. The stories that are being gathered, some of them in the form of songs, are also what we can share with the future. I want to be sure that I have stories to tell in the decades ahead, to those who will come later. I want those stories to include the wisdom of an ancestral heritage, a sense of place and cycles and inheritance. I consider what kind of ancestor I will be to those who come after me. How can I be the best ancestor possible? Through my relationship with trees and songs I am building a story of our global community and how we spend our days so that I can tell it to future generations.”
Jocelyn weaves the creative with the scientific; the activist with the artist in her commitment to living a life of service that is inclusive of selfhood. She will be joining with others who weave song with climate activism. On the night before CCC19 opens there will be a song-filled Passover Seder led by women; in the early mornings before the CCC19 programs begin, shamanic singing along with the Findhorn’s traditional Taize sessions, will provide space for others to find and express the path to activism through the sounds of their own voices.
Jocelyn’s participation in CCC19 is a model of the Awake-Celebrate-Act structure that demonstrates how climate change awakens us to our inner purpose as we celebrate our capacities through action. Join Jocelyn and the other singers of CCC19 so that our sound reverberates in a resonating declaration that we can thrive in a climate changing world, celebrating life.