Friday, April 30, 2010


I happened to watch the final presentation of Bill Moyers Journal on PBS tonight.  Author Barry Lopez was Moyers final guest .  Their discussions prompted me to recall Lopez book ARTIC DREAMS  .  In particular, I recalled the following excerpt from the book.

Winter darkness brings on the extreme winter depression the Polar Eskimo call perlerorneq.  According to the anthropologist Jean Malaurie, the word means to feel “the weight of life.”  To look ahead to all that must be accomplished and to retreat to the present feeling defeated, weary before starting, a core of anger, a miserable sadness.  It is to be “sick of life” a man named Imina told Malaurie.  The victim tears fitfully at his clothing.  A woman begins aimlessly slashing at things in the iglu with her knife.  A person runs half naked into the bitter freezing night, screaming out at the village, eating the shit of the dogs.  Eventually the person is calmed by others in the family with great compassion, and helped to sleep.  Perlerorneq.  Winter.

As I mentioned yesterday, I attended a conference called “Cross-Sector Leadership for the Green Economy” and was challenged by the presentations I listened too.  I opted to return to the conference today, with the understanding that if I didn’t show up, then I would be avoiding my opportunity to participate.  Today’s speakers that included professors of economics, business, management, and political science and a corporate attorney, left me feeling a touch of spring time perlerorneq.  They spoke of how the drivers of a green economy are competition and profit, and mentioned nothing about how a green economy should be about finding a way to meet our needs in harmony with the rest of the ecosystem.  

During the concluding small group discussions that were held following the formal presentations, I also experienced the calming and compassion used to heal the sufferers of perlerorneq.  This occurred as the other folks at my table expressed some of their own concerns with the lack of real vision shown by following the same old economic model based on production and consumption leading to profit.  A business professor shared how up until recently he too believed in the infallibility of that model, until his students questions prompted him to look deeper into the consequences of our consumption on the environment.  It gave me some hope, that maybe we can find a better alternative with some questioning, searching, understanding and cooperation.  

Check out Bill Moyers discussion with Barry Lopez (which should be available soon here ) for another source of hope. 


  1. Tom, I'm hearing your disappointment initially with the presentations, not really meeting your need for learning or connection to what really matters.

    Noticing from your comments that it was the business professor, in a circle experience, who chose to share from a vulnerable place that safely broke open the deeper questions where you experienced hope.

    Those of us awake and alive in this new era of deeper ecological connection are realizing through experiences like yours that WE ARE the change! You and I are called to lead vulnerably 24/7 from our authentic, inner sacred place of knowing.

    Your blog comment reminds and empowers me to simply call the circle and mindfully ask the deeper questions. For it is in the awkward silence of 'unknowing' possiblities unfold!

  2. Thanks for the great insight. Your are correct that it is us, who are called to lead. It is leadership that belongs to all of us that needs to lead us into the unknown. I think it was a sense of that realization that prompted me to return to the conference, not to hear what I wanted to hear, but to be challenged to participate and in some small way become the change I wanted. I appreciate your comment.