October to December

The Water we drink, like the air we breathe, is not part of our body but is our body. What we do to one, to the body, to the water we do to the other.

Natalie Diaz- postcolonial love poems

Cop26/ Relaxation for Climate Anxiety/ Winter ep / Songs of Plum Village/The Heart Movement/ Refugee vigil protest Christmas song for Homestage Folk/

The year draws in and I wonder how this all will go. Many questions alive in myself at this time and also many sources of continued and new inspiration that fill my days. As usual when I come to write my posts it’s late, after midnight following a workshop this evening with my friend Susanne Olbrich (more below) and sending out a few copies of my new release ‘Songs From Plum Village’ (more below also). I can feel my body is tired though at the same time I felt I wanted to share my last few months in the hope that something in here will touch hope/ inspiration in you.

My thoughts in the weeks after COP26 have felt such a mixture. The headlines left many I know, including myself, deeply concerned- outcomes for the world’s most affected being affectively ignored, astute observation by Greta/Fridays For Futures about the amount of fossil fuel delegates being in affect the largest country and the changes which are present and visible as never before demonstrated undeniably by Tuvalu’s foreign minister, Simon Kofe giving a speech knee deep in water where parts of the island once had been.

While the big decisions failed, it seems, not meeting the need which many scientists are saying need to be happening now. At the same time the passion of so many around the Cop Fringe festival self organised a programme of events it felt so beautiful and inspiring to be a part of. My learnings from the weekend were the importance, I felt, of the term ‘Loss and damage’ as many of the world’s most seriously affected countries ask bigger polluters for reparations, and the importance also of ignored indigenous wisdom.

Another 2 issues which came to my attention during the weekend were the number of climate activists who are murdered in some countries (quote below) and conversations around patriarchy’s affect and the role of Women .

The Guardian again ran this video that takes some of these ideas.

(Guardian again)

At least 1,005 environmental and land rights defenders have been murdered since the Paris accords were signed six years ago, according to the international non-profit Global Witness. One in three of those killed were indigenous people.

Continuing the theme of Women’s voices, Sister True Dedication, a friend, and Nun at Plum Village, gave this talk also for TED.

On returning from Glasgow I took the wish to my recording space that I would turn my songwriting and playing toward these and made this body mindfulness and song sharing on climate anxiety. If it touches you at all I’d like to know if I can be of support, if you work with people suffering anxiety at the time who may benefit, I’ll record relaxations, just ask – I believe there is wisdom in the most affected so great to turn this all around, we’ve got to love it out.

I mentioned above my friend Susanne Olbrich, together we have been running a project looking at how we voice our relationship with the earth. The workshops will take place once a month drawing inspiration from our shared love of Thich Nhat Hanh, Joanna Macey, Robin Wall Kimerer and others. A share of the collected monies will go to Choose Earth, a project highlighting the environmental and social justice concerns of the people of the Amazon and raising their voices/their wisdom and raising awareness of the ‘western’ way of seeing nature and the problems these are bringing.


Plum Village as some reading this may well know is the monastery and mindfulness practice centre founded by Monk, poet and peace activist Thich Nhat Hanh. What began in one location, in France, is now part of a number of Plum Village practice centres around the world. 

I lived In Plum Village throughout 2016 recording songs for their education project Wake Up Schools. You can find them in the Plum Village Project tab here on my site, one of a number of projects I have been involved with.

This collection of songs comes from a nice happening this year (2021). I recorded myself playing half an hour of PV songs for the team there making film content. When I Rise was used in an instagram post and it led to some requests for the track. Listening back to the half an hour I felt, yes, this can be a record. So it’s myself, my guitar and 10 well known PV songs and one of my own, ‘There’s A Place’ inspired by Thich Nhat Hanh’s teachings.

The Album is available digitally and also as physical artwork 

Contact me with your email address and I will send you a folder with both WAV (high quality audio) and mp3 (regular smaller files), artwork and lyrics and also a link to the online album page with a stream of the songs, artwork & photographs and more album notes. If you’d like a physical album box with artwork and printed lyrics let me know. While I am trying to make my releases cd-less for environmental reasons I understand some people would also still play Cds so let me know if you need one.

I’m making it available on a donation basis whatever you feel to donate will go to my recording and traveling fund / 50% going to PV

find out more here about donating.


This ep is as yet un-named and in the midst of production – though recorded and I shall release it in due course over the next few months –

Find out more and preorder here no financial limitation, free if you want it.

The ep contemplates friendship in the climate crises, patriarchy and the ignored wisdom of women’s voices, racism and white skin awareness and gender expression.


You may remember The Heart Movement, we had a yellow American school bus and toured with mindfulness and wellbeing workshops. The bus tour has now ended and the organisation has decided to move it toward a community focussed space of workshops and retreats, of which I’m glad to say I’m still a part. If you’d be interested in finding out more visit here and see what’s on offer. For a monthly subscription there’s workshops on an ever growing range of wellbeing themes including so far self care, rest, yoga, creative writing, spirituality, grief and forgiveness. Facilitators include interfaith ministers, Qi Gong practitioners, meditation teachers, artists, activists and counsellors.

900 by by Solara Shiha

Lastly this post a moment for 27 people who drowned last month between the coasts/ immigration debates/ borders of France and England. I will take one minute now in silence…

This piece of art was made by Syrian artist Solara Shina.

I was asked this month to record a song for Homestage folk’s Christmas special. I decided to rewrite the Christmas Trad song I Saw Three Ships into a vigil/ protest song for this tragedy. In the drowning of these these 27 may the determination of those who work to protect the lives of the vulnerable, and hold those to account who don’t, grow in strength and numbers. For the many more who have and may still take such a journey to safety, we know that you’re there.

For more art / voices from those who speak of this struggle from personal experience please visit Immprint which is where I found the image

love and best wishes, Joe


***********************

Also re-posting current campaign from my friends at BAT

A mindfulness peace garden project in Palestine’s West Bank set up by Issa Souf..Issa has been a part of the peaceful resistance movement in Palestine for years, at one time shot, he is still committed to community building and non violence in the area.

My song The Stars Taught Me To Read is the soundtrack to the video. The words are a mixture of lines by the Arab poet Mahmoud Darwish. The melody my own.

I support the Palestinian people’s struggle to exist in the face of Israeli power, a crisis I hope my small involvement here will help to highlight 

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