We don’t often review books here at ClimateMama, and when we do, they seem to have an obvious and overt connection to climate change. But when I was asked to review Renee Peterson Trudeau’s book, “Nurturing the Soul of Your Family, 10 Ways to Reconnect and Find Peace in Everyday life” the title of the book grabbed me (my soul could certainly use a little nurturing!) and I said sure. I am SO glad that I did; the book touched me deeply in many ways, personally, professionally and spiritually. I feel strongly that this book has a direct and deep connection to our work at ClimateMama, and I would HIGHLY recommend it.
Richard Louv, one of our heroes and the author of the national bestseller, Last Child in the Woods, Saving Our Children From Nature Deficit Disorder, calls the book: “Life-enhancing” and recommends it for all families “seeking to move from chaos to a more joyful, fulfilling existence.”
That kind of sums up how many of us at ClimateMama feel these days. We have a strong desire to try to contain and move away from the chaos filling our lives and to make sure we stay connected to family and friends who inspire and give us reasons to be joyful as we find small and large ways to tackle the climate crisis. As the urgency of the climate crisis becomes crystal clear, and as we work to help others grasp what we are up against, “chaos” in every way shape and form seems often to take hold.
An important part of our lives that often suffers, is that part that should be devoted, uninterrupted, to our families and good friends. Many of our friends and colleagues in the Climate Movement tell us the same thing, and regularly feel despair and anxiety, as the problems that confront us and our natural world can often seem too big at times to get our arms around. Renee Peterson Trudeau reminds us of the need to slow down; she provides concrete exercises and ideas for helping us find our center and move through the chaos, how to find joy in the present moment, and time to enjoy that freedom.
I personally have a hard time saying no. There are so many exciting things happening on climate change education and advocacy these days, I want to be at the center of it all and I want to bring my kids in to this center as well. We are all part of a connected world and to successfully address and solve the crisis we face, we will need to work together from many fronts.
That being said, none of us are irreplaceable and we need to be able to recharge and celebrate our families and ourselves too. Practically for our family, my children still need to be children and have time to enjoy their moments too. It is important to me (and to my kids) that they have time for lacrosse practice and music lessons, and other things they enjoy and want to experience. It is also important that we make time to enjoy each other’s company. At 13 and 15, my children are now taller then I am and I see their grownup selves peeking through at me often. More and more, I realize that my time with them on a daily basis is becoming shorter, and I need to cherish and hold tightly to the moments that I have with them.
In a clear and direct fashion, Nurturing the Soul of Your Family shows us how to reconnect and “find peace” in everyday life. Technology has created a world were organizations like ClimateMama can thrive, and gives us ways to “grab the future” and to be more consciously connected. However, it can also take over our lives, and we need to understand this and find ways and time to disconnect as well.
Renee’s 10 paths to Reconnect and Find Peace in Everyday Life include:
Tapping the transformative power of self-care
Healing form the inside out
Unplugging to plug in (people first!)
Unleashing the healing power of nature
Making time for spiritual renewal
Loving the ones you’re with
Defining, celebrating and honoring your family culture
Slowing down, doing less to experience more
Exploring a new way of being
Building your tribe.
As both a personal guide and as advice to our Climate Mamas and Papas, several things jumped out at me as I read this book. One was the recognized need for us all to slow down; the reality that by doing less you actually can experience more. There is so much to learn and help others understand about climate change. But the broad inertia that has set in here in the USA and lack of willingness to move forward on solutions is one that I believe is perpetuated by our short attention spans which are encouraged by technological advances that move us quickly through media cycles and events.
Renee opens up our eyes to the need to spend more time in nature with our families. We need to experience nature’s wonders to remember why it is important that we protect and nurture nature, both for our generation and for generations to come. If we don’t slow down and make time for this, we miss a powerful opportunity to connect ourselves and our families to the natural world. Renee helps us understand this and guides us through ways that we as individuals and together as families can find our way back to nature. Renee reminds us that:
“It’s not a luxury to get away and immerse yourself in a natural setting. It’s like oxygen. It’s essential to your well-being. It’s one of the greatest gifts we have available to us.”
There is so much in Renee’s book and so many personal ways to interpret it, that everyone who reads it will find something that they can relate to and put into practice. I highly recommend this book! Make it a gift to yourself, or consider giving it as a gift to someone you love. Nurturing the Soul of Your Family helps remind us to slow down and “smell the roses” before they are gone…
For more info and other reviews, check out the new facebook page Renee just set up for the Nurturing the Soul of Your Family…