WEEKEND — Navigating life's ups, downs topic of talk

By Diane Urbani de la Paz
Peninsula Daily News

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PORT TOWNSEND — It's not that a change is going to come. The radical change is here now, Michael Meade believes.

Meade, an author and student of mythology and anthropology, sees the world's turmoil one community at a time.

With the Mosaic Multicultural Foundation, he works with young people and with elders, helping to build mentorship programs in south central Los Angeles, Portland, Ore., east Oakland, Calif., and other urban places.

But these days, Meade finds many people struggling with fear and uncertainty. There's the specter of climate change and extreme weather. The threat of nuclear meltdowns and warfare looms.

And then there is that Mayan calendar prediction of the end coming this December.

Saturday talk

Meade, who comes to Port Townsend's Quimper Unitarian Universalist Fellowship on Saturday, believes we're facing not the end of the world but the beginning of another era.

He believes humans are resilient enough, imaginative enough to bring about a brand-new day, one community at a time.

On Saturday, Meade will discuss his new book, Why the World Doesn't End: Tales of Renewal in Times of Loss, in a 7 p.m. presentation at the Quimper Unitarian Universalist hall, 2333 San Juan Ave. Tickets to the evening, sponsored by Seattle's Mosaic Multicultural Foundation, are $12 at www.MosaicVoices.org or at the door.

In an interview from his home on Vashon Island, Meade talked about ways to navigate through the turbulence.

“In the middle of change, you watch for that opportune moment,” he began. “It's a choice. We can choose to be part of beginnings, while acknowledging that things are ending.”

To be part of positive change, each person can “take the opportunity to truly become oneself.

“Everybody has that inner purpose,” whether one is 16 or 70, he said.

“There's an old saying,” Meade added, that “a culture falls apart in two places: where the youth are rejected and the elders forgotten.”

To heal, young people as well as seniors must be invited to participate in community life — together in a mentoring relationship.

Don't retire from life

“A person's not supposed to retire from life; a person's supposed to retire from work,” said Meade. There comes a time to “re-fire,” to find something meaningful to do.

“Your calling,” he added, “keeps calling.”

So if you noticed something years ago, something that spoke to your core, you can still answer.

People live longer and with much greater satisfaction when they find something meaningful to do with their later years, he said.

Meade listed a couple of groups he has met in his travels around the country: threshold choirs who sing to people at the end of their lives and war veterans who are growing organic produce in permaculture gardens.

He'll talk about such groups Saturday night in Port Townsend, as well as share some of the creation stories in his book.

“Then I engage the audience,” to tap into that community energy.

“The world is slightly tipped toward re-creation,” Meade said.

And this place is going to change not from national or global politics, he believes, “but from inside communities.”


Features Editor Diane Urbani de la Paz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5062, or at diane.urbani@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: November 15. 2012 9:51PM
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