By Sheila Simpson-Brown
I live on Denman Island. Listen here:
Coming from a place of love. Deeply motivated to act, to speak, to protest, to block. We must come from a place of love always. Simply because love will always conquer fear: love and compassion.
The greatest understanding we have about our relationship to the natural world is our connection to that world. I developed a connection to the earth from my walks as a child in nature, and of course from reading about the forest and the great mystery of the forest. It was a wild place; a place to be respected and feared. It was a place where the animals lived and a place for humans to stay out of.
I was brought to the blockades of Clayoquot Sound in 1993 because of a very close spiritual encounter with a black bear who came to my yard in Tofino. That bear gave me the medicine of strength and introspection to act; to stand alone and face all that I had to: being handcuffed, locked in solitary confinement and jail. Non-violence does not mean back down. In fact, non-violence requires going to the edge of fear to discover courage.
It took me years to realize that I defended the ancient rainforest from a deep spiritual connection in my own soul to land and life. Non-violent communication can be taught, and it was taught every day at the peace camp where hundreds of people made consensus-based decisions through talking circles every evening. When I was arrested for the third time the bear appeared under the bridge and the forest company brought the tape of my arrest and then the court got to see this amazing beautiful black bear swimming under Kennedy Bridge! When we blocked a logging road three wolves came to show us their selves and it was amazing.
Anger never works. Anger only begets more anger, whereas compassion and heartfelt honesty will always pierce the heart. I had no fear because I had conviction that what I was doing was right. I always sang when the loggers were getting very angry (the end). I had seen so much anger growing up that I became a very non-violent person; vocal yea but compassionate.