Please Life ~ What Am I For? ...The Path to Project GreenHands.

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Every life turns on a series of pivots.
The path to Project GreenHands was the path to TreeSisters, and the pivots were stepping stones laid through a river of longing. DSC004060002 Please life - what am I for?

The first pivot point was one of the most uncontrollable crying fits of my life
at a new year's dance retreat at the birth of 2002. I found myself unexpectedly playing the role of Mother Earth in a short piece of ritual theatre called 'The Rape of The Earth' (the story of which is here) Life changed and an undeniable need to be part of the active solution arose.

The next pivot point was unexpectedly watching Lynne Twist speak three times in one month
and crying every time (my body uses tears like signposts). She speaks of fundraising like a sacred art and having watched her, I deeply knew that part of my life purpose was to raise millions for something...

The same year pivot three was watching John Perkins speak live
(Confessions of an Economic Hit Man) about his betrayal of the rainforest and his subsequent purpose to protect them - and weeping with the 'knowing' that I was on his team and that I would be raising that money for trees - but not having a clue how, when, where or with who. At the time, I was working as an Intuitive, a coach for social entrepreneurs and trying to understand what it meant to build a consultancy out of feminine principles.

Money and trees were nowhere in sight.
Two years later, knowing I would have to learn fundraising at some point, I attended the Soul of Money training in London with Lynne Twist where she decided to bring the Pachamama 'Awakening The Dreamer' symposium to the UK.

Pivot four was a game changer
- attending that first Symposium in London and sitting on the back row where the emotion had nowhere else to go and literally drowning in grief. I could not accept the reality of what we were doing to our natural world. Grief turned to rage, turned to determination - NOT ON MY WATCH.

The path was laid and I was primed.
Pachamama teaches three interlocking factors for human well being - spiritual fulfillment, social justice and environmental sustainability. They became my true north. PGH-Photo-420x236 My searching led me to India and to the Isha Foundation Ashram of Sadhguru - an astonishing south Indian Guru - and the founder of Project GreenHands. There, you cannot explore the spiritual without being plugged into the physical, ecological world, and so I sat in front of a video about Project GreenHands and sobbed.

Pivot five had arrived.
Ok, I thought - this is it. I'm supposed to be raising money for Project GreenHands (PGH). It was my first direct Pachamama match. Birthed out of a spiritual teaching that giving oneself as a volunteer in selfless service is a fast track to growth - offered to agonizingly poor rural communities alongside yoga and meditation to help heal broken spirits before catalyzing action through tree planting. Spiritual fulfilment was literally the ground of PGH. Then - take a caste culture and bring them all together - every sector of society side by side in the tree nurseries. The military, business owners and employees, single mothers, aids victims, school children and students, farmers, politicians and police - you name it, PGH brought every type of person together around the shared cause of reforesting to counteract the extremes of climate change - flood and drought. Social justice was the currency that levelled the playing field of PGH. Literally 'we are all in this together'.

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Then the trees.
First offered as living remembrance gifts to enable stuck grief to release, after the tsumami  ripped so many lives away from the living that remained - then recognized as the living bridge back into relationship with nature that subsequently revitalized village after village, they have since planted over 25 million drought defence and fruit trees in a land that has lost 12 major rivers. The trees are the heart of the matter - environmental sustainability is now life or death in much of India.

PGH was my obsession
(but not raising money!) I wanted to understand the social strategy deeply because I thought they had the recipe for something massive in the west that could ultimately fund them. I interviewed and questioned, meditated and crystalized their whole modus operandi down to these simple points - think big, level the playing field, create shared ownership, get your hands dirty, educate, celebrate and learn from nature.

Three days later I had the car crash that delivered TreeSisters - pivot six -
and the rest as they saw is history. As we start to explore our next beneficiary tree partners for the major tree campaign that will launch with the next web site, Project GreenHands remains as the gift that showed me the way, that laid out a path that made things feel possible, that provided a cause to grow up for and that stays as a living inspiration of what is possible when people simply start to give themselves for a cause that is life itself.

23,000 trees grace Tamil Nadu thanks to you, and that is my dream come true.
That is our beginning and from here? I know what's coming. Let's prepare to celebrate...

By Clare Dubois

Tree photos by ProjectGreenHands


clare pic June 2017Clare Dubois is the Founder of TreeSisters. Clare is an Earth loving social entrepreneur and inspirational speaker who worked internationally for 18 years facilitating groups, coaching business leaders and creating behaviour change processes within the personal growth sector. Clare is leading the TreeSisters campaign; focusing on network development and the empowerment of women. She has been developing the ethos and principles, the team and organisational culture, the campaign strategy, the framework of the Maps and behaviour change materials. She is committed to the creation of an evolving system that learns as it goes and continually models itself upon the flows and forms of living systems.


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