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Tamed by a Bear

Coming Home to Nature-Spirit-Self

List Price: $25.00

July 11, 2017 | Hardcover | 5.5 x 8.5, 224 pages | ISBN 9781619029552
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“An open-hearted, playful account of learning to listen to the wisdom of interconnection.” —Elizabeth Enslin, author of While the Gods Were Sleeping: A Journey Through Love and Rebellion in Nepal

When Priscilla Stuckey begins hearing Bear’s voice, she is a writer and religious studies professor in her fifties. Though she enjoys communing with trees and birds and the land, she intellectually knows better than to try talking directly with spirits. Yet searching for the truth of her own identity leads her directly toward what she is most skeptical of. As Priscilla opens to her spirit animal helper and his affectionate, jovial wisdom, she begins to realize the slow dawning of faith. Tamed by a Bear shows one person responding to the call of her heart, which is also the call of Earth to all human beings today: to listen to a more-than-human wisdom so people can address the social and environmental crises facing the world.

At this moment when the future of life on Earth as we know it hangs in the balance—threatened by climate change, species extinctions, and extreme economic inequality—the key to survival is found in answering one question: How can humans live more peaceably and sustainably with the rest of nature? The heart-opening conversations between Bear and Priscilla suggest a reinvigorating of nature-spirituality in everyday life. Their dialogues show an educated, thoughtful person grappling with her skepticism about Earth spirits and gradually saying yes to a call from beyond her intellectual understanding. Over the course of a year, she wrestles with her own resistance, she develops her ability to listen accurately, and she learns to trust her own perception more deeply.

PRISCILLA STUCKEY is a writer and spiritual counselor with a passion for reconnecting people with nature, including their own natures. Her first book, Kissed by a Fox: And Other Stories of Friendship in Nature, won the 2013 WILLA Award in Creative Nonfiction. Priscilla received a Ph.D. from the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, CA, in religious studies and feminist theory. In Oakland she founded an urban creek–based land trust and led creek cleanups and restoration projects. In Boulder she cofounded a local rights-of-nature group. She lives at the base of Sandia Mountain near Albuquerque with her partner, Tim, and their dog, Bodhi.

Praise

“In Kissed by a Fox, Priscilla Stuckey explored the relationships between the human world and the natural world. Now, in Tamed by a Bear, she takes a radical step further as she engages a spirit animal Helper. Whether you “believe” in the shamanic realm or are a skeptic, the insights Stuckey reaches along the way are compelling indeed. She and her Helper clearly and unequivocally convey the message that we must move from an attitude of using to loving. Best of all, Tamed by a Bear is an exquisitely written book. The writing carries the reader along, with “oohs” and “ahs” as the author pens one beautiful turn of phrase after another. Her story—both the outer story of her search for a new place to live and the inner one of her journey to come home to herself—is told in a powerful narrative you won’t soon forget.” —Linda Tate, author of Power in the Blood: A Family Narrative

“What affinities does Tamed by a Bear have with other works of spiritual seeking and connection? Purge the hallucinogens from Carlos Castenada’s The Teachings of Don Juan, and you might approximate it. Or perhaps it comes close to a nonfiction version of Daniel Quinn’s Ishmael, without the conspiracy theory—and with a playful bear as a guide, not a Socratic gorilla, of course. In the end, Tamed by a Bear may be in a category all its own, an account both personal and heartfelt about the author’s journey to listen more fully to the voice within and the world without, even when that means—especially when that means—letting go of the known for uncharted territory. Stuckey wrestles with exterior pressures—from finances and career to fire and flood—as well as the inner skeptic, modeling a way to listen deeply and act on the basis of joy. In Tamed by a Bear, readers are welcomed and allowed vicarious access to Stuckey’s inner turmoil and doubt as well as her increasing openness and trust in her sensory experience. It’s a journey leading to other worlds that continuously spirals back to the one we share with insights about human psychology, nature, and the agency of other creatures. The reader may walk away with the feeling that the material and the spiritual are not so far apart as most of us think; as Bear admonishes: ‘It’s not necessary to divide things up that way.’” —Gavin Van Horn, Center for Humans and Nature

“An open-hearted, playful account of learning to listen to the wisdom of interconnection.” —Elizabeth Enslin, author of While the Gods Were Sleeping: A Journey Through Love and Rebellion in Nepal

“What would the voice of aware consciousness sound like and say, if I could listen deeply enough? In Tamed by a Bear, Priscilla Stuckey shines a brilliant light on the relationship we long to cultivate with the deepest wellsprings of our wisdom and love. With Bear, her animal Helper, she shares her Journey to a life of communion between spirit and our physical nature. This is a groundbreaking book, written with extraordinary clarity, beauty, and radical honesty.” —Gail D. Storey, author of I Promise Not to Suffer: A Fool for Love Hikes the Pacific Crest Trail, winner of the National Outdoor Book Award

“What do you do once your last, best dream is fulfilled? After publishing her first book, Priscilla Stuckey feels surprisingly lost. In an effort to find her path, she embarks with some skepticism on a journey, a shamanic journey, and takes us with her every step of the way. Written with grace and simplicity—and luminous descriptions of nature—each of the 66 short chapters embodies a teaching. And the fact that Priscilla’s spirit guide is a friendly and cheerful bear keeps things grounded, and invites us along for the ride. As Priscilla finds her path unfolding, one step at a time, we too are shown how to listen deeply and find more acceptance and joy … and a deeper relationship with all of life. Like Bear, this book is warm, engaging, and wise. A journey worth taking.” —Rivvy Neshama, author of award-winning Recipes for a Sacred Life: True Stories and a Few Miracles

“Tamed by a Bear is a wonderful surprise! Not only will this book change the way you see the world, it will change your life. With artistry, mastery, and patience, Priscilla Stuckey, along with the help of Bear, breaks through the barriers of the skeptical mind and invites the reader to share in the intimate dialogue between a human and their unseen Helper. This book is not another philosophical discourse on the relationship between nature and spirit. Nor is it an abstract discussion about the value of invisible realities. Rather, it is a love story between two very real beings—Stuckey and Bear—who together will open both your heart and mind.” —Betsy Perluss, PhD, Wilderness Guide, School of Lost Borders

“In Priscilla Stuckey’s latest book, we are warmly encouraged to enjoy rearranging our lives to honour our relations in the larger-than-human world. This is not another DIY shamanism or self-help manual. It is an intimate reflection on listening, on trusting our senses, on being in the world. It is about rooting ourselves in concern for well-being for everyone we know and encounter, including ourselves”. —Prof. Graham Harvey, author of Animism: Respecting the Living World and editor of Shamanism: A Reader

“In Tamed by a Bear, Priscilla Stuckey chronicles her journey into the heart of this numinous living world, guided by a stunningly wise and delightfully down-to-earth bear spirit. This story is an extraordinary and courageous gift, full of wisdom riding on the shoulders of joy. And of course, as Bear says, love, the thing we humans do best, and which we need so much more of, especially now. May we all learn to listen to the rich wisdom of nature and spirit, and may we all find more joy, wonder, trust, and, yes, love along the way, as Stuckey has with Bear.” —Susan J. Tweit, author of Walking Nature Home: A Life’s Journey

“‘One doesn’t have to feel clear to be of great value and make a great contribution. One only needs to be malleable.’ So says Bear, the spirit Helper of a wryly skeptical narrator struggling to find a path forward when doors seem to be slamming closed around her. The fundamental inseparability of spirit and nature imbues Bear’s gentle teachings. Every page of this book sparkles with wise, clear, profoundly important insight that will resonate with anyone seeking reconciliation and communion with the Earth community. This is not spiritual wisdom by proclamation from on high, but spiritual wisdom earned by quieting enough to receive guidance from within and without. In a time when technological clamor threatens to overwhelm our lives and devastate the planet, Priscilla Stuckey offers a simple, but not easy, path forward through the noise. This is essential reading for any spiritual or ecological warrior.” —Elizabeth Allison, PhD, Founder and Chair of the Ecology, Spirituality, and Religion graduate program at the California Institute of Integral Studies, San Francisco, CA

Tamed by a Bear is an adventure story, about an inner journey available to us all. Author Priscilla Stuckey shares with honesty and insight her relationship with Bear, the spirit guide and helper who appears in her inner world to teach her about the things we need to know most: joy, relationship, receiving help, and welcoming the adventure or everyday life. Her stories delight and challenge us to consider the inter-beingness of reality and the wealth of support and guidance that is available to us all. It lifted me, reminded me of what I thought I could never forget. And I am grateful.” —Oriah “Mountain Dreamer” House, author of The Invitation

“Dialogue is a staple format in mystical writings, and for good reason. Whether we’re eavesdropping on Arjuna and Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita, or the pilgrim and his staretz in Way of a Pilgrim, the conversations can quickly start to feel personal, and I think that is because in a very real sense, Arjuna is just a stand-in for you and me; his questions are uncannily close to the ones we ourselves would raise if we could. Taking up a shamanic practice brought Priscilla Stuckey to the infinitely wise and tender teacher she calls, simply, ‘Bear.’ Their conversations, recorded in Stuckey’s lovely new book, prove definitively that the mystical dialogue is alive and well. More than that, I believe they demonstrate the age-old power of the format itself—to draw us in and make us feel that Bear is our teacher too—our staretz,our Krishna.” —Carol Lee Flinders, author of Enduring Grace: Living Portraits of Seven Women Mystics

“Priscilla presents an unfolding universe that protects the life within it, a world in which we humans can find our own point of connection, a world where a bear can bring forward understanding. With wisdom and a sweet tempo, Priscilla shares her process of trust and receiving through a beautifully envisaged and shaped journey.” —Joanie Clingan, Prescott College, Faculty Emeritus in Sustainability Education and Arts & Humanities

“Dialogue is a staple format in mystical writings, and for good reason. Whether we’re eavesdropping on Arjuna and Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita, or the pilgrim and his staretz in Way of a Pilgrim, the conversations can start to feel personal, because in a very real sense, Arjuna is a stand-in for you and me; his questions are uncannily close to the ones we ourselves would raise if we could. Taking up a shamanic practice brought Priscilla Stuckey to the infinitely wise and tender teacher she calls, simply, ‘Bear.’ Their conversations, recorded in Stuckey’s lovely new book, demonstrate the age-old power of the mystical dialogue itself—to draw us in and make us feel that Bear is our teacher too—our staretz, our Krishna.” —Carol Lee Flinders, author of Enduring Grace: Living Portraits of Seven Women Mystics

Tamed by a Bear is an adventure story, about an inner journey available to us all. Author Priscilla Stuckey shares with honesty and insight her relationship with Bear, the spirit guide and helper who appears in her inner world to teach her about the things we need to know most: joy, relationship, receiving help, and welcoming the adventure or everyday life. Her stories delight and challenge us to consider the inter-beingness of reality and the wealth of support and guidance that is available to us all. It lifted me, reminded me of what I thought I could never forget. And I am grateful.” —Oriah “Mountain Dreamer” House, author of The Invitation

“Every page of this book sparkles with wise, clear, profoundly important insight that will resonate with anyone seeking reconciliation and communion with the Earth community. This is spiritual wisdom earned by quieting enough to receive guidance from within and without. In a time when technological clamor threatens to overwhelm our lives and devastate the planet, Priscilla Stuckey offers a simple, but not easy, path forward through the noise. This is essential reading for any spiritual or ecological warrior.” —Elizabeth Allison, PhD, Founder and Chair of the Ecology, Spirituality, and Religion graduate program at the California Institute of Integral Studies

“With wisdom and a sweet tempo, Priscilla shares her process of trust and receiving through a beautifully envisaged and shaped journey.” —Joanie Clingan, Prescott College, Faculty Emeritus in Sustainability Education and Arts & Humanities

“Stuckey’s book teaches me to pay attention to the other beings accompanying us on our daily journeys. Whether we listen to their voices or not will make the difference in our future together.” —Daily Camera

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