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Journeying with abeyance : a Welsh cultural approach to contemplative connection with the living world Price, Joanne

Abstract

As a response to climate change, this dissertation attends to a Welsh cultural approach to contemplative connection with the living world. In it, I write with auto-ethnography to explore my own cultural background, and relationship with trees and ancestral characters. Trees are vital to this journey with abeyance, a word I first heard when walking in the rainforests of the Pacific Northwest. Learning that abeyance originated in Wales where I am from, I retreat to this place and from there, connect with the larger patterns of life. Situated in an area of curriculum studies known as eco-poetic life writing, I contemplate the etymology of abeyance and its rootprints abey, abide, abashen, badinage, esbair, and baca. These words make room for encounters with ancestral voices of a ninth century lore-maker Hywel Dda; Gwerful Mechain, an erotic poet from the fifteenth century; a novelist and social entrepreneur, Amy Dillwyn; and my maternal grandmother Phyllis Gittins. Together with these rootprints, voices of my ancestral co-journeyers, and the diverse life-worlds of remote woodland, I have been learning to change the way I think and relate with trees. Realising it is not enough to deny the influence of complex cultural contexts: I invite readers to navigate their own ancestral journeys in relation to places and issues mattering to them. Environmental and contemplative educators may be interested in this way of knowing and connecting with trees and the living world, with culture, words, and ancestors. They may want to delve into their own memories of place and spiritual connections with extended poetic work. They may revisit places and relate with words and the spaces between words in creative, devotional, and regenerative ways equal to the challenge.

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