2022 Grateful 37: A new take on the old Seanchaí?

Back in the day in Ireland, the Seanchaí, the wandering storyteller, would move from town to town, village to village. 

Someone would invariably offer to host them and that house would become the focal point for the village for the next few days. Evenings were spent around the fireside listening to his tales. What a way to live. What a shame it’s died out.

Or has it?

This morning, I read a post by a friend about their friend, Deepa. Evolve Beings describes her thus:

Deepa is a wanderer, social- urban permaculturist, minimalist, zero waste pro, slow traveler, strong believer in gift culture and a keen observer of life.

Her CV is inspirational.

Deepa househops, and in exchange for room and board might teach conversational English or offer to coach or give advice on going zero-waste.

Beaten the first lockdown by househopping and sharing my skills as a ‘live in’ experimental coach i.e. understanding the host’s current obstacles and finding tailor made solutions to help them transition to a greener life. This experiment included living with:
a professional chef specialising in Andhra cuisine
1k animals at an animal shelter
a professional Ayurvedic chef
long term meditators at a mediation centre
a professional birder

And I’m sure while she’s there, she has more than her share of stories to tell.

Her Dariya Dil Dukaan initiative reminds me of timebanking, something I would love to see come to Hungary.

This is a pan India forum for those of us who realise that we are all living a life full of excess and want to shed and gift that excess to whoever needs and appreciates it. It could be a gift like a book or a jacket you’re no longer using, a skill like a guitar class or a lesson in baking, or a service like a ride to the airport – basically, anything that you feel like sharing with someone to whom it will make a difference!

In a recent interview with the Kodai Chronicle, she said something that has me thinking:

Upcycling is not a solution. How many water bottle planters can one make and use? Once a bottle is converted into a planter that’s the end of the journey for it. And recyclers don’t accept soiled or dirty plastic. The real game-changer is refusing to make waste. Switch from bottled water to boiled water instead.

Oh, to meet this woman.

In the same post, my friend mentioned another friend, Satish Kumarji, the Jain monk who founded Schumacher College in Devon. In a previous life, the college was on my radar but I hadn’t known the history. I hadn’t known that back in 1962:

It was the height of the Cold War, and Satish and his friend EP Menon set out to walk from Delhi to the four nuclear capitals – Moscow, Paris, London, Washington DC – to spread a message of non-violence. A journey of around 8,000 miles and two and half years.

He was 26. Another seanchaí of sorts. What stories he must have to tell. And tell them he does in a book published in 2021 – Pilgrimage for Peace.

He had this to say about walking:

Only by moving can things change and transform. And walking is movement of the body. When you’re walking, you’re transformed. Your mindset, your health, your ideas. You get new, fresh thinking.

Two fascinating people. Am grateful, RM. Thanks for putting them on my radar. And I’m grateful that the Seanchaí is seeing a revival, even if it is a variation on a theme.



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