About your Book:
Discontented with the passivity of an early retirement, the author went to live and work for two years with a small native band (300 people) in a remote location in Canada’s far north, in search of adventure and a deeper meaning to life. Cultural differences and a challenging environment caused a paradigm shift in his spirituality and life philosophy. When he left the north, he changed his life’s direction and went to less developed countries in Asia and Africa sharing his skills and experience to help improve the lives of those less fortunate.
“Awakening in the Northwest Territories” is a humorous, intriguing and thought provoking memoir of the unusual life of Alastair Henry. Although the story spans sixty years: growing up in England, emigrating to Canada by himself at 19 etc., the core of the biography takes place in the Northwest Territories, when the author was sixty years old.
Targeted Age Group: All ages
Genre: Biography, Memoir
The Book Excerpt:
One of the “Awakenings” – I developed a deeper “appreciation for the gift of life – for having been born and for still being alive.”
Prior to going North, I’d taken “life” for granted and not given it much thought, but being in the presence of the Dene over a prolonged period of time, enabled me to look at the world through their eyes, and I felt in my gut that this view was wholesome and true. Their regard for Mother Earth, Father Sky and Grandmother Ocean, and for the animals and birds as their brothers and sisters, struck a chord in me. The Dene respected and cherished the land, the water and the air, and their reverence energised me – made me feel “alive”– and caused me to think more deeply about my humanity.
Putting aside religious beliefs, there is no reason that we know of for there to be anything. Why a Universe at all, with billions of galaxies, and billions of stars in each, and a planet earth, teeming with billions of different life forms, one of which is us, homo sapiens? And yet here we are. We are a part of the Universe, created from the same atoms as are all other life forms, but because our brains evolved faster than other species, we stand alone in intellect, and thus have been able to dominate and use the rest of the Earth to our advantage.
And everybody reading this is a descendant and heir to that evolutionary phenomenon. You and I are here today, and that in itself is a fluke, for the chance of us ever being born is infinitesimally low, so low in fact that we should never have been born. Had any one of our forefathers, or mothers, going back to the dawn of evolution, not had another child, for whatever reason, we would not be here. But you and I are. What an incredible gift is that?
And with our evolution came the unique ability to see and appreciate, through our senses, the wondrous Universe that we are part of. I became awed by it and by everything in it. With this perspective on Life, I was able to feel calm and content, and to experience the joy of “being” at an incredibly deep level that I wasn’t able to before. There was a paradigm shift in my values, from “wanting more” to “wanting less,” and being “content with what is.”