Saturday, July 28, 2018

Q&A with Eli Jaxon-Bear

Eli Jaxon-Bear is the author of the new memoir An Outlaw Makes It Home: The Awakening of a Spiritual Revolutionary. His other books include Wake Up and Roar and Sudden Awakening. He founded the nonprofit group The Leela Foundation, and he lives in Ashland, Oregon.

Q: At what point did you decide to write this memoir about your experiences, and how long did it take to write it?

A: I didn’t really decide to write it. It just poured out of me. I was leading a retreat in Amsterdam a few years ago and started writing. I wrote between sessions and into the night. It all poured out over a period of weeks but the editing went on for well over a year.

Q: What do you hope readers take away from the book?

A: That it is possible for each of us to wake up and be free regardless of our personal circumstances. This book shows that you can be afraid and still choose what is alive in your heart regardless of the possible outcome. It is possible to discover true lasting fulfillment and love without ever chasing it.

Q: Did you need to do additional research to write the memoir, or did you remember most of what you write about?

A: My memories start before I could talk when I was one and a half years old. No research was needed.

Since my story takes place in many of the pivotal events of my generation, from being beaten by Klansmen in Alabama at the age of 18, to being jailed for fighting the police in Chicago during the convention of 1968, to becoming a federal fugitive during an attempt to stop the Vietnam war in Washington on May Days of 1971, the events are quite vivid in my memory, along with the 18-year spiritual search that came afterwards.

Q: How did you decide which episodes of your life you’d be focusing on in the book?

A: That was the hard part, editing out all the inessential. There are so many stories that I like and am attached to, but do not further the narrative and had to be left behind. The essential stories have always been there as I told my tales as a means of seduction in the seventies.

Q: What are you working on now? 

A: My new book is called The Awakened Guide: A Manual for Leaders, Teachers, Coaches, Healers, and Helpers The Next Wave.

Q: Anything else we should know?

A: Peter Coyote wrote:

"An Outlaw Makes It Home, bares it all in this rapid fire compilation of adventures. A serious quest for spiritual wisdom and enlightenment with a startling turn in the heartwarming discovery after an eighteen year search.

Jaxon-Bear does not spare himself or try to polish his flaws and mistakes: in that regard, he is a warrior. I consumed this book in huge gulps and would do it again. I urge others to read it.”

--Interview with Deborah Kalb

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