An Interview I Did Recently

Hi All,

Here is an interview I did recently with a man named Tom Callos who does really cool stuff with getting the martial arts community involved in service based projects. The book I reference in the interview is called Lose Your Mother: A Journey Along The Altlantic Slave Route by Saidiya Hartman.

The project of the Engage Network–Off The Mat Into The World is in partnership with the wonderfully gifted Yoga instructor, Seane Corn.

Hope you enjoy.



Published in: on April 3, 2009 at 12:45 am  Comments (12)  

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12 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Fascinating conversation. The metaphor of one’s own tree as a motivating purpose is certainly one of accessibilty and broad appeal. Good luck in your efforts.

  2. Hi~
    I’m so glad this interview highlighted What’s Your Tree. I think it’s so important for each person to find his/her purpose in life and I’m proud of Julia for helping people to find there personal cause.

    I’m so fulfilled with my purpose in life as a Pastor’s wife, and it gives me great joy that the Calvary’s Cross is my tree. I wake up each morning full of joy and anticipation of God’s purpose and direction for my day and I go to bed each night fulfilled in His provision for my life. Through good times and bad times, He sustains me and directs me and helps me bring this same hope to the hopeless and joy to the downtrodden in today’s society.

    I’m glad you have this avenue, Julia.

  3. I follow both of your works quite closely and am truly inspired by the change that is taking place. It’s amazing how the feeling of empowerment grows when one is compelled to take action. Excellent interview.

  4. I am familiar with you through the efforts of Tom Callos. You are a role model for others to seek their “tree(s)” for the passion, focus, and fulfillment it can bring to their existence.

    Great interview!

  5. If everyone had and new what their tree was the world would be a much better place.

  6. I, like Mr. Brinker, have been — remotely — a “student” of Ms. Hill and Mr. Callos for a number of years. In hearing the call to find and follow one’s purpose, I am reminded of a quote by Epictetus: “Tentative efforts lead to tentative outcomes. Therefore, give yourself fully to your endeavors. Decide to construct your character through excellent actions, and determine to pay the price for a worthy goal. The trials you encounter will introduce you to your strenghts. Remain steadfast… and one day you will build something that endures, something worthy of your potential.

  7. Tom & Julia – Thanks to both of you – a very inspiring and interesting interview….I liked Julia’s statement that “You are more powerful than you know yourself to be.” What an incredible journey you both promote – a journey of self-discovery as one member of the family of mankind.

  8. Hi Julia,
    Great interview! And I love the shout out Van Jones gave to you in this month’s Oprah magazine – what a powerful example of our lives as interconnected & how your work inspires people! Like him, whenever I seem to hit a roadblock with Zola I think of you in a tree for 738 days and it gives me the strength to continue until it too reaches critical mass. Hope you are well!!

  9. Julia – thank you again for the interview. You were/are so clear…and MAN do you inspire me!

  10. Julia,

    I know it may sound different than some would expect, but my tree would have to be Cannabis. Suffering from bipolar type I disorder, this tree has brought me a great deal of relief. It has also been a struggle as for the legalities of the substance.

    This particular plant has often brought me to the Humboldt County region of where you stayed in Luna, as this area is known for its fine Cannabis. It is in Humboldt were I learned about you and what you were doing in the Redwoods. I did follow your story and websites, and volunteered a couple times at the Circle of Life Headquarters in Oakland, a city which is also becoming known for Cannabis activism through it’s Oaksterdam district.

    Dealing with the slavery aspect, is also an issue of interest in Oakland as another element of activism which I participated in helping Uhuru Concessions. This is the only Bay Area organization to have a booth at Reggae on the River, also in Humboldt, and also where you attend and speak.

    So your interview was very interesting to me, how it shows the connectivity of all of this. Although I have not been too much of an activist lately, I always recycle with you in my heart.


  11. I just got done reading your book. Truly amazing. You are unusually blessed.

    By the way, the website is broken, (php errors) although the site works. I mention it because you refer to the former in the back of your book. It also looks like there are some errors with the text encoding on tne site that works (what are supposed to be apostrophes come out as 3 weird characters on my screen). Pardon my geekness, but it’s my job.

    Back to your book, I could relate to almost everything in it, since I spent a few years actively engaged with the environmentalist community trying to stop a logging project here in Santa Cruz county. Our struggle was not so glamorous, mostly consisting of attending tedious meetings that seemed to go on forever (as if meetings don’t do that in the first place) We eventually succeeded, and the water district bought the land.

    When you were describing Eel River it reminded me of Eel River Sawmills, the company that was proposed in the THP to do the actual cut.

    The idea of paying swindlers to regain what we should rightfully own continues … our local Zayante watershed has been held hostage by this local idiot (Roger Birch) who has enraged neighbors and trashed beautiful forests with his illegal and thoughtless forestry practices. Mind you, we have it a lot better in this county than up north. Clearcutting is illegal here, for example.

    But the rubberstamping of THP’s does go on, as do the uncited violations of forestry practice rules. It’s part of a long history, from what I have read. When the Board of Forestry was first formed, they actually made a lot of good regulations, but since there was no funding allocated for enforcement, the regulations were completely ignored.

    I did get a chance to call the BOF a “cesspool of special interest” to their faces as we were in Sacramento asking for some benediction. You never saw a bunch of dried up dusty old guys wake up so fast. They even interrupted my allotted 3 minutes of speaking to deny it.

    But I had to say something after watching the way they treated the group before us, these poor people who were explaining how their homes had been washed away from landslides resulting from logging roads (and yes, that happens in this county too) … and the BOF were just sitting there with these bored expressions, not a shred of empathy, saying “we don’t see how this qualifies as an emergency circumstance.” Truly appalling. And our current Governator, who could re-appoint the entire gang of hoodlums at whim, has simply made matters worse, by appointing yet another industry shill to a “public” seat.


    I am curious about the movie in the works. It sounds like the right crowd to do it. (Did I hear George Clooney’s name in there somewhere?) I think they should get the other Julia, the one who did Erin Brockovich. She’s good at the acting activist roles thing, and she wouldn’t even have to fake the name.

    I cringe to see you getting into what looks like another self-help scam. Sorry to be harsh, but some of us in the activist community are a bit skeptical of Oprah Winfrey, especially after she dissed a bunch of polite protesters who went on her show, attempting to keep this country from getting into the war that has proven so damaging to our economy, not to mention killing lots of people for no real purpose.

    For full details, search for “Oprah” on

    Plus she spent 5 million building this school – I have a friend who built a school in Africa for $5000. She was disgusted that the 5 million didn’t go to building a thousand schools, which would have been much more helpful than creating an elite experience.

    The self-help industry is another dubious aggregate, though you don’t quite fit the profile of the typical snakeoil salesman (typically male, and the largest consumer seems to be middle-aged women). The ideas it grew out of were initially visionary, but I see the state of it now and shake my head.

    Blaming the victim seems to be their best talent. “God created a perfect world so if you’re suffering it’s part of God’s perfection.” They don’t quite put it that way (if they did, they would realize how foolish it is … “Why did you create this?” they’re more likely to say … ) but new age beliefs get used to justify some of the worst conservatism.

    I know you’re smart, and you have integrity, but be careful.

    Anyway, I also might mention that I’m writing a novel about this guy doing a tree sit, called “Be-Leaf.” It pales in comparison to yours, but I plan on dedicating it to you, so you’re entitle to a copy if you’d like one. (self-published on Amazon “createspace”)

    -= miles =-

  12. Hi Julia,

    I just read an interview with you in SF Gate that my dad sent me. I just wanted to connect and say thanks for all your work over the years. I have been aware of your work since Luna, my sister Tash and I came to hear you speak at Open Secret many years ago now. We grew up here in N. Cali and have been tree huggers our whole lives. Now Tasha is a floral designer, and I am designing repurposed fashion.

    I hope your time in Mexico is healing and nurturing. The fight isn’t over… until the fat lady sings… I mean, the goddess dances.


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