Few books get to linger too long in my bedside bookcase, but I haven't let Martha Beck's Steering by Starlight: Find Your Right Life, No Matter What get out of my sleepy arm's reach since it arrived three years ago. A monthly columnist for O: The Oprah Magazine, Beck is America's best-known life coach, and she speaks with a disarming blend of personal honesty and gobsmacking intelligence (the products of her own fascinating, turbulent life and a Ph.D. in sociology from Harvard) that make her simultaneously accessible and awe-inspiring.
Her new book, Finding Your Way in a Wild New World, is bolder, stranger, and more powerful than anything she's written before, and I finished it with a scrawled page of urgent questions, which I put to her over email and am delighted to share with you.
Mari Malcolm: More than 20 years after Bill McKibben published The End of Nature, your new book, Finding Your Way in a Wild New World, proposes new methods with ancient roots for the wayfinders among us--the growing number of people who feel the pull of the shaman archetype--to thrive in a world that's deeply in need of healing. You say that for many (if not all) people, the rebirth of our true nature is deeply entwined with restoring the natural world and reconnecting with wild animals, an idea that began as a personal epiphany when you had a close encounter with a rhino. When did you realize that the implications of that moment reverberated so far beyond the boundaries of your own life?