The journey to create this book has taken us on an epic, around-the-world adventure that has gifted us with a transformative experience of a lifetime. So many beautiful people along the way have contributed to the process of bringing The New Dreaming to life, making it a genuinely collaborative initiative.
In this illustrated storybook for children, elders and knowledge keepers share their ancestral teachings, language, their relationship with nature and a personal message to children across the globe through traditional storytelling. Children are encouraged to identify with their roots, to love their true self, and to understand and respect their place within nature. Through the guidance of the elders, they will recognize their vital role in creating a new path for humanity that will bring balance back to the natural world.
The New Dreaming aims to help children cope with modern day challenges by inspiring a calm awareness, empathy towards others, and an inner confidence that will motivate them to make responsible, compassionate decisions in life.
Children will see life through an array of perspectives and worldviews which are all equally valid, as they witness and celebrate the beauty of diversity. They will discover the universal connections between people of all cultures, and the value of ancient wisdom teachings and cultural continuity.
While growing up in Canada, a yearning to see and experience the rest of the world began to stir deep within my everything. I longed to know what else was out there, and where, if anywhere, I might possibly belong.
I set sail with an open heart and a trusting spirit, which eventually brought me to Costa Rica. It was there that I founded Nosara Animal Care, a non-profit association that provides veterinary care for animals in need, a rescue and adoption initiative, and an education program in the local schools that teaches empathy and compassion towards all living beings.
Over the years, my interest in wildlife and environmental conservation blossomed, leading me to continue my travels to remote, enchanted lands where I could learn about natural healing and the respectful, symbiotic relationship with the Earth, water, plants and animals that indigenous communities have.
Though I am a hermit at heart, who longs to live hidden away in a magical jungle lit only by moonlight and fireflies, surrounded by herds of elephants, water buffalo, reindeer, capybaras and every type of creature imaginable, I do enjoy assisting with projects that unite people around the world in protecting the well-being of the planet and all its beautiful inhabitants. My dream is that this book will encourage children everywhere to do just that.
After spending my childhood in the Andean mountains of Colombia, I moved to London to continue my studies in Tourism and Hotel Management at the age of nineteen. This cultural exposure developed within me a fascination for understanding the diversity of ways of perceiving life.
Once I finished my career, I quickly immersed myself in a spontaneous process of self-discovery through the practice of Yoga. This allowed me to outline my interest in working for the collective consciousness.
After spending a year in the well-known “Heart of the World” – La Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, I undertook a trip to India, where I managed to further incorporate the practice of yoga as my spiritual path. Since then, this path has been nurturing and expanding as I go deeper into ancestral practices, medicinal plants, agroecology and engaging in various rituals for honoring the web-of-life.
Currently, different experiences lead me to collaborate in co-projects all aimed at preserving life and especially strengthening the social fabric in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, Boyacá and Putumayo. Some of these experiences have been this book, The New Dreaming, participating in a movement for the regeneration of rivers in India, organizing indigenous elders gatherings in India and Colombia, and holistic education programs for children and youth in a condition of vulnerability in Colombia.
I was born in the department of Tolima, municipality of Natagaima, Colombia. When I was very little I was taken away to El Convenio, which belongs to the municipality of Lebanon, Tolima. Then, when the tragedy of Armero occurred, I was again taken away to Lérida, Tolima. There I carried out my primary and secondary studies, while at the same time, I began to develop a passion for expressing myself through painting.
By doing the local market’s advertising as a way of living, I started to have a sort of recognition in town. I studied Graphic Design because it was the closest career to Illustration. Since it was not what I would have expected, I did not finish my career.
After living in Ibagué, I further strengthened my passion for art. In the aforementioned self-conscious art, I decided to start exploring from the inside out what we are and what our roots are, our customs, our elders with a strong sense of order and discipline.
This is the origin of all this research on Popular Painting. It has been more than 20 years with such research, painting and sharing with various communities in Colombia and South America.
I am presently living and working in Montreal, Canada, where I create drawings and installations with found natural objects and carefully crafted materials.
“The mantra of compassion, Om Mani Padme Hum, is inseparable from any Tibetan. Compassion is the most important value that we teach our children.”
– Siling Tongkhor Rinpoche (Tibet)