Inspired by Life.
She was the playful and warm wind that made the olive branches dance.
She was the clarity of light breaking through the morning’s dark clouds.
She was the strength of the mountains that surrounded and embraced us.
She was Becky Tarbotton.
It was 2007 and we were gathered for a strategic BankTrack meeting just north of Rome. As a network of global NGOs it was our role to hold global banks to account for their activities in financing projects that were (and still are) destroying communities and the natural world. Rapu Rapu toxic mines in the Philippines. Destruction of the forests of the Penan People in Sarawak. Sakhalin pipeline threatening entire salmon populations.
I remember her well.
Our Steering Group meetings were often challenging as we were dealing with such complex and heavy issues. But thanks to Becky, she lifted us up. She brought exceptional light, clarity and strength to our movement and to the strategies we developed.
Fast forward 6 years.
I am travelling to Dartington Hall from London on the train. The land is exceptionally sodden. Flooding everywhere – ‘if this is not climate change I say to myself, I don’t know what is’. I arrive at the Hall, rather late from a delayed train, and I am greeted by a sharp bitter wind. It is starting to rain again. I search for The Ship Studio and see a sign on the small door which looks like a utility room. I am rather perplexed as this surely can’t be where the gathering is- however it is signposted.
So I enter.
I climb the steep stairs. It has started. I reach the top and am welcomed by the warm heating. The room is expansive with high ceilings and bright white-washed walls. The candles sparkle and the daffodils smile. The people are gathered in circle. There is a great spirit here, I can feel it. I quietly sit down.
“Becky was an amazing life force’, said Ella.
Becky Tarbotton tragically died this year. We gathered this weekend to celebrate her life. And this remembrance moved me like no other. I was not only touched in remembering Becky and her brilliance, but also in feeling her presence emanate via the creative human expression and love that filled that room. Becky was being held and hosted sacredly by her friends and family. She was shining through. We sang songs, we cried, we told stories, we played fiddles, we looked at photos, we ate abundant cream teas.
Becky inspired my for several reasons.
Full expression of purpose
As Ella explained, “Becky always said ‘yes’ to life”. She had a clear sense of her purpose. She followed her passions – fiddling, forests, friendships- whole heartedly with no hesitation. She vivaciously expressed herself through laughter, smiles, language and dancing. She was a free spirit. Purity of life’s intention came through her – that was her power and attraction.
Seeing the human in everyone
Ella also shared, “Becky made you feel like you were the centre of the Universe’. She saw the human in everyone – whether you were a banker, a woman in Ladahk, a student, a CEO, a musician, a President, or an audience of 500. Her mother reflected on how many people, who had just recently met Becky, considered her their best friend. Sebastian told us how after her death, the very bankers she challenged, sent tender letters of condolences. Through her ability to connect she transcended boundaries, judgements, and constraints. And in doing so, she created and wove a very wide web of friends.
Philosophy of change- from science to spirituality
Sebastian played a video of Becky presenting at RAN’s (Rainforest Action Network) Annual Dinner – in the video she talks about her views on the change that is needed in the world. “We have to be setting our sights higher and deeper. Because what we are talking about is transforming everything about how we live on this planet. We are talking about re-embedding the economy within the limits of nature – and this is a long- term project”. And as for change, “We don’t know exactly what it is that creates change. It takes everything all the way from science to faith.” Becky had an important approach – which spans and connects personal transformation to systemic transformation.
I am inspired by her life.
Becky has made an incredible impact in this world – she has created vision, inspiration, connection, movement and possibility. She has lead through example of what it means to be alive on this planet. Thank you Becky. You have helped me better understand how to live my ‘one wild and precious life’.