Praises for An Unconventional Journey
This book is great. Paulson actually summed up my impressions very well in the letter she sent with the review copy: “For those already in or aware of the [communities] movement, Journey would seem a natural; communitarians will identify with the enormous energy and spirit and imagination it takes to make the dream of community work. Others who are questioning contemporary values might be inspired by the examples of those who dared to step out of the dominant culture to create alternative societal experiments.” Both things ring true for me, and I was indeed inspired by their example. Read more.
— Ma’ikwe Schaub Ludwig, Communities Magazine
This is the story of a group of ordinary people who placed their lives on the line to bring something new into
being and, in the often-difficult process that ensued, discovered that "ordinary" is the new extraordinary.
— David Spangler, from the Foreword to An Unconventional Journey
An Unconventional Journey focuses on the brave adventure that High Wind was. Lisa Paulson’s ambivalence
about community living is tenderly captured in this book, which fleshes out, with humorous anecdotes,
clusters of photos, and poignant vignettes, both the exhilaration and the exhaustion of the experiment. It
is a story of hope and inspiration—of the value in daring to translate one’s ideals into everyday practice.
— Laird Schaub, Executive Secretary of the Fellowship for Intentional Community and founder/resident of Sandhill community in Missouri since 1974
At no other time in history has this story more urgently needed telling or our yearning been more intense
for this image of the good life. An Unconventional Journey, and the radiant lives unfolded in it, are the hope
we hold in our hearts. Reading this powerful tapestry of High Wind strengthens our resolve never to be
satisfied with less than what is shown here.
— Carolyn Kelley Williams, Managing Editor Emeritus, International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics; Certified Journal Consultant, Progoff Intensive Journal Program
Having been deeply touched by the “magic of Findhorn,” Lisa Paulson resolved to bring it back to
the American Midwest, translate it into terms that others could relate to, and work with it to create a
“sustainable community” long before this became the thing to do. An Unconventional Journey captures the
story of how High Wind pioneered the “eco-ethos” that may yet guide us toward a more sustainable world.
— Roger Doudna, PhD, 35-year resident of the Findhorn Foundation community and coordinator of the Findhorn Foundation Fellowship
An Unconventional Journey is for dreamers or would-be dreamers. Combining her narrative with
testimonies of many participants, along with lots of photos, she takes you inside the High Wind
community and establishes its place in those turbulent times. Her account will interest students of social
history along with those who share her discontents with society. Lisa Paulson’s book will be a valuable
addition to your library.
— Henry M. Halsted III, Vice President Emeritus, The Johnson Foundation, Racine, Wisconsin
Community is never easy, no matter how high the ideals. Lisa Paulson candidly describes the efforts shared
with her husband in attempting to build an intentional community in Wisconsin, USA, which sought to
demonstrate both eco-sustainability and spiritual growth while still attending to the very human dynamics
of day to day living. Through her story, Lisa reveals the rewards as well as the deeply challenging issues
which face communities in the world today. I recommend this book.
— Dorothy Maclean, Cofounder of the Findhorn Foundation community and founding member of the Lorian Association.
Lisa Paulson has succeeded in conveying, in words and pictures, a good understanding of the complex
phenomenon of High Wind. An Unconventional Journey demonstrates what can get accomplished when
people join together around a shared lofty vision and purpose. It is a great inspirational and educational
text for would-be community builders.
— Harry Schwarzlander, Engineer, system theorist, and futurist at Syracuse University, and founder of the New Environment Association
A true local community journalist is in a freedom business that sells credibility and uses ideas as raw
material. Paulson measures up to this challenging definition in a delightfully engaging way.
— Barry Johanson, Editor and publisher since 1963, The Review (Plymouth, Wisconsin)
Praises for Odyssey of a Practical Visionary
Odyssey of a Practical Visionary chronicles events in an important era in U.S. and global history—pointing the way to a better future for the human family. There is so much wisdom in this book. The stories Paulson relates of the many brave experiments he undertook will inspire others to follow in his footsteps. This story of research-in-action belongs in the libraries of every social and natural scientist who cares about our common future.
— Hazel Henderson, futurist, alternative economist
Belden Paulson has been a seminal figure in key elements of the New Age movement. His story of the creation of the High Wind community is compelling and gives insights into so many aspects of the transformative efforts of the seventies, eighties, and beyond. Odyssey of a Practical Visionary is the only document I have seen that chronicles the political side of the New Age.
— David Spangler, philosopher and author, cofounder of the Lorian Association
With peak oil and climate change set to transform all our lives radically, this intensely personal memoir by a ‘practical visionary’ chronicles the challenges and rewards, the joys and woes involved in implementing transformational values in a world that desperately needs them but is as yet loathe to embrace them.
— Roger Doudna, educator, founder of the Findhorn Foundation Fellowship
In resettling refugees from World War II, Belden and I shared an enterprise unmatched in creativity, challenge, travail, disaster, and triumph by any stage or film drama of my career. I still wonder how we had the audacity to aspire to salvage lives that ‘experts’ had abandoned. In a depressed and tumultuous environment, we achieved what was deemed unachievable.
— Don Murray, movie actor, writer, and director
Odyssey of a Practical Visionary is a testament to a life of curiosity. Paulson doesn’t just talk about his successes; he also freely acknowledges where things went awry, where he struggled, and where his leadership in academia and at High Wind didn’t always produce the desired outcome. Our lives are richer—and better mapped—for his sharing his story.
— Laird Schaub, cofounder of Sandhill Farm, administrator of the Fellowship for Intentional Community
Paulson’s Odyssey is an epic tale of a timeless man whose visionary thinking and courageous actions are one and the same. He unpacks personal, intellectual, and spiritual themes that few change agents can articulate. As a fifteen-year collaborator with Belden in implementing projects and teaching courses, I often wondered how he transformed from a scholarly activist in the political sciences into a passionate visionary and resilient risk-taker for futures thinking and sustainability.
— Robert Pavlik, professor, Institute for the Transformation of Learning, Marquette University
From my forty-five years as an economist, I learned that positive change will NOT come from ‘top-down’ policies. Rather, it will be ‘bottom up,’ stemming from small-scale, specific, hands-on programs run by people with broad-based knowledge and experience, people who know the conditions on the ground. Bel Paulson is precisely such a person, and the evidence is clearly presented in this memoir.
— Philip Thomas, professor of international economics; consultant to seven governments, the World Bank, and the IMF
Odyssey of a Practical Visionary is a rare, detailed review of selected trends in the last half of the twentieth century, including elements of both the micro and macro perspectives. On one hand, it is an intimate view of different personality types confronting new cultural ways of thinking. On the other, it is an overview of challenges and solutions in creating new approaches to preserve our environmental heritage. Paulson’s prodigious efforts have created a prodigious book.
— Wilfred Kraegel, futurist, former Managing Actuary at Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company
The sixties were turbulent years in Milwaukee, as with the rest of the nation, when Belden and I first met. It seemed to be a spiritual encounter. We shared the same vision of future neighborhood revitalization in central city Milwaukee. We named our large community development effort the Harambee Revitalization Project (Swahili for ‘Let’s Pull Together’). We created partnerships with the city and county governments, community organizations, institutions of higher learning, and public and private schools. Many of the initiatives begun forty years ago have been realized today. Guided by our vision, we kept hope alive.
— Reuben Harpole, inner city educator and community activist
In order for anything to get done, you first need thoughts and ideas to lay out the ground work. "Odyssey of a Practical Visionary" is the life story of one Belden Paulson who has spent much of his life working on projects to better our world. When others failed to come up with workable ideas, Paulson came up with ideas that have helped places everywhere from Naples to inner city poverty in Wisconsin. "Odyssey of a Practical Visionary" is an inspiration of how man can help so much.
— Midwest Book Review
Odyssey of a Practical Visionary is a chronicle of a life that over time became more and more ecumenical and spiritual. Illuminating and well constructed, this is no ordinary memoir. This university professor shunned the intellectual noise and sometimes political nonsense of the ivory tower. Instead, he focused on experimentation and the practical application of ideas. Belden Paulson lived his values. Infused with the ethos of his alma maters, Oberlin College and the University of Chicago, he richly details how life can be one of fulfillment—to improve mankind and build a sustainable world.
— Roland Baumann, emeritus archivist and professor of history at Oberlin College
I have a short list of memoirs I have read that I treasure because they provide for me a review of the values, the issues, the events, the ideals that stirred the minds and hearts of many of us in the GI Generation coming out of World War II looking for a better world. These memoirs come from widely different perspectives—historical, diplomatic, personal, academic. Together they provide a portrait of the ideas and values we embraced and sought to translate into action. They also document the obstacles and defeats along with the victories of the visionaries. Much can be learned from each. [One of these books is George F. Kennan's Memoirs—rather good company!]
Paulson's book, like the others, is bravely honest. His story applies a vision to refugee resettlement, urban poverty, school reform, and building communities based on renewable energy and preserving natural environments.
In all these works it is the vision that provides the impetus for change, always challenged by forces opposing change and always falling short of the visions.
All confirm that hope for a better world is dependent on people with vision, that visions along with courage create the energy for change, that creative energy and support waver with implementation causing the tasks of renewal always to fall short, and thus necessarily passing the tasks on from generation to generation.
Much can be learned from these works that sustain the hope that persons with vision will continue to emerge stirring up energies, adding to what we know about the pitfalls of implementation, and moving the world closer to the consciousness necessary to create a better world.
— Henry Halsted III, Vice President Emeritus of the Johnson Foundation, Racine, Wisconsin
Listen to Belden’s interview with Nick Reed, which aired on Milwaukee's 97.3 FM The Brew, Sunday, July 26, 2009. Belden discussed his latest book, Odyssey of a Practical Visionary, his life and his life’s work and experiences.
Listen to Radio Vermont's The Mark Johnson Show, which aired on Thursday, September 17, 2009.
Praises for Voices from a Sacred Land
Reading Lisa Paulson's Voices from a Sacred Land was like a long, slow walk through a gorgeous, quiet nature preserve. I felt I was there with her, celebrating the cycle of the seasons, seeing into her intimate relationship with Nature as teacher and friend, and catching a tiny insight into the life of the High Wind community and how interwoven its existence was with the very land on which it began. Her writing is eloquently poetic and reveals a profound receptivity to the nonverbal language of the natural world.
— Pat Schoenecker
Environmentalist, Apple Valley, MN
I am sure Voices will add in quite a different and important way to the literature on intentional communities and what they can offer to personal evolution of spirit.
— Bethe Hagens
Faculty Advisor, B.A. in Individualized Studies
It is a beautiful book just to hold in one's hands.
— Joyce Hahn
Former High Wind community resident
I think your intuition was exactly right when it came to you to write this love letter, this love song, this love poem, to the land….It is on THIS level that people are truly moved, truly inspired, and their hearts and spirits are truly lifted up. Your beautiful book is a gift. And your artwork is exquisite and moving—it enriches the experience of reading the book.
— Kelley Williams
Progoff Intensive Journaling instructor,
Suddenly I am devouring sounds, smells, feels, and looks like a deprived vacuum cleaner. This morning, for instance, I was pretty near transfixed by the simple task of picking my blueberries. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Artist, Lyme, NH
Evocative, telling, moving.
— Jane Mansbridge
Adams Professor of Political Leadership and Democratic Values
Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University
Lisa's vibrant, nature-inspired memories of times past—hanging laundry with her mother, burning fields in Connecticut with her father, the melodic warble of wood thrush and mourning dove, the scent of springtime blossoms—are proof indeed that our early sensory experiences are powerful, formative and spiritually enriching.
— Susan Strainchamps
I very much like Lisa's gentle style and perspectives.
— Milenko Matanovic
Executive Director, Pomegranate Center
Overall, the book conveys a sense of magic and was a pleasure to read….[Lisa describes] the role of nature in coming to a consciousness of oneness that is a great part of creating sustainability….It seems to me that nature and being in it provides an avenue by which humans can start to connect and develop a consciousness of oneness with a sense of belonging. As Lisa states: "Nature's grand scheme is the biggest community of them all."
— Vicki Bishop
Teacher and Graduate Student
(Reviewing Voices for a college class)
Subject: A heartwarming, spiritual presentation of High Wind, “an experimental ecological community” founded by the author and her husband in the 1970s. The rural eastern Wisconsin community is “focused on ecology and spirit.” The book is an extraordinary literary testament of nature’s healing and restorative gifts.
Noteworthy: The book’s presentation is a unique embodiment of High Wind history, reflections, and the “universality of nature’s sights, sounds, and smells.” The work comes to life for the reader through High Wind’s historical photos, rituals, poems, and nature’s enchantment. “…Walk gently on the earth…hear our fellow beings…know the spirit within…build the future now.”
— Recommended & Reviewed in The Mindquest Review Of Books, by Lightword Publishing.