By Maranda Pleasant

Maranda Pleasant: What makes you come alive?

Kristin Bauer: Art and the triumph of the human spirit – the two combined thrill me. It’s the “Braveheart” moment, the stuff Joseph Campbell talks about, “the heroes journey,” a beautiful documentary on a poignant topic, the fireman saving a kitten from a burning building. It’s the combo of heroism and kindness against the odds or even good reason. It implies immortality because it is the domain of the soul. That evidence of the spirit of life is what makes me get out of bed in the morning.

MP: What makes you feel vulnerable?

KB: Loss. I’ve had my share, less than so many though, but enough to feel empathy. It’s tough and I see it so much on Earth, too much suffering. The loss of free will I find unacceptable – what most of us refer to as rights.

MP: If you could say something to everyone on the planet, what would it be?

KB: I can tell you what I am working on, which is being more cognizant of my actions and how they affect others, most I will never meet. I’ve begun with my purchases. I’m focusing on quality versus quantity – a nicer tee-shirt with organic cotton and buying just one or two instead of five that are cheaper but made with GMO cotton, which is hard on Earth, sewn by slave labor, shipped all the way from China on boats that use lots of oil and can kill whales with ship strikes and sold by (some) companies that could treat their employees better. It’s actually just a slight shift of attention. It’s caring a little more beyond myself. And I think it may be our only hope – and it feels much better to my soul, which in the end may be all we have.

MP: How do you handle emotional pain?

KB: I am either blessed or cursed with having little barrier between feeling emotions and displaying them for all to see. My heart is on my sleeve. It’s not comfortable but…I am an artist so it’s useful and my friends are used to me getting teary at any moment. So, it just runs through me and I know it will continue to, but my best source of grounding are animals and nature. Animals live more in the moment and don’t worry so much! And nature is proof of a greater power than myself. Both put things in perspective, or at least gently move us forward.

MP: Tell me about your latest project

KB: Right now I’m directing a documentary on elephant ivory and rhino horn poaching in Africa. Species of Rhinos have already gone extinct in the wild and elephants will be extinct in less than 10 years at this rate of killing. Africa is being raped mainly by Asia, but the second largest market for dead endangered animals is the US. Most don’t know this is happening. I didn’t, but once I found out, I had to try and help. My husband is from Africa and his family is from Kenya. This is very close to home for both of us and Abri will be doing the music for the movie. I’m in editing now…it’s been quite a long intense journey so far and I’m probably only about one third of the way.

MP: What’s been one of you biggest lessons so far in your life?

KB: My Dad always used to tell me, “Kris you’re trying to put 10 pounds of shit in a 5 pound bag.” I have more things going on right now than I can actually do without the invention of a cloning device. It is great! But it does give me many opportunities to practice trying to learn the lesson of being more Zen. I tend to worry about each “emergency” or unforeseen complication on all my projects. But there are so many! All of life is unforeseen! So I am learning that is the cycle of life – everything is cyclical and temporary and to get ok with that someday could be my greatest achievement. But I will never be ok with the suffering of others – that I will likely continue to fight so I must treat it as a marathon race not a sprint.

MP: What truth do you know for sure?

KB: I have discovered that I cannot ignore the infliction of suffering – especially for my convenience or pleasure! It’s as if a puppy is being kicked in front of me. I must try to do something. That has been a big driving force in my schedule as of late. I have little space from the suffering of elephants right now. I wake up with it and go to sleep with it. The plight of animals in shelters, of kids used for labor for the metals in our electronics and endless other things, the fate of our water supply to dye our blue jeans and water our lawns, the sad painful life of conventionally raised meat…For me, I am working to not contribute to this. I really don’t want to hurt others for my benefit. I know that I do, and I am working to change that, every day. Its a journey, not an achievement, because if you wear clothing, and put out trash you are using up resources that others also need BUT I can pay attention and I can do better. That I know for sure about me, my soul needs to try or I can’t lay my head down on my pillow at night and even hope to sleep.

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