Deep Tmes Jounral Summer 2016

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Deep Times

A Journal of the Work That Reconnects

Life Becoming, by Cindy Caldwell

Volume 1, Issue 2 Summer 2016

Welcome to Deep Times and the Work That Reconnects Network by Molly Brown

Dear Readers and Networkers, Your responses to the first issue of Deep Times have warmed my heart. I am delighted to offer you our second issue for Summer 2016, full of inspiring articles, essays, and poems by members of our growing community. Also heartening is how much the Work That Reconnects Network has grown and developed through the spring and early summer of 2016. We are making strides towards a redesigned and improved website, while we tweak the current one as much as possible. For example, there is now a Facilitator Resource section (accessed from the home page) that includes: •A Self-Assessment Framework, developed by Joanna Macy, Chris Johnstone, Molly Brown, and Constance Washburn •A Study Guide for Coming Back to Life, developed by Molly Brown and Joanna Macy • The results of the 2015 Facilitator Questionnaire • The application form to be listed as a facilitator on the website and information about the annual facilitator listing fee.

Ideas for improving the website include: • A searchable database to find other Work That Reconnects community members in your area • Audio and video talks by Joanna and other facilitators • Platforms for sharing work and ideas to grow the impact of the Work That Reconnects • Links to social media for better visibility for events. If you have web design expertise, please consider joining the website redesign team. See the Network Weaving section in the Journal for more information on how to get involved. We urge all facilitators to update their listings and pay the annual fee to support the further development of the website, as well as Deep Times, and other Network services. We need your active support to make this 2

Artwork by Janaia Donaldson website ever more effective in publicizing your Work That Reconnects events and projects. The first two issues of Deep Times and preliminary work on the website have been funded through an existing grant that Joanna Macy and Anne Symens-Bucher passed along to the Work That Reconnects Network. As that money runs out, we need to become self- sus-

Donate to the Network Please help support the Network, the website development, Deep Times journal, and Network Weaving; membership directory, gatherings, building communication platforms,etc. A sister organization, Interhelp, is providing fiscal sponsorship so your donations are tax deductible.

taining. We urgently need donations large and small from facilitators and supporters to carry on. Our sibling network, Interhelp, is our fiscal sponsor, so donations are tax-deductible. Help this Network continue to publish Deep Times, improve our website, and create other services to enhance communication and collaboration among us all. Please make a donation today!

Spiral Contemplation I

To show our gratitude, we’ve started listing the names of all donors and facilitator members on the last page of the Journal. We will add your name to the list in the next issue, if you give us permission to do so.


In this issue of Deep Times, we again use the Spiral of the Work That Reconnects to organize the wealth of essays, articles, and poems, many of which came spontaneously from readers of the first issue. In our Resources section, you’ll find a book review and a recommended online course. Please contribute reviews of books, videos, and other useful resources for future issues, as well as your own articles, essays, poems, and artwork.

We are making strides towards a redesigned and improved website, while we tweak the current one as much as possible.

Our Network Weaving section begins with the vision and mission statements of the Work That Reconnects Network and suggestions on the many ways you can get involved and contribute. Read on for an article about activities of the Montreal Community of Practice, the May Intensive in Guelph, Ontario, and announcements of upcoming Work That Reconnects gatherings.

by Emily Johns last fall and winter: bereft to conscious joy a sweet titanic time

Feelings swell my body; I feel splendid nook and cranny pain. Honoring Our Pain for the World I honor my pain, and all hearts rapt in consciously healing. Seeing with New Eyes I told myself I didn’t understand, then realized, no matter, I’m just not afraid to feel fear anymoreHallelujah! Going Forth I will invent healing songs, laughter embracing tears. and fears. or

all of me.

Print versions of the journal are once again available for $15 each plus shipping; sales of the print version help fund the production costs, primarily for our graphic design professional, Renee Casterline. (Our editorial team are all volunteers.) Gratefully yours in the Work That Reconnects, Molly Brown


Table of Contents: A Journey through the Spiral 2 Welcome to Deep Times and The Work That Reconnects Network, by Molly Brown

Seeing with New Eyes

3 Spiral Contemplation, a poem by Emily Johns

20 Midwifery and Hospice Care in the Time of Peak Party, by Karina Lutz


22 Ecology of Now, by Bobbi Allen

6 Young People and WTR, curated by Emily Ryan and Rebecca Selove

27 WTR in Latin America, an Interview with Adrián Villaseñor-Galarza, by Karina Lutz

9 Open Letter to the Universe, by Cheryl Leutjen 10 Pura Vida: Reflections on the Vernal Equinox, by Hope Horton 11 What I Want Is, a poem by Rick Benjamin

Honoring Our Pain For the World 12 Who Dares Approach -- And Stay, by Trebbe Johnson 13 Radical Joy for Hard Times and WTR, by Emily Ryan 13 Beckoning, a poem by Megan Hollingsworth 14 Attending to the Poison Fire, by Carolyn Treadway 17 Titanistad Abandon, by Jim Tull 19 New Year’s Eve on a Really Big Ship, a poem by Jim Brown

25 The Earth is Helping Us, by Lynn Fitzhugh

30 On the Far Side of Walden, a poem by L.M. Browning 31 New Wind Blowing, a poem by J. Marcia Berry

Going Forth 32 What is Eco-Chaplaincy?, by Sarah Vekasi 34 An EYE on Australia, by Lisa Siegel 35 Morning, a poem by Paul Lipke 36 Not Your Typical Train Stop: Doing the Milling at Break Free Northeast, by Adin Buchanan 38 Turtle, Shark, Kangaroo: What do you do when Harmful Dynamics Arise in a Group?, by Aravinda Ananda 41 Welcome to the Anthropocene, a poem by Karina Lutz

Books and Other Resources 43 Joanna’s Book Review: Designing Regenerative Cultures by Daniel Wahl 44 Review of Pachamama’s Game Changer Intensive, by Molly Brown 4

Deep Times A Journal of the Work That Reconnects Vol. #1 Issue #2 - Summer 2016 Editor: Molly Young Brown Editorial Team: Aravinda Ananda, Karina Lutz (poetry editor), Randy Morris, Rebecca Selove, Lisa Siegel, Carolyn Treadway. Graphic design by Renee Casterline

Deep Times is published online three times a year by the Work That Reconnects Network. The Network provides support, guidance, and inspiration to people all over the world in their work for the Great Turning. We welcome your donations to support the Work That Reconnects Network and Deep Times. The Work That Reconnects Network is currently a fiscal project of Interhelp so all donations are tax-deductible. Website: Artwork by Dori Midnight


44 Vision, Values and Structure of WTR Network 45 Participation in Growing the Network 46 The Montreal Work That Reconnects Circle, by Rebekah Hart 48 Reflections on May 2016 Intensive in Guelph, Ontario, by Rebekah Hart 47 Networking plans, events and announcements

End Notes 50 About our Contributors 55 Gratitude for our Donors

Email: Creative Commons license: Deep Times: A Journal of the Work That Reconnects by is licensed under a Creative Commons AttributionNonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. We welcome your donations to support the Work That Reconnects Network and Deep Times

About the cover photo: Life Becoming © by Cindy Caldwell

“Life Becoming” is an expression of joy of the Source, the vortex from where all comes. It is the mother of the energy that enthusiastically expands into further form and diversity of life. This is the spiral dance that brings into being the miracle of the world of which we are a part. This tree holds immense love for all of its creations, filled with potential, possibility, and passion.



Young People’s Gratitude for the Work That Reconnects

Emily Ryan and Rebecca Selove collaborated in gathering these sharings.

Deep Times invited some young people who have recently come to know the Work That Reconnects to tell the story of how they were introduced to the Work and the impact it has had on their lives. We asked them to respond to the following questions: What led you to the Work That Reconnects? What resonates most strongly, or has the most meaning for you? How are you integrating the teachings and practices into your daily life? What and how do you find yourself sharing about the Work with others? And, what surprised you about your experience? What follows are their stories of how the Work That Reconnects has affected their life and work. We are deeply grateful to them for their vulnerability and honesty and are honored to share them with you. Kelly Coles, United States There was a time when I was steeped in a lonely and dark, inky sorrow that seemed to stain everything I touched. Nature is what transformed that shadow into raven wings lifting me up and what brought me to the Work herself. I first read about the Work while researching Nature Loss for a Psychology of Loss class. I was feeling a lot of despair at that time about the consumer society mentality and wanted to research others’ experiences and coping methods. I quickly discovered the Work and consequently a hopeful awakening in my body. I think what resonates most strongly is that this work is embedded in this time, and yet it offers pathways into ancient rituals and future potentialities. It offers a space where opening to difficult feelings is possible and places them within a much larger, sacred space-time. I am most heartened by the fact that the work offers a gateway to radical action, and addresses a broader scope of “environmental” concerns than is typically understood to be within that realm (social, political, etc). Since discovering the Work, I have made it a point to reflect on the behaviors I have that contribute to destruction and how to transform those into something beneficial instead. When I experience the sorrow I 6

Rebecca Selove

Emily Ryan

am prone to over the destruction of the world, I now look for pathways to action rather than despair and I ground myself in what my sorrow means regarding my interconnections within the web, and the responsibility I have to my fellow humans suffering at the hands of big business and globalism as well as to all the nonhumans affected. I seem to naturally attract conversations about sustainability, species-ism and the human-nature continuum. Maybe I even turn conversations down this route, because I find it to be the most important root of the troubles the shared earth community faces today. Regardless of how it happens, I tend to discuss alternatives to consumer, industrial growth society with nearly everyone I know. My friends and I spend our time hiking and learning about native plants in our Georgia Piedmont ecosystem. We go on birding adventures and swim in waterfalls. During all of this, I find opportunities to go into some of the Work, although not always in a direct way. Mainly, I try to share my love of nature with everyone I meet—be they preschoolers in my class or people who visit the garden where I work. My niece has a newfound love of Redbud trees knowing that she can eat the spring flowers, and the child I nanny is seeking ways to stop the destruction of trees when new houses are built so birds don’t lose their homes. So, I

share meditations and reflections as well as concrete ways of forming relationships with a place. And I seek to learn more about all these from everyone I meet as well. What has surprised me the most is how many people have stories of their own about times they have lost a piece of nature that was dear to them, or who can share heartsongs about the nature friends they love. The way this Work excites and connects with little ones and the ideas they generate has been a source of endless pleasure. And lastly, the way the Work deepens my grounding and presence to the world despite, and maybe thanks to, what I thought was hopeless sorrow has uplifted me every time.

Lotan Sapir, Israel Almost two years ago now, I remember sitting in a car with a brother crossing a border between Israel and Palestine. Deep breaths were shaking from my heart. I asked him, “Brother, this is agonising. I know that there is something about this pain, but there are so many feelings, it can be overwhelming to see clearly. How do you keep going, keep showing up to Life?” He shook his head and told me of a woman called Joanna Macy. The process that he experienced with her changed his life, and reassured his journey. When he spoke, the strength that came from him was immense. Tears poured from my eyes as I felt the space between us deepen. He told me to go back home and look into a video called the Shambhala Prophecy. “From there” he said, “you just keep walking.” I did. I sat in the darkness for hours, feeling this grief and this praise traveling through my veins at the same time. Something began to make sense. I immediately read the book Coming Back to Life. In it, I found a guide book for these times, a guide to navigate me through the strong winds of what was falling apart and the suffering that I witness around me, and also experience within. A war broke, Israel and Gaza. Every day I heard bombs breaking over me in the sky. I could hear the planes streaming through the spheres above, dropping bombs into Gaza, bringing death and endless pain. It felt like the end of the world. By this time, I would do exercises of the Work That Reconnects via the net, with family from across the border. When everything falls apart, your instinctive mechanism protects you, shields you, and it can numb you from really feeling. Opening to my feelings at that moment, having practices that guided me through them, I began to feel the inter-beingness of all life. I wanted to keep

on feeling, to keep remembering what our part is as human beings in this Web of Life, to remember, in the midst of disaster, that we are all connected. This pain needs to be seen and honored fully in order to feel our way through into the next steps. To be fully alive in the midst of death, when people are going against each other’s families, each other’s histories, disappearing one another’s futures in a meaningless war–I recognized that we can show up for the pain, honor it and most importantly, show up for one another, and continue to walk on. I’m learning to live the work. I’m learning to walk a path of deep ecology, of sensing and feeling deeply and not denying myself this precious sensitive connection to life. It’s challenging, especially among societies that create scenarios that want us to stop “feeling”, to lose our empathy for one another and accept the necessity of war. If you allow yourself to feel deeply, you remember where you came from! You remember why you are here as a human being and accept that your walk will need to go against the current. It requires constant inner work, inner acceptance pouring outward. As I meet my experience and my feelings with honor and compassion, allowing the transition process to happen and really be with what’s there, my action appears to transform as well. This is what I was looking for, what this work really helped me with - it touches the whole, and doesn’t leave anything out. It gives me permission to use the fullness my humanity to affect the change we desperately need in our world, and to invite others to do the same.

Rebecca Lindner, United States As a nature lover and avid volunteer, I often find myself participating in activities related to the conservation of our environment. I’ve done everything from taking a class to assess the health of rivers in North Georgia through their biodiversity to preparing iron pigment for artists from abandoned mine reclamation projects. The greatest thing I learned in college is that the more I know, the more I realize I don’t truly know. It can be quite overwhelming. This background, along with learning about the workshop, led me to a wonderful group of individuals who are a part of the movement to not only keep our planet inhabitable, but share their motivation and experiences. There were a few activities that remain in my mind and help me through each day, because I can practice them wherever I am. The first is the circle of gratitude, honorcontinued on next page


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ing my pain, seeing through new eyes, and going forth. This helps keep all interactions in perspective, regardless of their nature. The second is the meditation activity where we imagined ourselves going back in time, through our own lives, those who came before us, all the way back to our image of the beginning of creation, only to turn around and mentally journey all the way back to our present moment. Thinking of this provides daily motivation no matter what obstacles I may face. Knowing the miracle of my own life in this sense fills me with gratitude for my existence. Integrating these teachings in my life is as simple as reflecting on them daily and acting and thinking in a way that honors the workshop I attended. The hardest part is not being able to spend more time with the amazing souls I met there! One activity had a tremendous impact on me. We were instructed to look at three different people as lovely words were spoken about the individual. When you are looking into the eyes of another, being told beautiful things about their soul and intentions, knowing they are thinking the same beautiful things about you, it brings a sense of fulfillment you wouldn’t believe without experiencing it. At least once a week I mention the workshop and a few of the activities. I have yet to receive a negative response. People tend to think it’s pretty cool/interesting! The entire experience was a surprise, as the best experiences often are.

Daniel Abreu Mejía, Dominican Republic The Work that Reconnects found me by surprise in 2014 during the Global Environments Academy in Switzerland. On a bright afternoon, in a session outside the formal agenda facilitated by the wonderful Emily Ryan, I experienced a group exercise that awakened me to the perspectives of the voice of doubt, the ancestors and future generations. That moment opened in me a deep door of new perceptions on how to connect with Gaia and my true nature. Until then I had never reflected on how we humans related in such an imbalanced way to Time and the natural long cycles of Nature. I understood that this is as much an ecological crisis as the pollution of the oceans and the destruction of big forests. Suddenly the concept deep ecology resonated inside me like a finely attuned orchestra. I finally grasped that our crisis begins 8

within, something my mind knew long ago, and now my heart understands clearly. Sometime after my first introduction to the Work, I had the unforgettable opportunity to be in a 10-Day Intensive with Joanna Macy in California. Witnessing her crystal clear integrity and spiritual strength was like sensing the warm rays of the sun after a long dark winter. I felt Mother Earth speaking through her with such love, compassion, wisdom and courage. A profound gratitude birthed inside of me as I felt these qualities pouring into my soul. Now the famous phrase “Be the change you wish to see in the world” has taken a new dimension, it has become a life mission. Thank you Joanna for embodying the way of the Bodhisattva, I join you in the most sacred commitment to work until all life on Earth is free of the causes of suffering. Since then, naturally I have changed the way I nurture my body, the way I relate to my sister plants and animals. This have organically led me to begin a process of connecting with the indigenous knowledge of the Taíno people of my land, Ayití (the Dominican Republic and Haiti); this holds a precious significance for me, as we were taught in history class that their race and culture had gone extinct. I have discovered that I can reconnect with their wisdom of loving Itiba Cahubaba (Mother Nature) and, together with my girlfriend, have begun a film project about protecting and fostering a renewed relationship with one of the highest consciousness of this planet, the humpback whales and dolphins that bless the waters of my island every winter. Recently, I facilitated my first Work That Reconnects workshop in Santo Domingo and the experience was so igniting for all the participants that it was agreed to do many more and the Art of Living center where the workshop was hosted proposed to make it a permanent program. I have renewed my life commitment: to contribute for now is the time for the New Earth to come to Life.

An Open Letter to the Universe By Cheryl Leutjen Thanks to you I avoided a catastrophe of unspeakable proportion today. There’d been an explosion right here in my neighborhood, one that I might have failed to appreciate but for that speed bump you so thoughtfully provided. When I slowed to cross it, a lilac flash pierced my peripheral vision. I may have suffered a mild whiplash, snapping my head as I did to discover the source of the intrusion. I gasped when I discovered it, and I froze to behold it in wide-eyed wonder. I cringe to think that I had almost missed it, lulled by the complacency of driving my usual route. I’m no better than those rabid commuters that race down this one-block street, oblivious to the wheelchairs streaming out of the nursing home. That’s why the speed bumps went in. At least, that’s what I had always assumed before today. I think I may have abandoned my car right there, straddled atop the hump. The next thing I remember with any clarity is falling to my knees on the sidewalk to witness the purple profusion of the jacaranda tree tucked just behind the church on the corner. While I’ve seen plenty of her kind in my time, I don’t think I’d ever truly seen one before today. Probably because I’d only been looking with my eyes. I’m really not sure how long I was there, prostrate on the sidewalk, with my heart flung open like the car door I had left ajar. I only recall only a pure awareness of being breathed as I drank in her magnificence. I do know that, at some point, I fumbled for the phone tucked in my back pocket and I snapped a few photos. The click of the camera must have jolted me back to reality because my compromising position suddenly came into focus. I jumped to my feet, red-faced and scanned the street for anyone I knew. Seeing no one, I paused to whisper, “thank you,” before running to reclaim my car. I hope you heard me. It’s not that I don’t ever pause to appreciate your work. I’m a big fan, I hope you know that. Just yesterday I stopped for a photo of that tree over on Avenue 42 whose two long branches curve out and back in towards each other at the top to make a heart. Nice work. Still, I have to ask myself how could I have been so oblivious to have passed by such a sparkling gem of your creation so frequently and never noticed her magnificence? Even when it’s not blooming, I can see that she is a towering testament of strength and grace. I beg your forgiveness for the many times I have driven past a blooming jacaranda tree anywhere and failed to appreciate the staggering number of tiny blooms that make up the experience of beauty that jacaranda truly is. Because what I recall most from breathing in jacaranda today, is a concert of flowery notes, all being played at once. No single note makes the music any more than one single blossom becomes the bouquet. Today’s jacaranda is truly a triumph of your divine orchestration, I have to say. Your masterpiece taught me that I am made up of millions of notes, more than I can fathom, some of which have not yet burst open and many others of which have withered and died. When I focus on any of the latter, when I examine the weathered backs of my aging hands, I feel disgust creep across me like some telltale teenage blush. I must take a step back, looking beyond even the reflection in the full-length mirror, so I may breathe in the totality of the exquisite expression of divinity that I truly am. Beauty, then, is an experience, not a snapshot of a coifed, costumed and airbrushed model on the cover of the magazine, but a living, breathing experience of being. The brush of a mother’s hand across a sick child’s brow, the arms beckoning for a reunion hug, these are some of the many manifestations of beauty, as she waves her fan and invites us to dance. continued on page 11


Pura Vida: Reflections on the Vernal Equinox By Hope V. Horton Pura Vida is an expression of gratitude, connection, and grace, said throughout the day by Costa Ricans in every circumstance. “Everything that exists was born of the feminine principle within the Tao. The mysterious principle can be called ‘the mother of us all’. There is no need to weary ourselves in an effort to find her. She is ever with us because she is us.”

-Lao Tzu

The sounds of the Costa Rican birds and animals waking up burrow a hole in my deep sleep. Ah, the sun is rising at 5:30 a.m. Already milky outside, the day dawns cloudy and hazy. But by the time my companions and I meet on the tiled deck overlooking Lake Arenal for 8 a.m. yoga, the sky cover will have thinned to wispy, curling clouds. I get out of bed and make my way to the back terrace, sipping a cup of strong coffee as the day comes alive. A howler monkey throws a throaty roar across the lily-pad pond. Water from a spring-fed dipping pool splashes down a sculpted waterfall and feeds the pond where a lone heron fishes for breakfast. Exotic birds whistle, caw, blurt, shout, and babble, and the howler monkey growls again. Not menacing, yet not a sound I would welcome hearing while walking alone in the surrounding rainforest. We are a small group of women gathered near Nuevo Arenal in Costa Rica to cultivate resilience and celebrate renewal in confluence with the energies of spring.* Occurring so near the equator, the vernal equinox brings little variation in daylight here—just an 8-minute increase from the winter solstice. It’s also the dregs of the dry season; hotter than usual right now though it feels delicious to me. Beautiful tropical flowers abound, extravagant in their size and bright colors: bird of paradise, ornamental ginger, crimson passion flower, flamingo lilies as big as salad plates, and stunning flowering shrubs and trees with bright red, orange, purple, or yellow blossoms that open ever-fresh and new each day. Spring spins rhythms and reels as variable as the flora and fauna that dance to her tune. Just last week in North Carolina, I was thrilling at the sight of a tiny periwinkle-blue hepatica blossom barely visible above 10

Ornamental Ginger, Costa Rica. Photo by Hope Horton a moldering crust of brown leaves. Such ephemeral snatches of spring are subtle, low to the ground, and reward only those who watch for them. Here near the shores of Lake Arenal, every casual glance is bejeweled by beautiful colors and shapes, each blossom a lyric in nature’s opera echoing everywhere. I reach for other measures of renewal and notice that this year’s equinox coincides with the beginning of Holy Week and the march towards Easter in this fervently Catholic country. I recall that “Easter” derives from “Eostre,” the ancient Mother of dawn and rebirth, who for millennia was revered in many cultures for ushering a cycle of growth and new life into the world. It seems fitting that we are here at this time, clearing a path towards replenishment and revitalization through our experiences together. A strange thing happens in our opening circle that morning while I’m gazing at the gorgeous lake view. A gulf of sadness in my heart upwells and tears course down my cheeks. “There’s nothing wrong; I’m in paradise!” I say. “What could I possibly be crying about?” No words come; just the knowing that the world on the eve of this equinox is out of balance in so many devastating ways. It’s very, very hard to bear and I’d been opting for numbness lately. I briefly flirt with the idea of joining the thriving ex-patriot community here. But then, my companions deeply listen and witness as I plunge into the salt water of sorrow and search for the wellspring of my own, ever-renewing life force. The fog clears, the heaviness lifts, and the laughter bubbles

up. The channel of grace that first brought gratitude then grief now spirals into seeing with new eyes. I know that the ground has softened and that seeds of change deep within have cracked open, standing ready to grow and blossom as I go through the gateway into my 60s in April. There’s a phrase I came across at a friend’s house in California 30 years ago during a very hard time in my life. “Bloom where you are planted,” the plaque above her plush, complacent living room sofa proclaimed. I hated this idea, conditioned as I was by our peripatetic culture that you can move away from anything—pack your bags, go somewhere else, and leave your problems behind—and I did, then. But that doesn’t feel like the right course this time. Returning to North Carolina, I feel quietly resolved to stay right here, right now, and continue the work of creating sustainable community in this place, in this season, as the Mother of us all guides us powerfully into spring.

*With gratitude to Elizabeth Farrell for creating and producing this retreat entitled Resilient Women: Wellspring of Grace.

What I Want Is by Rick Benjamin after CJ Hanzlicek What I want is breath deep enough to hold, depth enough to dive toward, what’s to be found on an ocean’s floor— sea-creatures who know how to keep quiet, scores of careful crabs moving in one direction toward a new start, to know the art of their moving in the first place, the undiscovered face of some fish suspended in its solitude, to be alone for once not needing anyone, anything, to hear the ring at the surface, &, finally to rise toward that sound as if

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finding it for the first time taking a next, or last, breath.

I think this must be what you wanted me to realize today. Beauty is the witnessing, the gasping and the sighing; a collaboration of all of sun and Earth and all of us, being and breathing, where and as we are. No air brushing required. I bow to your message even as I give your work a standing ovation. From the speed bump that slowed my travel to the fallen petal crushed under my heel, I must say: Well played, Universe. Well played.


Honoring Our Pain For the World

Who Dares Approach--And Stay By Trebbe Johnson Greek myth tells the story of Philoctetes, a fighter who had inherited the magical bow and arrow of Heracles. During a battle in the Trojan War, Philoctetes, who was by then an old man, received a wound in his foot that would not heal. In pain he lay alone on the island of Lemnos. Knowing that the old man still had possession of the magic bow and arrow, however, a group of younger men plotted to surprise him and steal the treasures. The men drew lots, and the youngest was assigned the task of sailing to the island by night, approaching Philoctectes, and stealing the goods. As he approached it was all he could do to go forward, so repellent was the odor of the infection. Just as he was about to reach out and grab the bow and arrow, however, the moon slipped out from behind the clouds and lit Philoctetes’ face. So moved was the young man that by the pain of the other that, instead of swiping the prize and fleeing, he stayed behind. He cleaned the wound, bound it, and cared for Philoctetes until he had healed enough for the young man to carry him to Troy, where he could be treated by the famed healer Aesculapius.

If we are willing to look deeply at what may at first repel us, we’re likely to find something vulnerable, innocent, and brave that deeply stirs our sense of compassion.


This story holds a lesson for those of us who seek ways of living with wounded places (inner and outer) that disturb us. If we are willing to look deeply at what may at first repel us, we’re likely to find something vulnerable, innocent, and brave that deeply stirs our sense of compassion. And if we stick around and take even small steps to tend what is sick, broken, and unpleasant, we have a chance to heal not only the other, but ourselves as well. To discover other stories of inspiring people, stories, photos, and ideas, subscribe to Radical Joy Revealed.

Radical Joy for Hard Times and The Work That Reconnects By Emily Ryan

Trebbe Johnson, founder and CEO of the organisation Radical Joy for Hard Times, speaks beautifully here to the transformative power of respectfully bearing witness to and honouring our grief. She shares the Greek myth of Philoctetes, a celebrated Trojan warrior whose life is saved by a young knight who chooses not to turn away from the ugliness of Philoctetes’ wound, but instead allows compassion and empathy to turn him into a servant and friend. Through this poignant story, Trebbe illustrates the goal of the Global Earth Exchange, the central practice of Radical Joy for Hard Times, a global community of people dedicated to finding and making beauty in wounded places. Reconnecting with these places, sharing our stories of loss, and making acts of beauty there, we transform the land, reconnect people and the places that nourish them, and empower ourselves to make a difference in the way we live on Earth.

You must be willing to acknowledge a place is wounded, attend to it with mindfulness and humility, and allow it to guide you into a place of deeper beauty and renewed service.

Beckoning by Megan Hollingsworth This world you grieve is all around you and through alive here and now. Be with this world. Hummingbird lives to fly. Redwood lives to provide. Cloud lives to translate Sun’s melody, all arising in birth is death.

And you? What do you live for?

The real tragedy is to miss what is always at hand for fear of losing what is inevitably lost.

The Global Earth Exchange is a four-step process: In community, visit a wounded place; get to know it’s true story; share the meaning it holds for you; and together, offer a simple act of beauty. To engage in a GEx, you must be willing to acknowledge a place is wounded, attend to it with mindfulness and humility, and allow it to guide you into a place of deeper beauty and renewed service. Last month I participated in my first GEx at the Ashokan Reservoir in upstate New York as a newly welcomed member of the Board of Radical Joy for Hard Times. The practice was strikingly simple and effective. I believe I speak for all of us when I say that it was a profound and an undeniably reciprocal experience.


Attending to the Poison Fire by Carolyn Treadway What is the poison fire? Nuclear radiation! The poison fire that lasts forever. By splitting the atom, we have let the lethal genie out of the bottle, never to be put back in again. For all time to come we must deal with the consequences of our folly… At the tender age of 21, while a student at a university in Tokyo, I first visited the Memorial Park in Hiroshima. Countless horrific images of the utter destruction caused by our nuclear bomb seared themselves permanently into my mind and heart. I could not comprehend how people could wreak such atrocity upon other people. I still cannot. Since the beginning, nuclear issues have been at the root of Joanna Macy’s work. In the early 1980s, her Despair and Empowerment work helped people to reclaim personal power in the nuclear age. Fortunately for those of us who found her during the Cold War threat of imminent nuclear annihilation, Joanna taught us ways to move beyond our frozen terror, unblock our feelings, find our power and passion within ourselves, and join with others to realize the Turning. My own introduction to Joanna’s work came via a little pamphlet titled Despairwork, and then via her brand new 1983 book, Despair and Personal Power in the Nuclear Age. Two days after receiving it, this book brought me an awakening, a life changing vision, and a vow made from the depths of my being. My awakening came in the empty rooftop lounge of a Minneapolis hotel. I had just finished facilitating a short workshop about nuclear war for Pastoral Counselors for Social Responsibility. In it, for the very first time, I used some of Joanna Macy’s despair-work exercises. All of us were deeply impacted. I began to understand the depth and power of this work when I realized that my partner—whom I had never met before we shared exercises—knew more of my deepest feelings about our survival on beloved planet Earth than did even my closest loved ones. Still “in” the powerful feelings of the workshop, I went to the lounge to process what had just happened. As I looked over the city, sunset and reflections turned the whole skyline to brilliant red. Below me, suddenly I saw nuclear war--the whole city was on fire, with flames leaping out every window. Transfixed by this unforgettable vision, I vowed to do everything I could for the rest of my life to stop nuclear and to bear witness to 14

Pointing to Fukushima Reactor Photo by Carolyn Treadway it destructive powers. To the best of my ability, I have kept that vow. It has, to some degree, shaped my life. I invite readers of this article to remember their own times of awakening and the impact of those moments on their own life calling. In recent decades, thanks to both Joanna and Fran Macy, my nuclear concerns have morphed into antinuclear power activism. All of us know that nuclear weapons are very dangerous; most of us know that nuclear power is very dangerous also. How can we not know this, especially after Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, and Fukushima? Nuclear is dangerous. There is no safe dose of radiation. Radiation is carcinogenic and mutagenic. All it takes to start a cancer is mutation in one single cell. Currently there are 450 nuclear power reactors operating worldwide, about 100 of these in the USA. Many of these, such as Diablo Canyon in California, are “the next Fukushima” just waiting to happen. There is no way to get rid of the mountains of radioactive waste that already exist. There is no “away” where it can go. To exhaust the hazardous life of the plutonium we currently have will take the life span of ten thousand generations. And so on, and on, forever. In these times of rapid climate change, nuclear power is suggested as a safe, clean, and green alternative to fossil fuels. It is none of these. The very idea of proliferation of nuclear power reactors terrifies people who understand the true dangers of nuclear. Even ordinary/

everyday operations of nuclear power reactors release radiation and radioactive elements, such as tritium leaking into the groundwater from the reactors. It is far beyond the scope of this article to describe the ongoing dangers of nuclear power reactors and the entire nuclear fuel cycle. More information on this is readily available in my article “Nuclear Energy and the Care of the Earth” (1), the nuclear sections of Joanna’s website (2), and the websites of Beyond Nuclear (3), Nuclear Information and Resource Services (4), and Fairewinds (5). All this seems far too much to comprehend, let alone to carry in our hearts. Since radiation is invisible and therefore out of sight, it is easy to put it out of mind as well. Just put it away and forget all about it. This could mean dumping high level nuclear waste underground and just leaving it there, leaking and lethal for millennia to come. Or it could mean “forgetting” people whose former lives have been destroyed by nuclear radiation, leaving them to fend for themselves. This has happened countless times, such as to the Dine (Navaho) near abandoned uranium mines in the Southwest USA, or to the people of the Fukushima region of Japan after the Triple Disasters.

The people of Fukushima are canaries in the coal mine. What happened to them could still happen to any of us. Will we learn from them—from their horrific losses, their incredible pain, and the wisdom they are gaining just by finding ways to survive? They hope so! To honor the survivors and stand with them, I visited the disaster area in 2013 and more extensively again in 2014. Subsequently I have given slideshow presentations to share some of their messages to the world. One of these presentations is available for viewing on You Tube. (6) To me, sustaining the gaze means that we pay attention, listen to what they have to say, keep paying attention, and act on their behalf however we can. Five years after the Triple Disasters, the world has moved on. So has the Japanese government and much of the rest of Japan. But many people living there have not, and can not. Many irradiated evacuated areas have been “cleaned.” This cleaning—by workmen in regular working clothes and without protective garb—has completely denuded areas in towns and around rural homes, including removing the top 6” of soil. The irradiated soil is then placed into plastic bags for storage, but there is no storage place except great stacks on the ground. Already numerous bags are breaking open. The cleaned areas are certified as “clean”, but the next rain, wind, or snowstorm will bring radiation down from the surrounding hills that were not cleaned, and the areas will be re-contaminated—but will still be called “clean.”

Instead of forgetting we must remember. Instead of looking away, we must sustain the gaze.

For the preservation of our Earth, and for the sake of the Future Beings who are already here in our gonads and in our DNA, instead of forgetting we must remember. Instead of looking away, we must sustain the gaze. Instead of feeling hopeless, we can honor our pain—the pain we are in because we care so very much—and continue to do whatever we can do, day by day by day. Knowledge alone will not lead the way in this. Instead, our feelings will take us where we otherwise would not want or dare to go. It is difficult to keep on looking at the poison fire and its effects. It hurts so much that we instinctively move away. But our love for each other, our outrage at the unnecessary risks and at the myriad ways so many are being treated so poorly, plus our passion for preserving planet Earth is so strong that we can keep on looking straight at what is truly happening. Having unleashed the poison fire genie from its bottle, there is so very much we do not know about how to handle it. But we do know plenty, such as: nuclear waste is very bad for us and we should not be making more of it every day. Yet we act as if we do not know what we actually do know, or as if we are unable to learn from what has gone before.

Many people have been told by the government that it is now safe to return to their “formerly” irradiated homes. But what constitutes “safe”? A radiation level twenty times higher than the pre-disaster allowable level is now considered safe. Mothers’ groups have gotten their own radiation monitoring equipment to do their own testing. Their results show it is not safe to move back home, even though the government tells them it is. If they do not move home as the government directs, they will lose the subsidy they receive because they are displaced. They fear for their children’s safety when the government uses local food for school lunches--to prove it is safe for consumption! The mothers do not believe the food is safe. The government has told physicians they cannot diagnose radiation as a cause for an illness. Some physicians who have done so despite this instruction have had to close their practices.

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Mary Olson and Arnie Gunderson, both nuclear experts, recently spent a month in Fukushima and Japan. Women told Mary that she was the first person in the five years since the disasters who had told them anything about how to limit their exposure to radiation. Arnie and his team tested for radiation in the Fukushima area and elsewhere in Japan. In his expert opinion, based on their recent findings, it is not safe for people to live in the Fukushima area. (7) Once again, the survivors are not being given all the information necessary for them to make truly informed decisions about their lives. Once again, both the government and TEPCO (Tokyo Electric Power Company) withhold or do not obtain crucial information—just like other governments and nuclear industries worldwide. Similar practices occur in our own country with distressing regularity. Cover-up plus denial is standard operating procedure. Once again, support provided by the government and the power company in no way compensates for the damage done to their homes, their workplaces, their environment, and their lives. For the survivors of nuclear disaster in the Fukushima area, the past, the present, and the future are gone. They cannot return to irradiated ancestral homelands and gravesites—a deep violation of their ancestor-honoring culture. Where they did live is gone. Homes cannot safely be lived in again; towns are empty, communities are dispersed. The present is in limbo and surreal; the future is even more uncertain. Young adults who live or lived in irradiated areas worry whether anyone would marry them, and if they did marry, whether they should ever have children. As they seek to honor the past, re-claim the present, and build a new and unknown future, the “fallout” reaches every dimension of their lives. To me, sustaining the gaze means continuing to pay attention, learning what is going on, and asking questions. Because we do not have solutions to nuclear dilemmas does not mean we should look away, much as we might like to. Only by paying attention can we hope to find creative responses. Any of us can watchdog the nuclear industry, speak out against it, and act to stop its lethal polluting of our world. Everything is interconnected. What collective responses can arise from the web of life? Are there ways we can collectively hold the poison fire and change it energetically? That is far beyond me--but I do not have to find solutions alone. Meanwhile, all of us have to live on an increasingly 16

View Into No Man’s Land: An Irradiated, Abandoned Town Gated and Guarded from Any Entry. Photo by Carolyn Treadway irradiated planet, our only home. I will faithfully continue to hold the nuclear survivors of Fukushima (and elsewhere) in my mind, in my heart, and in my prayers. Sustaining our gaze on the poison fire returns us to the roots of The Work That Reconnects. It also helps prepare us for guarding that fire for millennia to come. (8)

(1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) Mary Olson and Arnie Gunderson’s teleseminar report: (8) See the Nuclear Guardianship section of

Titanistad Abandon by Jim Tull “This planet can be a paradise in the 22nd century” – E.O. Wilson Anything can happen, including a cultural break so deep and far-reaching it permits the earth’s humans to live in harmony with each other and the planet. And it can happen within just a few decades. Such living requires the break, and the right break(s) may be enough to bring on the living. Easy, in the sense that culture is essentially a collective way of thinking and understanding, subject to rapid change on occasion. But this takes deliberate effort. We are currently living in a Dark Age. This one is no darker in appearance than the dark ages of old, which only dimmed in hindsight. Having reached the global carrying capacity for human life on planet earth, we just might burn out from here. Dark to gone. The opposite transition, from dark to paradise may not be less painful in the short term than complete burnout. Who knows? Anything can happen. Predicting burnout seems like a solid bet, examining the data and extrapolating. It is presumptuous, though, and betting on burnout is also a gratuitous waste. So is identifying and counting all the obstacles to creating a healthy and sustainable future for the world. We don’t know, especially when we predict through the lens of our current cultural awareness. We’re deep in our own fog. It’s like dangling from a vine off a 200-foot cliff and pausing to weigh your chances of pulling yourself up to the cliff and also imagining what nasties might await you up there instead of giving your all to hoist yourself up. Paradise, or a way of life at least much, much better than what we have now, awaits our struggling world as a possibility. Our chances improve when we stop predicting and betting, shrinking into pessimism and, most of all, when we stop putting our greatest effort into keeping our iMcNikeWalmart-world-headed-forburnout chugging along, into the polluted sunset. This world, our dark-age world, has been often and appropriately compared to the sinking but otherwise unsinkable ocean liner Titanic. Our culture is fascinated by this tragedy. Graft the notorious slave ship, La Amistad, to the bottom of the ocean liner and we get an even more apt sea-going metaphor: ‘Titanistad’. An unsurpassable mode of living that nevertheless requires the exploitation of most of the passengers to keep the

Artwork by Hannah Lutz Winkler

high life humming on the upper decks. Life is miserable way down below. Harsh travelling conditions coupled with humiliation. But as the boat scrapes the iceberg, the behemoth begins to rock a bit, compromising life on all levels. If those for whom the system is intended most to serve were ever rewarded with genuine human happiness, those rewards appear to be slipping away. Nausea on the upper decks, certainly in the middle ones. The growing discontent among those for whom the system should be working may be the hinge of cultural collapse and breakthrough. Our culture is becoming unhinged, quickly now, nowhere more obviously than in the eyes, hearts and minds of young people losing faith. Most (not all) Sixties student radicals and civil rights activists assumed a ‘loyal opposition’ posture in order to make the systems and structures of their world more democratic, fair and responsive to the common good generally. Though the anti-WTO, Social Forum and Occupy resistance initiatives reflect a degree of the same flavor of loyalty, many youth activists in these movements clearly do not share this faith, and today’s comparatively less political youth just don’t give a shit about the system, clearly not eager to ingest and absorb and pledge allegiance to the world their parents are feebly trying to pass on. Even the adults don’t have confidence in the program, though the doubting may be sealed into the subconscious of many. To eke out a living, young people will go through the motions, but with little faith. This is a culture leaning on the cemetery gate. As the North Atlantic Ocean began to fill the hulls of the Titanic, there must have been an engineer or other continued on next page


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crewmember who became convinced that the emergency response must hop from water management to abandoning ship. Just one of the crew, while every other human on board assumed they were staying put and coping with the leak. Then the hectic conversation. A good leader is someone who can communicate bad news without overwhelming. It was likely a painful conversation. The message “get everyone in lifeboats” needed to find traction and go viral. This is how cultural change occurs. Much like the growth pattern of our world’s population, resource depletion and money supply, cultural innovation can spread at an exponential pace – slow at first, it seems, then all of a sudden, apparently. The vast, vast majority of people mimic what people around them are doing. This tendency is usually bemoaned: “People are sheep.” Further, this conformity is often cited as an obstacle to change. “They’ll never budge from their comfort zones.” Some Titanic passengers never did budge and went down with the ship. The first lifeboats couldn’t get enough takers to fill because the ‘abandon ship’ virus hadn’t spread sufficiently. The liner seemed so huge compared to the flimsy rafts. And the North Atlantic so cold, in the middle of nowhere. Lots of denial, and deniers. Those in charge and the premium deck passengers had more incentive to deny. That first engineer must’ve wondered “how can I persuade everyone on board to abandon an ‘unsinkable’ ship?” But this is our challenge. The fairness of our world’s systems, structures, and institutions has been challenged for some time, mostly with an aim to reform rather than replace. The ecological viability of our way of life is a much more recent challenge. A world that enriches and empowers the wealthy and powerful by squeezing the life out of the poor and powerless is horrible, but can theoretically keep itself going. Our Titanistad world, however, is sinking fast by the weight of its systemic gluttony, its program no longer supported by the earth’s resources. Add a growing generation gap, and we are indeed living in an end time. Many of the passengers of the Titanic lived beyond the disaster. A very good life, I imagine, for some of the many. The first engineer who recognized the futility of saving the liner turned to his mate to share this recognition. Once the mate was sold, converting became increasingly easier. But imagine that first conversation! Once a few crewmembers were converted to lifeboating, quick and deliberate action was taken to realize the possibility that lives could be saved. If thrown over18

board in dinghies, into the icy cold North Atlantic, in the dead of night, some passengers might make it to dry land, loved ones, warmth, dry clothes. A wild utopian dream at the time? Lessons from this disaster-as-metaphor should prove instructive for our people of the dark age: 1. Paradise at the other end of darkness starts with a conversation; 2. Cultural change – from “The ocean liner is safer than the lifeboats” to the opposite – precedes, as a necessary condition, behavioral change – getting in the lifeboats; 3. Once a critical mass of people change their minds and behavior, most everyone else follows along; 4. If your survival depends on the most unlikely turn of events, go for it. We are the first mates. This is our conversation. On the margins there are activists busy experimenting with lifeboats. All but a few on our earth-ship, including most activists, committed to feeding or helping galley servants into mid-level cabins or perhaps take over the upper deck altogether, continue nevertheless to invest in the security of the unsinkable liner and stay on board. Spiritualists maintain their personal equilibrium by shimming the two left legs of their deck chairs, as the liner slowly tips. What does it mean to jump ship? What are the lifeboats in our collapsing world? Small-scale, community-based economic networks that can survive in the absence of the global money economy, perhaps. Ways of healing, worshipping, learning, adjudicating, deciding outside the long halls of our dead or dying institutions, maybe. This requires a detailed conversation, interrupted by experiments in lifeboat living. The simpler conversation addresses our most critical and urgent question: Why must we abandon and forsake our Disneyland-SuperBowl-LasVegas-MallofAmerica extravaganza of a world, the brightest and shiniest dark age of all human history? Let us have - and continue – this conversation, but also get it soon over and done with. We have paradise to build.

A version of this article was originally published as Future View: “Abandoning Ship Titanistad”, The Futurist, July-August, 2014

New Year’s Eve on a Really Big Ship by Jim Brown titanic: having great magnitude, force, or power --Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary Under way for scores of years, gaining bulk and momentum as it goes, the vessel known as Industrial Growth Society has steadily disabled its navigation systems and plowed, stupid and proud, into waters that are suddenly deadly. A vortex vaster by far than the oversized ship has appeared just ahead, and the officers on watch scratch their heads and argue about whether to reverse engines and change course or ignore the damn thing because to veer off would disturb the rich folks at their parties. A new skipper is due on the bridge soon. Passengers are mostly glad about that and revving up new celebrations, although some are on deck looking at the vortex and wondering if the new skipper can mobilize what’s needed to keep the good ship IGS from being sucked down and torn apart, or —and this is the 64 trillion dollar question— whether that is even possible any more, given the mass and momentum of this monstrous craft; wondering too if they could get lifeboats into the water or just jump overboard, and whether even that would keep them from the vortex (how close is it? they cannot tell). The topside orchestra eases into the soothing strains of “Auld Lang Syne;” drinks and smokes appear bearing the implicit invitation to look away from the vortex, relax a bit and celebrate, despite what they know is ahead. The moment bulges with strangeness.


Seeing with New Eyes Midwifery and Hospice Care at the Time of Peak Party by Karina Lutz The concept of overshoot of the carrying capacity of the earth first entered public consciousness with the publication of The Limits to Growth in 1972. At that time, it was a warning, not a fact, or even a prediction. The warning asserted that an exponentially growing economy would necessarily collapse, along with population and the health of earth’s ecosystems and their ability to support life. This would happen regardless of other interventions, such as pollution reduction, population control, or technical fixes. We can’t avoid collapse at the moment of collapse, Donella and Dennis Meadows and their colleagues explained, because its trajectory was set in motion long before. It’s like deciding you don’t want to get wet before hitting water, but after jumping off the diving board. Without sufficient and early intervention, the systems scientists projected, delays in the effects of reinforcing feedback would continue the pressures that would appear first as growth and then as decline. The tops of their bellish curves—the peaks of everything— would come quite a while after we were in overshoot. The momentum of so many system dynamics makes for a lengthy braking distance.

Pakistan? We can feel climate change now, and as soon as we forget, there’s another reminder, maybe a hurricane like Irene to devastate the safely inland, good local foodies of Vermont. So is it too late? George W. Bush notoriously jumped from a climate change denialist to saying it’s too late to stop— let’s just skip to adapting to it. That’s like deciding it would be nice to have a parachute after having paddled to the edge of a waterfall in a canoe. Similarly, the sons of the limits to growth deniers, as vehement as their fathers, keep saying the economic indicators are nothing like anything we’ve ever seen, intentionally blind or blinded to the 1972 predictions that without major intervention in the growth economy, we’d see the long, irreversible crash begin right about this decade.

So, it appears, we’re here, sliding off peak everything, and it is too late.

In climate change communications, though, we were taught to lean towards kinder, gentler images when trying to get people to understand overshoot. We used to explain: the sun is at its height of strength at the summer solstice, but the hottest day is almost two months later, in mid-August. The sun is putting less heat into that summer hemisphere after solstice, but it is still adding more than is dissipating into space, for a good while—so it’s still building heat. And back in the 1980s and ’90s, we would say we won’t feel the effects of global warming until it is too late. So, it appears, we’re here, sliding off peak everything, and it is too late. But subliminally, with the cyclical image of the seasons, we’d softened the blow, offered a sense of a winter to come after the scorching. But then here comes new kinds of winter: snowmaggedon, snowtober, snowpocalypse, and tree-killing drought in Texas and California, where they’ve known from drought for a long, long time. Tens of millions around the world affected by unprecedented flood frequency—the oceans in perilous decline all along the food chain—and have we already forgotten when the wheat fields of Russia caught fire? The 20 million displaced by the massive flood in 20

This decade. For a grossly generalized model of the world developed on mainframe computers when they were the size of a room, Meadows, et al., appear to have been presciently precise. The difference is that their curves, like Hubbert’s for petroleum, were rounded—that is, averaged. At peak oil, the curve looks jagged, as the price of oil pings the limits of the global economy, so the economy collapses (or recesses due to massive interventions to keep it from visible collapse), the price comes down (due to lost purchasing power and/or the props to the economy), and due to feedback delays, people start buying again in the flooded oil market. So the prices bounce back up, and the slide down off the peak incentivizes Extraordinary Measures, like tar sands, like fracking, like drilling Macondowell depths under the sea, like drilling in the melting Arctic. Images of Salvador Dali’s clocks propped up with crutches come to mind. Yet the chorus of speculator-spectators known as the business media keeps pointing away from the man behind the curtain. The 2008 financial collapse was caused by the foreclosure crisis. Bad loans. Greed. Or, according to the right, people given houses who didn’t deserve houses. We’ll be good. We won’t give those lowlifes loans again. Very few look at the data, such as Steve Cowell of Conservation Services Group shared with a group of sustainable energy wonks in Massachusetts in 2010, which revealed that the monthly amount of arrearages on mortgages from the oil price spike in 2007 to 2010 was equivalent to the

amount of increase in the household cost of energy over that period. One might conclude the energy crisis caused the foreclosure crisis. It’s true, but it’s not that simple, of course. If the mortgage lenders hadn’t been lending people money up to the very limits of their discretionary income, the oil crisis might have been absorbed and just cut consumer spending on, oh, say, automobiles. I mean durable goods. Oh, I mean anything discretionary. So the crash happened because of peak oil, and because of oil futures markets speculation, and because Wall Street bet for and against the same thing, and because banks cut mortgages too close to the bone, and because regulators weren’t paying attention or weren’t empowered to respond, and because of any number of contributing dynamics of a grossly complex yet inherently unstable system. But any of these causes, held out alone, as if it is all that needs to be fixed, ignores the central conclusion of The Limits to Growth. To riff off Bill Clinton’s note to self: It’s the industrial growth economy, stupid. So we’ve never before had and we’ll never have so many resources to play with again. To riff off Mary Oliver, what are we going to do with our one precious peak party?

Are we desperately attempting to midwife an impossible Great Turning, when we should be providing hospice care for the long, slow death of the great planet earth?

Is it worth all the painful effort of change if we are beyond overshoot, beyond hope of repair? With the planet burning, should we take up the fiddle? Are we desperately attempting to midwife an impossible Great Turning, when we should be providing hospice care for the long, slow death of the great planet earth? Many answers arise: – We can’t know for sure, so we have to try, as long as there is any possibility, to create a new system and hope or pray or bet or whatever we do to keep moving. – In complex systems, anything can happen. Wars end unexpectedly, against all odds. Solidarity rises one year; the Berlin Wall falls a few later. The Occupy movement mushrooms up out of invisible but continual resistance. – Consciousness, the most malleable and important thing to

The Limits to Growth modeled world systems in 1972 and showed what might happen if major inputs to our intertwined systems continued their historic trajectories. change, is the most effective lever to alter a system (Meadows said) and the very act of observing changes the observed (Heidelberg said) and consciousness can change in an instant (we all know from experience). When people wake up to a new understanding of the interconnectedness of life, the changes needed may become easy to implement. Yes, and we’ve all seen consciousness change and systems remain terribly resistant or at least too slow to change; and the speed of change needed now is the big conundrum. We’ve also seen insufficient resistance: the largest worldwide protests in the history of humanity occurred at the beginning of what is now the U.S.’s longest war. It would be unprecedented, even if necessary, to see the entire species shift its consciousness. But the game is not over once you hit overshoot—or even peak. The brakes on the runaway train may not be working, but once it jumps the tracks, the stop is on. Some destruction is now inevitable, yet with the whole system changing, new possibilities emerge. Here’s where the cyclical metaphor of the seasons may be helpful. The same compounding of feedback will work in winter as summer, if we structure new systems to function in service of life. As Work That Reconnects practitioners, we’ve begun to midwife the Great Turning and hospice the Great Unraveling at the same time. Deep in overshoot, we have to do what we can to ameliorate the pain of the death of the old ways—and stop making it worse immediately. We will have to struggle to learn new skills of cooperation and mobilization. We’ll have to get along as tribes, as communities, as collaborators in something bigger than ending greed—though that is certainly a part of it. We need a complete “revolution of values,” as Martin Luther King, Jr., said, and then some hard— and joyous—work restructuring the world greed built. 21

The Ecology of Now by Bobbi Allan ‘Once I was past and future now I am only the present today, the moment and that is hard to bear with no past, no future.’ (1) This is Australian indigenous elder Mowaljarlai’s lament for the passing of elders and the knowledge they hold, knowledge that traditionally lived on as culture, bringing health and well-being to both country and people. A senior Kimberley Law Man, Mowaljarlai lamented many times in his last years: “When we old people are dead, gone ~ the fire (of Law) that has been burning since creation will still be burning, but no one will know how to see it.” These words are also his tears for his young people, their culture seriously damaged and they also, dead before their time. “We old people look into the graves of the young when they should be looking into ours.” He bows his head for songs no longer sung.

As Joanna Macy (4) says, the technologies and economic forces unleashed by modern industrial life radically alter our experience of time. Trapped in ever-shrinking boxes, we race on a treadmill. “How are you?” “Busy, too busy.” The economy and its technologies depend on decisions made at lightning speed for short-term goals, cut off from nature’s rhythms and from the past and future. Marooned in the present, we become blind to the vastness of time. The company of our ancestors and the claims of our descendants become less and less real to us.

But ‘the power of now’ is hard to grasp, until experienced, and is open to misinterpretation. In the context of our culture of consumerism and the championing of the individual, it all too easily leads to practices of privatized quietude.

The Power of Now (2) has long been a best-selling spiritual title. The ease and joy of surrendering to the unconditioned present moment is its message. Most spiritual teachers use similar language, inviting presence and attention to just this moment. The word ‘now’ has the virtue of simplicity and poetic power, evoking inspiration and a sense of possibility. But ‘the power of now’ is hard to grasp, until experienced, and is open to misinterpretation. In the context of our culture of consumerism and the championing of the individual, it all too easily leads to practices of privatized quietude. Clearly Mowaljarlai is not talking about ‘only the present’ in this sense when he says that it is hard to bear. His song alerts us to the danger of a shallow over-emphasis on ‘now-ness,’ particularly in the light of our societal obsession with a different sense of ‘now’. In our culture of busy-ness, galloping consumption with little thought of future consequences, information bombardment, and short-term gratification of desires, it is important to pay attention to the bigger picture of ‘now.’ 22

David Mowaljarlai

Simultaneously, the compartmentalization of consumer culture isolates us from each other and the fabric of meaning and purpose inherent in an interconnected life. Epidemic depression is one side effect of a shallow ‘now-ness.’ This ‘now’ epoch in which we live is known as the ‘Anthropocene’: the geological time in which human activity is considered such a powerful influence on the environment, climate, and ecology of the planet that it will leave a longterm signature in the strata record. And what a signature it will be. We have bored something like 50 million kilometers of holes in our search for oil. We remove mountaintops to get at the coal they contain. The oceans dance with billions of tiny plastic beads. Weaponry tests have dispersed artificial radionuclides globally. The burning of rainforests for monoculture production sends out killing smog-palls that settle into the sediment across entire countries. We have become titanic geological agents, our legacy legible for millennia to come. (4)

and knowledge. With a soft The idea of the Anthropocene focus take in the movements of asks hard questions of us. cars and people, the occasional Temporally, it requires that we cat and bird. Touch the house imagine ourselves inhabitants and feel warmth or coldness. not just of a human lifetime or Touch the grass or pavement generation, but also of Deep under you feet. See the patterns Time – the dizzyingly profound of shifting light on buildings eras of Earth history that extend and bitumen and electricity both behind and ahead of the poles. Hear the growing capresent. Politically, it lays bare cophony of the city waking up, some of the complex interand smell the coffee brewing. weavings of vulnerability and culpability that exist between Australian playground Be curious, prepared to be surus and other species, as well prised by and learn from all the as between humans now and encounters of your day. Grow your understanding of humans to come. Urgently it asks us to try new ways of the importance of people-and-nature-friendly built enthinking, imagining, creating, and living. Now. vironments – places where all are nourished by shared connections. Engage. Participate. An all-embracing ‘Now-ness’ Listen to and feel how Mowaljarlai starts his day: “When daylight starts, it wakes me up. I can’t sleep any more. It wakes the whole body. So I turn round and have a look. There is brightness. Piccaninny daylight makes you feel like a different person. Morning gives you the flow of a new day - aahh!” [stretching and breathing deeply].

A practice of intimate loving presence with all things we encounter each day will help to reconnect us with our heartfelt wishes for the wellbeing of our world. You could call this a practice of ‘awe’ – not just with big things like the images returning from the Hubble Telescope – but with all the little things that evoke awe when we become intimately present.

“With this beautiful colour inside, the sun is coming up, with that glow that comes straight away in the morning. The colour comes towards me and the day is waiting. You have a feeling in your heart that you’re going to feed your body this day, get more knowledge. You go out now, see animals moving, see trees, a river. You are looking at nature and giving it your full attention, seeing all its beauty. Your vision has opened and you start learning now. When you touch them, all things talk to you, give you their story. It makes you really surprised. ….. You understand that your mind has been opened to all those things because you are seeing them; because your presence and their presence meet together and you recognise each other. These things recognise you. They give their wisdom and their understanding to you when you come close to them.” (emphasis added)

That includes awe at all the small and large human kindnesses, generosities, and acts of compassion we encounter or witness each day. How necessary and brave it is to keep faith in the good parts of human nature. It’s an act of personal and political defiance against the cynical, despairing, and dangerous world our politicians, media, and many corporations would have us think we live in.

You don’t have to live in a natural setting to respect and be nourished by the world that supports you. It is commonplace to be cynical or disrespectful to cities, but this is where most people live. Our cities need us to come close to them, to open to seeing the ‘brightness’ in them. To engage with them.

What will our descendants call the emerging era, the one we are beginning to build now?

City dwellers, take up Mowaljarlai’s practice! Every now and then wake up just before dawn, go outside and watch the light coming and coloring the buildings around, knowing that on this day you will take in food

Studies are demonstrating that people who have just experienced awe are better able to analyze situations and think clearly. In this world of ideologies, hastily formed opinions and three-second soundbites, we need all the clear thinking we can get! Being fully present and responsively aware in this temporally and spatially interwoven Now, we will participate in transitioning away from the Anthropocene.

Perhaps it will be called the ‘Symbiocene’ (3), an era of living together with all life, for mutual benefit. An era in which we learn to replicate, in all human activity, the processes of life that make the mutually beneficial associations between different life forms strong and healthy. continued on next page


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For most of our human evolutionary journey, our intensely social human species lived in relative harmony with all other life forms. In Mowaljarlai’s words, it is “[y]our presence and their presence meeting, recognising each other.” This is deeply ingrained within us. For most of us, transitioning from the Anthropocene to the Symbiocene will be a deeply satisfying experience. Let’s take seriously our personal responsibility for what we value: the physical wellbeing and spiritual evolution of all life forms. Let’s place it consistently at the forefront of our lives and any spiritual practice of ‘Now-ness’ or ‘Presence.’

You don’t have to live in a natural setting to respect and be nourished by the world that supports you.

“What sort of ancestor will you be?” asks Aboriginal poet Maureen Watson. Living this question, while loving the ten thousand things, connects the past and future to our choices in the present moment. This is a fully alive, connected, and engaged ‘now.’ Living this way, Mowaljarlai’s song is not in vain. Creating a new ‘law’ for these complex times will take much clear seeing and thinking and patient effort. It is possible.

***** (1) David Mowaljarlai and Jutta Malnic, Yorro Yorro; everything standing up alive. (Magabala Books Aboriginal Corporation, Broome, WA, 1993) p.198 (2) Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now: a guide to spiritual enlightenment. (Hodder 1999) Note: Eckhart Tolle’s 2005 book, A New Earth is about engaged spirituality. (3) Joanna Macy, many books and articles on Deep Time. (4) Glenna Albrecht, Exiting the Anthropocene. Dec 2015 https://glennaalbrecht.wordpress. com/2015/12/17/exiting-the-anthropocene-and-entering-the-symbiocene-via-sumbiocracy-symbiomimicryand-sumbiophilia/


The Earth is Helping Us By Lynn Fitzhugh In 2010 I was at a weeklong workshop with Joanna. It was also the week I discovered that climate change was killing the oceans. I was inconsolable. I observed my fellow workshop goers participate in the Truth Mandala and seem to feel better afterwards. I did not feel better. I was overcome by the implications of the interlocking effects of water warming, ice caps melting, and acidification. However, when we got to the part of the workshop when Joanna talked about non-linear time, she made the following comment: “All the beings, the descendants, the ancestors, and the non-human life forms… they are pulling for us. We cannot discount that in a non-linear way they are able to help us.” I was thunderstruck. Suddenly I was very aware that in a traditional white intellectual manner I had been trying to figure the way out of climate change. I also realized that like many problems in my own life and in history the answer can come in unexpected and inexplicable ways.

Suddenly I was very aware that in a traditional white intellectual manner I had been trying to figure the way out of climate change... the answer can come in unexpected and inexplicable ways.

Out of the hope I found in that workshop I first kept a Work That Reconnects practice group (Seattle Great Turners) going for many years and eventually founded This was really quite a lot of going forth. Mostly the work has lifted my despair. The above quote from Joanna has served me in good stead.

I remember the first big rally that we held with a thousand people and Bill McKibben flying into town to speak. It was gray and threatening all day--after all, this is Seattle. If it had rained our event would have been a flop. I started to worry but then a friend said: “No, nature is on our side.” The minute he said it I realized of course it was true. Not only did the clouds go away; for the length of the event the sun shown so brightly that Bill called it a “solar spill.”

Photo Copyright Rick Rappaport 2015 The truth of Joanna’s words really came home when we were organizing sHell No! –- Seattle’s response to the discovery that Shell had signed a secret contract with the Port of Seattle to park their giant rig for drilling Arctic oil in Seattle’s harbor. The story I tell here is not one I tell non-Work That Reconnects folks because they usually think I am engaging in magical or wishful thinking. You have to believe in non-linear time or the realm of the spiritual to understand this story and also to be lifted up by the light it shines. 350Seattle and our colleagues did a good job of getting the city of Seattle to tell Shell that it was not welcome, blockading workers from arriving for work one day, and so on. In conjunction with our partners the Backbone Campaign, we came up with the idea of kayactivists. People trained for weeks to prepare to block the rig in their kayaks. If there was ever a David vs Goliath idea this was it. As we discovered when we got down to the bay where it was anchored, this thing was about five stories high – giant and forbidding. One of my friends quipped about it being like the Death Star in Star Wars. I am not a kayaker, so I did not go on the water, but a friend who was in her kayak trying to stop the rig the morning it left talked about her stomach’s visceral feeling of the bigness moving by her like she was a small gnat. Another friend spoke of the hopeless and powerless feelings he felt as the rig moved by him. But then when the giant rig traveled up the Sound far enough to be across from Bainbridge Island, just 4 or 5 kayaks came out to intercept it and it swerved slightly and ran aground. It was delayed for hours. Inwardly continued on next page


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I knew the earth was trying to help us, and that it was literally holding the rig that we could not hold. The rig was only delayed for a few hours before it did depart; most people felt that as no big deal. But the story was not over. Then Shell’s icebreaker ship, required for safety reasons in order to be in legal compliance with the rig’s permit, sprang a leak. Again I knew that the earth–the ice–had reached up to render a hole in it. The earth was trying to help us. As a result the icebreaker ship had to come back south for repairs. Shell was afraid to send it to Seattle because we were so much trouble, so instead they sent it to Portland. (They had not yet caught on to the fact that they were not welcome anywhere.) Those of you who follow such things already know the rest of the story. Green Peace sent activists who dangled from the bridge making it impassible for the ship to depart. The first day the ship actually had to turn around and go back to the dock. The next day it was delayed for hours while the coast guard cut down enough activists to allow the ship to pass. Then dozens of kayactivists caused more delay while the coast guard fished them out of the water and arrested them. All told it was some hours or days of delay in Seattle and a few days of delay in Portland--no big deal, right? Well perhaps without the earth’s help it would have been, but the springing of the leak that necessitated sending the icebreaker back lost them two weeks + two days of activist delays. You see they had a very small window of opportunity – only two ice-free months to do the test drilling they needed in order to plan their drilling actions for the following year. (Their attempt had been blocked a few years ago by severe storms on the water; the ocean was helping us.) At the end of the summer Shell announced that they were finding the operation too expensive and were indefinitely dropping it. Privately they would say that there was more opposition than they expected. The Obama administration acted quickly to announce no new Arctic drilling permits would be issued. Between the activists and the ancestors, the earth, the ocean, and the spirit of life itself pulling for life….we WON! And so we turn to the next battle…with gratitude.


Photo Copyright Rick Rappaport 2015

The Work That Reconnects in Latin America An interview with Adrián Villaseñor-Galarza, Ph.D.

Adrián Villaseñor-Galarza translated Coming Back to Life: Practices to Reconnect Our Lives, Our World, first edition, into Spanish as Nuestra Vida como Gaia: Prácticas para Reconnectar nuestros Seres, nuestro Mundo. He has integrated a wide variety of ecopsychological, spiritual, and philosophical disciplines from yoga to alchemy into his own approach to the Work That Reconnects. His doctoral dissertation, after studying at Schumacher College and California Institute of Integral Studies, integrated his thinking into what he calls ‘integral ecopsychology.’ He is the author of Bioalchemy: On the Transformative Belonging of Nature, Humans, and Soul and the editor of El Gran Giro: Despertando al florecer de la Tierra (The Great Turning: Awakening to Earth’s Flowering), a series of essays by people doing the Work with him in Mexico. He lives and works in California and Mexico. More about Adrián can be found at http:// This is the second of a two part series; the first part appeared in Deep Times, Vol. 1, Issue 1. Interviewer: Karina Lutz Karina: How would you describe to laypeople your work? How do you tell them what ‘integral ecopsychology’, ‘deep ecology’, and ‘bioalchemy’ are? Adrián: One of the more relatable terms probably is ‘deep ecology’. It refers to an ecology with soul, with heart, that takes into account the within of things. The happenings of the inner world are charted and taken into consideration through a depth perspective that shifts the focus from passive observers to active participants of wider realities. By doing so we are able to tap into a more integral view of the Earth and ourselves, that includes the physical, mental, and spiritual levels. ‘Integral ecopsychology’ [a term Villaseñor-Galarza coined] seems to be a term apt for academic settings, defined as the study of our multileveled connection to the earth. I hope there will be a great potential for this kind of proposals that incorporate what I refer to as the “sacred trinity” of ecology, psychology, and spirituality.

Integral ecopsychology draws from Thomas Berry’s model for an ‘integral ecology’ and brings it into a fuller conversation with psychological insights regarding the ecological situation of our time as put forward by the project of ecopsychology. ‘Bioalchemy’ might be a little more obscure but does a good job in catching some people’s imagination. The term makes reference to the transformative essence of the natural world and hints at the possibility of entering into a deeper relation with such essence. Bioalchemy is the name I gave to a holistic permaculture project started in Mexico about ten years ago. One of our primary activities was compost production. The interaction and consequent transformation of organic refuse and all sorts of materials into life-filled soil was and still is a great inspiration and teacher of mine of the alchemy of life. As the Emerald Tablet of Hermes Trismegistus proposes, “As above, so below. As within, so without.” I could envision the refinement of the compost heap also taking place within myself. Karina: Is bioalchemy a way of branding your work?

The interaction and consequent transformation of organic refuse and all sorts of materials into lifefilled soil was and still is a great inspiration and teacher of mine of the alchemy of life.

Adrián: I guess so. I find the idea to be alluring in a way that helps awaken a sense of curiosity about the potentials hinted at in such a term. As I see it these days, an ecologically sensitive alchemy is the kind of project that may provide the needed “imaginal food” to help set in motion the realization of our earthly belonging.

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Bioalchemy’s two main pillars, re-enchantment and the in-between world, would naturally give fruit to a more transparent relation to earth that goes beyond a purely dualistic mode of thought. This entails a radical transformation not free from mishaps and hard work. The different illustrations, procedures, and pearls of wisdom found in the widespread tradition of alchemy might serve as a useful roadmap for the path ahead. The alchemical roadmap is also flexible enough to make space for relevant ideas and key challenges such as the multidimensional ecological crisis we now face and the linked process of human planetization. Karina: Would such a banner, or ‘integral ecopsychology’, work to mainstream the Work That Reconnects and its kin? Adrián: I certainly hope so, yes. Maybe it’s a little too long? [laughs]. The concept is a good one insofar as conveying the essence of the proposal. I have tried a number of ways to express the integral intimacy between humans and earth that leads toward the inner fulfillment and sustainable living at the core of integral ecopsychology. But most of these concepts or ideas end up being even longer and harder for people to relate to. I’m sure the passage of time will provide the best cue. If the concept does not stick, what I’d love to remain is the following: what if by losing earth’s resources, we are equally losing valuable psychological sources of health and wellbeing? What if by caring and tending the beautiful ecosystems of the earth, we are cultivating the essential dimensions of our humanness that open the way to the flowering of our ultimate potentials?

ary pyramid but we still have a special role to play. This role might entail fully realizing the cosmic story of the human. An ecocentric view does not need to be at odds with an anthropo-cosmic one. Ten thousand years ago at the birth of agriculture and with the rising of cities and organization of hierarchical structures, there was a clear demarcation of what was wild and domesticated, what was private property, what was “me” and the “other.” Many other developments contributed to an insular mode of being. We may be now on the verge of ending that insularity and moving to a more complex or permeable relationship with earth, this time bringing with us the gifts and challenges of having gone through the individualistic route for some time.

Bioalchemy’s two main pillars, re-enchantment and the in-between world, would naturally give fruit to a more transparent relation to earth that goes beyond a purely dualistic mode of thought.

Karina: Do you think we are in danger of continuing human exceptionalism in another guise when we talk about human’s self-reflexive consciousness as Thomas Berry and Brian Swimme do, as a critical moment in cosmic unfolding? Adrián: I believe the universe to be a kind of huge mandala of self-reflexive consciousness manifest at different depths. Everything is a center. Being in human form—and displaying what seems to be a distinctive form of self-reflexivity—may be essential and unique even perhaps to the unfolding of the whole show. This doesn’t necessarily put us back on top of the evolution28

Photo by Holger Hieronimi

Karina: You mentioned that the idea of ‘deep ecology’ suffered in academia from critiques by social ecologists and ecofeminists. Would you like to describe and speak to those critiques? Is there a version of the term we can all embrace?

Adrián: Sure. There are a good number of valuable critiques to the deep ecological movement that contribute to create a more robust proposal. One of the key criticisms coming from social ecology that also directly applies to ecopsychology is a generally undeveloped lack of consideration for the different relations and perceptions people have with nature, given their socio-economic status. A nice stroll in the nearby state park by an affluent US citizen results in quite a different experience of nature than that from a Colombian farmer’s arduous day in the banana fields. As we know, a useful and central critique offered by the deep ecology movement is that of anthropocen-

trism—the nagging and destructive tendency of focusing merely on the human and its needs. Eco-feminists argue that anthropocentrism is a rather broad notion. Given the marked influence of patriarchy in the historical development of our species and its cultural and institutional prevalence nowadays, “androcentrism”—or the centering on men—would be a more appropriate term and necessary refinement of the anthropocentric critique. I’m amenable to the term “integral ecology” or “integral ecologies” in an attempt to bring together the different voices and emphases under one roof. At the same time I’m a fan of the depths invoked by deep ecology—such a rich and fruitful invitation for analysis and engagement. Maybe an integral ecology that emphasizes the depth of engagement and belonging between us and the earth?

Bioalchemy practice entails apprenticing to the earth, the ultimate alchemist. Earth knows how to transform things into their ultimate expression, into the golden essence of all. Nature is an amazing teacher when the lethargy of attention has been gradually dispelled.

Karina: How can one apply or practice bioalchemy in daily life? Adrián: Bioalchemy practice entails apprenticing to the earth, the ultimate alchemist. Earth knows how to transform things into their ultimate expression, into the golden essence of all. Nature is an amazing teacher when the lethargy of attention

has been gradually dispelled. Just paying attention to what is happening—the flight of a bird or the crickets not chirping because it is too cold—is quite healing and conducive to transformation. I propose three principles that Photo by Holger Hieronimi encompass the bioalchemical task: self-discovery, reconnection to nature, and sustainable action. What is going to emerge is awe and reverence. Awe due to the discovery that by tracking the wild life of the mind we may end up contemplating the bright blue sky or the waking up to the freshly moistened smell of soil. A natural response to the enmeshed existence of soulscapes and landscapes is that of reverence, for even the tiniest happening ripples throughout the whole. Cultivating a sense of reverence for the natural world and all creation helps in the creation of a system of values that takes into consideration the wellbeing of our planetary companions. The Great Work of our time, as I frame it in Bioalchemy, is to enhance and nurture psymbiotic relations [‘Psymbiosis’ is Villaseñor-Galarza’s term integrating biological symbiosis and its parallel interbeing of our various interiorities]. To live a life worthy of my ancestors and the magnificence of the world, I aim for all my relations to gradually move in the direction of being mutually fulfilling and infused with the pervading wisdom of the universe. Conscious, mutually beneficial relations stem out of the living, breathing laboratory of mystery at the heart of who we are.


On the Far Side of Walden by L.M. Browning Ankle-deep in mud along the banks of Walden, I find my footing. Standing in the ruins of the cabin, I return home to meet the brother born before my time. We souls close in ideals but distant in years keep council together. When one of us passes along the next will pick up the thread and carry on the thought. Walking the rim of Walden the wheel of my life takes a turn. The waters are a mirror and the banks a respite. On the far side of Walden one can look out across the wide waters and see the world reflecting. It is a place in the journey where one can take solace, pause and look back with clear perspective. Coming to the end of the path I am not who I was at the beginning.


New Wind Blowing by J. Marcia Berry there is a new wind blowing fueled by not knowing where it carries us all braced for the fall or not the fall, the call maybe we’re falling to heaven making the leaven that rises all boats lifts all hopes and the Great Mystery unfurls, uncurls what seemed so tangled following the breeze of grief leads to relief the truth of the web is what has led to the mess we’re in confess we’re in the pickle of our times way beyond the rhymes of the Ancient Mariner

we who are wailing time to set sailing let the wind fill and press still we guess on the sea of uncertainty not knowing is power it ripens the hour magnifies intention creative invention with this new wind blowing love keeps us going and going and going not knowing we’re going to ride this new wind home


What is Eco-Chaplaincy?

Going Forth

by Sarah Vekasi, M.Div. Eco-chaplaincy is a form of inter-religious and interfaith pastoral support for activists, organizers, and communities confronting social and environmental justice issues. I coined the term eco-chaplaincy back in 2004, while searching for a professional home for embedded support services within social and environmental justice work. I was coming from full time direct-action movement work in the Pacific Northwest, followed by years as a monastic in the Japanese Zen tradition, and was looking for a way to bring what I needed and found lacking within the activist movements I was a part of, together with what I found from practicing Zen. Just as an army chaplain will assist anyone in their unit, in religious language that is appropriate for them, I envision eco-chaplains on hand within organizations and movements to help people and communities grapple with issues of environmental health and social justice. Chaplains are on-call spiritual-care providers, who in the best of all worlds are trained in an inter-religious and inter-faith context, with special focus on learning their own faith tradition and avoiding proselytization. Being a chaplain is explicitly different than being a minister, priest, dharma teacher, rabbi, etc., in that we provide support to everyone in our unit, or movement, in language appropriate for them, not for us. To prepare us for the diverse needs of our clients, chaplains go through rigorous training in both a Master of Divinity graduate program and Clinical Pastoral Education. At the time I was exploring graduate schools, 20042005, the field of professional chaplaincy was beginning to open up beyond religious and spiritual support within the military, hospitals, prisons, and schools into a wider array of options. I found a graduate school that would let me develop a new field of pastoral support-– eco-chaplaincy–as my graduate work. In 2008 I graduated from Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado, with a Master of Divinity, a unit of CPE, and a master’s thesis titled, “A Call to Eco-Chaplaincy: Spiritual Care for the Great Turning.” Eco-chaplaincy is much like all forms of chaplain work: pastoral counseling, deep listening, providing media32

Photo by Sarah Vekasi

tion and conflict resolution, performing religious ceremonies and worship services. The special part about eco-chaplaincy is making space for healing, listening, ritual, and worship in activist spaces that have often shied away from anything ‘spiritual’. On any given day as an eco-chaplain, I will change hats from doing an individual empathy listening session, to helping a pair of organizers resolve a conflict, to offering to create a grief ritual at an upcoming gathering to acknowledge the losses we constantly live with. The work is endless and ongoing, and ideally will be replicated throughout movements and communities of resistance all over. Since graduating from Naropa, I have been working as an eco-chaplain through the non-profit I founded, the “Eco-Chaplaincy Initiative,” primarily across central Appalachia, within the movement to end mountaintop removal coal mining. I moved to West Virginia from Colorado after learning that mountains were being blown up and pushed into the valleys, turning the hills of Appalachia into barren flat moonscapes with toxic valley fills, creating even more unemployment in an already hard-hit region. I was moved by the strong local resistance fighting back to save the region, and I felt called to move to the coalfields after hearing an invitation by retired coal-miners asking for help in saving their community of Ansted, WV, from the horrific practice of mountaintop removal. To be honest, when I learned about this form of coal mining, it was so devastating that I knew I had no choice but to go. Following the call to serve in central Appalachia was one of the easiest life choices I’ve had to make. Figuring out how

to keep up the work and actually make ends meet for myself has been a bit more difficult, but sincerely worth it. I want to share some highlights of what eco-chaplaincy is and can be, as well as what it definitely is not. My hope is that more people will learn about eco-chaplaincy and help expand the work and the conversation. I am excited by the prospect of more people becoming interested in eco-chaplaincy as a profession, as well as the growing interest in movements of change to include and create space for eco-chaplaincy. What we need now is a more direct way for people to turn this work into our livelihood, so we can really develop it. For the past six years I have funded my work through donations. I write letters about this work and the movement to end mountaintop removal, send them out to my whole network, and ask for financial support. In order for eco-chaplaincy to be able to really expand professionally, we must figure out more creative ways to finance the work in this time of great need. When describing eco-chaplaincy, it helps to look at the roots. I love the short informative book by Naomi Paget and Janet McCormack, called The Work of the Chaplain. In it they say that chaplains have four primary roles: pastoral care provider, religious representative, healer, and change agent. As an eco-chaplain, I encounter each of these roles on a daily basis. Pastoral care provider is the real bread and butter of chaplaincy; the depth of the job is revealed through the power of listening, providing empathy and helping our clients feel seen and heard. As an eco-chaplain I offer pastoral counseling individually, in person, and also via online technologies that allow us to see one another. I also hold group listening sessions, mediation, facilitation with hard conflict transformation work, and the like. Eco-chaplain as a religious representative includes worship services, rituals, ceremonies, prayer, and the like. Because I live and work within Appalachia, I often host Sunday worship services during weekend meetings where we sing hymns and have readings from the Old and New Testament. Sometimes I will offer meditation practices and more overtly Buddhist practices. When asked, I have officiated weddings, and sadly, some funerals. Putting together rituals and ceremony appropriate for the situation is one of my jobs, as well as reading the situation to see what sort of service is appropriate for the group at that specific time. As a healer, an eco-chaplain can make space for celebration and grief, despair, hope, and all of the feelings in between. Part of the work is helping normalize the

intensity of the situation through story, song, ritual, listening, and so on. In our role as healers, we are putting together the pieces needed for people within our movement to be able to acknowledge, release, and hold what they need to. I have found the Work that Reconnects that comes through Joanna Macy to be an incredible tool for my work as an eco-chaplain and healer. Since eco-chaplaincy is embedded within movements and communities of resistance, the role of change agent is easily seen. An eco-chaplain participates in the community of change we are working within by maintaining vigilance about the internal health of our community in terms of dismantling the oppressive structures we are fighting: racism, classism, homophobia and transphobia, and the like. An eco-chaplain is committed to the work their movement is engaged in, just as an army chaplain is also an enlisted member of the military. Without this last piece, there can be no true relationship with the chaplain in question: trust is built through shared experience. It is important to distinguish between a chaplain and a minister or faith leader especially in the role of change agent. We have great examples of faith leaders at the head of movements, such as Martin Luther King, Jr. An eco-chaplain is not the leader, nor the organizer of a movement. We work in the margins supporting everyone to find their voice and lead with their full, whole selves. Our role is more an elder or mentor than a leader or organizer. It is vital that anyone interested in engaging with the world as an eco-chaplain take the role very seriously. From experience as an eco-chaplain, I can tell you what a powerful privilege it is to be trusted with the emotional and spiritual well being of activists and organizers. I think it is extremely important to take the role seriously and expect anyone who wishes to do similar work to find appropriate professional training. I found a deep well of wisdom in the process of earning a master of divinity, and going through the Clinical Pastoral Education process. I also have had the wonderful experience of studying and working with Joanna Macy for the past decade. I encourage anyone interested in eco-chaplaincy to contact me, and to stay connected to me and to others interested in growing this work. The Eco-Chaplaincy Initiative could grow to include many eco-chaplains if there is enough interest and commitment. Eco-Chaplaincy Initiative, Sarah Vekasi, M.Div., 118 Beech Street, Black Mountain, NC 28711,, 828-333-1884, sarah@ecochaplaincy. net


An EYE on Australia

The Work That Reconnects is alive and thriving “Down Under” By Lisa Siegel The rainforest is quiet. Small birds flit between branches, and dappled sunlight filters in to illuminate the fungi tucked amongst logs and leaf litter. Last night’s rain has left a pungent damp smell, which reminds one of something ancient yet comforting. I take another deep breath, and one more.....and then let out a long “coooo-eeeeee”. Within minutes, the forest comes alive with native creatures: teenagers – about 30 of them stumbling out from behind the ferns, hopping down off low branches, finding each other with excitement and chatter and laughter. Stories come tumbling out, describing birds and insects and moss....and everything else they saw while sitting still and alone during their 40 minute “sit spot.” Bellingen EYE (Environmental Youth Experience) has been running bush camps for young people since 2007. The organisation was created in 2007 by a small group of high school students who wanted to “go bush,” with the help of myself and another mentor, both of whom had taught them in middle school. Our small shire of Bellingen (population 13,000 - on the east coast of Australia) is a little bit of subtropical paradise, with stunning beaches, pristine river systems, and a World Heritage rainforest literally in our back yard. These particular students had been at a Steiner school in their early years and had spent a lot of time in the living classroom of this beautiful environment – river swims, overnight camps, and bush regeneration projects kept them happy and engaged. When they had to go off to the big wide world of the local high school, they very quickly found me to tell me of the shock and horror of life in a school of 600+ students. The worst thing, they said, was that there were NO CAMPS. That got me thinking – one of the highlights of my own high school years was going on weekend camps with my youth group. So we gave it a go. The kids were enthusiastic and the parents supportive. 34

The first camp was a “Bush Skills” camp - we built shelters, got muddy, and learned to make primitive fire. It was GREAT. The kids needed more. We started planning a series of camps, so they could build up their bush skills and deepen their connection to the bush. They started bringing their friends along to camps – 2530 young people choosing to spend their weekends out in nature. But this was the era of “An Inconvenient Truth” and we mentors began to share our knowledge of issues such as climate change with them – they took it on and wanted to know more. It felt to me like a huge responsibility – how to help these bright-eyed and passionate young people navigate the waters of environmental worry and despair? Luckily, just at the right time, John Seed, one of the wise and wonderful elders of deep ecology in Australia, showed up in Bellingen with his “Climate Change Road Show.” I participated in a “Council of All Beings” with him and I was hooked – deep ecology was the perfect partner to our Nature Connection offerings. Since then, Bellingen EYE has been firmly steered by two guiding “bibles” – Coming Back to Life by Joanna Macy and Molly Young Brown, and A Coyote’s Guide to Mentoring by Jon Young, Ellen Haas, and Evan McGown. Using exercises and group processes from both books (adapted, of course, to meet the needs of Australian young people), the group soon developed into a fully fledged environmental youth group, whose members have participated passionately over the years in leadership training, community actions, and campaigns, as well as continuing their love of weekends in the bush. How does deep ecology (now known as The Work That Reconnects) look at an EYE camp? At our most recent camp, we had a session of “Open Sentences,” sitting by a creek, half way through a 3-hour bushwalk. The murmuring of the creek and the murmuring of the EYE crew merged into one as they practiced deep listen-

Morning by Paul Lipke Ravaged daily by grief and gratitude. Newly appalled at headlines, the soulless violence against person, tribe, village --even life itself. Ragged, rent and torn Eaarth, Still immeasurably beautiful. I greet the sun with a sob of despair, joy and bottomless thanks. Let each day begin in gratitude for our duties: Feed our ancestors. Care for our neighbors worldwide. Protect Eaarth. Witness the myriad deaths that sustain all beauty, all life, giving us life. Honor this boundless debt, endlessly unsettle-able, That is itself a gift. Each day let yourself be endlessly heartbroken by these wonders. Note: “Eaarth” - The spelling is from Bill McKibben’s book of the same name, which argues that our planet is already irrevocably changed.

ing to each other about “what I love most about being alive on this planet right now is....” and “what worries me about this planet is.....” Over the years, we have enjoyed many versions of Open Sentences in a variety of natural settings, as well as using them in leadership training exercises. We have enjoyed experiential processes such as the “Council of All Beings” (around the campfire under a full moon) and the “Gifts of the Ancestors” (in a sunny eucalypt clearing). A perennial favourite is the “Mirror Walk” – which never fails to elicit wonder and laughter in equal measures. One of the original members of the group was recently reflecting on her EYE experience and remembered “a montage of amazing, eye opening experiences...that fundamentally changed how I relate to the world on a day to day basis... experiences like camping out under the stars, sitting around fires sharing music and stories, being introduced to deep ecology .....still influence who I am today.” But the story doesn’t end there. The next chapter saw our deep ecology work with young people blossom into the Work That Reconnects for people of all ages. In 2011, we formed the “Centre for Ecological Learning (CEL)” in order to facilitate offerings for adults as well as young people. Retreats such as our “Buddha Touched the Earth” Engaged Buddhism 4 day retreats,

and workshops such as our “Active Hope” day-long workshops are based specifically on the Work That Reconnects. Other CEL offerings, such as Nature Connection adult retreats, ReSkilling workshops, and Permaculture courses might not include Open Sentences or a Milling.... but the values of the WTR form the basis of our work, and connection with self, community, and Mother Earth are core to each and every activity. What does the future hold for EYE and the Centre for Ecological Learning? Sadly, the grant funding that has supported our youth camps and CEL over the years has all but dried up in the current “business as usual” Australian political climate. We are currently engaging some skilled and dedicated community members to help us restructure into a more resilient organisation, and are looking at other funding/fundraising models, perhaps along social enterprise lines. Our creativity is being tested for sure! But what remains clear to us is that this work is so very important, and so very necessary here in Australia. So it is onwards and upwards as we continue to support those who are working so passionately and tirelessly for the Great Turning, while we share new understandings with those who are not yet aware of the Great Turning as a possibility for Mother Earth.


Not Your Typical Train Stop: Doing the Milling at Break Free Northeast By Adin Buchanan I cried like never before. Half an hour earlier, I had stepped off the stage placed in the middle of the Albany train tracks, feeling hollow and disappointed. Morgan Curtis, my co-facilitator, and I had just completed a milling exercise with about 200 participants. Now, it felt like all the protective armoring around my heart had sloughed off in a tired heap and my nerve endings were exposed. I cried for myself, for the community around me, and for the world. The grief came in waves, but I didn’t feel like I was drowning. With each wracking sob, I felt like I was becoming more and more alive. When the tears finally exhausted themselves, I began laughing. Laughter and tears make a delicious combination. I had arrived at the church in Troy, NY, about six days earlier, riding on a mattress thrown on top of a van full of movement-art supplies. I’d come for an event called Break Free Northeast, a regional chapter of an internationally coordinated string of actions against the fossil fuel industry. On the coming Saturday, more than a thousand people would gather in Albany to protest the so-called bomb trains, and many would consider getting arrested. The trains were our target not just because they represented fossil fuel interests, but because they passed directly behind the Ezra Prentice housing community. Residents of Ezra Prentice were predominantly people of color. The community suffers from heightened chronic disease rates and the constant, quiet fear of an explosion in their backyards. The fossil fuel company’s disregard for their safety is an act of environmental racism. With only this background information, I dove in. Like Morgan, many of the organizers had been working on this project for months, and it took me some time to catch up with their flat-out, final-stretch pace. Just a few weeks before I had completed a five-day immersion in the Work that Reconnects alongside Morgan, and I wanted to offer some of these tools I had just gained. The night before the action, Morgan suggested we offer a milling for the people who would be occupying the tracks. I agreed, and we stayed up late adapting the script. By ten the next morning, thousands of people had arrived. Soon after, the crowd marched off, carrying the flags and banners which had been made from materi36

als in the van that brought me to Troy. When the marchers departed I cleaned the rallying field, loaded the van, and drove to the occupation of the tracks. There I found a vibrant gathering. The portable stage had been set up and a long line of speakers and performers took the microphone, offering statements of solidarity, speeches, and songs. People stood, sat, and lay across the train tracks in a beautiful display of nonchalant civil disobedience. However, many people were scheduled to leave with the buses at six. We had to do something with the several hundred people who wanted to be arrested. I texted Morgan, “Urgent: strategy meeting, come at once!” A handful of the core organizers, including myself, huddled to drown out the noise of the crowd and came up with a plan: we would scout the surrounding port of Albany for a place to escalate our action and offer an opportunity for arrest to those who wanted it. Fifteen minutes later when we returned, an additional thirty people, many non-organizers, had joined us to weigh in on the decision. Talking loudly to be heard over the din, we collectively realized no one had found a good spot to get a huge mass of people arrested in a manner consistent with our anti-bomb train, anti-environmental racism message. The idea of an encampment on the tracks was broached, and our group’s consensus fell on this option. Through a rushed, on-the-spot decision making process we chose to prolong our stay on the tracks. Morgan, who had joined us for the meeting, caught me shortly thereafter, explaining that our time slot was coming up. Just before taking the stage we paused, breathing deeply and sharing eye contact to center ourselves. Stepping up to the stage, we took the microphone and gathered the crowd, asking sincerely for

their participation in this exercise. Hundreds gathered en masse in front of the stage. With my feet planted firmly on the planks of the stage and my hand trembling slightly, I launched into the script. At first an air of confusion rippled through the crowd; they were uncertain what they had gotten into. Things changed rapidly when pairs made eye contact during the first encounter. Handing the mic back and forth, Morgan and I guided the gathering through a series of pair-encounters, each one representing a stage on the spiral. I observed the changes. A blanket of silence fell, occasionally interrupted by soft murmuring. Eyes opened wider, and soft, tender smiles began to appear. Some tears flowed quietly. Hundreds of people held hands, encountering each other deeply, while a few stood at angles from one another, not yet ready to be fully seen. I felt less nervous. At the ten minute mark, Erhan, the organizer responsible for the sound system, whispered harshly in my ear “Can this be over now?” Slightly shaken, I told him we were almost finished. A minute later while Morgan delivered the last few lines of the script, Harry made eye contact with me from side-stage and vigorously tapped his watch. We finished shortly after, my bubble broken. Unenthusiastically, I spoke into the mic “Thank you for your participation everyone, now give it up for DJ Skip!” Stepping off stage, I felt a deep upwelling of emotion. The milling represents the kind of change I want to see in the world, and I have experienced its power myself. Its partial rejection, especially by the organizers close to me, had been very painful. Morgan and I walked to a patch of pine trees separated from the gathering and I began to cry. When my tears ceased, I asked her what she thought of the exercise. “Everyone I talked to said they appreciated it,” she explained, “I think it was the most revolutionary thing that happened today.” I laughed at this. It struck a chord of truth.

we could chew. Shortcomings aside, we successfully blocked the bomb trains for a day, sending a small but significant message to the fossil fuel industry. We had also demonstrated solidarity with the people of Ezra Prentice, drawing media attention to their plight and highlighting the blatant environmental racism taking place in Albany. I would like to believe that the milling truly was the most revolutionary thing that happened that day, but this would be too simplistic. Given our circumstances, we had taken up too much time center stage. In similar future scenarios, I would shorten and simplify the script. More importantly, I learned that springing an exercise like the milling on a large and diverse crowd may result in some division. Learning points aside, the activity had seriously shifted the social paradigm of our activism, even if just for a brief moment. By drawing us into connection with one another and creating space for our pain to arise, the milling offered a glimmer of the world we activists, in our many forms, are trying to create. However, one exercise is not enough. In Albany we built community, made a statement, and began to forge ties beyond the predominantly white environmental movement. But building the new world takes more than one direct action, even if it is accented by mindful and compassionate relationships. We must weave the lessons of the Work That Reconnects deeper into our activism, our relationships, our lives. We must push it, make mistakes, learn from them, and try again. We must remember that the bomb trains are still running behind Ezra Prentice. With this knowledge in our hearts, each one of us must wake up and live the new world into existence.

The encampment went ahead. Though the police took our tents, they didn’t arrest anyone. For eight hours, we scrambled, making imperfect group decisions, crowdsourcing camping gear including tarps to replace our tents, and weathering a brief rainstorm. At 11:30 that night, our encampment chose to break up and head home; despite our last minute efforts, there simply hadn’t been enough pre-emptive planning. Three weeks after the events in Albany I’m still reflecting on the day of action. In our momentum, we had grown fixated on the idea of an encampment, an idea that we relinquished when conditions conspired against us and we realized we had bitten off more than 37

Turtle, Shark, Kangaroo: What do you do when Harmful Dynamics Arise in a Group? By Aravinda Ananda

the program.

Many of us have been conditioned to either freeze or attack people when they say or do something that feels harmful. My tendency is to freeze, but I do not feel I can be in integrity as a facilitator of the Work That Reconnects if I allow harmful dynamics to go unaddressed when they surface in a group. Given that many of us have not been conditioned to learn and grow together, but rather to avoid or tear one another down, what are some tools that can help us grow our muscles to be able to engage with one another in a way that promotes learning, healing, and growth? I wish to share my personal journey with this and learn with others who are interested in the same inquiry.

Record-screeching-toa-stop sound.

My inquiry intensified after an incident during a workshop in June 2015. My partner and I had been invited to facilitate a daylong Work That Reconnects workshop. It was happening at a nature center in a space we had never before seen. The day dawned hot and bright with a forecasted torrid high of 80 degrees. The room we were meeting in was indoors, and the air conditioning was blasting. Several women arrived in shorts and t-shirts and were quite cold. As the workshop was just beginning, someone asked if it was possible to adjust the temperature in the room. One of the organizers of the event jumped up to look at the thermostat to see if it could be adjusted when a booming voice cut across the room: “Don’t touch that thermostat!” an older white man interjected. He continued, “People should know that on a day like this when they are going to a workshop that will be inside to bring layers.” The entire room turned even colder as emotions swirled. I froze. Gradually the group came to a compromise, with little help from me as I watched in bewilderment. I was grateful to the group for navigating through this, because I didn’t feel equipped to steer that ship. Angry white man did not stick around for the negotiations. He came back a few minutes later with—I kid you not—four blazers presumably that he had had with him in his car and without asking began passing them out to the women who had expressed being cold. One woman accepted. Others did not. My skin was crawling with the paternalism of the act, the condescension across gender lines was palpable, but I didn’t really know what to say. As a facilitator I felt we needed to keep the agenda in motion, so I actually said the opposite of what I was feeling, making a quick brushing off comment about his “caring,” and then moved on with 38

I don’t want to do that anymore—to freeze and brush off a hurtful dynamic. But I felt so ill-equipped, without the chutzpah to enAll drawings by Makena and Soren gage with these social Ananda-Holesovsky, siblings dynamics that deviate from the planned agenda. I really struggle with being at the front of the room to begin with, so carrying out the planned agenda takes enough of my attention and energy. And yet, my whole being cries out: “I don’t feel I can facilitate with integrity unless I grow in my capacity to engage with these hurtful social dynamics when they emerge, because ignoring them does not feel like the Work That Reconnects.” That workshop incident happened in June and I sat with it for months. In January 2016 my friend Sarah Pirtle offered a program called Social Justice Days and I knew I needed to be there. Along with having one of the most beautiful hearts I know and being a talented musician, Sarah was a member of the first Interhelp Board and in 1983 (the year I was born) started leading trainings for facilitators with Joanna Macy. On day one of Social Justice Days she offered a framework that I think can be of immense use to facilitators desiring to engage with harmful dynamics as they arise in a group called “Turtle, Shark, Kangaroo.” With her permission, I would like to share some about it here. She first developed this activity in the 1990s and published it in her book Discovery Time for Cooperation and Conflict Resolution (1998, see www.sarahpirtle. com). This method of discernment and reorientation is helpful for seeing what style of engagement we choose when we are in a group and someone says something that hurts or feels really off. She made it clear at the outset that she didn’t want to stereotype the animals. In describing it, she also offered apologies to the animals for these labels because this is not their true nature. In terms of the activity, turtle represents a style of avoidance, of perhaps gossiping with others later about something rather than directly engaging in the moment; shark stands for aggressively attacking; and kangaroo

stands for being ready and willing to engage. Sarah had us get into hassle lines (a technique common to nonviolent civil disobedience trainings where two lines face each other to practice a scenario). With a partner, we practiced these three ways of engaging with a given situation. My curiosity was immediately piqued. I recognized the turtle tendency in myself, to avoid conflict and hard places. I have also observed many times over the past few years when someone does or says something oppressive or otherwise feels off, how quick people often are to cut them down and summarily dismiss them. That feels like shark. I have read with great interest reflections from people such as Adrienne Maree Brown on what is and isn’t transformative justice, and how to call people in (as contrasted with calling people out) as a less disposable way of holding each other accountable. Knowing that these dynamics are often complex, and being sensitive to not encourage tone policing (people who have been oppressed have a right to express their pain without the way they express it becoming the center of attention), is there a way that we can grow in our capacity to call people in when an oppressive or otherwise hurtful dynamic arises? Calling people in—holding people accountable in a way that supports the healing, learning, and growth of all—sounds like kangaroo to me. So how do you do kangaroo? I am aware that as a facilitator I have certain leadership responsibilities in a group, and at the same time I know that I alone cannot single-handedly dismantle an oppressive culture. It is something that has to be done together. We have all been deeply conditioned to oppress one another and ourselves, and conditioning that deep will not be transformed by a single individual: it will take all of us, or certainly a great many of us. On day two of Social Justice Days, Sarah invited each participant to construct a role play around whatever issue they chose. I chose to work with this scenario: When I am facilitating a Work That Reconnects workshop and someone in the group says something that feels oppressive or otherwise off, how can the group do a kangaroo together? The role play was helpful for me: when I facilitate I do not have to feel I alone am responsible when a painful dynamic surfaces if I invite the group to take responsibility

together. That can be invited through a community agreements process. Given that a facilitator is in a leadership position, what other tools are available? I was so grateful to have a follow-up phone call with Sarah a few weeks after Social Justice Days to talk about her experience with some other options. The first option Sarah recommends, one she has been using for decades, is “oops, ouch.” Have you heard of that? Essentially it is a way to momentarily press the pause button and register aloud that a comment or action hurt without otherwise interrupting group process. One way to do this, and what I’ve seen in my experience, is that the person who made the offending comment does not make apologies or explanations or ask questions in that moment but has the opportunity to follow up at a later time if they wish to. Sarah’s approach is to use that witnessing of “oops, ouch” as a way to open conversation. Another option is to allow participants to ask permission of the group to process a hurt right when it happens. Since it would be hard to accomplish a workshop agenda if group time is taken with processing every hurt that arises, Sarah recommends people pause and check in with their “inner tuning fork,” as she calls it. Would it serve learning of the whole group at this time to process what happened together, or would it be better to register it with the group quickly, and then process it individually at a later time? A third option that Sarah mentioned she uses that I really appreciate is for the facilitator to hit the pause button if something is said that cannot go unacknowledged, and then invite people to pair up with another person and talk for two minutes about how they are feeling and what they are thinking in that moment. As a facilitator you can pair with the person who made the offending comment and share your concerns. After the dyad sharings, there are any number of options—the person who made the comment may wish to say something to the group, the entire group may wish to share, or it may feel alright to just continue on. A fourth option is to register silently to yourself and then speak with the person privately later. You may need the help of an ally to do this, or any of the other options mentioned. I am really enthused about how to create a learning community, so that when hurtful dynamics arise, we can do a kangaroo together and turn towards the situacontinued on next page


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tion and have an opportunity for learning and growth, rather than blaming and shaming the offender in a way that cuts them down and feels disposable. As Sarah said, how can we create a table in our communities where all are welcome? In closing, here are some steps I think can be useful for calling people in: 1. Briefly recap what someone said or did, 2. Share your thoughts and feelings about why and how it was hurtful, and 3. Make a request for how you would like them to change their behavior or speech. These steps echo Ganote, Cheung, and Souza’s technique called “opening the front door” as well as the Nonviolent Communication process of sharing observations, feelings, needs, and requests. I wish to thank Sarah for her beautiful tools and insights, as well as all of the people I came across online who are exploring how to call people in, as we explore how to move more into kangaroo action together. I look forward to continued learning on this inquiry.


Welcome to the Anthropocene, Era of Errors by Karina Lutz “[T]he frequency and nature of ecological surprises imply that uncertainty cannot be easily tamed through improved analytical procedure...” – Daniel F. Doak, James A. Estes, et al. These marks in the sky, were they made by humans? The ones that look like brushstrokes, – no, more like split-open milkweed pod, but too straight, fractals’ fine curls pulled taut– are they fragments of contrails? Or our new atmosphere’s new kind of clouds? Elders mutter: All our long lives of cloud-gazing, we’ve never seen anything like this. We have no control planet, yet we send more variables into the sky than we can guess at. We were thinking in straight lines but these patterns emerging –sky’s strange textures– converge from many causes. Elders whisper: yes, this looks like the prophecy we couldn’t imagine. Anything can happen.


Books and Other Resources Review – Pachamama’s Game Changer Intensive A review by Molly Brown Deep in the Amazon rainforest, spanning the borders of modern-day Ecuador and Peru, the Achuar people have lived and thrived for centuries. Traditionally warriors with a fierce devotion to their land, they kept their sophisticated culture and worldview remarkably intact as late as the mid-20th century. In 1995, the Achuar made the courageous decision to reach out to the modern world that was threatening their very existence. A group of people, including Bill and Lynne Twist and John Perkins, traveled to the rainforest at the invitation of Achuar leaders. The Achuar shared with this group the urgent threat to their lands and culture, their vision for self-determination, and a request for allies from the North who would “change the dream of the modern world”—shifting our culture of overconsumption to one that honors and sustains life.

the world, come to terms with them, and find creative, effective ways to respond. The Intensive is designed to educate, inspire, and equip people to become proactive game changers in their communities. What’s more, participants choose the amount they pay for the course. Practicing what it preaches, the Game Changer Intensive operates on the “gift economy,” asking people to “pay it forward” through donations to make the course available to others into the future.

The Intensive is designed to educate, inspire, and equip people to become proactive game changers in their communities.

The group committed to a partnership with the Achuar, and, upon their return to the United States, Bill Twist and Lynne Twist co-founded the Pachamama Alliance to carry out their commitment. The Alliance has created, among many other projects, two dynamic courses to enable people to discover the value of ancient wisdom in addressing our modern crises and their personal role in bringing forth an environmentally sustainable, spiritually fulfilling, and socially just human presence on this planet. The first of these courses is the Awakening the Dreamer Symposium, which has been offered all over the world for many years. It can be taken as a four hour in-person seminar, or online. The Game Changer Intensive is a more recent course offering: a seven-week online course scheduled about every two months. I participated in the course in April and served as a moderator for a small discussion group made up of members of the Conscious Elders Network.

The Game Changer Intensive offers weekly assignments of videos, readings, online forums, and moderated small group discussions (the best part for me). I highly recommend this course for anyone wanting to deepen their understanding of the challenges we face today in 42

The Game Changer Intensive can help us face the enormous challenges of our time—climate change, income inequality, systemic racism, classism, and sexism, species extinction, financial breakdown, and more. I imagine people taking this course and then further grounding themselves in the Work That Reconnects. The two approaches can truly support each other, as co-requisites for the Great Turning to a sustainable, just, truly democratic society.

Joanna’s Recommended Reading Designing Regenerative Cultures by Daniel Wahl A review by Joanna Macy To me as a life-long activist nourished on systems thinking and Buddhist teachings, this is one of the most intellectually exciting and soul stirring books I’ve read in years. I had the sense of drinking it, with pleasure and surprise, not having known what I’d so thirsted for. By starting with questions and keeping to questions throughout, Daniel engages the reader, and by example frees her from striving for, or pretending to know, any final answers. This approach — in itself a rare lesson in systems epistemology — invites trust, openness, and a restructuring of the mind. Among the gifts for which I am especially grateful are these: Conceptual tools for perceiving and experiencing our mutual belonging, and especially what I’ve come to call the great reciprocity at the heart of the universe. The ways Goethe, Bortoft, Bateson, Maturana, and Varela are brought in, and key insights mediated with economy and clarity. The abundant evidence of the Great Turning, the manifold transition underway to a life-sustaining culture. And, especially valuable to those of an apocalyptic bent like myself, the ‘adaptive cycle’ of resilient systems, showing that at ‘the edge of chaos’ comes opportunity for the emergence of greater complexity and intelligence. These are but a few of the ways in which this remarkable book will enrich my thought, my teaching, and my life in this turbulent world of ours.


Network-Weaving Vision, Values, and Structure of the Work That Reconnects Network Networks are the only form of organization used by living systems on this planet. These networks result from self-organization, where individuals or species recognize their interdependence and organize in ways that support the diversity and viability of all. Networks create the conditions for emergence, which is how Life changes. ~Margaret Wheatley and Deborah Frieze, “Lifecycle of Emergence: Using Emergence to Take Social Innovation to Scale,” Berkana Our Vision – The Work That Reconnects Network provides support, guidance, and inspiration to people all over the world in their work for the Great Turning, in diverse communities, schools, universities, businesses, government agencies, and NGOs. – The Work That Reconnects Network functions as a vibrant living system, providing communication, education, mutual support, and collaboration in creating curricula, practices, books and articles, music, poetry, and art. Our Mission – To design and build a network of facilitators and community members in the Work That Reconnects for optimal communication, collaboration, inspiration, and mutual support, and to contribute to the Great Turning. – To promote the Work That Reconnects in the world by building relationships in person and via social media, an interactive website, a periodic journal, and other means. – To develop a support system with funding and staff to enable the Work That Reconnects Network to fulfill its vision. Our Values Openness, transparency, connectivity, collaboration, inclusivity, diversity, kindness, service to the welfare of all beings of the three times, and to the healing of the planet. Network Leadership Although networks arise from the self-organization of all members, a few people have stepped up to get things going, calling ourselves the Network Stewards: Aravinda Ananda, Werner Brandt, Molly Brown, Emily Coralyne, Emily Ryan, Anne Symens-Bucher, and Constance Washburn.

We share the following information for full transparency and so the community will know who is doing what.

Of that group, four people regularly attend our bi-weekly online meetings and have formed the Core Team to make decisions by consensus. They are Aravinda Ananda, Werner Brandt, Molly Brown, and Constance Washburn. Three of these people constitute a quorum. Currently, this Team is meeting online every two weeks on Saturdays. Other Stewards may participate at any time by following activities and making comments on our Basecamp site, and by attending meetings of the Core Team and participating in the consensus process when in attendance. Meeting times, agendas, and minutes are posted on our Basecamp site; all the Stewards have access to that site. In the future, we may post minutes of our meetings on the website, available only to Network facilitator members. If you want to be involved in the Stewards group, please email:


Participation in Growing the Network

In Networks, everyone is a leader, encouraged to connect to others and initiate collaborative action; power is distributed, not concentrated ~ June Holley - An Introduction to Network Weaving

We are being called to step forward together as Shambhala Warriors at this critical time. Here are steps you can take to help weave a powerful Network for the Great Turning. Donate to the Work That Reconnects Network to help us build the Network- Our goals is to raise $60,000 in 2016 - 2017 for publishing the Deep Times Journal, upgrading the website, and weaving the Work That Reconnects Network. The Work That Reconnects Network is currently a fiscal project of the non-profit Interhelp so all donations are taxdeductible Checks can be made out to Work That Reconnects Network and sent to Work That Reconnects Network c/o Interhelp, Inc., 10A Powdermill Circle, Maynard MA 01754. Join the Stewards group or a working group: – The Network needs people with passion for the Work That Reconnects: organizers, fundraisers, Network Weavers, and social media experts, as well as event and project managers. Contact: – Join the Web Design Team. Contact: – Join the editorial team for Deep Times and/or volunteer to help with design and layout. Right now we are paying for a professional designer to do this work. Contact – Help create a facilitator development or training program. Contact: or Support and enrich the website – Register on the website to receive notifications of new featured posts and upgrades to the site. – Join the Network as a facilitator member by adding your profile to the facilitator directory. [] – List any events you offer so we all can see what we all are doing, and share the website link with your participants – Link your website to Read and contribute to Deep Times Journal – Contact authors of articles and projects of interest to you – Write letters to the editor responding to articles – Buy print copies of the Journal to share with others and share the link to the pdf on your website, Facebook page, etc. – Contribute articles, poems, artwork, photos, music, and reviews of books, films, and CDs. Contact: Weave Connectivity within your Work That Reconnects community – Create databases and directories of people interested in the Work within your community or region, and share that information with the central Network database. – Spread the news about who is doing what, using many different information-sharing and social media. – Connect and collaborate with people within and beyond your community who are working on similar projects. – Hold regional community in-person gatherings, such as a Community of Practice, a study group, or a facilitator conference, to build skills, trust, and connections within your region.


The Montreal Work that Reconnects Circle: A Community of Practice By Rebekah Hart

For two and a half years, I have been offering a monthly Work that Reconnects Circle in Montreal, which has grown over time into a thriving community of practice. Since January 2013, this monthly practice circle has been hosted by volunteer community members, and facilitated by myself with other community members co-facilitating at times. I have a small team of volunteers who help me with logistics such as RSVP’s and translation tasks, and I offer this work on a donations basis. Part of the vision of this monthly gathering has been to build community, skills and capacity in the Work that Reconnects. We hope our circle will become a circle within many circles, which will widen and grow! Initially, we began as a small study/practice circle which focused on studying Active Hope. Each meeting included time for sharing, discussion on the reading, and a guided experiential exercise. By fall of 2015, we began studying the new edition of Coming Back to Life. Soon it became clear that the community wanted to focus more fully on experiential work, so the monthly circle became a monthly 3-hour workshop, in which we try to go through most of the spiral (or at least touch on the first three stages). The group has grown from about 10 people coming each month early on, to now about 20 people consistently showing up each month. There is a strong core group of people who return regularly, and we also have new people join us each month. The circle includes participants from diverse cultural and language backgrounds, ages and locations, including anglophones, francophones, community organizers, activists, students, artists, folks ranging from their twenties to elders, and urban and rural folks. We even have one group member who travels over three hours each month to attend! Although I teach primarily in English, my facilitation has become increasingly bilingual over time, in accordance with group needs. (At times, francophone members of the group have also cofacilitated exercises with me, translating my facilitation into French.) The energy in the group feels profoundly transformational, and there is a sense of growing community engagement. The sense of gratitude, trust, and openheartedness in the room is often palpable! 46

The monthly circle is also a space to build capacity and leadership in the Work that Reconnects. Between gatherings, we stay in touch through email listserve and facebook groups. I offer mentorship on a needs basis to those interested in facilitation, or for those engaging in projects related to the Work that Reconnects. Inspired by the circle and with my mentorship support, one of our longtime community members, Myriam Verzat, developed an entire theatre/dance production called ReCONNECT, based on her experience of the Work that Reconnects! Leading up to the Intensive with Joanna in Guelph this past May, many community members came together to organize a full weekend of fundraising events, including workshops, performances, and the Council of All Beings. It was powerful and inspiring to witness the solidarity and motivation community members shared towards supporting those who were preparing to go to the Intensive. Even folks who weren’t going the Intensive gave generously of their time, energy and talents, knowing that those learnings would spiral back and benefit our community in turn. Following the intensive, our community now has six members who have experienced this work more deeply, several of whom have expressed interest in facilitation! In addition to the monthly circle, those of us who attended the intensive are discussing starting a Work that Reconnects practice and mentorship group, for building skills in the Work that Reconnects. In contrast to the monthly circle, this would be a smaller group composed of those of us from the community interested in developing facilitation skills, sharing emotions and exploring exercises in a more informal, warm and welcoming small group space. Within the community, there is growing interest in integrating anti-oppression practices and consciousness into this work. We have had several conversations about this as a community, and some group members are interested in co-facilitating some circles on these themes in future. My hope is that over time, we will also use the inspiration and trust we have built together as a community to engage in solidarity with frontline communities and be active allies to anti-racist struggles. As a longtime facilitator of WTR, moving from focusing

on leading one-off retreats or workshops towards facilitating a monthly community of practice has represented a perceptual shift of sorts, and a dream come true. For many years in Montreal, I would lead daylong workshops in which participants had intense and transformational experiences, but afterwards there was no consistent follow-up. Although I still feel that longer workshops and retreats are essential, I have noticed how workshops can become just another commodity – an experience that we can buy and then forget about as our lives continue on much the same. The movement towards offering this work in an ongoing community context feels to me like the shift from individual to collective transformation. The community of practice creates a powerful context for relationship and movement building, and long-term visceral experience of interconnection. Even though the gatherings are only 3 hours long, and new people come each month, the fact that we have a core of people who are engaged has built an energy of trust in the group that seems to hold the newcomers. People are building friendships, relationships and solidarity that extends beyond the 3-hour monthly gatherings. Folks are feeling empowered, and the energy brings people together to work for the Great Turning – the exceptional two days of reconnection events that community members organized recently to fundraise for the Intensive with Joanna in Guelph is testament to the sense of belonging and empowerment people feel in this community. The circle also feels like a nexus for building social movement capacity and leadership in the Work That Reconnects, which was virtually unknown in these parts 14 years ago when I started facilitating. Gradually, through workshops, but primarily through the vehicle of the monthly gatherings, more people are knowing and understanding this work here in Montreal/Quebec, are developing facilitation skills, and are motivated to bring the work into different circles, activist groups and communities. My hope and vision is that these circles could be replicated, so that as the Great Turning blossoms, we will begin to see circles of Work That Reconnects available in places far and wide -- as a practice, a community and a resource people can draw on. Imagine, widening circles of practice in the Work that Reconnects! For those interested in starting something similar in their community, I am more than happy to be in touch and share my experience. To learn more about the Work that Reconnects Montreal Circle or to be added to the listserv, email wtrmontreal@ You can also connect to us on Facebook on our Community Page ( or Public Group (https://www.

Network Weaving Plans, Events, Announcements Holding Each Other in the Great Turning 2016 Annual Interhelp Gathering A weekend of the Work That Reconnects Oct. 21-23, 2016 Woolman Hill Quaker Retreat Center, Deerfield, MA For more information please contact Flyer and registration form at

Bay Area Facilitators Gathering - Late October, early November - location TBA Facilitators from the greater Bay Area in California gather on a Friday evening and Saturday (or just on Saturday) to weave our Network regionally. Location and dates to be determined by all concerned. Contact: Proposed Facilitator’s Gathering - April 11-15, 2017 – River’s Bend Retreat Center, Philo, CA Other dates are available in April, but this date range seems to be the best. This schedule would give people a chance to get home in time for Easter Sunday if that is important to them, or if no one is concerned about being home on Easter, we can end on Sunday. If you are interested in attending, please let us know your interest and preferences at Facilitator Development Program, to begin early in 2017 Possible in-person workshop on the West Coast, April 6-10, 2017. A team of experienced facilitators is planning an indepth program to deepen and expand facilitator skills so that the Work That Reconnects can shared most effectively and reach more people in this time of crisis. We are envisioning a year-long program that would combine online study groups with face-to-face workshops/retreats held regionally at the beginning and end. The program would include underlying concepts, world views, and practices of the Work That Reconnects, general facilitation skills, and practice sessions/ practice talks presented by students. If you are interested in participating in such a program as a student, please contact Molly Brown at or Constance Washburn at


Reflections on the May 2016 Intensive in Guelph, Ontario: A letter to the Montreal Community of Practice by Rebekah Hart Dear Friends, It has been a busy spring of reconnection. The last few months have been quite a journey both for our Montreal Community of Practice and for me personally. Our Reconnection Days in late April were a great success -- we had two incredible days of reconnection inspired workshops and performances, culminating in the Council of All Beings and a moving traditional drum performance from the Odaya music collective. It was a great joy for me to co-organize with the many community members who stepped forth and poured energy, creativity, inspiration and skill into sharing the vision of the Work that Reconnects with our wider community, while deepening our relationships with each other in the process! Although we didn’t raise as much funds as anticipated, we did raise enough. Combined with some generous scholarships from Joanna, everyone who wanted to go was able to go to the May 10-day Intensive at Guelph, Ontario. And the Intensive with Joanna Macy was... intense! Seven of us from our community participated in this incredible 10-day journey in reconnection. Forty-five folks were in attendance in total, including activists and life lovers from across Canada, the US, Ireland, Austria and Jordan. We began each morning in silence, and broke silence dancing the Elm Dance, calling out places and beings that need healing, followed by community members sharing poetry, movement and song. Joanna taught the Work that Reconnects each morning, with her distinct way of conveying insights through poetry, storytelling, conceptual learning and experiential exercises. In the afternoons, we would meet in three regional groups, which allowed us to share and debrief more intimately. (I facilitated one of these groups, including our Montreal community members and others from New York, Vermont and Ottawa areas.) There was so much richness and depth in the experience of reconnecting together for this extended time. Part of the magic of the 10-day retreats is how they allow us space and time to really sink into experiencing new collective norms around emotional expression about the pain we carry for our world. Together, we create a container in which it is considered natural and healthy to feel deeply and express emotion for our world. Social barriers break open, and trust is formed in deep and meaningful ways. Along with the traditional Work that Reconnects exercises, during this intensive we engaged in some powerful group processes around anti-oppression and colonization, including some visiting elders who facilitated the Kairos blanket exercise. Joanna herself was in fine spirits, quick-witted and hilarious as ever, as she delivered juicy teachings on the revolutionary power of gratitude, the ecological self, and systems theory as an expression of the perceptual shift. It was a great joy for me to work with Joanna on the facilitation team. Although I have been to many of these intensives before, this was the first time I had had the honour of collaborating so closely with Joanna. We had a great team, that felt both deeply supportive of each other, and adaptive to emergent needs in the group. And all this took place in a land of incredible beauty, an old Jesuit retreat centre on the outskirts of Guelph, with access to 600 acres of organic farmland and forest trails, exquisite gardens and fiery Ontario sunsets. What gifts! There are many many more stories to tell... We are planning a post-intensive outdoor storytelling soirée and BBQ potluck in the coming weeks, in which those of us who were at the intensive can share our stories with the wider community! As I write this, I’m on the train to Philadelphia, en route to facilitate the Work that Reconnects at a Quaker Youth Conference at Pendle Hill retreat center this week. The theme for the conference this year is integrity, which is something I’ve been thinking a lot about lately. I’m asking questions like: what does it mean to live in integrity in a social political economy that fragments our sense of connection to ourselves, each other and our earth? What 48

does it mean to create wholeness and integrity in our relationships, even as we navigate the myriad forces of intergenerational and systemic trauma that splinter our psyches? In the Work that Reconnects, time and time again, I’ve seen how truthspeaking about the pain we carry for our world can move us towards recovering a sense of power and wholeness, even as social and ecological conditions grow more dire. Integrity speaks to the heart of the Work that Reconnects, which, as an experiential collective practice, challenges us to integrate binaries like activism and spirituality, emotion and intellect, being and doing, and self and earth. By speaking and feeling the truth of what we know and feel is happening in our world, we move towards embodying a larger integrity with ourselves, each other and the web of life. Integrity is about being honest and true to ethical principles, but more deeply, it is about tuning into a larger wholeness and taking action from that place. It makes me think of Joanna’s words in her meditation on Learning to See Each Other: “Out of that web you cannot fall.... no stupidity, failure or cowardice can ever sever you from that living web. For that is what you are... Rest in that knowing... Rest in the Great Peace. Out of it we can act, we can risk everything... And let each encounter be a homecoming to our true nature.” In solidarity in the Great Turning, and in gratitude for the opportunity to build community with you, Rebekah


About Our Contributors Bobbi Allan was co-coordinator of Joanna Macy’s tours of Australia in 1985 and 1999. She has been leading Joanna’s work in Australia since then. Bobbi is a Buddhist teacher in the Insight tradition. She has practiced meditation for over 40 years and began teaching in 1999 when she developed Stillness in Action Retreats with Simon Clough and others. She has a long involvement with social and environmental organisations and was a founding member and facilitator of Australian ‘Heart Politics’ Conferences and the Social Change Training & Resource Centre. She has a professional background in training and development. Bobbi’s current work is Mindfulness in Education ( au) teaching mindfulness to school teachers and training them to introduce mindfulness practices into their classrooms. This is her gift to the children of today, so that as adults of tomorrow they can be quietly present together, listening, thinking, learning and cooperatively creating.

Aravinda Ananda is a member of the Interhelp Council, helped start a Greater Boston Work that Reconnects community of practice and has been a part of many co-facilitation teams including the Earth Leadership Cohort – an immersion in the Work for young adults and the Community Leadership Cohort – an exploration of communities of practice. Her primary life’s work is helping to transform human-Earth relationships to be mutually enhancing; she is currently finishing a book called Living rEvolution. She seeks to live the rEvolution daily and support others on this path.

Rick Benjamin Though still finishing out his term as state poet of Rhode Island (2013 - 2016), Rick Benjamin has recently returned to California, where he is now teaching and supporting community engagement initiatives at UCSB. After thirty-three years of shoveling snow on the east coast, he now 50

finds himself without outdoor tools in a drought-ridden landscape, missing the smallest state while trying to scent his way back to the sage-brush and honeysuckle of his childhood. He uses The Work That Reconnects in the “Reimagining Social Change” course he co-teaches at Providence College.

J. Marcia Berry, M.A. Linguistics, activist, educator, writer and coach, is completely mystified as to why she didn’t discover Joanna Macy’s work until 2014. Deeply grateful for the insight that our pain for the world is rooted in our caring for the world, Marcia has become immersed in the Work that Reconnects; now offering workshops, assisting with Interhelp’s action circles, and participating in the Community Leadership Cohort. Marcia first encountered systems theory through her consulting work which specialized in language, culture, diversity, leadership and organizational development. Marcia weaves the WTR with her practices in the Baha’i Faith and her activism for peace and racial justice.

Jim Brown is a semi-retired mindbody specialist and eternal information sponge living in Mt. Shasta, California with his original wife, Molly Brown. He has a doctorate in the psychology of consciousness, and with such a background knows very well the addictive potential of activity that serves both to soothe and stimulate. Still, he goes on writing poems and such, which for him is an activity that does exactly that.

Molly Brown, Editor of Deep Times, co-authored Coming Back to Life: The Updated Guide to the Work That Reconnects with Joanna Macy. Molly brings ecopsychology, the Work That Reconnects, and psychosynthesis to her work writing books and essays, teaching on-line courses, phone coaching, talks and work-

shops. Her six books include Growing Whole: Selfrealization for the Great Turning and Lighting a Candle: Collected Reflections on a Spiritual Life. She leads retreats for elder activists in the Work That Connects with Constance Washburn through the Conscious Elders Network,

L.M. Browning is the author of nine books. In her writing, Browning explores the confluence of the natural landscape and the interior landscape. Her three-title contemplative poetry series garnered three Pushcart Prize nominations, the Nautilus Gold Medal for Poetry, and Foreword Reviews’s Book of the Year Award. She is a Fellow with the International League of Conservation Writers. She is partner at Hiraeth Press as well as Founder and Editorin-Chief of The Wayfarer and founder of Homebound Publications. A graduate of the University of London, she is currently working to complete a B.A. at Harvard University’s Extension School.

Adin Buchanan is an activist, educator, and student at Hampshire College. When he isn’t at school, he is based in central Vermont. He encountered the Work That Reconnects in a brief but life changing workshop several years ago and has been pursuing it ever since. On a good day, you’ll find him climbing trees, swimming in streams, writing bad poetry and cracking worse jokes.

Kelly Coles grew up and lives in the hills of the Georgia Piedmont, exploring the diversity of the deciduous forests and roaming up into the mountains of the Blue Ridge. She spends her time bird-watching and identifying plants. Going on walks with her cat, Savio, and the excitement her dog exudes are medicines for her. Kelly has an M.A. in Humanistic & Transpersonal Psychology, where she found the seed of her life’s connecting force in Ecopsychology. She hopes to someday have a food forest and native flower garden that can become a center for nature education and activism for all regardless of income and for WTR workshops.

Janaia Donaldson is host and producer of “Peak Moment TV: Locally Reliant Living for Challenging Times,” a biweekly online video series started in 2006. Except when traveling in their mobile studio home to record programs, she and her videographer partner Robin live off-grid in the Sierra Nevada foothills on 120 forested acres which they have protected with conservation easements. In other lives, Janaia has been a Layerist painter, a graphic designer, co-founder and teacher in the University of California Extension graphic design program, and a user interface designer at Xerox.

Lynn Fitz-Hugh is a lifelong activist, a mother, a therapist and a Quaker. She founded 350 Seattle in 2013 and has been doing climate work since 2007. She has been a Work That Reconnects facilitator since 2010 and helped to start and co-facilitates the Seattle Great Turners practice group.

Rebekah Hart was fortunate to discover the Work that Reconnects 14 years ago at the young age of 20. She has studied with Joanna whenever she can, and facilitated the Work that Reconnects ever since! As an activist, poet and drama therapist, she offers workshops and mentorship in the Work That Reconnects, primarily in Montreal. She has facilitated workshops in Ontario, the US and abroad. Her deep passion in this work is seeding and building communities of practice and care using WTR to support social movements to thrive. Her master’s thesis focused on integrating WTR and drama therapy in a 10-week program for activists on self-care.

Megan Hollingsworth, MS, is writer and creative director at ex·tinc·tion wit·ness, a collaborative art project with primary focus on personal and planetary peacemaking. She lives in Bozeman, Montana, with her son. See and continued on next page


Hope Horton, DMA, MS, has a background in music, writing, counseling and sound healing, creating and teaching workshops, and organizational management and facilitation. She collaborated with a small group of people to bring Joanna Macy to North Carolina for eleven days in June of 2012. This deep engagement motivated Hope to participate in founding Hart’s Mill Ecovillage and Farm, an intentional community in formation near Hillsborough, NC ( She serves on the board of Timberlake Earth Sanctuary and the advisory council for Pickards Mountain EcoInstitute (, organizations dedicated to healing the human-earth relationship with a focus on young people.

Emily Johns was out trying to ‘help clean up’ the marshlands since she was a solitary 6 year old. She loved being outdoors, then and still does. She taught elementary school for 35 years and especially loved the 4th graders! Learning about the potential for a Silent Spring in 1962, she floundered for years, looking for a way to help cope with the huge changes we’d need to make. Finally finding the Work That Reconnects in 2007, launched her travels on the healing roads she’d needed. The Spiral framework also helped her to learn how to thrive in today’s precious and challenging world.

Trebbe Johnson is the founder and director of Radical Joy for Hard Times, a non-profit organization devoted to finding and making beauty in wounded places. She is the author of “The World Is a Waiting Lover: Desire and the Quest for the Beloved” and the forthcoming “Aphrodite at the Landfill”, and her articles on people’s relationship to nature have been published widely. A lifelong adventurer in inner and outer worlds, Trebbe has camped alone in the Arctic; studied classical Indian dance; worked as a model, village street sweeper, and award-winning multimedia producer; and led contemplative journeys in a clearcut forest and the Sahara Desert. She lives with her husband in rural northeastern Pennsylvania.


Cheryl Leutjen draws from her experiences as a geologist, attorney, spiritual practitioner, wife and mother to inspire, ground and inform her creative nonfiction writing. She writes about her own experiences navigating the crises of our times to help support others along the path. She holds degrees in interdisciplinary ecology, urban environmental geology, and law, and a Priestess certification from the Institute of Modern Wisdom. Her deep love of Earth, as well as her hope for a bright future for her two children, fuels her passion for exploring the environmental and social challenges of our time in ways that are grounded in science and infused with spirit. Rebecca Lindner is currently employed as a flatbed truck driver. Her position allows her to travel the US and meet new people every day. She graduated from the University of Georgia with a degree in Environmental Chemistry and a minor in Spanish. She is passionate about volunteer work involving environmental and social justice and is always open to new experiences. Roles she has played include a volunteer at a therapeutic horse ranch, camp counselor at a Jewish overnight camp, student and puppet master in Ecuador, IT equipment coordinator for an facility, and whitewater river guide.

Paul Lipke has been honored to learn the Work That Reconnects and the art of strategic questioning from Joanna Macy, Fran Peavey, and many Interhelpers. Lately he’s thinking about the intersection of the Work and the work of Stephen Jenkinson, Die Wise, and of Zhiwa Woodbury, Planetary Hospice. Paul has taught, facilitated, and led projects on sustainability for over 25 years: the last decade focused on energy efficiency, renewable energy, climate adaptation and green building in hospitals in Massachusetts and nationwide. He works with the global NGO Health Care Without Harm, www.noharm. org/Boston and the Boston Green Ribbon Commission

Karina Lutz is a writer, editor, and college and yoga teacher. A lifelong activist, she helped secure passage of sustainable energy legislation, thwart a proposed megaport, and restore wetlands in her home watershed of Narragansett Bay, RI. Her poems have been published by Tulane Review, Blueline, Written River, The Wayfarer, Poecology, Buddhist Poetry Review, The Transnational, Twisted Vine, and PDXX Collective. She has performed her epic peace poem, “Encircling Earth,” at dozens of venues in New England. With her partner, Jim Tull, she facilitates Work That Reconnects and other workshops. They are currently launching an intentional eco-community, Listening Tree Cooperative: www.

Gaian Teacher, Joanna Macy, is a scholar of Buddhism, general systems theory, and deep ecology. A respected voice in the movements for peace, justice, and ecology, she interweaves her scholarship with five decades of activism. As the root teacher of the Work That Reconnects, she has created a groundbreaking theoretical framework for personal and social change, as well as a powerful workshop methodology for its application. Her wide-ranging work addresses psychological and spiritual issues of the nuclear age, the cultivation of ecological awareness, and the fruitful resonance between Buddhist thought and contemporary science, explored through her books, audio-visual resources, and teachings on the Great Turning.

Daniel Abreu Mejía, MA of the Dominican Republic, is the United Nations Climate Change Learning Partnership Focal Point for the Region of Central America and the Dominican Republic, a negotiator under the UNFCCC process and member of UNESCO Global Action Programme on Education for Sustainable Development. He has worked for the UNDP Human Development Office, as a Coordinator of Participation of Adolescents and Youth for UNICEF, and the Dominican Federation of Municipalities. He serves on the Advisory Board on Risk Management of

the Ministry of Education of the Dominican Republic, and as a consultant on risk management and climate change adaptation for various UN agencies. Daniel holds certificates in Development Studies and Climate Change from the Institute of Social Studies of the University of Rotterdam, and in Public Policy from the University of Barcelona. He has researched climate change, democratic participation and risk management for several international organizations. danielabre@

Emily Ryan, MSc, is an educator and facilitator with nearly twentyfive years of experience with place-based, context-specific curriculum that focuses on diversity and innovation in our relationship to Earth. Her reflective and imaginative approach celebrates living in wholehearted balance with our natural world. Emily first experienced the Work That Reconnects in 1992 during her freshman year in college; it has played a central role in her life and work ever since. Emily sits on the boards of Radical Joy for Hard Times and the Manitou Project. Raised in rural Vermont, after fifteen years of living and working in San Francisco, CA, Emily now makes her home on both coasts.

Lotan Sapir is a mime, dancer and performer investigating identity, borders, diversity and being human. She writes poetry and performs mime pieces telling stories through her body. Lotan creates performances in which the audience actively participates in the stories they witness. She uses integrative and creative transformational processes for social and ecological change. Lotan facilitates the Work That Reconnects as well as movement Journeys that heal the connection of human and nature. She is currently developing “the Human Theatre,” in Israel and Palestine, to support humans in finding their voice through creativity, and creating intimate spaces through immersive theatre.

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Lisa Siegel is a passionate environmental educator, community activist, and mother of two sons. She has been lucky to have experienced Deep Ecology/The Work That Reconnects first hand with John Seed and Joanna Macy, and has been a student of Insight Buddhism for the past five years. Lisa is a founding member of the Centre for Ecological Learning (CEL), located in the lush Bellingen Valley in NSW Australia. The WTR has been the foundation for her work with young people in a local environmental youth group, as well as adult workshops and retreats that she has facilitated over the years through CEL (www.cel.

Rebecca Selove has worked as a clinical psychologist in community settings and private practice for several decades. Currently she is a public health researcher focused on cancer-related disparities. The foundation for her love of Earth was established during her childhood on her family’s dairy farm in West Virginia. She was blessed to be surrounded by animals, flowers, clouds, creeks and mountains on a daily basis. She read her first Joanna Macy book in the mid-80’s and has been facilitating WTR-inspired workshops since the early 90’s. She lives and gardens on a certified organic farm in Tennessee.

Carolyn Wilbur Treadway is a psychotherapist, family therapist, pastoral counselor, and social worker, now retired after 55 years of facilitating change and growth in people’s lives. She continues her personal life/ sustainability coaching practice, GraceFull Life Coaching, by phone or Skype. She “speaks for Earth” however she can—as a climate leader (trained by Al Gore and the Climate Reality Project since 2007), anti-nuclear activist, program presenter, writer, and photographer. Since the mid-1980s she has been part of the Work That Reconnects. With her husband Roy, she lives in Lacey, Washington. Their three children and four young grandchildren constantly fuel her motivation to preserve our precious Earth. Contact her at


Jim Tull facilitates workshops on community building, cultural transformation, systems thinking, deep ecology, and Work that Reconnects retreats. He teaches Philosophy, Community Service and Global Studies at the Community College of RI, Providence College, and Rhode Island’s state prison. In 2015, Jim and a small group of friends founded Listening Tree Cooperative, a permaculture homestead community ( Jim served as the co-director of Amos House, a homeless shelter and soup kitchen on Providence’s south side. He is the author of many essays, a collection of which will be published in the fall. Jim is father to Sofia (b. 1991) and Nelson (b.1994).

Sarah Vekasi, M.Div., lives and works in Black Mountain, NC in the mountains of Appalachia as an Eco-Chaplain with the Eco-Chaplaincy Initiative, and a potter with Sarah Sunshine Pottery. She can be reached at sarahsunshine@riseup. net, or online via

Gratitude Gratitude is an integral element in the Work That Reconnects, and Gratitude is indeed what we feel for the generous monetary contributions that people have made to the Network–as donations or paid facilitator listings–since the first issue of this Journal was published in March. These funds will be well used in helping us develop the Work That Reconnects Network via further website upgrades, the ongoing publishing of this Journal, and the building of the network via gatherings, stronger communication platforms, and a membership directory. The following individuals agreed to have their names published, and be publicly thanked, in the hopes of inspiring others out there to donate as well. (Other generous souls remain anonymous, because we didn’t receive permission to list their names.) A sister organization, Interhelp, is providing fiscal sponsorship so all donations are tax deductible.

painting by Allan Rosales

Heartfelt thanks to..... Claire Box

Elizabeth Remmes

Sonia de la Rosa

Don Sanderslon

Great Turning Wisconsin

Ana Simeon

Laura Hirsh

Corinna Stevenson

Barbara Hundshammer

Mairi Stones

Deborah Luscomb

Kaia Svien

Margaret A. Lynch

James Webber

Brian McCormack

Natalie Zend

Joan McVilly Jen Myzel


“If the world is to be healed through human efforts, I am convinced it will be by ordinary people, people whose love for this life is even greater than their fear.� ~ Joanna Macy

Sacred Spiral, 30x40, watercolor by Helen Klebesadel, Thank you, Helen, for the use of Sacred Spiral in both the first issue and current issue of Deep Times: A Journal of the Work That Reconnects.

Deep Times: A Journal of the Work That Reconnects is published three times a year by the Work That Reconnects Network, which offers inspiration, communication, mutual support, and education to people all over the world in their work for the Great Turning. More information about the Network and the Journal appears inside, on pp. 2-3 and 44-45, and on our web site: Deep Times is offered free as a PDF at Print copies are available for $15 plus shipping; please order on the web site. Information about how to subscribe to future print copies of the Journal may be found there, too. For bulk orders of 5 or more print copies, send an email to Please support our Work That Reconnects Network and Deep Times Journal financially and with your creative energy. Donations are gratefully accepted on the web site.