Welcome to the May 2017 issue,
by Editor Molly Brown
Spring has come again to the Northern Hemisphere. The grass is turning the hills vibrant green and the wildflowers are showing off their beautiful selves. The urge arises to garden and plant new life. At the same time, spring may also open us up to deep grief for what is happening in the USA and across the planet. It is heartbreaking to see how humans in the Industrial Growth Society continue to mistreat one another and the natural world, even while Mother Earth generously offers us such bounty and loveliness.
Systemic greed and hunger for power are pushing us to the edge or perhaps beyond the edge of extinction as we face climate disruption, persistent racism, oppression, militarism, and political insanity. In these perilous times we need to reconnect to ourselves, to each other, and to the Earth. Allowing ourselves to feel and express our grief keeps our hearts open, and our love for life can help us move towards the more beautiful world we know is possible.
To help us reconnect to one another, and the truth of our interbeing within the web of life, this issue of Deep Times moves around the spiral of the Work That Reconnects, brings news from the Network around the world, and features articles from white folks who are working to liberate themselves and their communities from the colonial white supremacy mindset. [Read more of Welcome to the May 2017 Issue]
While reading Braiding Sweetgrass, I found myself newly in relationship with five backyard chickens. The chickens have been a powerful doorway into reciprocal relationship for me, a pathway back to starting the day with gratitude, a daily call to presence.
After checking out Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer from our local library, I bought my own copy to read for the second time. This time through, I found this passage on wild strawberries and wanted to riff on what Kimmerer says about them.
trans. by Anita Barrows and Joanna Macy
Our modern culture does not teach us how to deal with pain. Instead, it teaches us to be cheerful, uncomplaining, and optimistic all the time. At first, I did the same thing with the pain around the Fukushima Daiichi disaster. This time, however, something happened that changed me completely. What you are reading here is the story of that change, a story from my heart.
Welcome to Rocky Flats, a picturesque expanse of open range with a stunning mountain view of Colorado’s Front Range, located just sixteen miles northwest of downtown Denver. This beautiful and blustery spot has a dark and dangerous past that has forever marred it. The 5,800-acre Rocky Flats area and 20,000 adjacent acres are contaminated with one of the most deadly materials humans have ever created — radioactive plutonium-239.
A response to the question: in light of the alienating behaviors advocated by the industrial system and the psycho-emotional responses that reinforce our anthropocentric confusion, where can we find the energy to free ourselves and connect with genuine alternative sources of planetary wealth and well being?
Readers may be interested in hearing from John Seed, the father of the Australian Deep Ecology movement since 1979. Has anything shifted in the nearly 40 years that he has been involved in the Deep Ecology movement? It turns out that, on one hand, “the more things change, the more they stay the same….”, but on the other hand, there may be more impetus now then there has ever been for a radical shift in consciousness.
“There is no use trying,” said Alice, “one can’t believe impossible things.” “I dare say you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen. “When I was your age, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.” ~Lewis Carroll 
The Rights of Nature are beginning to be legally recognized in Aotearoa (New Zealand), thanks to the Indigenous Māori people's long struggle with the government.
My journey to Ghost Ranch began with the Work That Reconnects having already weaved a strong cord through many of my recent experiences. I had a hunch that healing would occur, but found my heart and mind blown by the time I departed.
Deep Ecology teaches us that we are connected to all life on Earth. As we deepen in our awareness and appreciation of our brother/sister species, we expand our sense of belonging and our deep love for the world. This is a story of being gifted with a message of inspiration when most needed, helping the storyteller to see with new eyes.
I went to Standing Rock over Thanksgiving week, 2016. I traveled in a caravan of RVs and cars from the East Bay in California. There were 24 of us ranging in age from under one year old to over 75. We were kids, parents, grandparents, and singles. We were Native, African, Latino, white, and multi-racial Americans, all drawn together in our desire to be of service to the Indigenous People’s movement to protect the water and stop DAPL,
On the evening of December 28th, 2016, an overflow crowd that exceeded expectations gathered in a church sanctuary to begin a new chapter in the history of Communities Rising! (www.communitiesrisingus.org). This is the talk I gave.
In January 2017, Joanna Macy led a retreat at Ghost Ranch in northern New Mexico. Ten participants in that retreat, who live in the Pacific Northwest, met two months afterwards. Here they share their reflections on their experience, inspiration, and learnings for going forth at this watershed moment in human and planetary history.
When Marjetica Potrč and I were asked to collaborate on a project for Parco Arte Vivente (PAV) in Turin, Italy, we proposed to develop new resilient connections around the experimental art center. This process-oriented study of urban ecology employed permaculture and deep ecology to re-imagine the existing community, one which has experienced upheaval, isolation and depression.
How can this historical threshold serve as a leverage point for the Great Turning in Colombia? What role can the Work that Reconnects play in fostering reconciliation and empowerment among Colombians? How to embrace in our vision and road for peace an integration of our Ecological Self? These have been some of our key questions on our path.
This poem was written near the end of a week-long retreat on ‘Grief and Longing’ that took place in the Canyon of the Ancients in Colorado in 2012. How could I be an activist, a family man and a contemplative at the same time?
To live up to its promise of reconnecting us with each other and the Earth, the Work that Reconnects must center the voices of people of color and the systemic and historical realities of white supremacy, capitalism and colonization. We must recognize that the Great Unraveling and Business as Usual have been going on for a very long time.
A few weeks after the election, my yoga teacher and owner of a studio in Georgia, approached me and said, “Beth, I have to do something. People are crying in class. I am having a hard time getting through classes myself. What can we offer these people who are in so much pain?” We scheduled a workshop for the first Saturday in December and named it after the book, "Active Hope: How to Face the Mess We're in without Going Crazy."
When the online course White Awake was offered to Work That Reconnects facilitators, I eagerly enrolled. Now, halfway through the course I find myself challenged to think not only about how I facilitate the Work That Reconnects, but how I live my life.
One of the primary purposes of the Work That Reconnects is to help us turn toward each other rather than against each other as we navigate these times of great danger and opportunity we often call the Great Turning, and singing together is one very effective tool in the Work That Reconnects toolbox.
Review by Carolyn Treadway
Even the title of Jim Tull's small book, "Positive Thinking in a Dark Age," is a welcome invitation to move beyond catastrophic thinking into “seeing with new eyes.” Goodness knows we need to find the opportunities within these dark times to claim and act upon!
Review by Emily Ryan
This slim book is both a how-to manual and deep dive guide into the philosophy of Radical Joy for Hard Times and its signature practice, the Global Earth Exchange.
A list of resources to help Americans, especially those with settler ancestry, educate themselves about this tragic legacy of our nation’s history that lives on today.
As the national/international Work That Reconnects Network continues to evolve, we offer this look back at the formation and evolution of the “original” Work That Reconnects Network, Interhelp.
If you’ve been with me in the Work That Reconnects, chances are that you danced the Elm Dance, and heard me tell how it connects our work to a band of valiant Russians protecting life in the poisoned shadow of Chernobyl. I write now to ask for your support of this brave nongovernmental organization.
Plans for two parallel Facilitator Development Programs in 2017-18, one in Oakland for People of Color, the other online open to all aspiring facilitators.
Deep Times: A Journal of The Work That Reconnects
Vol. #1 Issue #4 – May 2017
Editor: Molly Young Brown
Editorial Team: Aravinda Ananda, Karina Lutz (poetry editor), Randy Morris, Rebecca Selove, Lisa Siegel, Carolyn Treadway.
Webmaster: Werner Brandt
Deep Times is published online twice 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.
Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-ShareAlike 4.0.