By Molly Brown
Welcome to the August 2019 issue of Deep Times.
Dear darkening ground,
you’ve endured so patiently the walls we’ve built,
perhaps you’ll give the cities one more hour
and grant the churches and cloisters two.
And those that labor—let their work
grip them another five hours, or seven,
before you become forest again, and water, and widening wilderness
in that hour of inconceivable terror
when you take back your name
from all things.
Just give me a little more time!
I want to love the things
as no one has thought to love them,
until they’re real and ripe and worthy of you.
~Rainer Maria Rilke, Rilke’s Book of Hours, I 61, Trans. Anita Barrows and Joanna Macy, Riverhead Books, 1996.
As I learn more each day about how the climate crisis is already impacting our world, its ecosystems and species and human communities, I think of this poem’s plea: “Please give us a little more time to love the things!” We in the Industrial Growth Society are finally awakening to the mortal damage our economic system has been wreaking upon our precious planetary home, only to discover it may be too late to save any or all of what we love. What a perilous and terrifying time is upon us!
The Work That Reconnects offers people a powerful way to explore together the thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and assumptions that are surfacing in the face of impending collapse of our social and economic systems and the sixth great extinction (including the possibility of human extinction). The Work That Reconnects can help us touch into our deep gratitude for the life we’ve been gifted on this planet, as well as the deep grief, rage, and fear we experience now as we open our hearts and minds to how threatened it is. It can help us see with new eyes–and reconnect with ancient ways of seeing our world and ourselves–so that we can perceive more clearly our paths of action and response. And the Work That Reconnects can help us find the courage and determination to act on behalf of life, even when we have little or no hope of long term “success.”
This issue of Deep Times explores the theme of “Living into the Great Unraveling,” as well as how the Work That Reconnects can better serve our communities through this time. We begin as always with Gratitude, with a tribute to our root teacher, Joanna Macy, by Rebecca Hart, followed by a poem by Looby Macnamara on “Reconnecting”–through gratitude and pain.
Honoring Our Pain for the World is especially meaningful as we grapple with the Great Unraveling all around us. Dahr Jamail and Barbara Cecil offer their explorations of the haunting question on so many hearts and minds: “as the climate collapses, how then shall we live?” Sarah Ryan continues that exploration with her poem, “The Monster in My Room.” In “Deep Adaptation: from the end of ‘normal’ to solidarity,” Silvia Di Blasio shares her own process in facing the extremity of the Great Unraveling and the support she is finding in the Deep Adaptation movement (following Joanna Macy’s recommendation.) Carolyn Treadway recounts an experiment with Open Sentences addressing collapse and the four “R’s” of Deep Adaptation, in “Thinking the Unthinkable, Encountering the Unbearable.”
Seeing with New/Ancient Eyes begins with a “Check-in from Joanna Macy” in which she shares her current perspectives on the the Great Unraveling and the Great Turning. Laura Grace Weldon reminds us of the true nature of power in her poem, “Clarion Reminder.” In “Building Community As a Response To Climate Chaos,” Carmen Rumbaut explores the relationship between climate chaos and oppression/exploitation, and how we can create ecological and non-oppressive community structures. Looby Macnamara’s poem, “Cultural Emergence” supports and furthers this theme.
The Going Forth section offers two poems rousing us to action, “Galvanize” by Toni Spencer and “What Matters Now” by Minx Boron. Aravinda Ananda reports on the developing “bioregional gatherings” of the Work That Reconnects community planned for the latter part of 2019, as facilitators and other friends of the Work come together around the world to face the Great Unraveling and explore how the Work That Reconnects can be of service in their regions. And Jo Bauen tells of her work bringing the Work That Reconnects to the San Francisco City Jail, including a Council of All Beings (which Joanna Macy attended).
This issue includes a number of really great Resources related to our theme. Sean Kelly offers an abstract of his 35 page essay “Living in End Times: Beyond Hope and Despair,” with a link to the full pdf, which I highly recommend reading. Martha O’Hehir reviews the website resilience.org and an article by Winona LaDuke in the Uncertain Future Forum. Karina Lutz picks up a theme of a previous issue–the “forever karma” of nuclear weapons and energy–in reviewing the book, Raised in the Shadow of the Bomb: Children of the Manhattan Project, by D. Leah Steinberg. Barbara Ford reflects on the value of “Radical Gratitude” in these challenging times, with a link to her recently released introductory video.
I want to end with a link to Clarissa Pinkola Estes’s beloved essay, “We were made for these times.” Indeed we are here now to face these interrelated and complex crises together; we really have no other viable choice. Clarissa’s words remind us of our capacities to step up and act from love on behalf of Life.
We plan to publish our next issue in February 2020 and welcome articles and poems on any theme. Please check the Submission Guidelines if you want to offer articles, essays, poems, images, or other material. Send submissions, proposals and queries to [email protected] by December 15, 2019.
This commentary is the first of a series in TruthOut: “How, Then, Shall We Live?: Finding Our Way Amidst Global Collapse.” It is about the moonlight leaking between the roof planks of this ruined house.
A response to Jem Bendell's “Deep Adaptation: A Map for Navigating Climate Tragedy.”
A report on an Open Sentence practice that explores one's responses to impending collapse
Root teacher Joanna shares her thoughts and perspectives on the the Great Unraveling and the Great Turning as she perceives them now.
Climate chaos is a result of historical oppression and exploitation, yet it presents an opportunity to create a social community structure based on ecological, anti-oppressive ways.
Regional gatherings across the world to activate our immune response in the face of climate chaos and the collapse of living systems as well as ongoing racism and oppression in all its forms.
Jo describes her work bringing the Work That Reconnects to the San Francisco City Jail.
Abstract of a 35 page essay "for those who, consciously or unconsciously, have already abandoned all hope that we will be able to prevent civilizational collapse and halt the accelerating Great Unraveling."
Subtitle:Children of the Manhattan Project
Barbara reflects on the value of "Radical Gratitude" even in these challenging times, with a link to her recently released introductory video.
Deep Times: A Journal of The Work That Reconnects
Vol. #4 Issue #2 – August 2019
Editor: Molly Brown
Editorial Team: Aravinda Ananda, Karina Lutz (poetry editor), Martha O’Hehir, Carmen Rumbaut, Rebecca Selove, Carolyn Treadway and Silvia Di Blasio
Webmasters: Silvia Di Blasio
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.