News from the Work That Reconnects Network

by Frieda Nixdorf and Jo delAmor, Staff Weavers

The Work That Reconnects Network is delighted to announce a new volunteer member of our Weavers team and the Deep Times journal team: Carmen Rumbaut.

Here’s a bit of her story:

Carmen Rumbaut

I entered WTR via my friends in Buddhism in 2017 while living in the Seattle area [Washington State, USA], and quickly began to facilitate gatherings (both live and online); attend the beginnings of the Anti-Oppression Resource Group; and serve as a member of the editing team for Deep Times journal. My background before that was in climate change activism. I was trained through Al Gore’s Climate Reality Leadership, but became aware back when Jimmy Carter was president [1977-81]. I was a child immigrant, am a retired social worker and attorney, and am bilingual Spanish/English. What brings me joy: meditating, studying mystics, painting, drawing, writing songs, playing guitar, singing in a Unitarian Universalist choir, publishing poetry and stories, visiting my granddaughters and emailing my five siblings. 

Paula Hendrik and friends

Also this month, Paula Hendrick is retiring after five years as a volunteer Weaver. We have valued Paula’s steady presence and thoughtful contributions to the development of the Network. We will miss her on the Weavers team but we are excited that she’ll continue to offer her skills as a member of our Communications Committee.

And, speaking of volunteers, 17 people have recently stepped up to serve on our Gaian Gathering committee, joining our administrative staff and core volunteer members. The enthusiasm, energy, and skills of this globally diverse team are awesome!

Save the Date for the Gaian Gathering!

The Gaian Gathering will be a dynamic and inspiring five day online global gathering held from November 1st through November 5th, 2023. It will be an opportunity for our global WTR community to learn, experience and engage together, as well as a chance to celebrate the Work That Reconnects and Joanna Macy as she approaches her 95th birthday. 

This global summit will be a combination of online events and guided gatherings of local communities around the world. Beyond the typical online summit experience, this gathering will include inspiring and educational content, opportunities to practice WTR together, training for community members to up-level their skills and facilitated conversations for collaborative learning.

Our Gaian Gathering coordinator, Shala Massey, has been doing an excellent job guiding the process and collaborating with our team of dedicated volunteers and Network staff to put all the pieces together. As we work behind the scenes to connect with speakers and WTR Facilitators, dream up inspiring and creative ways to connect with each other and see the plan start coming together, we can hardly wait to share it with you all. 

Stay tuned for the updates and information we’ll be sharing with you over the next couple of months as we come closer to this special event!


Book Review: Strands of Infinity by Looby Macnamara

Book review by Karina Lutz

Recording by Karina Lutz

Strands of Infinity: Poetry to Reconnect
by Looby Macnamara
2016: Greyhound Self-Publishing, Malvern, UK 

Readers of this journal will recognize some poems in British permaculturist Looby Macnamara’s collection of poetry, Strands of Infinity: Poetry to Reconnect, as we have published a few here. The slim but powerful volume is a response to and useful for the experience of the Work That Reconnects. I recommend it to anyone who wants to freshen their workshop habits with new poems to enhance your workshop participants’ experience of any of the four stages of the Spiral.

The first few poems explore the poetic or creative urge, but soon the poet’s awe of the experience and how poetry helps her connect to the flow of life gives way to more classic themes of Gratitude, including a sweet poem written by the author’s 8-year-old daughter, which starts, “Thank you Earth for everything.” Then it’s clear the book is structured around the Spiral.

Her poems for Honoring Our Pain for the World are often raw expressions of the pain of patriarchy. Others link all kinds of social ills and injustice and ecological crises, as she sees them all as coming from “the system/that promotes disconnection.” The poem “What colour is my rage?” would be a great debriefing prompt for Honoring; in it she describes fearing her feelings, and from that “skating on the numb surface…plunging” into them, where she finds “Instead of the unbearable depths of grief expected and rage that explodes through my body and throat/I find the connection with a deeper channel” and “This current of grace has swept away my rage and grief/leaving a dynamic peace, /and transformed the ice into/a crisp layer of power, resolve, and trust.”

Poems on the theme of Seeing Anew with Ancient Eyes inspire like seeing that “power, resolve, and trust” in the faces and actions of our comrades, colleagues, collaborators, and kinfolk in the work she calls “cultural emergence.” Poems in the Going Forth sequence, like the one called “Cultural Emergence,” ring like anthems of social change. 

This is a treasure trove for facilitators of the Work.

What’s Cooking in the Network

by the Network Staff

Many things are happening behind the scenes at the Work That Reconnects Network that we love sharing with the wider Network community:

We are embracing a Workers Self-Directed Nonprofit structure:

It is all about living the Great Turning. While we have been working on an inclusive and quite organic environment for years, we recently discovered that, as a Network, we would like to be more proactive and openly engage ourselves in what is known as a Workers Self-Directed Nonprofit (WSDN).

Some of the WSDN practices we use are:

  • We make decisions together and ensure all the voices are heard
  • We’ve created a structure where most work and decisions are made within smaller “circles” or “committees”, which include representation from staff, weavers and volunteers
  • We choose to share responsibilities and accountability with each other as opposed to being accountable to a “boss”
  • Rather than hierarchical structures, we have adopted a sociocratic decision-making approach

There are many other aspects of being a WSDN, you are welcome to learn more here.

We are also embarking on a shared learning journey called: Collaborate to Co-liberate:

Through a 12-month journey facilitated by the Nonprofit Democracy Network we will be exploring, among other topics:

  • Movement lineages, and consider themes including mutuality, reciprocity, Black queer feminism, and decolonization/anti-colonialism  
  • Facilitation tools that center on building strong, trusting, open and accountable relationships
  • Tools for equitable and democratic conflict engagement and transformation.
  • Leadership development, supervision, and personal growth
  • Decision-making structures and processes
  • Democratically distribute labor and responsibility within your organization
  • And much more!

In our most recent session, we explored a number of approaches to decision-making and how organizations are currently overcompensating for previous models of  non-inclusive ways of making decisions. Asking the questions of which voices need to be heard and what information to collect, whether our desire to have a say reflects our level of commitment and the tension of decisions under urgency or boundaries of budget, time and other factors. The reality is that those for whom many decisions are made are disproportionately under-represented in the process while usually being the most impacted. We learned that transparency with the public we serve helps to build trust and inclusion, even when most members may not have the time, energy or desire to be part of the decision-making. 

Learn more about the Nonprofit Democracy Network here.

We are working on the creation of a new, engaging and more functional website that will be:

  • Globally oriented
  • Accessible
  • Co-created by staff, weavers, volunteers and members of the Network
  • Filled with WTR resources for newcomers, emerging facilitators, and experienced facilitators
  • An expression of the breadth and depth of the WTR, with images of people offering the Work around the world

We are in our third year of running our most successful initiative

The Webinars & Conversation Cafe program has recently hosted many amazing speakers and presenters to share topics including: Postactivism, Transraciality and Decononiality, Principles and Practices of Deep Transformation, Regenerative Livelihoods for the Great Turning, Men in the Work That Reconnects and much more. We are excited to explore and share much more coming in the next weeks and months:

  • Ecological Civilization: Humanity’s Transformational Alternative
  • Conducting Effective WTR Rituals and Ceremonies
  • Love, Rage, Rebel: Climate Activism and the Great Turning
  • Liberation for All: Bringing Tenderness to Conversations of Power and Privilege

Learn more, watch past recordings, and register here.

We’ve also recently started offering Conversation Cafés every other month to provide opportunities for meaningful and engaging discussions on topics that emerge from our recent webinars or directly from the community. Hosted by WTR Network Staff and facilitated as council-style discussions, these unique gatherings allow us to connect with each other more deeply while entering into edgier conversations and exploring actionable ideas that can contribute to our personal and/or professional lives as WTR facilitators, emerging facilitators and/or participants. 

The main content of each Conversation Café will continue to be generated by the participants as we learn from and with each other. In order to create a more interactive and intimate environment, Conversation Cafés are not recorded. 

With the intention to delve directly into discussion of the selected topic, we may provide material to review ahead of time.

We are engaging our full team of weavers, staff and volunteers in inspiring ways: 

Our team of volunteers has been growing beautifully over this past year and each of us is busy with the work of our committee projects, working closely with our fellow committee members. To strengthen our connections across committees and support the extended team we’ve created opportunities for the full team to connect with each other on a regular basis beyond the busy-ness of our projects. The entire WTR Network team gathers six times a year, alternating between Council sessions and Full Spiral WTR experiences. 

Using the principles of the Council Way, councils are centered in inquiries that help people get to know each other and assure that each person is heard. The councils are facilitated by members on a rotating basis.

With a desire to engage in the Work That Reconnects on a regular basis and deepen our connection with each other as a team, we host three Full Spiral WTR experiences per year for our entire team (weavers, staff and volunteers)

The team actively working to support the WTR Network is now 28 people strong:

  • 3 paid staff from two different countries
  • 5 weavers from three different countries
  • 20 volunteers from seven different countries

While most of our staff, weavers and volunteers are WTR facilitators, some are not, but all share the love and dedication to this Work.

To learn more about current weavers and staff see here. To learn more about our volunteers and committees, check here. If you’d like to join us please apply to volunteer on one of our committees.


New Edition of Active Hope by Joanna Macy & Chris Johnstone

In June 2022, Joanna Macy and Chris Johnstone released a 10th anniversary revised edition of their well-loved book, Active Hope.  This new edition features many updates from the first edition, including a new subtitle: How to Face the Mess We’re in with Unexpected Resilience and Power.

Isn’t “unexpected” a wonderful word? It brings to mind the concept of “emergent properties,” from systems science. Something new and unexpected arises as the components of a system interact. Co-authors Joanna Macy and Chris Johnstone offer a straightforward brew of concepts, exercises and imagery to stir the pot of our psyches, so we can face the mess we are indeed in, and rediscover our resilience and creativity. Active Hope is a recommended guide for book groups, circles of practice, as well as individual study.

A beautiful visual (page 42), offers a simple and inspiring example of a journey through the spiral using “open sentences” or “sentence starters.” This can be experienced in pairs, as a group, and could be a great entry point for those new to the work.

You can find the introduction and first two chapters, including this practice, here.

The main thing that’s different from the first edition published a decade ago is the context  the book address – our world conditions have become significantly more scary and  depressing. The book has been updated and improved, drawing in new insights and  practices that help us play our part in responding to this. The paragraphs below, from the  introduction, describe the task the book sets out to serve. 

So this is where we begin: by acknowledging that our times confront us with realities that  are painful to face, difficult to take in, and confusing to live with. Don’t be surprised if you  find yourself feeling anxious, defeated, or in despair.  

There’s something else we’d like to bring in alongside this difficult starting point. It is a  recognition that when we’re at our most exasperated, we can sometimes surprise  ourselves. We might discover strengths we never knew we had or experience degrees of  aliveness we’d not even suspected were available to us. This is a time to reach out and find  new allies, as well as to discard forms of thinking and behavior that have led us astray. In a  process known as adversity activated development, our very act of facing the mess we’re in  can help us discover a more enlivening sense of what our lives are about, what we’re here  to do, and what we’re truly capable of.  

Do you hope this will happen for you? Or that you might play a role in helping this happen  for others? If so, we invite you to join us in our journey. Together we will explore how we  can access unexpected resilience and creative power, not just to face the mess we’re in, but  also to play our part in doing something about it.  

The authors describe some of the key changes in the book that build on this starting point:

  1. The dedication at the start of the book – previously this was ‘This book is dedicated  to the flourishing of life on this rare and precious earth’. We’ve now added ‘and to  the role each of us can play in responding to our planetary emergency’. 
  2. In the first edition, the collapse of our civilisation was viewed as a risk for the future  that might be preventable if we acted in time. With such significant worsening of  planetary conditions over the last decade, the new edition begins with a recognition  that a collapse process is already underway. 
  3. A central theme the book explores is how we can engage in  a collective transition referred to as ‘the Great Turning’. The new edition brings a  shift in emphasis in the way we think about the Great Turning, from outcome to  process and from ‘will it happen?’ to ‘What helps this happen?”. Looking at how this  larger story can happen through us in any moment brings a focus on three types of  turning – turning up with an intention to play our part, turning away from that  which causes harm and turning towards a way of doing and thinking and being that  supports the flourishing of life.
  4. The first chapter describes the mismatch between the scale of the problems we face  and that of our collective response, looking at factors that block engaged responses,  and also those that promote enlivened ones. 
  5. Decolonization is identified as a key element in the shift in consciousness integral to  the Great Turning
  6. The second chapter brings a new practice that offers a way for two people to go  round the spiral of the Work That Reconnects in a half hour conversation. 
  7. In Chapter Five, we’ve added a new section on applying inspiration from the  Shambhala Warrior Prophecy in our lives. 
  8. Addressing the toxic polarisation tearing apart communities, we look at what helps  us stand together rather than turn against each other. 
  9. In Chapter Ten, we address the need to recalibrate our hopes, so that we can let go  of those no longer supportable, or that lead us in the wrong direction. Drawing on  insights from Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, we look at how to both be  grounded in reality while also maintaining a sense of visionary possibility.
  10. In Chapter Twelve, a new section draws on health psychology research in looking at  how to nourish and strengthen our motivation to act for positive change. 
  11. The last chapter draws threads of the book together in building towards a climax  that identifies resilience as a powerful and creative force of nature that can happen  through us in unexpected ways. It identifies three ways we can open to active hope, with a  framework of three Acts of Opening.
  12. The resources section at the end of the book has been updated, with links to a free  video-based online course in Active Hope at, and  other resources that can support the activation of hope in and through our lives. 

Most of all, the book invites people to engage in a strengthening and transformative  journey designed to nourish and build our capacity and commitment to play our part  in the Great Turning. Each chapter has been revised to better support this journey  from the context we face now. 

For more information, please see

Eyes Wide Open to the Injustices, Challenges and the Possibilities – The Passing of Three Greats

by Silvia Di Blasio

It is probable that the next Buddha will not take the form of an individual. The next Buddha may take the form of a community, a community practicing understanding and loving-kindness, a community practicing mindful living.”
~ Thich Nhat Hanh

The sea is made of drops of water.
~ Desmond Tutu

“Dominator culture has tried to keep us all afraid, to make us choose safety instead of risk, sameness instead of diversity. Moving through that fear, finding out what connects us, reveling in our differences; this is the process that brings us closer, that gives us a world of shared values, of meaningful community.”
~ bell hooks

We start 2022 with gratitude for all that is: as root teacher Joanna Macy has said, just being alive on this Earth is enough to celebrate.

We have, however, experienced three recent important losses: social activist and author bell hooks, human rights activist Desmond Tutu, and master precursor of the concept of engaged spirituality Thich Nhat Hanh.

Each of them left us with eyes wide open to the injustices and challenges as well as the possibilities. And their passings open the doors for new leaders and actions based on the inspiration they sowed.

Looking at the legacy of these three great human beings, it is time for us to honour the deeper roots and repercussions of the work we do: beyond the Spiral and the Work That Reconnects practices, we may ask: “How do different cultures and peoples of the world express gratitude, honour their pain, see with new and ancient eyes and support each other to go forth? Aren’t these practices what create resilience for peoples who have been historically suppressed, silenced, oppressed or left out of the conversation and big decision-making?”

Thay (as many lovingly called Thich Nhat Hanh) once said that there is actually no birth and no death, another way to see the concept (also created by him) of inter-being. How would this affect the work we do, the way we see the future, and our own role in all?

The invitation this time is to allow ourselves to observe around us and open our senses to what our immediate environments may teach us about the appropriateness of the Work That Reconnects practices. How can we enrich and expand our work as Work That Reconnects facilitators and practitioners to honour the deeper roots that have been carried by all the peoples and traditions of the world?

Remembering bell hooks and her enormous legacy:

Desmond Tutu in his own words: ‘He loved, he laughed, he cried’:

No Birth No Death | Thich Nhat Hanh:


Silvia Di Blasio works supporting various organizations and projects including the Work That Reconnects Network, the Capra CourseGaia Education and the Facilitators Development program. In her spare time, Silvia tutors permaculture design students for the Women’s Permaculture Guild, gardens, cooks for her family or enjoys reading her collection of books about almost anything and everything. Silvia’s role in the DTJ includes receiving, organizing and posting the submissions and organizing the website.

The Birthing Room

The Birthing Room by Jane Sherry

by Jane Sherry

Artist’s statement

The fires in California and parts of western North America last year, as well as the burning of the Amazon to make way for more meat consumption, were all stirring within as I created The Birthing Room, which envisions a forest nursery where we can be as children again; a place for Life to ripen. 

The forest is my respite from patriarchy and polarization; but with the ecological devastation all around, the forest also does not deny the realities of degradation nor the deep sorrow at what is taking place. And yet, it can revivify our spirits; even the burned forests will regenerate with new life.

 I have always believed that the messy work of looking within and allowing space for pain while finding the Sacred in Beauty is a part of life which must be honored. Perhaps this is why The Birthing Room is a dark forest – a night forest, where the shadows and intimations of new life abound, if only we have the eyes to see it; to see her, our earth, our Mother.


Jane Sherry has been making mixed media visual art, incorporating language into her visual works for over 50 years as well as a keeper of dreams, a writer and performer of poetry and prose. She has had a limited edition artist book published by Steve Clay of Granary Books in NYC called Venus Unbound. It resides in many university artist book collections as well as the NY Public Library and the Getty Museum. Her work is sparked by the “ancient traditions of priestess, shaman, scribe and storyteller” using myth, symbol, etymology and the sacred in her writings and imagery. 

Great As You Are

By Susan Griffin 

Recorded by Karina Lutz

Note: Due to website limitations, poem line breaks will not be right on all screens, particularly narrow ones. To see the poet’s intended version, please click the Print Friendly button. Or try turning your phone or tablet to landscape orientation.

Be like a bear in the forest of yourself.
Even sleeping you are powerful in your breath.
Every hair has life
and standing, as you do, swaying
from one foot to the other
all the forest stands with you.
Each minute sound, one after another,
is distinct in your ear. Here
in the blur of mixed sensations, you can
feel the crisp outline of being, particulate.
Great as you are, huge as you are and
growling like the deepest drum,
the continual vibration that makes music
what it is,
not some light stone skipped on the surface of things,
you travel below
sounding the depths where only the dauntless go.
Be like the bear and
do not forget
how you rounded your
massive shape over the just ripened
berry which burst
in your mouth that moment
how you rolled in
the wet grass, cool and silvery, mingling
with your sensate skin,
how you shut
your eyes and swam far and farther
still, starlight
shaping itself to your body,
starship rocking the grand, slow waves
under the white trees, in the
snowy night.

© 1998 by Susan Griffin. Reprinted with permission of the author from Bending Home: Selected Poems 1967-1998.  Port Townsend, WA, Copper Canyon Press.


Susan Griffin has written over twenty books, including non-fiction, poetry and plays. Her book, A Chorus of Stones: The Private Life of War, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and a New York Times Notable book. Woman and Nature, considered a classic of environmental writing, is credited for inspiring the eco-feminist movement. She and her work have been given many awards, among them a Guggenheim Foundation Award, an Emmy, and the Fred Cody Award for Life Time Achievement by Northern California Book Awards. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. Susan’s new book will be published in January 2023.

The Work That Reconnects Network Visions for 2022-23

by the Work That Reconnects Network Weavers Team

The Weavers’ team for the Work That Reconnects Network created these vision statements to guide us in the coming year. They are written in present tense because that’s a best practice for visioning and setting intentions. Some of these intentions have already come to be; others have yet to bear fruit, but we hold them all in our hearts and minds as we continue our work together as weavers in the Network. 

International Diversity

The Work That Reconnects Network is an international resource that provides support and inspiration for and collaborates with WTR facilitators from all areas of the world. 

We are strongly committed to deepening communication and collaboration among people of different backgrounds and cultures. With a deep bow to the sacredness of each person and the life paths we each walk, we make time to invest in the hard conversations, growth and learning that support our shared work together, which is informed and strengthened by these differences. 

Our core team of Weavers includes representatives from many regions of the international Work That Reconnects community with a diversity of race, country, language, culture, gender, age, and ability. 

As an organization devoted to dismantling oppression, we dedicate a portion of our revenue and programing to uplifting historically marginalized members of the WTR worldwide community. 

Quality of Core Team

Our diverse core team of 9-13 members prioritizes skillful collaboration and is dedicated to continual team and leadership development. 

We engage in our shared work with enthusiasm, creativity and joy. We hold our work in a sacred manner and support it with Work That Reconnects practice, ceremony and reverence for mystery, guided by Gaia. We prioritize personal wellness and self-care for all of our team members and honor the humanity, dignity and personal needs of each person on the team.

When the time is right, we will gather together in person to connect with each other, hug, share food and swim together in a beautiful body of water.

Organizational Maturity

In 2022, the Work That Reconnects Network continues to grow into a new level of organizational maturity, as we welcome new core team members, create an Advisory Council and expand our organizational structure to include more dynamic involvement, feedback and collaboration with a wider spectrum of the global Work That Reconnects community. We are evolving an effective governance model which provides clear pathways for input and decision making from our global community. 

This new structure is articulated in a beautifully diagramed organizational map that is, in itself, a piece of art. It is clear, inspiring and orients us deeply to our shared mission. This visual representation of our organization is presented clearly on our website along with clear explanations and navigable calls to action. 

The result of this work is more clarity in how we are perceived in the world, a greater sense of inclusion and involvement within the Work That Reconnects global community and a greater ability to reach out to and attract those who can truly benefit from this Work. 

Community Engagement / Network Weaving

The Network provides an engaging and supportive network for all of our Facilitator Members, uplifting their work and facilitating connections for them within the Work That Reconnects community. New facilitators are welcomed with celebration and a warm embrace, invoking the feeling that they’ve stepped over a threshold and have arrived home. 

Most of the WTR facilitators in the world actively participate in Network activities and projects, contribute resources and content, and support the Network financially as they are able.

There are Work That Reconnects Communities of Practice in each area of the world that meet regularly and work on supporting local facilitators. They have a clear path of communication and collaboration with the Core Team of the Network and feel that they are integral parts of the global WTR community. 

The Network facilitates active network weaving to connect facilitators with similar interests or skill sets so they can collaborate. The Network also intentionally weaves WTR into the mainstream business-as-usual world (educational institutions, governments, mental and physical health care institutions and the corporate world) as well as extending further into activist communities and the progressive world.  

The Network begins to establish professional relationships with partner organizations who are serving the Great Turning in various ways. We uplift their work to our Network and seek ways to develop mutual support.

Resources and Support

The Network provides a wide range of resources, support and platforms for connection to WTR facilitators and WTR enthusiasts around the world, based in a highly functional website that is beautiful, easy to use and has room to grow.

The website provides excellent resources for facilitators, including tools and training to support their work, an ever-expanding library of practices and resources, marketing materials and techniques for working with different populations.

The Network hosts a vibrant and engaging interactive forum for facilitators and community members to meet on a regular basis to exchange tools and resources and connect with each other on their own terms. 

The Network-hosted Webinar and Cafe Program is thriving and provides high quality educational content to our community with frequent Facilitator Member events and several high profile fundraiser events per year. 

The Network also hosts a series of ceremonial/ritual events each year that provides a space for our community to come together to grieve, celebrate and commune with the sacred, perhaps moving through the spiral once a year. 

The Network hosts an annual online global multilingual gathering for our Facilitator Members and Communities of Practice with a line up of different speakers, a variety of sessions for different areas of interest/focus and breakouts for geographical areas and for areas of interest.

In 2022, the Network develops a new program that connects qualified Facilitator Members with opportunities to facilitate WTR experiences for our Partner Organizations and their teams. 

Financial Ease and Health

The Work That Reconnects Network is supported by a robust and diversified array of income streams and enjoys a sense of financial abundance and flexibility. What we need to operate and serve the WTR global community flows in easily, with integrity and is given joyfully. 

We are able to expand paid staff hours and provide a stipend for members of the Core Team of Weavers. We are guided by sound and creative budgeting, planning and visualizing that meet the growing needs and desires of the Network. 

We continue to develop relationships with private donors who happily support our work, cultivate relationships with foundations that begin to provide an ongoing portion of our annual budget, increase our membership and community-based monthly donations, develop paid programs that are widely attended and integrate passive income streams through the website.

The Weavers Team: Constance Washburn, Helen Sui, Kathleen Rude, Paula Hendrick and Network Coordinators Silvia Di Blasio, Jo delAmor, and Frieda Nixdorf.  Molly Brown  helped compose these vision statements before her retirement from the team on March 31, 2022.  Weavers’ biographical descriptions and photos here:

Appalachian Elegy (excerpts)

by bell hooks

Recorded by Karina Lutz

Note: Due to website limitations, poem line breaks will not be right on all screens, particularly narrow ones. To see the poet’s intended version, please click the Print Friendly button. Or try turning your phone or tablet to landscape orientation.

snow-covered earth
such silence
still divine presence
echoes immortal migrants
all life sustained
darkness comes
suffering touches us
again and again
there is pain
there in the midst of
such harsh barrenness
a cardinal framed in the glass
red light
calling away despair
eternal promise
everything changes and ends

autumn ending
leaves like
fallen soldiers
manmade hard hearts
fighting battles on this once sacred ground
all killing done now
dirt upon dirt
covers all signs of death
memory tamped down
ways to not remember
the disappeared
dying faces
longing to be seen
one lone warrior lives
comes home to the hills
seeking refuge
seeking a place to surrender
the ground where hope remains
and souls surrender

here and there
across and down
treasure uncovered
remnants of ancient ways
not buried deep enough
excavated they surface
objects that say
some part of me
lived here before
reincarnated ancestors
give me breath
urge me—live again
return to familiar ground
hear our lost people speak


sometimes falling rain
carries memories of betrayal
there in the woods
where she was not meant to be
too young she believes
in her right to be free
in her body
free from harm
believing nature
a wilderness she can enter
be solaced
believing the power
that there be sacred place
that there can be atonement now
she returns with no fear
facing the past
ready to risk
knowing these woods now
hold beauty and danger

© 2012 by Gloria Jean Watkins (bell hooks) Reprinted with permission from Appalachian Elegy: Poetry and Place, University Press of Kentucky


bell hooks (1952-2021) was the author of more than thirty books, including Ain’t I a Woman? Black Women and Feminism, named by Publishers Weekly as one of the twenty most influential women’s books of the last twenty years.

Cultural Emergence

by Looby Macnamara

Recorded by author

Note: Due to website limitations, poem line breaks will not be right on all screens, particularly narrow ones. To see the poet’s intended version, please click the Print Friendly button. Or try turning your phone or tablet to landscape orientation.

This cultural emergency calls for cultural emergence,
A breaking through, a breaking free,
Of cultures of isms and schisms,
Of gun culture, war culture, rape culture, fear culture,
Greed culture, waste culture, chemical culture,
Of corporations controlling our culture,
Polluting our culture.
Peeling back the layers of oil smothering our culture,
Can we connect our roots into the Earth
And reach out to fellow beings and show our care?
Can we cultivate a
Responsibility culture,
Friendship culture,
Kindness culture,
Justice culture,
Safety culture,
Peace culture,
A culture of innovation, resilience and hope?/
Can we name and create the culture we want?
A visionary, regenerative culture?
Can we shift our priorities, phobias, patterns,
Parameters, opinions, assumptions?
Can we bend or bury our beliefs?
Will we?

Will we reflect, connect,
Respect the collective.
Direct our objections
To the system
That promotes disconnection.
Challenge not blame,
Name and reframe,
Shift our perspective to gain a directive
That allows us to be receptive
To the interconnected web
Vibrating with every step.

Disrupt the pattern
To awaken and challenge
And begin to unravel cords of conditioning
To release the story
And create space for visioning,
Allowing the possibility of the seemingly impossible
To motivate and invigorate
The genius inside of us.
Activate and initiate,
Appreciate and celebrate,
Collaborate and participate
To co-create and facilitate
The desire to germinate
And take control of our fate,
Moving away from this state

Of emergency
Into a state of cultural emergence
Where we use emergence to support emergence,
With the divergence and convergence of minds
Creating designs
With the intelligence of co-operating hearts
To give us a start
On this path
Of empowerment.

To bring fulfillment
And deep nourishment
 takes commitment
To trusting the process
And opening to osmosis
Of the mystical and magical
To be alchemical
With the mathematical
For practical and logical
Action and reaction,
To bring connection
And emerge the solutions
For manifestation
Of personal and global transformation.

Note: Cultural Emergence is a project to develop a toolkit, community and movement for positive cultural evolution. The framing of Cultural Emergence was birthed through a collaboration between Looby Macnamara and Jon Young. This poem started the journey. The Cultural Emergence toolkit weaves together cultural awareness, systems thinking, permaculture design and deep nature connection. Looby is a trained Work That Reconnects facilitator and  this work has been woven into the toolkit. In 2020 Looby released her book Cultural Emergence – a toolkit for transforming ourselves and the world. This poem is published here and originally in 2016 in her book Strands of Infinity: Poetry to Reconnect.

Looby Macnamara‘s latest book, Cultural Emergence shares a pioneering toolkit for regeneration and transformation. Looby has been teaching permaculture for nearly 20 years. During this time she has been a pioneer of personal and social permaculture, authoring the first book globally to focus on the peoplecare ethic People & Permaculture. Looby is also author of 7 Ways to Think Differently and Strands of Infinity.  She runs Applewood Permaculture Centre in the UK with her partner Chris Evans. She is also one of the partners of the European Mother Nature project, empowering mothers. Looby has been an active member of the permaculture community, and was a chairperson of the Permaculture Association and is a senior diploma tutor.


For more about Cultural Emergence, Looby’s books, videos, podcasts and courses see