Poem: The Answer is Always Yes

by A.M. Davis

`                             I am neither the hummingbird nor the honey bee.

Forget the obvious pretty      forget the product        forget the thing you love

to love

I am the fly                 that you would die without

`                                            that thing

that everything dies without        that thing that was       born to be in love with       moving

DNA plant stuff          that thing that everything needs to cook up life and carry on

so flowering plants can carry you on                  as you think I am a lesser version

of a butterfly you write poems about            after you put on your white gloves

and go into your backyard                and pick your purely bred

roses, red            to put on your                dining room table.

The answer to the question “Can people really be that stupid?” is always


I read, and I laughed       without real amusement at the end of earth as we’ve know it

so much muchness      in the name of stupid      and crop yields      the answer is always yes

`                                           to make a culture/system/structure

replace five thousand                                                 indigenous cultures                           yes

so why not       replace ten thousand        species of plants

with one guy      with a comb-over       and a gene spicing kit

so that      we can insert their stead      one species

of plant that someone said       should be sweeter than candy      last a year on a shelf

taste good as heroin        as it gives us diabetes      and cancer

but we can fix that          declare a war on stuff               we’re great that way

the answer is still always yes     to wish a hearty goodbye     to ten thousand generations

of stewards of Turtle Island     with godless wild notions     that every inch of the planet

is alive with wild love for us     kill off the notion that     to love to truly love enough

is to pronounce the word “sacred”               and then make this earth truly so

just                         like                      that

and then       let’s act like        we like the idea        so much we

want to be them       without really being them        after we have gotten quite weary of

our notions of whiteness       we’ll call them noble        or cool

once they are gone from earth      or imprisoned       or no longer in our neighborhood

let’s scramble      to make it all better      because       all of a sudden

`                                     the whole world smells funny

and the noon sky isn’t really supposed to       look like that

newborn babies aren’t supposed to      make us cry       when we look at them

but we do look away       when they are misshapen       infected from our viruses

The answer

`                                                                    is always                           yes.

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ann-marie-davisA. M. Davis was born and raised in Oakland, California. She is storyteller/poet, a speaker on behalf of the Earth. In 2007, she walked away from her job to devote her life to her creativity. Upon attending a silent meditation retreat, she found space of time in her racing mind, and discovered that she was not her thoughts. This led to daily meditation, retreats, and becoming part of the East Bay Meditation Center community. She recently discovered the Joanna Macy’s work, and the trajectory of her life finally made sense.

You can find more of her work at annmariedavis.com.

Poem: Evening primrose

by Karina Lutz



A biennial,
the evening primrose lives
its first year as
a basal whorl,
close to the ground, hiding
under the taller summer weeds.
Wintering over, it waits for warmth,
then sends up tall stalks that bloom and bloom and
set more and more seedpods along its lengthening stems.

This weed opens its flower at dusk,
shines for the moon, and closes at dawn.
It bears seeds in upright,
open-topped pods,
easily shaken into the palm.

That year, 2002, I prayed for healing
every morning: with low-lidded gaze through the window
towards the garden, I bowed to my flowers with the sun.
Seeing the world as we knew it
begin to collapse slowly, like
the first moments of the twin towers’
melting floor by floor,
I resolved to rely
more on spirit than substance,
and tried to wean
myself from the medications
a decaying civilization is unlikely
to continue to provide.

One medicine stubbornly held on to me:
evening primrose oil.
Whenever I stopped taking the capsules,
my illness would return.

I kept praying: may I be healthy, may you be healthy,
may all beings know peace

That summer evening primrose appeared in my garden,
somehow overlooked while weeding the fall before.
Sweet yellow flowers slowly folded closed
as the sun rose.
Where I, too, bowed
to the rising sun each morning,
the evening primrose had sown itself

seasons before I had begun to pray.

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karinaKarina Lutz is a workshop leader, teacher, and sustainable energy activist. She helped found and run People’s Power & Light, a sustainable energy nonprofit. She has been instrumental in passage of environmental legislation in Rhode Island, thwarting a proposed megaport in Narragansett Bay, and rewilding wetlands along the Blackstone River. 

Poem: Destiny

by Megan Hollingsworth

And the life was dwelling
Nowhere and everywhere
And the feeling was being
Alone and crowded
And the motion was moving
Fast to be stopped
Short of a destination
Beginning again slowly
To get somewhere
Other than here
Until arriving there,
The still point of which everything arises
And for which everything gives way
Where one weeps
while watching a fly eat
from the spoon.

What is learned in school
Are but names, isolated facts and figures
That only books recall.
What is retained of that learning
Is but how to dispense ketchup from a bottle
And a sense that more is missing.
Until the breath is lost,
So that what it means to breathe is found.

Then realized in a mind is the privilege
That a fly would see fit
To share the spoon,
An elephant would trust enough
To invite his grief,
And a sequoia would endow
The origin story.

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Click on the “Print Friendly” button at the top of the page to view a pdf of this poem in its original format.


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 meganhollingsworth.com and extinctionwitness.org.

Resources on Decolonizing and Racial Justice

Editor’s note:  We are using the term “Decolonization” to mean the pursuit of liberation, reclaiming mind and heart from the legacy of colonialism, i.e. personal, interpersonal, and institutional domination over people and the natural world. This process demands that we acknowledge historic and ongoing traumas from colonization, genocide, white supremacy, and systemic racism.  It requires actions accountable to People of Color by creating and securing structural changes that insure equity and right relationship.

Suggestions and notations from members of the Conscious Elders Network Social Justice team: Lynne Isler (LI), Ronni Joy (RJ), Kate Gilbert (KG), Grady McGonagill (GM), Pat Hoertdoerfer (PH).  Also from Aravinda Ananda (AA) and Jim Brown (JB).

Amazing and deep first person story about understanding white wounding and how it contributes to white supremacy. (BG)

White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Backpack — by Peggy McIntosh. This article clarifies what white privilege is about at the simplest level it is brief, and very to the point.  (LI)

Why It is So hard to Talk to White People About racism,
Suggested by friend who does training on Whites Confronting Racism  (LI)

4 Ways to Push Back Against Your Privilege — Mia McKenzie
A bit “in your face” but may be of interest    (LI)

Addressing Shame as White Racial Justice Advocate — Hackman Group
A very interesting article about white shame.  (LI)

On Racism and White Privilege — Teaching Tolerance  (LI)

The Cloak I Was Offering Them Was Identification with My Whiteness–by Kate Riffle Roper

History in the Making at Standing Rock — by Paul Levy. This essay sums up some indisputable truths about our world and the archetypal forces that are threatening its beauty and integrity, as exemplified by the indigenous Water Protectors at Standing Rock and the militarized response from the government and the corporation constructing the Dakota Access Pipeline. (JB)

How to Support Standing Rock and Confront What It Means to Live on Stolen Land – by Berkley Carnine and Liza Minno Bloom, Waging Nonviolence.
As support for those at Standing Rock grows, it is important that allies also confront the fundamental questions of what it means to live on stolen land and how to transform colonial relations in a way that creates a viable and just future for all communities and the planet. (TruthOut)

The United States has still not acknowledged it committed genocide against indigenous-peoples – by Mark Karlin.
Historians Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz and Dina Gilio-Whitaker discuss how genocide is integral to the structure of settler colonialism, which seeks to replace Indigenous peoples with settlers. Those who settled the US intentionally killed and displaced Native communities en masse. (TruthOut)

East Bay Meditation Center.  http://www.eastbaymeditation.org/  Talks and writings by many teachers on diversity.  Conversation link:
http://secularbuddhism.org/2015/04/26/episode-222-mushim-ikeda-and-brenda-salgado-creating-diverse-sanghas/ (KG)

16 Books about Race that Every White Person Should Read  (GM)

An Indigenous People’s History of the United States by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz. This is an account of United States history that tells the history of this country with respect to indigenous peoples. It is a very different account than offered in typical public school history classes. It should be required reading for all US citizens, as it tells the truth of how settler colonialism played out with violence, theft, lies and genocide of first nations. This history has not ended. Disrespect of native peoples continues in present time, as have US wars of aggression followed a similar pattern. (AA)

‘All the Real Indians Died Off’ And 20 Other Myths About Native Americans by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz and Dina Gilio-Whitaker. In this enlightening book, scholars and activists Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz and Dina Gilio-Whitaker unpack the 21 most common misconceptions about Native Americans. From the myth that “Thanksgiving Proves the Indians Welcomed Pilgrims” to the lie that “Indian Casinos Make Them All Rich,” this book challenges us to rethink the history we’ve been taught. (TruthOut)

The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander.  A powerful analysis of USA History, in particular how the old Jim Crow racism, which came under fire and suffered defeats at the hands of  the Civil Rights and Black Liberation struggles in the 50s and 60s, has morphed and risen again in recent decades. Alexander describes Jim Crow arising in new ways that have devastated communities of color, particularly the criminalization of African Americans and mass incarceration of People of Color.  She writes of the need for a revolution in consciousness as primary in healing the wounds of racism. This book shook my world and helped me to see with new eyes.   A discussion guide is available from UUA. (KG)

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates. With this book, Coates writes a moving letter to his 15-year old African American son and is so generous as to share it with the rest of us. With this book, he paints a picture of his life as a black man and reveals in detail the pain of being black in America by describing the pain black bodies feel, the fear African American parents feel for their children, and by giving a personal connection to  police killings with the recounting of the murder of a black college friend by police. With literary grace, he reveals the Dream of this country that has kept it entrapped in white supremacy. (AA)

A Case for Reparations by Ta-Nehisi Coates is an essay on how property and home ownership have been an arena of privilege and oppression throughout the history of the country. I never knew that the GI Bill used by my parents to buy a house after WWII was denied to African Americans and People of Color who served in the war. This history provides background for the present gentrification and displacement of people in the US.   The book helped me look with new eyes at global displacement, and aspects of the global crises of refugees and migration.  (KG)

What Does It Mean to Be White by Robin DiAngelo
This is the clearest, most compassionate and practically helpful writing I’ve found on what it means to be white in the US.  Institutionalized racism, white privilege, and massive social conditioning that denies racism exists all make it difficult for white people to see what is actually happening.  I found this book helpful in dealing constructively with feelings of guilt and shame that can arise when those of us who are white begin to awaken and see with new eyes the reality of our society and our place in it. It is written from the perspective of strengthening people to become active agents of change in consciousness and in the outer world.  (KG)

The Way of Tenderness by Zenju Earthlyn Manuel  
Z. E. Manuel  is a Zen Buddhist priest who is African American and  identifies as lesbian bisexual. I keep coming back to this book as one that brings spirit, our particular embodiment in terms of race and gender, and social consciousness and action together in a way I’ve never found elsewhere. Manuel teaches from her own life experience how our particular embodiment–how we come into this life, our race, class, gender, sexuality, whether we are able of body and mind or abled differently–constitutes the particular fire that we must walk through, our path. It is not an identity to be transcended as a hinderance on the way to enlightenment or liberation; rather it is our own precious doorway of experience to greater awareness.   It is a doorway that may put us on the receiving end of sometimes deadly discrimination and oppression in one or many ways. At the same time, our embodiment may privilege us in other ways.  Our embodiment gives us particular jobs to do and gifts to bring toward the liberation of all humanity.  She teaches that we are nature.  We come from the same source and we all are a beautiful multiplicity in the Oneness that already and always exists.   (KG)

Radical Dharma: Talking Race, Love, and Liberation by Rev. angel Kyodo Williams and Lama Rod Owens, with contributions from Jasmine Syedullah, PhD. (North Atlantic Books, 2016)  This extraordinary jewel of a book explores the authors’ journey – three queer POC dharma teachers and practitioners – in inviting the American Buddhist community to explore how racism and other forms of oppression are showing up within their community, and to transform that.  The authors’ self-proclaimed intent with Radical Dharma was to “ignite a much-needed conversation about the legacy of racial and structural injustice, both in self-identified dharma communities and in the United States, to move its people, together, toward healing and liberation.” (AA)  See Aravinda’s reflections on this book here.

The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration, by Isabel Wilkerson.   This highly researched book tells of the exodus that would lead about six million African-Americans to abandon the states of the Old Confederacy between 1915 and 1970 to escape the horrors of Jim Crow laws and lynchings after Reconstruction.  Based on more than a thousand interviews, written in broad imaginative strokes, the book is  a narrative epic rigorous enough to impress all but the crankiest of scholars, yet  immensely readable.  Wilkerson follows the journey of three Southern blacks, each representing a different decade of the Great Migration as well as a different destination. This allows her to highlight two issues often overlooked: first, that the exodus was a continuous phenomenon spanning six decades of American life; second, that it consisted of not one, but rather three geographical streams, the patterns determined by the train routes available to those bold enough to leave.  (from a New York Times review)

Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific  Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants by Robin Wall Kimmerer (Milkweed Editions, 2013).  As a botanist, Robin Wall Kimmerer asks questions of nature with the tools of science. As a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, she embraces indigenous teachings that consider plants and animals to be our oldest teachers. Kimmerer brings these two lenses of knowledge together to show that the awakening of a wider ecological consciousness requires the acknowledgment and celebration of our reciprocal relationship with the rest of the living world. (From book cover)

 Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson (2014, Spiegel & Grau, an imprint of Random House) . Stevenson, founder of the Equal Justice Initiative, has dedicated his legal career to defending those who are trapped by an often capricious, political, and willfully unjust criminal justice system – poor people, people of color, children, and others over whom the system has run roughshod. It speaks to justice, mercy, and compassion, themes of concern to us as elders, members of CEN and as human beings.  A discussion guide (PDF, 20 pages) is available from UUA with plans for one session or three sessions, with optional slides to accompany the discussion guide.  (PH)

In Behind the Kitchen Door (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2013), author Saru Jayaraman reveals how restaurant workers live on some of the lowest wages in America and how poor working conditions—discriminatory labor practices, exploitation, and unsanitary kitchens—affect the meals that arrive at our restaurant tables. The author, who launched a national restaurant workers organization after 9/11, tells the stories of ten restaurant workers in cities across the United States as she explores the political, economic, and moral implications of eating out: What’s at stake when we choose a restaurant is not only our own health or “foodie” experience but also the health and well-being of the second largest private sector workforce—10 million people, many immigrants, many people of color, who bring passion, tenacity, and insight into the American dining experience. A discussion guide is available from UUA.  (PH)

Decolonization: Indigeneity, Education, and Society
Website: decolonization.org
Article: Decolonization is not a Metaphor by Eve Tuck, K. Wayne Yang http://decolonization.org/index.php/des/article/view/18630 Vol 1. Number 1 (2012)

Abstract: Our goal in this article is to remind readers what is unsettling about decolonization. Decolonization brings about the repatriation of Indigenous land and life; it is not a metaphor for other things we want to do to improve our societies and schools. The easy adoption of decolonizing discourse by educational advocacy and scholarship, evidenced by the increasing number of calls to “decolonize our schools,” or use “decolonizing methods,” or, “decolonize student thinking”, turns decolonization into a metaphor. As important as their goals may be, social justice, critical methodologies, or approaches that decenter settler perspectives have objectives that may be incommensurable with decolonization. Because settler colonialism is built upon an entangled triad structure of settler-native-slave, the decolonial desires of white, non-white, immigrant, postcolonial, and oppressed people, can similarly be entangled in resettlement, reoccupation, and reinhabitation that actually further settler colonialism. The metaphorization of decolonization makes possible a set of evasions, or “settler moves to innocence”, that problematically attempt to reconcile settler guilt and complicity, and rescue settler futurity. In this article, we analyze multiple settler moves towards innocence in order to forward “an ethic of incommensurability” that recognizes what is distinct and what is sovereign for project(s) of decolonization in relation to human and civil rights based social justice projects. We also point to unsettling themes within transnational/Third World decolonizations, abolition, and critical space-place pedagogies, which challenge the coalescence of social justice endeavors, making room for more meaningful potential alliances.

New Album by Lydia Violet: Already Free

Excerpt from album review by Jeremy Capdevielle, SociallyCreative.org

lydia-violetIn her new album, “Already Free,” Lydia Violet moves her listener through what it means to wake up to life and touch the depths and pain of current, yet ancient, stories. We learn, through a sensual and lyrical roadmap of the soul, how to rise and rise together to meet the beauty and power of the moment. The song “Keep Her Safe” begins with Joanna Macy reading a poem by Rainer Marie Rilke from Rilke’s Book of Hours, which she translated with Anita Barrows.

As a man, the call strikes deep. From a wellspring of passion, care, and historic shame, I am tasked to ask, where is my place in “keeping her safe?” And, how do my brothers and I need to support one another to more fully touch and inspire life?

With her expression, sentiment, and unique story-telling capacity, Lydia walks with us through grief, joy, celebration, praise, hope, and into a humble awareness of the gift of this precious life.

lydia_already-free-cover_When I listen to Lydia’s songs I grow a deeper understanding of what it is to be truly alive. “Already Free” can be listened as a guide, not toward, but, of liberation. Amidst the challenges of our times, listeners who touch the tides of Lydia’s evocative stories and moving instrumentals will understand — that in finding power within what is, we are Already Free.

Album is available on iTunes, Spotify, and Lydia’s website www.lydiafiddle.com
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/LydiaFiddle/
Soundcloud album page: https://soundcloud.com/lydia-violet-831692724/sets/already-free
Youtube for “Black As Night” video: https://youtu.be/13T4nEzRh6E

Mission of the 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 Institute.org.

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 Weavers: Aravinda Ananda, Werner Brandt, Molly Brown, Emily Ryan, and Constance Washburn.  Three of these people constitute a quorum.  Currently, this Team is meeting online every two weeks.

Other Weavers 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 Weavers have access to that site.  In the future, we may post minutes of our meetings on the workthatreconnects.org website, available only to Network facilitator members.  If you want to be involved in the Weavers group, please use our Contact Form.

Opportunities To Get Involved

We are looking for folks to volunteer time and skills to help grow the Network. Please be in touch if you can help in these areas:

  • Network Weaving core team

  • Network engagement – involving folks in the activity of the Network

  • Database/MailChimp management

  • Website administration and development

  • Editorial team for Deep Times journal

  • Graphic design and layout for Deep Times journal
  • Scholarship fund development (policies, procedures, and funding)

  • Grant-writing to support the website, journal, scholarship fund, and other Network endeavors

  • Organizing and Creating/facilitating webinars for facilitators and friends of the Work That Reconnects.

  • Anything else you think needs doing!

Active Hope in Europe

Deep Ecology Network Meeting in the Ecovillage “Sieben Linden“ in Germany

by Gabi Bott

Last July, eighteen people from the German deep ecology network met in my community, Sieben Linden (www.siebenlinden.de), in the North of Germany.

While we had initially planned to hold a two-day German-speaking meeting followed by one in English over four days, we unfortunately had to cancel the English event due to the low number of registrations. The reason for this was not lack of interest, as one might imagine, but lack of money.  Many concerned people in Eastern European countries are unable to afford the ticket to Germany.

Knowing that people in many countries are deeply interested in further experiencing deep ecology work and learning the skills to give introductory workshops, we invited all interested people we knew from countries such as Hungary, Latvia, Greece, Poland, Portugal, Spain, France, Belgium, and England.

Our dream is to set up a “Train the Trainers“ course for all these people from different European countries. However, this requires funding in order to allow for the participation of everybody interested, especially for young activists with little money. So one of the results of the German-speaking meeting was a commitment to research funding opportunities and then to plan and schedule another European network meeting.

As far as the German meeting is concerned, both days were facilitated by an open space process where everybody was invited to bring in his or her topics of interest. Many groups met in parallel to discuss their interests and exchange views before presenting the essence of their conversations to the plenary. This way we could engage many topics in a relatively short time.

Some topics we discussed and shared include: Nuclear Guardianship, European Network, Train the Trainers, Money seen from a deep ecology perspective, Dance the Spiral.

Weaving Our Network of Active Hope

A central question at our meeting was how we could continue to weave our network of Deep Ecology or Active Hope.  One thing became clear: for our internal and external consolidation we need a hierarchy-free network where we can learn from and support each other. In Germany there are already established regional networks and groups of people who have undergone the Holon Training, a year-long training in deep ecology taught by Gunter Hamburger and myself. (See “The German Holon Training” in the Spring issue of Deep Times, page 35.) These groups hold regular meetings that, in our view, could be further strengthened and deepened. Since Joanna Macy will not be coming to Europe any more, our Deep Ecology network is particularly important for the continuation and development of the Work That Reconnects.

In addition to these established groups, there are connections to the Transition Town network as well as to the de-growth and permaculture movements. Here good communication and transparency are key for establishing a strong network. Our intention is to increase the feeling of “one community connected in one spirit.”

We have agreed to schedule two network meetings at fixed times every year: always on the second weekend of March and November. As an exception, the coming meeting will take place on the second weekend of April 2017 (Thursday to Sunday). Whoever attends will make up the group that will shape our further work. The outcomes of the meeting will be recorded in writing and circulated via our email list so that everybody is informed, regardless of whether or not they were able to attend.

If you would like to get in contact with us, please do so via our website www.tiefenoekologie.de or www.holoninstitut.de or by email to [email protected]

On these websites you can also find various offerings on such topics as “Acting out of your heart” (workshop), “Train the Trainers” Program, Coaching, Supervision, Open Space Process – in addition to the Holon Training.  The current year-long Holon Training in Deep Ecology will end in March and the new one will start in October 2017 (in German).  We invite you to join us!

May all beings be well, may all beings be happy!!

gabi-bottGabi Bott
I live in the ecovillage “Sieben Linden” in the North of Germany (www.siebenlinden.de), a community of around 140 people that is a deep ecology project for me.  I discovered Deep Ecology in 1997. In the year 1998/99, I took a training in WTR in Germany. In 2000, I worked with Joanna Macy in America. Now I offer workshops in WTR and holon-trainings and also workshops in community building. In addition, I work as a yoga teacher and practice Buddhist meditation. www.tiefenoekologie.de

De-colonizing the Work that Reconnects – workshop

A Workshop for White Facilitators of the Work
facilitated by Aryeh Shell
and Joshua Gorman

Friday evening, Feb 24 through Sunday midday, Feb 26, 2017 
Canticle Farm, 1968 36th Avenue, Oakland CA 

In service to the Great Turning and the construction of an equitable and inclusive society – something we need more than ever in the wake of the recent US presidential election – we will work to uncover the blind spots of white privilege and identity that can inhibit our capacity for true solidarity and systemic change.  How do we act with integrity, awareness, humility and accountability in our journey to dismantle the internalized and systemic nature of white supremacy?

We will both critique and utilize the Work that Reconnects as we  unpack whiteness and deepen our commitment to anti-racist action and allyship in our country and world at this historical moment. Join us!

Cost: $200 plus donations for food and venue.

To enable this workshop to happen, a small team of volunteers is needed to take care of logistics.   Tasks include:

  • handling registration,
  • arranging for a venue,
  • coordinating places to stay for out-of-towners,
  • coordinating meal planning and preparation, and
  • workshop supplies, set-up, and clean-up.

Please use this Google Form to respond, so we can assess the level of interest and volunteer support.  Doing so will assure you a place in the workshop.

Aryeh Shell has studied with Joanna and facilitated the Work that Reconnects since 2001 with communities throughout the US, Latin America and Africa. She is the Education and Training Director with Creative Action Institute and has taught anti-racism, arts activism and creative leadership trainings for the last two decades in schools, communities and social change organizations. With MA’s in Education and International Relations, she also brings deep knowledge of somatic practices, mindfulness and an integral approach to human development and transformation.  

Joshua Gorman is a writer, speaker, community builder, and a leading voice championing the paradigm-shifting role of the Millennial Generation. He is the founder of Generation Waking Up, an organization that ignites young people to bring forth a thriving, just, and sustainable world.  He is a founding member of Youth Passageways, a network of individuals and organizations working in the fields of youth and community development, contemporary rites of passage, intergenerational collaboration, and cultural renewal.  Joshua is a co-founder of Thrive East Bay, a purpose-driven community bringing people together at the intersections of science, spirituality, and social change.  He is currently completing a book titled Generation Waking Up: The Rise of Global Millennials and A Thriving New World.

Watch for further announcements about this workshop on the workthatreconnects.org website.

Proposed Facilitator Development Program

By Constance Washburn and Molly Brown

We have been working on a plan for a one-year development program for those who wish to become facilitators or enhance their skills as facilitators in the Work That Reconnects.  We hope to offer it as a pilot project in 2017 on the West Coast, as one of several pathways available for deepening theoretical understanding and facilitation skills in the Work That Reconnects.   We are working with other experienced facilitators to make similar programs available elsewhere.

Interest Survey

Here is a link to an interest survey for anyone who might want to participate in this program.  Your responses will help us finalize the design of the program to meet your needs–and get things going soon.  Please respond by December 15, 2016.

At this time of planetary destruction, systemic racism, and political and economic chaos, people are looking for community and ways to return to their spiritual roots. They also want to find their particular gifts and how they can contribute to the Great Turning. The Work That Reconnects is a transformational body of work which includes both theories and practices which enable us to reconnect us to our own true nature, the web of life and to community while inspiring us to act on behalf of life. This program will give facilitators the support needed to make the transformational journey themselves and to assist others on the path to coming back to life.

One’s ability to guide others through the Work That Reconnects is enhanced by one’s own personal work, knowledge of and engagement in social and ecological challenges, decolonizing one’s worldview, as well as one’s skills as a facilitator. This course will weave all these dimensions together.

We want to meet the needs of people who want to facilitate the Work but don’t yet feel confident to do so, as well as people already facilitating the Work who want a “graduate level” program to develop their competencies.  We have based the plan on the Facilitator Competency Framework developed by Joanna Macy, Chris Johnstone, Molly Brown, and Constance Washburn.

Our text books for this course are Coming Back to Life and Active Hope. We will be working deeply with the theories and practices contained in these books as well as exploring additional texts and hands-on experiences. Those participating in the program will also be expected to do their own inner work as well as participate in group work between training sessions.

Perhaps most importantly, this program will help build a widening community of facilitators who support each other to do the Work through sharing resources and experiences, as well as helping each other face the difficult times ahead with open hearts and open minds.

“The time for the lone wolf is over.  Gather yourselves!  Banish the word struggle from your attitude and your vocabulary.  All that we do now must be done in a sacred manner and in celebration.  We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.”  Hopi Elder



At least one 4 – 10 day retreat with WTR facilitator; reading Coming Back to Life and Active Hope.


A one year program with 3 retreats of 4-5 days on the West Coast. We will follow the Spiral of the Work each retreat, with opportunities to both experience and lead practices, with group reflection and feedback. The first retreat will focus on Gratitude and Honoring Our Pain for the World; the second will focus on Seeing with New Eyes and Deep Time; the third will focus on Going Forth.

Facilitators/Trainers:  Molly Brown, Constance Washburn, and other guest instructors.

Homework between retreats may include:
– Monthly study group meetings to share responses to relevant study guide questions on chapters covered so far and chapters for next session.
– Participation in local or online anti-oppression workshops or study groups.
– Reports to group on self care, spiritual practice, time in nature, deepening understanding, and offering the Work.
– Planning and facilitating WTR workshop (evening, short series, or half-day).
– Sharing plans for workshop with study group, and debrief afterwards.
– Engaging in an activity in each dimension of the Great Turning. Sharing learnings and challenges with your group.
– Compiling poems, songs, art activities, theatre games, new practices.
– Required readings and videos for the upcoming retreat
– Possible webinars

Retreat Daily Schedule to include:
-WTR theory and practices; workshop design and facilitation. Study guide discussions. One major exercise, with group debrief; principles of facilitating a safe, inclusive, mutually respectful group.
-Practice sessions to provide the opportunity for every participant to lead a practice (with a partner) during each retreat.
-Living the Great Turning, World View. Discussions of challenging situations; guided meditations; group process; confronting and exploring current social justice and environmental crises. Students may deliver short talks on WTR topic.

Retreat One: Spring or Summer 2017 – Gratitude and Honoring Our Pain – 4-5 nights
Retreat Two: Fall 2017 – Seeing with New Eyes & Deep Time – 4 nights
Retreat Three: Spring 2018  – Going Forth – 4 nights

Another possible schedule: one 14-day intensive with online follow-up for a year, including study groups, consultations with teachers, suggested readings and videos, etc.

Interest Survey

Here is a link to an interest survey for anyone who might want to participate in this program.  Your responses will help us finalize the design of the program to meet your needs–and get things going soon.  Please respond by December 15, 2016.

Ecovillage Launch in SF Bay Area

How many times have you wished you could be living near those who have been transformed as you have by Joanna Macy’s teachings? Imagine waking up and walking into a community kitchen for your morning cup of tea and finding your peeps! This wish is gaining traction to become a reality in the San Francisco Bay Area. To learn more please visit http://communityincubator.net/wtr-ecovillage .

Christian Stalberg and Fred Klammt