the work that reconnects

The transformation of consciousness and the development of an ecological sensibility lie at the heart of a sustainable future. Drawing on the teachings of deep ecology, systems sciences, and the Dharma, the “Work that Reconnects” comprises tools and practices which offer key insights into how we can work together to support a shift in our hearts and minds, our lives and our society that is truly life-sustaining.

Individual and group exercises, meditation, discussion, and reflection, engage the body, heart, imagination and intellect to explore how we can transform these insights and understandings into a lived reality – from the spiritual to the social, the political to the personal, and the imaginative to the inspirational!
The Work that Reconnects has been developed over several decades by Joanna Macy, John Seed, Molly Young Brown and many others. Drawing upon their inspiring lead it is now being developed and facilitated across many continents by a wide range of facilitators.

The Work that Reconnects includes despair work through which we discover how our pain for the world and each other actually reveals our interconnectedness and can become a source which energises our action on behalf of the world. Joanna Macy suggests that “as a society, we are caught between a sense of impending apocalypse and the fear of acknowledging it. In this 'caught' place our responses are blocked and confused.” She thinks we are leading 'double lives': “On one level we maintain a more or less upbeat capacity to carry on as usual…. and all the while, underneath, there is this inchoate knowledge that our world could go at any moment. Awesome and unprecedented in the history of humanity, it lurks there, with an anguish beyond the naming. Unless we find ways of acknowledging and integrating that level of anguished awareness, we repress it; and with that repression, we are drained of the energy we need for action and clear thinking.”

The work also supports us in opening up to a deeper awareness of time. Liberating ourselves from the alienation of ever shorter attention spans and the need for immediate results, we can weave ourselves into a deep time awareness. From that, we learn to draw on the strengths of the ancestors and keep in heart the future beings who will come after us. This deep time context both strengthens us and helps us to engage wholeheartedly in a process of change in the world that has a long precedent before us and will continue beyond our own individual lifetimes. Similarly, the work offer tools to help us to heal our alienation from the biosphere, the rich community of beings with which we share the planet and our evolutionary heritage. In opening up our ecological consciousness this identification with the community of life also is also a source of nourishment and strength. We can find great joy and inspiration in this renewed solidarity with life.

The Work that Reconnects is intended to support the following goals:

  • to provide people the opportunity to experience and share with others their inner responses to the present condition of our world
  • to reframe their pain for the world as evidence of their interconnectedness in the web of life, and hence of their power to take part in its healing
  • to provide people with concepts – from systems science, deep ecology, and the Dharma – which illuminate this power, along with exercises which reveal its play in their own lives
  • to provide methods by which people can experience their interdependence with, their responsibility to, and the inspiration they can draw from past and future generations, and the other life-forms with which we share the planet
  • to enable people to embrace the opportunity and need for radical social and cultural change towards a life-affirming society as a challenge which they are fully capable of meeting in a variety of ways, and as a privilege in which they can take joy
  • to enable people to support each other in clarifying their intention, and affirming their commitment to the healing of the world.

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