Mendo Island Journal — Timely. Useful. Sometimes Cranky.

In Honor of Fran Macy


From Earl Brown
Ukiah

On January 20, 2009, after witnessing the inauguration of President Obama with friends and family Fran Macy crossed back into the Great Mystery. Suffering a heart attack after returning home from the festivities Fran passed in his long time home, surrounded and held by family. I understand it was one of the happiest days of his life, which is very meaningful given the fullness of the life he lived. I believe the election and inauguration of President Obama represented undeniable milestones marking the progress of the Great Turning for Fran, symbolic in so many ways of rising consciousness, proving we can choose to generate the political will and create a sustainable human presence on Earth. I am happy he was with his loved ones and he lived to see this historic moment. I already miss him dearly.

To say Fran was a Renaissance man would not be entirely correct, although he certainly embodied this archetype. Perhaps closer to the truth would be that he gives the term a new definition, a higher benchmark, call it a new upgrade in masculine software to, “Renaissance Man, Planet Addition”. Fran was a visionary who saw how life could be, how it was completely interdependent and yet spectacularly individual in creative expression, each Being unique, a whole, a Holon. Giving and allowing were two of his most outstanding qualities for me and he is and will continue to be my role model on how to be a man during these years of questioning, crisis and rebirth. Just by being himself he has influenced thousands. Those inspired by this loving man have in turn inspired countless others and the ripple effect of Fran’s influence will be shared for generations to come. His devotion and love for our planet Gaia and all her children is well renowned. He was a quiet leader, a passionate warrior for truth, a teacher, a compassionate friend, a mentor and probably the most honorable man I have yet to meet.

I have been working with and learning from Joanna Macy for the past five years and Fran has been ever present supporting her and the Work That Reconnects (WTR). It has been inspiring to watch Fran as he quietly and many times humorously supported Joanna, never seeking control, or dominance, yet leading by not taking the lead. Over the past two years I have had the wonderful opportunity and good fortune to work with Fran, Joanna, and some outstanding men, to begin leading men in WTR workshops. Joanna has been brave and courageous to go into retreat with a bunch of men seeking to know themselves and their place in the world better and Fran has been right there all the way. Instead of playing the “facilitator” and staying aloof from the activities, Fran joined us and approached his masculine nature, his wounds, his weakness, his strength and potential, with vulnerability, honesty and in ways that gave others permission to do the same. Men are usually the minority at WTR workshops and intensives, generally about 20 percent of participants, and Fran knew the importance of getting more men into the work. He will live on as an example of how a man, or men, can take an active role in bringing about the Great Turning, to act on behalf of all life and become, or remain, fully masculine.

When they know it is safe men can be very sensitive, vulnerable, compassionate, nurturing. However, as a man I also know we are not very trained in how to handle strong emotions; they tend to overwhelm our meager defenses once we let them in and rend our hearts. Fran showed me this was not only acceptable but desirable. A man who was not afraid to feel could achieve many things and could not be dominated, or deflected, by fear. With a heart opened to the pain and suffering of others, as well as his own, Fran demonstrated wisdom, strength, grace and a passionate fire for justice. Here are a few words from men who attended our last gathering at Land of Medicine Buddha, in the Santa Cruz Mountains this last November:

“The thing that’s really present for me now….. is that this summer, when we did the exercise of meeting our own death, Fran and I were each other’s deaths. And I remember so well now what he said, and the look on his face, when we finally discussed the experience. He was beaming, his face alight, and I could hardly believe it when he told me that he couldn’t imagine a death that he’d rather encounter — that he was so glad that I was his death, and he wasn’t resistant or frightened at all. As you might imagine, I felt much the same way about him — to have Fran be my death felt like the highest of blessings. So I can only hope in this moment that as Fran’s spirit transitioned to that other realm of which we know so little, that he went on that journey with that same sparkle in his eye and sense of wonder. I have a feeling that he did, and know that his spirit is still present within all of us, and will be so for as long as we are given the gift of breath on this planet.” (from our brother Tal)

“The photons of love of brother Fran will reach many more generations to come. The tremendous example of love and partnership between sister Joanna and her beloved partner is seen, and will be seen, as an inspiring archetype of the new couple in the Earth Community. May their example of citizenship of the World, permeate every corner of the planet. I celebrate the life of this extraordinary man and this extraordinary woman in The Great Turning :-) Their smile, teachings and humor will be forever with me. Their influence made me a better Pancho.” (from our brother Pancho)

“In such a small morsel of a moment of one’s entire life, for me, the weekend we spent together with Fran was so rich with wisdom and love. I am so grateful we were able to come together and be present together with an elder with the dignity and experience that Fran lived from. I will carry him in my heart knowing I was blessed to meet and know him. I carry the strength of his life purpose of healing and connection, compassion and acceptance, and I will continue to call on his spirit for his leadership to make our physical world a sweeter more peaceful place.” (from our brother Berry)

I reflect the sentiment in these messages and am thankful to the men who wrote them. There are massages like these being sent from all around the world, from people of all walks of life whom Fran touched. Although he played a supporting role in many ways he was also a leader in the fight against nuclear proliferation and a strong advocate for sustainable power and agriculture. Fran taught me that anything worth believing in is worth striving for and he believed in a world that was life honoring and sustaining. For this he strived, suffered, struggled and rose above to reach out to help and lead others. I will be forever grateful to this quiet giant, for his wisdom, his insight, his ability to suffer with others and his great love for Mother Earth. I also share this love for our Mother and although I do not yet possess his kind of wisdom, or his social charisma, he has shown me the way and it is up to me to find the strength to walk it. His belief in me gives me the courage to at least make the effort, to give my best and not be too hard on myself when I do not measure up to the challenge at hand.

I believe Fran accepted his Fate, he heard the words, felt the love, of the Great Mystery, our Holy Mother and Father, and embraced destiny in a way that is an inspiration to us who remain. Fran is now in a position to work through the many, through dreams, visions, and his continual abiding Spirit. His legacy is clarity for the work that needs to be done and that we are capable to meet the challenge of our time. I will work diligently to raise myself above my limited views and endeavor to follow the footsteps of my friend and fellow warrior. An example on how to live one’s life to the fullest, I can do no less than make that effort.

I leave with this thought:

“The moment that he begins to walk along it, the warrior of light recognizes the path. Each stone, each bend cries welcome to him. He identifies with the mountains and the streams, he sees something of his own soul in the plants and the birds of the field.

“Then, accepting the help of God and God’s Signs, he allows his Personal Legend to guide him towards the tasks that life has reserved for him.

“On some nights, he has nowhere to sleep, on others, he suffers from insomnia. ‘That’s just how it is’ thinks the warrior, ‘I was the one who chose to walk this path.’”

In these words lies all his power: he chose the path along which he is walking and so has no complaints.”

-Paulo Coelho, The Manuel of the Warrior of Light

In many, many ways, we are all warriors of light.


  1. Thank you, Mr. Brown for such wonderful words about Fran. Time is getting on, but Fran still inspires me, he was a special one. He will be always in my heart. Miss him a lot. Julia, Russia

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