Mendo Island Journal — Timely. Useful. Sometimes Cranky.

The Work That Reconnects – Joanna Macy


From Earl Brown
Ukiah

We had our first salon introducing the work of Joanna Macy, “The Work That Reconnects” to a small yet enthusiastic group (one person) and we had a wonderful and meaningful conversation. As I was not really expecting anybody at this first meeting it was quite special to have someone there and I am very grateful to that one person for coming. This is how things get started, two people, or a few people, gather to talk from their hearts about what they think and feel.

Over the next few years we will need to learn how to face difficult conditions and unwanted changes that we have no, or little, control over in order to maintain decent living conditions. As much as we claim that we are already working together to solve our problems, it is a false claim. I have been in the “back room” where “environmentalists” argue over who is in control and who is not; who has the “right way” and how all others are wrong. Many meeting go by without the issues at hand being addressed even superficially. Even the Choir is arguing with each other, mostly over power and control, and are unable to truly unite as one concerted body. An example of this is Mendocino County being about 35 years behind our own ordinance to have a viable Grading Ordinance, with nothing meaningful on the horizon. To unite on this level and to make our work as complete, efficient and meaningful, we must learn and experience deep respect for each other and to see the gifts and potentials within our Self, within the Plant and Animal Kingdoms and within Gaia.

There will be other opportunities to hear about and experience The Work That Reconnects (with enough people) and to engage in useful and meaningful conversation about how we feel during these times of trial. I will be keeping the space at 116 School Street (above Three Sisters) open from 3pm to 9pm, Thursday, January 22 for the next installment. From 3pm to 6pm there will be information and time for discussion regarding Joanna (with me in photo above), General Living Systems Theory and the “Great Turning”, a title used by many to indicate the turning from a life threatening society to a sustainable life affirming society. If one wants you can go to joannamacy.net and get this information directly from her website and then bring questions, thoughts and ideas on the 22nd. Her most recent letter quotes one of my articles at length and I am honored to have her do so. This article is about the role of men during the Great Turning and the Twenty First Century and how important it is for us men to work together to heal the wounding of the world (it can also be found on my website www.condorpeople.com by opening the “journal” tab November 17, 2008. I am behind on my entries so it is currently the article that pops up). At 6 pm, if there are enough people, we will do an activity, or two, so we can experience the work in our bodies as well as in our minds. I will hold the space open even if no one shows up.

To paraphrase C. G. Jung; when an inner conflict (personal, group, or nation) is not brought to the light (consciousness) then that conflict will materialize in the physical world as fate (of the individual, group, or nation). I interpret this to mean that if I feel “I cannot trust”, or “humans are inherently flawed” and I do not look into the reasons why I feel this way then I will experience people I cannot trust or situations where the worst in people, or me, arises. Taking responsibility for what comes into our experience frees and empowers us to take control of our lives. Being able to relate our feelings to others we trust, who are supportive, caring and who want our best to manifest, gives us the support and permission we need to create what we want for our lives. Trust does not come easy, generally, as we are taught to be rugged individuals, separate and alone, the big number one. Working as a group can break through the barriers quickly, if done properly, and get people to a connected and heartfelt space, individually and collectively, quickly. If we cannot learn to take our power back to ourselves and our communities then others will take it and use it for their own purposes (example, Bush, Cheney, Delbar, Wattenburger). If we are to reclaim our personal and collective power, to rebuild the world, then we have to begin by looking into how we lost our power in the first place and move forward from there. I would like to help facilitate this process and am inviting others to join me.

I will leave this offering with a poem I wrote sitting in a village high in the Andes Mountains of Ecuador. I was looking at the unwashed street urchins, as young as five years old, shining the shoes of passersby for a nickel. I was thinking about fate, of the disparity of wealth, the meaning of value and the indifference of the “civilized world” in which I struggle to live. I titled it, “Where is the Justice”.

Lost souls with centers empty
Seeking out there and then
Dirt covered children shining shoes
A business man in an Italian suit
Do we live in the same world?
Born equal
Naked and vulnerable
Where streets are paved with poverty
And office building painted with blood
Where is the justice?
When the rich man sees success in the suffering of others
And the poor see their fate
Reflected in his storefront window


  1. Earl…..How does one get schedule of events?…I would have been there had I known….good work and thank you….pollylynn

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