From Earl Brown
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: