Letter from Elder


Letter from Joanna Macy, May 2018

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Dear Family in the Work That Reconnects,

You are all very much in my thoughts these days for this is a critical moment for all life on our planet. It is both heart-shattering and, in its ferocity, promising of what we can become as planet people.  I feel our connections in the Work resonating in me like harp strings.

I’d like to share with you some ways I am finding the Work is helping me respond to the avalanche of bad news as a call to stay both steady and open.

I will go around the spiral.

The emotional challenges of this time require of me to be all the more grateful for the immediacy and sturdiness of Gaia’s gifts.  They flow in moment by moment: the air I breathe, the faces of friends, and my loyal, hardworking old body.

As I open to the pain of our world at this time it really helps me to remember, as we do in the truth mandala, the source, or tantric side, of the intensities of grief, outrage and dread.  Then, each emotional blow actually ignites my realization of the depths of my caring for the world. This caring comes from a deep interconnectedness that unites me with life and opens me to the strengths and insights it can bring.

Also, as I listen to the news–and it matters to listen, please don’t turn away–it helps me to bless the independent journalists that are bringing the news. Love them for the risks that they take to bring us word of what is happening. Thank each person on the information chain that is letting word come to you. And as these currents of information flow through you, don’t feel that you must personally respond to each situation. Don’t fall into that trap of the hyper-individualism of our old culture.  Imagine as you listen that you are allowing the information to cycle and flow through you into wider circuits, enlivening and circulating through the collective intelligence of our time.

Moving further around the spiral. What a sweet moment to be together with other activists, joining them with our hearts and minds and with our hands as well. My granddaughter, Eliza, told me yesterday how she will spend the summer interning with 350.org in Minneapolis. We talked about how beautiful it will be to weave connections with the indigenous people of those northern Minnesota lakes, connections fortified by a common goal. Enbridge wants to bring an oil pipeline through the lakes that have yielded for centuries harvests of wild rice. To work together to protect those waters and the ancient culture of wild rice harvesting will bring solidarity and adventure and respect.

Now coming around to the going forth. I found myself thinking this morning that everything is clearer for us now.  The viciousness and brutality that have always been with us are so obvious now, and although terrifying, they’re right up front for all to see.  Their currency is fear–fear that distorts and deadens the mind. And now it’s clear: love must, and can, triumph over fear. If we’re not up for love yet– and a lot of the time I feel I’m not–we can lean into trust.  That’s something I can do. I can learn to trust, and I’m doing that.

And so, dear hearts,thank you for being here–to trust in and trust with.

Yours Ever,


More information on how to get involved with our network: http://www.workthatreconnects.org

My specific work in this network: The Work That Reconnects

Letter for solidarity and inclusion in the Work That Reconnects here!

About SEN

Born on United Nations Day, I am actively involved in the process of figuring out how we can live together well on this planet, given our similar and different truth claims. Thanks for joining me on the journey!

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