Friday, 4 April 2008

The Great Turning

A group of us took the 4.20 to London on Monday to hear Joanna Macy talk. It was the first warm evening of the year, and walking through St James’s Park at dusk, we breathed deeply the first scents, and were dazzled by the thick white cherry blossoms. Even the pigeons were nuzzling each other romantically. It was magic to experience natural wellbeing in the middle of a city.

Macy is an 80 year old deep ecologist. We are, she said, living in an extraordinary time: our generation is participating in the necessary and unavoidable transition from an Industrial Growth society to a Life Sustaining society. And like so many life ventures, like sowing seeds or giving birth, it’s not certain we’re going to make it.

There is, Macy says, a taboo about talking of such things, and people often say, don’t worry; it will be all right. But, she says, that’s because so many of us are afraid of the feelings that might come up on accepting the problem. It is totally appropriate to feel both deep gratitude for and connection with all that is, as well as the great sadness of the earth. Having powerful emotional responses can help us move out of overwhelm to discover untapped sources of creativity, courage and power, says Macy.

Let us start to listen to the voices of all beings. Let us listen to the voices of our ancestors, who lived embedded in the web of life; they are speaking to us now and we are hearing them. If we were to listen to the voices of our children seven generations ahead, what choices would they want us to make now?Joanna Macy calls her approach the Work that Reconnects. That for me sums up the Transition Towns work and the emotional place I live in order to remain sane and effective during this extraordinary Great Turning.

For more information about a weekend in Sussex woodlands exploring the Work that Reconnects please see

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