Over the years, Joanna Macy and her colleagues have come to see the Work That Reconnects as occurring in a spiral, mapping a journey through four successive stages: Coming from Gratitude, Honoring our Pain for the World, Seeing with New Eyes, and Going Forth. These four stages support one another, and work best when experienced in sequence. They help us experience first hand that we are larger, stronger, deeper, and more creative than we have been brought up to believe.
The spiral is fractal in nature. The sequence can repeat itself in ever new ways, and even within a particular stage of the spiral. The spiral can be discerned over the span of a lifetime or a project, and it can also happen in a day or several times a day. We come back to it again and again as a source of strength and fresh perspectives.
The spiral begins with gratitude, because that quiets the frantic mind and brings us back to source, stimulating our empathy and confidence. It helps us to be more fully present and opens psychic space for acknowledging the pain we carry for our world.
In owning and honoring our pain, and daring to experience it, we learn the true meaning of compassion: to “suffer with”. We begin to know the immensity of our heart-mind. What had isolated us in private anguish now opens outward and delivers us into the wider reaches of our inter-existence.
Experiencing the reality of our inter-existence helps us see with new eyes. We can sense how intimately and inextricably we are related to all that is. We can taste our own power to change, and feel the texture of our living connections with past and future generations, and with our brother/sister species.
Then, ever again, we go forth into the actions that call each of us, according to our situation, gifts, and limitations. With others whenever and wherever possible, we set a target, lay a plan, step out. We don’t wait for a blueprint or fail-proof scheme, for each step will be our teacher, bringing new perspectives and opportunities. Even when we don’t succeed in a given venture, we can be grateful for the chance we took and the lessons we learned.
And the spiral begins again. There are hard things to face in our world today, if we want to be of use. Gratitude, when it’s real, offers no blinders. On the contrary, in the face of devastation and tragedy it can ground us. Especially when we’re scared, gratitude can hold us steady for the work that must be done.
Deep in the hidden process of our metamorphosis we can see a natural design — an evolutionary pattern to guide us toward the next stage of transformation. We intuit the presence of the still-invisible societal butterfly, yet how do we become it? What we are seeking is a worldview that will call forth our creative action and direct our immense powers toward life-oriented and evolutionary purposes. That guiding worldview is, I believe, conscious evolution. It holds that through our unprecedented scientific, social, and spiritual capacities we can evolve consciously and cocreatively with nature and the deeper patterns of creation (traditionally called God), thus enabling us to manifest a future commensurate with our unlimited species and planetary potential.
“I believe we need positive energy to be channeled, to help counterbalance all of the negative, disruptive energy out there right now. I think we need it to remove all the individual barriers and individual idiosyncrasies. We need it to unite groups of people to focus on what’s best for the greater good of the whole.”
Burberry CEO Angela Ahrendts talks about the positive and transformative power of human energy.
United Religions Initiative (URI) is a global community where people from all over the world connect through their passion for a better world, where people of all different faiths and cultures can meet in deep respect for one another. URI is dedicated to the promotion of enduring, daily interfaith cooperation in order to end religiously motivated violence, and to the creation of a culture of peace, justice and healing for the Earth and all living beings. Launched in 2000, URI has 400 independent grassroots membership groups, called Cooperation Circles, made up of at least seven people from three or more religions, spiritual beliefs, or indigenous traditions; all are doing amazing collaborative work addressing local and global issues.
Excerpts of Charles Eisenstein's TED TALK: https://youtu.be/Mjoxh4c2Dj0
“A New Story of the People” examines the role that stories play in how we think about ourselves and each other and offers a glimpse at a new emerging story that can help bring about a more sustainable world.
What do you do when your firmly held beliefs turn out not to be true? When Casey Gerald's religion failed him, he searched for something new to believe in — in business, in government, in philanthropy — but found only false saviors. In this moving talk, Gerald urges us all to question our beliefs and embrace uncertainty.
Casey Gerald chronicles the current state of the American Dream and explores ways to sustain it for a new generation. Full bio
Are you ready to change the way you THINK AND FEEL about the world? See if you are holding faulty beliefs with this TEDx and play with awareness.
The author and philosopher Anne Baring talking to Andrew Harvey about her latest book 'The Dream of the Cosmos'.