Facing our Future Challenges with Authentic Hope: The Work that Reconnects

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The Work that Reconnects was an evening of dialogue and experiential exercises based on teachings and practices developed over the last 40 years by eco-philosopher Joanna Macy and colleagues. The workshop offered an inspiring context for action and   participation in the Great Turning toward a life-sustaining society and world.

Joanna spoke June 21st to a sold-out audience at OISE, on her new book Active Hope – How to Face the Mess We’re In Without Going Crazy. This special DwD workshop followed Joanna’s recent talks and workshops in Canada for a Toronto community experience of The Work that Reconnects.

The Work that Reconnects

Following the Spiral of the Work that Reconnects, as developed by Joanna Macy, PhD, we journeyed into gratitude and joy in being alive, through honouring our pain for the world, to seeing with new eyes and finally going forth.

Three Stories of our Times: participants were invited to consider narratives by which we understand the times we are living in and what is possible now for life on Earth.

Business as Usual: Industrial Growth Society must and can continue; it is a wonderful success story involving continuous human progress and growth in economic prosperity spreading around the world. Getting ahead is what matters, and the problems of the world are seen as far off and irrelevant to our personal lives.

The Great Unravelling: The destructive consequences of the business-as-usual mode. Life-sustaining systems of Earth and of human communities are in serious decline, as seen in economic instability and inequity, resource depletion, climate disruption, peak oil, social division and war, and mass extinction of species.

The Great Turning toward a life-sustaining society committed to the recovery of our world.

This turning is manifested in three dimensions: 1) holding actions that slow the damage being done by business-as-usual and protect ecological and social systems; 2) alternative or Gaian structures, the creative redesign of practices and societal structures in fields from education and healthcare to housing and justice; and 3) a shift in consciousness that deepens our sense of connectedness and collective identity and inspires us to consider the inner frontier of change and also to take action in the world.


Reflections: How do you see each of these stories unfolding around you in these times?

Which do you want to get behind?

The group process called Meet the Ancestors allowed participants to step outside of time and meet imaginatively as people of the present day and people of the future.

Our Guest Presenters

SALLY LUDWIG M.A., M.Sc. works towards transforming relationships as a therapist with individuals, couples, families and groups. She is a co-founder of Transition Guelph, part of the international movement to build community resilience in a changing world.

NATALIE ZEND M.A., CTDP is a training and facilitation consultant with 14 years’ experience in international development and human rights. She is a co-founder of Unify Toronto, and offers the Awakening the Dreamer symposium, compassionate communication, and other social technologies in her local community.

The process and reflection was live sketched by Patricia Kambitsch of Playthink.