Personal Growth for a Flourishing Planet
THEME THREE: GRIEF FOR THE 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. ~Joanna Macy
This is a dark time, filled with suffering and uncertainty. Like living cells in a larger body,
it is natural that we feel the trauma of our world. So don’t be afraid of the anguish you feel, or the anger or fear, because these responses arise from the depth of your caring and the truth of your interconnectedness
with all beings. ~Joanna Macy
Our awareness of the global challenges and our actions on behalf of a healthier world do not occur without a felt emotional impact in our hearts and souls that can be hard to bear. Faced with today's unprecedented circumstances and the magnitude of what is at stake, it is natural to experience difficult emotions.
When expressed in a supportive context, these feelings could reset themselves as self-regenerating sources of inspiration for personal growth and action. In other words, we can draw from the potent energy of our distress in ways that fuel our work as change-makers while also recognizing that our pain for the world brings to light our interwoveness with the living Earth - our very own ecological essence.
Inner work to honor and navigate through this grief has been skillfully and wisely conveyed by eco-philosopher Joanna Macy in her groundbreaking group work, the Work That Reconnects which "builds motivation, creativity, courage and solidarity for the transition to a sustainable human culture" (J.M.).
At Forest Center we gratefully draw from the insights of and borrow practices from the Work That Reconnects.