Coming Back to Life - Coping with Oil Spill Despair

by: Heather on 06/18/2010
Posted in: Events

As the oil continues to pour into the Gulf and the environmental and social impacts accelerate, we feel anger, grief, deep frustration and overwhelming despair.

Joanna Macy is a Buddhist teacher, writer, activist, and scholar internationally renowned for her pioneering work in deep ecology and the healing of our world. She facilitates workshops worldwide using The Work that Reconnects - a unique and powerful form of group work that demonstrates our interconnectedness in the web of life and our authority to take action on its behalf. The Work that Reconnects has helped thousands to find insight, solidarity, and courage to act in the face of the rapidly worsening conditions around us. Based on systems theory, spiritual teachings, and deep ecology, its methods are described in Coming Back to Life.

In Coming Back to Life, Joanna introduces The Bestiary - a poem that interweaves poignant lament with a compendium of threatened and endangered species. This poem is meant to be performed as a ritual to both honor our loss and inspire our work. From The Bestiary:

Dive me deep, brother whale, in this time we have left. Deep in our mother ocean where once I swam, gilled and finned. The salt from those early seas still runs in my tears. Tears are too meager now. Give me a song... a song for a sadness too vast for my heart, for a rage too wild for my throat.

grizzly bear
brown bear
Bactrian camel
Nile crocodile
American alligator

Ooze me, alligator, in the mud whence I came. Belly me slow in the rich primordial soup, cradle of our molecules. Let me wallow again, before we drain your swamp, before we pave it over and blast it to ash.

gray bat
marsh mouse
blue pike red kangaroo
Aleutian goose
Audouin's seagull

Quick, lift off. Sweep me high over the coast and out, farther out. Don't land here. oilspills coat the beach, rocks, sea. I cannot spread my wings glued with tar. Fly me from what we have done, fly me far.

golden parakeet
African ostrich
Florida panther
Galapagos penguin
Imperial pheasant
Utah prairie dog

If you find yourself struggling with grief, despair and angst, now is the time to explore Joanna's powerful teachings.

Joanna Macy: The Work That Reconnects     Coming Back to Life


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