If you’ve been on OGM calls with me, you’ve heard me mention Joanna Macy - a highly influential teacher for me back in the 1990s. I recently came across this interview with her conducted by Krista Tippet. This short excerpt encapsulates for me an important aspect of how to be effective in the world:
“…The kind of apathy and closed-down denial, our difficulty in looking at what we’re doing to our world stems not from callous indifference or ignorance so much as it stems from fear of pain. That was a big learning for me as I was organizing around nuclear power and around at the time of Three Mile Island catastrophe and around Chernobyl.
It relates to everything. It relates to what’s in our food, and it relates to the clear-cuts of our forests. It relates to the contamination of our rivers and oceans. So that became, actually, perhaps the most pivotal point in — I don’t know — the landscape of my life: that dance with despair, to see how we are called to not run from the discomfort and not run from the grief or the feelings of outrage or even fear — and that, if we can be fearless, to be with our pain, it turns. It doesn’t stay static. It only doesn’t change if we refuse to look at it. But when we look at it, when we take it in our hands, when we can just be with it and keep breathing, then it turns. It turns to reveal its other face, and the other face of our pain for the world is our love for the world, our absolutely inseparable connectedness with all life.”
Here’s the full interview:
As we enter the second year of the Covid pandemic, I invite anyone who is interested, to look within to see what pain and grief you might be denying when you look at the world and consider how to hold that pain and grief and dance out of denial so that the face of your love for the world is revealed.
If there is interest, I’d be happy to convene a zoom call to talk about this.