The Work That Reconnects
The work that Reconnects is a group work which arose in North America in the late 1970s, during a time of escalating concerns about nuclear weaponry and the hazards of nuclear power. Then it was called “despair and empowerment” work. In the mid-1980s participants began calling it Deep Ecology work, thanks to the consonance and inspiration they found in the deep ecological perspective. With the publication of the book Coming Back to Life in 1998 the name the Work that Reconnects was chosen to describe this work. A new edition published in 2014 includes the exploration of the impact of power, privilege and oppression dynamics. In 2012 the book Active Hope: How to Face the Mess We’re in without Going Crazy, by Joanna Macy and Chris Johnstone, came out. This book is very appropriate for individual reflection. The term Active Hope speaks to many.
“So this is where we begin – by acknowledging that our times confront us with realities that are painful to face, difficult to take in, confusing to live with, our approach is to see this as the starting point of an amazing journey hat strengthens us and deepens our aliveness. The purpose of this journey is to find, offer, and receive the gift of Active Hope.” Joanna Macy
Joanna Macy is the root teacher of the Work That Reconnects. She is a scholar of Buddhism, general systems theory, deep ecology and involved in over five decades of activism. She is a respected voice in the movements for peace, justice, and ecology. TWTR offers a ground-breaking theoretical framework and workshop methodology for personal and social change.
TWTR identifies three stories or versions of reality that shape our perceptions, like a lens through which we see what’s happening: Business as Usual (going on as we are used to), the Great Unraveling (in which we see the world as we know it fall apart), and the Great Turning (through life saving actions, systems change and shifts in consciousness, bringing forth a life- sustaining society). These three stories can be seen as all happening right now at the same time.
The Work That Reconnects occurs 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.
TWTR consists of many forms of experiential group work relating to deep ecology, deep time, systems work, despair and empowerment. In this work there is room for inner exploration, at the same time it is a group method. The value of groupwork is that it offers support, is synergistic and generates community. The work uses rituals, meditations, bodywork, open dialogue, storytelling and nature connection practices. Our interconnectedness with all beings is central in this working method.