Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Joanna Macy: Thoughts on Gratitude

A few posts back I wrote about some of the challenges I ran into in a recent climate change presentation/discussion as I invited a people to look for and share their sense of gratitude for the Earth and all it provides.

I also shared this experience with Joanna Macy, someone I consider a great teacher and guide in the work of creating a sustainable world. Her response was so helpful I wanted to share it so that it might benefit others as well.

Joanna wrote:

If we are serious in our desire to play a positive role in a dangerous and scary time, then gratitude provides us with firm grounding. It allies us with the larger forces of life itself, and its longer story. Gladness is a stronger place to come from than fear and guilt. In relationship to climate change, it helps us avoid the pitfall of demonizing nature.

On Earth Day, in a large gathering, we did Gratitude Open Sentences in pairs, right after all singing together "Gracia a la Vida." The particular, ordinary things celebrated in that song primed the pump, inspiring all to do the same--for it's particular things, not abstractions, that charge us with energy.

The four sentences were:

Some things I love about being alive in Earth are...

A place that was magical to me as a child...

An Earth-other (animal, plant, stream, etc.) that for me was a teacher of the heart is/was...

(Touching my face, I touch Gaia and I am grateful for this part of Gaia.) Some things I appreciate about myself as a living part of Gaia are...

If you want to learn more about Joanna Macy and her work visit her website or find one of her several excellent books, perhaps Coming Back To Life.

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