Wild Goose by Joanna Macy

“These years, we wonder, do we belong to the East or the West? Do we want to be socialist or capitalist? These confusions divide us from each other. Now we see what we really are. We are the living Earth.”

wild gooseWild Goose was published in the spring of 2000 in Orion Magazine.  Now 14 years later, it is more relevant than ever to give voice to the more than human world that is devastated with species loss, resource extraction, and global climate change.

Link to article here. Reprinted with permission from Orion Magazine.


Meditation in Time of War

BuddhaWeepingWith conflicts raging in Gaza, Syria, Iraq, Libya, Ukraine and tensions boiling over in Ferguson, Missouri, Joanna shared this meditation that was printed in London from words spoken in San Francisco 23 and a half  years ago, when our country invaded Iraq. As these conflicts break our hearts, let these words find some solace for our souls.

Meditation in this time of war
(Given on 18 January 1991 at a meeting in San Francisco, printed in Peace News, London, 1 February 1991)

When we feel such grief as this, there is a temptation to fold, to shut down.  So this is a mediation on not shutting down: we can let the grief stretch us instead, and open us wider to the powers of life.

We own our sorrow—and let it connect us with all those who suffer in this assault upon life. With the herders and farmers and townspeople now under our bombs.  With the animals and birds of the desert, with the very stones of that ancient land, cradle of our civilization.

We own our shame—and let it reveal our connections with the weapons-makers and generals and politicians whose greed for profits and power led out people into this dark way.

We own our anger—and let it link us with all who are betrayed.  All from whom the war-makers would divert our gaze. The hungry and homeless in our cities, and the children whose future we prepare.

We own our dread of what lies in store for us—and let it remind us of the fear that walks the streets of Baghdad and hides in the hearts of our warriors.

We own our weariness—and let it connect us with our ancestors, who tired, as well, as they struggled forward through countless ordeals, in oppression and exile and long marches through the ages of ice.  And so we connect with their endurance, too.  They did not give up.

Though hard to bear—the sorrow and shame, the anger and fear and fatigue—each is a gift.  For each can bring into focus our deep, invisible interconnections in the web of life.  And lift us out of our narrow selves, and bring us into community across space and time.  Each can open us to the boundless heart. Though found through pain, that boundless heart is real—and the ground of all healing.

Joanna Macy


Documentary Film: Joanna Macy and the Great Turning by Chris Landry

TheGreatTurningJoanna Macy and the Great Turning is a 26-minute film in which Joanna shares her understanding of these times we live in, when everything we treasure seems to be at risk. But it is not a film about despair. Instead, it is about the opportunity we have to come alive to our truest power, to “look straight into the face of our time, which is the biggest gift we can give,” and to participate in the Great Turning.



Hope? A Letter to a Young Ally by Carolyn Raffensperger

raffenspergerOver the years I’ve had many young people come up to me and ask how I do this environmental work without collapsing in despair.  They are acutely aware of how desperate the situation is.  They doubt that the rain forest or ocean or jaguar will be salvageable by the time they are able to dedicate their full gifts to the cause.  I’ve even had some students ask why they shouldn’t accelerate the destruction and put the Earth out of her misery.

Many friends and colleagues have written about hope.  Derrick Jensen, Rebecca Solnit, Paul Hawken, and Wendell Berry have all said interesting, wise things about hope, pessimism, and optimism. I am grateful for their thoughtful contributions.  They have informed my thinking on the problem of hope.  And it is a problem because of the avalanche of bad news.

I received a letter a couple of weeks ago from a young woman named Jennifer asking me to write a letter about hope to her friend Kyra.  Here is her query and my response.

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