July 2018 Issue
Dear Work That Reconnects Community,
It is my pleasure to introduce you to a new project I am leading that I am wildly excited
about: Build Homes, Not Walls. It is a campaign that is taking donated, surplus building materials
from Bay Area landfills and delivering them to the hands of the people in Ixtepec, Oaxaca,
Mexico, who are rebuilding after the devastating earthquakes of September 7, 2017 and February
Working with The Away Station of Sebastpol, CA, we have raised our first donation of two 40’
shipping containers, nearly 50,000 lbs of usable building materials, tools, and equipment and
have successfully sent them to the Port of Vera Cruz—their first stop on the way to Ixtepec.
Our partners in Mexico are the Universidad de la Tierra (Oaxaca and Isthmus chapters) and the
Comité Ixtepecano Vida y Territorio. The Comité is a volunteer, grassroots committee of people
who are choosing their own autonomous path of rebuilding, one that does not rely on their
government, but rather on their own collective power.
Build Homes, Not Walls is a practical, tangible response to two very pressing issues: how we
rebuild in the wake of a natural disaster; and how we deal with the overwhelming amount of
waste we produce. It is an example of what can happen when we choose to turn toward one
another in the face of life changing adversity. In this anguishing time of such division and
heartache, this project is demonstrating what is possible through Guendalizaa, an indigenous
practice of mutual support and friendship.
As you can imagine, the last ten months have been an incredible feat of love and tenacity. This
type of project has rarely been done before, and so we are building the ship as we sail it; all the
while dealing with a broken and corrupted shipping industry (pun celebrated;). It is indeed
evidence of the dying Industrial Growth Society, and the emergent Great Turning!
Beloved Work That Reconnects community, the project team asks for your support! Despite
doing everything the by the book, these containers are still being held in the port of Vera Cruz,
now for more than a month. We get closer every day to having them released and delivered.
With so many still living in camps with little to no shelter, and the rainy season upon them, the
materials are needed more than ever. We are in the process of preparing our next shipment, and
are continuing to develop a model for this work to continue.
To learn more, please visit our fundraising website. Or to find out ways you can get involved,
please contact me at [email protected], or phone me @ 001-802-451-6144.
Please know that every donation counts, no matter the amount. The number of supporters we
demonstrate is equally important to the amount of money we raise. We are also elated to have
your prayers and blessings, so keep sending them our way!
With love and gratitude, Emily Ryan
By Aravinda Ananda
Capitalism does not typically financially reward well a lot of the healing justice work happening in the world.
This is one of the reasons that for the last four young adult immersions in the Work That Reconnects – Earth Leadership Cohorts (ELC), the facilitation team I have been a part of has been committed to fundraising so that money was not a barrier to participation for many of the young people doing good work in the world with little monetary compensation. I am so grateful for the support that people in the Interhelp Network have offered to support young people to experience this work through the ELC program.
One of the ways my partner and I have been experimenting with creating opportunities for people to be less reliant on the money economy is by offering a room in our house in exchange for 10 hours of work per week. Often the work is related to what I have been calling Living rEvolution – living the changes we want to see in the world, increasingly embodying life-affirming relationships. Sometimes work exchange hours are spent tending the garden beds in the front or back yards (we got rid of all of the grass in the front yard through a permaculture technique called sheet mulching, and now grow almost exclusively vegetables and herbs in the front yard where all passersby can see; in the back yard we are employing various other permaculture techniques including establishing a forest garden) or doing things like hosting a gift economy gathering. [Read more…]
Dear Family in the Work That Reconnects,
You are all very much in my thoughts these days for this is a critical moment for all life on our planet. It is both heart-shattering and, in its ferocity, promising of what we can become as planet people. I feel our connections in the Work resonating in me like harp strings.
I’d like to share with you some ways I am finding the Work is helping me respond to the avalanche of bad news as a call to stay both steady and open.
I will go around the spiral.
The emotional challenges of this time require of me to be all the more grateful for the immediacy and sturdiness of Gaia’s gifts. They flow in moment by moment: the air I breathe, the faces of friends, and my loyal, hardworking old body.
As I open to the pain of our world at this time it really helps me to remember, as we do in the truth mandala, the source, or tantric side, of the intensities of grief, outrage and dread. Then, each emotional blow actually ignites my realization of the depths of my caring for the world. This caring comes from a deep interconnectedness that unites me with life and opens me to the strengths and insights it can bring.
Also, as I listen to the news–and it matters to listen, please don’t turn away–it helps me to bless the independent journalists that are bringing the news. Love them for the risks that they take to bring us word of what is happening. Thank each person on the information chain that is letting word come to you. And as these currents of information flow through you, don’t feel that you must personally respond to each situation. Don’t fall into that trap of the hyper-individualism of our old culture. Imagine as you listen that you are allowing the information to cycle and flow through you into wider circuits, enlivening and circulating through the collective intelligence of our time.
Moving further around the spiral. What a sweet moment to be together with other activists, joining them with our hearts and minds and with our hands as well. My granddaughter, Eliza, told me yesterday how she will spend the summer interning with 350.org in Minneapolis. We talked about how beautiful it will be to weave connections with the indigenous people of those northern Minnesota lakes, connections fortified by a common goal. Enbridge wants to bring an oil pipeline through the lakes that have yielded for centuries harvests of wild rice. To work together to protect those waters and the ancient culture of wild rice harvesting will bring solidarity and adventure and respect.
Now coming around to the going forth. I found myself thinking this morning that everything is clearer for us now. The viciousness and brutality that have always been with us are so obvious now, and although terrifying, they’re right up front for all to see. Their currency is fear–fear that distorts and deadens the mind. And now it’s clear: love must, and can, triumph over fear. If we’re not up for love yet– and a lot of the time I feel I’m not–we can lean into trust. That’s something I can do. I can learn to trust, and I’m doing that.
And so, dear hearts,thank you for being here–to trust in and trust with.
“There’s nothing that can happen that will ever separate me from the living body of earth.”
Back in a hot day October afternoon, Emergence Magazine interviewed Joanna Macy.
In this interview, Buddhist eco-philosopher and author Joanna Macy discusses her life and work. From her anti-nuclear activism in the late 60’s to her work with deep ecology, Joanna expresses the need to live within an ethic of care for the earth.
Both interview and audio with transcript can be found here: https://emergencemagazine.org /story/widening-circles/
The podcast can also be found and subscribed to here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/p odcast/emergence-magazines-pod cast/id1368790239