My work is dedicated to finding and making beauty in wounded places. Since I was a child I have realized that, when we gaze resolutely at what is troubling and scary, we soar into a vast openness, and out of that spaciousness beauty emerges. Through this practice, we become more adept at stretching ourselves to make beauty for others. That stretch from suffering to generosity is our second gift of beauty. My new book, Radical Joy for Hard Times: Finding Meaning and Making Beauty in Earth's Broken Places (North Atlantic Books, 2018), explores the urgency of making life beautiful where we are now, even as we work for a better future. 101 Ways to Make Guerrilla Beauty offers tips and suggestions for creative spontaneous, collaborative art at a variety of hurt places.
Making beauty for what's wounded emerged when an Oneida man I wrote a video about described steel waste he was recycling as "an orphan from the circle of life." I spent 20 years figuring out how to honor hurt places, and when I discovered Joanna Macy's work, I felt she was answering questions I had not even known to ask. I have led week-long vigils in a clear-cut forest and a ceremony at Ground Zero in New York after September 22 in which I invited people to make an act of beauty for the city. I founded Radical Joy for Hard Times in 2008, and it has become a global community of people who make simple, spontaneous, collaborative gifts for places, made from what the place itself provides.
Audiences I work with
Anyone grieving the devastation to the natural world and to communities and looking for a way not just to survive but to rebuild a relationship of beauty and meaning and community.
Experience facilitating other events & workshops
What year did you begin facilitating the Work That Reconnects?
I have been leading vision quests/wilderness rites of passage programs since 1995, with Animas Valley Institute, School of Lost Borders, and my own Vision Arrow. I co-facilitate a program in the High Atlas Mountains of Morocco called Lead Like a River, in which we work with business leaders to help them clarity and embark on work that will really make a contribution to the world. (http://www.leadlikeariver.com) Through the non-profit organization I founded, Radical Joy for Hard Times (http://www.radicaljoyforhardtimes.org), I have led many workshops to help people face the reality of damage to the Earth, grieve, get to know the place as it is now, share experiences, and make a gift of beauty for the place.