"The Great Turning is the name for the essential adventure of our time: 

the shift from the industrial growth society to a life-sustaining civilisation" 

- Joanna Macy


This free email newsletter offers insights and resources

to nourish our capacity to take part in the Great Turning. 

It includes information about The Work That Reconnects in the UK and beyond.

Dear reader,  


It has been a year since the last Great Turning Times; I start with a story that's helped me pick up the thread again and return with renewed commitment. 


1n 1787 a dozen people met in a London print shop to set up a campaign against the slave trade. At the time they didn't seem to stand much chance, but we know now that huge and historic changes were sparked by the steps they took. What's less well known is that, in their early days, the campaigners went through such a low patch that they abandoned their meetings for several years and closed their office. A strength that helped them eventually succeed was the ability to recover from setbacks and find their path again. 


Inspiring examples are great fuel for our resilience (see item 23 below for more on this). We're all likely to have times when we grind to a halt or lose the plot with a purpose that has been dear to us. That can happen with our sense that we're part of the Great Turning, or with our involvement with a particular expression of it. What the slave-trade abolitionists remind me of is that when we have our dips or get derailed, it doesn't have to stay that way. However long it has been, we can pick up and follow again a thread that calls out to us. 


A central question here is what helps keep our spark of engagement strong - as well as rekindle it when it seems to go out? That question points us to a purpose I call Project NEEAI TAFLOE - the project of giving attention to steps that help us become Nourished, Energised, Empowered And Inspired To Act For Life On Earth. This is a project we can all take part in, and a core purpose of this newsletter is to point us towards insights, practices and resources that help us do this. 


One of the best ways I've found of cultivating our NEEAI TAFLOE-ness is the Work That Reconnects - the transformative journey round the spiral of four elements that strengthens our desire and capacity to make a difference in the world. As Joanna Macy and I describe in our book Active HopeGratitude work is nourishing. Honouring our pain for the world is energising. Seeing with New Eyes is empowering. And when we see ourselves Going Forth playing our part in the Great Turning, that is inspiring. 

So I'm pleased to let you know about some Work That Reconnects opportunities coming up over the summer - including a week long Active Hope workshop I'm co-leading at the Findhorn Foundation in Scotland from July 11th (see item 3 below), a three-day workshop in England from July 9th (see item 2) and several workshops in the US in August (see items 4 & 5). 


I'm excited too by a conference coming up in London on Nov 21st called The Psychology of Inspired Collective Climate Action - and what gets in its way (see item 18). Plus if you'd like to find out more about Project NEEAI TAFLOE, take a look at the video (about 40 mins) of a talk I gave at Schumacher College last April (see item 20). 


May you be NEEAI TAFLOE: Nourished, Energised, Empowered and Inspired to Act for Life on Earth.

With you, in this Great Turning Adventure


Chris Johnstone

Co-author, with Joanna Macy, of Active Hope,



Work That Reconnects update
1) Work That Reconnects Website
Drawing from deep ecology, systems theory and spiritual traditions, the Work That Reconnects (WTR) is a set of insights and practices that builds motivation, creativity, courage and solidarity for the transition to a sustainable human culture. First emerging in 1978, this pioneering, open-source body of work has its roots in the teachings and experiential methods of Joanna Macy. There's a great website offering more information, news of workshops and a facilitator directory at  http://workthatreconnects.org/

2) Finding Strength, Worcestershire, UK, July 9th - 12th 2015
A three day workshop drawing on the Work That Reconnects, with Will Tooby, Looby Macnamara and Kirsti Norris, at the beautiful Green & Away site in Worcestershire, England. Details at this link

3) Active Hope week at Findhorn, Scotland, July 11th - 17th 2015
Moving round the spiral of the Work That Reconnects, this week is designed to nourish your capacity to act for life on Earth. With Chris Johnstone and Margo van Greta. Details at this link
AH flyer 2015

4) Active Hope Workshop in Iowa, US, 14th - 16th August 2015
Drawing on the Work That Reconnects, with Kathleen Rude at Prairiewoods Spiritual Retreat Centre, Hiawatha IA, US  Details here .
Also one day Active Hope workshop on 26th August in Chicago, UK
Details at this link

(5) Awakening the Courageous Heart of the Elder Activist, California, US, 19th - 23rd August 2015

Drawing on the Work That Reconnects, with Molly Brown and Constance Washburn at the Rivers Bend Retreat Centre, California

Details at this link.

(6) Facilitator Training in the US 

Molly Young and Constance Washburn are developing a WTR facilitator training. Look out for details on the Work That Reconnects website at http://workthatreconnects.org/

(7) Facilitator Development Adventure, UK, Dec 2015 to June 2016

In the UK, the Facilitator Development Adventure is due to run over three residentials weekends (4-6th Dec 2015, 4th - 6th March 2016 and 10th - 12th June 2016) plus with peer support and online resources. The facilitation team includes Jenny Mackewn, Kirsti Norris and Chris Johnstone. Details are due to confirmed soon. If interested, please contact Kirsti Norris by email at kirsti (at) actionforsustainability (dot) com or see http://www.facilitationforlifeonearth.org/facilitator-training.html

Round the WTR Spiral in Four Short Films
Here are four short films, each linked to a stage in the spiral of the Work that Reconnects. After watching each film, see what words naturally follow the open sentence offered. These four open sentences can be used together as a regular personal or group WTR practice, returning to them whenever you want and seeing where each journey round the spiral takes you.

(8) Coming From Gratitude
Here is Joanna Macy from her DVD The Work That Reconnects
(under 6mins).

Open sentence: for supporting me to live, I give thanks to...

(9) Honouring our Pain for the World
With thanks to Jim Henson and the Muppets (under 90 secs).

Open sentence: when I look at the future we're heading into, a concern I have is...

(10) Seeing with New Eyes
A different view of power helps us recognise that even tiny actions can have surprisingly big effects, with impacts that extend far beyond what we can see (less than 2mins).

Open sentence: something that inspires me is ...

(11) Going Forth
Here Julia Butterfly Hill describes her realisation that  "As long as your hope is committed in action, then there is hope in the world".
This is what we mean by Active Hope. You can watch this (less than 3 mins) at this link:

Open sentence: inspired by my hopes and/or concerns for our world, an action I commit to taking in the next seven days is... 
Books to check out
12) Coming Back to Life  by Joanna Macy and Molly Brown - new edition.
Coming Back to Life is for me a treasured core text of Work That Reconnects facilitation and I am among the many who are delighted with this upgrade. It distils a further sixteen years of experience, names more clearly the context we face and broadens the reach of this work with important new chapters. Thank you Joanna and Molly  (New Society Publishers, 2014)

13) Educating for Hope in Troubled Times - Dave Hicks
Dave Hicks has long been a guide and mentor for me, with his research and writings on what helps us face potential futures and use our power of influence to steer towards the versions we prefer. He's particularly looked at how teachers can bring a futures perspective into schools, this book drawing together what he's found and presenting it in a practically useable way. (Institute of Education Press, 2014).
Events coming up
14) Ecopsychology Gathering, 2nd - 5th July 2015, UK
At Green & Away in Worcestershire with Keynote guests Nick Totton and Mary-Jayne Rust. There's also an exciting range of workshops on offer, a chance to generate new ideas in 'Open Space', a morning Dream matrix held by James Barrett, an 'open mic' sharing around the fire with Robbie Breadon, for you to bring your songs, poems, stories, and musings. And more.  The gathering offers a chance to connect and reflect with like-minded folk and to meet with the diverse interests of those involved with ecopsychology. To book your place, please use this link:   http://ecopsychologygathering.org/Bookings 

15) Ecovillage Design Course, Azores, 15th Aug - 18th Sept 15
A five-week community immersion offering a comprehensive course in the fundamentals of Sustainability Design.  For details, see  http://www.edeazores.org

16) GreenSpirit Annual Gathering 30th Oct - 1st Nov 2015

Fierce Love ~ Spirituality in Action ~ At Holland House, Pershore, Worcestershire, UK  with Alastair McIntosh as main speaker, speaking on: "Spiritual Activism: Leadership as Service"


Blending mythology, psychology, spiritual principles and real-life experience, Alastair will help us to understand how we can be effective in the world throughout our lives. His talk will be based on his forthcoming book Spiritual Activism: Leadership as Service co-authored with Matt Carmichael. Alastair will also lead a workshop where the ideas in his talk will be explored in an experiential way. For full details and how to book, go to:  http://www.greenspirit.org.uk/ag2015/


17) Interhelp Gathering, MA, US, 30th Oct - 1st Nov 2015 
 - Making a difference, claiming your role in the Great Turning, 
Featuring practices based on the Work that Reconnects, 
at Woolman Hill, Deerfield, MA, US.
For details see  http://interhelpnetwork.org

18) The Psychology of Inspired Collective Climate Action - and what gets in its way, Conference in London, Sat 21st Nov 2015

Details are still to be finalised for this conference at Regents College in London, but what I've seen so far suggest this will be an important and inspiring event. To find out more, please see this link. The organisers are looking for partner organisations to help promote this event - if you can help please see the note at the bottom of the page at this link.

Resources and networking on the web
19) Inspiring article from Joanna Macy
Five ways of Being That Can Change the World

20) The Adventure of Active Hope - video from Chris Johnstone
In his Earth Talk at Schumacher College (about 40 mins) Chris Johnstone identifies NEEAI TAFLOE as a state we can cultivate by giving attention to practices and insights that help us be nourished, energised, empowered and inspired to act for life on Earth.

21) Active Hope Book Group Online Resource 

One way of moving round the spiral of the Work That Reconnects together as a group is to form an Active Hope Book group that reads the book together, and meets to discuss it. Many groups around the world are doing this, and a resource has been developed to share experience, offer resources, explore questions and give support. You can sign up for free at 

22) Interhelp network newsletter
Interhelp is a network of people sharing a deep concern for world conditions and has for over thirty years has played a role supporting the development of The Work That Reconnects. You can read their latest newsletter at 
23) Online Resilience Training with Chris Johnstone
For more on how inspiring examples can nourish our resilience, see this short you-tube video from Chris Johnstone. It is taken from his online video-based course Personal Resilience in an Hour, available at a 40% discount (?15 instead of rep ?25) from:

24) Work That Reconnects on Facebook 

For international, including North American, events and news, see the Work That Reconnects Facebook page. There is also a Work That Reconnects UK Facebook page and an Active HopeFacebook page


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