Joanna Macy ~ The Gifts of Uncertainty

Joanna Macy is my hero. For real, not just an expression. She is truly the woman I most admire, and she embodies the courage, determination, heart, wisdom, compassion, and love for this Earth, humanity and this uncertain moment on our planet, that I try daily to embody in my own little way.

Some days are better than others.

Today, after walking outside and being bombarded by trains, cars, horns, exhaust and blowing trash leftover from this morning’s pickup … after feeling confronted by the ugliness of factories, bare trees, dirty streets and the sad stumps of trees who used to reign supreme on our property before it called to us last Fall … Today, I really needed to hear this Joanna Macy speech. It’s one of the most poignant and inspirational talks I’ve ever heard:

Here’s the Rainer Maria Rilke poem she quotes at the beginning of Part 3:

Quiet friend who has come so far

Part Two, Sonnet XXIX

Quiet friend who has come so far,
feel how your breathing makes more space around you.
Let this darkness be a bell tower
and you the bell. As you ring,

what batters you becomes your strength.
Swaying back and forth into the change.
What is it like, such intensity of pain?
If the drink is bitter, turn yourself to wine.

In this uncontainable darkness,
be the mystery at the crossroads of your senses,
the meaning discovered there.

And if the world has ceased to hear you,
say to the silent Earth: I flow.
To the rushing water, speak: I am.

4 responses to this post.

  1. Reblogged this on Intuitive Voyage and commented:
    I watched Joanna Macy in these videos posted by Laura Bruno and I was inspired, but I fell back into my hopeless mindset soon after. Its all fine and dandy, but what am I supposed to do?

    Sure I can buy different foods, but that is about the extent of my powers. I really wish I could be someone great enough to change the world. That I could leap out of my slumber and inspire others.

    Yes I am in slumber. For years I have been living a half life. It is like I have given up on the world, and am waiting for the time bomb to explode. While, for my nephew sake, I hope for a new world, it seems so hopeless at times.

    The survival of the world seems so far out of my hands, and the path we are walking is not the right one. If I were to say to you, “Really think about where you are spending your money. Each penny is a vote. Where you spend your money decides what companies/people will be in power. Do you want to vote for the Farmers Market to continue, or a company that suppresses farmers?” Would you even listen to me?


  2. Never underestimate the power of small steps. They lead to bigger journeys. Thanks for all you ARE.


  3. […] more amazing work from an octogenarian, check out these posts featuring Joanna Macy, here and […]


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