Work That Reconnects: A Moving Experience

This guest blog post was written by Rachel Berggren, Editor in Chief of Paperbark Literary Magazine,
Masters of Sustainability Science candidate with a concentration in Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems

My life has been dedicated to looking at what is wrong with the world,
what is not enough, what leaves people out of the conversation and what
creates barriers to social justice and equity, and the world we want to
see.  I have also spent many years committed to looking for what is right,
what is beautiful, what engages and persuades us, and what brings us
together to create meaningful and intentional change.

On October 19th, undergraduate student Bela Schultz led a Talking Truth event
focused on Joanna Macy’s Work That Reconnects, combining both of these
strategies for how we live our life.  I had heard word that the Talking Truth
series created space for conversations, but I had no idea how the experience
would open us up to one another and allow for vulnerability, expression, fear,
joy, sorrow and gratitude all at once.  As I looked at the people around the room,
sharing in their anguish about climate change, revering the earth that is our home,
and steeping in the wonder of human connectivity, I realized that I was not alone.
I was one of a global network of people who are part of this deep work that is
the process of living, the process of seeing all that is, both beautiful and difficult,
and using it all as a force to believe in change.

Often we feel overwhelmed by talk of climate change, politics, famine, and war,
and we shut ourselves off because our energy is zapped.  We feel that all we can
do is disconnect from the bigger picture and face just this day.  That is why it felt so
lovely to come together and engage these conversations from a new perspective.
In a quiet corner of the Du Bois Library, people from all walks of life came together,
not just to share their fears, but to share their hope and to recommit themselves to what
is possible.  The Work That Reconnects did just what it claims to do; it connected us to
ourselves and to each other, and it enlivened us with a new vigor to move forward,
to continue on toward creating a more sustainable and just world.


Reference Services Librarian, W.E.B. Du Bois Library, University of Massachusetts Amherst. Liaision to Department of Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning, Stockbridge School of Agriculture, and Hillel.

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