The Work That Reconnects


The Work That Reconnects is a pioneering form of individual and group work arising in direct response to the ecological, social, and economic crises of our time. It helps us discover our innate connections with each other and with the self-healing powers in the web of life. It helps people understand and meet these challenges with clear eyes and open heart, without letting emotional overwhelm lead to numbing, panic, or scapegoating.

This work is designed to help activists and other caring people–from any and all traditions, secular and spiritual–to draw strength and courage from their inner resources and each other.

By doing this work we seek to transform feelings of hopelessness and burnout, allowing new possibilities to emerge.

The Work That Reconnects is most effective when experienced in a group practicing together, often in a half-day or full-day workshop led by an experienced facilitator.

This practice moves through a 4-stage spiral:

  1. The spiral begins with gratitude, because that quiets the frantic mind and brings us back to source, stimulating our empathy and confidence.
  2. In owning and honoring our pain, and daring to experience grief and despair together, we learn the true meaning of compassion: to “suffer with.” What had isolated us in private anguish now opens into interconnectedness.
  3. Experiencing the reality of our inter-existence helps us see with new eyes. We can sense how intimately and inextricably we are related to all that is. We come to know our own power to change, and feel our connections with past and future generations, and with our brother/sister species.
  4. Then we prepare to go forth to participate in the healing of our world. We set a clear intention to manifest healing through actions that call each of us according to our situation, gifts, and limitations. With others if possible, we set a target, lay a plan, step out. Even when we don’t succeed in a given venture, we can be grateful for the chance we took and the lessons we learned.

And the spiral begins again. There are hard things to face in our world today, if we want to be of use. Especially when we’re scared, gratitude can hold us steady for the work that must be done.

Contact us to connect with a facilitator of this work in the Northeast U.S.

Additional Background


For decades this work has been led and disseminated by Joanna Macy, who worked with others to develop exercises designed to help people move through their feelings of despair, anger, and fear to a strong sense of empowerment. Many of the exercises are found in her book Coming Back to Life, written with Molly Young Brown. The book Active Hope by Joanna Macy and Chris Johnstone further describes this work. Book groups across the world are using these texts.

For more information, visit The Work That Reconnects web site.