Do you remember a moment when you were so moved that you were at a loss for words?
Please take a moment and be with that ‘you.’ That ‘you’ and the wisdom held there is vital to our collectively making this world a world that feels good to live in. Don’t pack up your heart and soul and leave it at the door, with all its aching and all its joy – bring it in!
In order to transition from the world we have now to a world that does feel good to be in, it is up to us to imagine and create together what Transition Towns co-founder, Sophy Banks calls “healthy human culture.” In a healthy human culture, she says, every person feels “resourced, empowered, connected, appreciated, and safe.” Sophy has much more to say about Inner Transition in this amazing talk.
Integrating our “doing” with our “being” is essential – we seek to find wholeness as best we are able rather than continue the pattern of splitting ourselves and cordoning off so much of what we know in our hearts. As Transition Network puts it, “We are learning to embody and integrate the inner dimension of Transition in all that we do, and commit to the love, beauty, passion, playfulness and courage so needed in these times. We are nurturing healthy collaborative group cultures rooted in caring for, and connecting with, ourselves, each other and the natural world.”
Here in Transition Town Media (TTM), we have an Inner Transition group – active since April 2012. In our Inner Transition group, we:
- offer emotional and spiritual support for community members as they come to terms with changes that can often be overwhelming. Supporting each other through these changes is a vital part of community resilience
- hold monthly get-togethers to address these questions. Our meetings are loosely structured to create a safe, open and confidential space so that individuals can share whatever arises from mind, heart and soul in an atmosphere of mutual acceptance. All are welcome to join us
- read and discuss books of shared interest, such as “Active Hope” by Joanna Macy, and “Climate – A New Story” by Charles Eisenstein.
Why do we believe that inner work is a critical element in the Transition movement? Why is it essential for social and ecological renewal?
Here are some reasons:
1. Integrity: Inner work is necessary for the integrity of the movement. What happens within and between us is the foundation of what we strive for in the world around us, and this is so whether or not we take time for or ignore this inner resilience work.
2. Ethics: Knowing ourselves and our values, and continuing to develop these, are crucial for proceeding ethically, especially in the context of the ethically compromised norms and patterns that propel environmental and social destruction.
3. Strong social change requires an ongoing cycle of action and reflection. Inner work helps us cultivate our capacity for reflection. We are the instruments of change, so we must be devoted to practicing and refining how to bring forth our gifts.
4. The worlds within and between us humans can be seen as fractals of our communities and of our planetary world. Deepening our connections to the world within will bring insights to those in the world outside of us.
If you’re interested in learning more about Inner Transition and similar work, here are some resources to explore. These have all contributed to our work and understanding.
1. Joanna Macy offers the “Work That Reconnects,” which invites us to journey through four successive stages: coming from gratitude, honoring our pain for the world, seeing with new eyes, and going forth. She says that “the central purpose of the Work that Reconnects is to help people uncover and experience their innate connections with each other and with the systemic, self-healing powers of the web of life, so that they may be enlivened and motivated to play their part in creating a sustainable civilization.”
2. Sophy Banks, in this article on Bringing Systems Back to Health discusses the imperative to create balance and flow between our “being” and our “doing.” She also considers how trauma limits our capacities for resilience, and encourages us to design our processes and activities to address humanity’s common wounds.
3. Transition US offers this richly informative and compelling teleseminar with Matteo Nube of Movement Generation on “Just Transition.” What happens within us is inextricable from what happens between us humans. Just Transition is a framework that recognizes that “Transition is inevitable; justice is not.”
Stay tuned for more on Inner Transition! If you are intrigued and captivated by these glimpses of what Inner Transition is all about, feel free to contact us to learn more or to attend our monthly meetings!
What important points, beautifully put!
Thank you, Dana! We appreciate the feedback.
Aleisa wanted to add:
Thanks! These ideas come from many sources – much gratitude to all those out there, past, present, and future, who share their wisdom for us all to learn from. Here is one more (although it is now the day after MLK Day, any day is a good day to learn from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.) “I am sure that we will recognize that there are some things in our society, some things in our world, to which we should never be adjusted. There are some things concerning which we must always be maladjusted if we are to be people of good will. We must never adjust ourselves to racial discrimination and racial segregation. We must never adjust ourselves to religious bigotry. We must never adjust ourselves to economic conditions that take necessities from the many to give luxuries to the few. We must never adjust ourselves to the madness of militarism, and the self-defeating effects of physical violence… Thus, it may well be that our world is in dire need of a new organization: The International Association for the Advancement of Creative Maladjustment.” -Martin Luther King, Jr., (Speech to the American Psychological Association, 1967)