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Center for Action and Contemplation
Loving a Suffering Planet
Loving a Suffering Planet

Loving a Suffering Planet: Weekly Summary 

Saturday, May 18, 2024

When you dance with doom, doom changes you. But the dance can also change you for the better, leaving you more humble and honest, more thoughtful and creative, more compassionate and courageous… wiser, kinder, deeper, stronger… more connected, more resilient, more free, more human, more alive.  
—Brian D. McLaren 

To hold both knowing and unknowing in a delicate, dynamic, and highly creative tension … that is one of the primary skills we will need if we want to live with courage and wisdom in an unstable climate.  
—Brian D. McLaren 

Love may or may not provide a way through to a solution to our predicament, but it will provide a way forward in our predicament, one step into the unknown at a time. Even if we lose hope for a good outcome, we need not lose hope of being good people.  
—Brian D. McLaren 

The greatest challenge of the day is: how to bring about a revolution of the heart, a revolution which has to start with each one of us?  
—Dorothy Day 

Contemplation is no fantasy, make-believe, or daydream, but the flowering of patience and steady perseverance. Our hope is that contemplation really can change us and the society we live in by guiding our actions for compassion and justice in the world. 
—Richard Rohr 

In my dream, our life-giving connection to each other and to the living Earth would be fundamental, central, and sacred … and everything else, from economies to governments to schools to religions … would be renegotiated to flow from that fundamental connection. 
—Brian D. McLaren 

Week Twenty Practice 
Synergy of Collective Action 

Joanna Macy and Molly Brown describe how working together helps us discover the resources we need:  

When we make common cause on behalf of the Earth community, we open not only to the needs of others, but also to their abilities and gifts…. None of us alone possesses all the courage and intelligence, strength and endurance, required for the Great Turning…. The resources we need are present within the web of life that interconnects us.  

This is the nature of synergy, the first property of living systems. As parts self-organize into a larger whole, capacities emerge that could never have been predicted…. We can feel sustained—and are sustained—by currents of power arising from our solidarity.  

Members of The Work That Reconnects collaborated to offer a series of guidelines for reflection on how we can work together:  

Attune to a common intention. Intention is not a goal or plan you can formulate with precision. It is an open-ended aim: may we meet common needs and collaborate in new ways…. 

Know that only the whole can repair itself. You cannot fix the world, but you can take part in its self-healing. Healing wounded relationships within you and between you and others is integral to the healing of our world…. 

Open to flows of information from the larger system. Do not resist painful information about the condition of your world, but understand that the pain you feel for the world springs from interconnectivity, and your willingness to experience it unblocks feedback that is important to the well-being of the whole…. 

Believe no one who claims to have the final answer. Such claims are a sign of ignorance and limited self-interest…. 

You do not need to see the results of your work. Your actions have unanticipated and far-reaching effects that are not likely to be visible to you in your lifetime.  

Putting forth great effort, let there also be serenity in all your doing; for you are held within the web of life, within flows of energy and intelligence far exceeding your own.  

Joanna Macy and Molly Brown, Coming Back to Life: The Updated Guide to The Work That Reconnects (Gabriola Island, BC: New Society Publishers, 2014), 59, 60, 61. Visit to learn more. 

Image Credit and inspiration: Renzo D’souza, death and new life (detail), India, 2020, photo, Unsplash. Click here to enlarge image. How can we care for the tender seedlings on the parched soil of our beloved earth? 

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Radical Resilience

We live in a world on fire. This year the Daily Meditations will explore contemplation as a way to build Radical Resilience so we can stand in solidarity with the world without burning up or burning out. The path ahead may be challenging, but we can walk it together.

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Our theme this year is Radical Resilience. How do we tend our inner flame so we can stand in solidarity with the world without burning up or out? Meditations are emailed every day of the week, including the Weekly Summary on Saturday. Each week builds on previous topics, but you can join at any time.
In a world of fault lines and fractures, how do we expand our sense of self to include love, healing, and forgiveness—not just for ourselves or those like us, but for all? This monthly email features wisdom and stories from the emerging Christian contemplative movement. Join spiritual seekers from around the world and discover your place in the Great Story Line connecting us all in the One Great Life. Conspirare. Breathe with us.