Laura Bruno commented on a recent piece that I wrote about how I was still looking for the commentary that would move people out of their denied, paralyzed grief into action re: Fukushima. She wondered if I was familiar with the work of Joanna Macy. Of course, I was. But had I ever really stopped to grok her? NO! Why not? I ask myself, having now spent a delicious week with her memoir, Widening Circles. And I think the key to this blind spot in me is that there is still a remnant part of me that wants to feel special, to be the only one on Earth who really groks the nuclear horror that I have been consciously privy to, unfortunately, since Hiroshima, when I was only two and a half years old.
Joanna Macy also remembers where she was when that news broke over the airwaves, to great rejoicing. She was 15 years old, just walking into the house on her grandparents’ farm. A sense of deep dread hit her like a cannon ball, settled in and never left.
Beautiful, intrepid, courageous, and deeply adventurous Joanna Macy, now 84 years old, has been specializing in personal and collective grief, and our need to both honor and utilize grief as fuel, even before the book that riveted me, Jonathan Schell’s Fate of the Earth, back in the winter of 1980-81 (then serialized in the New Yorker). Her international workshops on that subject started that same year, spurred on by her article on collective grief published in New Age magazine.
Now I’m going to read her new book, Active Hope: How to Face the Mess We’re In Without Going Crazy. Thanks, Laura, for the nudge!
Joanna: “The key is not to be afraid of your pain. If you’re not afraid of your pain, then nothing can stop you.”