"Ecological Self" and "Widening Circles"

"Ecological Self" and "Widening Circles"

Almost 20 years ago, I spent a lot of time with Joanna Macy's work including her book World as Lover, World as Self: Courage for Global Justice and Ecological Renewal and a compilation of essays Buddhism and Ecology: The Interconnectedness of Dharma and Deeds.

An interview with Macy is featured on this new quarterly online publication Emergence Magazine - a project of Kalliopeia Foundation. Reading her interview this morning brings back a flood of memories of a period in my own life of being deeply entrenched in this subject matter from an academic perspective while focused on the interplay between our ecological, spiritual, and political lives. An excerpt here: 

"But then I heard the term 'deep ecology' and the term that belonged with [it], the 'ecological self': that when we mature, a natural maturation of the human is toward widening fields of relevance and caring, and that your self-interest expands from being just what affects you inside your bag of skin to what expands your family or tribe or country to what happens to earth."

I'd like to get to her memoir, Widening Circles, soon. She identifies here the influence of Rainer Maria Rilke:

“Ich lebe mein Leben in wachsenden Ringen/ die sich über die Dinge ziehn.”

I live my life in widening circles
that reach out across the world.
I may never complete this last one,
but I give myself to it.

I circle around God, that primordial tower.
I’ve been circling for thousands of years
and I still don’t know: am I a falcon,
a storm, or a great song?

And, her closing remarks are what will take me into this next week:

"At this moment, where anything we’ve ever known how to love, and everything we’ve ever learned—how to seek courage and connection—can serve."