Active Hope (revised)By: Chris Johnstone, Joanna Macy


How to Face the Mess We’re in with Unexpected Resilience and Creative Power

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“Books about social and ecological change too often leave out a vital component: how do we change ourselves so that we are strong enough to fully contribute to this great shift? Active Hope fills this gap beautifully, guiding readers on a journey of gratitude, grief, interconnection, and, ultimately, transformation.”
— Naomi Klein, author of This Changes Everything
“Renowned Earth elder Joanna Macy has long exemplified what it means to live a life of spiritual activism and courageous compassion. Here, with her colleague Chris Johnstone, she offers the essential guidebook for everyone awakening to both the perils and potentials of our planetary moment. In this clearly written and compelling manual of cultural transformation, Joanna and Chris guide us to find hope where we might least have thought to look — within our own hearts and souls, and in our interdependence with all life — and then to boldly act on that hope as visionary artisans of life-enhancing cultures. To the future beings of the twenty-second century, Active Hope might turn out to be the most important book written in the twenty-first.”
— Bill Plotkin, author of Soulcraft and Nature and the Human Soul
“Hope without action is naive optimism. Action without hope can fail because it doesn’t believe in its goals. Active Hope is a compassionate and wise guide to bringing these forces together to understand who we are, what we need, and what we are capable of. It is also a brilliant guide to navigating the relationship between how we imagine ourselves and the world and what we can do in it.”
— Rebecca Solnit, author of Men Explain Things to Me and Hope in the Dark
“This is a powerful book to read in these dark times. Written with wisdom and passion, it is about balanced compassion and hope, love and strength, and the will to make a difference. Active Hope is a brilliant guide to sanity and love.”
— Roshi Joan Halifax, abbot of the Upaya Zen Center
“We belong to the Earth, and our precious living world is in crisis. More than any book I’ve read, Active Hope shows us the true dimensions of this crisis, and the way our heart and actions can be part of the Great Turning toward healing. Please read this book and share it with others — for your own awakening, for our children, and for our future.”
— Tara Brach, PhD, author of Radical Acceptance
“Before turning these pages, I was experiencing the total darkness of a midnight depression. I felt incapable of thinking through, much less taking, a necessary step in my life. Then I opened to the pages of Joanna and Chris’s exercise ‘The Bodhisattva Perspective.’ Within minutes, I saw an otherwise inconceivable hope in the interconnected life I had chosen. It was a simple miracle of transformed consciousness. Active Hope is not just a book but a gateway to transformation.”
— James W. Douglass, author of JFK and the Unspeakable
“Given the state of the world, how do we find a truly sane, effective, and life-affirming response? Joanna Macy, one of the true wisdom voices of our age, has devoted her life to helping people find their resilience, their creativity, and their passion while living with their eyes and hearts open. Her work is powerful, needed, and lifesaving. If you have despaired for our world, and if you love life, Active Hope will be for you an extraordinary blessing.”
— John Robbins, author of Diet for a New America and The Food Revolution
“There are few guides in our world that are as trustworthy and brilliant as Joanna Macy! In Active Hope , she and Chris Johnstone give us not only some very good analysis but also good responses and practices — in a very readable and engaging style.”
— Fr. Richard Rohr, OFM, Center for Action and Contemplation, Albuquerque, New Mexico
“The response to the profound crisis we are living through needs to be urgent, appropriate, and driven by possibilities. It must also be rooted in compassion and a focus on bringing us together in such a way that we can create anything we set our minds to. It is to this challenge that Joanna and Chris turn their minds here, and I for one am deeply grateful for the wisdom they offer us.”
— Rob Hopkins, cofounder of the Transition Network and author of The Transition Handbook: From Oil Dependency to Local Resilience
“Words cannot fully express my gratitude for this book’s appearance at this time. With ancient wisdom, deep compassion, and years of experience, Joanna and Chris guide us through this perilous time, not that we might succeed in saving the world, but that we might consciously choose to participate, no matter the outcome. This is the path of right action and right relationship, where joy and peace are available independent of what’s going on around us. May we take this beautiful book into our hearts that we may each find the path with heart.”
— Margaret J. Wheatley, author of Perseverance, Leadership and the New Science, and other books
“I loved this book. Its brilliance lies in the way it skillfully addresses and transforms the major limiting beliefs that hold people back from wholehearted social action, which at its heart requires that ‘active hope’ be sustained. It then gently, but inexorably, invites us to participate in the great adventure of our time of changing the world. Joanna and Chris have laid out a twenty-first-century spiritual path for deep and soul-filled social action. Read it and be nourished!”
— David Gershon, author of Social Change 2.0: A Blueprint for Reinventing Our World and codirector of Empowerment Institute’s School for Transformative Social Change
“Our species is going through a collective Dark Night of the Soul. The authors call this the ‘Great Turning,’ and they provide ample nourishment in the form of concepts and practices that are sure to help us navigate our way. This book is a lucid, timely, practical, and very-much-needed gift. With the guidance offered, we learn how to stay true to our vocations so that neither fear nor despair nor uncertainty nor opposition defeats us. A welcome manual for navigating the Dark Night of our species. Most welcome!”
— Matthew Fox, author of The Hidden Spirituality of Men and Christian Mystics
“Joanna Macy is one of the great teachers of this age. What a delight, then, to read her latest work, written with medical doctor and addiction specialist Chris Johnstone. Active Hope helps us to gaze unflinchingly at the horrors that confront us, to honor the pain we feel for our world, and to allow the truth to strengthen rather than paralyze us. It’s hard to think of a more important task than to empower us ordinary folk with tools that allow us to engage with the monumental challenges that confront us — tools that nourish our creativity and bolster our confidence and resilience. If you want to serve the living Earth but don’t know how, if you feel overwhelmed by the magnitude of the task ahead, if you want to find the part that only you can play in the ‘great work,’ please read this book.”
— John Seed, OAM, founder of the Rainforest Information Centre
“Active Hope is the Great Turning’s New Testament. It is that rarity in the literature of self-help that unfolds as if organically in prose that, like the best sacred writing, induces the mind shift it encourages. Here are the unflinching diagnosis and prognosis and widely tested protocol for self-healing and lifesaving that can help a critical mass of us to recommit to learning, living, and acting effectively on behalf of Earth’s beleaguered human and natural communities. Active Hope is laced with vivid analogies, anecdotes, and opportunities to envision the world we would wish to leave our children and grandchildren. I began reading it because I was asked to; I kept reading because I needed to. For all who are worried for the success of their work in the sustainability, environmental, new economy, or social justice movements, this book will be both a guide and a medicine.”
— Ellen LaConte, author of Life Rules: Nature’s Blueprint for Surviving Economic and Environmental Collapse
“Active Hope offers a way of living creatively in a time of great challenges, a time when humanity is threatened by ecological, social, and economic breakdown. Joanna and Chris show us how to frame our actions so that we can help contribute to the global movement for a better, more equitable, and ecologically balanced world. This is a juicy, creative, and powerful book.”
— Maddy Harland, editor of Permaculture magazine,
“Active hope is something you choose, we’re told in this powerful, inspiring book. Joanna Macy and Chris Johnstone offer not just an antidote to despair but a new lease on life, a way to do our part to heal our broken world. Active Hope is one of the most important works to appear in years and should be read by everyone young and old who cares about what is happening to our world. Pass it on and join the campaign to spread hope! It’s never too late to make a difference.”
— Rev. John Dear, lecturer, activist, and author of Living Peace, The Questions of Jesus, Transfiguration, Put Down Your Sword, The God of Peace, and Seeds of Nonviolence
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