Posted by: Mike Grenville | 30 April 2009

The Transition Work That Reconnects

TWTR Group Photo

A group facilitators of the Joanna Macy‘s Work That Reconnects met in April in London. Over half of the participants were involved with Transition Initiatives. One of the outcomes was a networking website for Transition Heart & Soul groups. Dhearbhaile Bradley reports on what happened on the weekend:

Sixty people committed to furthering the Work that Reconnects (TWTR) met together in the oasis that is the North London Buddhist Centre over the weekend 17 – 19 April 2009. It was a magical gathering of a ‘family of heart’, and whilst, as one person said ‘with that many people, things are bound to get a little frayed around the edges sometimes’, overall we kept to our time frame and accomplished a tremendous amount of work in a short time.


‘The Opportunity of Now’weekend was funded with the intention of bringing together facilitators and would-be facilitators from across Europe and we enjoyed the rich exchanges of having individuals from the UK, France, Belgium, Catalonia and Germany present. As facilitators of the weekend our intention was to enable face to face networking, empowering individuals in offering The Work, and preparing the ground for a week-long training event next year. We planned the weekend to balance experiential learning with time for reflection and simply making connections. This happened as we became a temporary community together, sharing practical tasks of preparing food, washing-up and keeping the space clear together.

We followed the four part cycle of TWTR, beginning the spiral with grounding in gratitude as we selected postcards that symbolised something we feel grateful for and shared our responses to these. Then, following ‘The Milling’, we identified what we were bringing to the weekend and what we hoped to get from it. A theme that emerged as the weekend developed was how we make the work our own.

Saturday morning began with an exploration of the relationship between our own experience of honouring our pain for the world and the challenge of facilitating others in doing so – which lead into a powerful Truth Mandala. After lunch the whole group discussed issues and questions around facilitating the WTR arising out of what we’d shared so far. This was followed by an ‘Open Space’ exercise with 3 half-hour slots and a choice of 15 possible discussion groups – all generated by the participants themselves.


Topics ranged from taking TWTR into specific contexts (from direct action groups to ‘change management’ in organisations and businesses), regional groups for ongoing support and networking, working with children and young people, generating funding for TWTR, and the growing relationship with the Transition Towns movement (over half the group had some involvement with TTs). A wonderful curry was bought in for supper and I think we did justice to the feast provided.

Given how tired everyone was, it was wonderful to find so many people dancing to the excellent drumming that opened our evening’s entertainment. The sharings ranged from the deeply moving to the truly hilarious. Perhaps some will find their way into ‘The Storybook That Re-connects’. It certainly felt like as ‘saw with new eyes’ in the creativity and vitality of this gathering.

In ‘Going Forth’ on Sunday, after a presentation on the Grundtvig project that funded this weekend, we looked first at our individual goals using the action-planning of the ‘peace activist’s questionnaire’ and then in self-selected groups we looked at what we could offer and what we requested of others if we were to develop TWTR. After a break and reflecting and writing up evaluations (to be digested by the facilitators after the event), we finished with a meditation based on the ‘Shambala Warrior Mind-Training’. All the material generated by small groups and written up on flip-charts was taken away to be made available to participants afterwards.

This was an intense and heartening encounter with an amazing group of people who share a passion for The Work and a commitment to the healing of our world. I hope that some of the wonderful ideas we generated (for instance, developing an internet forum for sharing our experiences of facilitating WTR exercises) come to fruition. It’s the next step that counts. I wish all of us (not just those in London this weekend!) well in our adventures in furthering The Work That Reconnects.

Blessed be, Dhearbhaile Bradley

With so many participants involved in Transition Initiatves on the weekend, there was a strong desire to continue to be connected with each other around the Heart and Soul aspect of Transitioning. As a result a Ning based website called the Heart of Transition has been created that offers a forum for people and groups addressing the psychological, emotional and spiritual dimension of transitioning. You are invited to join the newly formed website to network together and join the discussions:



  1. Well done and thank you! It’s heartening to hear about such a large and diverse group taking TWTR forward in a coherent and committed sort of way. We’re in the early stages of exploring a similar initiative in Norwich in conjunction with the Transition Norwich Heart & Soul group. It would be good to stay linked in with you and I hope the website plan comes off. Blessings. Namaste.

  2. Thank you for sharing your experience. We are currently starting/forming our Transition Houston Heart & Soul group so stories like this are both informative and encouraging.

  3. Really impressed by how you draw such an international crowd to your gathering. May I ask… are these regular events that take place, or was this a one-off? Thanks again, J

  4. This was a one off event

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