Deep Ecologist, Systems Theorist & Buddhist Teacher

Joanna has been a powerful influence in my life and she was one of the main reasons that I chose the California Institute of Integral Studies for my PhD. She teaches there and I studied extensively with her in both academic and community settings. I was continually inspired by her ability to bridge the two.

Joanna’s deep understanding of the interconnectedness of all things is based both in systems theory and Buddhist thought. Her embrace of deep time, in which past, present and future all exist together offers an important healing framework that reaches beyond the individualism and linear views of Western consciousness.

As she says:

“Because the relationship between self and world is reciprocal, it is not a matter of first getting enlightened or saved and then acting. As we work to heal the Earth, the Earth heals us. No need to wait. As we care enough to take risks, we loosen the grip of ego and begin to come home to our true nature.

In the co-arising nature of things, the world itself, if we are bold enough to love it, acts through us. It does not ask us to be pure or perfect, or wait until we are detached from all passions, but only to care to harness the sweet, pure intention of our deepest passions, and, as the early scripture of the Mother of the Buddhas says, “fly like a Bodhisattva.”

Joanna facilitates healing activities that invoke the wisdom of the ancestors and future beings and the power of nature. These rituals provide participants with an experience of an expanded sense of self and an awareness of the invisible spiritual and ecological powers who are supporting the work toward social and ecological justice. They have been deeply healing for me.

I’m grateful to Joanna for the ways she links spiritual practice, activism, and cultural healing. She says we need all three if we are to make The Great Turning that is called for, and she has beautifully modelled how they can be held together.

Learn more about Joanna and her work:

Joanna’s website The Work that Reconnects
Wild Love for the World: An interview with Krista Tippet on NPR