Webinar: “Climate Resilience and Response: Learning from this Great Pause” with Jessica Morey

By Garrison Institute

During this interactive webinar, Jessica guided us through a variety of earth-based contemplative practices to connect us with our belonging to and love and grief for our world and all the beings with whom we share it. She invites us to reflect on what we might learn from this time of pandemic about how to respond to the even more devastating global climate crisis.

From Jessica’s perspective, a number of stories have the potential to unfold in a post-COVID world:

  • Business as Usual – in which society tries to return to “normal” as soon as possible- a world of capitalism, environmental destruction, and heartbreaking inequity and poverty
  • A Great Unraveling – in which society continues to inflict more and more harm on the natural systems we depend on to support life
  • The Great Turning – in which society takes this crisis, learns from it and shifts toward a life-sustaining culture that sees all life as sacred and ensures that resources flow toward need.

As she points out, we’re already seeing a great deal of evidence for this Great Turning, such as the mutual aid groups that have started during this pandemic.

“So there’s a way that these three stories are all happening at once. And there’s also a way that we individually have a certain amount of power and possibility to choose the story that we want to live into.”

In hopes of empowering us to live into the healthiest, brightest future available to us, she shares Joanna Macy’s spiral process for The Work that Reconnects Us:

In order to begin this process she guides us through a Gratitude Practice – inviting us to call to mind anything that feed and nourishes us, and reminded us of nature’s power to inspire joy and a sense of community. From there, she offers a Four Elements Meditation to ground and settle into our bodies and connect with everything around us.

Once this foundation is in place, she invites us into Mourning, calling on the wisdom of nonviolent communication expert Miki Kashtan:

“Mourning is what allows us to bridge the gap between what we see and what we long for, the gap of our helplessness, without having to inflict violence internally or externally. Once we do that, on the other side of that we can find some peace that makes it possible to choose how to respond without reacting.”

As Jessica points out, honoring our pain is a way of reconnecting to life. And as we mourn together in community, we make a critical shift from empathy to compassion. This internal work is, in fact, a way of preparing ourselves to be on the front lines of Climate Action.

From there she guides us to See with New Eyes, in order to deepen our awareness and see that underneath our feelings of anger and grief lies a profound love of this world and all beings. With this truth in full view, it becomes easier to see that this world is changing very rapidly and radically, so extraordinary things that were once unimaginable may yet be possible. With this in mind, she invites us to consider a number of questions, among them:

  • What could you imagine being different a year from now?
  • How could this situation create opportunities toward a Great Turning?
  • What can I do? What’s a step for me?

With these questions in our minds and, more importantly, in our hearts, Jessica guides us through one final contemplative practice, in which she invites us to Vision and Dream, and to feel others’ visions and dreams, as we Go Forth into the world to write our stories.

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We are deeply grateful to Jessica for leading our community in this practice and empowering us to embody the lessons available to us during this uncertain time. We invite to you to revisit this practice anytime you would like to connect with yourself, your community, the nature world, and the awe of life, and please share it with friends and on social media with the hashtag #GarrisonVirtualSanctuary.

• • •

On Sunday, July 26th, 2020 Jessica will be leading a new Virtual Retreat with Josh Korda of DharmaPunxNYC entitled “Cultivating the Resilience to Pursue our Goals.”

Resilience is the quality that allows us to experience interpersonal rejections, disappointments, losses, to be knocked down, yet respond with renewed resolve; a refusal to give up pursuing our goals in love, friendships, work and creative endeavors. This daylong retreat will include a variety of contemplative practices that support resiliency, including guided somatic meditations, dharma talks and times for questions. Please click here for more info and to register.

• • •

Jessica Morey is a lead teacher and co-founder of Inward Bound Mindfulness Education (iBme). She began practicing meditation at age 14 on teen retreats offered by the Insight Meditation Society. Before joining iBme, Jessica worked in clean energy and climate policy and finance at the World Bank, the Pew Center on Climate Change, and the Clean Energy States Alliance. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Engineering from Dartmouth and masters degree in Sustainable Development and International Affairs. Her published works range from the chapter “Ordinary Awakening” in Blue Jean Buddha to Conflict Resolution of the Boruca Hydro-Energy Project: Renewable Energy Production in Costa Rica. In 2014, Jessica brought her two life passions together to write about the potential of contemplative practice to heal our relationship with the natural world in a Shambhala Sun article.

Please visit this link to learn more about the online programs iBme is offering for teens, young adults and parents and teachers. 

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Your support matters. Our vision for a more just, compassionate world has never felt more urgent. While we cannot share physical space together, we remain committed to a shared practice of social and spiritual care. We are thankful for the opportunity to create a virtual sanctuary during this time of physical distancing. If you feel called to support our work, we welcome your tax-deductible contribution toward our efforts.

Share your reflections on social media using the hashtag #GarrisonVirtualSanctuary, and if you have any questions about this event or others, please contact us at


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