How to become an Activist for our World: Introducing the Work that Reconnects

"First Steps" A Video by Guy Lavian

Start Date:
January 31, 2022
Cost: Your support is $30 with all proceeds being donated to the Charter for Compassion and the Work that Reconnects.
Duration: 5 weeks

Registration: Now Closed.

Zoom: Zoom sessions will be 90 minutes, once a week, starting with the second week, and are an integral part of the course. Due to the sensitive nature of our sessions, they will not be recorded.

Zoom Times: Fridays February  11, 18,  25 and March 4 at 9 a.m. PT (12 noon ET and 5 p.m. UK). There will be one followup zoom, more information to come.
Use this date/time converter to check for other local times.

Scholarships: If you are enthusiastic about this course but cannot make a donation due to financial hardship, please ask about the availability of a scholarship.

Guide: Ellen Serfaty

About the Course

How do we live in our damaged world, without closing our eyes, or losing hope?

How do we not only express our suffering to each other, but also our gratitude for the beauties of nature and our world?

How can we open our eyes and heart, connect with others, human and non-human and see our world anew?

And how can we move forward, and be active in protecting our planet, our home?

My name is Ellen Serfaty, and I am a facilitator for the Work That Reconnects, as well as volunteer educational advisor with the Charter Education Institute.

A little about what brings me to this work: 

When we moved to the northern Mediterranean a few years ago, I thought I was in paradise! Beautiful beaches, wild lagoons, a nature and marine reserve right outside our door, full of life.

Until I found two beautiful sea turtles near our lagoons….dead, having swallowed plastic bags that they mistook for their primary food, jellyfish.

And I started noticing all the garbage, plastic, one-time use plates and utensils, bottles, fishing nets, cigarette butts and more, littering our beaches, being washed into the sea to destroy more sea life.

My heart was breaking.

Then, I turned to online workshops (it was the beginning of COVID) of the Work That Reconnects and changed from an arm-chair environmentalist to an active field volunteer…as the saying goes, to become part of the solution. And eventually became a facilitator.

Thanks to this amazing work I was able to express my heartbreak into action on behalf of sea turtles and other beautiful creatures and plants, research on the impact of the climate crisis, and begin a beach cleanup and advocacy group in our new neighborhood that also involved cleaning up tar that had washed up on our shores, with thousands of other volunteers.  I met “my people”, others who cared deeply, and we learned to work together.

This video represents one of the most exciting aspects of my volunteer work. We rise before dawn each morning to look for sea turtle nests, move them to a protected enclosure, and then guard them all night…until the hatchlings make their first journeys into the sea and their lives. Our goal—protect the nests and increase the endangered sea turtle population….and we are succeeding!

This course will feature an online learning space on the Ruzuku platform with resources to explore, guided meditation and imagery to accompany your journey, questions to contemplate and opportunities to discuss what we are learning with fellow participants. Music, song, poetry and more will feature often to enhance our work together and speak to our souls.

The most important part of this course will be the Zoom sessions, where we will “practice” the four stages of the Spiral of the Work That Reconnects.

Course Overview

Week One—We start our journey, exploring activism, what prevents or blocks us from working to save our planet, an introduction to Joanna Macy and the Work That Reconnects, and an exploration of the Great Turning and the concept of unraveling of our world.

In Week Two, we begin the Spiral by learning to come from a place of gratitude, and share in our Zoom session. We will explore how we practice gratitude in our everyday lives, and how it informs the Work That Reconnects.

In Week Three, we enter the second stage of the spiral, honoring our pain for the world, and expressing our suffering. We will have the opportunity in our Zoom call to share practices that will encourage us to express our feelings about what is happening to our world, experience our connection with each other as we explore this pain, and how this leads to compassion.

In Week Four, we move from our pain to “seeing the world with new eyes”—In our Zoom call and resources we will explore our ancient roots, and our futures, how we are an inter-connected part—rather than an isolated being—of this world, and learn about Deep Time.

In our final Week Five, we will explore how to move forward.  In our Zoom call, we will ask ourselves what we are called to protect in our world, and how we will take first steps. And we will share how we can hold ourselves accountable to take action.


About the Facilitator

Ellen Serfaty at Beach Cleanup

Ellen (Hoffenberg) Serfaty is a retired American-Israeli, currently living in the northern Mediterranean area of Israel. She spent 45 years as a public service lawyer, leading human service organizations, and teaching teachers and people of all ages with special needs students. 

Since retirement, she has been focusing on her contemplative photography, pottery and arting, and has been volunteering with the Charter Education Institute for several years. Her main role now is a Nana:-) She has become a (physically) active environmentalist in her new community, as well as volunteer with the Israel Nature Authority protecting sea turtles, doing citizen research and leading her new community beach and sea clean-up and protection efforts. She is a proud member of Israel’s network of Sea and Beach Protection organizations, volunteers, local authorities and non-profits working together to protect our environment.

She is a facilitator for the Work that Reconnects, a multi-decade meditation practitioner and teacher, and in training with Upaya Center for Socially Engaged Buddhists.

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