Sisters of St. Joseph of CarondeletOctober 20, 2019

Earth Concerns News

"Awakening the Dreamer: Changing the Dream" by Sister Debbie Timmis, CSJ

Hopefully, many of our readers are noticing a thread through several of the articles authored by our Home/Land Committee in the past year. In July, Sister Lin Neil introduced the Pachamama Alliance, followed by Sister Clare Pelkey's article in the September issue of CE, titled "Creating a Sustainable, Fulfilling and Just Human Presence on Earth" which spoke about spiritual practices and goals we could take as individuals. Sister Betsy Van Deusen's article, "Living in Hope that People Will Wake Up and Honor Earth," discussed The Relationship with Others: Community and Social Justice. I thought a recap of the articles thus far would help us see the overall schema and give some perspective to this article, the fourth in the series.
The Awaken the Dreamer/Change the Dream is a workshop with the following four movements:
1. Where are we?
Firstly, given that our commitment is to bring forth an environmentally sustainable, spiritually fulfilling, socially just human presence on Earth, the workshop starts by simply looking at our current situation, using consensus data from widely recognized experts. What is the current "dream" of the modern world creating, right now, in these three areas? This reflection provides an important foundation of shared knowledge for the rest of the workshop journey together.
2. How did we get here?
Secondly, the workshop offers a fresh perspective on how we got into this situation. How did this happen? Identifying the root causes makes it possible to choose responses that go to the true sources of what is not working, rather than just superficially changing how we do things.
3. What is possible now?
Given all of that information, what is possible now? Is a different future really possible, distinct from the one that seems probable or even inevitable? What is actually already emerging at this time in history?
4. Where do we go from here?
In some ways, this section is the most important part of the workshop. Where do you fit in? What are the perspectives and actions and conversations that you can take to create a new "dream"? What is yours to do? How does all this information affect you and your life, your community and the people with whom you come in contact? (From the Awakening the Dreamer, Changing the Dream Symposium Presenter's Manual, V2.5)
I was intrigued not only by the first movement that asked, "Where are we?" and the second, "How did we get here?" but also by the fourth movement, "Where do we go from here?" As part of our day, we were provided with the following outline for action:
  • Stay awake.
  • Get educated.
  • Get connected.
  • Communicate.
  • Get into action.
Stay Awake
How much of what we do each day really depends on our staying awake not only physically but spiritually. Awareness of environmental issues needs to continue to grow in our consciousness. This theme continues as we "as community" awaken our spiritual practice of awareness and contemplation. I have a quote on my desk at school with the words of Pedro Arupe which daily reminds me of this thought: "What you are in love with, what seizes your imagination, will affect everything." This first action is perhaps a call to fall in love with Earth, our Pachamama.

Get Educated
It is our hope as members of the Home/Land Committee that these articles are part of this second point. Learning and educating ourselves about Earth issues continues to motivate each one of us. For more information about the Pachamama Alliance and resources, a good place to begin is on the website,; be sure to fill out the form to be part of the e-mail list if you want to receive ongoing information.

Get Connected
We know how important this thought is! It is the gift of our collective wisdom as Sisters of St. Joseph and CSJ Associates. Each one of us is not an island. We need to work together. It is part of the reason we are in a community! In working together for our Earth, we can become daunted and discouraged by the reality we face. Becoming connected gives us the ability to lean on one another, to learn from one another and to have a greater voice in our world.
"Something you can do today is to communicate, communicate, communicate!" This step is probably the most important action you can take to keep this work alive in your life and to help it flourish in the world. Tell at least three persons what you have found out through this article! Talk to your family, friends and co-workers about some of the information you learned or realized today. Invite them to a symposium. It takes courage actually to bring up global crises in polite company. (Doesn't it?) However, this situation is urgent, and we need to talk about it with everyone, everywhere." (From the Awakening the Dreamer, Changing the Dream Symposium Presenter's Manual, V2.5
Get Into Action
Many of us already are in action! This may be a good time while it is still early in the year to reflect on what we are doing. The answers to the two following questions might be helpful: How can we can spend the energy that we have wisely? How do we use the resources we have in ways they will have the most impact? There is such a temptation to begin a "to do list" of activity, but I see this step as a deeper call to walk with intention and foresight.
Where do we go for here? This seems an excellent question as we proceed with our efforts on behalf of Earth and our Chapter call " Recognizing the urgency of working to protect and restore Earth's healthy living systems in these next years, we are challenged to express unifying love by becoming stronger leaders and joining with others in working for systemic change that will enable all to live in right relationship with Earth."