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From Despair to Empowerment

From Despair to Empowerment

Desert Rose Press has been a way to express our passion for Earth & Spirit since its inception in 1990. Contributing to the greater vision of a healthy Earth and a thriving sustainable culture united in Spirit through printed work is the true mission of the press. Late in 1998, we expanded the work of the press into more public media in order to reach a broader audience, an outreach entity called Raventalk ( ).

These days, it is impossible to escape the reality of the planet's distress. The facts are constantly around us, and we continually see for ourselves the many signs and forms of social and environmental deterioration and destruction. It is not only the Earth that is suffering, but we human beings along with her, both physically and spiritually. We are suffering great cruelties, casualties and losses. Sometimes, it is easy to feel small and helpless and despairing in the face of so many problems. Added to that psychic distress, we are handicapped by our culture's inability to deal capably with the pain we feel in encountering those losses and the resulting despair. Our culture wants us to have the highs, but not the lows; the bright side without the dark. We would rather cover up or numb the pain and continue on our wayâ€"albeit a destructive oneâ€"than experience the depths of our feelings. Denial is perhaps the most serious epidemic we face. These days, denial is not an option.

If we allowed ourselves to feel the grief of these losses of life's gifts in its many forms, if we followed the pain to its source, we would discover an immense love for all living beings, and realize how connected we are to each other and to all of life's infinite expressionsâ€"in stars, dolphins, bears, roses, ants, bats, rocks, each human being. We could discover our instinctive compassion for the Earth and all life, a feeling which is our birthright and spiritual inheritance. Paradoxically, it seems that only by experiencing the depths of pain and grief are we able to free ourselves from the depression, despair and immobilizing apathy to release and create a new vision for our world.

A person who has done great work in pioneering this psychic domain is Joanna Macy. In her early book, Despair and Empowerment in the Nuclear Age, she says, "Experience the pain. Let us not fear its impact on ourselves or others. We will not shatter, for we are not objects that can break. Nor will we get stuck in this pain for it is dynamic, it flows through us." She continues, "The heart that breaks open can contain the whole universe. Your heart is that large. Trust it. Keep breathing. Through our deepest and innermost responses to our worldâ€"to hunger and torture and the threat of annihilationâ€"we touch the boundless heart. It is the web we have woven as interconnected systemsâ€"or as synapses in the mind of God."

I find truth and hope in Macy's and others' work toward healing ourselves and the planet. The great energy that is used to block our deepest feelings can be released for our individual and collective good. There is much-needed comfort and strength in knowing that there are many who are engaged in the same work and who share the same vision. And amidst the suffering, we can each feel the delight and beauty of the Earth, and feel the joy of the Spirit. It is in the spirit of joy and prayer and connectedness that we at Desert Rose Press offer our cards, books, broadsides and gallery.