Centre for Connected Practice Manchester, UK (2003)

ISBN    9781916300811

Reviewed by Ian Mowll.

It is so easy to be discouraged by the weight of issues in the world with the environmental crisis and social justice issues. One can easily become overwhelmed and then avoidant. We need encouragement and pathways to help us to take steps on our journey to make the world sustainable, loving and a better place to be. And this is the aim of this book. It provides tools, ideas and encouragement to show us that so much is possible if we can move forward together on this meaningful journey.

There are six cycles in the book: beginning our journey, opening the toolkit, learning to use the tools, delving deeper into new paradigms, love and a sacred universe and finally, germinating seeds of hope. Each cycle contains two or more chapters delving deep into the ideas and providing practical guidance.

The book is wide ranging in its approach covering the self, community, planet and cosmos. And it is very well researched; it is a treasure trove of ideas. There are many links and suggestions of books, videos, films, community organisations and more to help the reader on her or his journey.

This book is also toolkit, for example, action research is promoted as a way of engaging with the world. There are also plenty of the author’s own experiences and endeavours which encourage a ‘can do’ attitude. In particular, community is often emphasised and this is important as we have to work together to meet the many challenges in the world. 

The book has frequent exercises to help the reader to engage with the ideas and to take them forward in life. These exercises are classified as hopeful companions, creative learning exercises and invitations to reflect.

One aspect that I was particularly drawn to was the references to space exploration. Many quotes from cosmonauts and astronauts show how they were deeply affected when they saw our beautiful planet from space. Furthermore, I find the idea of going into space so compelling, such exploration is both a reality and a metaphor for going beyond our boundaries and limitations. More than this, the fifth cycle of the book devoted to “Love and a Sacred Universe” talks a great deal about love as an inherent quality of the universe. For me, compassion is at the heart of the spiritual journey and so it is reassuring to read the author writing about a loving universe.

GreenSpirit is mentioned several times as much of GreenSpirit’s ethos is embedded in the ideas presented in the book – particularly the references to the Universe Story and deep time – something that GreenSpirit has promoted over the years. In addition, some GreenSpirit initiatives are used as practical examples such as Alan Shephard’s book service which was so influential for many people in GreenSpirit.

This book is both an encouragement and a great resource for anyone wanting to build a better world for ourselves, all life and for future generations. At the time of writing, you can read more about the book here: https://c4cp.net/blog/project/journey-to-hopeful-futures-a-handbook/