The Work That Reconnects

A weekend retreat in Eskikewa’kik

(Ship Harbour, Nova Scotia)

October 20th-23rd, 2022

Each day, as we face the news of climate chaos, political warfare, ongoing oppressions, species extinction, and ecological and social suffering, we are asked to reconcile these collective traumas with all that is breaking in our hearts. It is natural in our time to feel despair, overwhelm, and grief.

Yet, we also have the power to rise to the challenges of this time. We can learn tools for transforming our grief, anger, paralysis, and fear into compassionate connection and action with our world and communities. We can re-learn our place in the web of life, and rekindle our motivation to act on behalf of life on earth.

Climate anxiety and ecological despair are real: these feelings arise on behalf of a world desperate for our collaboration, calling us to act with dignity and grace. It is here that we nourish our compass for the times ahead.

Join us at the Deanery Project on October 20th-23rd for an immersive weekend retreat to explore the Work That Reconnects.

We are honoured to have Catherine Martin joining this retreat as a Mi’kmaw knowledge keeper, to weave in Mi’kmaw teachings and practices with the Work That Reconnects and to explore with us what it is like to do the work here with this land, in Mi’kma’ki.

The Work That Reconnects (WTR) is a dynamic, interactive body of work developed by beloved elder Joanna Macy, inspired by her scholarship in systems theory, deep ecology, and Buddhism as well as 50+ years of international activism. Practiced internationally, this work has helped thousands of people to engage in The Great Turning, reinvigorating our capacity for action and resilience. In a time when we face so much, we engage in this experiential resource that allows us to create an inner spaciousness for healing, connection, and a bold solidarity with the Earth and each other.

Over the course of the 3 days, the program will follow the structure of the Spiral of the Work That Reconnects: Beginning in Gratitude, moving through Honouring our Pain for the World, then Seeing with New Eyes, and finally Going Forth. Each of these stages leads naturally into the next.

At each stage of the spiral there will be some teachings to be shared, some conversation among the group, and some interactive experiential processes. There will also be lots of time for being with nature.

This retreat is supported in part by the Ecology Action Centre (EAC), an environmental charity based in Mi’kma’ki/Nova Scotia. We take leadership on critical environmental issues from biodiversity protection to climate change to environmental justice. Grounded in over five decades of deep environmental change work and fueled by love and grief, EAC takes a 50-year perspective on what is needed to build towards a time of thriving and flourishing.

To learn more, visit

The Deanery Project

This retreat will take place in the Eskikewa’kik district of Mi’kma’ki, the unceded territory of the L’nu’k (Mi’kmaq). This land is governed by the Treaties of Peace and Friendship, which did not cede land in any way, but rather set out an agreement for how L’nu’k and settlers would co-exist and share resources in this land. We commit to honouring the spirit of these Treaties in this Retreat, and in all our work.

The Deanery Project is a dynamic education and demonstration site for environmental sustainability, skills development, the arts, and community building on the Eastern Shore.

The Land
Twenty-five acres of mixed Acadian forest, fields and ocean frontage make for a beautiful surrounding. Development of an interpretive walking trail network is underway, with already more than 4.5 km of trail constructed. The property is uniquely placed to give hikers and paddlers direct access to remote wilderness areas by water and by foot. A large open field provides a welcoming space for group activities. The sheltered cove and dock make access easy for swimming, canoeing and kayaking.

Fire pits, a cob oven pavilion, the Sheiling Hut and permaculture gardens are some of the special outdoor gathering places.

To learn more about the Deanery, visit


“The Bunkies”

Three comfy dormitory rooms with bunk beds in the Main Hall can sleep eighteen. Pillows and sheets are provided. Guests bring their own bedding or sleeping bags.


Tenting options include field and forest sites, or magical spots nestled near the ocean. Bring your own gear.

The Sheiling Hut and the Cob Oven Pavilion offer outdoor gathering spaces for campers.

Registration fees are the same whether you are staying in the bunkies or camping. Bunkies will be first come, first served.

Arrival & Departure

ARRIVAL is Thursday, October 20th at 4pm, in time for dinner and an evening welcome session.

DEPARTURE is Sunday, October 23rd after lunch.


The Main Hall has a level entrance at the side, accessed off a crusher dust walkway from a gravel driveway. The main entrance has one step up, from a grassy pathway. The ground around the hall outside is somewhat uneven. Once inside, everything is on one level. The washrooms are gender-non-specific, and one of the washrooms is equipped with grab bars. The showers do not have a lip or barrier to enter.

If you have any other questions about accessibility, please contact Joanna at or call 902-412-9055.

Cost & Registration

Standard Fee: $595 CAD ($465 USD)

Supporter Fee: $765 CAD ($600 USD) – Contributes to subsidize barrier-reduced spots

Barrier-Reduced Fee: $335 CAD ($260 USD)

Discounted Offsite Accommodation Ticket: $500 CAD ($365 USD)

Barrier-reduced registration spots are made possible through donations from organizations and members of our community. Priority for barrier-reduced spots will be given to Mi’kmaw and Indigenous people, African Nova Scotian and Black people, people from other racialized communities, disabled people, and queer and trans* people who live in Canada.

To apply for a barrier-reduced spot, please fill out this form:

Payment plans are available for standard fee level.

Please note: all transactions will be processed in USD and are subject to the current exchange rate.

For questions or inquiries, please email

$465 USD/$595 CAD Standard Ticket

$600 USD/$765 CAD Supporter Ticket

$500 CAD/$365 USD Discounted Offsite Housing Ticket

Covid Protocol

The Covid-19 pandemic is a shifting landscape, and we will do our best to navigate the variety of needs present in our communities. For this retreat, everyone will be asked to do an antigen-rapid-tested when they arrive to the retreat center and must test negative to attend the retreat. Masks will be welcome and optional.

If you are feeling unwell, or if you suspect that you may have been exposed to Covid, we ask that you stay home and your registration fee will be refunded in full.

Facilitators and Guides

Lydia Violet Harutoonian (she/her)

Lydia Violet Harutoonian (she/her)


Lydia Violet Farshid-Harutoonian, M.A., has studied dedicatedly with deep ecology…

elder and Buddhist scholar Joanna Macy for the past 13 years, learning how we can metabolize planetary despair, anxiety, and community traumas into energy for resilience, action, and community healing. She runs The School for The Great Turning creates access to an education that will empower humanity’s life-sustaining legacy.

Lydia is also an Iranian-Armenian-American multi-instrumentalist weaving together Southern blues, American roots, and Iranian folk music traditions. With her live band she combines fiddle, banjo, and luscious harmonies to offer a soul-folk revival experience. In the past year she has collaborated with world-renowned artists Climbing PoeTree, Rising Appalachia, and Lyla June. ♬

Catherine Martin

Catherine Martin


Catherine Martin is a member of the Millbrook Mi’kmaw Community, Truro, NS. 


She is an independent international award winning film producer and director, a writer, facilitator, communications consultant, community activist, teacher, drummer, and the first Mi’kmaw woman filmmaker from the Atlantic region. She is a past Chair of APTN and served on the board for the first five years of its inception. She has contributed to policy and institutional change to make cultural and arts more accessible to First Nations artists.Her contributions to film, television and digital media in Atlantic Canada were recognized with a WAVE Award from Women in Film and Television Atlantic. She was honoured with a National Peace Award from VOW ( Voices of Women) in November 2016 for her years of work as a peace activist. Catherine has contributed to the development of many programs to advance the education of Mi’kmaq and Aboriginal women and youth in the Atlantic Region and across the country, including the Certificate in Community Health at Dalhousie for women in Mi’kmaq, Maliseet, Innu, and Inuit communities, the Indigenous Black and Mi’kmaq Law Program also at Dalhousie, and the Indigenous Women in Community Leadership program at the Coady International Institute at St. Francis Xavier University, and Professor for CBU’s  BA Community Program.  From 2015 to 2019 Catherine was  appointed as the 14th Nancy’s Chair in Women’s Studies at Mount Saint Vincent University. Catherine is a board of governor for the University of Kings College School of Journalism. She was awarded the Senate 150 medal and the Order of Canada in  2017. She is now the first Director of Indigenous Community Relations at Dalhousie University.

Joanna Bull (she/her)

Joanna Bull (she/her)


Joanna Bull is a bridge person: a connector, a facilitator, an animator…


A queer settler woman living in Mi’kma’ki, she is deeply inspired by the beauty of the natural world and is dedicated to environmental and social justice. She loves a good conversation about apocalypse, community care, and what it might really mean to decolonize ourselves.

Joanna has worked at the Ecology Action Centre since 2013. In her work as Community Engagement Manager, she supports and facilitates citizen activism, engagement organizing campaigns, community engaged arts, and volunteer leadership. Joanna is also a trained facilitator with the Art of Living Foundation, where she has been teaching breathwork and meditation workshops since 2009. She has been moved by Joanna Macy’s teachings for many years and has recently begun training to be a facilitator of the Work That Reconnects.
In her creative life, Joanna is a weaver, a poet, a musician, and an enthusiastic veggie gardener. She lives in North Dartmouth with her wife, where you might see her riding her bike or going for a dip in Albro Lake.


If you are interested in bringing this work to your area, we would love to hear from you.
Please fill out this short survey, and we will be in touch soon!


When does the course start and finish?
The course starts April 23rd, 2022 and live sessions end on June 11th , but you will have lifetime access to all recordings and practice tracks!
How long do I have access to the course?
How does lifetime access sound? After enrolling, you have unlimited access to this course for as long as you like – across any and all devices you own.

What Folks are Saying About

School of the Great Turning

"Participating in this course has brought more love, meaning, and vitality into my heart. This journey felt as if I was falling in love for the first time, staying up late researching wanting more, more, more!"


“Thank you so much for this class and all of your sharing. Yesterday was an accumulation of so many emotions, but I am so happy to have shared my story. I truly believe in the Music As Medicine project and excited to see it grow.”


“I am lingering in the joy of our time together…I loved being in community with everyone y’all gathered. Thank you! With tears and solidarity in everything we are doing…”


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