Dear World Workshop to Empower

Dear World Workshop to Empower

Courtesy Photo
Donna Mulhollan and Dreama Phoenix

“Where there is ruin

There is hope for a treasure” -Rumi

Northwest Arkansas resident Dreama Phoenix, MA, ATR-BC (AKA Budhi Kling) takes her life work of deep listening and activism on the road. Phoenix combines the concept of Joanna Macy’s deep ecology movement ( with her own well-honed skills as an art therapist to create the project Dear World.

Dear World is a 3-part offering that includes an introduction to the work of Joanna Macy; an experiential workshop, based on Macy’s empowerment process “The Work That Reconnects;” and the listening installation, “Be Heard Now.” All three are no charge and are offered separately or as a package.

Dear World is Phoenix’s way of contributing to the growth of a more life sustaining culture. Phoenix agrees with Macy that this is the “essential adventure of our time.” This is a shift from the industrial growth society to a new paradigm of hope and creativity.

Macy is a scholar, eco-philosopher, and a practicing Buddhist with a doctorate in Systems Theory. Macy’s personal combination of science and spirit exemplify what she believes is happening in our world today. She sees a rising force responding to the social, ecological, and economic crises unfolding before us. Macy considers this time a revolution as significant as the agricultural or industrial revolution.

Meanwhile many of us are in a kind of numb despair. Says Phoenix, “As we see the ice caps melting and the world population burgeoning we realize we can no longer take for granted the very air we breathe or the water we drink. “Hopelessness is an unspoken reality of our times,” says Phoenix. “The workshops not only seek to give voice to these concerns but to build strengths that can lead to concrete actions and a resilience we might not have thought we had.”

The listening installation, “Be Heard Now,” is pictured here at an Earth Day event in the Wetland Peace Prairie in Fayetteville. All day long people sat down and talked as Phoenix listened with a non-judgmental ear. Says Phoenix, “I am a witness. I offer no critiques, opinions or arguments.” According to Phoenix, the listening installation “is appropriate for actions that pertain to specific events such as protests of fracking or peace vigils, places where intense emotions might arise, as well as parks, food co-ops and farmers markets.” For those who don’t want to speak, or for children, she will keep art supplies on hand.

Dear World is inspired by two peace activists, a woman who called herself Peace Pilgrim and Fayetteville’s own Jacob George. Pilgrim walked 28,000 miles for peace from 1953 to 1981. Phoenix met her here in Fayetteville back in the 1970’s and has carried her inspiration ever since.

Fast Forward to 2011 when Phoenix met Jacob George. A three-tour marine veteran of Afghanistan, George, founded “A Ride Till the End,” in 2010, pledging to ride his bicycle across the United States to spread his well learned message that war is not the answer. After his journey’s first leg, logging 6,000 miles in 14 months, Jacob returned to Northwest Arkansas where he and Phoenix became friends.

When George died in 2014, Phoenix says that it became clear that it was time to put her own expression of activism to the pavement. One of the things that struck Phoenix about both George and Pilgrim is that “neither of them waited to build an infrastructure. Both of them set out on their journeys not knowing where the next meal would come from.” Taking Dear World, which is an entirely free offering, on the road is stepping into that same model of trust.

It is also an essential ingredient of the empowerment workshops where gratitude, recognizing our pain for the planet, seeing with new eyes and going forth are part of a moving spiral that energizes participants. Phoenix has already held several well-received empowerment workshops in Northwest Arkansas.

Asked to describe empowerment Phoenix says that for her, it is about giving voice to our despair so we can identify the practical steps needed to heal our dear, dear world.

To make Dear World free and available to diverse groups across the country, donations are welcome. Contact Dreama Phoenix at

Categories: Music