How the Course Developed

Just before the onset of the Covid-19 lockdown, a small group of seven individuals from the Greater Rochester, New York area gathered to explore personal and community resilience. Witnessing, both individually and collectively, the unraveling across many intersecting and interconnected societal dimensions, we came together to delve into what it means to be resilient during uncertain times.

In the spring of 2022, a subset of our group expressed a desire to move beyond mere awareness of collapse and embrace collapse acceptance. Three members, Mary Gleason, Doug Della Pietra, and Steve Aman, followed a calling to develop a comprehensive course. This course aimed to examine tools for resilience, both inner and outer, various manifestations of collapse (political, financial, climate, commercial, social, cultural), the historical responses of indigenous peoples to collapse, adaptation, and particularly what embracing collapse acceptance might entail.

The trio initiated the course, initially comprising eight sessions involving 2-3 hours of homework (including video clips, articles, and original writing) and 90-minute Zoom sessions each week. These sessions accommodated a small group of 20-25 participants who shared space and delved into the week’s thematic questions.

The pilot course, launched in September 2022, received enthusiastic participation. Recognizing the need for a ninth session, we swiftly incorporated it and considered the weekly evaluation feedback, implementing key modifications even as the pilot course went along. Each developer took ownership of specific sessions while contributing and collaborating on all nine.

The success and enthusiasm of the pilot course convinced us of the necessity to continue this important work. However, Mary Gleason felt a strong calling towards a different path, The Church of the Wild, prompting her to step back from ongoing course offerings and development. For Doug and Steve, the labor of love continues.

As of April 2024, 25 course offerings have taken place, with more scheduled. Past participants from around the globe, including the United Kingdom, Malta, the Netherlands, Kenya, Australia, Belgium, Chile, India, Estonia, Colombia, New Zealand, Canada, and the US, have stepped up as course leaders. In January 2024, a special open course will be offered to men from the Mankind Project.

We take pride in the course material and, especially, in the many individuals who have endorsed and supported the course on various levels. This labor of love is and will always be free — no charge. We commit to offering the course as long as there is a perceived need, public interest, and we possess the energy and resources to sustain it. Grateful for the journey, the community, and the guidance of Spirit, we look forward to continuing this meaningful endeavor.