Sunday, December 12, 2010
Friday, October 15, 2010
Monday, October 4, 2010
Task 3: Great Ideas are born from small causes
I had some difficulty thinking about this task, when I was so uprooted from a sencse of immediate community. I then took a look at the title, and what it allowed me to think was, "start small". That's what i did, and then a string of things showed up for me to help me on the path towards something like a "Bike the Change: a one-day service tour and transformation through goofination." I put a shout out to the loved ones I'm going to be living with, and their co-creative ideas starting flowin'!
For this task, I want to do a one-day service bike tour/ride in Oakland, California and other contacts. After sharing the idea with them, we discovered that the day after I arrive will be 350.org’s Work Party for Climate Change; a worldwide play-work day where organizations, groups, and individuals do a project that will help solve the climate crises in their local community. http://www.350.org/en/invitation
This day is 10/10/10. It will be a powerful display of projects in the East Bay area where I will be living, and I’m really excited to offer our gifts and ideas to this day of community service/development. The idea for my action is two-fold. The first part will be on the Saturday of the 350.org event, and will be comprised of biking from event to event (there’s ~40 in the East Bay!) and supporting each group with the manual work (or at least many groups) spontaneously and with an emphasis on appreciation, creativity, clowning, and possibility. We will whisper inspiring stories of that other grous are doing and how their doing, in an effort to cross-pollinate the energy and power. The second part will be advertising for a “Wake Up” on the coming Wednesday. The reason for this is that this day (10/10/10) will be an incredible day to make leverage of the number of people who will be within our reach to share about the work we’re doing. The intention would be to connect and inform people to a “larger context” within which climate change action is a part of. Meaning, how the actions taken in the realm of environmental sustainability is one element of a Movement of Movements towards socially justice and healthy interpersonal/intrapersonal growth as well (at that we can’t work in one area without, in some way, having our foot my default in the other areas.) In essence, answering part of the question, "What to I do after the 350 day of action?".
As a side note, this landmark event will be the kick off for a potentially monthly Wake Up + something we (my house-mates and i) want to explore/bring (aka, another work party, yoga class, etc. in addition to the half-day program that will be the same every month). It will be a platform and time for experimentation, fun, and community building.
For task 4, I’ll need to contact the following people before Wednesday.
- ATD network
- Ramana coop
The skills and resources I need to make sure I have are as follows:
- location for Wake Up event
Saturday, September 25, 2010
RESULTS OF task # 2
It’s the end of the week, and there are a few changes to what my initial intentions were. For one, the center I was at DID have recycling! So therefore, I just left my recycling there instead of taking in to Boulder, Colorado. I’ll leave the space below for updating soon with my food resource recovery for the rest of the WWW game (until the 15th of October).
Daily: 3-4 paper towels, tissues, tea bag, and toilet paper.
-Paper (3-4, 8’11’ pages)
-Community recycling from food containers: plastic, paper, metal, cardboard.
Over this week, I’ve actually accumulated more things! There was a free box at the mountain center, and I got a new bag, shoes, and jeans. The Universe seems to do this despite our most noble intentions. What I’m taking this to mean is that it’s time to shed some more things again and put a pint of: Trusting that my needs will be met, in their place.
Things I won’t use in the coming months because I intent to be in a warm climate, and will give to:
-1 pair fleece pants (Fabio)
-Dress shirt (Yuko)
-1 wool sweater (Holly or June)
-1 pair wool leggings (holly or June)
-1 pair wool socks (Fabio or Holly)
-REI Stuff sack (Fabio)
-Brown wool hat (June or Holly)
Lessons and struggles:
I have learned first-hand about the dynamic of my attachment to stuff. I’ve also learned about how wonderful it is to be able to carry most if not all of your possessions, as well as joyfully give something to someone who needs it. It actually feels better than getting more stuff! This process has been going on for the past few months, but especially this week of traveling and doing this task had made me notice it even more. Two friends of mine were able to get down to only that which they could take on bikes. Click here to check out Mandy and Ryan’s bike-packing Journey across the states: Newspaper: (http://terrain.org/columns/23/guest.htm) The site for their documentary film: (http://www.withinreachmovie.com/WR/About.html) (An abundance of thanks for the inspiration you two birds!)
My consumption: Food choices, water uses, and energy sources
What food choices (vegan)- what was it, where was it from, and how much was it?
Unfortunately I left the notebook I wrote down everything I consumed and threw away during this past week, AT the center in the mountains of Colorado! Therefore this is going to be a very generalized list.
Wed: vegan supper.
Thursday 16- Wednesday 22: Vegan breakfast, lunch, snack, and dinner everyday. Coffee 2X day, tea bags once a day. (Truth-telling: Honey in my coffee = Weak spot!) I was able to eat mostly vegan, with a few dairy products thrown into dishes that I ate by the buffet style food service at the center. I am also waiting to hear from the kitchen staff, the direct locations from which our food was sourced.
What water did I use this week?
I wasn’t able to calculate the amount of water personally used, but I thought it was a good idea track this as I was living in a bioregion in which water conservation is of high importance.
-I used the shower three times during the week.
-The toilet at least four times a day
-Washed my hands at least four times a day
-Brushing teeth, and washing my face ~2x day
-Drinking water (~1/2 gallon day)
What energy did I consume? - What was it and how much was it?
In my search for discovering approximately how much energy I consumed at the center for ~7 days, I had a conversation that led me to discover that the center can’t currently discern how much energy use an individual would use in a given day. The variables include season, population, and living arrangements. This would also not include that the kitchen uses on a given day and season to cook. (What they make and how). I know that it was mostly propane that was used, but I look forward to updating this part of the blog once I find out more.
-What I could economize during one week:
I was able to actually economize my clothing and water use, as I didn’t wash my clothes the whole week, and borrowed clothes from the free box at the center. I economized travel costs by traveling to and from the center with others. I help others economize by giving free haircuts? (2)
My feelings behind the results:
One of the things I have difficulty with is an unexamined assumption that I “deserve” to buy new things and services. This is more than an individual consciousness I know, but as I see what that sneaky belief does within the greater culture, I’m that much more motivated to break apart the manifestation of it in my life. This month I bought a new sleeping bag, and new shoes. Simple, needed items that were well-made products. What I want to examine here, is how incredibly tempted I was to: get a tattoo, a piercing, a new yoga mat, a new notebook, a new book on yoga, a necklace, a new CD, a bus ticket (vs. rideshare), a hotel room, and so on. It’s ingrained into the minds of my generation that we need new stuff, and even though I find myself to be pretty accomodating, sometimes I find it might be more show than what’s really possible. I want to continue to take this task on in all aspects of my life, remembering that often, "the personal is political."
“Out beyond a field of right doing and wrong doing there is a field, I’ll meet you there.” - Rumi
What I’m passionate about is continuing down this road of radical simplicity, compassionate discipline, and together in community with a thousand pounds of fun added! Below is an article and youtube clip of some of my shero’s and hero’s on this topic.
Julia Butterfly Hill on Disposability consciousness!
Ethan Hughes and The Possibility Alliance
Thursday, September 16, 2010
Start a recycling program at home
Right now I’m living at a Meditation Center for a week, I was just in Boulder, Colorado for a week, and before that, in Nevada. I’ll be taking an alternate (more creative?) route with this task, juggling the fact that I’m doing lots of traveling and not rooted in any one community for more than a week until early October! (Oakland)
What I do plan on doing however, is documenting getting all of my food needs for the coming month (September 15-October 15) from only two sources: 1) Doing food resource recovery (things that will soon be thrown out, or have) for my own needs, and donating any left over food to those in need. 2) The gifting of those who joyfully do so (friends, communities I’m living with, etc.) The intention behind this is to discover the abundance of food that is thrown away and make as much use of it as I can as well as come face to face with any habitual individualistic patterns of buying and eating food alone, and on some level furthering a separated, “throw-way” culture.
My other intention, for only this week, is to take all recycling that I have back to boulder, Colorado, where it can be recycled. (There is no recycling that I have found yet at the center.)
Make a list of everything you throw away, and recycle.
I’m documenting this in a notebook, and am going to post it all at the end of the week (Sept 23).
Make a list of all the things you don’t use, and give them to people who might appreciate them. What was it, and to whom?
Based on what was going on in my life at the time, I actually did this task about 3 weeks ago! I’ve recently give away ½ of the clothes I own to friends I was living with (Peregrine, Heather, Mandy, Daniel), and have let my parents know that they can give away my any clothes they have of mine that are still at their house.
Giving away other things like a bag (to Heather), and a sleeping bag, pillow, and a few books (to Hummingbird Community), has gotten me down to:
* Hiking backpack (clothes, sleeping bag, tent)
* Computer bag (books, computer, personal items, notebooks, ipod, cell phone)
* Bike, Helmut, Lock
* One box: dress clothes, books, important papers, closet hanger extras
I do have some books, and memorabilia at my parents home in Michigan as well.
* Observe what you tend to consume. Make a list of things you could economize. In addition: tell us that you are already doing to make a difference. What was it, and how much were you able to economize during one week?
I’ll also write down what I want to consume over he week and post it on the 23rd.
My intention for this week is to focus on the consuming aspect of this task. How can I have as little environmental impact in this week? My intention for this week is to be Vegan (no animal products) as I’m not sure if the animal products at the center here in Colorado are from a local, sustainable source. (Whereas the fruits and veggies are at least organic).
In terms of the energy I consume during travel over the past year, I want to share what initiatives and effort I’ve made in that realm. I have traveled much by craigslist rideshare (www.craigslist.com), trains, buses, and even bikes and hitchhiking! In Boulder, Colorado I only traveled by bike, and sometimes by the local bus systems. Partially because of necessity, but also definitely because of what I know of the energy it consumes, and the paradigm of infinite resources it fits into to fly, and drive a car.
Preface: I wanted to start this blog entry by giving a context for the kind of language I use when I write, as I care about how comprehensible it is, and hope that anyone who reads this blog can get an idea of what I’m up to.
I’ve found two valuable ways of framing, through my Dad, how we can speak or write about what Is. We can use “Day Language”: Factual, measurable, and aiming to be objectively true, or “Night Language”: interpretive, metaphorical, seeking to inspire through subjective Truth. As I write on the intimate subjects required for this first task, I simply can’t leave out either method of sharing myself (and also want anyone reading to know why my posts tend to be so darn long!).
Who am I now?
• How do you feel?
I feel like a tender, curious sapling whose intentions are pure. You could interpret this to mean that I’m a committed, growing, and passionate young woman who sometimes bumbles along in a kind of rational optimism. I feel very excited to play the WWW game; to challenge myself to catalyze positive changes in the communities I’m in, and aim to embody a non-violent, faith and service-based “Warrior”.
• Do you have professional questions? What are they?
Over the past year, I have been thinking more deeply about where my passions intersect with the (what I see as) world’s greatest needs: My life purpose. Right now that looks like growing and building my skills in: Non-Violent Communication and Restorative Justice, grassroots organizing, co-creative community building, and facilitation of any of kind of “participatory regenerative art” (including, but not limited to: dance, yoga, experiential theater, music, storytelling, and clowning.) Sometime in the not-too-distant future I’d love to have the skills and experience to give back to the world as a healer, community builder, facilitator, trickster creative “Restor(y)er Warrior” (to tell a different story of what’s possible for ourselves and our lives right now, and to spread the message of sustainability, justice, and peace for all.”)
• What are your dreams?
My dreams are of communities coming to unity, honoring their diversity, and living and learning together with compassion and inclusivity. Much of my inspiration and framework for social change at the intimate, community-building level comes from Tom Atlee’s book Reflections on Evolutionary Activism: Essays, Poems and Prayers From an Emerging Field of Sacred Social Change: http://evolutionaryactivism.com/
I would like to see educational institutions, communities, and families make a shift to more experiential, nature-based, service-oriented, and empathy-building learning models. I believe that communication, the ability to make a heart-felt connection, and to be with the unknown of a “conflict” are powerful ways to allow innovative solutions to emerge when “two or more gather…” Historically, I have not been involved in social change at the economic-political level, as my passion lies in action at the intimate level: creatively telling a new story of humanity and our basic nature as well as learning communication that honors our inherent differences, interconnectedness, and capacity for compassion.
My greatest dream, however, would have to be global transformation through “goofination!” If we bring our lightheartedness together in community to the tough stuff, I’d gladly be a part of the front lines facing any 21st century crisis.
These two great youtube clips really demonstrate what I’m talking about with empathy, interconnectedness, and silly creativity:
Building an “Empathic Civilization”
The “Symphony of Science”
My dreams for myself can be simplified to finding some method to support my generation to be fully awake, alive, and dreaming: to become fully human. A favorite quote of mine is this:
“Don't ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” –Howard Thurman
This is where my hope in seeing people come alive meets my need for change in the world. I want to see young and old be lit up with love, passion, and a heart of service to the whole. I want to see all (including myself) come to feel that they were made for these times, that they have a unique gift to offer the world, and that they are held by a whole Earth community in a bond of love and inclusivity greater than they know.
That we Dreamers
I dream of beautiful youth (re)evolution
a metamorphosis of the kind in which
there will be time for you
into a love affair
with this precious moment
the preciousness of (y)our sacred soul
and of this time…
…To listen and witness,
Cosmos gracing us
with an unfathomable,
life time-long gift.
That we Dreamers
There is nothing more
For us to do
than to bring our dreams
and bountiful joy to
all the pain and suffering
and put it in
our collective stew
Give it the right amount
of cooking time
and let the steam soften your heart
as the pain and the joy combine
and emerge as a tonic
that will bring you fully alive
That we Dreamers
I want to add my love
And invite you to add yours,
To this stew of beautiful,
Well loved and fed
Cannot help but create
Out of their dreams.
• What are your challenges?
My challenge with anything I do often lies in two things. The first is seeing the complexity, violence, and harsh nature of a capitalist culture, or industrial growth society and being young person striving to forge a different path that what’s common in my culture: going to school, getting a job that pays, and settling in a home. I often come up against my own unexamined beliefs about that I need to know, and be able to do to be a leader, change agent, alive citizen.
The second, is with my own lake of experience, skills, and readiness for action…I would much rather be a strategic planner, designer, and spend time on making heart-felt connections than be on the front lines of community building and social activism. I’m inspired, informed, and taking small steps from a place of “blessed unrest”, and what I see as my greatest challenge is the action and experience that would empower me as a change agent and solidify my commitment to social change and community building.
• Why do you want to take part in the Warriors Without Weapons 2011?
My deepest purpose is to learn in a collaborative environment how to embody sustainable, and transformational community development: to learn and advocate the pedagogy of WWW. As much as I know that that goal is a lifelong endeavor, I want to bring the essence of that back to the project I’m filtering much of my passions into: “Bus the Change”.
The other aspect of my desire to take part is to challenge myself in a community of like-minded young people to learn the energetic and relational aspects of being a “Warrior without Weapons”. What does that mean? How does it show up in social entrepreneurship? I have my own ideas, inspirations, and models of that and I’m really curious to see how young people from around the world live this archetype. For me it is to live as a peace-giver, wounded healer, and fierce advocate for justice…sourcing our abundance from what’s already in our lives and risking together, to help make someone’s life more wonderful.
• Have you ever done something which demonstrates that you are a “Warrior Without Weapons”? Tell us!
I’ve demonstrated a string of related actions as a ‘warrior without weapons’, all encompassed by my involvement with the Pachamama Alliance and the Awakening the Dreamer symposium (ADT). In the spring of 2009 I helped bring a facilitator of the ADT symposium to my college (Earlham) in Indiana. That summer I was trained as a facilitator and co-facilitated a symposium at Indiana Powershift: a youth leadership summit aimed at bringing a unified voice of demand for change from elected officials, and building the youth clean energy and climate change movement through informative and inspiring workshops on the converging crises in our ecological and economic world. I then co-organized another symposium that winter (’10) at my school, going to the campus for a week despite no longer being a student of the school. This past May I co-led a short symposium in Boulder, Colorado as well.
Following this trail, came my current involvement with creating ‘Bus the Change’ (BTC): a mobile band of youth in action, planting seeds of inspiration and waking people up to the reality of our times. Through this symposium, and possibly transformational service to communities in a similar way to how the WWW program engages with community building.
I played a small part in helping the team I was working with this past winter, create youth-leadership training at Hummingbird Community in Mora, New Mexico. The purpose of this 11-week (summer-long) training was to bond as a “resilient co-creative community” and to become “ambassadors for the co-creation of an “environmentally sustainable, socially just, and spiritually fulfilling human presence on the planet.” Bus the Change started as a two-part initiative, a training and a service-bus tour, with the intention of embodying the symposium’s message and what we wanted to offer on the road.
My commitment is that when I move to Oakland (first week in October) I give myself fully to the following things:
Action and learning in the realms of: Equity, Essence, Empathy, and Embodiment (all about healthy and life-serving connection to self and others)
1. Pour my interest, passion, and emerging gifts into a participatory theatrical presentation of the Awakening the Dreamer symposium, or the youth version from Generation Waking Up, the “Wake Up”.
2. Volunteering for an organization where I can confront my edge around being in action and heart-felt service on a consistent basis. (Possible Clowning at hospitals and retirement homes?) Doing this to be involved in my immediate community, compassionately confront my privilege, as well as build skills for WWW and BTC.
3. Work on the Bus the Change 2011 summer tour with a group of inspired, and skillful social change agents.
4. Continuing to learn non-violent communication
5. Further my ability for self-connection and inner-peace, with embodiment and mindfulness practices such as 5 rhythms dance, yoga, and meditation.
What are your future plans? What do you want to do when you return from the program?
Further learning and experimenting with the balance of collaborative service work, inner transformation, and experiential education about how to “be a blessing to the world”: how to make a lasting difference in our world.
That’s really going to look like working on the BTC initiative: organizing, collaborating, and learning as much as I can about what I don’t know by starting with a dream, and going from there.
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
Dear fellow Heart-warriors,
My name is Miriam Joy Dowd, born on July 17, 1990 in Granville, Massachusetts, and USA. I grew up in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and went to college for a year and a half in Richmond, Indiana. This pivotal summer I’ve been living in a conscious, co-creative, eco-community in Mora, New Mexico called Hummingbird Ranch. I’ve been in the South West United States for about 8 months and will be moving to Oakland, California in the end of this month to settle into a house with 5 other young people to create community and to continue to co-create a service-learning Bus tour I’ve been involved with since January this year.
SO, wonderful superhero living courageously in these times, you now know the sketch of my geographical self-history…I want you to be able to see a sketch of the lesser known territories of me. I’ll share with you with the greatest degree of transparency and honesty, a personal presentation of myself.
I am the youngest child of three, my sister is 27 and in the military, and my brother is 25 and in athletics as a strength and conditioning coach. Four loving parents support me: my mom and step dad, and my dad and step mom. I take away a tremendous about of love and nourishment from their guidance and encouragement, I see them as my main mentors.
I was named after a woman named Miriam McGillis, a catholic sister and new cosmologist. Her gifts to life were highly informed by a man named Thomas Berry. His work with cosmology and ecology has also really influenced my worldview; most directly through my dad and stepmother and their life’s work. The inspired influence of the New Cosmology has lead me into volunteering with the organization "The Pachamama Alliance" and their initiative, the "Awakening the Dreamer symposium". Their sister organization, "Generation Waking Up" (GenUp) has created a version of the symposium for young people that is the best tool I know for awakening a sence of “blessed unrest” (knowing what’s going on in the world, and taking positive action steps in the face of it all). The Purpose of GenUp is to "Ignite a generation of young people to bring forth a thriving, just, and sustainable world."
As my friend and co-organizer of Generation Waking up says in a song: “Why did you wake up, with the time still left to turn the mighty tide?”
What I love and what I’m passionate about is “Using the positive aspects of what is, to change to dysfunctional aspects of what is” (Tom Atlee) I was studying in undergrad until I more fully got that ~1% of the world’s population has a college degree, and I wasn’t learning the skills, capacities, and experiences to make a real change in my nation and culture through university education. So I left school in the fall of 2009 and began to volunteer and learn experientially in the South West United States.
In the realm of social change, my more specific passion lies at the community/local/collaborative level. My preferred arena of activism includes: radically simple environmental sustainability practices (permaculture, and living intentionally in community), social justice starting at the personal, relational level, and an evolutionary spirituality/ evolutionary activism (informed by an understanding of our greater, unified creation story)
Within the context of those passions is my deep interest in movement and embodiment arts such as: 5-rhythms dance, yoga, contact improvisation, participatory theater and clowning. Music, especially participatory music making is also a parallel interest. The evolutionary reasons for participatory movement, music and art, are of central importance to what I see as the Movement of Movements. There are evolutionary reasons for art forms being the reason for shifts worldview. So if you are an artist of ANY KIND, remember the Truth at the center of you work. Remember the reason for your attraction and use of this kind of communication! The point is using participatory music and song and movement to reach into the deeper emotional and life-force parts of the brain. Cerebral talk is just is not lasting and there’s so much power, in my experience, in experiential regenerative arts for not only social entrepreneurs, but for anyone alive today.
To describe my character I would mention words like “passionate, creative, empathetic, visionary, sensitive, and driven.” I’d say that I’m positive, goofy, and caring and most value compassion, truth, and integrity in my relationships. I also value bringing consciousness and non-violence to all my relationships, and have been very interested in non-violent communication (NVC) for the past 8 months. I’ve have also recently been introduced to a way of describing all the different ways in which one can work for peace, and find it informing my life in a surprisingly significant way. There is NOT one path or method to non-violence! This model adapted by Ethan Hues of the Possibility Alliance. In his model Ethan includes: peace “keepers, makers, creators, breathers, builders, and givers” (I’ll explore detailed differentiations in a later blog) What I want to mention now, is that I think it’s key that I’ve identified myself as a dynamic blend of 4 of these (rather than trying to be all of them, and try to o ). A peace-maker: connecting through non-violent communication, peace and reconciliation work, and so on (the emotional realm). A peace-creator: the creative arts, and that which inspires through metaphor (the expressive realm). A peace-breather: being an embodiment of peace, and finding non-violence within so as to be present with others (the spirit realm). The final category is at once a passion, gift, and edge for me: a peace giver: Being in self-less service to others in a way that does not negate or make wrong their experience of life and their world-view. In essence: “love never insists on it’s own way”.
The project and movement that I am giving my time to at this time is called Bus the Change (BTC) and was born directly out of the organizations that I mentioned above. What Bus the Change aims to do is not only bring the symposium to diverse communities, but to use methods of deep listening, and possibility oriented whole-systems social change to truly catalyze a movement of change agents. In addition to the vision of Generation waking up, Bus the Change aims to connect across lines of difference non-violently, and synergistically, and to serve the emergence of awake, healthy, resilient communities. I see the crew of BTC as an embodiment of an integral non-violence: to bring all of the modes of peace making to communities by having a diverse crew able to bring all realms together as one cohesive initiative. I hope to apprentice in a way, the methodology of WWW, if not eventually find a way to eventually be a US partnership.