I woke up this morning with a fragment of the dream in which I was immersed as I woke up. I had been trying to get rid of a large, apparently dead, putrid bird in my attic. I finally got some help. I was embarrassed about the situation. I thought to myself that I would justify my neglect by telling them, “I didn’t know it was there,” which was only partly true. I had known it was there but had either neglected it or suppressed the awareness. As it turned out, after they rescued the bird, it was alive.
My take on the dream is that the bird represents my sense of myself as a “community organizer,” my lifelong identity. But lately, my initiatives have not gotten off the ground. The last one that had any success was the Occupy Be the Change Caucus, and that project was only partially successful, at best.
Part of the problem is my age. Soon I will be 70. People respond most strongly to their peers and most of my peers are either dead (Steve Sears, Gil Lopez, Richard Koogle), tired, or set in their ways.
So I resolve to stop beating that dead horse (or dead bird) and stop trying to initiate projects. Rather, I’ll concentrate on writing my autobiography and occasional proposals for action that I will share, while remaining available to participate if and when a strong organizing committee initiates a project that inspires me. If the bird flies, I’ll join the flight.
Being alone back in the States where I speak the language is more difficult than being alone in a country where I don’t speak the language (especially when that country is in the Caribbean and I can hang out on the beach anytime I want). Here my inability to have soulful connections with the people I encounter is more difficult because the potential is more present. It’s like a mirage that vanishes upon approach. When people ask me, “How are you doing?” I may start answering, “Alienated as usual, but I’m getting used to it.”
Except for my frequent conversations with my sister, Mary, and my old friend, Leonard, my online and telephonic communications are few and far between. I reply to emails in kind, and if someone calls me, I’ll call them later. But not much is happening in that regard, which I find curious, for I feel I can be a good friend.
Normally it doesn’t bother me. For one thing, it leaves me with more free time to pursue my other interests. But when the possibility for a deep conversation with someone appears in front of me, I often get butterflies in my stomach. Like when an artist from South Africa who loved the movie “Looking for Sugar Man” appeared for a three-day stay in this two-bedroom apartment where I’m staying. When she was twelve, she adored Rodriguez and knew all the lyrics to his songs. Surely here was a chance for an authentic dialog! But it never happened.
Then, ironically, Friday night, I ended up next to two women from Oakland, a mother and her daughter, and after the game I gave them a tour of Old Town and we experienced a remarkable, inspiring encounter. I cherish my memory of our encounter, which reassured me the path I’m on is valid. After we parted, I came home, went to bed, and slept better than I have in ages.
This afternoon, I’m going to Thai Royal Massage for another unique foot massage, which they provide while the client lies in a recliner, which has inspired me to offer foot massages to people who come to my next housewarming in my refurbished apartment after I return at the end of May!
In the meantime, my top priority will be my autobiography, whose working title now is “Saving the World: My Story.” Being de facto homeless, I plan to wander through Nevada, soak in hot springs, watch the Giants on TV, and play blackjack 2 hours a day to pay for my lodging.
March 25, 2014
I just posted three pieces that feel good to me:
Proposed: A Full Employment Jam, or Working Conference (3/25/14 Draft)
The following proposal for collaboration is presented for consideration by interested parties. At the moment, no one is working to organize this project. It is my hope that individuals and organizations will eventually emerge to convene a process of the sort envisioned here.
Following is the first draft of a pledge that participants in “holistic growth support groups” might embrace and use to guide their work together. My thought is that if a sizable number of such groups were to form and affiliate with one another in an informal network, it could be the foundation for a deep sense of community.
Economic insecurity leads people to constantly calculate how to survive at the expense of others. It corrupts our culture, fosters social discord, undermines personal authenticity, and leaves individuals in great need of caring communities that truly nurture self-empowerment.
By gathering regularly in small groups with trusted friends, we could support one another in our efforts to become better human beings and more effective activists. In this way, a network of full employment support groups could fulfill unmet personal needs, grow community, and help build a grassroots full employment movement.