I just realized it's been over 2 months since I last blogged. It has to do with not having/not wanting computer time and/or not feeling inspiration to write.
What To Do With My Website?
LIVING WITHOUT MONEY, that it's "too busy" and hard to navigate. I keep thinking I'll sit down and manicure it... but again, it takes computer time. Part of me likes to think of it as a brambly, wild forest grown from wild spontaneity, with broken branches and dead leaves, and hidden nooks and crannies, that only somebody not in a hurry could appreciate, not a sterile, manicured city park for quick picnics. But maybe that's just me clinging to not wanting to change it. City Parks, after all, are many urban people's only bridge into wild nature and are thus valuable. And I suppose the reason I use the Internet in the first place is to communicate with urban folks, not preach to my wild comrades who aren't much on the Internet. I dunno. What do folks think?
Carolyn and Phil left Moab together early June, making Moab feel emptier. Phil had been with me continually, mostly camping in the canyon, for over 2 months; then he realized he had debts and family obligations to settle before fully committing to living moneyless. Carolyn had come to Moab for over a year, and we hung out a lot, but never really camped together. Carolyn wrote her thoughts in Facebook on experimenting with simple living, which I am adding at the end of this blog post.
I suppose I should clarify, folks sometimes have asked me if I'd been in any kind of romantic relationship with those who have come to join me or observe, and I have to clarify that it's been platonic. I say this more for their sakes than mine.
I'm still learning lessons on commitment and starting projects. Carolyn and I started "The Sustainable Moab Project", most of which was to convert lawns to gardens as a way of making Moab economically sustainable, less dependent upon money. We had a lot of interest at first, but it sort of fizzled. We had plenty of folks volunteering their yards - too many, in fact, but not enough folks to work them. Part of it had to do with Carolyn and I being too much of rookies, too.
I also had a couple other projects I was trying to do with friends.
Meet the Press
Then my friend, Pemo, told me he had a free press pass from KZMU radio to go to the Sonic Bloom electronic music festival in Georgetown, Colorado. It took me a whole 5 minutes to decide to go with him. Frankly, I loved it - dancing all night with 20-somethings to cutting-edge music. I am astounded at the endless, wondrous possibilities of music nowadays. Pemo and I discussed what is natural what is not natural. Even though I envision a world without money, I don't see technology as un-natural. It is beautiful in balance, if it serves us and we don't serve it. The problem is not the technology itself, but that it becomes out of balance and we become slaves to it, the result of marketing and mass production of products we don't need. The problem isn't cars, it's too many cars, and we now serve cars, cars don't serve us. Right now, electronic music is a beautiful thing. I even saw my friend Bonnie there.
The same creative process within us that produces art and technology is the same process that produces babies and redwoods and planets and amoebas. When we know ourselves we know this.
When we know ourselves, we know Creation, and we know the Seven Days of Creation are Ever Now, the possibilities as endless as the seven directions of Time and Space direct.
"Does it not say in your scripture, you are Elohim?" (quoth Jesus). "In the Beginning, Elohim creates the Heavens and the Earth." (that's present tense, for you Hebrew scholars). When we can stop manipulating, stop controlling, and simply say, "Let light be" or "Let the earth bring forth plants", then, paradoxically, we become participants in Creation.
Anyway, I now had a press pass and Pemo informed me I was his KZMU assistant, so invited me to the Sonic Bloom press conference. We got to hear from the performers' mouths, and I understood even more the human passion and art that goes into electronic music. Pemo pointed out that many of the press were bloggers and that I was a blogger, so I belonged there. So I said I would blog about it. So here it is.
Now, of course, the flip side of it all is that it was a paid festival. It did not have the same vibe as a Rainbow gathering (which is totally free), where there is no exclusion, where masses of people are so open and giving and accepting, because they are there totally voluntarily. I occasionally felt a consciousness of my age (50 years old in a sea of early 20-somethings), an ageism at Sonic Bloom that I don't feel at Rainbow. As much as I was infatuated with the music and all-night ecstatic dancing there, I found myself missing Rainbow gatherings with their sincere open-ness and love. I started thinking I might want to go to the Rainbow Gathering, after all, this summer.
Somewhere Over the Rainbow
|Rainbow Gathering 2011|
I still felt a bit of a dilemma, to go or not go. Then my friend Damian advised me: "Think of the most irresponsible thing to do and do it! The point of your living this way is to be free of chains, and the point of your living this way is to be free from Babylon's obligations, and it makes us happy to see that. So go for it!"
So off I went. There were 7 of us in the Van. The driver, Collin, I had also happened to meet at Sonic Bloom.
Now I'm in Portland - not sure how long I'll stay around here. I'm staying in the back yard of my friend Tsarra's "Ninja" house now, but have offers of some other friend's houses, too. I haven't been to Food Not Bombs yet, but am itching to hook up with them again. I'm hoping to eventually visit my friend Timo on the east slope, and maybe see friends in Ashland, too. Though I love Moab, it is nice to be out of the Utah desert extreme heat, I must say.
Okay, here's Carolyn's assessment and musings of her past year in Moab that she wrote over a month ago:
After a year of living with as little money as possible, I have realized for myself, based on my own personal experiences (not someone telling me so), that money is a useful tool that I can use for good and great convenience. I realized there are some things I do not want to sacrifice in order to live a moneyless lifestyle: drinking fresh brewed coffee in a quaint, locally-owned coffee shop, going to concerts and festivals, chocolate, and ice cream. I also realize that having a family, which is something I want to do, costs money these days. At the very minimum, one needs a decent shelter for a family and in this society, right now, that requires money. Still, living near-moneyless for a year was a valuable experience. I now see that it is possible to live a wonderful life without money. Also, I am free of the fear of becoming homeless or losing everything.
There is a time and place for all sorts of technologies. By removing all technology from my life for a time, I've learned for myself, from my own personal experiences (not someone telling me so), when it's appropriate to use technology and why. I haven't had a cell phone for a few months now, but still have an infrequent need to contact friends, family, a business, etc. that can't quite be satisfied by Google Voice. Free of addiction, I will reintroduce the cell phone to my life, recognizing that when I am in the present moment with real people, it is almost always totally unacceptable to use it. Having a cell phone will allow me to have a social life in a society not as open to the good ol' "stop by anytime" philosophy. Having a social life is important to me and not having a cell phone greatly reduced my ability to maintain one.
Also important to me is learning. Computers and TV can be amazing tools for learning. So, I will continue to use them. Today, being sick from so much raging, I watched three documentaries: The God Who Wasn't There, Moment of Death, and Food Matters... all about topics I am really interested in: religion, death, and food. Thank goodness for these technologies! We can learn so much!
Technology is to mind as meat is to body. Technology is not necessary to live a good life. Neither is meat. To have a cell phone and a computer, other things happen: mining for the metals, oil for the plastics for the parts, electricity for their fabrication and operation, possible contamination of the environment, addiction, impaired social functioning. To end up with meat on one's plate, many not-so-pleasant things happen too. Being aware of the negative aspects of these luxuries, I appreciate them more and also acknowledge that one day, they may not be available to me so easily and affordably. I'll use technology as a tool while I can.
For a year or so, I've been running experiments in not showering, not using soap, eliminating deodorant, and discontinuing my use of shampoo. In the desert, where the air is dry, this isn't so bad... your sweat dries quickly and washing certain areas with water and Dr. Bronner's is sufficient.
After suffering in the 97 degree, high humidity misery of Arkansas for four days for Wakarusa, I craved a shower like never before. Constantly sweating without relief for 109 hours pushed my limits. But, I wasn't willing to pay $10 for a shower, so I washed myself with a cloth and water. This took a long ass time. And within ten minutes of finishing, I already felt disgusting. So, I now have a rejuvenated appreciation for showering... (and air conditioning)
I wash my pits and privates using Dr. Bronner's. Shower 1-2 times a week. Wash my hair with water, although eventually it really needs some Dr. Bronner's. I like Dr. Bronner's because it's organic, fair trade, mild, and simple. And it's not very smelly. Through experience, it seems that showering less often and using less soap keeps my skin and hair in a healthy, natural state (not dried out and in need of even more products, like lotions and conditioners). And possibly, my natural scent/pheromones are present, which can only be a good thing in my opinion.
I haven't been very respectful of my body over the last few months. There is lots of junk food to be had in the dumpster and it has been really difficult to control my impulses when pastries and pizza are so easily had, and freely! At Wakarusa, I did some drugs and, as expected, my desire for junk food is gone. I want to capitalize on this and continue eating healthily. My next experiment will be a (mostly) raw food diet. I have never tried this before and I expect it to be very difficult.
I never want to force myself to be active. It should be a natural part of my life. For the most part, it is. I particularly love going to concerts and festivals and dancing for hours and hours. I think dancing is one of those universal healthy good-feeling activities. Walking or biking for commuting purposes is also entirely natural-feeling to me, so I love doing it. Walking, biking, and dancing combined with a healthy diet should be sufficient for good health. Maybe I'll be able to continue climbing rocks too, which would be fun.
Why all these experiments?
To be told that such-and-such is healthy or beneficial and doing it is completely different than to discover for myself that such-and-such is healthy or beneficial and doing it. So, I experiment with my lifestyle, my activities, and my mind and body so that I can learn what is beneficial to me based on my real life experiences. It's a lot easier to do what's good for me if I'm doing them because I know so rather than because I think so from someone telling me so. Experimenting and coming to my own conclusions about everything increases my confidence and enthusiasm. It also makes it pretty hard to suggest to anyone else to do something in particular. Because everyone has to do their own self experiments to find out what's good for them.
I'm not satisfied living life a certain way because that's the way things are done, because someone said so, or because people expect it. I am compelled to break free of childhood and societal conditioning to discover my own realities. It's fascinating, challenging, and rewarding. I think a lot of unhappiness in people's lives is because they follow a path that their family or friends or society or employer showed them.