This is a sort of New Year’s resolutions post. I usually don’t write resolutions. In fact, the last few years I’ve thought it was silly and that it just ends up being a list that hangs over your head. But I feel differently this year for some reason. Writing down a list can be a powerful way of committing things to your psyche. And I feel very strongly about the things on this list. I think they are accomplish-able and important for my mental health and the health of those around me. And, I’m in a new state, a new (small) city, and I feel an immense sense opportunity that is just waiting to be plucked from the beautiful Vermont sky.
We have created a hell on Earth. Most of us remain blinded to its firey prison, but it’s here. Most of you reading this are probably only in the outer circle of hell, not the very center of the agony. You may have to work 8–10 hrs a day at a job you hate to pay your mortgage, but you have a house. You may worry that you won’t have enough to leave your kid when you die, but your kid eats three meals a day, has people to love it and people to teach it. You think your life doesn’t have much point, but you get enough joy in the few hours you get to spend with your friends and family to keep you ticking. You may medicate heavily with alcohol, pot or pharmaceuticals, but all in the name of unwinding, relaxing, kicking back. Yes, this is only the outside circle of hell.
I gave the following talk at Z-Day Massachusetts, 2013. Unfortunately, the camera shut off after two minutes, so the rest of the talk is transcribed after the jump.
History is written by tragedy
And it maintains ugly secrets of intimacy
And struggles which nations ingest.
Covered in blood, we wept.
When one in a million is dark
And nine hundred and ninety-nine thousand are broke,
The upshot is guess who writes history?
The upshot is guess who will not?
A soldier will fight to the death.
And raggedly take his last breath,
For oil or land, the American Brand.
Now bodies lie still in the sand.
What are we doing? Who taught us to do this?
Ah, resources are scarce, we must get ours!
But we were told we were attacked, we must have honor and pride!
Stand by your country, lay down by it’s side!
But let me tell you a secret—
Borders mean nothing and are created by men,
Created by history
By those who would win.
And there’s nothing to win by fighting your brother,
Nothing you win by watching him suffer.
The real winner sits tight with his fat bank rolls,
While you, hollowed men, feel inside you go cold.
“United we stand, divided we fall”—
Let’s take that and apply it to world, to all.
Would you rather Earth perish in blood and destruction?
Or save it together at this critical junction?
Don’t glorify war, you fat-wallet assholes,
And say if we don’t, we’re unpatriotic.
Don’t see your limbs blown off in the field
Your haunted eyes afflicted with PTSD.
War is a racket, a divisive racket,
Used to put pride in the metals on your jacket.
But fighting for peace is an oxymoron.
Only peace brings peace and a greater tomorrow.
The history books say that this the way,
They fall open to pages of white men going gray.
Those books don’t talk of the time in between
When regular people lived regularly.
Our first motivation is to help and to hold
Not bloody our neighbor, not bomb his whole world.
Don’t let them sell you the lie of bad men
That were recorded to prove that we all live in sin.
Quantum mechanics and super string theory now tell us we are and this whole world is all pure consciousness, just a function of the wave property of consciousness. Our thoughts and intentions create this world. Awaken your consciousness, change the world. If you don’t understand what that means, take a few minutes everyday to sit with your thoughts and think about who you are, why you’re here, what you’re doing and what it all means. You will only understand when you start being conscious of your consciousness. Being self-aware is the first step to understanding and liberation.
It’s been almost a week since I left the Earthship build, and I still haven’t fully physically recovered.
Now that may make me sound like a wimp, but those of you who were there and this was also you’re first time doing labor and construction 7 hours a day for a week, you know what I’m talking about.
For those of you who only know me from the build, I am generally more likely to be found in heels and a snappy outfit with some mascara on, not a bandana and a jog bra, covered with earth. I go to work and sit in front of a computer, real cushy-like. That’s my day job and how I spend most of my time. But I also love camping, the outdoors and new experiences. My husband and I just bought an inflatable kayak that is super sweet. We go for long walks and hikes and we bike. But. I had never really done manual labor. I had never consistently used tools for more than a few minutes at a time to fix an errant shelf in my house. I had never lifted a sledgehammer. I have rarely worked my body to exhaustion, even at the gym.
But I didn’t hesitate for one second to sign up for this build. I pretty much spazzed out and immediately filled out the form online when I found out one was happening 30 min from where I grew up and 45 min from where my parents now live. Vermont is a special place, and the fact that I could experience an Earthship build in my home state really excited me. My husband and I like to go camping every year as well, and the fact that we would camp at the work site, well that just sold it all the more.
Monday morning arrived and we rolled out of the woods to start work. We met our foreman (forewoman?), Tiffany, who seemed very competent and in charge yet chill and approachable. And then I spent the next several hours pounding tires.
By lunch I thought I was going to die.
I went and laid face down in my tent and thought “I can’t do this for 5 days.” I went back after lunch and promptly found a much less physically demanding job to do—threading and twisting wired for the vaulted roofs. It was still tough, but pounding tires is in a league of it’s own. And it’s almost comical, as a female, to watch yourself pound dirt into tires and then have a guy come along and slam the shit out of them and realize you had done hardly anything. So. Better for us all if I stay away from the tire pounding.
Besides twisting wire, I also laid can walls, plastered the vaults, cut lath around electrical sockets, shoveled earth, carried earth, helped where I could, looked lost some of the time, sweat my boobs off, and just tried to absorb the experience.
All week I had to challenge myself everyday to work through the pain from the day before and continue what I had committed to. And you know what body part took the worst of it, of all things? My hands. I had thought I should worry most about my back (most of my body parts are messed up from years of gymnastics, but my back is what I worry about the most), but it turns out it was my hands. They were so swollen by Friday that it looked like I had dirty little sausages attached to my palms. I tweaked some nerves in my wrist as well and I am still getting tinglies in my right thumb, pointer and middle fingers. Every afternoon the ache sets in in my joints and I’m beginning to wonder if I didn’t give myself some arthritis! (As a graphic designer and artist, I’m hoping for these effects to subside…soon!).
And then there was the challenge of overcoming my need for perfection. I really like to do things well and ask question after question until I fully understand that task at hand. I was so worried about screwing something up, which I said multiple times. Every single time I got a resounding reply that screw ups were normal—these kinds of houses and builds are meant for screwing up. You don’t hire a crew filled with volunteers that have never done this before if you are worried about things being perfect. That’s the beauty of an Earthship. It seems to be designed to take some error, yet still function beautifully. One of the crew told me he thinks that Earthships, once they are done, sort of take a while to settle into place. The little screw ups and errors and individual ways of doing things all mush together to make each Earthship have it’s own personality.
As I dealt with the physical pain and my own anxiety about “doing it right,” all the while there was amazing feeling that started the minute my husband and I showed up and started talking to others. It was a feeling of warmth and acceptance and generosity. It was friendliness and funnies and a shared sense that everyone there was finding their own path to help make this a better world.
On my last day there I kept running into the re-bar that was spanning the U I was working in. Seriously, I did it like ten times. And every time I would manage to get it in my head that it was there and avoid it, I would just as quickly forget, turn around and promptly slam into it again. The last time I smacked my face on it, right above my lip. I swore loudly for the 1ooth time and one of the crew looked at me like, really? again? And it hurt so much, and the tears sprang to my eyes. I had sunglasses on so no one could see and I just took a deep breath and kept working. At lunch break, I was up at our tent with my husband and told him about it. He could hear the waiver in my voice and asked if I still wanted to cry. I said Yeeeesssssss and the flood gates opened. I hadn’t seen a breakdown happening but when it did I knew (in hindsight) that of course it had been coming. As I cried about the pain in my face and the exhaustion and just being totally out of my element, a larger reason for the tears emerged in my mind. These were also happy tears, tears of relief, that I had found people that cared as much about where this world is going as I do. So many conversations that week revolved around the state of the world and what we can do to fix it, and uncovering truths, and working towards a better tomorrow, for all the humans yet to come. None of these people accept the status quo. None of them wanted to be traditional. None of them felt ineffectual against a ragingly corrupt system. All of them seemed so empowered and ready to do what they could. And they were already doing it. This trip was for many a first step towards breaking out of the “usual.” And I was crying for the relief of knowing there are more and more of us out there. More and more of us trying to do our part. Relief that my beliefs that humans AREN’T inherently evil is true. Relief that there are people out there who want to do the hard work. Relief that I could feel a comraderie with people I barely knew because we all have the same ideals.
I have never met so many awesome people in one place. I can honestly say I liked everyone that was on this build. I more than liked everyone. I was grateful for all the conversations I had, grateful for all the help that was given to me (when I asked and when I didn’t need to ask), grateful for the laughs and openness everyone shared. Grateful that everyone I talked to about it already knew what The Zeitgeist Movement was. Grateful for the down to earth attitudes and generosity and real discussions and sharing of truths. Grateful for real people. Doing real things. In this completely unreal world that has been created around us.
For that, I thank all of you that were (and still are!) there. In no particular order: Matt, Tara, Eric, Ulricha, Dana, Francis, Francis, Carl, Carl, Mi, Unaime, Brian, Theo, Stefan, Steve, Taylor, Steph, Lauren, Kieran, Rob, Elise, Chris, Angel, Dan, Donna-Marie, Jes, Ben, Matt, Mike, Kyle, Eric, Rory, Lou, Justin, Jacob, Tiffany, Shawn, the woman working with Shawn that whose name I never caught, the puppeteers, Phil, Brian, Constantine, and of course Ami, Chris and Mike. Some of you I may not have actually met, and some of you probably don’t remember my name, but I still thank you for being there and doing what you’re doing.
We are the ones we have been waiting for.
This post is dedicated to someone really important in my life. They will know who they are by the topic.
I think one of the greatest things holding back regular people from standing up to their government and the corporations who own them is they believe that people are inherently evil and that is why we will never be able to change anything on a mass scale. I have heard it said over and over – “People are bad! People are evil! People are corrupt!! People want power!! People are selfish!! We need elected officials to make laws for us because if they didn’t we’d all run around killing each other!!”
Damn, dude. Why the heck would anyone want to start a family? Or perpetuate their own lives at all, if they really believed that??
This black and white view of what humanity is is very damaging to the future of our species. Why don’t we instead take the view that something like moral actions (not doing things that hurt people) is a learned behavior. We do what we see as children and continue to act in those patterns until we are shown a very good reason to stop. Since birth we get showered with material crap and told it’s “ours.” And the more people like us, the more stuff we get at our birthdays. The more stuff we get, the more people like us and want to hang out with us. The idea of social acceptance is so based on money and material wealth it’s sickening.
When presented with that, why wouldn’t we want to go out and make as much money as we can, at whatever expense? Why wouldn’t we look at CEOs of huge corporations and think they are the ones to be emulated? They are winning in this system! Doesn’t it make you want to throw up in your mouth a little bit that the CEO of Phillip Morris, whose product LITERALLY kills thousands of people a year, is revered as a productive member of society, while an Occupier is jailed for sleeping in a park?
So, the fact that a few really messed up people (about 230 families) basically control the global economy and tell us these are the rules, is ACTUALLY the reason most people are acting in a non-empathetic way, not the fact that people are bad.
And herein lies what I believe about humanity. It’s basically a bell curve. There are a few people that are corrupt, most people can be easily swayed, and the ones trying to reveal the truth and institute a new cultural paradigm in this time of cultural depravity are looked at as naive, unsophisticated, stupid, or worse, crackpots. And right now, the money and the power are concentrated in the hands of the ones acting corrupt. So the masses are swayed by the lure of material wealth and all that comes with it (personal freedom and power).
So, we are not bad, we are easily swayed. Swayed towards the only thing that is looked as acceptable in our culture – make money, consume, make money, consume, think about self, make money, consume.
When talking to people about The Zeitgeist Movement I’ve had some say to me that it’s not money that’s the problem, it’s power. They are right. You can’t just get rid of money and think a Resource Based Economy will just happen naturally. It requires more than that – it requires the shift to believing in humanity rather than believing it’s doomed. It requires believing in your heart that people genuinely want to help others if given the opportunity. It requires believing that if people have their needs met, most people will not hoard more stuff, most people will not go out and steal more, most people will not try to hatch a plan to have power over others. If you’ve been loved, fed, sheltered, clothed and cared for, you would not feel the need to go out and trounce on top of others…what would be your reward? You wouldn’t get more “stuff” because “stuff” would be free. You wouldn’t have anything others didn’t have, because everything is open source. There would be absolutely no reason for someone to try to be more powerful than the next. It wouldn’t make sense in this context.
There are a plethora of new studies that say children as young as 15 months grasp the concept of equality and sharing. But instead of that making main stream news, we see stories about youth violence and gangs and depravity. We see what is cherry-picked for us to see on the main stream channels. TURN YOUR TV OFF. Turn your logical mind on.
By believing that YOU SHAPE YOURSELF, YOUR WORLD, YOUR CHILDREN AND YOUR COMMUNITY, you believe that you can change the world.
And in conclusion, I would like to offer this movie I just watched today, on Patriot’s Day of all things (I am a patriot of Earth). This is a compilation of Internet footage, with no identified narrator, no person taking credit. It documents The Arab Spring, Occupy Wall Street, Transition Movement, Permaculture, The Zeitgeist Movement, The Venus Project and Anonymous. This movie is inspiring and to me is proof in the face of everything, that people are waking up, looking at the evil that has been spread far and wide and saying “Fuck, no. This isn’t my world. I didn’t have a part in making this. I AM NOT THIS. I AM NOT EVIL. I WON’T PARTICIPATE IN THIS ANYMORE. And I’m doing something about it.” This is proof that people can be swayed to good the same way they can be swayed to evil.
In fact, we are in the midst of an evolutionary change – global empathy. It’s going to be (and already is) beautiful.
I never wanted to be sticking flyers in people’s faces and asking if they’d heard of The Zeitgeist Movement. I never wanted to go on awareness marches or plan movie screenings. This stuff totally isn’t my bag.
For those that have known me a long time, you know my bag. It is having a wicked fun time for as much of the time as I can, constant learning, constant laughter, plenty of alone time for reflection, and sleep. Lots and lots of sleep. I’ve probably more likely been viewed as a tad lazy or a partier. This thrust for a better world wasn’t in my nature, but it has become my nature. And it has for a very good reason. The train of thought promoted by TZM is the answer we have been looking for. It is the freest and fairest system you can imagine. It is the forefront of human thought. It will break us of the chains that we all feel, but few acknowledge. It will allow us ALL to have what we need to thrive.
I honestly feel I have no choice other than to spread these ideas. I put the tag line on our ZDay poster – “If you had the chance to change the world…..would you?” TZM is actually about CHANGING THE WORLD. I wouldn’t be on board if it wasn’t. People may have looked at me as lazy in my past, but I have come to realize lazy is not the appropriate term. The appropriate term would be “efficient.” I have never been an activist because it has never been worth my time to me. I’d rather hang out with my friends than go on marches. I’d rather have a few beers at a baseball game than call my senator. I’d rather go out dancing than sit in on a Friday and design ZDay posters. But when I stumbled onto TZM, I knew I’d found something so logical, so big, so new and so pertinent that I couldn’t not act.
I’ve had people say “it really looks like you’ve found you’re calling with zeitgeist.” While the sentiment is nice, it’s not accurate.
My personal calling is to make art and learn how the universe works. My personal calling is to spread the message of love and forgiveness and peace. My calling has nothing to do with Zeitgeist. The Zeitgeist Movement is beyond anything personal. This is not my calling. This is everyone’s calling.
These short videos express EXACTLY how I feel and what I am trying to communicate in my blog. It’s religion, science, spirituality, humanity and love all wrapped up into what it means to be alive right now. If all is one and one is all, WE ARE CREATORS AND WE SHAPE REALITY. It’s time we realized it. Enjoy!
Scenario 1: You wake up. You make your coffee. You read the paper. You see something that mentions Hawaii. You think “I’d love to go to Hawaii!” So you go online and you make a reservation. It doesn’t cost anything, but you have to make it in advance so that you get in the queue.
You go grab some eggs (from the farm down the street), and have some fresh oj from either your own oranges or the sky garden down the street. Now, it’s 9 am and you have a choice. You can: read, sunbathe, drink, work on those architectural plans for the park down the street, write in your blog, play your guitar, work on the farm next door, go help at an elderly facility, paint, be a project manager on the building site down the street, research quantum physics, teach, make clothes, do some chemistry, DO AND LEARN ANYTHING YOU WANT.
Scenario 2: It’s a beautiful day. You decide it’s a great day for sailing. You go down to the harbor to where they keep the boats. You sign out a boat for the day. It’s free. You return the boat when you’re done. This is known as shared resources and replaces the idea of ownership. Think about what a waste it is that we all own cars that sit in the driveway for hours a day, when someone else could be using it. Or your boat. Or your motorcycle or RV. Whatever. Let’s make these resources available to everyone, anytime of day.
There are a lot of companies based on this idea popping up now. Of course, there is a monetary fee involved right now, but it’s the same concept. Here are just a few: RelayRides, The Car Sharing Network, Airbnb. What these sites take take advantage of is a plethora of things, shared between neighbors who trust each other. So refreshing, right?
Scenario 3: You live in the city. You live in a place like in this picture. This is the 8 House in Copenhagen. This is a building designed by Bjarke Ingels, who recently gave a TED talk on “Hedonistic Sustainability.” This, and other buildings he’s designed, allow you to live in a city environment, with all the benefits of nature around you. And best of all, it’s completely sustainable. Beautiful architecture does not need to destroy our planet.
So you live in this amazing place, surrounded by your happy, friendly neighbors, who are all so happy because they and you no longer have to go to a job that means nothing to you and slave away just to make enough to live. Instead, you do work in a the field of your choice. Remember when you wanted to be a fireman when you were little? Remember how you always wanted to be a doctor? Remember how you thought it would be amazing to be an astronaut? In this sort of system, you are able to pursue anything you’ve ever wanted to, because nothing costs money. You are free to study and learn about anything you want, and the only thing keeping you from greatness is your own drive.
Scenario 4: You’re kind of a homebody. You don’t want to live in the super urban, science fiction-y looking cities. You want to experience the land and nature. So, you build an Earthship, which may look something like these pictures. Or totally different. Each Earthship is unique. But what they have in common is that they are entirely off-grid buildings.
They work entirely off solar, wind and geothermal. They are built out of discarded old tires, aluminum cans and glass bottles. They collect the rain water and it gets filtered and used throughout the entire house, eventually going to water your plants and then into a special septic system. You have a green house to grow you’re own food. And you never have to leave if you don’t want. (Personally, this is what I want to live in. There is an Earthship Academy, a three week course in how to build these, and I’m pushing for my husband to go!)
Scenario 5: You are a brilliant scientist, and you love to work, work, work. You are researching a vaccine for AIDS. Imagine going into your facility everyday, and knowing that money is not an object. If you need equipment, you put in an order for it. It gets shipped to you and there is no monetary transaction. If you need more space, you work on plans and propose them to your working group. If it’s agreed on and the central city systems database computer reviews the plans and they are in accordance with keeping the city, the people, and the planet healthy and sustained, you get the green light. Build away!
Scenario 6: You are an inventor. You are researching lighting sources. Right now, everyone is using LED lights. But you come up with something revolutionary that will change the face of lighting. You present your ideas to the technology working group in your area. They are astounded. They perform experiments, using the scientific method, to determine if this is legit. It is. They immediately input this information into the world wide systems database. It is reviewed by the computer program through a series of checks and balances that will let us know if it is safer, more efficient, and all around better for the planet and for the people. If it is, then it is incorporated into the production of light bulbs and the technology is updated. (Notice there is no concern about jobs, profit, or companies losing market shares because of a new technology in this scenario.)
Scenario 7: You have a family. A couple of kids. You want to love them and give them all the time in the world. You want to watch them grow and be involved in their lives. You want to encourage them and let them know you love them. You also want to spend time with your spouse, and your friends, and your extended family. Guess what? You can do all of that. Think about never having to work two or three jobs to support your family. Never having to work super late hours just to put food on the table or pay for your mortgage. You live in a nice place that has all the comforts you could ask and it doesn’t cost a cent. It is your right as a human to have shelter, and this right is recognized. You have all the fresh food and all the time in the world to prepare it. You are free to be with your loved ones and develop sustaining, loving relationships.
I could think of so many more scenarios, but so could you. Think about it. Really think about what this system would feel like, how it would feel to be in a world where you are as free as you can possibly be to do anything you want, AS LONG AS IT DOESN’T HURT ANYONE ELSE OR THE PLANET. Pretty simple rule, hmm? Yet seemingly so hard to accept.
If you read my posts, and you think this is a great idea but you don’t know how it can possibly be accomplished or what we can do to bring it about, I tell you: just tell someone about it. Tell someone about The Zeitgeist Movement. Tell them about The Venus Project. Tell them about my blog. Have them watch Zeitgeist: Moving Forward (which is soon to be available on Netflix). The best and quickest way to action is to get people aware and to get them demanding change. Not everyone will have time or the will to promote this idea. But enough of us will, if enough of us know about it. One person can be the tipping point.