30 April 2012

Individual Occupation? Hmmmmmm....

What is too often missed is that the movement is about occupying the space and the time
 to create a different world. 
Sarah van Gelder

      I'm aware that among those who usually read my words are people who may disagree with the ideas or tactics, even the underpinnings, of the occupy movement.  Or perhaps they just don't believe it has anything to do with them, doesn't matter in their lives.  To those people I dedicate the words in the header - and the linked article from YES! magazine.

     To go "on strike" tomorrow may not be possible for everyone.  But to inhabit space and invest time considering how a different world - one in which we are not all scrambling constantly for money and what we've been raised, or acculturated, to believe is security - could look and feel certainly is possible for everyone.  And even though the official Occupy movement encourages us to join with others in public events or protests, that joining is not necessarily the only thing we can do.  

   Individuals CAN make a difference, though we too often see our own efforts as too small to matter.  A friend of mine was talking the other day about her sense, when she was younger and her children were small, of not being able to do anything to make the world a better place.  She felt discouraged at her inability to make change in the world until someone reminded her that raising her children to be responsible, caring, awake, and loving people WAS making a difference in the world.  

   In the 60's I recall bumper stickers that read "If it is to be it must start with me."  That sentiment, or idea if you will, doesn't really read like a call to rebellion or activism.  That statement speaks such common sense, is so self-evident, that we don't consider it as the radical statement of living that it is  - in my opinion.  We tend to think of individual acts or ways of living as small change in the scheme of world change.  Yet the fact is that until and unless we come to understand and appreciate that our individual choices and actions do possess power (imagine if everyone you know, everyone you've ever known, everyone they know or have known decided never to shop at Walmart again) we'll feel this powerlessness and sense of futility.

   What the occupy movement calls us to do is sit down and think - about how we spend our money, what we do with our time, our trash, our possessions, how we view our work, our leisure time, our relationships, our skills and capacities.  The occupy movement encourages us to consider - how we're living and how what we choose supports systems of economic and political corruption - or how our choices free us from those systems.  The occupy movement wants us to cogitate on all of the things we choose, mostly unconsciously, and begin to make more conscious choices.  None of this requires joining groups or even leaving home.

   Making a different world just by making our own thinking and choosing more conscious?  Sounds too simple, doesn't it?  Maybe it really is that simple.  Hmmmmmm.

09 April 2012

Good Advice from Mary Oliver

Pay Attention . . .

an April breeze, barely sun warmed, casts flickering shadows of the fully leaved trees on the table
tea bags float in deepening brown water in the pitcher on the porch
barely damp air moves against my skin in the early morning
sirens and the heavy rumble of a fire truck move along the parkway

Be Astonished . . .

the warmth in my belly at the sound of my daughter's voice
the dust of the stars, the elements of the cosmos doing their work inside our bodies
to forgive is to be forgiven
chaos is not a negative thing

Tell about it . . .

it's not so much what happens to us, what we do, what choices we make, as it is what we tell ourselves about it - that matters in the end.