Building a Better Tomorrow #3 — Taking the Emotional Challenge


for sure

for sure

So. Here’s one way of putting it:

I think I’m having feelings about a realization about the amount of emotional work and stamina involved in committing myself to a life / career that’s about dealing with messed up shit and trying to make it better.

That’s not how I’d put it in something like a Facebook post where “everyone” can see it, of course, just in my private musings.

And plus, as a guy who, if I’m not somewhere on the Spectrum, is definitely somewhere on one of the adjacent Spectrums, starting a big public initiative, especially one that requires me to not only expose myself but to sell myself and my ideas to people, some of whom I don’t know, and for a publicly visible initiative that might fall flat on its face, that’s an emotional challenge too. [Was that sentence too long? It was, wasn’t it?]

nothing more than feelings ...

nothing more than feelings …

Right, and playing to my weakness instead of my strength is, as we used to say in the high-demand group, anti-mechanical. Doing it as a make-or-break requirement of the endeavor I’m planning to be doing for the duration is, what? is it rumi who says, pulling on the devil’s tail until he delivers chocolate cake? Or someone else who said something that was kind of like that? Needs to be doable but also a stretch. We used to say that, too.

And I’ve been taking the emotional challenge for a long while now. The high demand years (what? 1986 through 2002?), there was quite a bit of emotional work there. And becoming married, a step-father and then a father, there have been definitely aspects of that which have been emotionally challenging. I once told a bartender at the Chelsea Hotel, “On New Years I was a bachelor living on Astor Place and by Thanksgiving I was married and the father of four,” and he told me, “Hey, muy macho.” That was one of my favorite things anyone said to me in 1995.

And then there’s the choice of committing myself to being emotionally involved in quite so many things that are incredible long shots. Millions of people have to significantly adjust their lifestyles before we smother ourselves and almost everything else in GHG’s and all the other sequelae of doing so. And restoring (or establishing) a representative democracy to the United States. Getting money out of politics. Stopping American Empire. No more gunning innocent people of color down in the streets and then no consequences. Stopping the dang pipeline under the river, through the nuke plant, over the earthquake faults to grandmother’s house it would like to go. All the other natural gas infrastructure. No more GMO’s! Don’t privatize the water! Stop regulatory capture! No more subsidies to fossil fuel companies! Invest the same money in clean sustainable renewables. Goodness, public education has certainly gone from bad to mind-scramblingly bizarrely like in a science-fiction story worse, hasn’t it? One doesn’t say lost causes, because it’s not over until it’s over. But the odds can seem rather long at times.

And as my extraordinary wife put it to me this week: I don’t want to see you ground up behind this, and only partly for your sake. And: this is spiritual work, and if you don’t approach it that way, you’re f*cked.

You know, and one of the things on the Advice Tour has been, here’s the ways I’m well-suited to try to make “this” happen. And here’s the ways in which attempting any such thing is completely inappropriate. There’s some quotation to the effect of, sometimes a serious situation doesn’t need just the right person to deal with it, but the available person who gets it, however ill-prepared. Anyone?

And, because I don’t have enough projects, I’ve also been thinking about some kind of Rules for Radicals kind of thing, about what it takes to increase the chances of emotional survival doing this kind of work. I know some people who would probably consent to a quick interview. And I could find the perfect sketch artist to go around with me. And it could be an e-book. A coffee table book. A limited edition sold for vast sums to the remarkably rich who actually know right from wrong. At the gala. The picnic. The yoga day.

Here’s one of the masters, the grandfathers, Edward Abbey:

One final paragraph of advice: do not burn yourselves out. Be as I am – a reluctant enthusiast….a part-time crusader, a half-hearted fanatic. Save the other half of yourselves and your lives for pleasure and adventure. It is not enough to fight for the land; it is even more important to enjoy it. While you can. While it’s still here. So get out there and hunt and fish and mess around with your friends, ramble out yonder and explore the forests, climb the mountains, bag the peaks, run the rivers, breathe deep of that yet sweet and lucid air, sit quietly for a while and contemplate the precious stillness, the lovely, mysterious, and awesome space. Enjoy yourselves, keep your brain in your head and your head firmly attached to the body, the body active and alive, and I promise you this much; I promise you this one sweet victory over our enemies, over those desk-bound men and women with their hearts in a safe deposit box, and their eyes hypnotized by desk calculators. I promise you this; You will outlive the bastards.

edward abbey

And, you know, I’m training myself to spend less time on what I post, because, you know, there’s NoTime Toulouse.


There is ...

There is …

... no time ...

… no time …

... Tolouse

… Tolouse

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