30 October 2010

The attention finally being given to the issue of gay kids and bullying is blowing my mind. I never thought I would live to see this. I stayed in the closet until I was in my mid 20’s. My family was pretty gay positive. My parents had gay friends. But I internalized the hate and loathing my peers expressed when they called me a faggot. I didn’t even know I was one until other kids bullied me and called me names. I lived through the hateful Civil Union debate in Vermont 10 years ago, which was really something, and now we have marriage equality. I never imagined I would live to see the day.

I watched Clint McCance apologize in an interview with Anderson Cooper. It is impossible to know if he is sincere or just a coward, but it seems that he learned something about how ignorant he had been...and isn't that what we want? Let the ignorant speak out and be educated and recant their ignorant statements.

Perhaps I am being too generous and McCance is just saying what he thinks people want to hear. Perhaps I am a fool for believing him even a little. He is clearly homophobic. You can see it when he talks about the issue. However, due to his cruel statements, has himself become the focus of hatred. He has received hateful email, threats, etc. That seems to have shocked him some.

When we choose to hate the hateful, we become hateful ourselves.

I am glad that there is now the It Gets Better Project on YouTube so people can speak out and so people can see that in fact, it does get better.

It’s been years since I went to a Gay Pride event, or did anything overtly political related to gay rights. I marched in DC in the 80’s, and in Burlington and Montpelier Vermont. I wrote letters to the editor, volunteered with a couple of gay positive non profit agencies. I am not “coming to terms” with my sexual orientation anymore, I just am who I am and pretty comfortably so. With all this attention being paid to these issues in the mainstream media I find myself revisiting my past as an observer now. I hear about gay and lesbian kids killing themselves because of the pain they cannot bear, and I remember well how it felt to perceive myself as not part of the world of people. Sure I had friends, but in my teens and early 20’s I felt separated from everyone by my secret, which I felt ashamed of. It wasn’t until I was 25 that someone said to me for the first time “Being gay is a good thing.” That was an amazing powerful experience which was a catalyst for me. I am grateful to that person.

In many western industrialized countries being gay or lesbian is mostly accepted. In the US there is always this writhing religious extremism trying to remake the country in it’s own image, so we see right wing evangelical christians mainly promoting hate and intolerance of GLBT people. Modern Judaism doesn’t really address the issue. There certainly are no jews out there ranting against gay people as there are christians. Islam also is not presenting any uber message in this country as regards to sexual orientation. Of course Muslims have other problems to deal with in this country and in the world.

There have always been people who were not heterosexual, and there always will be. Maybe Clint McCance has had a real wake-up call. Maybe others will too. I hope that whoever is out there preaching intolerance, hate, nonacceptance; I hope and wish that you would understand how much you are hurting people, and knock it the fuck off. You have no right.

Gee I guess I still have some angry feelings about all this.

This week’s radio show is for Hallowe’en. My guests talk about earth energy and connectedness; about ancestors and our relationship with death, and about the love which earth based spirituality focuses on. I’m very happy about the episode, I think it’s good. I also think it’s about the same core issue I’ve been discussing, which is, how we can choose connection over disaffection, be it earth connection, human connection, or something else. Hate is not part of the solution, no matter what. It just isn’t. Anger that one uses to propel sound action is great. Dwelling in a space of anger and putrid fear of “other” is just not healthy. Fear of death, fear of other, fear of truly liberating oneself and being free; these drive so many to such lengths, and yet it is not necessary.

All of us have our triggers and times when we get angry, sometimes mean, even hateful. The solution is to see it, name it, and then to touch the Earth and acknowledge the reality of life on this planet, however you perceive it, and move on from the ick to your real work.

28 September 2010

Last night as I lay in that place between sleep and being awake, I had a vision.

I saw the earth becoming more and more overrun with humans until we were everywhere, on every mountain and in every field, and there was no space left for anything else. And the people grew hungry, and afraid, and some of them preyed upon others. And all the infrastructure of centuries collapsed, and there was disease and death and most of the people died.

There were people who lived, mostly in less populated places, and they made their lives and activities sustainable by joining with the Earth, and they thrived, in spite of the pollution left behind. The previous civilization turned to dust pretty quickly, and was buried, and as the generations of humans came and went, the memories became stories became legends became myths. And the Earth repaired herself. And some of the animals came back.

There are also, in this vision, humans who lived through the time of overcrowding and death by virtue of high technology. And they learned how to sustain themselves as well. And eventually, as the population subsided, there was intercourse between the techy folks and the folks who allied themselves with the Earth.

Beyond that my vision did not extend.

I have no children and am unlikely to. I am 50 and my knowledge of my own mortality is that it is a certainty. I find myself aware of wanting to leave something behind. This community, Neruda, is part of my legacy. I am part of Neruda, and this community is growing and moving towards energy and food self sufficiency at a pretty amazing pace. I see Neruda existing after my life is over. Beyond the time when all our lives are over there will be people living here, growing food, eating from the fruit trees we have yet to plant. This will be one of the places where life survives and thrives again, and from whence life will spread again.

10 September 2010

I have a vision of this farm. I see the inside of the earthship finished on both sides. This side is all wood and stone and cob and adobe; dry, warm, with lots of earthy textures and colors, the soapstone hearth and a soapstone stove on it, earthen floor with rugs, bedrooms finished, kitchen fixed up a bit, finished bathroom...and outside the gardens in full fertility growing food, happy chickens, gardens growing up the hillside. I see a micro-hydro system powering the earthship and another duplex on the driveway with gardens growing up the hill from it and all around it, and the farmhouse also amidst productive beautiful lush gardens. I see animals on the hillside and in the lower field. I see fruit trees and nut trees and birds nesting all over. I see beehives and...I see so much life and fertility. I see food to share with lots of people. I see people gardening and sitting in the garden and enjoying the peace.

So mote it be.

Addendum: I just got 3 bales of straw and some more chicken wire. On site we have lumber, cement, paper, and nails. Tomorrow with help from friends I will build one wall of the new chicken house which will be stickbuilt with light straw papercrete, providing insulation and a waterproof surface on both sides of the wall so the chickens will be warm and dry in the winter. We will frame the wall, put chicken wire on one side, flip it over and fill with straw, then put chicken wire over that. Then in the manner of light straw clay we will use cement and papercrete to seal up the surface. When that dries we will flip the wall over and cement/papercrete that side. Why do it with the wall horizontal you ask? It will make for a much easier time, I theorize, in applying the papercrete. The wall will not be too heavy when it comes time to stand it up and attach it to the other walls and the deck, especially with a few people to help. Heck I was one of three people that stood up a 10x16 wall when I built my house in 1990. That was way heavier than this will be. I'll post photos in the new Earthship photo album linked on the right side of this page.

01 September 2010

I'm grateful that I live out in the country because I do not have the patience or the filters to deal with people much. I can't seem to get past this hair trigger rage that has been with me since August 2004. It's a problem, and the only respite, the only recourse, seems to be no people except those I trust and know well.

I was doing pretty well, and then EAT happened here and the stress of trying to make this thing happen perfectly, which it did not in part due to my mistakes and also to things beyond anyone's control, along with some of the stuff I experienced with some of the people attending the class, has put me on edge and I am still feeling it. The course was great as usual, but some of the interpersonal stuff really challenged me. My ability to be patient or resilient in the face of what I experience as rudeness, self absorption, and a host of other annoying behaviors, is vastly diminished.

I do my best to stand for a lot of things in the world; kindness and compassion and love and nature and all that good stuff. As a somewhat public person, to whatever extent I am, I think some people expect me to behave in the ways they expect a public person to behave, i.e. an acquaintance recently was very offended by the comments I made about the abrahamics in my previous post. I have had a friend take me to task once when I shared some of my personal feelings about my first visit to Germany and some of my personal familial cultural baggage about that country.

I don't always make it pretty. I know that. I do my best to keep it real.

In the spirit of keeping it real I want to share here, again, how changed I feel since my mother was murdered 6 years ago. It's not that I think a lot about the event itself, or her, or her death. It's that I mark that event as a pivot point in my life. Something in me changed. I feel like an instrument that just can't stay in tune, and the discordant note is more often than not one of rage, also grief. Nameless rage and grief because, when you come right down to it, they are feelings that aren't hooked onto anything specific. In moments they are, but there is this just this endless well of ambient rage and grief that I draw from, or that pushes itself through me.

Yes there are plenty of things to be angry about in this world. I mean...look around. Listen to people. Rome is burning and there are billions of Neros fiddling away. It's beyond weird. Similarly there is plenty about which to feel grieved. We all know it. I can't readily escape it these days.

I am posting this because I know there are people who read this blog who love me, who I love, and this is one way to communicate with them. Also because I imagine there are plenty of others who can identify with some part of what I'm sharing, and that seems somehow useful.