Last Updated ( Friday, 07 June 2013 01:14 )
by Carl Gibson
“We have to nationalize the banks. We have to get rid of the government. We need to have access to the internet seen as a human right. We need to have a new Constitution," said Birgitta Jonsdottir, founder of the Icelandic Pirate Party. Jonsdottir, a lifelong political activist and recently re-elected member of the Icelandic parliament was describing the four central demands of the new political revolution sweeping Iceland since the financial collapse. "We can create power and be the government and be the media. If Iceland can do it, you can do it."
The struggle in Iceland is ongoing, but the nation's people have achieved monumental results in a relatively short amount of time due to the nature of their movement building. They managed to arrest and jail the bankers who wrecked the economy. When the government privatized public banking institutions to their friends, essentially for free, and made the people pay for their bailouts, the people threw them out of office and refused to give the banks their money. And since Iceland only recently achieved independence from Denmark in 1944, their boilerplate constitution had never been updated. The movement in Iceland successfully used direct democracy to crowdsource a new constitution via Facebook and Twitter, and that crowdsourced constitution was widely supported by the people as the official model for a new constitution.
Last Updated ( Saturday, 27 April 2013 11:12 )
by Bob Banner
Most people think of writing as a tedious chore, as some activity relegated to the rational domain of the brain or some magical or inspired event that only talented or gifted people can accomplish. I differ radically from that antiquated position.
Writing can be a most exhilarating way to tap into those mysterious voices demanding to emerge at specific critical times of one’s life. Writing can be a way to vent one’s suppressed emotions. Writing can be a way to explore one’s relationship with nature, loved ones, employers, employees, authority figures, children... Writing can be a way to remember and reflect upon specific memories of vital importance that can be shared and felt among relatives and friends. Writing can be used to surrender to various depths of one’s being; to uncover unfamiliar zones, places, events, past lives, future scenarios... One can use writing as a link to the primordial vastness of Mystery itself unleashing the teacher and god within so we stop neurotically depending on external “author”ities. Writing can slow us down — so we can become acutely aware of each thought and emotion as it arises and passes away. It can be used as a sacred ritual whereby we allow certain deep voices to emerge and speak their truth to our ordinary selves.
Read MoreAnd writing can be quite fun. In my classes/workshops I usually begin with what is often referred to as either automatic writing or free writing. Some circles in the past had called it “stream of consciousness.” It’s an act by which you settle down and write as fast as you can without thinking, censoring, judging, analyzing or stopping. You just do it for about 5-10 minutes. It has proven to be quite interesting since it unveils your state of mind in that moment. Are you worried? Are you afraid that your lover is seeing someone else? You’re upset at work and it’s affecting everything you do. You just won the lottery and you are temporarily blissed out. You hate your step daughter and suddenly the emerging written voice is sketching itself out on the paper. It’s out!
Things you may have difficulty talking about suddenly find space in revealing themselves.
And that’s only the beginning! Now, what do you do after you’ve written it down? If you’re by yourself you could read it with just as much non-judgementalness as you wrote it (you hope) and have compassion for whatever difficulty may have arisen. You could let yourself feel the piece of writing and perhaps allow the feelings to write itself more completely. For example, if someone wrote a piece and there was some sadness mixed in with images and irrelevant or inconsequential information, you could isolate the sadness, put it under the microscope (as it were) and project it on a bigger screen. Let yourself feel the sadness and see where it takes you — if a tear comes then surrender to the feelings more... if an early memory or image somehow emerges, include that in the piece also. The point is to focus on the sadness. And if the feelings change, like if there suddenly is an urge to punch someone, let that take precedence and see where that will take you. The point about this and all the other exercises is to be curious. Being curious about yourself and all the various voices needing to see the sunshine is a hell of a lot more healthy than having them remain hidden behind the barn of security and banal boredom. A natural curiosity is necessary to explore who this being is (you!) after all these years of intense conditioning, protective armorings, years of habits and robotic ritualized neuroses year after year. Rather than totally identify with who and what you imagine yourself to be, you could simply be curious to ponder, reflect, make fun of, etc. this person you call yourself.
You may decide to write a story one day. You may have absolutely no idea of a story but something starts to come along because you’ve trusted the process and here you are already in the middle of a story and you just keep going. You have no preconceived notion of where it’s going to go... you suddenly seem to not care (yes! you’re getting it!). You surprisingly find yourself creating for the sake of creating — not for money, fame, not for your parents final approval before you can finally arrive. No, suddenly it’s simple joy... a most profound feeling in this culture where we live most frequently either in the past or in the future. To experience joy one must be in a deep appreciation of the now — somehow arriving at a time and space where you feel you deserve it... or perhaps the joy just sneaks up on you and envelopes you in its wonder timelessness of grace. Don’t think too much about it. Just keep writing until it feels finished. Then and only then can you go back and study it for its obvious grammatical horrors, time sense imbalances, etc., etc.
If you find yourself analyzing the piece or judging it or sensing that you don’t want anyone to see it — let it all go. Stop, breathe and continue... It’s like riding a wave, not knowing where you will end up but so happy that you got up that your only major concern is staying afloat and riding! Like any other physical sport/activity (basketball, tennis, skiing, volleyball, running), if you begin to think too much about it, you might get too self conscious and simply fall over. Writing is the same way — get too self conscious and the writing gets very boring very fast!
So, I invite all of you to begin to demystify the art of writing. We are all writers. The present era seems to be demystifying all sorts of formerly prestigious elitist activities — whether it be publishing, learning mathematics or the computer, painting, speaking or even the mystical traditions, for that matter. We are mystics, we are writers, we are workers, we are parents...
As soon as we deeply feel the awesomeness and ecstasy of real responsibility, the mystifications of all sorts of activities will gracefully fall and wither away. And we will then become freer and lighter — more and more eager to ride the mysterious unknown and allow to flower our deeper humanity.
Bob Banner enjoys participating in various playshops, laughter sessions, facilitating conversations after a film screening and ping pong. He can be reached at 805-762-4848.
Last Updated ( Monday, 18 February 2013 17:36 )
by Laurie Sue Brockway
Debbie Ford, 57, the bestselling author and teacher known for her work in helping people break free of their emotional baggage and fears, died on Sunday, February 17, 2013 in her home in San Diego, Calif. She was surrounded by friends and family who gathered around her to lovingly send her off to her next journey.
Those of us who knew her, or were in some measure touched by her work, remember her as a physically tiny person who was a huge force of nature – dynamic, passionate, engaging, fearless, funny as all hell, and the person who always delivered laser sharp insights meant to help you grow, whether they were comfortable or not.
“From the time she was a little girl, Debbie was one of those people who had a strong mind of her own, and did things on her own terms and that is how she lived,” says her sister, Arielle Ford. “And she was always so funny! Even up to the end, she had us laughing. She leaves us with such an impressive body of work. We know that her contributions will live on through the millions of people she has touched with her books and teachings, and the thousands she has trained in her work.”