Day in a Life of an Activist and Event Coordinator

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This was written on September 25, 2014. It was about my day and my thoughts four days before 100 Thousand Poets for Change (September 27). I was coordinating two major events in Napa, California: Street Poetry and an Open Mic/Fundraiser.

Day before yesterday I was exhausted. I was tired of eating leftover pinakbet, and I couldn’t get myself to cook another meal. I went to my local diner, and I had my favorite diner meal: open face turkey sandwich –yes, with the mashed potatoes, gravy, and all those slices of white bread. The cranberry sauce and real slices of turkey, not that fake deli meat crap.

Being single and having many busy friends, I have grown accustomed to eating alone. I sat at the counter for the first time. I know it is a place of the bachelors. I was glad there was a table-height counter for those like me with shorter legs whose feet would dangle if sitting at the regular height counter with the tall stool.

I was not having a good day. I cried from exhaustion, disappointment. I was wondering when will this self-inflicted hell be over. I swore to goodness I would never work my azz off for free again.

I wore my hat, hoping to shield my puffy face and eyes. I did wash my face before leaving my house, but my face still looked like a puffer fish.

A blonde server asked me if I ordered my drink. I got a lemonade. I cannot handle corn syrup of soda nor the caffeine of iced tea. I got my dose of sugar and perhaps artificial flavor and coloring.

I ate my sandwich with relish. It was my comfort food. It reminded me of simpler times when I hung out with my best friends at Mel’s diners in San Francisco or Berkeley. I would be looking over my stash of freshly bought books or comic books. Or I could be scribbling in a notebook.

Lately I carry a very heavy backpack. I know my chiropractor would kill me if he saw me hunched like this. I don’t know why. I felt like some modern version of Atlas. I don’t go over my stuff even if I intend to. Sheer mental and emotional weight has made me dense and the fog had not lifted.

The blonde server bent over to talk to me eye to eye. “Can I get you anything else?”
I grinned, “Yes, your number.” She walked away but looking back at me. Another woman server overheard surprised but amused.

When all else fails, flirt. Flirt like you’re drowning and this is your last moment of happiness. The smallest modicum of joy.

The man next to me noticed my sandwich. I told him that I could not get a sandwich like this at home. That “this” is exotic to me, so was “roast.” I was brought up Filipino with a health conscious mother whose idea of healthful eating was based partly on superstitions and partly on her weird theories. She believed if you cook the hell out of the meat it would drain it of cholesterol. I was used to eating shoe leather. It was my father who cooked the roasts and the turkeys. He learned to cook in the galleys. I guess he had to do it well or the men could throw their food at him or make living on a ship miserable. I joked.

Salads and sandwiches, staples in American diet, were lousy fare in my Filipino home. I remember sandwiches soggy from tomato slices. Salads were iceberg and slices of tomato and nothing else. And I never did care for the Italian dressing. I preferred seafood and vegetable stews and soups poured over a bed of steamed rice.

I looked at my check. The server’s name was Cesar. I said, “Cesar as in Cesar Chavez. It is Latino Heritage Month.” He explained he knows but he doesn’t get out much. He works, but good or bad it keeps him happy. He takes it as it comes. “So, if I tipped you a 100% would you accept it?” He smiled. He reiterated his statement, “Good or bad. It’s all good. I take it as it come.”

I lied. I tipped him 99.9%. A tribute to my live in girlfriend Paula. She committed suicide. Probably exhausted from living life with bipolar disorder, depression, anxiety, anger issues, just life in general. She was a correctional officer and a LVN and proud of her work. She tipped the servers, the hairstylist, and the dry cleaning lady 100% because she believed their jobs were much harder than hers. Yes, she had one of the strongest unions in California, and she got full benefits including vision and dental plans. But in my humble opinion pinning down a full grown man twice my height and weight and handcuffing him as typical work day activity is not easy.

I vowed if I got a chance. I would experience that kind of generosity. I did. I carried my strawberry pie home, and I cried for my girlfriend, and I remembered why I work why my azz for free. So others would not suffer the same fate as her. That my desire to heal communities by building bridges through causes will reach out and inspire those to keep moving on.

On Twenty Years Being an Artist, Community Builder, and Change Agent

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To 501(c)(3) or not 501(c)(3) that is the question? How long have I been in the game? Sometimes I wish I can magically have the objectives met to fit the desired targeted population’s needs without having to beg and plead for every thing.

Why is it that what supports “life” and supports the “human spirit” are considered unrealistic and impractical while things that exploits “life” and destroys the “human spirit” are given free reign to make laws and regulations, have power, and obtain limitless financial gain?

I just want to make things happen. To make people have an experiential situation that makes them feel connected, that makes them “feel.”

I wish I had the funding to pay all artists well. They spent years honing their craft. They have families to feed, bills to pay, a mortgage or rent to pay, etc. on top of every thing they need to support doing their art.

People have to understand my art is a “community builder.” No one really pays for that. I listen to what people needs and then I make it happen. I am a “change agent.” No one really pays for that.

The needs of the people, the realities of people don’t fit nicely with a foundation’s purpose or objectives. Their needs and or realities don’t fit nicely within the target population of some mission statement of some agency or organization.

Ironically, for being a community builder I am a lone wolf. I am quite private about what I think about a lot of things. I spend a great chunk of my social life observing the dynamics of other people. I watch people interact in meetings. I watch people interact in social settings. I eavesdrop on conversations. I sit or stand around and watch which people gravitate to me. I only gravitate to certain people I have a commonality or a point of connection that can lead to a conversation: a mutual friend, a common interest, a common cause, etc.

I watch a world of egos with their own personal brandings. All these egos with their own agendas: some obvious and others quite hidden and repressed if not suppressed. Motivations and intentions of others are apparent to me even if they may be oblivious of their own. All these egos vying for attention saying LOOK AT ME, LOOK AT ME! while at the same time harboring doubt. It is funny in a sad way.

I realize I am one of them. I mirror this world and the people around me. I am accountable for their presence in my life and in turn, vice versa: they are accountable for my presence in their lives. We are mirrors of each other.

The other night I felt the tremors of the earthquake and I paid attention to the time. They correlated to special numbers. I was getting messages from up above. Pay attention and focus on the positive. Don’t worry you are being guided. This is the consistent message I received. One may think that a tremor is not quite a good messenger or a good sign. But they are gentle reminders that we are living on a living organism. The earth is our host and we are to live symbiotically in accordance to Her/Mother Earth rather than imposing our free will much to her detriment and the detriment to others around us.

So, here I am a community builder and I am lonely. I am hungry and starving. I ask how can I be nourished, nurtured, reassured? As a community builder I give myself freely and tirelessly. I am like a foot soldier for the common good. I don’t get my marching orders from an employer or some authority figure. I am answering an inner calling. This is my vocation–to call out, to express. This is my profession–to profess, to state.

But because there is no exact job title for what I do, it is called volunteer. I have a three page resume in altruistic and service work in the arts, grassroots activism, and nonprofit and community based collaboration.

I am a community leader, but I am humble servant. I am just here to serve. I do my best to hone my art, my craft but it’s success depends on the community.

People don’t understand what I do. What I do does not connect with a salary or a real job title or position. No career path. It doesn’t lead to 401k’s. It is not taught in some school or in higher education. My resume states what I have done, but it doesn’t really show the years of commitment invested in relationship building not only with others but with myself.

I have to constantly rebuild myself. I have to constantly have to question my beliefs. I have to constantly have to push the envelope in terms of my comfort levels.

Because I don’t have a family to raise, nor a partner to support through his or her education and or career, nor a mortgage or car payment to deal with, I have more freedom than most people. Because I don’t have to clock in at a J-O-B, I have more freedom than most people. I have time.

While others are fighting to give the best education for their children or to put themselves through higher education, I am concerned about free education for all children and adults. While others are fighting to feed, house and clothe themselves and their families, I am looking out for the welfare of my entire community by seeing that their ” soul” needs are met. While agencies are fighting to provide housing for the growing numbers of homeless, I am creating a sacred space to remind people that they have a a home within their own hearts and they are capable of immense healing and renewal. I do this without compensation. I don’t charge hourly rates.

However, I just want to be reassured, to be acknowledged, to be validated. I am exhausted by the fact that I have been shut up, told to keep it short, to …I am so tired of trying to plea my case in three minutes, to say my elevator speech in 30 seconds to a minute, that I am a sound bite away from achieving a goal or making a point. But I do it.

But on my own space, on my own time, I am gonna be as longwinded as I please. I am going to say my peace. The time has come. The time is now. What have you created? Have you lived your authentic self? What are you waiting for? The world is waiting for you to wake up and show up?

The time is now… the time is now…

5:13am

Demystifying Mental Illness to Reduce Stigma

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May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Bright light green ribbons abound. However, I want people to be aware of a pressing concern. Psychiatry is pathologizing (turning to a disease) human behavior and prescribing medication to what are normal human maladies caused by trauma, stress, socioeconomic problems, societal ills, and the fears and confusion of the collective consciousness of not only this planet but also of its inhabitants.

Every year there are citywide, statewide, countywide, nationwide proclamations of mental health awareness. Internationally there is proclamations of mental health awareness. However, it doesn’t reduce the stigma of mental illness itself.

My biggest fear is that this type of “education” will only reduce the stigma of seeking “treatment” which is that of the treatments deemed acceptable by psychiatry, health industry, and the pharmaceutical corporations, and the policymakers bought by the pharmaceutical corporations. That this type of “education” will misinform people to think that medications are the only way to go and the mental illness is a chemical imbalance of the brain and therefore can be treated with these medications.

There is nothing wrong with their brain (with exceptions with those who have been born with birth defects or had a brain injury). The mind is much more complex. It is not only lodged within the grey matter inside one’s cranium (skull). The mind is the soul that receives directions from the Spirit or God. The way Spirit or God tells the mind that something is wrong, that the person is needs to changes his or her course are through different ways. God or Spirit will give that person aches or pains. If that person doesn’t pay attention to that, and just drinks or uses recreational drugs or become a sexaholic, workaholic, shopaholic, or addict or if the person escapes or depersonalizes this pain then God or Spirit will make him or her feel rather “off” like they “don’t feel like themselves.” Basically, God or Spirit is giving these nudges by having them listen to their intuition that something is indeed wrong and something needs to be changed. Well, usually we don’t listen to our intuition. We are trapped in the busyness of our lives or that intuition or that inner wisdom is telling us something far from what we usually do or what we usually know about ourselves we rationalize that “nudge” is stupid or illogical or we just ignore it or escape it yet again. Then Spirit or God being determined that you heed your calling and be your True Self pushes the envelope. Spirit or God will put you through a crisis so you cannot escape your calling, you cannot escape your pain, you have to face your fears and learn to embrace and accept them and let them go so that you can become fully integrated. And once you are fully integrated the epiphany of what your purpose in life begins to unfold. You begin to see clearly. You are now awake.

This is what Christianity means by being born again. To have the old ego die and be reborn to a new integrated Self. This is what the metaphysical call opening up to Christ consciousness. This is what Maslow a humanist called self actualization.

The crisis for a person can be like the darkness of the soul, what is called a deep depression. The crisis can look like frightening images or people who are not there. The crisis can be hearing voices that represent loved ones from the past or symbolic of fears of authority figures. Because we are each different, each crisis has a different set of symbols and archetypes (universal symbols of personality and psyche/soul). If we can manage to navigate these symbols and learn from them we become whole. Unfortunately, psychiatry shuts down this process with medications.

The reason why I am writing this is to demystify mental illness. I feel most of our clergy, psychiatrists, psychologists, and mental health providers lack spiritual competence when it comes to mental health and extreme states of distress.

One would think the medical model of stating that mental illness is a disease that is caused by the chemical imbalance of the brain would create less stigma with those individuals with lived experience because at least the individuals are not blamed for being weak-willed, lazy, punished for some sin, or possessed by demons. Instead, there is a supposed scientific cause for the problem. However, to be told your brain is defective and you will be on meds for the rest of your life makes people have no hope. Psychiatrists are complicit in making their patients more unhealthy by promoting a self-fulfilling prophecy. It doesn’t empower their patients whatsoever.

I hear stats that 1 out of 4 (sometimes out of 5, or out of 6, depending on the source) Americans have a mental illness. Let’s define mentally ill. If you have a hard time working, interacting with loved ones, etc. If you have a emotional or psychological condition serious enough to interfere with living your life then you have a mental illness.

Okay, now let’s take it to a perspective. The people are highly sensitive and they sense “something is not right.” They go to a professional hoping to find answers and relief. The professional admits that they do not know what causes the chemical imbalance of the brain. The medication makes you feel “weird,” but you think your feeling weird has to do with your illness so they give you another med or change your med or up your dosage. The medication will give you a chemical imbalance. It will force your brain to adapt to the meds and therefore you become dependent on them because your brain gets used to them and your brain will freak out if you withdraw from taking them cold turkey or too quickly. When the brain freaks out this is called withdrawal syndrome. The signs and symptoms of withdrawal syndrome are similar to signs and symptoms of mental illness but worse.

Now, tell me what is madness?!

These people who are highly sensitive and sense something is not right has nothing wrong with them. Spirit is nudging that they need to make a change in life that is more aligned with integrating their True Self. They are receiving a nudge to let go of ego masks and roles. They are receiving a nudge to heal past trauma. They are receiving the nudge to heal themselves, their communities, and the world.

Why would people who have high sensitivity trust authority figures who have no clue who you are and don’t  care about hearing you or validating you as a complete person? Because they are told that psychiatrists are the experts. The true experts are the ones who survived the darkness of the soul. It’s their stories that will give insights on how these one out of four will become the healers, the artists, the leaders, the visionaries, the mystics, and the prophets rather than tragic statistics in the hands of conventional psychiatry.

My Back Story: An Introduction of Myself to The Shamanic View of Mental Illness Facebook Group

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Hi, I have joined many groups, but I don’t think I have officially introduced myself. I had what the doctors described as my first manic episode in 1995 and was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. For a long time I believed in the chemical imbalance of the brain explanation for my distress. I thought med compliance would be the answer to my condition. After multiple hospitalizations, several relapses, and many medications, I finally got to a point when my medication would not metabolize. I then undergone a severe withdrawal syndrome and had a manic relapse. All the other medications had such severe adverse reactions I felt at a loss. The professionals thought I was merely being med noncompliant, but nothing can be further from the truth. I learned more about big pharma and medical establishment in general, and I got angry and frustrated with the system. I winded up in jail and then in a locked up psych facility later. During that time I decided to see my situation through spiritual eyes and tried to find the love in any given circumstance. It what quieted the outrage I had regarding the social injustice towards those suffering extreme states of distress. Before my locked up in jail and hospital I was researching online to see how other cultures view and support their loved ones with “mental illness.” I learned that other cultures did not have a word for mental illness. I began learning about shamanism, and an individual can undergo an illness only to recover and become a help to his/her community as a shaman. I also learned about spiritual emergency and kundalini crisis. I knew deep in my heart that this was going inside me.

Prior to my last hospitalization my mother told me she had leukemia. Being very sensitive I was all ready having warning signs, red flags, or symptoms of mania prior to her telling me this. I suffered anxiety and sleeplessness nights. My mother referred me to a holistic medicine doctor. I had a three hour consultation that was very thorough. She asked about my diet, my relationships, and even my spiritual beliefs. She was the only professional with a medical degree I could trust so I told her a vision I had. During meditation I saw concentric circles of people joining hands. At the center was a bright pink light. As if I were an oracle and guided by spirit my voice inside my mind called out, “Welcome Uncle (my great uncle is a hilot, a traditional Filipino healer). Welcome Great Grandfather (my grandfather said Latin prayers and went to the woods to gather plants to heal his town mates.) Welcome Cousins. (I was told that my distant cousins were twins and they acted “loco, loco” meaning crazy, crazy. They talked to the air.) Welcome. Heal us Uncle and Great Grandfather. Cousins join us and be welcomed.” Then some great voice said I was bipolar no more and that I was healed. I knew then that one day I will be completely off meds. I felt a sense of love, peace, and joy. All anxiety disappeared.

The holistic doctor listened to what I said. I asked her what her diagnosis was. She said I was a spiritual healer in crisis. I was taken aback. She said, “I bet Kaiser (HMO) doctor never told you that.” I knew deep down she saw the Truth inside me. I asked if the anxiety will stop. She said yes.

Just when I thought I was getting the help I needed things got worse. My racing thoughts, sleepless nights, and this feeling of entities filling me. I could not tell if I was awake or asleep at the times because both felt surreal filled with imagery and magical dimensions of animals, angels, numbers, etc. I was becoming people I never felt before. I was living others’ lives. I even became an inside trader who wanted just to get financially ahead. I knew things I would’ve never known otherwise. (This led to my last hospitalization.)

After all this, I arrived in a different city away from family. I found myself entrenched in the county mental health system. Slowly I got my bearings. I became an intern for a peer-run resource center. I found a doctor that told me self-help treatments such as a diet for reactive hypoglycemia and walking in sunshine and nutrition therapy. I became well.

I found out that I am capable of communicating effectively with providers and mental health consumers/peers. I also found out that I make a great—what I call– “peer whisperer.” As person who understands the language of a person experiencing emotional recovery, I can deescalate a tense situation.

I feel I have been shamanized. Is that the correct term? Is it possible to be a shaman spontaneously without the community’s official recognition?

Wild Grace: Who and Why Part 2

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Earlier I wrote that I haven’t seen her since. I forgot. I did see her earlier this year at a kava ceremony. I was at a tea café in downtown Vallejo. I was only visiting to check out the galleries and art community when I heard there was an event going on. It was a surprise to find my friends. They told me about the kava ceremony. I didn’t know what to expect. We sat in a circle. We drank some kava from tiny Dixie cups. Then we went through a guided meditation. She said to get a word for intention. Mine was “empathy.” Soon I had some weird imagery. I saw Wild Grace again. Beautiful, naked, strong. But this time I was wrestling her. I was resisting her. I was resisting becoming her. She turned into a dark void. Then I was wrestling with the dark void. I asked what does this represent. It was my own creativity and my own strength. I was wrestling with my own creativity and strength. There was a part of me that wanted to embrace it and there was a part of me that wanted to turn away from it in fear. It was an Aha moment for me, an epiphany.

“In Wild Grace: Who and Why” I mentioned a time I crossed a bridge to meet Wild Grace at her home that was far up in the canopies of the tropics. Bridges also have a reoccurring theme in my life. I remember when I was coming out as a bisexual Filipino American woman and I went to a lesbian and bisexual “rap group,” meaning talking group, at the Multicultural and Gender Center at California State University, Chico. I felt awkward, but I had to be honest. The women were white, and I felt out of place. I admitted that I felt like I belong nowhere. I felt like I cannot be out in the Filipino community, and I was not sure if the lesbian and bisexual women would understand what it would be like to be gay and be Asian American. A woman said to me, “Perhaps you are meant to be a bridge.” This has been the case for me throughout my life. In my search for home, for belonging, for purpose, and meaning, I were to become a bridge.

Poetry became my vehicle to be that bridge between cultures of my American self and my Filipina self, between my understanding of the heterosexual lens and homosexual lens, between my life as an artist and the duties and obligations I perform outside being an artist.

Poetry became my springboard to my community activism. And later my bipolar condition became a springboard to understanding health and then later being whole.

I didn’t know that later I would end up being a mediator between the spiritual dimension and this earthly dimension. I didn’t know that I would take everything that made me feel marginalized, broken or separate and make it into an integrative unifying force.

Wild Grace: Who and Why

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Back in my twenties I bought a book about feng shui. It wasn’t any other book about feng shui. This author described it as if it was a spirit, something alive in the home. She called it Wild Grace. The book treated home like a sacred space. Home and the name Grace became recurring themes in my life.

All my life I had a roof over my head. I was lucky. My parents not only had one house but two. I was lucky to have a choice growing up as a teenager. I was fortunate to have rent paid for during my college years—may it be for a dorm or a room in apartment. When I moved back with my folks, I had a lot of spare time because I was unemployed most of the time. Spending time at a café/bookstore called Booklover’s Haven was my home downtown. I hated to see my artist friend and former owner of Booklover’s Haven leave, but there was a new owner and Book Lover’s was under new management and more books were put in.

This is where I found that book. Wild Grace kept filling my head. And I kept searching for home even if I never had the threat of being “homeless.” I just felt nomadic, I felt rootless, because I was searching for a sense of belonging, community, a sense of home.
Do you remember the story “The Ugly Duckling”? Well, I can relate with that story. I used to harbor secret fantasies about being adopted because I didn’t feel like I belong with my family. I didn’t understand them, and they didn’t understand me. I just roam around my home town of Vallejo, not certain. The closest thing to home were the books I bought and perusing the library and the bookstore. I didn’t even like drinking coffee. But I would find something to buy in the café to have a legit reason for being there.

I remember being told by an astrologer that I have a split: Mars in Aries and Venus in Pisces. The most masculine planet in the most masculine sign and the most feminine planet in the most feminine sign. I remember approaching the City Hall steps on my way to the JFK Public Library. A mestizo man wore a Blackfeet baseball cap. I asked if that was a group, a gang, a band, or a clan. He smiled, and said it was his tribe. He was part Filipino and part Native American. I must’ve had a long face, looking like I was lost so he asked what was wrong. I told him about being confused and it might be because I have a “split.” He said, “Grace, do you ever meditate? No?! You should. A woman don’t leave her purse at home. You shouldn’t leave without meditating. You got a god and a goddess fighting inside of you.” I would see this guy and he would refer to me as “Grace.” I tried to correct him, but then I just stopped trying. I just let him say it like it was a nickname for me although he truly thought it was my real name.

Flash forward, years later, after my first lived-in girlfriend committed suicide on my birthday, after many transitions of neighbors, church friends, parents of best friends, and even a council member, I had to give my time to grief. I was spending more time exploring spiritual nature of things. But I wasn’t doing it in the typical religious route like the Christian or Catholic or Protestant ways. I was learning about metaphysical things. I got invited for angel sessions. A facilitator guided our women’s group through a visualization meditation exercise. Her melodic voice put me in a trance. I wasn’t following the imagery she gave us. I saw myself in a dark jungle, it was night, people were sitting on their haunches in rows on either side of me while I walked. I felt I was being initiated in something important. I was walking forward, passing these people who looked Polynesian or Pacific Islander. Later I was standing in a river facing a naked beautiful tropical woman I call Wild Grace. She stood before me in the same river. The full moon was directly above her. The moon beams hitting the water below. She held out her cupped hands as if to offer me a gift. Inside was a blue ball. It was a giant round gem. I knew the meaning right away back then. But now I cannot recall its meaning.

I had other occurrences with Wild Grace. One time I was having a guided visualization meditation with my spiritual teacher. He said to look at a sculpture. There she was—Wild Grace on a pedestal standing full length sculpture as naked as I first saw her. The material was either limestone or sandstone. Another time my life coach took me through a visualization meditation. He told me to cross a bridge. Of all bridges I imagined the one the scared me the most—it was a wooden plank bridge held by ropes and swinging above the canopy of a jungle. I arrived in this giant house. I went inside and it was filled with deep rich woods of Philippine mahogany. I sat in her living room. Wild Grace sat comfortably looking serene and quite noble. She offered me cookies. She wore a guazey looking flowing dress that flowed beyond her sandaled feet. We said nothing. But that silence said more than anything.

I haven’t had any more visits from Wild Grace in my meditations. But it has stuck. The symbols. I have a muse. I have a spirit guide. I have an archetype to dwell on. When I have a rush of inspiration I think Wild Grace wants to speak through me. Well, not literally, but in my imagination. It helps.

I used to be so Western and American in my thinking. I tried to navigate my world with linear, deductionistic thinking. I thought things can be rationalized away. But there are bigger mysteries. I learned that a person can know without having evidence based on quantifiable proof, without having other witnesses to claim the same.

I had one foot in this dimension and another foot in another dimension. I had an outpouring of images and symbols bombarding my reality and my experience and I could not differentiate if I were awake or asleep. The psychiatric world will call it psychosis. How can it just be that? I got out of it integrated and awakened and so much richer. I became empathetic and so much stronger emotionally, psychologically, mentally, spiritually, and physically. How can something that the conventional psychiatry wants so badly to suppress and stop be something integrating?

Those who know numerology will see that my lifepath number is 22, the master builder. I understood why it wasn’t enough to have the “American Dream.” I wanted to improve not only my life but the lives of others. I didn’t want the fancy big house or the expensive car or the typical family. I want “home,” “community,” a “sense of belonging,” a “sense of safety and security,” “freedom,” “truth,” “justice.” I didn’t think I was the only one. I saw a pandemic. A malaise. I saw people as the walking wounded without passion. To see it in the eyes and faces of young people was the hardest. The cynicism or the jadedness or the apathy or the self-entitlement and shallowness. It all stem from the same thing. I wanted to scream at everyone “WAKE UP!!” But I had to show empathy and compassion and wait. I had to use a different tactic and approach.

I begin to understand that while self-help talked about visualizing your dreams. I was about feeling, thinking and believing. The hardest thing for me to master are my feelings, thoughts, and beliefs. I can easily be despondent or look at my life or life in general disparagingly because I know what I am up against. They are huge systems. I can be disappointed at humanity and even my loved ones who may betray me or even hurt me unintentionally. I understand that agencies cannot be surrogates for community or family. I know that communities and families can be dysfunctional and dire need of healing.

I can only act as some form of Johnny Appleseed except I am some kind of character planting faith seeds the size of mustard seeds. I am planting new ideas. I am planting new visions. Our world is hurting because we have an ideology of separation and disconnection. We think that cynicism and being realistic will keep us from being or getting hurt or that cynicism or being realistic is cool. Well, dying inside is not cool. Being not human is not cool. It takes a more courageous person to be authentic. Anyone can slay a dragon, but facing our daily demons by acknowledging that we have them in the first place takes a true hero.