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Confliction- Avinu Malkeinu

Confliction. I’ve been conflicted since I can remember. It’s how I got my name, MissConception. I always wanted… both. I was raised Jewish, but we celebrated Christmas, too. I was straight, but also curious. I was sweet but also craved the dark side. I want a veggie burger, add bacon, don’t be alarmed I’m a Jew and a pagan. Controversy was something I lived for, and I relished in the fact that I could be both; break that paradigm definition regime and redefine what it means to be human. When you do that, conflict is unavoidable.

Every year around Labor Day, I run into a myriad of conflicted opportunities. Normally during this three day weekend of celebration and communion, I would be parading out at the Black Rock Dessert in Nevada, or watching my favorite band Phish at Dicks Sporting Goods Park in Denver, Colorado for three nights with 27,000 people. Or I could be at at any other major event happening around the country right before school starts. But working in Jewish education, not to mention the High Holidays usually hit right around this time, it’s not exactly the most ideal time to take a vacation.

So, yes, I’ve ben conflicted… How’s a girl supposed to go offline to commune with her family while visiting her Mecca and reset when there is SO much working to do!? And such has been most of my life. I find I’m always disappointing someone when I cannot show up for them during this sacred time of communion.

I can still feel the Jewish guilt my mother would cast my direction when I told her “if it’s Labor Day Weekend, I’m not going to be able to make it”. The weddings I’ve missed. The gigs I’ve turned down. The trips I didn’t get to go on because of the scheduling conflicts around working school calendars and synagogue life; and I HATE letting people down.

This Labor Day, I was back in my home town visiting family and it was the first time in years I’ve just “chilled”. Many of my friends were at various engagements across the country, having a great time of their 2021 lives, and instead this year I spent Labor Day weekend traveling back to California and gearing up for Rosh Hashanah.

Well, the other day my friend texted me from the Colorado Phish show asking if I knew that the band covered the Jewish prayer “Avinu Malkeinu – and what does Avinu Malkeinu even mean?” I’ll admit, I still had to look it up to be exact.

Offhand, Avinu Malkeinu means literally “our Father, our King”. It is a declaration, an ask of forgiveness and sincerity after a sweet new year paved with intention and admission. Avinu Malkeinu is a Jewish prayer recited during Jewish services during the Ten Days of Repentance, from Rosh Hashanah through Yom Kippur. During this time, we are supposed to do a deep dive into our souls, get really real with our hearts, and ask ourselves, who do I need to forgive, and who do I need to ask forgiveness from? Who have I wronged? What have I done to cause harm in this world? And how can we make it right?

Not easy questions, or answers all around, especially in a day an age when offending people left and right on Facebook is a daily occurance. Not to mention the gender inequalities around the Avinu Malkeinu male patriarchal language… (more CONFLICTION!) but the one thing I admire most about Judaism is that there is room to evolve. We love a good argument! This is what the Mishnah and Talmud are all about… talking through the laws and customs and concepts and figuring out how they still are relevant in today’s fast paced society. Even the rabbis were conflicted back in the day…. and still to this day, we continue to work through it and work it out.

In this day in age of conflicting, as a writer, I decided to take it upon myself to write my own version of Avinu Malkeinu, and I encourage you to add your own proclamations below. I’ve asked myself: “What have we done, and what are we going to do different?” I also changed the nouns and verbs to reflect my own experiences and conflictions. I changed who the prayer address and talks to, so that it’s not just God, but actually talking to each other. After all, God is everywhere and in all of us; it is a verb. I decided this year, I’m making this prayer my own.

Avinu Malkeinu

Our Father, our King, we have messed up, again and again
ah-vee-noo mahl-kay-noo chah-tah-noo lih-fah-neh-chah

Our Mother, our Queen, we have let you down
ah-vee-noo mahl-kay-noo
ayn lah-noo meh-lech eh-lah ah-tah

Oh Goddess, oh Protector, we beg of you to show kindness as the face of your name
ah-vee-noo mahl-kay-noo ahh-say ee-mah-noo lih-mah-ahn shih-meh-chah

Oh Abba, our Safety, let slavery be abolished and renew our faith in each other
ah-vee-noo mahl-kay-noo
bah-raych ah-lay-noo shah-nah toe-vah

Our Founders, Our leaders, remove evil from the harshness of your tongues
ah-vee-noo mahl-kay-noo bah-tail may-ahh-lay-noo kole geh-zay-rote kah-shote

Our Mothers, our Elders, mend the intentions of our enemies with compassion and friendship
ah-vee-noo mahl-kay-noo bah-tail mahch-shih-vote sone-ay-noo

Our Ima, oh Divine spirit of the wind, soften the blows of our foes
ah-vee-noo mahl-kay-noo hah-fair ahh-tzaht oy-vay-noo

My Wizards, my Lieges, wipe out all oppression and adversary from existence
ah-vee-noo mahl-kay-noo kah-lay kole tzahr oo-mahsh-teen may-ah-lay-noo

Our Seekers, our Teachers, gently close the mouths off adversity and bring kindness to our hearts
ah-vee-noo mahl-kay-noo
s’tome pee-yote mahss-tee-nah-noo ooh-mih-kaht-ree-gay-noo

Our Government, our Systems, remove wickedness, sickness, hunger, entrapment, and destruction from the grooves of our framework
ah-vee-noo mahl-kay-noo
kah-lay deh-ver vih-cheh-rev vih-rah-ahv oosh-vee ooh-mahsh-cheet vih-ah-vone oosh-mahd mib-nay bih-ree-teh-chah

Our Brother, Our sister of different colors and wisdoms, keep each other safe in health and sanity and humility
ah-vee-noo mahl-kay-noo
mih-nah mah-gay-fah mee-nah-chah-lah-teh-chah

Our Mentors, our Muses, pardon and forgive all our flaws and faults
ah-vee-noo mahl-kay-noo
s’lach oo-m’chahl lih-chole ah-voh-no-tay-noo

Our Ring master, our Creator, please blot out and remove our transgressions from our timeline
ah-vee-noo mahl-kay-noo
mih-chay vih-ha-ah-vair pih-shah-ay-noo vih-chah-toe-tay-noo mee-neh-gehd ay-neh-chah 

Our Guiding Light, Adonais, erase all of our mistakes, but let the lessons lay
ah-vee-noo mahl-kay-noo
mih-choke bih-rah-chah-meh-chah hah-rah-beem kole shit-ray cho-voe-tay-noo

Our Presidents and our Statesman, bring us back to community in wholehearted redemption
ah-vee-noo mahl-kay-noo
hah-chah-zee-ray-noo bit-sho-vah shih-lay-mah lih-fah-neh-chah

Our Shamans, our Medicine men, send a complete healing to those who are sick, in the body, head or heart
ah-vee-noo mahl-kay-noo shih-lach rih-fooh-ahh shih-lay-mah lih-choh-lay ah-meh-chah

Our Captains, our Chiefs, dissipate the evil  of the convictions held against us
ah-vee-noo mahl-kay-noo
k’rah roe-ahh gih-zahr dee-nay-noo

Our Family, our People, let God’s name be a verb, and God’s face be shown in the actions that you bring forth among humanity
ah-vee-noo mahl-kay-noo zahch-ray-noo bih-zee-kah-rone tove lih-fah-neh-chah

Now more than ever we must ground ourselves down in unity and come together, despite our conflicted agendas. United we will fall. Together, we can stand, hand in hand, and walk towards a new world.

Here’s to a New year, to showing up for yourself and your community in due time, and to embracing confliction for the better.

Love allways,

MissConfliction

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“A Message is just a Mess, with Age”

“What we worship is what we become.”

What does it mean to be righteous?  To conduct oneself justifiably or in a morally right fashion?  Often we learn righteousness in the sense of religion, or from our familiars exemplifying the pathway to a successful life.   I’ve been learning about the pathway of righteousness, in all it’s many forms, in my own attempt to embody righteousness.  Here are some nuggets of wisdom that have come to me over the last month, specifically around communication organizing and spiritual awareness.  Let’s dig…

“The key to life is knowing the difference between being in a groove and being in a rut.”

It’s no secret, we have entered some sort of “dark age” on earth.  At first, I was “okay” with it, selfishly, largely due to the my privilege. I had more free time, I had a community to “suffer” together with, and I finally had some relief from living such a freakishly busy life and was able to focus on my mental health.  But the more time there is to do this, and the more we continue to navigate these trying time of isolation and loneliness, it becomes more and more clear that this is NOT easy work, especially for those who do not have the luxury to simply “focus on their own health” and instead are in jobs essential to the community.  Uprooting the (or any) given system and completely reprogramming neuro-pathways is HARD WORK, and not always clear.  So when it hit me hard the other day that I am in a word, “frustrated”, like many of us are, I tried to justify it.  One could argue we’ve always been “frustrated”, and not in a way that screams “I’m depressed and need medication”, but more in a light that shines upon all the collective evolutionary grief we face as a species.  Or maybe this is a new found frustration that has reared it’s little head in the face of a pandemic, either way, admitting we have a problem is the first step.   And the problems seem endless…

“The wound is where the light enters you “

Now my late Papa Sidney would argue that “it’s not a problem, Sara, it’s a challenge, and while we’re at it, we’re not arguing, we’re brainstorming”.  It’s all how you frame the issue he understood.  It’s also become clear to me that many of us are relying on our coping mechanisms more than ever right now; is that a problem, or a solution? One can only pray that we have taken the time to develop healthy coping skills, which is a lifetime of work.  Many people turn to faith in trying times like this, and there has never been a point in my lifetime where I have seen more and more people call upon religion or spirituality, myself included.  Lately, I’ve been praying daily, with my heart, with my mouth and with my feet. Praying with your feet is what MLK defined as Marching in Selma or showing up in Washington in the face of brutality.  God is a verb I always said (taken from Rabbi Cooper’s book God is a Verb on Kabbalah).  So what else have I found in my own spiritual path?   

My Rabbi and friend recently taught me: 

 “You cannot pray a hurricane away, but prayer can advert the pain.  It can clean your consciousness a bit.  It allows to ask how are we contributing to society in a positive way?  Prayer builds resiliency, and that’s spirituality in a nutshell.”

He also pointed out that the human spirit is capable off being resilient in all of this work, and sometimes you cannot change the result; instead it’s about the process, not just the results. 

Prayer can show us the difference between essential pain and unnecessary suffering.  So often when things are difficult and life is terrible, we think “I cannot deal with this; what did I do to deserve this?” But that is the most egotistical form of prayer of all.  One does not make demands on our greater, but rather, owns them.  We must be the change according to Buddha, which means taking responsibility for your home, your body, your temple. If you have been practicing and learning how to clean up your consciousness and how to show up for your community, while holding true to the traditions that speak to you, then you are going to find a positive path, even despite the hardship.   The Jewish faith has a whole season dedicated to this, it’s called Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, where we have our “High holy days.”  There is a difference between a holiday and a holy day in this culture, but I would argue/brainstorm that everyday should be holy. I’ve always been an optimist and a realist, to a fault.  

“It takes a lot of courage to be an optimist these days. Its easy to be a pessimist.” 

So if people who can continue to engage in life in prayerful and positive ways in finding joy are able to survive and even thrive during uncomfortable times, how can I embody this?  This is where I find myself soul searching.

Recently I was fortunate enough to take a week long virtual workshop on Social Justice and Community Organizing in a faith based environment.  What an odd marriage we have been taught that the merging of church and state is so “wrong”.   When I asked the question of how the two can be mutually inclusive, our group facilitator explain that politicians are supposed to be partisan to the people.  The word political come from the greek word polis, who gather deliverables about the concerns of the people.   She also pointed out that a parliament is called a “kenneset”, which is the same word for sanctuary in Hebrew.   It is painful obvious, there is a great rift that has been branded between spirit and business worlds, but that is not to say the two can not exist in harmony, let alone tandem.  A lot of success can come from knowing which hat you wear at the appropriate time. 

In order to make systemic change, in our public lives, we can take on different personas.  Sometimes we have to physically change our seat, our location or even change our proverbially hat, in order to foster the relationships at hand.  All of this takes TIME as much as knowledge.  It’s about building relationships in politics and in faith. As I learned,   

“Time is our most precious non-renewable resource.”

Time is POWER.  Power is to the social world what energy is to the physical world – it makes things go 

Community organizing and political action take TIME.  It requires the time to get to know your neighbors, to hear their stories, and to stand up for what’s right, knowing that they would do the same for you when the time is necessary.  Are you putting in the time?

“First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a socialist

Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.”
German Lutheran pastor Martin Niemöller

Another lesson in organizing with your community is called the “Iron rule”: don’t do for others what they can do for themselves.  Allow for people to be better than you are at a job.  Power depends upon consent, for there must consent for power to be exercised. So often we get so trapped into our habits that we forget to exercise our power respectfully.  Our “habit apathy” is what needs our attention currently… Habit apathy is when we stop at a red light, or vote for a one party ticket because it’s just what we know and have always done.  But what if we begin to question “power”, especially in the name of those who are less fortunate than us” and actually stand up for the bottom line? 

“Relationships are a better currency than money.”

In the mid-20th century, Clinton Rossiter argued that one inevitable feature of the nuclear age is the state of “chronic emergency” in which we find ourselves, in which our habits come out in full force. We will have habits; habits have us. The question is whether we will shape and form our habits to a good end that support our relationships.  And whether they will help us create coherent action both for the future of our democracy and in the time of emergency.  Are we making good choices with our health, with our finances, and with our emotions?  Do one thing every day that fosters something of this nature, even if it’s not your whole life.  We have to start somewhere to build new habits. 

“One of the greatest problems of history is that the concepts of love and power are usually contrasted as polar opposites. Love is identified with a resignation of power and power with a denial of love. What is needed is a realization that power without love is reckless and abusive and that love without power is sentimental and anemic. Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice. Justice at its best is love correcting everything that stands against love.”
– Martin Luther King Jr

So what does it mean to truly be an ally?  In Latin, the word ally means “to bind to.”  Dictionary definition: To unite ourselves with ours to find mutually beneficial interests.  I.E.:
“We must make each other’s conditions our own.”

Because of this virus, we are more united in our suffering than ever before it seems.  This virus reminds us we are all connected.  It may be painful, it may be depressing, it may be horribly wrong, but we are all in this together now.  

State Condoleezza Rice was fond of noting that the Chinese character for “crisis” also means “opportunity.”

There is great opportunity here to intentionally create communal love, in public together, and in doing this work we move towards justice, which IS a faith based practice.  To do so in the face of politics is bold and challenging, but the bottom line is: If there is no struggle there is no progress.  

 “Experience is what you get when you don’t get what you wanted.” 

Action to the organization is like oxygen to the body. Without action or oxygen the body dies and becomes calcified  but you don’t live to breath, you breath to live.  The purpose of our lives is not to breath, it’s to live. 

And it’s not just the action we are looking for, but often the reaction we look for when facilitating change.  Recognition is super important – the first fight is for recognition in a job well done. What did we learn from this?  What should we not take personally.  Critique and evaluation is with everyone’s best interest in mind has to be built on trust and fairness when creating action.  We may forget that bad rehearsals can lead to a good action.  Our mistakes can lead us to our style.  And, there is almost as much power in silence as in action, at the right time. 

“If you are going to poke the bear you better be prepared to feed him.”

So what are our motivations to facilitate change currently, and how can we deploy them?

Many people are motivated in anger right now, and that’s okay, when funneled properly.  The word anger comes from the norse word: ANG: meaning grief or loss 

Anger is a secondary emotion in the mental health world. What is underneath anger is usually grief or loss.  When we don’t know how to act on it, we go to extremes on one hand showing apathy and depression or addiction, when on the other hand violence and aggression.  Either way, it becomes corrosive.  Anger is the mean between aggression and repression. Anger without power is impotent rage, and will destroy even the healthiest of relationships, including that with ourself. 

I’ve always been taught that the opposite ion love is not hate it’s indifference. Anger can be ruled in love. Anger must be tempered.  There is another side of anger, and that is: humor.

“Anybody can become angry – that is easy, but to be angry with the right person and to the right degree and at the right time and for the right purpose, and in the right way – that is not within everybody’s power and is not easy.”

So what do we do with this anger? Often times, we give it to God, whatever that source of light means for you.  And/or we can take our to our institutions when we are angry enough and channel it properly, asking, “what are we going to do about this, together?“

Our institutions represent inheritances of valued purpose with attendant rules and obligations.”
Hugh Helco, On Thinking Institutionally 

Institutions have a mission based on values, and a mission is at the heart of our institutions.  What institutions do you regularly visit and are they filling their missions?  When was a time when your institution was there for you?  When did they fail you?  Right now, there is a great need for people who care about their intuitions who are angry enough they are willing to agitate within the system; bottom line: we are stronger together. I encourage you, to find your institution, and to run with it.

In Conclusion: “Action is a cure for anxiety and kindness is intelligence shown.”

I’d like to think these hard times are just instilling us with the lessons we will need to be successful later in life.  RESILIENCY is the buzzword. We will get through this.  Life will go on marching right across your face. We are but ants on a rock of carbon, and yet we feel so much.  I don’t know much, I just repeat what I’ve been told that seems worthwhile, and I hope that there was some gem within my nuggets of learning that speaks to you and allows you to continue with your head up high and stand by your neighbors side with integrity and justice as our backbone.  

Much love always,
Sara Nicole Glass aka: MissConception 

“If you’re brave enough to say goodbye, life will reward you with a new hello.” Paulo Coelho

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There are Many Keys to Unlocking the Doors of Happiness

What is the key to being happy during a pandemic you ask? When you’re sick of reality and you can’t do anything about it, where do you turn? I’ve been asking myself these questions this year as 2020 crawls by and as I reflect on my life, and the lives of my loved ones.  I can honestly say I am happier now than I have ever been, while I see so many around me living in sadness and isolation.  How is this possible? Honestly, life has never been harder or more confusing, and still I’ve never been more centered or whole despite the hardship.  So what is the key to being happy during this time? 

Don’t get me wrong, life is still challenging and full of surprises, constantly. Obviously the world is in turmoil and at a breaking point.  People are struggling like never before.  The pain and injustice is real.  But with all of that pain comes a wake-up call like humanity has never experienced before.  Not only is our technology on the precipice of pushing the the future envelope, but so are our emotions and human connections.   The question is, are we tuned into them and open to the changes? 

2020 has served as a marker, a reality check that is forcing us all to take a long hard look in the mirror and go “what is wrong in this life and what can I realistically do about it”?

In order to fix your life, you first have to acknowledge what isn’t working. You have to get really clear on the reality of your world.  Are you in healthy relationships? Are you eating right? Are you treating your body well? Are you getting exercise and is there balance in your life?  Are you settling for less?  If there answer is no, then there is much work to do.

If YOU are not putting in the work to make YOUR life flourish, then DO SOMETHING!  This means reading, educating yourself, learning new recipes, and upping your game.  Invest in a new hobby or school, or seek out new friendships if you’re lacking there. Complacency is a sure fire road to despair.  

I’ve asked some of my network what is the trick to staying happy during this time. These are a few of the answers that I got back:

“But staying centered and calm. You can get out and soak up Nature. You can nurture new Creative directions. You can spread Kindness, Laughter, and Wisdom. There are so many things to explore and learn from instead of choosing anxiety and being bored.” – David Harvey.

Atrina Lovekins says, “Recognizing that happiness is a fleeting feeling that you can only recognize when compared to sadness. So instead of seeking “happy”, I seek “satisfied”, “relaxed, and “hopeful”; and make an active effort to recognize the more “negative” feelings as being required for that thing called “happiness”, and just wait for those moments to pass. Because they do. Everything is temporary.”

I’ve been saying to my friends who inquire about my attitude, that if you are not happy right now in your bubble, then it’s time to change your bubble. So often we get so comfortable in the familiar, that we forget that with a little hard work, life could be radically different. Why settle?

Getting ultra comfortable in the uncomfortable right now is where it’s at, and is the first key to being honestly happy.  Being HONEST with yourself will be your greatest tool in this process.  It’s okay to be depressed and sad and unhappy. It’s not okay to do nothing about it.

Start with a list of all of the things that bring you joy:  Protesting, dancing, eating food, music, reading, writing, research, electronics, weed, cooking, teaching, children, dogs, dancing, music, nature, spirit… 

Next, pick something everyday to spend five minutes on that you enjoy. Maybe longer, but at the least, five minutes! Start there.

Now sure, you might say “but I am broke I don’t have any money”, however there are lots of things you can do that don’t require money; just a little creativity. There are lots of ways to get around doing activities without spending anything. See a thing you want but can’t afford? See if you can volunteer or write the company and just ask.  Tweet at them and see what happens. You never know what lines you are going to catch when you cast.  Another thing about money most people don’t realize is that when you have more money, you just have more problems.  The problems are not the same as having no money, but certainly more money doesn’t equal less problems.  The problems are just different. 

And sure there are still some days that I don’t get out of bed, eat chocolate, watch Netflix, use up some sick days and IRON IT OUT.  Sometimes you HAVE to go inside to recharge.  What an incredible opportunity to be able to focus on mental health right now!  Are you taking advantage of it?  

One trick I’ve discovered is to find the right song to wake up to and use that as your alarm clock.  Let the technology work for you!  Put some ritual into your life. I have made it my mission to talk to the moon, not only daily if possible, but certainly at the new moon I call in new energy, and on the full moon I let old shit go.   If you think of the moon like a microphone; like an amplifier that magnifies whatever you put into it, and then talk to it regularly like a good friend; like you would like to your ancestors or to God. Remember, the universe does not recognize “what” or “not”. For example, you don’t say “I don’t want to be fat”, you say “I want to be healthy and slim and fit and feel good in my body.”  We also must be as in love with the divine yes as the divine no. You put it out there and let it unfold.  If you are not trying this religiously and with conviction, then you may never know how powerful you really are!

Magic is really just alchemy; it is the combining of human life with molecular and biological tools to strengthen our innate powers, and we are powerful beings of consciousness. Don’t let it go untapped.  A little bit of plant medicine can go a long with when shaping your state of mind and life force. 

An additional and final way I’ve discovered to bring joy into your life is to start bringing joy into the lives of others.  Give it all away with a good attitude. Somebody will notice, but that’s not even the point. Give freely without expectation of return.  We get what we put out there back ten fold.  Let it multiply!

Who gets to be happy during a pandemic you ask? Those that choose to be.  

So find something that makes you happy and do that. 

Even if it kills you.

Love,

MissConcept

We are all just one big network of aligned minds pushing the envelope of consciousness forward.  Be about it!

Burn, Health, Music Festivals, Sacred Space, social justice

The Immediacy of 12 Steps

We’ve arrived. It’s 2020 and we are literally all fucking our own burns (a common phrase burners use in snarky satire, though it’s generally more of a term of endearment.) But here we are, 2020, “The Multiverse” is here, and all of our burns are fucked. For a good reason, too. Everything extracurricular SHOULD be on hold while the world (achem, excuse me, AMERICA) get’s it’s act together. It’s embarrassing we’ve let it get on this far out of hand, this toxic hold that congress has held over it’s citizens. It’s the perfect storm of a revolution. Almost as if someone or something was behind it all?

It’s honestly everything we could have ever dreamed about as far as apocalyptic criteria goes. We are smack dab in the middle of a shit-show reality fan-fare fuck fest of egos. If you’re not angry, you’re not paying attention. And if you’re an artist, you’re trying to figure out how the fuck we are supposed to make any light of this all? Are we allowed to make light? Is light needed? Or maybe, we need to sit with the darkness for a while?

By now, we’ve probably all found our “safe spaces”… whatever “that” means for you. You’ve found your own weird coping mechanisms, what works & what doesn’t. You’ve learned what you can live with, and what’s a deal breaker (some are learning faster than others). Maybe it’s your mate, your best friend, or your mother that, has been your lifeline. Maybe it’s your theme camp of best friends group chat on Facebook that is keeping your chin up during the epic flood (I hear Elon is building an ark that doubles as a submarine). “Just keep treading water”

Or maybe, it’s good humor keeping you sane during this “what’s supposed to just be a phase” flu season of pandemic greatness. Maybe it’s your dog, or your job keeping you alive? Maybe it’s alcohol and Instagram that passes your time and offers you a sense of temporarily relief from the ratchet outside. Some of you are kayaking; nature is how you escape. Others are wallowing in shame and self-defeat, knowing better, but searching for a deeper rock bottom. It’s the “I really should recycle this jar, but I just can’t even give a fuck right now” general consensus that’s gnawing at our insides. Pick your poison; you’re not alone.

Usually, it’s some fantastic cocktail combo of heaven and hell that’s just tasty enough to continue to sip, nay, savor, to make it all palatable. Still the side effects cannot be ignored forever. The iceberg is dead ahead. We can’t keep eating bullshit for dinner any more. We are all thirsty for security, and at the same time justice; hungry for truth, or something remotely palatable to feel worthy of our own existence. We all want the truth, but at what expense?

So, are you leaning into your vices, or standing up to them?

I would bet that we all are leaning HARD into our coping mechanisms right about now. Whether that’s battling work, the deer in your garden, or depression. We are all out here trying to find something to live for, let alone something to die for. And to do this, we heave learned to turn to the gurus that have come before us, as we look for answers. What the FUCK are we supposed to be doing on this rock? “What can we do to help the world be a better place?” When I ask myself that question, I keep getting led back to the same thing. It starts with you. It all starts with you.

We are supposed to be doing?… The answer: ourselves. Ding Ding DING! Taking care of OURSELVES is our first priority, let alone governing our networks; it’s a full time job. If you take care of yourself properly, then the “governing of our neighborhoods” tends to shake out in the logistics, which you can observe with the study case of Black Rock City. A place where everyone takes care of themselves, while also having communal and civic responsibility to take care of others to fall back on.

Ahh, Burners, not only did we draw the map, get the permit, and bring the dance party; we also have a handbook. We have written the playbook: The Ten Principles – a brief but detailed guide to taking care of YOUR shit.

Let’s review the stuff.

1. Decomodification – No more cultural exploitation of stuff
2. Immediacy – Live in the NOW stuff
3. Participation – Take part in the stuff that interests you
4. Self Reliance – Take care of your own stuff
5. Self Expression – Strut your stuff
6. Leave No Trace – Leave no stuff behind
7. Civic Responsibility – Get involved with law and order stuff
8. Gifting – Give stuff away when you can
9. Communal Effort – Help out with stuff
10. Radical Inclusion – Anyone can participate in this stuff
11. Consent – ALWAYS with this stuff
12. Take it Outside – spread this stuff around – just DO SOMETHING!

Some principles are easier to learn and interpret and we can innately attribute value to it such as: Gifting – the art of giving freely with nothing in return. Who would have thought there was value in giving something away? That’s an easy one to start with if you’re looking for a way to bring a bit of the burner spirit into your life. What can you afford to give away? Challenge: Give something away that is unexpected, and see what happens. (Don’t forget to pay attention to the ripples, or not.)

Let’s take the principle of: Inclusion – we all know how it feels to notice someone on the outskirts and bring them into community. We know how it felt to be left out and lost; alone. Let’s challenge each there to look around and pay attention to what needs it. I invite you to consider: “When was the last time you did something inclusive, or forced yourself to participate in something that made you uncomfortable?” Here we are, feeling uncomfortable about being uncomfortable again. SIT WITH IT. Ask it questions. Work through it. When we continue to ignore what so obviously needs attention, it gets worse. That’s Karma.

Self-expression and self-reliance are obvious principles in concept, but not easy, and sometimes scary to embody. There is times to explore the inner soul workings of expression and of preparedness in life, which can take years to skim.

We may never master them completely, but the more I look at the principles and try to tackle them personally, the more I realize just how much work there is to do if you just look around your neighborhood. Before you look outside, start inside, and some of us, some of us need a program.

So, What step are you on? Let’s work ‘em. Together if you like?

So pick one… Have you mastered your leaving no trace habits (always a daily practice)? When I ask myself “am I truly acting upon my civic responsibility?” the answer is generally “well you can always do more”. And God forbid we look at immediacy these days it’s practically slapping us in the face constantly. I can’t look away. Do I have enough money and food to eat today? Do I have a roof over my head? “Yes”. Ok. That is more than sufficient and I should be grateful for another day. Coming from someone who has been a life-long habitual planner and slave to calendars and lists, it is foreign territory to not have a schedule to worry about as a crutch for my insatiable need to be productive. To do MORE. Communal effort calls… and while it’s sometimes difficult to interpret what it’s saying, and it’s calling your name right now to get out into the street and DO something that makes the world, ever-so-slightly a better place. Please. “We need all hands on deck for setting up camp. This means you.”

People are jumping in with unexpected skills. This is where creativity and out of the box thinking is a welcome sport. On the decomodification front, a phenomenon is happening in the most obscure ways all over the interwebs. Leave it to the alt TikTok kids to start creating accounts like “OfficialPurell” and “BurgerKingMerchandize” to fuck with the system and take the power back from advertisers trying to capitalize on the creativity of our youth. “Shame on you for thinking you can dupe us for so long” Commodification: the world we live in depends on it. But it doesn’t have to rule our every decision. If you are commodifying, because let’s face it, we’re all capitalists like it or not, then take a look at where you are spending your money. Are we investing in a better world? Trash is a serious matter in this reality, and you better be able to pack out your own.

“You vote with your wallet. Your dollar bill is your ballot ” – Wookie Foot

Thinking and acting local with intention and mindful environmental responsibility has never been more front and center. The time to take a stand for justice and equality has never been more available. It’s almost as if… as if the 2012 Mayan prophecies are all coming to fruition, slowly and painfully. Let that sink in as we switch gears into: The Multiverse and take everything we have learned from Black Rock City and apply it for real; as needed.

It couldn’t get any clearer. Burning Man’s Caveat put out a great article (Burning Man Culture in the Time of the Plague) about the Multi-verse that we have literally manifested for ourselves and that we are now currently building. REAL TIME. Taking the burn “out into the world” without a playa to even look forward to, kind of puts a whole new spin on the realities of this life that we spend so much energy building for ourselves. What if the default would could be different? What’s if there isn’t this make believe alternative reality, but instead, that world is the default?

Right now, I am so fortune that my life is literally turned into a theme camp. My car has become a stage. My clothes are my costumed representation of justice and freedom. The food I eat represents what I want to put into my body… and, yes, I really need to work on my civic responsibility, so that I can assure that everyone in my neighborhood and in this country has the right to a quality life, just as I have.

We owe it to all of those who have died in the face of privileged injustice. We owe it to our ancestors, to put this world back together again, properly.

“We are going to need a bigger temple”
Burning Man Podcast: https://burningman.org/live/

A friend of mine shared this graphic novel of the death rate of the highest causes of death since January, and it is truley alarming:

This is only another reminder of the seriousness of the state of the world it is that we live… this multiverse is complex, and there are many unknown territories to explore, channels to swim, and battlegrounds to cross before we can celebrate our pilgrimage again as burners. Until then, we must yes, bring our burner flare out into the world, but continue to do so with the love and tact and compassion and this revolution needs right now. Our attention to detail. Our humor. Our work ethic. Our kindness and generosity. Those qualities are needed now more than ever. We are all rangers, and we are all here to help. We are all comfortable with the uncomfortable, and it’s time to buckle our seatbelt.

We are not through the finish line with this Pandemic… no, we are crossing this dessert. All of us. It might take many generations, but we are not turning back to the old way of things “working” just fine. Fine is not fine at all any longer. We are not giving in to slavery and warfare and military state intimidation tactics anymore.

Maybe you’re a perfect human being body, who has already mastered all of these steps in a past life and now have one of those convenient holier-than-thou righteous badges proudly on your arm… I beg of you, to please, help teach the world these ways. We must take these principles, these concepts, and gift them freely to anyone and all who are ready leave this toxic relationship for good.

It’s a lot to pack in, and it’s the lightest I’ve ever packed for this burn, now that this burn it’s my LIFE. I never thought that I would miss the dust SO much.

I wonder, does the dust miss us when we are gone?

Love,
MissConditioning

Evolution, Religion, Sacred Space, social justice

Eat your Heart out

Love doesn’t just sit there, like a stone; it has to be made, like bread, remade all the time, made new.
–Ursula K. Le Guin

What do we do with a hardened heart?

Tonight was Shavuot – a Jewish holiday where we review the whole Torah, but through new lenses. A quick Google search turns up pictures of wheat fields for Shavuot, which symbolize the Harvest of the land of Israel, the day when the Jewish people were given the 10 Commandments. Buried in the golden symbolism of this holiday lay some deep seeded reflections concerning namely, our hearts. And lately, my heart has been hard.

I used to think love was enough.. that with enough love and good intentions, you could over come any trial or misunderstanding. I used to put more optimism into LOVE than into the doing of the actual “work” in love itself, but as it turns out, you cannot force love. No, “love, like bread, must be made every day” (or like challah, every week if you’re Jewish).

Now it takes a LOT of hard work to even make dough… I mean how many of us have worked the fields, harvested the grain, turned grain into flour? Then there’s the combining of the ingredients, patience for them to rise to just the right combination of measurements and temperatures curated to ensure the bread is even edible. So many factors and variables… and just like in our relationships, we must work at keeping the bread alive, constantly in the home, remaking it anew. A ritual, even!


Now, while man plans… Ingredients change. Oven temperatures may vary, yeast evolves and new recipes are written; all along we adapt our process. Cut corners. Shift in dies and as we get older, our hearts change. Love is always there, but it can hide, even from ourselves. Love does not exist in a vacuum, but rather it is surrounded by forces of nature that ebb and flow, pulling our hearts and minds sometimes in opposite directions sometimes. Unlike mana, there is no exact method or science for why hearts are hardened, or not. Layers build, and callous without constant maintenance.

SO – when I looked at my Torah portion tonight called: Bo, I was reminded of stories of the plagues of Egypt, the anguish, the frustration, the hurt that for years so many people even to this day continue to endure, I asked myself, “what DO we do with hardened hearts?” When people are SO angry that they cannot forgive, forget, or give in, where do we go from there? When Pharaoh hardened his heart for the final three times, what hatred that brought out, what misery? What good came out of that, God? Yes, we may have received the commandments and we will forever forward observe this Passover counting of the Omer culmination in celebration, a mitzvah yes, but not without years of hardship and difficulty. How could anyone’s heart NOT be hardened right now, under these circumstances?

And thus, I must look at what I have learned from my many mistakes made in love, and I find that no matter how hard we try, we cannot force a softened heart. Only that is between God and the heart itself. We can work out our own hearts, showing forgiving our own souls but also, finding grace for who have hardened hearts, even when it may not feel rightfully deserved. The hardening and softening of hearts, that is left to God. And when God is everywhere, as I was taught by my parents, it’s up to each of us to do the work. To take the time. To soften our hearts. To bake the bread new. To knead the truth. To re-read the stories, with fresh lenses so that we can keep gleaning wisdom, even, and especially, when the bread turns stale.

Stale bread … used to be for the birds. But opening and reopening our hearts, that is for our people, and everyday we work it. Love, like bread, can go stale, and can be bought back to life. – you can freshen it up with a little heat, or dry it out and make croutons. Starter yeast has probiotic health benefits, and we learn that even from the sourest of dough, love can grow, into a new culture if we can cut through the tough outer later with knives of justice, in order to enjoy the warm parts. Even when matzah didn’t get the chance to rise, we still ate it up, and made ourselves strong. We keep nourishing ourselves, even when it’s tough, because sometimes love isn’t enough to survive.

In this time of modern day plague and uncertainty, we can be grateful that so many of us even have the time to learn how to bake bread, as well as the time to have had the difficult conversations with our loved ones about how to properly love our neighbors. All the while, continuing to work on our own hearts so that they may be as soft and open as our nature will allow.

Everyday, made new.

Love always,
MissConception

“You cannot rescue people from their pain and sadness you can only offer to walk beside them as a fellow kindred spirit” -unknown

Uncategorized

Artistry

I’ve learned a few techniques in interacting with others that involves asking questions in order to connect. Rather than just posting on my feed, “I love to eat clams”, I ask the community, “what are your favorite foods” and the answers that I get back are astoundingly honest and interesting. In using this technique applied to doing any kind of research and in connecting with people deeply, I noticed, that rarely do I answer my own questions.

So when I asked my community a few months ago a tough question, I thought to myself, maybe it’s time I start answering honestly.

I asked my readers, “are you leaning into your vices, or abstaining from them?” online, and I got back a mixed bag of fascinating answers. I don’t even know how myself could honestly answer that, because it’s a lot of both in reality.

My self control tends to come and go as she pleases, without proper timing or reason. I freeze in the most gawd awful dream scapes, and when I awake, what’s left in it’s wake isn’t always pretty. I often shake my sense of self control silly, and oh boy, is she witty! She can talk herself out of any pity party or throw her own damn ball when called upon, real pitiful. Willfully, only sometimes reliable, but who’s counting wrongs or rights? She’s a fighter. She’ll cut her teeth on a short knife, and then blame it on her inner freak’s wife. She’s is also weak, my self control. She’s been known to blow her whole roll right away just for show, because yes it’s best to blow your load early then not at all right? Except in maybe in hindsight. Whatever I did last night, sometimes I don’t even want to know myself. My self control coulda shoulda woulda got drunk and drove straight to hell, speeding down the lonely streets of inside my mind. For the hundredth time, I tell you, my self control has come and gone out of line be design. And honestly, I don’t mind a bit. That’s some true shit.

Funny things about playing with fire and creativity, is that is you don’t always know when creativity is going to strike, like lightening, fleeting in the night . Capturing the quantum can be incredibly risky. Going out on a limb, isn’t always safe. And whistleblowing, comes with a price if you’re not cafeful.

That’s part of this new paradigm we live in, adjusting to the now, and the immediate hours before us. Our lives have been reduced to a day-by-day mentality. Where as we used to plan for weeks, or months or even years out, we now are a slave to our daily routines. “What are you eating today” is a big concern, and “what food do we have for the next few meals? What project can I realistically tackle? What emails need to be checked? What conversations need to be had? What does my soul need to thrive?” Hopefully these questions are being asked and answered regularly for tou. Planning for your wedding, or next month’s vacation, or next weeks drinks and dancing, has become obsolete.

As service industry employees are struggling to make themselves essential by switching careers or adapting resources such as food, alcohol and needs of the community, others in simple positions such as gas station attendees and grocery store employees suddenly have the most crucial role in society. The working from home crowd is overly taxed and full of guilt for complaining about it, while the unemployed continue struggle. Everyone is hurting.

Really not much has changed: The poor are still poor and miserable. The rich are still ignorant and thoughtless. Meanwhile, anyone who isn’t tied to their zoom screen all day such us retirees or stay at home moms suddenly find themselves with more learning opportunities virtually then ever before, an introvert dream. Are hair salons essential, or are bowling alleys? Who’s to really say? And where does the line of “essential to mental health” get drawn? To each his own, and a nation is divided even more.

And then theres the artists, who are all drooling at the mouth to make themselves relevant and prove themselves worthy during this pandemic, if not on the interwebs, at least to themselves. It’s the artist’s job to interpret a crisis and make it palatable someone once told me in a dream. Someone compared being an artist in their reality to the likes of trying to paint a masterpiece while on spin cycle. Lots of hot air in blowing off steam. The limitations in art of improv and freestyle is that statistically it is half genius and half terrible. Hit or miss is what you get when you’re being real, and in a culture that values snap judgement short tempered attention spans, it’s become nearly impossible to succeed. But by whose standards?

The artist is merely trying to connect it’s viewers… to something outside of them selves, something bigger than any one person. What do we do when our art that is designed to unite starts to divide? It’s like we are all looking for a reason to disagree and prove a point wrong.

What is this human drive that facilitates our strong need to be right? What’s wrong with being wrong? Nothing. It’s forgiving the wrongdoings that is are the hard part.

What do we do when we can’t forgive ourselves let alone others?

We make art. We take the negative and turn it at the least into something palitable and maybe even interesting, if not something beautiful.

Professor Nightlife Jones taught me that we each make a choice… to be an artist, or to be a cog in the machine of the rat race. If you choose the path of the artist, you will never be a cog, and you will spend your life trying to entertain cogs and gears so that you can eat. It will be challenging, it will be grueling, it will be rewarding as hell; you will be anything but bored, and at the same time, you will remain underpaid and overworked most of your life. If you choose the life of a gear in the machine, you will spend every working moment miserable and bored out of your mind. You will work 9-5, 40 hours a week plus overtime to then spend every free waking moment trying to forget and tune out the monotony. You will rely on the artists and athletes who choose the other path for your entertainment, to make the machine bearable. It will be challenging, it will be grueling, and hopefully rewarding as hell at times. Both have definite pros and cons of all works. Both are a destiny.

From the Bible we can infer that the original sin was actually learning how to sin itself. We are all given the choice… do we want to eat from the tree of knowledge of good an evil? Or do we want to remain in paradise where everything is easy and simple. Do we want to understand the nature of ourselves, or is it too hard?

We’ve come full circle. Nows the time to choose for yourself. Both lifestyles carry equal weight. We need both to survive and if we are lucky, we may even be able to take turns someday.

The only thing constant is change these days. Shape it.

Love,
MissComposition

Burn, Music Festivals

The Future Burning Bright

Dear Burning Man,



We are at a ground-breaking point in history where what we wan’t doesn’t exactly pair up with what we need. Our communities need us more than ever right now, and it is our civic responsibility to do what is right for the greater good of humanity, as burners. We have the resources, and now it is time to act. Many of us are already acting, and it’s incredible to see what the outcome of such synergy can create.



As madly in love with the Black Rock Desert and all of it’s citizens that I am, I think it necessary for us to consider pressing pause on Black Rock City for one year. Even “IF” the “ban” is lifted next month, it is still obvious we are in crisis, and have been for years. The world needs our burner love, compassion and expertise right now more than ever, not just because of our resources and our ability to get shit done and connect the dots, but mostly to serve as a good examples of HOW to take care of people. ALL people, not just ourselves.

What’s if we took all of this energy and talent and put it into bolstering the civic common good? “If” Burning Man is cancelled and we instead use this as an opportunity to make a very large PR statement about what our values are as burners, think of the impact that could have on the world. If Burning Man could publicly encourage it’s citizens to take our resources, skills, and efforts and put it into our local communities, Burners Without Borders style, we could literally revolutionize the world.

Already theme camps have made this decision to pull out of this year’s burn based on the hit that their communities are taking. A plethora of regionals have already taken the step of canceling this year’s engagements. People in our community from across the globe are struggling financially more than ever and they need our help. Let’s support OUR people (and all people) in crisis now.

Nobody wants to go back to that desert to heal and celebrate more than this burner right now, but I know in my heart what the right thing to do is. 
Black Rock City is my FAVORITE city in the world. It will always be there for us. And we will always be citizens, but now is the time to act bigger than just our Mecca. WE have to help the world HEAL, not just ourselves, but every person. That’s what radical inclusion, civic responsibility and gifting is all about, after all.

It’s time to make a statement, and a very loud one. Let’s take our money and put it where our mouth is, and show the whole world what these principles are really about.

Until we meet again, stay strong and healthy,

MissConception

EDIT: Burning Man did decide indeed not to go back to the Black Rock Desert this year. Instead of course, we are attending “The Multiverse”, and doing just what is talked about above, which is bringing BRC to the world. Thank you CEO Marion Goodell for your decision making, passion, and your message: