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

Burn, HappeningsEvents, Sacred Space, social justice

Burners Without Borders

Burners Without Borders, the non profit social justice faction of the Burning Man community, is a huge part of what makes being a burner a GREAT thing in our world.  Most of you are familiar with the ten principles that are guidelines to participating in this culture with compassion.  This time of year, gifting, radical inclusion, immediacy and communal effort are all a big  part of taking care of our community, while we also have some fun!

Being homeless in the winter could be compared to camping at Black Rock in the cold, except often those who are homeless don’t know where to get food or warmth because they don’t have a neighbor with a big pot of chili and a fire to share. Their coat and socks may be wet and there’s no way to get them dry.  There are many little items things this that we can donate and give directly to the homeless, like camping gear, clean and dry socksc meals, coats, hats and gloves, to help ease the difficulties of winter in the Midwest.

Guess what?  The Midwest regional burn INTERFUSE is having a kick-off party in Kansas City in January and the event is called IGNITION!  At the event happening on January 20th, at Prohibition Hall in Kansas City we are collecting these items listed below to help those in need.  Save the date and start planning what you can give.

Here is a complete list of what we are collecting:

Fall & winter clothing – coats, jackets, pants, long sleeve shirts, flannel, coveralls, shoes/boots, socks, undies (these need to be new), gloves, scarves, hats, handwarmers, tarps, blankets, sleeping bags and bed rolls.

Toiletries – toothpaste, toothbrushes, mouthwash, soap, deodorant, shampoo/conditioner, chapstick, tp, lady items – travel sizes work well.

Food items – anything individual serving – oatmeal packets, hot chocolate packets, granola bars, peanut butter, fruit cups, cup of soup, etc.

Another idea: You can keep these types of items in your car along with bottled water and give them out to people that they meet as well who might be in need.  Being a burner isn’t just about GOING to a burn, but it’s about taking our beloved principles and kindness out into the world and spreading that love to those around us.

One point of sensitivity is to always be very gentle and when offering these items.  Never assume that anybody needs anything, but rather, just suggest that you are there handing out items to anyone around, and let the recipient pick what they want to take, with dignity.

Thank you for accepting this mission, and BWB looks forward to seeing you at the Ignition event in January.  Make sure you join the Interfuse facebook page to stay up to date and participate in our Midwest Burners BWB group: Burners without Borders heartland working group.

If all of this burner jargon isn’t making much sense, check out the Burning Man website and see where you can get involved!

For more information on the Ignition collection drive, please contact ​Amber Andkazi at Pogothepit1@yahoo.com.

<3,
MissCulture

Sacred Space, social justice

Recycling: How To Talk Trash

download

Spending time in California has brought my attention to the never-ending world of consciousness, namely involving TRASH.  Not only has California mostly gotten rid of plastic bags in grocery stores, where they charge you extra to get a paper grocery bag.  It is amazing though, that  EVERYWHERE you go, there are not just one, but THREE options for trash.  You can either trash it, compost it, or recycle it.  What a beautiful thing!

Literally, almost any place there is a trash can, there are at LEAST two options (sometimes composting is left out), meaning that trash OR recycling is available just about everywhere. Raising awareness is key in a world where trash matters… but what do you do if you don’t KNOW what goes where?

I find that often, people don’t know what goes in which bin.  Are straws recyclable?  What about disposable coffee cups?  Should you throw meat in the compost?   All of these questions are valid and should be addressed so that we can better take care of our community and our planet.  I did some research, and here is what I found worth reviewing.

METALS

Always recycle foil and aluminum (duh). Make sure foil is CLEAN, or reuse it as much as you can. Consider buying 100% recycled aluminum foil. You’ll be supporting a process that uses five percent less energy than the traditional aluminum foil manufacturing process.

Always recycle steel or tin cans.  Recycling steel saves at least 75% of the energy it would take to create steel from raw materials. That’s enough energy to power 18 million homes.

PAPER

Always recycle cardboard, of course! Currently, about 70 percent of cardboard-boxes shipped commercially are recovered for recycling.

Magazines: About 45 percent of magazines are being recycled today. Recycled magazines are used to make newspaper, tissues, writing paper and paperboard. Recycling just one ton of paper saves enough energy to power the average American home for six months, so don’t be afraid to recycle your old magazines. It’s the right thing to do.

Office Paper:  Just over 45% of office paper is recovered for recycling today.  High-grade papers, such as white computer paper, bond, and letterhead, can be turned back into office paper if it’s kept separate from other waste paper. It can also be used to produce tissue paper, paperboard, stationery, magazines and other paper products.  Lower-grade papers, such as newsprint, colored paper, file stock and ground wood papers, are made into cardboard, tissues, newspaper and toilet paper.

Office Tip: If your company generates a large amount of waste paper, consider talking to your local recycling company about whether or not you should sort high-grade papers from lower-grade.

Newspaper is a fine insulator. Using recycled newspapers to produce cellulose insulation is widespread.

Newspapers, Wilderness Restoration and Roadside Planting:  Every year natural disasters destroy countless acres of wilderness. The United States Forest Service uses “hydro-mulching,” also called “hydro-seeding,” to help restore damaged areas. It’s a planting process that’s been practiced in the United States since the 1950s – and it all starts with newspapers.  Recycled newspapers are made into a fiber mulch and mixed with grass seed, fertilizer, green dye, and water to create a “slurry” that can be pumped over broad areas by pressure sprayers, airplanes or helicopters. This process is called “hydro-mulching.” It stabilizes roadside dirt for erosion control and is used to reseed grass over broad areas. Highway departments also use it to beautify roadsides by planting wildflower, tree, and shrub seeds.

Clean Paperboard: Be sure the paperboard you have is clean and free of food waste. Then recycle it.

Paper cardboard dairy and juice cartons: Also called “gable-top cartons,”these are the non-plastic milk and juice cartons you see in the refrigerated section of the supermarket.

Phone Books and Unsolicited direct mail: RECYCLE IT!

GLASS

Most glass bottles and jars produced in the United States now contain at least 27% recycled glass – which also saves on energy to produce glass made from new materials. Some glass cannot be made into other products, or doing so is not economically feasible.  Colored class can only ever be that color of glass. If your local recycler doesn’t participate in glass recycling, it’s due to the market for that glass being very small or non-existent. However, if glass recycling is available, it’s important to keep in mind as you recycle that even small amounts of some materials mixed in can contaminate entire loads. Find out more about the types of glass and how they are recycled below.

Clear glass may cause some products to degrade because of light exposure. That’s why about 39% of the glass produced is colored. Colored glass protects the container’s contents from direct sunlight, thus preserving freshness and flavor.  About 7% of glass containers produced in this country are green in color.  Some curbside programs and recycling centers take only certain colors of glass. That’s because manufacturers who buy the glass have to maintain the integrity of the color when producing new glass.

Not all glass can be recycled. The following items should not be placed into your recycling bin:

  1. Any glass contaminated with stones, dirt, and food waste
  2. Ceramics, such as dishware, ovenware, and decorative items.
  3. Heat-resistant glass, such as Pyrex.
  4. Mixed colors of broken glass.
  5. Mirror or window glass.
  6. Metal or plastic caps and lids.
  7. Crystal.
  8. Light bulbs.
  9. Cathode-ray tubes (CRTs) found in some televisions and computer monitors.

PLASTICS

Does that plastic lunch container still have yesterday’s pizza in it? Don’t recycle it until it’s clean! One dirty product, or one with food waste still in it, can contaminate an entire bale, containing thousands of pounds of collected plastics. This can cause thousands of recyclable items to go to a landfill instead of being recycled. Cleanliness is essential. And do NOT RECYCLE PLASTIC BOTTLE CAPS!

Plastics come in a variety of shapes, colors and chemical formulations – all with different recycling needs. The code number does not mean the plastic can be recycled. It is simply a way to identify the resin, or plastic type. How can you tell what kinds of plastic to put into your recycling bin? The code number on the bottom of your product is not a reliable indicator of whether something can get recycled. Recycle by shape!

Bottles, jars, and jugs – is the best way to know what is accepted. Plastic grocery and produce sacks are commonly placed in recycle bins. These bags can shut down an entire recycling plant and should be kept out of our recycling bin. Plastic bags are often collected in barrels at grocery stores, and usually end up as plastic lumber.

BATTERIES AND BULBS

American households are full of items we should recycle, even if we can’t put them into our recycle bins. Car batteries, products that use household batteries, incandescent light bulbs, and new CFLs (compact fluorescent lights) are some of them. In the United States, a CFL can save over $30 in electricity costs over the lamp’s lifetime compared to an incandescent lamp. However, CFLs contain mercury, which can be harmful to humans and the environment if not disposed of properly.

Many automotive retailers will take back batteries. You can contact your local municipality to find out where to recycle lead-acid batteries. If you’re using more than about a dozen disposable batteries in a year, you could save money by switching to rechargeables. If you still have old batteries on hand that may have been manufactured before 1997, it’s likely they contain mercury. Contact your municipality for information on how to safely recycle them or go here.

ELECTRONICS

Do it properly! Electronics that are obsolete, broken, and destined for recycling or disposal are sometimes called “e-waste.” There are many chemical and mineral elements in e-waste. A circuit board contains copper, gold, silver, platinum and palladium, as well as lead. If recycled properly, this waste is a valuable source of secondary raw materials. These items include cell phones, computers, TVs and office equipment.

The following items are not commonly recycled through e-waste recycling programs. They are usually recycled through other programs. Contact your local municipality to find out how to properly dispose of them:

  • Microwaves
  • Smoke Alarms/Detectors
  • Fire Alarms/Detectors
  • Thermometers
  • Large Appliances (Refrigerators, etc.)
  • Non-Decontaminated Medical Equipment
  • Any unit with Sludge or Liquids

Source for Above: http://www.wm.com/thinkgreen/what-can-i-recycle.jsp

Three things most people forget to recycle:
1. Plastic Wrap and  Sandwich Bags

2. Plastic Straws and Disposable Drink Cups
Most plastic straws are made of polypropylene (#5 plastic), and home recycling programs sometimes accept this type of plastic. As for to-go cups, typically all-plastic ones (like those that iced coffees are served in) are recyclable, but the waxy coated paper ones, such as soda cups from a fast-food place, are not. No matter what, be sure to check with your waste hauler to make sure it’s accepted.

3. Receipts

A good to know fact is that most gas station trash cans are ACTUALLY recycle cans, according to my good friend Andy Smith.  I’ve yet to see any information backing that up.  Bottom line, when you clean our your car make sure the recyclables go into the recycling can!

Lastly, when it comes to composting, contrary to popular belief, you CAN put meat into a compost bin (assuming it’s okay with the owner of the bin.)  The problem is that it will start to smell and attract flies and maggots (as well as neighborhoods cats and dogs possibly). It also slows down the composting process.

The more you know…

I throw things away now, and I have to stop and consciously think about WHAT is this product and WHERE should it go. Is it clean?  Is it worthy of the recycling process?  Am I doing my part to cut down on my carbon footprint?

-MissCompost

images

Art, Happenings, Poetry, social justice

Poetry as Personal Power

What helps you get through tough times in your life?

Poetry for Personal Power is a Midwest based non-profit organization designed to do the virtually unheard of.  Poetry for Personal Power, or P3 for short, provides health care messaging via community prevention info that manifest through paid gigs for sponsored artists.  Essentially, P3 has been allowing artists to use poetry and music to address mental health and wellness in the community, in order to improve the community at large… and it’s working!

Specifically focusing on  youth audiences and underprivileged communities, P3 hosts workshops, poetry readings, performances, and events of all shorts to get young people talking about mental health and wellness and what it means for them to deal with the struggles and complications of life.  Also known as peer support, P3 strives for a 70% hospital reduction rate, while intimating health care advocacy and research.

“What helps you through adversity? We are now in our seventh year with over 150 events per year, 75 sponsored artists and advocates in 7 regions, and research and peer support programs in full pilot trial modes! We are building a national replication process to share health care messaging, promote resilience in nonprofits, and increase the number of peer support programs. We are becoming an evidence based resilience messaging campaign with sponsored artists. We are also increasing Wellbeing Impact in host organizations with sponsored advocates.” -Poetry for Personal Power Website

So how can you get involved?

In 2017, the Kansas Mental Health coalition (KMHC) has a $120K grant to teach artists how to become citizen lobbyists. They are looking to pay stipends to people to learn to use arts and advocacy together to support social justice. Poetry for Personal Power and KMHC are doing a free one day training on March 14 for artists and advocates. P3 would like to invite anyone to attend, especially youth or young adult advocates. You can apply here to attend that training: http://kansasmentalhealthcoalition.onefireplace.com/event-2168073

Also, Poetry for Personal Power has a $5,000 grant to support youth and young adult artists from Kansas who want to become tobacco prevention advocates.

You can apply here: http://poetryforpersonalpower.com/artist-entrepreneur-supports/event-replication-application/

If you are interested in the Poetry for Personal Power initiative, you can always email corinna@poetryforpersonalpower.com for more info, or text 816-392-6074.

One of the best parts about Poetry for Personal Power is that the organization is actually paying artists to facilitate these actions and events.  You can check out artist profiles on the website here.  Get involved.  Get excited. And get ready, because P3 is about to revolutionize the way we look at healthcare, via ART!

Always,

MissCompassion

HappeningsEvents, Sacred Space, social justice

Standing with Standing Rock

We all know the sorrow and chaos that is coming forth from the situation at Standing Rock, and if you aren’t  aware, you may have some research to do.  The injustice that is taking place over sacred land and sacred water in North Dakota, during this sacred ‘holiday’ season is NOT acceptable.  As a human race, it is our duty to make sure that our voices are heard loud and clear, with respect and peaceful determination.

Thanksgiving is supposed to be a time of families coming together to express gratitude.  What terrible irony that the very land the water protectors stand on was taken from the Native Americans many years ago, who are uniting to fight so nobly for the devastating Standing Rock Pipeline situation.  Haven’t we learned our lesson, America?  We once stood for freedom… I’d like to think that core is still engrained.

As a peaceful artist, activist, and woman, I recognize this is a huge opportunity, for those on both sides of this ‘fight’ to learn, grow, evolve, and become stronger as a tribe.  I only wish I had gotten involved sooner.  At first, I thought it didn’t apply to me. Now I realize, as more and more videos surface, that NOW IS THE TIME to stand up and look injustice in the face, any face.  The hardest part, is that we may have to show some grace, even in the face of oppression.

I am asking you to strongly consider supporting the Standing Rock movement, even more than you already have.  During this Thanksgiving, Christmas time, Hanukkah, New Year, or perhaps it is just another Friday night, whatever you choose to celebrate, please, PLEASE keep in mind all of those who do not get to be with their families during these dark times.  Keep in your hearts those who perhaps do not have family to visit, or who don’t have the means to visit them.  Please remember that while you may still be out, having fun, drinking merrily, there are still people living in FEAR for their lives.

No doubt, this year has been difficult.  The following months may be even more challenging.  Guilt trips are a thing of the past, but reality checks are happening every day.  Bottom line, if you can’t give money, or can’t actually go to Standing Rock, there are other ways to help:

PICK UP THE PHONE.  Of course.  Call the North Dakota governor, Jack Dalrymple, and give him a piece of your mind (701-328-2200). Call the Morton County Sherriff’s department (701-328-8118) and the North Dakota National Guard at (701-333-2000 and tell them to stand down. Call the White House at (202-456-1111) or (202-456-1414) and tell president Obama to rescind the Army Corps of Engineers’ Permit for the Dakota Access Pipeline.   Call the executives of the companies that are building the Pipeline: Lee Hanse Executive Vice President Energy Transfer Partners, L.P. (201-403-6455; Glenn Emery Vice President Energy Transfer Partners, L.P. (202-403-6762); Michael (Cliff) Waters Lead Analyst Energy Transfer Partners, L.P. (713-989-2404).  Call the Army Corps of Engineers and demand that they reserve the permit: (202-761-5903).

Also, you can contact the 17 Banks Funding The Pipeline and withdraw your money!  Wells Fargo and U.S. Bank are two of the biggest.  “You vote with your wallet, your dollar bill is your ballot” –Wookiefoot

Some of you have already tried calling, and will find that often the mail boxes are FULL. (This is a good thing!)  So what else can we do?

The Protectors Alliance is a “unified platform and partnership effort of all signed organizations, skilled workers, producers and individuals from the global festival community.  They are working as a Alliance providing solutions in service to solidarity for front line environmental crisis and social justice conflicts.”   And chances are, you have a skill or tool that can help.

screen-shot-2016-11-21-at-11-54-59-pm

It’s getting colder.  Winterizations for the protectors is a key essential to the success of the action, and right now, you know that local organizations across the country are taking donations of blankets, warm coats, and even water proof scuba gear, etc.  Local firewood and food are also in high demand.

screen-shot-2016-11-21-at-11-55-18-pm
Please, consider becoming a conscious ally in this Indigenous movement and showing your support NOW, however that looks for you.

If all that you can do is share a video online to help perpetuate this movement, THEN THANK YOU.  Kevin Gilbertt is an excellent online live news source at Standing Rock to follow.  Digital Smoke Signals is another good resource. Unicorn Riot has been active as well.

Again, take a look at the Protectors Alliance website and see how YOU can get involved and be useful.  This is an opportunity of a lifetime, on so many levels, to make a difference for the better… for all of us.  I look at this as not just an opportunity to defend sacred water and land, but to set the standard for how we treat any an all indecencies, whether it be racism, classism, sexism, or environmentalism.

Remember, the next seven generations count on us.  It’s a group effort to enlightenment.  We will NOT sit by and watch these injustices continue to breed hate.  We WILL look this oppression in the eye and PEACEFULLY demand respect, for as long as it takes.

Last week I visited an old friend, and  we communed in our own version of prayer for the waters and fires that are disrupting any flow in this world. For that above and so below. For the waters inside our bodies and inside pipelines. A prayer for understanding and compassion, that if we can’t stop this “Black Snake”, that perhaps one day the pipes being built one day may be useful and carry clean water.  We release anger.  The days of crude oil are coming to an end. May the fires of destruction be a blessing of new growth. Earth, wind, fire and water. North, South, East and West. Together, we are powerful beyond belief.

Here is a picture of our medicine wheel:

IMG_2485.JPG

With much respect,
MissConnection

Burn, social justice

Burners Without Borders – Louisiana Flood Disaster Relief

When the August 2016 “1,000-Year-Flood“ hit the state of Louisiana, no one could have known the extent of the damage that 29 inches of rain in 48 hours would do.  Rivers crested, water backup up, and in turn thousands of people were left homeless, with little to no end in sight to correct the mass amount of wreckage.

More than $8 million dollars and two months later, 20 out of the 64 hit parishes in Louisiana are still under a state of emergency, and one particular town, Denham Springs, still has a very long way to go.  Standing water continues to surrounds some buildings.  Caskets that were unearthed are slowly being reburied.  Grocery stores are still trying to reopen.  It’s a huge work in progress for the community, and their cry for help was heard by few.

Enter, the Life Church in Walker, La, who has opened their arms and doors to help with the cleanup, and community support.  Not only did the Life Church offer their sanctuary and building as a temporary place of refuge for flood victims, but they also immediately turned their gym into a distribution center, and for several months this community made it their mission to distribute and facilitate the distribution of all kinds of food, goods, clothing and appliances.

14721505_10104005109440539_7094860513038650199_n

As fate would have it, a group of Burning Man activists, we will call them ‘burners’, also heard the call that there was work to do in Louisiana, and thus began a symbiotic relationship between a Burning Man Project volunteer group: Burners Without Borders Louisiana Flood Relief and the Walker Life Church.  Burners Without Borders (BWB) started as an off-shoot of the Burning Man global community in 2005 during Hurricane Katrina, and recently joined into the new 501c3 Burning Man Project.  Different projects and chapters often pop up in times of need or crisis to do volunteer work in whatever capacity they are needed in various cities.  This particular group, made up of mostly Louisiana and Illinois burners gathered in Walker, LA at the Life Church to put together a team and go out into the field.  The likelihood of all of these specific people coming together was very special, especially considering that there is a .001% chance of this type of catastrophe happening, hence which it was named the “1,000-Year-Flood”.

The Life Church took to the BWB Louisiana Flood Relief community instantly, both groups priding themselves on being radically inclusive and self-reliant.  Burner volunteers staying at the Church took to helping Denham Springs community members with specific projects, such as cleaning up abandoned homes, hanging insulation, cleaning up lots and other projects.

img_5009

Additionally, an affiliated mardi gras group out of New Orleans called Krewe Ulysses began cooking 200+ meals every Sunday using the Life Church’s commercial kitchen.  Krewe Ulysses and other burners then would go out ‘into the field’ to distribute these meals and other supplies such as baby food, diapers, bottled water, and any other requests from those in need. Relationships were formed, and this work became very meaningful, for everyone involved.

14671096_1160938780639508_1065712049206727489_n

“Part of our job includes just talking to the people, helping them process and tell their story, so that they feel better emotionally…because they know they are cared for more than they even knew”, said Daniel Cappy, the founding logistics coordinator of the Burners Without Borders Louisiana flood relief project.

In particular, two neighborhoods had the most devastation, that being Magnolia Spings and Eastover.  Specifically the challenges that community members faced included house demolishing, removing debris, and ensuring that FEMA would be scheduled to haul away said debris before it turned hazardous.  Taking care of their families was another added challenge un top of all the rebuilding.

The biggest challenge: unattended piles of debris which often contain black mold and other dangerous materials that increase in toxicity after sitting for too long.  Often the residents would take to burning the piles in order to remove them, which led to even worse air quality and pollution in the neighborhoods.  “It truly looks like a refuge camp,” said Nikki, a Burner volunteer.img_8244-1

Life Church community member Duran estimates that about 35% of the work has been done as far as getting ‘back to normal’.

“I remember when the rain began…there was shock everywhere.  People running for their lives with clothes on their back. It came almost like a monster.  The rain went in circles, tributaries began to over flow and there was no downstream to match the upstream.  The Mississippi river had been at it’s crest since June, so there was nowhere for the water to go.  The divider walls on the interstate that the government just installed kept the water backed up,” said Duran during an interview at Life Church.  Duran thinks that the underlying problem not being addressed by authorities is the drainage system in Baton Rouge.

“You don’t get over this in a month or two,” Duran says, disheartened.  “People are trying to get back to normal and it’s going to take at least a year, and that’s pushing it.”  Duran got lucky in that he says he learned a lot from Katrina.  Not everyone paid as close attention.

Danielle from Eastwood had her new-born daughter taken away after the storm hit because she didn’t have a proper home in which to keep the young child.  The child is now in critical condition in the hospital, and Danielle is not allowed to stay with her.  While raising her other children and living with friends/family, she along with the Life Church and Burners Without Borders crew, made it a priority to clear the old wreckage in her lot and make space for the new FEMA trailer to come in.

img_8243-1

Miss Tina, another flood victim story, woke up in the middle of the flood with the water surrounding her bed up to the mattress and no one had come to get her.  She lost her life’s work, her car and her house in the storm.  To be eligible for her new FEMA trailer, she herself had to crawl up in the trees to cut down branches with a hand saw in order to meet regulations.  All that work and she’s still waiting on her trailer.

Duran, while he lost all of his clothes and possessions, he also is dealing with a legal battle, trying to get his car back from the repair shop that it was parked in when the storm hit.  Since the shop was closed for weeks after the storm, the store is now trying to charge him an outrageous ‘storage fee’ for having keep the car during the flood.  The politics so many are dealing with in order to get their lives back are increasingly difficult, which makes moving forward a huge challenge.

Many are still in hotels while they wait for their insurance checks, or for a new game plan if they didn’t have proper coverage. An elderly man, James, is another example of being a victim of an unfair circumstance.  His whole trailer had black mold up to the water line.  FEMA gave him $25,000 but the contractor he used took $15,000 of the money and then disappeared.  He’s now living in a hotel and has been scared to move forward with the rest of his money, which still isn’t enough to fix all the damage.

img_5027

Most people in Denham Springs and other counties think that FEMA and the Red Cross are not doing their jobs properly according to Duran.  He explained that the most FEMA will give out is $33,000 to fix your home, and most houses need at least $100,000 to fix the damage that’s been done.  The Red Cross appears to have people on the ground, but they are charging the government $8.50 a plate to feed thousands of people, according to the Life Church. That’s why the Life Church decided to feed people themselves, out of pocket.  They got very lucky in missing the water, and are trying to give back what they can.

When the rain started on August 12th and didn’t stop for three days, the Life Church was very afraid.  “The waters came up to within feet of our Church, but it didn’t flood,” said Paster Val of the Church, who is so grateful to have been able to provide a safe space for people to refuge.

The distribution center has just been closed in the last two weeks, and the needs of flood victims have shifted from personal items and food to specifically needing help rebuilding their homes.  Burners Without Borders volunteers reported that there are not enough construction workers in the area to complete the amount of work there is to do in a timely fashion.  There is only so much volunteering you can offer, and with the mortgage companies involved, licensed contractors must be employed to further repairs.

img_8257

Bottom line, if people have the skills and are able to travel to  Louisiana or the Carolinas, they are badly needed.  At this point having a license to work construction is a strong asset, but not necessary.  If you want more information on how to help with the flood relief, or to donate to Burners Without Borders Flood Relief, please contact Burners Without Borders Flood Relief at: Bwblouisiana@gmail.com

“Never think it can’t happen to you,” said Duran. “If this experience has taught me anything, it’s that it is so important to take care of your neighbors.”