if you’re anything like me, the hard thing with ever posting stuff about yourself is that there is almost a sense in which you feel like asking asking, “which self would you like me to tell you about?” or even “which self WHEN?” I don’t mean I’m schizophrenic (at least I don’t think I am). I sort of mean that sometimes I feel like a bit of an acrobat who “talks like this and acts like that.” More over, I’m the amalgam of many influences and many situations, each of which has left me contextually different—never purely here nor there. It’s not that I don’t believe in a True Self but my experience seems to be, more or less, reflective of having a variety of true selves—each of which are equally me and equally real. Sometimes, in the best of moments, those identities come into sharp focus, a sort of planetary alignment, and I seem most alive—most in touch with the life in and around me. And of course even that description and admission places me in a certain light, doesn’t it.
my own journey has largely been spent, to one degree or another, exploring “off the map” terrains. Over a decade ago we ventured outside of some of the established norms of Western spirituality. This journey, and set of experiences, focused largely on intentional christian community development-ultimately leading approximately nine families to converge on a lower middle class neighborhood, hoping to “share life” in a way that went outside of traditional event driven relating. We also placed a strong emphasis on bottom up/ flat leadership. This approach aimed to level existing roles or strength based functions, making space for everyone to have a voice in the direction of the community. One of my reflections on that experiment is simply that we mistook the opposite of bad leadership as being no leadership, when really it should have been about developing good leadership practices. In the end this void actually became a harbor for “sneaky leadership” and “ninja belief systems.” However, I was deeply impacted by the idea of collective decision making, directional discernment, and shaping the future together as we listened to the whole. Eventually I found myself, along with several others, exporting what we had learned to other parts of the nation and abroad—encouraging others, helping advise future steps, and working with groups in their pursuit of a shared life.
The intensive seven years we spent as a part of a forming and functioning community was an interesting experiment that taught me so many lessons; lessons about losing my rights and risking, lessons about finding truth in mystery and paradox and communal exchange, and most of all lessons about myself—my own personal inner development. During what would be our final year in the group we sensed a real change from shared journey to individuated practice. After years of life as community organizers and practicioners, we began to reach out towards a less tribal and more open understanding of human experience.
after wrestling with the impulse to simply move from one culture creation to starting something else, we decided to just “set this one out.” I think we recognized that we were ready to embrace the world through a different set of lenses but were clueless about what those might be. We needed to sit and digest, to process, and to discover both weaknesses and strengths. I suppose we saw the need to normalize—to shed the obligational filters that had developed over years of community life. I guess it sounds like an existential crisis…hah!
the relationships that have developed here in Portland across the past year and a half are certainly formative. Many of us find ourselves asking the same questions, coming up with some of the same answers, and in large just learning to breathe again. We’re not a part of any community—none that is recognizable at least. Still, there is this faint shimmer of something stirring, I’m not sure what. As I recover a bit of myself through the frame of artist committed to authenticity, imagination and experiment—I see new opportunities and new connections coming into light.
Something that is gaining a greater degree of clarity in my life is that we live, culturally, under the illusion if we act swiftly enough, or even act at all, the world will change around us. Quite simply put, that sort of acting is like throwing sticks into a river in the hopes that we will dam it up. Even if we are able to do it—eventually the force of the river will simply carry the sticks away; they will be lost in its flow. What becomes necessary is to go to the fountainhead and stop the flow there. This becomes our greatest chance at such change. The fountainhead is really just another word for the concepts that we have at the root of our being. It is the story’s we have told ourselves. The ideas we live by and the perceptions that are tied to our identity. In order to live and act in a new world we must reimagine it fully. Rather than becoming better managers of reality (stacking our sticks in a raging river) we must become better imaginers of reality. What might it look like to begin to dream out loud? To listen to others and do what life calls on us to do? To listen with our mind and our heart wide open? To allow inner knowledge to emerge? To co-inspire, co-create, and co-evolve? And to do ALL of this at a variety of levels—in special interest groups, home groups, social clubs, neighborhood councils, churches, synagogues, city councils, philosophy salons…etc… What might that be like?
That’s what I’m interested in discovering.
+ opti-mystic + artist + seeker + poet + suck-ass painter + student + mutant futures theorist + hopeful agnostic + father + singer/songwriter + book drunk + gardener + marketeer + situationalist + organizer + party thrower + spiritual direction + story-teller + wrench thrower + idealist + activist + sustainability + strategic foresight +continental philosophy + process theology/open theism + new-music junky + emerging spirituality + post-christian + kabala + integral theory + systems science + complexity + enneagram + postmodern + meta-narrative + portland, or + hunger justice + primitive faith + wonder + event planner + student + chaos theory + transcendent + neo platonism + intentional community + leadership resources + artist approach + interfaith dialog + progressive + type two + ENFJ + fatherhood + advising