Choosing Procession – Not Recession (excerpted version)
Friend of Mine,
Today you wanted to talk about “the economy”. How the economy affected my art and work. You told me you felt horrible and scared and mad. My desire to reach out and hug you was all I could think of. I found that optimism felt false, but that doomsday was also untrue I felt a desire to share possibility with you but no words sounded right. I realized I hadn’t found my language yet for what was defined as “a recession”.
You asked me: What do I think about “the economy”
I have a strange notion to embrace our economy. A mystical sense that to navigate these changes with grace will require deep love and profound creativity. Not regret or blame. While at every turn, fear is present with the “what if’s” it has always used to leverage itself into our lives. Each day, I face fear with paintbrush and pen.
I do not wish to be blind to what is occurring. Whether we “believe” there is enough, or “believe” we are running out – they are both true. We know scarcity is an illusion – but knowing that does not make it go away in the world – but it can make it go away in our mind – because we choose not to live in the version of scarcity being sold. It costs way too much.
You indicated, that perhaps I didn’t know how bad things really were, otherwise I would be as mad as you.
I do not have to follow the news moment by moment to learn that people I love cannot go to the dentist, or make this month’s car payment or pay for their child’s day care. For me to tell them they need to change their thinking because everything they need is right here if they will just open themselves to the flow of abundance, is just not my style.
Argue for your limitations, and sure enough, they’re yours. – Richard Bach
No matter what anyone says, I don’t think we know what things are going to look like as this economic journey unfolds. I know that people cannot find work easily. I know that other people are getting rich. I know that people are losing their homes. I know others are buying them up. People are unable to give the way they used to. Others are giving more than ever. The reason why I think it cannot be predicted because the “experts” cannot predict who we will be during this process, they don’t know who we are – we are not numbers or consumers – we are people, citizens of spaceship earth. And people in hard times past have many times chosen generosity over hoarding. Patience over panic. Longevity over immediacy. Who will we choose to be this time around? I hope we will surprise ourselves.
A designer is an emerging synthesis of artist, inventor, mechanic, objective economist
and evolutionary strategist. Buckminster Fuller
As I searched for my language, I asked myself – What shall I design? What will we design as a people?
I know for sure, that I refuse to use the language the media is offering. This is not a recession – which implies that previous to recession there was what? A recession is a general slowdown of economic activity over a period of time – or from the Latin “gone back.” We are not really doing that at all.
I will not use that word as I do not believe that is what is REALLY HAPPENING. I can’t say I know what is really happening, but since it feels strangely orchestrated. I don’t blame you for wanting to know who is to blame – I am mad too – I just know that my anger must translate into art and care for others or I can easily become bitter. On another day you might find me at a café, talking with the revolutionaries about conspiracy theory, but today I choose hope. Hope.
You accused me of magical thinking. I was defensive at first, but then wondered if you were right.
Now, I am all for positive thinking – but I am not really for magical thinking as a way to live. As a way to explore -YES- but not to make decisions by. I like to acknowledge what I see, first – see it for as close to what it is as I am able to grasp – and then choose who and how I shall approach that thing – as that is what is mine to do. It’s true, I am a rebel, and as an entrepreneur, I have the privilege of already being outside of many of the systems, but I invite everyone I know to do everything they can, to think their own thoughts, and not buy into the system’s solutions being sold that do not fit who we are.
“No I don’t prefer obscurity, but I’m an idealistic girl. And I wouldn’t work for you, no matter what you paid. And I may not be able, to change the whole fucking world, but I can be the million, that you never made. You are looking at the million that you’ll never make. Ani DiFranco
What I am choosing to live during our economic times is a :”Procession” which is from the Latin meaning to ‘move forward’. And in the Church, the Holy Spirit moves by way of Procession. And in the dictionary, it is: a number of people moving forward in an orderly fashion. I like it. I shall make my choices in accordance with the medicine procession brings.
The world is moved along, not only by the mighty shoves of its heroes,
but also by the aggregate of tiny pushes of each honest worker. Helen Keller
Since I have found my language – I have also found the way that I shall be about this – I shall be having a Processional experience. I shall not turn back, move back or even look back in regret.
I shall embrace creativity, possibility, service, and yes, OUR ECONOMY! What is the alternative? I am motivated by how I might ease suffering, and not at all motivated by pointing fingers. The poets and the artists must continue to interpret reality through our creative lens – just as the marchers must march and whistle blowers must blow and the fence sitters must sit, or maybe it is time to get down.
Will you join me in a Procession? If we do not choose, the media will continue to define the conversation and give us the language they want to give us in order to frame it the way that works best for a handful of powerful folks, who are frankly not committed to saving the honey bee and the whale, no matter the cost to their grandchildren.
I know this is what you are so mad about. I hear you. My call to creativity is not intended to be cavalier, I really mean, that art does save lives and our world does need to artists to continue to create. I really feel that the artists are holding the world together with the rest of those who pray in all forms, for peace on earth.
I shall PROCEED with the work creator has given me to do as my service. I shall not panic and stray off course or listen to those who say artists and poets must now get normal jobs. I have felt the shift in economic times, as have most of the folks in my immediate circle. And after very conscious and careful evaluation – we have chosen to be creative about it as long as we can – and to continue in our vision of wellness for the world. Who knows what tomorrow will bring? We must remain watchful and mindful to think our own thoughts as it is so easy to put other people’s ill intentioned sentences into our own mouth
Often when scarcity is being promoted, we constrict. My community is choosing together, to expand. To proceed. To be generous anyhow. To value what is truly important. To take heart, and continue in courage. I aint saying it is easy – and it certainly fluctuates for me, moment to moment. But the fabric of my decision to remain positive and abundant is what is underneath everything else, holding space for possibility.
Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.
Our work is the work of Revolution, which according to Webster is: a dramatic and wide-reaching change in the way something works or is organized or in people’s ideas about it. Revolution is rooted in the hope that change is possible through how we show up and what we stand for – let us continue on in a Processional Revolution and pay attention to what truly matters as the unraveling and knitting back together process continues.
We can proceed in faith. No matter what it looks like. We cannot despair. The world needs our laughter. The world needs our songs. The world needs our possibilities. And I need your friendship. We don’t need to know what it is going to look like to have faith. We think it should look different than it does – in order to say God has it under control – but we have no idea what is really happening at a Cosmic level. That being said, what are our choices for moving forward? I hope you choose Joy. I shall now take up my paintbrush and drum, and go dancing out into the streets, singing of hope. Of love. Of Justice. Of moving forward, of proceeding. Onward! This is just one artist’s view on navigating our economy with grace.
“Hard times require furious dancing” Alice Walker.