In this search for something to get me through this next quarter of life I've been reading. I mean, it's time for phase two. Or I might be in phase three?
I cried myself to sleep last night reading chapter two of Courtney Martin's book "do it anyway"- the new generation of activists. I believe I've already mentioned my exciting discovery of her on this blog.
"Homeboy Industries" is a cutting edge gang rehab in LA that is run by Raul Diaz - also from the barrio of Boyle Heights, which is one of LA's most dangerous Gangbanger zones. He is an activist and a healer. To say he changes lives... I mean wow.
The work he does from his heart is incredible. It's not the first I'd heard of Raul and Homeboy Industries. They were viewed I believe on one of my favorite podcasts, On Being: listen here and your heart will pull: I believe I cried then too!
We don't have a south central LA in Sweet little Austin, Tx, but we do have gangs, and my ex husband (a recovered junkie) worked at a youth treatment facility for many years counseling addicted youth. He would tell me stories..."this one kid couldn't follow the rules and had to get taken away in shackles....he's on his way to Gardner Bettes." Which is juvenilne prison. Heartbreaking. We all mourned for those guys. They couldn't get honest or just couldn't....
When one rebels and can't follow the rules, that is activism, or more rebellion. Who is it they're rebelling against? If rebelling against those who are trying to help you (my ex) for example, as kind and generous chemical dependency counsellor, then from my viewpoint you cannot see the light and are acting in ego.
This is obviously not helpful to oneself, though I can see why one would believe they are rebelling against the system.
I think back to my first act of rebellion. I grew up in a physically abusive house. I was the middle so I had both mom and sister beating on me consistently. I'll never forget-- the day my sister was terrorizing me. She had me pinned in the corner of the closet. I guess I had enough because I punched her so hard in the stomach that she ran off crying. I'll never forget that. I must have been 12 or so. That was the end of that.
My sister, before she died, had changed her path. All that anger? She went to therapy, read philosophy, did yoga, was an activist herself and a protester. In essence, she saw the light and opened the doors for me too. I saw her change her thinking and we stopped arguing so much and at the end, had a wonderful loving relationship.
All this is to say that I'm diving into my activism. What am I passionate about? (art, always art and music, always music.) I'm watching the documentary on Ai WeiWei- the Chinese activist and artist. His personality is charged- he is very open against Chinese government, and it could have great consequences. It has had great consequences. Many of his contemporaries have been imprisoned- it is not fun and games. Check out his Twitter and blog. He's a genius.
He is very political. Am I? Dunno! Not really. I mean I'm not terribly outspoken.
I do feel strongly about starting in my house - my family of origin. My first rebellion? Fighting back. My second? Maybe quitting drinking and using. Emotions had imploded on me and I had abused myself endlessly. A conscious act for me, everyday to stop poisoning myself. My third activist act? Leaving a stable and loving husband for a more open and free emotional existence. That's complicated, and I've over simplified it here. I still love him.
So- I don't know where my art and activism is going, but it's moving towards art, creative thought, music, dance. My performance art piece for the city with Rachel Weiss is coming together. More on that as it unfolds! It will be intense I think. We are at a crossroads with it.
And I feel strongly about the glass installation I've presented for the Garden Committee in Manhattan. PLZZZZZZZZZZ angels.
Until then, I'll be reading, studying, writing, and dancing. And having fun - by being a bohemian.
Another act (maybe my best and most important act) of rebellion.