2013: Turning the Page

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Here comes a pristine new year.

Our calendar turns the page, so that we start at the top once more.  Though each day represents a full rotation around the sun, we only mark it on January 1.  If we celebrated each individual day, how might life look?  The Mayan long count could have used pages and saved many people from unnecessary, even foolish, stress.  Perhaps a lack of paper had something to do with that.

December 21st came and went; humanity is still here.  The Mayans merely “turned a page,” perhaps not literally.  Is there significance to this?  Is there significance to any “new” year?  Or is it merely a number or a glyph stretching today into tomorrow?

An example of "against" speech.

An example of “against” speech.

People I know have said the “Mayan shift” signified a move away from dominance to cooperation in the global sphere.  Looking at the state of the world and the power structure that allows such dominance, I’m uncertain that this is true.  I’d like to think this is true, but must it come only from the Cosmos?  Can it not simply be awakened from within?  Only when the people awaken to their own power and their own possibility will any true change come.  Will that happen?  We saw bubblings with the Occupy movement – quickly vilified by the dominant powers.  We’ve seen it with G-7, -8, -20 protests, though they come and go without lasting resolution.  The anti-GMO crowd wakes up only to be outspent 5-to-1 in elections and see their gains turn into losses.  And herein lies our cultural problem.

We are always fighting against something or against someone.  My e-mails from groups with whom I have general agreement attest to this: “Tell Obama not to…”  “Stop Congress from…”  “Block…”  And on and on (and no longer in my inbox since I’ve done much unsubscribing).  This happens no matter where an advocacy group lands on the political spectrum.  This year, there was one striking difference in political speech.  The three marriage equality votes to pass statewide votes all voted to affirm equality, rather than block something bad.  A lesson could be learned here as we turn the page of our own cultural story.

Language is powerful.  Let’s fight for something.

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Celebrate food done right.

A couple years ago, I used this website to rail against the industrialized food system.  It was chock full of sound information and common sense policy ideas (if I do say so myself).  And even though it was well received by readers, I felt the burden of being against something wearing me out.  There seemed to be no hope for our future or for sanity in the food supply.  This reality exists: No matter how many people wake up, there will always be money from the vested few to slap it down.  Even the usually game Woody Harrelson has felt defeated by the influence of money over sensibility.  In a 2012 interview, he said, “If you manage to stop the timber industry from cutting this forest they’ll cut that forest. If you stop oil drilling here, they’ll go drill there.”

I felt a calling to change my approach.  It has been a lugubrious process.  I started looking for ways people were honoring planet and humanity (one in the same, I believe) in my Food Done Right series, among others.  Instead of full-on polemics about the evils of food and chemical industry titans, I highlighted those who have jumped out of the system or who have been looking to improve it.  This felt lighter.

It also felt small.  The pieces were few and far between, impossible to create a full puzzle.  The gaps still entrenched in the old, manipulative ways.

The focused attention of a baby can teach us valuable lessons.

The focused attention of a baby can teach us valuable lessons.

In the past couple years, I have watched All in the Family from the early 1970s and have read Daniel Quinn’s Ishmael books.  I cringed when Rob Reiner’s character railed against the very same problems that we have today with the power elite.  Quinn’s tomes are hopeful, but were written two decades ago, with little done to rectify the issues he takes up.  Same as it ever was: a warming planet, insecure food, planetary disintegration.  Somehow, we get stuck.  Or more aptly, the people we elect have mired us in place, in part because we only see a two-party solution and in part because many impediments exist to maintain such concentrated power.  People rail against this power no matter where they fall on the political spectrum.  What are they/we railing for?

As I turn the page into 2013, I have a plan to fill in that gaping jigsaw puzzle.  It will take more than just me doing something, but I intend to be part of the solution in my small localized way, continuing to buy food done right and patronizing those who honor the planet.  I will fight for something.  And I will follow my 1-year-old daughter’s lead.

When Kalia has her attention focused on a task at hand – looping beads around her stuffed frog’s neck or stabbing a tomato with her small fork – nothing averts her mind to other projects.  I can ask for a kiss and she won’t even look up.  I can move my head into her line of sight and she will move her head and gaze back to the tomato.  Until it’s forked, I don’t exist.

DC knows what we're against, to little avail.  How about what we're for?

DC knows what we’re against, to little avail. How about what we’re for?

The moneyed elite will hold vast control over many things in our lives.  We only pretend to freedom in this country – in any society, really.  Like my daughter, she has freedom of what she pays attention to, even though much of the rest of her life is controlled by outside forces.  But just because destructive leviathans and their influence peddlers in local, state, and national government are pulling many of the strings, I don’t have to acknowledge them as I go about working for something.  I concede that I have little control over them and that they can walk over us if they choose.  I also cede the fight against them as nearly useless.  To paraphrase Woody, “Try to label GMOs in California, they’ll threaten the legislature in Minnesota.”

Fighting these entities directly makes no sense to me.  They never lose.  They have a high-powered revolving door into and out of government.  They disregard planetary health while profiting.  We can shout into black holes and sink hard-earned money into campaigns.  Or….

Or???

Or we fight for something.

We set about propping up those who do things well.  We can focus our words on proper growing procedures, time-tested methods of living, and the science that has emerged to show one way is better than the other.  We can fight for what is truly natural.  We can invest in a natural future.  We can initiate measures that enhance the right system and let others fight against us for a change.  Going on the offensive embraces positivity and affirmation.  People gravitate toward that.

An awakened populace, one by one, will hold more power than the sanctioned few who have gripped the steering wheel firmly.  Let us awaken quickly and see that the shackles that bind us are ones we’ve allowed to be created.  With louder voices in favor of something, we can break free.

How do we do it?  Look to what works.  Throw off what never has.

Awaken to a better tomorrow.  Be "for" something.

Awaken to a better tomorrow. Be “for” something.

Ten years ago, there was no marriage equality in the United States.  Today, about 20% of the U.S., recognizes gay people are full human citizens.  And a nothing-for-32 streak turned into 3-for-3 when the message was flipped and affirmation reigned.

We can affirm the right to a clean food supply, to clean air, clean water, and clean soil.  We can affirm a secure body image.  We can affirm simplicity.  We can affirm being part of nature.

Fighting against those who dishonor the Earth has not yielded much.  They go on.  We lurch.  Too often we look at the few that are holding us down rather than lifting up the many.  Maybe “the many” crave a new story.  Let’s turn the page on the narrative.  The time has come.

A happy, healthy, and AWAKENED 2013 to you all!

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9 thoughts on “2013: Turning the Page

  1. chris, what is your FB address? I looked but couldn’t find (read your recent piece in Pathways, BTW–good one!)

    ~a fellow former Massachusetts guy ,

    Peace and keep the good thoughts flowing!

    Sandy Shea
    (FB=”sheasworth”

  2. Pingback: It Takes A Little Effort « Raven Mist Farm

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