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Life Advice from Catherine Ingram
A Cascadian Milestone for Beginners
Standing with outright confidence, wonder and angst, I can tell, this year will be the best yet. My comrades and I are letting go our mindset of the “norm”, and delving deep for direct experience, and broader consciousness. We don’t know what we are doing, but skinning road-kill possum is one of our first steps.
Here we are, in the prime of our lives, with practically nothing to lose. We have aspirations, places to go, people to meet, and unknown adventures lurking like lions out there. I believe that we are preparing ourselves for the experiences that will define our greater selves in the long run. One day we too, as our parents before us, will reminisce and remember our youthful days of comradery. It’s spring, a simpler time right now, with moments of laughing, playing guitars and singing on blankets in the sun filled park.
Time is coming for independence and self-discovery. I KNOW that I’m not the only one. We are being called to go out and manifest our own destiny, as we are supposed to do.
As older generations bicker over political hindrances and conflicts and rhetorical solutions, my friends and I are preparing for a greater social change. Greater because it isn’t all theory and talk. We are collecting information that may save our lives, or mayhaps our sanity. In this consumerist pre-discovered world that society has created for us, I feel that we have no choice but to give in to the best of our ancestorsto channel those revolutionaries who came before us, even as we seek our own organic and authentic ways to live.
Self-discovery is a re-discovered obsession for me. I don’t want to live in the past and I don’t want to feel bad about all the things that I am not doing. I know now, as I didn’t know before, that I have years of life and ages of experience to unfold on my journey forward. These things I want to do, they are fully within reach, and I hope to do them all. There is so much waiting for me around every corner, under every rock, behind every tree. I have been filled with a quality of excitement, like a child, about whatever’s coming up, stoked to realize that I have so much opportunity and so many voyages to embark upon.
I’ve finally realized that I am not limited to or by what I know already. This is so completely liberating, to feel free from the pressures and obligations of my own past, even as I look at it with cold eyes. Freedom from guilt about what I did wrong and freedom from old relationships with people who still want something from me. Actually knowing that I can still learn things and be excited about them is a gift that I have newly given myself.
As I said, skinning a road-kill possum was a step forward. I realized during the process that I do not need to turn away from real blood and gore. Television has created a preconceived idea of what this type of gore should make me feel, but I realized that the animal was already dead to begin with; that we were not inflicting pain to it, and that we were making the death of this creature productive rather than trash. Realizing all this as a born/raised vegetarian who had never seen something like this before gave me strength in confidence, knowing that I can handle things I never believed I could.
I know that I will leave my hometown this year for the first time by myself. I will be leaving to satisfy my own sanity, and leaving for myself only. I have realized that I must be selfish in order to be happy, but not apathetic to others’ needs. I must be happy for myself before I can make others happy. This is no new concept, just another reminder for me. This time, though, I am acting instead of talking, doing instead of planning. I know that it will be hard, I’m sure I will be hungry sometimes, without gas to get places, without friends in unknown territory, but I’m positive that I will come out a better person for all the troubles I’ll encounter.
All these new learning experiences and adventures that I am creating for myself are exhilarating, and I am confident that this year will indeed be the best yet. It will be a year of self-discovery, new beginnings, adventures yet to be unleashed, and an opportunity to later tell these stories, my stories, just as my parents do theirs.
Asia Kindred Moore lives in Salem, Oregon, where she works as a barista at the Coffee House Cafe downtown. Asia can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Site Updated Summer 08