Light My Fire

A few weeks ago, I sang ‘Light My Fire’ at a karaoke night at Mugsy McGuire’s here in Carbondale. I don’t know whether the song called in the magic, or the magic called in the song — but either way, my fire has been blazing ever since.

It’s hard to describe… so hard, in fact, that I almost didn’t write this entry. Every time I try to put it into words, I find myself drowning in an almost manic burst of inspiration. So much passion, mixed with such strong insight… it takes a minute or two of concentration just to focus it all down into bite-sized chunks that are comprehensible to an outside observer. But I feel that I have a lot to share, so it’s well worth the effort.

For over 10 years now, my life has been defined by my revolutionary passion. This inspiration has driven me to search my soul, change my name, reinvent myself from the ground up, and step out into the community on many occasions to speak out about what I believe.

Anyone who truly knows me has seen this passion at work in my life. It is the fire that animates me, serving as the inspiration behind who I am, what I do, what I think, what I feel, and who I embrace as my closest friends. Even my moments of rest, joy, and playfulness are understood as expressions of this ever-burning fire of revolutionary passion.

But on some level, this passion has always been… how do I put it? Not subdued, not suppressed, and not even controlled. But on some level, it’s always been HELD BACK. It’s been kept at a safe distance — an almost impersonal aloofness — and experienced through intuition and inspiration more so than the explosive outbursts of emotion that one would normally associate with such passion.

I think that this came about for two reasons.

First of all, I wasn’t ready for it at first. I’d say that this inspiration of mine started really coming through in my teens, at a time when I had no idea what it was, no one really to guide me, and suburban surroundings that were actively hostile to anything resembling independent thought or creativity. I began developing a strong empathy, and a strong sense of purpose, but didn’t know what that purpose was or how to hold healthy boundaries around my empathy. Therefore, I ended up willing away my emotions for a long time.

Second of all, my surroundings weren’t ready for what I had to offer. What would the suburbs of Chicago have done with a young ecstatic pagan anarchist revolutionary? They probably would have given me psychiatric meds against my will and crushed what little spirit I managed to pull through those times of suburban isolation.

So, I put my passions in a bottle and cast them out to sea.

At first, they were simply gone, leaving nothing but a profound anxiety that something was missing from my life. But then, they began to re-emerge, and I started to incorporate their insights into my life bit by bit, still holding the actual experience of this passion at a distance as much as possible. After all, surely it wasn’t safe, and polite, and diplomatic, and strategic, and proper to be so wild and fiery. Surely, it was enough for my inspiration to be an abstract spiritual calling rather than an intensely personal emotional experience.

That lasted for a few years. Then, I backed away from activism a bit for a few years in order to do some personal healing. Between my experiences at the healing school and my Wiccan clergy training, I learned a lot about myself and about the many paths to personal empowerment and healing. I started really feeling my most profound emotions, instead of just feeling a profound anxiety in place of my emotions.

Finally, a year and a half ago, I had a spiritual experience in which I let go of the final major barrier to embracing my heart’s passion. Ever since then, I’ve felt various shifts in my life as I’ve started bringing more and more of that passion back into my body, my personality, and my social and community life. But it’s only been within the past few months that it’s really started to come through more clearly. And now, several new circumstances in my life are helping to bring it out further.

First of all, after quite a long stretch of solitude, I’ve found someone wonderful to go out with. I’ve only been going out with her for a couple of weeks now, but so far, I think we’ve both been having a great time. We have a lot in common, and it seems like we can talk for hours without running out of things to say. I’m still not used to having someone who actually reciprocates my affections instead of rejecting me, so I still find myself being polite and “maintaining boundaries” in moments when I could just as easily be showing her my affection. But I’m starting to get used to it, especially since she really does seem to like me too.

My time with her has definitely been the biggest news in my life for a long time. She’s such a beautiful person, and I hope that we continue to spend time together and enjoy each other’s company. Really, our time together has been so special to me that I’m almost hesitant to even write about other things, for fear of detracting from it. But then again, I’m complex enough to have multiple things going on in my life, so I may as well share the other news that’s on the horizon.

I’m involved in a newly forming group called X. This group has its website at:

heartofx.org

Basically, X combines personal inspiration and passion with community action and consciousness raising. We’ve put out a few Clues that offer insight into several of the inspirations for X, and we’ll be having our first event soon. The details are still forming, and we have no preconceived expectations about how it’s going to turn out. But whatever it becomes, it’s already shaping up to be something amazing.

Really, what gets my attention most often these days is the new woman in my life. But when I do take the time to think back to community projects, I’m very excited about what X has to offer. It’s fun and exciting, yet also offers a lot of potential for some very strategically important community work. Really, it’s how I feel revolution should be — a mix of spontaneous creativity and organized strategy. Together, our passion and our discipline can work hand in hand in pursuit of a better life for ourselves and our communities.

So, yeah… there’s a lot of passion in this little old heart of mine these days. It’s always been there, somewhere deep down, held back from the surface… but now, it’s experiencing a dimensional shift of sorts, and coming through in my life more clearly than ever. It’s not just a distant force any more that speaks to me through wild dreams and frantic intuitions. Now, it’s ME — my body, my emotions, my mind, my heart. I’m still plagued by the old habit of holding back my passions out of politeness and deference to others… and as always, there is still a place for propriety and discretion. But now that the flame at my core has been reignited, it’s only a matter of time before all of the old patterns are burned away, and my life is truly lived according to the flame burning within.

I’ve said this before, but with each passing day, I feel it more clearly. I feel it more clearly because the flame within is burning more brightly than ever, and it’s the flame that sets me free. No chains can bind me now; no walls can contain me now; no amount of corporate and government influence can convince me that the love in my heart should be extinguished. This love is who I am, and it’s what I have to offer to the world. It is wild and untameable, and it’s only a matter of time before I find myself once again reinvented by the burning of this flame within. Everything that is real about me will shine more brightly… and everything that I’ve held back — everything that is holding me back — will be consumed by the flames.

It’s an intense experience… beyond anything that words can describe. But words are all that I have before me at the moment, so they’ll have to do for now. Soon, I’ll be showing it more and more through actions… in the meantime, I’m off to bed. I look forward to any responses you may have, and I look forward to sharing more soon…

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New Release Date

Gaia’s Orphans now has a new release date of October 31, 2007. In preparation for this new date, I will soon be launching an extensive web promotions campaign. [And finishing the book!]

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Passion, Power, and Revolution

After spending just a few weeks devoting myself to the pursuit of ecstasy, I’m starting to understand why certain people in our society go to such great lengths to control people’s passions.

Passion is POWER! Control the passions of the people, and you control the world. Set those passions free, and a free world will follow.

Politicians, corporations, and other so-called leaders control our sensual and sexual passions through a combination of aggressive advertising, media messages, and oppresive “moral” restrictions. They control our artistic and creative passions by creating a banal social and economic reality where we can only survive and prosper by denying the pursuit of our dreams. They control our spiritual passions by driving the sense of wonder out of our lives and forcing us to buy it back piecemeal, either through subservience to their hollow religious institutions or through expensive consumption of inspirational “products” such as movies and music.

They use these tools to control the ebb and flow of our passions. Our sensual, sexual, artistic, creative, and spiritual passions are all seen not as inborn qualities, but rather as distant prizes that we may one day claim if we obey their rigid rules and conform to their rigid order.

They tell us to consume more; question less; submit to authority; dominate the oppressed; abandon all sense of magic and wonder; ignore the fact that our empire is sending humanity and the Earth to hell in a handbasket; and if we don’t like it, we must pop a few more pills, and our discontent will be replaced with a bit of numbness and mild nausea.

Well, I will have none of it. Ecstasy is our birthright — and the passion that drives it is the fire that will fuel the revolution.

I’ve known about all of this intellectually for years now. In fact, I’ve spent the past ten years or so of my life developing an ever-richer understanding the many facets of the global crisis. But really, only in the past year or two of personal development has the answer to the crisis become more clear to me. And in my moment of clarity and passion, I feel driven to climb the highest mountain and shout the words of my visions for all the world to hear.

The details are amazingly complex, but the heart of it all is amazingly simple. And the heart of it is this:

We must reclaim our passions, and refocus them to the task of personal and planetary revolution. Not someday; not next year; not next month; and not even tomorrow. We must embrace our passion for a life of love and freedom, and we must do it NOW! Otherwise, within our lifetimes, the global climate will collapse, global society will dissolve, and life as we know it will end.

I really don’t like making such dire pronouncements, but that’s the truth of the matter. I’ve known it for a while now, and I can feel it burning in my bones and racing through my mind even as I write this. And really, I feel that our lives should be motivated by a passion for life rather than a fear of apocalypse. But since that doesn’t seem to be working for most of us — myself included, up until recently — I think it’s time to address the fact that we stand at a crossroads of tremendous significance.

Evidence is mounting at an accelerating rate in support of the existence of human-caused global climate change. And even without climate change, our social, economic, and political reality is creating an absurd amount of carnage that is simply intolerable. And even without the external threats, the forms of mass psychological control that have been developed in the Western world in the past 50-100 years have become such a dire threat to our individual psychological freedom that we must not tolerate them for a moment longer.

From the outermost reaches of the planet to the innermost confines of our minds, hearts, and spirits, our world is under siege from the forces of domination and destruction. This has been the case throughout history — but now, we are reaching a point of no return, where we must either choose to rise up in the name of freedom, or watch as all that we hold dear is destroyed before our very eyes.

Of course, this isn’t to say that everything in the world is bad! Far from it. If I believed that, then I wouldn’t even bother writing this entry. The good news is that we do indeed have the potential to create a better world — and in fact, even amidst the destruction described above, that world is emerging.

But that emerging world is so tender… so new… so delicate… like a single butterfly breaking through its cocoon in the midst of a thunderstorm. Unless we nurture, cherish, and protect it, it will die before it ever truly lives.

I just saw a movie called “Children of Men” recently, and I found it very moving. (Plot spoiler ahead!) Humanity had become infertile, and there were no children left in the world. Then, the first child born in 18 years — a newborn infant, now the only child in the world — was born in the midst of an uprising in a detention camp. There was this tremendous tension at the climax of the movie as bullets flew all around this child, threatening to end what may well be humanity’s last hope for new life. But then, there was this amazing moment that I’ll always remember.

It was a sudden moment of peace.

As the mother walked down a hallway and stairs with child in arms, the child was crying, and people immediately noticed the all-but-forgotten sound. One by one, they turned to mother and child, some reaching out to touch the child gently, as if to bless it and make sure that it was real. Soon, even the soldiers and militants stopped firing their guns, and the whole battlefield fell silent. Formerly stoic soldiers found their faces filled with looks of tenderness, and a few crossed themselves or humbled themselves to the child. As mother and child emerged from the building, there was this amazing sustained moment of peace as all people stood in awe of the miracle of life.

And then, of course, the moment passed, and the fighting resumed.

But still… I found the scene very inspiring, and it reminded me in a lot of ways of the present day situation that stands before us. A precious new life — a precious new incarnation of humanity — is being born at this very moment. Artists, poets, scientists, philosophers, students, teachers, spiritual seekers, and people in every walk of life are starting to see the world (and themselves) in new and exciting ways. With just a little more time, and a little more energy, and a little more focus, I just know in my heart that we will be able to create an entire world of tremendous freedom, tremendous abundance, and tremendous harmony among people and with the Earth.

We have the potential… and the potential is blooming… but at the very same time, the war is raging, and the threat of global suicide is looming. What we need right now more than anything is that moment of magic… that moment when everyone looks, and notices the birth of a newborn child, and pauses their fighting for just long enough to allow this new incarnation of humanity to be born safely into the world, and to pass safely through the carnage, if only for a moment.

At this point, further losses are inevitable… indeed, I fear that even with our best efforts, terrible tragedies lie ahead that we can scarcely even imagine at this point. But if we act now… if we follow our hearts, and act in whatever ways possible to foster the creation of that magic moment where a new humanity emerges… then all of this will not be in vain, and hope will be reborn in the ashes.

I don’t have all of the answers. I don’t even have all of the questions. But what I do have is a passionate love of life, love of humanity, and love of the Earth. And I truly believe, in my heart of hearts, that now is the time for that “magic pause.”

So let’s do it. Let’s pause, if only for a moment, and work the magic of peace. Pause from our jobs; pause from our studies; pause from our personal pursuits; pause even from our frantic efforts to save the planet. Let’s pause, take a deep breath, ground, center, and stand together in a circle to discuss the challenges that face us.

What are all of the challenges? How do we feel about them? How do we respond to them, as individuals and as groups? What can we do differently, in the service of our values, even if we currently have no clue of how to do it?

Really, I don’t know what anyone else is going to do in 2007. But I know what I’m going to do. I’m going to reclaim my passions, and I’m going to devote them to the service of creating this magic moment, this turning point of revolution, where another world is possible — and indeed, another world is born. I’m going to do this by pursuing my own healing, and building community among the people I love, and travelling as much as possible to speak with others who are doing the same.

This is what I’m going to do in 2007 — and I invite you to join me.

With that said, it’s time to return to the work ahead. We’ve got rocky roads ahead, to be sure — but I know in my heart that we can face it all together.

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Projects for the New Year

Life is full of surprises, and I can’t say with any certainty what I’ll be working on tomorrow, much less a year from now. But as I mentioned in my last entry, I’m filled with an incredible passion for life that exceeds anything I’ve ever felt before. I want to live, to dance, to sing, to play, to work, to reach all of my aspirations in life, and to dream of wondrous dreams that others would not dare to imagine! All of this inspiration is starting to come into clearer focus now, to the point where I can narrow it down to three major projects that I’ll likely be working on in this new year.

The first project is my career as an author and public speaker. I didn’t used to like talking about it as a career for a variety of reasons. I’m obviously not in it for the money, and I will continue to speak and write about topics near and dear to my heart as often as I can, even if doing so leaves me penniless. But really, since this is my life’s work, and since I do endeavour to earn a living by it on a good day, it’s my career, or profession, or whatever else you might like to call it.

I’ve put off finishing up Gaia’s Orphans for at least a few more months while I work on developing a clear and effective plan for building my effectiveness within and beyond Southern Illinois. In the past, most of my books and speaking events have been very minimally promoted, either through word of mouth or simple methods such as flyering. This was because I spent all of my time focusing on the creative work and none of it focusing on distribution. From this point forward, though, I’m going to put much more effort into grassroots communications, promotions, and distributions. I have a good deal of important information and inspiration to share with the world, and it would be a shame if that didn’t happen just because I didn’t take the time to engage in enough outreach and networking. That’s a part of the revolution too, right?

My second big project is my goal to live in an intentional community no later than 2010. I believe that I first announced this goal publicly back when I released my first book, Revolution of One. Now, as the date approaches, I’m feeling increasingly worried about the prospects of finding or creating such a community here in Southern Illinois. I’m a very stubborn person, though, so rather than accepting defeat and fleeing to the West Coast, I’ve decided to devote the next three or so years to the task of finding the community I’m looking for right here.

Really, there are two angles to this search. In the short term, I’ve been gathering together the bits and pieces of this would-be community that already exist here in Southern Illinois. I’ve been spending more social time with a few of my friends who I really feel share a lot of good values in commmon — values such as independent thinking, love of true freedom, openness to visionary perspectives and actions, kind-heartedness, the ability to have fun, dedication to the service of good causes, and a love of the Earth and all beings who live here. I’ve also been spending time in organizations and activities that embody at least some of these values, and serve as good practice for any future community living situations.

In the end, though, my mind keeps coming back to how these short-term efforts may fit into the long-term goal of creating community. I really can’t help it… I don’t know if I was born with it, or if my fellow revolutionaries drove it into me, but I can’t help thinking strategically about short term successes and how they may serve long term goals. Even when I’m out dancing to my heart’s content, fully lost in the joy of the moment, I’ll get flashes of insight into how the current experience may relate to the eventual creation of revolutionary communities and societies.

So, in addition to all of the daily efforts to explore community as it exists on the ground today, I’m also examining ways to work toward the creation of an intentional community.

How, then, do we create an intentional community? That’s a question that I can’t answer alone. To be honest, if I seriously intend to stay in a region like Southern Illinois that currently has nothing like what I want to live in, then I’m pretty much at the mercy of other people and their interest or non-interest in intentional communities.

What I can do, though, is help to build groundwork that others may eventually use as a foundation for the creation of our/their intentional community. Along those lines, I have two big strategies for exploring this one big goal of creating community.

First of all, I’ve decided that I’m going to adopt the personal and community practices that I would like to see adopted by individuals in my desired community. This includes a variety of aspects such as a personal fitness practice; daily meditation and spiritual practices; community service work; regular interaction with the non-human natural world, ecological study, practice, and teaching; and plenty of spontaneous, creative, downright ecstatic personal and social activities to balance out all of that discipline and routine. [If you live here in Carbondale, and you haven’t seen me out dancing yet, you probably will son!]

Really, when it comes to communities, I’m willing to settle for a lot less than the very clear and specific personal vision that I have in mind. I know that not everyone in Southern Illinois is interested in becoming an anarchist pagan monk, and if I can’t find enough of us to start our own ecstatic activist monastic community, then I’d be happy to live in a much more broadly defined community. But in the meantime, I may as well start with what I truly desire most and go from there, eh?

My second big strategy for preparing for community living is to seek out others who are interested in forming a housing collective. It basically entails forming a group, then having our group either rent our buy a house (or houses, or apartments) that we will live in together. It’s a much simpler and more mellow process than trying to form a community… in fact, it’s pretty much just like having roommates. The only difference is that you meet regularly (once a week, or once a month) to discuss house issues, and you share in house responsibilities such as cleaning and often some shared meal planning. It’s an excellent experience, whether you see it as a fleeting moment in your life or preparation for further adventures in cooperative or community living.

Anyway… yeah. My career… my search for community… those are two of my big projects for this new year. What, then, is the third?

The third one is…

…a top secret project. 🙂

Hah! Oh, wouldn’t you like to know… seriously though, it’s not a terribly secret project. I’ve spoken to about a dozen people about it, and it’s a group project involving at least two other people currently, so it’s not entirely secret. But I don’t want to mention any of the details until it’s ready for the grand unveiling sometime next year. In the meantime, let’s just say that it’s a very creative and pioneering project that will let people have lots of fun while also possibly learning about and supporting good causes.

For a while, there was also a fourth project — an idea to start a specific local business here in Carbondale to fill a niche that isn’t currently being filled. However, for a variety of reasons, I’ve put that one on the back burner. I’d love to see it come to pass, though, so if you know of any enterprising spirits who share values at least remotely similar to my own, then feel free to direct them my way.

ANYWAY… yeah. Career, community, and Project X. Hopefully, there will be a bit of romance in there somewhere too… but if not, then I’ll just vent all of that extra energy on the dance floor and in my creative projects. If you have any ideas or other input about any of these, you know where to find me. In the meantime, I’m going to head out into the world in search of good food, good fun, and more inspiration for the revolution…

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My name is Treesong. I'm a father, author, talk radio host, and Real Life Superhero. I live in Carbondale, Southern Illinois. I write novels, short stories, and poetry, mostly about the climate.

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