As it applies to us humans, I believe structural integrity consists of two things—individual and the relational conduct. Staying centered in integrity means pursuing the people and experiences that make you feel the most alive, the most seen and valued, and, subsequently, the most nourished. From this place, we are far better citizens of the world. But structural integrity also means being impeccable with your word, showing up all the times and in all the ways you said that you would. It means bearing, with grace, whatever load it is you promised you’d carry. —Alessandra Wollner
After searching for a bit, I finally found the audio tone for the mobile phone used in The Big Lebowski! Presented here for your personal ringtone amusement:
Dude: Fuck it.
Donnie: Where you going, Dude?
Dude: Home, Donnie.
Donnie: Phone’s ringing, Dude.
Dude: Thank you, Donnie!
old 90s GSM ringtone
The point being that this kind of collective environment appears to allow for the restoration of symbolic resources in individuals – even if the content of those resources is not collective, or even shared. The existence of the sacred liminal space itself is sufficient collective infrastructure to support individual’s symbolic resources.
snark is not an effective tool for social change
Deep in preparations for my fourth burn, I was linked to an online preview of MetropoLOVE by Karen Kuehn. It’s a book of extraordinary photography mostly taken at Burning Man 2010. Among the beautiful images and quotes, I had to pause on this image of the Temple of Flux:
I love this image because it captures the clean walls of the temple before it was literally covered in messages and artifacts brought to it by the community. I wasn’t able to witness the temple burn with my own eyes that year, so to some degree, I can still believe the Temple of Flux is still standing out there on the playa … somewhere. Accepting and sheltering all who need it.
Out of the desert grew a ritual,
a participatory moment
Out of the moment grew a need
A need fulfilled by a temple
A place to let go,
The temple became a tradition
It grew from the playa,
from the temporary city,
from the culture
Its methods were ours,
its tradition was ours
It became a part of our city
And a part of us.
– Jess Hobbs
This past week has been unexpectedly hard on me personally. The massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary school hit closer to home for me than I would have first imagined. While I live and work no more than 19 miles away from Aurora, Colorado where 12 were killed and 58 others were injured in a mass shooting only four months ago, the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut is affecting me in ways I’d never have expected. Perhaps it’s the fact that I have school age children. Perhaps it’s the fact that a coworker of a friend of mine is the parent of one of the young victims. Perhaps it’s the fact that my mother was an elementary school teacher for her entire career. Perhaps it’s the fact that I was a student in high school myself when an individual brought a firearm into our building but fortunately was disarmed and apprehended before anyone was hurt.
Whatever the combination of reasons, I realized this morning that the pain I’ve been feeling all week is the pain of a broken heart. My heart breaks in sympathy for those directly affected by the massacre in Newtown. My heart breaks for the country I love whose collective mind is broken to such a degree that we allow conditions to persist that make mass shootings an ever more common occurrence. My heart breaks when I read posts by friends and family on social media defending the status quo on the issue of gun control.
I love my family and friends, but when they make arguments championing the proliferation of firearms throughout civilian society, I have no choice but to interpret that as a threat against my own children. I am no expert on firearms policy, but I know there is significant room for regulation (where little to none exists now) so that the chances of another Sandy Hook happening again are reduced all while still holding true to the Second Amendment. There are many opinions in this world that I will tolerate even as they differ from mine, but when you threaten my children, I have no tolerance. Because I love you and want to continue loving you, I will remove your toxic words from my view and hold on to the hope that one day the better angels of your nature will prevail and you will join me in healing our society.
On Friday, 12/21 at 9:30 AM in (your time zone), please observe a moment of silence to remember those lost last week and to contemplate how we as a society must move forward from this tragedy for the benefit of our children, our future.
Last year I built and burned a Solstice Man. I didn’t want to repeat the same thing this year, so I decided to go cliché and build a Mayan pyramid. I built the base last weekend and completed the top today. Here’s to a good burn on Friday!
Today is Colorado Gives Day. I just renewed and increased my annual pledge to the Food Bank of the Rockies. I encourage each one of you – wherever you are – to find a local nonprofit agency that serves a cause close to your heart and make a donation today (any amount)! Until we take care of those struggling to meet their basic needs in our community, we will fail to make progress as a healthy, sustainable society.