manifesto monday: facing unsavory realities with hope


this is one of the more difficult and personal manifestos i've is hard to be bold, honest, and open. i have deeply wanted to share so many things with you, but have been afraid to expose ugly realities here. i am trying to find an empowering way to include all of you in what is most important to me.

ceej and i spend a lot of our free time reading books, watching documentaries, tuning in to the news, listening to scholars and activists, analyzing articles, watching the actions of civic office holders, etc. we feel compelled to be informed and to act according to our conscience.

often, people don't want to hear about what we've learned. it can be uncomfortable to hear about the unfair things in this world. i hear people telling me that they just want to concentrate on the "positive" things in this world, as if i am always doom and gloom.

however, i truly have hope in humanity. i see what a difference one person can make. i see what true joy comes when we face corruption and tragedy with courage, optimism, and action. i see that there are many of us who want to alleviate suffering and greed. we can overcome. but we must be informed. we must take action. i cannot imagine experiencing a fullness of joy unless we have first faced our demons, unless we change ourselves into beings that are awake, deliberate, and compassionate.

i also believe that i cannot change you, and you cannot change me. somehow, we have to come to a place where we are willing to change on our own. this is where my hope comes in. i have hope that people will urge me to be better...even when it is painfully uncomfortable...and that i will hopefully find courage to change. and i hope that somehow those around me will listen to what i have learned, take action, or correct me if i have overlooked something.

if we are to turn unsavory realities into true joys, we must face them. we can and will do so...even if, in the end, we only change ourselves {but if we change ourselves it is hard for those around us not to be changed on some level}. we can find and make beauty in a broken world.

this i believe.

{i would love to know about your cause, about your fight...please inform me on more ways i can change and make a difference}

some recommendations: a documentary about martin luther king, jr.'s 'beyond vietnam' speech, a documentary about corporations, a documentary about food, a documentary about a brave man who changed the course of a war, a book about u.s. history, these may be difficult to watch...but the good news is we can take action and change these matter how big the problems are. let's leave this world as beautiful as we can.


Jon M. said...

This was great.

Kerry O'Gorman said...

Yes you are so right! As Bob Marley once sang..."In this bright future, you can't forget your past". Things can be hard to acknowledge sometimes but who's got to look who in the mirror everyday? Keep up the fight.

Jayni said...

Good for you for being brave and sharing this! My personal cause has always been the environment. I just feel it in my heart, and I know that I need to do all I can to do something. But I also feel very strongly about women's rights, nutrition and food sources, health care, and race issues. There are many more, of course, but these always speak to me.

amy said...

On Saturday I gave a presentation about rape and sexual violence to the Army reserves and then immediately went and sat at a tabling booth for Rape Recovery Center at the Man Expo at the expo center in Sandy. I keenly feel the urgency for men to become involved in this work; women are too easily marginalized and silenced. It's heavy to realize I can only change me when I don't have a habit of raping people. But I do have so many edges that could use smoothing...

In other words, I hear you. Loud and clear.

L said...

I love this post! I care a lot about making the world a better place, but sometimes I just feel overwhelmed by all the problems, and I go on news fasts just so I can mellow out. Your post reminded me that I have to be willing to stay engaged if I am to make a difference.

Causes that I'm active in: air/water pollution prevention and remediation; climate change; pesticide drift (pesticide sprays on large industrial farms affects farm workers and people in the surrounding communities)

Causes that I'm interested in becoming more active in: environmental justice (poorer neighborhoods, on average, have more environmental problems than middle-class and wealthy neighborhoods)

Causes that I embrace, vote on with my dollars, even though I'm not involved in advocacy: sustainable, pesticide-free farming; the Wal-Mart culture

Hmmm... it would appear that environmental issues are what catch my attention... The pesticide issues are what I'm most interested in at the moment. I've noticed that spouting off about my issues doesn't usually make me popular at dinner parties, so I tend to refrain, and sometimes I'm disappointed with myself for that. Is it possible to say how I feel without offending people?

Unknown said...

I adore documentary films and in fact, I once dreamed of being a documentary filmmaker. That desire is slowly starting to resurface. I am most interested in the food movement. I want to find a way to reconnect people with the simplest concept in the world: nourishment. I believe that we are so lucky that that which nourishes us also provides us with immense pleasure throughout all its steps: growing food, harvesting, cooking, eating. SO many people in this country somehow have lost that connection with food...and I think it needs to begin in elementary school. I think that there should be mandatory classes about food and where it comes from and basic agriculture.

thats my rant. I must find a way to make this my career.