Saturday, August 20, 2011

The Altar Net

At the Oregon Country Fair I chose an experiment instead of my normal routine of "work myself to the bone with no sleep and make as much clothing as possible" pattern. I chose to go on a financial fast. A fast similar to a dietary experience of abstaining from the ingestion of certain foods or even any food at all. I chose to consciously make less money by not adding new inventory and to witness the internal processes that arose from that choice.

I am so glad that I did this.

Let me say that one more time...I am so very, very glad that I did this. I had a very powerful time at the OCF this year. By stepping back from my personal treadmill I saw how addictive and compulsive my work ethic has been. In the act of choosing financial abstinence I put myself on a firm platform of trust. I knew that I would survive the financial strain of less money. I decided that my sense of security does not derive from money and that in fact, money is the source of quite a bit of my anxiety. With this simple act I began to assess all of my resources and the largest resource of all is my community. Ultimately, that is all that money is anyway. It is an abstract representation of our energy that we pass between ourselves in order to quantify our efforts. Money allows us to harbor illusions of independence. But those illusions are tearing at our consciousness and resulting in an increasingly alienated culture. We have forgotten that we created legal tender to simplify our bartering system. Now, people work just for money and completely forget that it is the planet's natural resources that are what is required for our survival. Thus we routinely exploit our abundant water and forests and mountains and the result is that we ultimately damage our own habitat.

Creating the Altar Net for the Oregon Country Fair helped me remember who I am and what I am doing. It was a fantastic stream of conversations with wonderful festival goers and family and friends and new ideas. It has been a recognition that we reside within a net, an intricate interwoven web that supports us. This network of interconnection cannot be severed no matter how hard we try. We must breath the same air and allow the same water to pass through our bodies as every other inhabitant of this planet. Money serves us when we remember what a handy tool it can be. When we exchange it and it connects us to one another. It really only works when it is moving between hands and when it represents something. As our financial institutions crumble and Wall Street becomes a farce perhaps everyone will finally cry out "the emperor has no clothes"!

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