Posts Tagged ‘Passions’

Re-Finding the American Dream

Tuesday, December 6th, 2011

If we could all live out our passions without greed and taking from others, the nation would not need Occupy Wall Street. I grit my teeth when I think about the hedge funds and stockholders that want to take their swipe from the corporate employees (not the CEOs, of course, who now earn rock star salaries).

But enough about politics.

I visited the Be You House earlier this month. Be You is the moniker for the Innovation Lab, an alternative program in Loveland, Colorado, that educates public school students by allowing them to identify, explore and follow their passions as opposed to prescribing their learning according to subject matter and state standards.

The Be You house is a 1910 Victorian home redesigned to fit the program with study, meeting and exploration spaces. I sat in the detox room, which is the starting point for students to let go of what is clogging their inner self, so that they can begin to be who they are.

I think too many of us are not living out who we are. Just drive somewhere and notice the angry, impatient drivers. Or listen to the public conversation about the shrinking middle class and the using up of the working class for fast profits.

Artists already know that they have to have some connection to their Be You-ness. Before creating something, colors, motions, sound and touch have to break the barrier of the skin and be internalized. They have to know what they want and love doing in order to create.

Too many people don’t know who they are, I think, because they are too busy surviving, be it to get the paycheck or to work corporate-demanded Energizer-rabbit hours. I find that when I try to fit into the corporate culture so that I can earn a paycheck, my Be You gets ignored or pushed aside and only peeks out when I start to notice nature or try to deep breathe.

In an offbeat sort of way, I think the protesters, or at least some of them, are tired of working or not working so that they can barely live. They are not living if there is no passion. They are just doing. They are not being. Being Free. Be You. That’s what I would define as the American Dream.

Passionate Authors

Sunday, October 16th, 2011

On October 8th, I had the pleasure of attending the AAUW Conversation with Authors event. ThreeColorado authors, Sandi Ault, John Shors, and Helen Thorpe each spoke for about 45 minutes and then answered some audience questions.

            Sandi Ault has written a series of “Wild” mysteries, Wild Penance, Wild Sorrow, Wild Inferno, and Wild Indigo. Her character,Jamaica, is a protection agent with the Bureau of Land Management, working in the Southwest nearTaosMountain. She interacts with Indians in the Tonoah Pueblo and has a wolf for a pet.

            Ault talked about her love of the Indians. She has been adopted into a tribe, but knows little of their language. Words are sacred and shared very sparingly. They refuse to let anyone write anything down. Ault also has a wolf as a pet. If a male wolf is orphaned, no pack will accept him. Her love for wolves shone through as she talked about her devotion to these animals.

            John Shors, a former English teacher and newspaper reporter, has traveled widely in Asiaand other parts of the world avoiding the cities and tourist attractions to spend time with native peoples. His books, Beneath a Marble Sky, Beside a Burning Sea, and Dragon House, feature exotic events in remote cultures. His goal in writing is for readers to feel like they have visited the places of the settings.

            Helen Thorpe, a journalist and wife of Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, has written a book, Just Like Us, about four Mexican teenagers attending a high school inDenver and beginning college. One girl was born in theU.S., one is here legally with a green card, and two were brought here as young children by their parents. This factual book describes the challenges they have faced and continue to deal with. Thorpe emphasized that the book is not intended as an editorial. Her mission is to deepen readers’ understanding of the complexity of the issue.

            These three authors all spoke from their hearts about issues of vital concern to them. I was reminded, once again, of the power of the word. Writing does touch the core of the being of both the writer and the reader.