Wednesday, June 22, 2005

I can't sleep. I think it's because I'm so inspired. I attended the most amazing event tonight. My sister-in-law Magdalene is executive director of The Bridge Program, a free humanities education program for low-income, mostly homeless, adults. Some of the students were presenting their final projects tonight and I am so glad I was able to witness their triumph. I met a man who wrote "The Zen and Tao of Carnivals", based on his seven years traveling the carnival/fair/rodeo circuit. He made me a balloon animal (he said that he had been dedicating his life to letting go of desire as a Buddhist, but his job as a carney was all about creating desire. He learned to make balloon animals and give them away for free to balance out the karma.) Another man spoke about how racism is like a 200 lb. hog in the middle of the living room, gnawing on the furniture and passing gas while we all pretend it isn't there. He ended his presentation saying it was time to slaughter that hog and cook it in a backyard barbeque. A woman gave a passionate and deeply moving argument for gay marriage (a different woman later argued against gay marriage in her presentation, and even though it was clear most of us in the room didn't agree with her position, everyone honored the work and time she had put into her project). Another woman created an ice cream social to show ways in which we can connect with our community and bring about change. A man shared a gorgeous memoir about life and love on the streets. The evening ended with a woman's beautiful meditation on balancing thought and action, self and world. I am still buzzing from all of it.

4 comments:

Damian McNicholl said...

Thanks for sharing this. On the part about the pro- and anti-gay marriage speeches you listened to, because of the recent change in the Spanish legislation, I wrote an essay called THE SPANISH ENLIGHTENMENT on the subject of gay marriage. As a gay man in a 13 year relationship, I never really concerned myself with whether people should call it marriage or not--actually, I was indiferent--until I researched the subject adnd discovered 1138 federal protectoions are triggered once the "I do's" are uttered. That's when I changed my mind and decided it really is an issue of civil rights.

gayle said...

Hi Damian!

I'd love to see your essay--is it available online? I agree that gay marriage is one of the most important civil rights issues of our time. It is exciting to see the world come around slowly, country by country. I hope the US will become more enlightened soon (although last year's elections show that we unfortunately have a long way to go in many states.)

Damian McNicholl said...

Hi Gayle,
Yes, it's posted on my blog. I wrote it as an Op-Ed piece and emailed it to a bunch of newspapers, but then Sandra Day O'Connor resigned the Supreme Court and that ended any hope of seeing it in print because she's became topic of the day or week, etc.

gayle said...

I just read it, Damian--thanks for the heads up!--and it's wonderful. For those of you who wish to read it, the link is http://damianm.blogspot.com/2005/07/spanish-enlightenment.html.