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.