On the ground in DC

I spent my first full day with the October 2011 people yesterday. They are surviving the rain and are an impressive group wiith a strong contingent of Vietnam-era veterans.  Their spot in Freedom Plaza includes a full frontal view of the Capitol building. This is the older crowd with the young folks of Occupy DC holding down a different square closer to the White House. I went to the Occupy DC camp  and got some support from the guy struggling to maintain the kitchen to come and talk about sustaining our activism at 2:00 this afternoon.

field notes from the front lines

I spent two days with the Wall Street protesters and the energy is high there. It's youth-led and very organized in it's way - welcome annd media center, a library, kitchen and security, a comfort center with blankets, tarps, etc. and well run meetings. No, they don' t have a clear list of demands but given what they are confronting I think we can cut them some slack.They aren't beating themselves about it either. One of my favorite signs was:" We're here, we're unclear, get used to it"

Plunge Practice

Going to Auschwitz to meditate and bear witness on the grounds of the former concentration camp in November, living on the street for several days/nights with only a blanket and the clothes on your back in a large northern city in early spring, or a southern city in the heat of summer, these are examples of the “plunge practices” Bernie Glassman and the Zen Peacemakers employ to help wake people up. Another good example is the wilderness vision fast – setting up alone in a wild place for 3 or 4 days of fasting with only a tarp for shelter.

Taking it to the Streets

I had just started to think about getting myself to NYC to participate in the Occupy Wall Street protest when I learned about the October 2011 gathering in DC That pushed me over the edge. So I’m heading out on Monday to spend two weeks in NYC and DC -- learning, supporting, interviewing, writing, and whenever possible and appropriate, teaching restorative activism and its foundational practices.

Separateness as Root Cause

Here's an article I wrote that was published today in OpEdNews. Please let me know what you think and feel free to comment on it at the news site as well:
War, Death Penalty, Environmental Crisis -- the Root Cause is the Same

Foundations for Resilience and Sustainability

I recently presented a workshop entitled Restorative Activism: Foundations for Resilience and Personal Sustainability at the Sustainable Living Fair in Fort Collins, CO. The workshop emphasized the four areas of restorative practice that we are working with here at the Colorado Center for Restorative Practices: Mindfulness, Nature-based Practices, Relationship Skills, and Service/Activism. A written version of the talk can be downloaded here. I welcome your feedback!

Sustainable Living Fair - Workshop

Scott will be leading a workshop on Restorative Activism and Personal Sustainability at the 12th Annual Sustainable Living Fair at Legacy Park in Fort Collins, CO on Sunday, September 18th.

Mind the Gap

We returned from our 10-day family road trip on Sunday night after the final leg of the drive, an eight hour excursion across Nebraska and eastern Colorado. I now know why that house of a car from Ford is called an excursion – it is like the spacious and luxurious wagon on the Donner Trail – you are no less likely to freeze to death and be eaten for food, but it's comfortable while your actually moving. We were driving an Acadia, which is just as luxurious, but it has fewer bathrooms.

Strength and Resilience in the Face of Chaos

With the seeming abundance of whining, crying, complaining, instigating and melodrama going on during our trip, one wonders where all of the optimism comes from at the outset. It's not like we have never done this before. My central practice on this vacation is working with that moment when I feel unconscious emotional reactions arising, when chaos ensues. I want to stop the unconscious reaction, but I also don't want to repress it. The key for me is catching it and experiencing it to the fullest degree possible, with as little judgment as possible.

The Hope and Confusion of Intrafamily Nurturing

My wife and I are driving our four kids to a family reunion in Wisconsin in a couple of days and we always enter these situations with caution, fear, a dollop of hope and a fistful of blind ignorance. We have several traumatic experiences stored in our unconscious emotional memories - even the mention of driving the kids half way across the country elicits anxiety and involuntary twitching.

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