Bad Sight, but New Vision

After my valiant attempt to retrieve my glasses from the bottom of Sarasota Bay, I reflected a bit on the importance of letting go. Just as I have to let go of my glasses and adjust to a new way of looking at things, so do we as a society need to let go of Sometimes we have to learn to cope without things, and sometimes when things are taken from us, it is only to make room for the new. Just like I’m going to need to cope without the luxury of glasses for awhile, I think that we as a people need to let go of many of the systems that are not working for us.  However, I hope that we can let go of these things willingly and voluntarily instead of having them stripped from us.

Fortunately, I think the answers on how to do these things are being provided as we open ourselves up to them. They’ve actually been here all along; we’ve just decided not to notice them.

Our main problem is that we have, under the regime of capitalism, have placed the majority of our understanding of value in this thing called money. Without a doubt, we as a country, indeed as western civilization, have embraced the love of money. Now, I am not a religious man, but I do still appreciate the lessons that Jesus shared. Many of those lessons have been repeated throughout history by spiritual gurus who may have never even heard of Jesus. So when Jesus said that money was the root of all evil, based upon the injustice, inequality, bigotry, and environmental degradation I see in the world around me, I don’t think he was wrong.

Currently, too many of our systems are operating with greed as the driving force and with money as the primary goal. If the human race is to survive and realize the opportunity to participate in the creation of the new heaven and new earth we in the Judeo/Christian tradition have been waiting for, we need to let our industrious nature return to a simpler and more focused direction than merely the development of the man-made currency that too often serves to divide and destroy us instead of sustaining us and giving the life of abundance we truly want.

Our food production system should be about producing food, not making money. Our healthcare system should be about providing healthcare, not about making money. Our creative industries should be about creating fingers which point to truth, not about making money. There is a growing movement here in America that may now be as loud as in other countries, but it is happening. The more I connect with people, the more I realize how many of them are ready for the changes that are taking place. The status quo is not as esteemed as one would come to believe by watching television. And while there may be little an individual can do, there is a lot that a country of individuals can do. One of the most powerful is our ability to cultivate community. And although we are connected globally, it is what we do locally that will bring about the changes we long to see.

Let us come to that point where we can realize money as a tool for us to realize abundance and a representation of that value, but also realize that it is not, in and of itself, abundant or valuable. There are too many wonderful things in the world for us to continue to be fixated on this silly little thing called money. Perhaps we should take a moment to read the inscription we scrawled upon these limited edition reproductions we call money and put more trust in God than in the systems and industries that we have created so that we can revel in our conveniences and forget about our responsibilities.

If you don’t see the video, you can watch it here.

Steve

Steve McAllister describes himself as a Renaissance Man. An author, filmmaker, songwriter, and perpetual artistic experimenter, he has recently re-released his second book The Rucksack Letters into paperback to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the journey. A journey of ink and soul, the book recounts his year and a half trek through 26 states, exploring the underbelly of America in order to better know himself. A pivotal first step for a generation in search of a new direction, The Rucksack Letters is available now. His latest book is How to Survive an Estralarian Mind Meld. Connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

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Diving for Glasses

So I want kayaking the other night to go for a swim in the bay. And although a little voice told me to leave my glasses on the table, I did not listen to my intuition and thus my glasses have found a place at the bottom of Sarasota Bay. Nevertheless, I know roughly where I was when I went into the water so I thought it would be fun to see if I can find them. I borrowed a pair of goggles so we’ll see how successful I might be.

I don’t necessarily think I’ll find them, and realize that it is an incredible long shot. However, I really like long shots.

If you can’t see the video, you can watch it here.

Steve

Steve McAllister describes himself as a Renaissance Man. An author, filmmaker, songwriter, and perpetual artistic experimenter, he has recently re-released his second book The Rucksack Letters into paperback to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the journey. A journey of ink and soul, the book recounts his year and a half trek through 26 states, exploring the underbelly of America in order to better know himself. A pivotal first step for a generation in search of a new direction, The Rucksack Letters is available now. His latest book is How to Survive an Estralarian Mind Meld. Connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

A Big Eclectic Renaissance

Spending the day at the Big Eclectic show at Big E’s Coffeehouse in Sarasota yesterday gave me a great infusion of the artistry coming out of this town. Aside from the smooth sounds of Truman Adams and the downright kickassery of Traphik 316, the heaping handfuls of other artists that came out to perform and the audience that came out to support the event is a testament to the building Renaissance here in Sarasota. But it’s not just the music and artistry, there’s just something building in the consciousness of those who are willing and open enough to connect to it.

And I don’t believe that it’s just limited to Sarasota. Granted, I feel it and see it very strongly here because it happens to currently be the center of my universe. Nevertheless, I don’t think anyone can argue with the fact that the world at large is on the verge of a grand shift. So many of our older institutions are starting to falter, and in lieu of the security they offer, people are waking up to new dynamics of creating community and reestablishing their connection with what is really important in life.

Here in Sarasota, part of this movement is being spurred on by the homeless situation. As the rich and elite make moves to remove park benches and take other initiatives to remove the lowly and downtrodden from their site, “normal” people, the everyday schlubs that make up the general populace are realizing that it is more important to care for your fellow man. I believe that it is this understanding that is truly going to bring about the most magnificent changes in the coming Renaissance. Interestingly, it is the same simple wisdom shared by Jesus when he said to love your neighbor as yourself.

In the first Renaissance, much of the art was infused with religious symbolism. It’s interesting to me that, as I’ve been witnessing this change in the world around me, I’m noticing more and more people referring to Jesus and the simple wisdom that he taught. Not that this movement is becoming largely religious, but it seems that the religious trappings are being diminished while the truth that they point to is rising into the light. It’s a very exciting time to be alive.

Steve

Steve McAllister describes himself as a Renaissance Man. An author, filmmaker, songwriter, and perpetual artistic experimenter, he has recently re-released his second book The Rucksack Letters into paperback to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the journey. A journey of ink and soul, the book recounts his year and a half trek through 26 states, exploring the underbelly of America in order to better know himself. A pivotal first step for a generation in search of a new direction, The Rucksack Letters is available now. His latest book is How to Survive an Estralarian Mind Meld. Connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

Who I Am

I had the pleasure a few months ago to be a guest on the Conscious Discussions Podcast hosted by Lillian Brummet. It was probably my fourth or fifth radio interview, but Lillian is my favorite host to date. She asked pertinent questions, always staying on the path of her theme, but building upon my answers to really make me explore dimensions that I hadn’t previously considered.

One of the questions that she asked was about how I see myself. This is how I answered the question “Who is Steve?”

I’ve called myself a Renaissance Man for quite awhile now and am finding ways to act out this role for effectively with each passing day. Recently, I constructed a website that shares a little bit about who I am, why I do what I do, what I can do for you, and how we can help one another. Some of it is a bit tongue in cheek, but that’s just the way I roll. I like to have fun with life whatever I may be doing, from producing a video to washing the dishes.

Take a few moments to go to StevenMcAllister.net and see if there is a greater purpose for your reading these words and for the connection we have already established.

Steve

Steve McAllister describes himself as a Renaissance Man. An author, filmmaker, songwriter, and perpetual artistic experimenter, he has recently re-released his second book The Rucksack Letters into paperback to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the journey. A journey of ink and soul, the book recounts his year and a half trek through 26 states, exploring the underbelly of America in order to better know himself. A pivotal first step for a generation in search of a new direction, The Rucksack Letters is available now. His latest book is How to Survive an Estralarian Mind Meld. Connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

The Road Ahead

To celebrate the 10 year anniversary of stepping out to write The Rucksack Letters, I recently released it in paperback for the first time in 5 years. As I stated in the revamped Preface, meeting Aaron Heidemann and talking with him about his American Dream or Bust project made me want to revisit the American Dream I set out to chase and see how well I’ve manifested what I was looking for. All things considered, I’d have to say that the journey I embarked upon, although fraught with many pitfalls, has been a huge success.

Although I’ve wavered between the roles of poet, prophet, fool, and sage, and though my life situation has delivered me through both the highest highs and the lowest lows, I have truly appreciated, and continue to appreciate, every step of the journey. And that, I believe, is what a successful endeavor consists of. As long as you can reach the end a better person than when you began, and you can be grateful for the moments which helped carve you into this new creation, none of your efforts have been in vain.

When I set out to write The Rucksack Letters, I had visions of where my travels would take me. And with every endeavor since, I have dreamed of the outcomes I desired. One thing I have noticed is that, when my imagination finally crosses over into the physical dimension, where space and time converge  again, it takes on properties that are so subtle, and at the same time so much more vast than I’ve imagined, that it can only be described as surreal. I am still sorting out the particulars of all that I have collected in my rucksack over the last decade, but I can say with a very satisfying grin that the journey before me looks incredibly promising for myself and for my community.

Steve

Steve McAllister describes himself as a Renaissance Man. An author, filmmaker, songwriter, and perpetual artistic experimenter, he has recently re-released his second book The Rucksack Letters into paperback to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the journey. A journey of ink and soul, the book recounts his year and a half trek through 26 states, exploring the underbelly of America in order to better know himself. A pivotal first step for a generation in search of a new direction, The Rucksack Letters is available now.

What I'm Doing These Days…

Ten years ago, when I left to travel the country in order to better understand this new phenomenon called Attention Deficit Disorder, comparing and contrasting it to our societal disorders, I was also searching for the answers that were being provided outside of the mainstream conversation. This journey culminated in my book The Rucksack Letters, released into paperback last month. This month, I released How to Survive an Estralarian Mind Meld, a comical foray into philosophical science fiction about aliens who try to help me change the world for the better simply by shifting our perception of it. Next month, I will be releasing my first novel Descent, and in August, to celebrate my 40th birthday, I will be releasing Get Your Groove On: How to Be a Modern Hippie, a collection of inspirational posts from Modern Hippie Mag called “Your Daily Groove.”

In addition to the release of my books into paperback, I have also been producing more videos. The more recent ones are about the homeless situation in Sarasota, a new local currency program, an arts collective, an entrepreneurial incubator, Love is the New Currency, and a few of the local, original music acts emerging from the movement here. Following a video I did a few months ago asking if Sarasota was on the verge of a Renaissance or a Dark Age to which I got a resounding answer of “Renaissance,” I started calling myself a Renaissance Man, a term I have been quietly using for  years but is just not coming into full comprehension.

You see, I believe that based upon our historical data and the economic and political tumult we are going through, we are either on the verge of a Renaissance or a Dark Age. Considering that I am continuously seeing projects like Metamorphosis and Transition popping up around me, I can only assume that a Renaissance is inevitable as long as we continue to move toward it. I feel that the videos I am producing, the books I am releasing, and the current stream of blogs I have been writing can be used in helping my community to do that.

As much as possible, I’m simply trying to capture and share the conversation I hear going on around me while also participating in it based on what I have learned from my various journeys and research. That is how I came to produce such videos as Is Consumerism really the answer to the American Dream?, Is a Better System than Capitalism Possible?, and Creating Community Everywhere. In order to offer a better vision of how I believe my particular skill set fits into this new Renaissance, I’ve also recently released a series of 23 short videos about who I am and what I am trying to do.

I hope that we, as a community, can realize the creative possibilities in one another and create a sustainable future by recognizing the abundance of the present.

Steve

Steve McAllister describes himself as a Renaissance Man. An author, filmmaker, songwriter, and perpetual artistic experimenter, he has recently re-released his second book The Rucksack Letters into paperback to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the journey. A journey of ink and soul, the book recounts his year and a half trek through 26 states, exploring the underbelly of America in order to better know himself. A pivotal first step for a generation in search of a new direction, The Rucksack Letters is available now.

What is the Rucksack Revolution?

Before setting off to live and write my travelogue, I was, like many young dreamers, inspired by the tales of Jack Kerouac and the rhythm of the Beats.  In his book The Dharma Bums, a poetic exploration into finding purpose in simplicity, two of the characters, discouraged by society’s unhealthy direction, discuss what they call “The Rucksack Revolution.”

“…see the whole thing is a world of rucksack wanderers, Dharma Bums refusing to subscribe to the general demand that they consume production and therefore have to work for the privilege of consuming, all that crap they didn’t really want anyway such as refrigerators, TV sets, cars, at least new fancy cars, certain hair oils and deodorants and general junk you finally always see a week later in the garbage anyway, all of them imprisoned in a system of work, produce, consume, work, produce, consume, I see a vision of a great rucksack revolution thousands or even millions of young Americans wandering around with rucksacks, going up to mountains to pray, making children laugh and old men glad, making young girls happy and old girls happier, all of ‘em Zen Lunatics who go about writing poems that happen to appear in their heads for no reason and also being kind and also by strange unexpected acts keep giving visions of eternal freedom to everybody and to all living creatures…”

This passage stood out to me long before I started looking at this plague that was sweeping the nation called Attention Deficit Disorder. Since I had been finding it remarkably difficult to fit into the Ordered Attention of Normal Society (a syndrome I refer to as OANS), I decided to take my peculiar neurological framework and see if it might fit into this utopic vision Jack was describing.

You see, I came to a point where I realized that the journey toward a successful life that I’d seen in the hours upon hours of television programming I’d endured probably wasn’t going to reach its desired end by my trying to fit into the framework of normal society. For me, if I’d gone the regularly travelled route, using the tried and true methods that had helped forge the foundation for the culture we’d created, in the end I would still just be a part of the problem. As beautiful and wonderful as our culture is, and as efficiently as our society seems to run, the unnecessary side effects of environmental devastation, emotional distress, violent behavior, and dogmatic disconnections were not really things that I give fuel to. If my becoming a success in this society meant that I had to perpetuate these things, I knew that there must be a better way to meet my own personal goals, and in so doing hopefully help other people to discover what they really wanted out of life beyond the current trend of consumerism, misunderstanding, and separation.

When I finally worked up the courage to follow my own path, I saw it as a journey toward self actualization. Still disillusioned by my religious upbringing, I left on a leap of faith in that unknown Intelligence I still referred to as God in hopes that my journey would be of some benefit to the greater scheme of things and the Divine Plan I may never fully understand, but of which I knew I was an integral part. As the path has worn on, I’ve realized that, while the societal systems that we’ve constructed are excellent tools for administrating the basic needs of life, the needs themselves are actually attended to by a much more mysterious and celestial system. For the system we’re currently operating under is based on a limited, man-made currency, one that only allows for the flow of abundance to those who have mastered the ability to maneuver and direct its course. However, there are many more ways to abundance beyond the designs of men.

Setting out to write The Rucksack Letters, it wasn’t a direct intention to help inspire the literal movement of Jack’s Rucksack Revolution. However, it was my hope to inspire people to at least take an emotional and mental step back, look at the lives they are creating, and drop the things which are keeping them from the lives they imagine so they can start they journey toward it. And that is still my goal today.

“If you ever took a Psychology class, you may remember that Maslow’s hierarchy of basic human needs defines physiological needs as the most basic, followed by safety needs, belongingness and love needs, esteem needs, and finally, the need for self actualization. If you haven’t heard of this before, don’t feel bad.  I have a degree in Psychology and even I had to look it up.

Well, I’ve been living in the modern American/Judeo-Christian/Capitalist/Consumerist society for thirty years now. For the most part, my safety and health have always been provided for, thanks to wonderful parents who regard me with ample faith and limitless patience. And while I’ve often felt love, I have found no belonging, my life subject to that of a renegade and a dreamer. Without belonging, esteem has never been fully reached and self-actualization is a distant fantasy.

I will continue to write of my journeys for as long as words can describe them. I make no promises that my language will always be sweet. I can assure you that there will be times it will be as hard for you to read my tales as it will be for me to live them. If what I write offends you, know beforehand that it is not my intent. If you disagree with me, I only ask that you examine why. If I let you down, get in line with all the others I’ve disappointed. If I challenge you, I hope that you will meet it.”

Of course, seeing Aaron Heidemann out on his American Dream or Bust tour has given me a second thought as to whether the Rucksack Revolution may turn out the way Jack dreamed it after all…

Steve

Steve McAllister describes himself as a Renaissance Man. An author, filmmaker, songwriter, and perpetual artistic experimenter, he has recently re-released his second book The Rucksack Letters into paperback to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the journey. A journey of ink and soul, the book recounts his year and a half trek through 26 states, exploring the underbelly of America in order to better know himself. A pivotal first step for a generation in search of a new direction, The Rucksack Letters is available now.