The Plan for a Jellybean Jacket

In my search for the Utopia which I dream of, where Life always works the way I want it to and I have a jacket made out of jellybeans, I’ve realized that I’ve still got a long way to go before I can understand everything that’s gonna work to make all things come into alignment so I can eat my jacket. Nevertheless, it doesn’t stop me from going through each day in gratitude for the blessings that I do have, and the realization of others that were there just waiting for me to acknowledge them.

Perhaps this is why I feel so compelled to let go of money. I often find so much more value in the actual manifestations of Life when I don’t have to give attention to their receipts, just allowing them to be, finding my place to serve in their progress, and moving to the next manifestation. There are often certain things that I have to sacrifice like buying a beer when I go to hear a friend play music or grabbing a piece of pizza when I smell the aroma coming from Patellini’s. However, I usually find fullness in other ways and move on to what Life has to offer beyond the frame of want.

I know that Life Provides. It is a truth that has been proven to me time and again as I have jumped from cliffs and stumbled over my own feet, always being caught in the sometimes too firm embrace of Existence. I find myself sometimes favoring the company of the lowly. Sometimes I feel pretty lowly myself. Yet although I don’t always allow for Life to provide in the way that She wants to in the abundance She so appreciates, due to whatever emotional, mental, physical or spiritual challenge I might be wrestling with at the time, I know that victory will always be mine when I stop fighting and let Her do Her thing.

For the last ten years, I’ve been writing books, screenplays, and plans on all of the things I’ve wanted to do. The books I’ve managed to publish myself, but the screenplays must become Team Art, and the plans, limited to only 25-40 pages, didn’t allow much for the How of the Whats and Whys. However, now, having written all that I’ve wanted to, I find myself in a much freer place to write what is required of me.

I keep hearing the complaint from the critics of the Occupy movement that there is no plan. Although most Americans are moderately forgiving of the fact that they want to protest what is happening in their country, they echo the malaise-filled sentiment of the network news saying that if you don’t know exactly how the journey is going to turn out, you ought not take it. It’s as if the vulture of apathy sits on their shoulders as they sit in whatever comfort America has provided for them while being unable to feel the Spirit that inspired its birth in the first place. When will be able to hear the cry of out countrymen and answer them with ideas instead of critiques? When do we plan to do that?

Circumstantially, I also have this seemingly aimless journey of protest against a system that has nearly destroyed the lives of millions of both my countrymen and fellow citizens of the planet, and one that I never much liked anyway. And as I try to make my way through these possibly shark infested waters of detaching myself from what most think is a perfectly fine vessel, I am consistently asked for a plan for my floating.

So for what it is worth, and for those who have ears to hear and eyes to see, I will use this platform of InkenSoul.com to Write the World of the plan I hope to follow as I strive to live in the America that I believe in instead of the one that I must purchase. It is my hope that what I write aligns with the goals I hear that you are striving for. In the meantime, I’m going to start gathering jellybeans.

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Giving All I've Got…

After a whirlwind week of creating 40 decotage steps for the Labyrinth of the Unbroken Path and collecting 7 more from 5 other local artists, I was very happy to install the Labyrinth in two different locations yesterday and share my latest project with my community. In the morning, I packed the steps onto a hand truck and wheeled them down to the Sarasota Bayfront where a few hundred people were gathered for the Occupy Sarasota rally. It was quite surreal pulling my little cart of brightly colored steps down Main Street, through the Farmers Market and an Art Festival that was going on from Lime Avenue to Five Points Park. Wheeling it into the shadow of “Unconditional Surrender” statue, I set the Labyrinth up in about fifteen minutes and used the newly learned tool of the People’s Mike to get some attention.

“Mike Check!” I shouted.

At first, I only had one person repeat it. I repeated it again two more times until I had a few other people echoing “Mike Check” then made the announcement to invite people to walk the path. A swarm of them came over and it was a real thrill to see people walking through it, pointing and smiling to ones that they really liked, and to have some of them come over and tell me how much they enjoyed it.

Shortly after, I asked Chris, one of the event organizers about the stack list for the General Assembly scheduled for 11am. He got me a pad of paper and I numbered it from 1-25, placing my name in the 11th slot. Once the meeting started, I started rolling my camera to capture some of the passion of my people. I’d already strapped my guitar to my back, so when it came my turn, Chris volunteered to hold my camera for me, and I added a little music into the mix with a rousing rendition of The Times They Are a Changin’.

As the General Assembly reached its close, I packed up the Labyrinth and started the 1 and a half mile walk back home. My friend Holly, who had agreed to give me a ride to ArtSlam in Bradenton was running a little late, but it gave me a little time to rest up before packing all of the steps into her car and running it up to downtown Bradenton.

Photo by Jessi Smith

Misha Rubinstein, director of Spiral Entertainment and the guy who inspired me to get involved in the project in the first place, showed me to the space he’d picked out for the installation. Although it was a bit off the beaten path, the circle of brick pavers made for a perfect spot for the first true installation of the Labyrinth. Out of the main stream of traffic and away from the noise of the Main Stage, the location gave those travelers who sought the Labyrinth out the time, space, and focus to walk the path as it was meant to be walked, with a bit of contemplation and meditation.

What strikes me as so interesting about watching people walk the Labyrinth is the individual way that each person finds their own path. Some follow the pattern as it is set up, savoring each step, and even following the same path back out. Others show no regard for boundaries and just walk across the steps, glancing only at those that pop out at them and are easier to read. Although I would prefer that everyone follow the path I designed, it makes me smile to see that everyone has their own way of finding their way through.

Throughout the evening, I got out to see some of the other exhibits, pulling my camera out from time to time to capture a local band or the incredible performance put on my the ever-dancing Fez Meister and Spiral Entertainment. All in all, it was a really great day and a fantastic start to what I believe will be a truly heart-filled and life-changing journey.

One of the steps of the path refers to the Role of Leadership talked about by Stephen Covey as Supporting. It is a quote by Erma Bombeck which says, “When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, ‘I used everything you gave me.’” After a day of installing, playing music, filming, and even a little chalk art, I felt incredibly happy to say that I used everything that I had.

The True Goal of the Social Media Revolution

Facebook, Twitter, and the rest of the social media technologies are tools which are allowing us to connect again. After the infiltration of television into our consciousness, we have become very disconnected, culminating in the Me generation. I believe that this movement in social media is a natural phase in our growth as a community. Although it may have been technology that drew us apart, it can also help to bring us together again. But it is essentially the connection between hearts, minds, bodies, and spirits that will define this revolution. Let us use the tools at our disposal to make it happen.

Yes, the technology was given to us by aliens. They call themselves Estralarians. Yes, I really did meet them, and they really did give me an Estralarian Mind Meld. It’s actually not so bad once you come to grips with the pain.

They told me to “write the world” so I did. The adventure they took me on is all detailed in my latest book How to Survive an Estralarian Mind Meld. I suggest you get yourself a copy if you want to get through this with a smile on your face.

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.