A Cordial Invitation to the Unbroken Path

I´m not sure if you saw them or not, but there were recently write ups about the Labyrinth of the Unbroken Path in the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, Sarasota Visual Arts, and Anything Arts. It will be installed twice in the first two weeks of November, and I would really like you to come walk through it, see if it speaks to you, and decide whether or not you would like to participate in future installations, or if you would like to invest in the Common Wealth Time Bank in other ways.

Photo by Jessi Smith

Last year, it started at ArtSlam as a simple, inspirational walking labyrinth with a subtext of philosophical complexity. The intention was to use it to develop a collaborative art project that would unite the community, serving as a way to inspire the way we craft the art of our collective lives. This year, it serves as the backbone of ArtSlam, and because it is now intertwined with the Common Wealth Time Bank, I think that it is still in the process of development.

I would be honored if you would come to the Sarasota Chalk Festival and seek out the Labyrinth of the Unbroken Path. Take a good twenty minutes to walk through and soak in each step. When you get to the end, circle around, and ask yourself what journey you´re being called to take.

If you´re an artist, consider contributing to the next installation. You can create a single piece, a series of pieces, a piece that´s been looking for a place, a performance at the entry, or maybe even make some changes to the pieces that are there. The plan is to start more formal installations and institute public auctions for selected pieces. Proceeds from the auctions will benefit the Artist, the Common Wealth Time Bank, the location of the auction, and building toward a Circus of Arts and Sustainability to take the show on the road.

If you´re not an artist, consider the Common Wealth Time Bank as an opportunity to craft the art of your life. Where do you really want to invest yourself in order to get the greatest return? There is a community just waiting for the gifts you have to bring.

As we make our way further down this Unbroken Path together, we are all getting closer to the realization that we are all One.

I hope to see you at the Chalk Festival and/or ArtSlam.

Steve

My Squirrelly Love

According to Maslow, once we have our physiological and security needs met, our ambitions are drawn toward our needs to find a place to belong and a people or person to love. Whether it be a community of like-minded people or a soulmate, this basic human connection is one of the primary motivators of humankind once they have reached a point of survival beyond living hand to mouth. Even among those who simply scrape by from day to day, there is a draw toward camaraderie and connection with others.

We need to feel as if we belong, and we need to love and be loved.

Last week, I adopted a squirrel and quickly fell in love with the little critter. Having a pet wasn’t something I’d anticipated, but when life scampers up, jumps on your head, and curls up in your hand to go to sleep, it’s not like you can just toss it away and go on with business as usual.
My day started with a trip to explore the new Riverfront park in Bradenton to get some ideas in order to plan for the installation of the Labyrinth of the Unbroken Path and its integration into the ArtSlam festival on November 10. The Labyrinth was first developed as a project for last year’s ArtSlam. A rather high concept piece, it fit perfectly onto a rounded brick canvas away from the fray. This year, it will serve not only as a cerebral installation piece which weaves together community consciousness, but will serve as a backbone for the event in collaboration with Urban Spiral Dream Company and Third Eye Projections. It’s going to be quite an event.
Anyway, after the tour of the grounds,  I was discussing the integration of the Common Wealth Time Bank into this community collaboration with Misha Rubinstein, one of the orchestrators of the event through USDC, when a baby squirrel walked up to me and seemed to look to me for protection. I offered him my hand and he crawled on. He seemed fairly spry and crawled up to my fingertips. He crouched to jump and I didn’t stop him from leaping onto my head. Unfortunately, it appears that my hair doesn’t make for a very graspable landing pad, and I wasn´t able to grab the little guy before he plummeted to the concrete.
He seemed ok, although a little more flustered. After recovering from the shock of the fall, or perhaps in order to recover from it, he curled up in my hand, covered his face with his tail, and proceeded to go to sleep. Considering the difficulty of riding a bicycle with a rodent in my hand, I took off my shirt, wrapped him in it, put him in a shopping bag, and headed downtown.
For the next four days, awake or asleep, he had most of my attention. Although there was work that I´d planned to do, it was such a joy spending time with little Pipsqueak and caring for such a fragile little life. I considered the ups and downs of having a pet, and pretty much convinced myself that I was going to become the squirrel guy.

When I was on my bike, if Pip wasn´t sleeping in my backpack, he was on my shoulder or riding on my hat. Within a couple of days, he was sleeping in my pocket. I even took him to a party where he met my friends and took a liking to sleeping in my pocket.

On the one instance where I left him with Jasmine to watch while I hosted open mic poetry night, I couldn´t wait to get home to see him again. She and I have tried to patch things up a few times since our divorce last year, and considering that I was more excited to get back to her place to see my squirrel than I was to spend time with her, I think it´s pretty safe to say that we´ll never be anything more than friends again.

But she still is my best friend.

Tuesday afternoon, when I went to check on Pip after a ride across town, I found him dead in my backpack, and it hit me like a sledgehammer to the chest. He must have gotten jarred when I hit a bump, but I still felt responsible for not adjusting the back weight properly. Even though it was the anniversary of our divorce, I wanted to see Jasmine. Her apartment was only a few blocks away, but I was knocked down a little further when I saw that her car was gone. I texted her, held Pip in my hand, and wept.

I knew it was silly to get so emotionally distraught over a rodent that I´d only known for four days, but I couldn´t help myself. It broke my freaking heart. I sat there on the pavement outside her place through three good cries and as many texts. For awhile, I just didn´t want to move, knocked back and forth between grief and guilt. After about 45 minutes, I put Pip back in my pack and headed north.

I shared the news with Kari and Alex, who´d never met Pip in his livelier days, but offered hugs of condolences nonetheless. I dug a hole near the garden, thanked Pip for bringing some more light into my world, and laid him to rest.

After Alex filled me up with a plateful of Etheopean food, I got a succession of texts from Jasmine, apologizing for being off grid, but agreeing to meet me at the Bay Shore House. I rode the few blocks to the water and had a little time in the hammock to myself before she got there. Breathing in the salty breeze, I realized that, if nothing else, the cries were cleansing, and I think I´d needed it.

Jasmine made it in time for the sunset and one more cry for good measure. She wrapped her arms around me without judgment and without reserve. I realized that although Jasmine couldn´t be there for me when I wanted her to, she was there for me. And although we didn´t make the marriage work, I´ll always love her in a way she may never fully understand.

Heading back to Bradenton that night to stay with Jayne and Ellen before heading back to Riverwalk, I realized how much love I do have in my life, and even though my life is tumultuous, I do feel like I belong. I mean, I´ve got some really great people in my life who love me enough to put up with my shenanigans and encourage me to reach my potential. If I can love them half as much as I loved that squirrel, I think my needs in this category are pretty well met.

 

 

Steve McAllister is the author of The Rucksack Letters and How to Survive an Estralarian Mind Meld. He posts regularly at The Unbroken Path and is currently the Director of Operational Development for the Common Wealth Time Bank in Sarasota, Florida. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.

The Unbroken Path

In the midst of the void God said Let There Be Light
and in this holy instant

we find ourselves unknowingly immersed in it

behind the barrage of shadows that we behold

clambering for the cabbage it takes

to afford a decent survival amidst the dangers

of life, liberty and wild goose chase of happiness

growing from the Earth like moribund dandelions

seeking to spread our seeds to the wind

striving to populate our world

with egos intent on independence,

spores carrying the knowledge of good and evil

and bringing an allergic reaction to Truth

as we gauge whether or not to trust the reality we encounter
stepping each moment from the folly that was

into the folly that will be

persecuting ourselves for our limited perspectives

of life’s kaleidoscope

no longer able to cuddle up in the lap of our Creator

as we dance before the King with somersaults and pratfalls

enmeshed in the shame that His court throws at us

with eggs, tomatoes, and the sticky mess of moral absolutism

But should we regard their mockery

as representative of the Kingdom?

Is our soul’s poverty really the deed we need

to inherit the home we belong to?

Stripped of everything, having nothing to lose,

can we seize our celestial birthright?

The questions leap from the checker boxes of eternity

as other minds seek solace in the game we seek to win

and trumpets bleat like jabberwockies

each time the king doubles up,

calling us to reach the end of the board

yet the expanse stands before us,

the chasm of infinity separating our being from our will be

and we find ourselves unworthy of the dream

as we continue to wipe the muck from our eyes

and see only that which the hecklers have smeared on us

Yet we must decide whether we wear their crust of many colors

or dress ourselves in the robes of our choosing

with the realization that it is we who are responsible

for our wardrobe and how we fill our pockets

As the Man of Miracles spreads his wares on the table

and invites us to use our tools as they were intended

Directing the Heart to Love
Coaching the Mind to Learn
Supporting the Body to Live
Delegating the Spirit to Leave a Legacy
Merging with the flow of Nature

and the grand Intelligence that loves her

in the cosmic kama sutra

Forging ahead with apathetic abandon,

prematurely ejaculating on the road to enlightenment

As the Goddess reckons us again as mere subjects

to the higher rulings beyond our caste

wracked again with the grief of our explosive inadequacy
We find solace in our tears and comfort in the heaving of sobs
Allowing the laughter to overtake us

as we find ourselves again on the floor of the court

and Mother Nature looks from her throne to the field beyond

where we may run free and naked

yet find ourselves dumbstruck in the stern gaze of her suitor
we are paralyzed by the reckoning of authority
But we are not meant to cower. Humanity has a higher cause
and so we allow ourselves to become all that we are

by realizing ourselves as part of the One

for it is the return to our Source that we seek

on this madcap ride of reality

the religiously pious point the way toward this eternal joy

with one hand

as the other wanks them off under their robes

through the simple pleasure of just missing greatness,

we receive shekels where we could have bullion

Will we ever be good enough

to truly consider ourselves made in the image of all that is?

To be used for the eighth day revival of creation?

Or shall we hang our heads again

under the veil of what could have been if only

If in the beginning was the word,

perhaps a new word will start it all again

and we can speak our destiny into existence

But if we say it with want,

we relegate it to the realm of nonexistence

and again find ourselves submerged in lack
But the lack creates a vacuum,

and our imaginations have the power to fill the void

for all things start as a thought
before they blossom from the vortex

and congeal the bounty of being

where we build our nests

from the scraps of relationships past

in the hopes of uniting

with someone just as dysfunctional as us

and finally spread our seed into winds of hopeful change
acknowledging the lessons that sprout in our garden

from the divine out through di branch

When we are taught to learn

from the mistakes that we have made

on our zoetropic excursion into madness

finding our fury in the trail of shattered failure left in our dust
channeling our rage

into the next heat of the race toward self understanding

moving headlong into accepting ourselves

for sometimes coming in first, but often never placing

Do we stand as winners in this game

or merely obstacles for the winner’s amusement?

The matter is that we stand
the difference between being of the earth or trod into it
for our footing has not always been sure
but we have taken each step necessary to get here

and don’t feel like stopping just yet

because there is a surge in our belly

beyond the fortitude of our last meal

at the center of our being,

the flow of who we are pulses with the rhythm of the cosmos

to find that beat, the echo of humanity, is to take the first step
and awaken to Who we are
and find ourselves alone
in intimate solitude with the rest of the populous
to find that our righteousness is the righteousness of the world
letting go of all that weighs us down

in our quest for the metamorphosis we seek

seeking without the need to find
hearing without the need to listen
days come and go and the seasons spin like a marigold carousel
where it stops no one knows
but we all try to be where its gonna stop so we can start it again
we all wanna be winners
to bring something to the world besides potential fertilizer
to be made perfect
blameless in the I’s of those we call They
to vanquish our foes and rise to our challenges
to find the connection in all things
And when we fully listen, before we speak
when benevolence becomes our being
and we comply with the request of the Now
Our imperfections are made perfect
through what we are, did, and do
no longer content to merely theorize about the life we want
or to want for the life we don’t have
but to stand with our Creator in the majesty of the moment
to look back on the steps we’ve trod
and accept the resolution of karma
opening ourselves up to embrace whatever she might bring
sacrificing ourselves to the pyre of our own fate
to be made in the image of the Phoenix
to tongue kiss the grave
and let the birds eat the bread trail behind us
to go deeply into our depth
into the cacophony of stillness
and let go of forever by grasping infinity
There is only one thing we know
and only one thing we need to know
as one drop repeated digs a canyon, one step makes a journey
opening us up to the course of all progress
what our hearts might learn and where our minds might soar
building on the energies that congeal around us
speaking life into existence
so that each word is both a prayer and an answer
to release us from the chains that still rattle in the darkness
the threat of nothing if we shan’t be everything
How do we teach ourselves

to stop doing the things we’ve taught ourselves to love

though they continue to topple every tower we build
but when we simply watch the moment happen

in the eternal essence of now

we find our way through the rubble

to find the person we were looking for on the other side

developing beauty all around you by realizing the beauty in all
letting the light of change shine where death so often lurks
to see that same light within you grow as theirs grows
the true power of love in all of its flow, bliss, highs, and glories
For our call is simply to be all
to provide the action that is called for
in whatever phase is called upon

by the crater-faced man in the moon

to speak what must be spoken for those who yet have no voice
to create our lives

with the talents, skills and resources at our disposal

and find the completeness of life in the life that surrounds us
Synchronicity becomes the most astute technology
as we spread the seeds for its harvest
striving only for doing what can be done
and realizing ourselves as the coagulation of all creation
the elation of existence
the radiance from which life radiates
rising into eternity
Connecting the dots between your thoughts

and the Original Thinker

Seeing beyond the veil of samsara as it is rent in the eye of God
and the vision of the celestial masterpiece unfolds before you
taking in the awe of creation in blissful stillness
cultivating the peace which compels understanding
so that we may be called sons and daughters of God
and return to the paradise of our beginning
the flame in our hearts as the light at the end of the tunnel
and realize this as the day of Atonement
which we share with our tribe
Where our journeys of Oneness have converged
speaking our own brands of truth

through our own brands of insanity

to reach the One Brand of Wisdom

that echoes through our chronology as the Word become flesh
A Word despised by men of force that draws the lowly to Power
infusing the eternal revolution
rising against the gnashing of teeth

into the sweet embrace of Nirvana

beyond the memory set we call self
to wear the crown of our birthright
and Know
that our attention to the web of connection
will always guide us safely through the Unbroken Path.

A Matter of Energy

Moving from the Third Day of Creation to the Third Insight of the Celestine Prophecy, we see the world not as a mere material construct, but as a matter of energy. According to the insight, ¨We now experience that we live not in a material universe but in a universe of dynamic energy. Everything extant is a field of sacred energy that we can sense and intuit. Moreover, we humans can project our energy by focusing of attention in the desired direction (“where attention goes energy flows”), influencing other energy systems and increasing the pace of coincidences in our lives.¨

 

In our Agricultural/Industrial systems, our food, and indeed all of the ¨stuff¨ that we use in our day to day operations, are something ¨out there¨ and separate from us, things that are created by other people and that we must attain. However, there is now a growing understanding of our symbiosis with the world and a realization that these things which sustain us need not be so far removed. As a matter of fact, it may just be this a symptom of the Agricultural/Industrial mindset which has created such a feeling of separation and disparity in so many of us. Fortunately, that mindset is changing into a more fully developed understanding of our place in the world and how it truly operates.

 

With the recent scientific findings now reinforcing what the spiritually minded have known for a long time, we are fully understanding that even the material world that we so take for granted is nothing more than energy in motion. Should we be able to recognize that, as well as our ability to harness and cultivate the kind of energy we want to see reciprocated in our lives, we will be able to use own own energy to nurture the life around us, in people, in animals, and in plants.

 

On a practical level, this means that we will be able to develop a healthier relationship with the community of people around us, and with the food that will fill our tables. No longer to we need to subjugate ourselves to food that is grown with genetic modification and harsh poisons where profit is the grandest motive. By integrating permaculture design and realizing the potential we have by growing food throughout the land we share with one another, we have the ability to grow food with the energy of love instead of merely money. And if we can harness that potential in the food we grow, we can also use that energy to transform our relationships with people from the competitive order of industrialism to the collaborative nature of true wisdom.

 

On the Third Day…

Moving from the Beatitude which blesses those who hunger, we look back to the the biblical Creation account to see how the provision for our satiety has been established. In Genesis 1:9- 13, is says ¨9 And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so.10 And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good.11 And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.s12 And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good.13 And the evening and the morning were the third day.

 

It´s quite an odd state of affairs in this society that we play so often with this concept of lack. Many believers in the Judeo-Christian tradition say that the American way is based upon that tradition, yet the way that we seem to grapple for scraps as if we will someday run out, or that there simply isn´t enough to go around, seems to offer up a resounding lack of faith. However, according to this tradition, before mankind was even added into the mix, provisions for our existence, survival, and downright abundance were made.

 

On this Unbroken Path, whether we want to align ourselves with the Judeo-Christian heritage or not, we come to this point where we realize that the world really is abundant and does provide for us quite nicely. The magic, if you will, is really the ability to harness our attention so that we can avail ourselves to the highest concentration of this flow. So often we get so bogged down with the minutia and trivialities of contemporary living that we forget to recognize why we´re really here and what an incredible here this place really is.

 

On this third day of Creation, after the creation of light (fire) and firmament (air), God institutes the foundation for the next two elements of water and earth. It is through these four elements that the planet functions in such amazing ways, utilizing these building blocks to give us all that we need in order to prosper. May we recognize the provisions before us and realize that should we be able to implement the practical use of wisdom in the cultivation of our resources, then will we know true abundance.