We will gather peacefully for silent meditation the morning of July 4th, 2018 from dawn until noon; and a peaceful assembly of free speech and expression from July 1st through the end of Vision Counsel; in the southern Appalachian Mountains. DIRECTIONS TO THE GATHERING ARE HERE (and contain road closure info, and other critical information. This post is updated frequently so check back for the latest.To learn how to get into the gathering without getting a mandatory court appearance ticket, click here.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

On Showing Up

Lately I've been pondering the importance of showing up if you want your voice to be heard.  I am part of a community group working to save a local and urban creek and we always need more people to plug in.  As I talk to people, they are always willing to complain about the trash along the creek or some such, but when you invite them to a work party, ask them to find volunteers for our periodic cleanups, or invite them to a community workshop on proposed changes for the area, they are no where to be found.

Now different people can plug in in different ways based on their interests and abilities and the commitment required for plugging in could be a few hours a month to a few hours a week.  Saving our creek does not prevent anyone from holding a job, caring for their families, or what ever it is they do with their time.  All of it doesn't even need to be done in person.

All of this brings me to the gathering. What is unique about the gathering is that our decision make process works face to face for the most part.  Sometimes conference calls are arranged to discuss where we can meet face to face.  Other phone calls help people connect with each other when they are out and about and are trying to find a place to meet face to face.  Sense a pattern?

As a long time activist, who shares my birthday, once said "just show up."  If you want to get involved with the world, show up.  Sure the Internet is useful. I use it all the time to make information available to people, to informally connect with others, and to quickly gather information, but it's not that same as being present with people who are committed to making change.

Now the creek work is much more conducive to disembodied things like making formal comments on environmental impact reports and lobbying our elected officials, but much like the gathering, the important work gets done in councils (rainbow speak for meetings), on the land (rainbow speak for at the creek), or in community (rainbow speak for the core group of folks saving the creek).

Every year the Internet (and most especially FaceBook) fills up with ideas, opinions, perspectives, and dictates that are shared and discussed by people on-line --- many of whom don't regularly attend the annual gathering for world peace and the positive evolution of the planet. But what needs to be realized is that if you want to impact how things unfold, then you need to "show up" on the land, participate in formal or informal councils, and be part of the process.

The great thing about gatherings is that we need everyone's perspective from the person who just showed up and asked "what's council?" to the person who's been gathering since the 1970s.  This gathering thing we do is an embodied sort of experience where people gain the full benefit of the many ways humans communicate: words, facial expressions, body positions, auras, and what ever telepathic ways we communicate with each other.

As many of my friends point out, gathering and all the related things done in the name of gathering are verbs, not nouns.  Please join us in verbing.

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