Final Project with Pia and Charla!
Agencies I accessed in Denver
The Gathering Place
Denver County Housing & Human Services
Boulder Housing Partners People’s Clinic
EFFA Mental Health Partners
Bridge House Delta Dental
Boulder County Housing & Human Services
Boulder Homeless Shelter
BOHO (Boulder Outreach for Homeless Overflow)
SAME Café in Denver
Community Food Share
EFFA Food Pantry
Harvest of Hope
Meals at Bridge House
May 9th, 2014 Final Thoughts
In putting together my group project with Pia and Charla, I realized how much I like to network and build relationship connections, especially in the fields of service I'm most attracted to: criminal justice and drug law reform, homelessness, conscious death and green burial, reproductive rights, reduction of toxins in our environment, health care for the marginalized, balanced distribution of wealth, and the best food for the sickest individuals. I've recently added trauma resolution to my list, which would have a positive impact on all of these concerns.
I've had a lot of struggles this semester with the part of me that came in as a social activist. The abuse and neglect I experienced throughout my infancy and childhood told me that I didn't deserve to have my needs met. I have always volunteered and I created my education by working with people in very dark places. This activist part doesn't care whether or not I am secure, comfortable or stable. This part is only here to serve, and I am at my best when I am in an environment where I can comfort, support and hold sacred space for others.
Now that I'm 62 (as of yesterday!) I am facing the damage that all of this focus on service to 'the other' has caused in my personal life. Because I am a non-materialist, I have never cared about owning property or having a cushy couch in front of a flat screen TV. I don't really have time to sit. I killed my TV in 1985 and see nothing but sickness when I am accidently exposed to. I will never understand why people buy cars that cost more than all the money I've made in my entire lifetime. Especially when there are those among us that have no home, let alone a car.
Since I started at Naropa, my activist part has been fed and inspired. I have felt that perhaps I will find others like me. And I am also overwhelmed at times. I've seen where we are headed all along. The way we live is not sustainable and we are approaching a tipping point that will not be pretty. The only way I see to move through these coming times is to create small collectives of sanity and safety, so that some of us will survive. Some days I have hope that this can happen. Other days, I am in total despair, because it does not seem to me that others feel the urgency to act and begin to create these enclaves.
So another part of me has been much more vocal and demanding lately. This part says things like, "You'd better stop caring about what happens to everyone else and focus on taking care of yourself. You are being exhaused and drained by all this concern for others."
This part wants to rest, rejuvenate, relax, play, be comforted and supported. This exhausted part wants to know that I'll be able to pay my rent every month, and get the healthy food I need to get better and stay well. This part wants to see the best doctors for my chronic health condition, Environmental Illness. To do this, instead of going to college, I need to go to work.
I am uncertain that I'll be back to school in the fall, as I cannot figure out how to have enough financial and logistical support to continue in a way that does not keep me in this state of illness, exhaustion and depletion. When I started at Naropa, I felt I had things to offer the young people around me, but my gifts do not seem to be sought out or valued. I have very few friends. It has been a weird kind of schizophrenia - my age peers are teachers, so there's the power differential. The students like me, I think, but I haven't been invited to party with them and I'm a bit reserved about being pro-active in cultivating friendships, because I don't want to seem inappropriate in any way.
Perhaps it is time to listen to this other voice and take care of myself, first, for once, just to see what it's like.
"Gather up the broken pieces,
so that none shall be lost." John 6:12
Questions to Consider
Could faith communities convert parts of their buildings into temporary or even permanent housing space?
What stops us from creating affordable housing? What about yurts, straw bale houses, mini-dwellings, usage of empty warehouse and commercial space, sanctioned tent cities?
What if those with the most compromised health among us got the best food and medical treatment? How would that impact the costs of health care and housing?
Dental care is the hardest thing to obtain, but the most important, as nutrition starts in the mouth. Could we find dentists that would contribute pro-bono work?
Could trauma resolution therapy address the core causes of homelessness?