A man stands outside the food co-op, demanding that they live the values they preach; a social worker calls me homeless, and I am shocked, offended even, before realizing that is in fact true and what place that gives me in society; a toddler with a food allergy leads to a concerned mother writing a book about GMO’s, national health boards with corporate ties, a company patenting natural human genes for control of research and treatment; day after day, month after month talking, living, learning from strangers living on the streets, trying to survive and daring to thrive without a penny in a society that equates human value with dollar signs; dozens of people tell me the same thing “I want to build a community that actually cares about each other, someplace that everyone can share and care for the environment”, ” I want to be a …. but I can’t afford school/don’t want to get into debt so I’m just miserable working this dead end job”; a thousand cells of memory come together in my brain leaving profound rage, burning away social stigma to a new world view. Welcome.
You may have heard of her: Robyn O’Bryan of “The Unhealthy Truth”, who has appeared on a number of news shows and radio talks after founding the website AllergyKids. I stumbled on this book looking to continue my personal education about natural health and lifestyle, and was impressed by how, lacking any medical or scientific background to credit her, she made up for it with a library worth of research that would make any doctoral thesis advisor proud. This combined with a whole new lifestyle, living in the national forest, wood stoves, solar panels, bucket baths and all, with exposure to subcultures and ideas I’d never before encountered. All of this fresh information combined with frustration at social (and legal) limits on how one could live, and what one can do in life (despite the propaganda to the contrary) and sent me into deep depression. Days were spent weeping at the unfairness of the world, the insurmountability of it all, a dark night of the soul as I wondered what was the point in trying any more? And it came to me, ignited one day with a simple thought, who says it has to be this way? And the rage came pouring out. One thing I’ve learned in my travels and coming into adulthood, is that most people don’t really care what you’re up too and you can get away with a hell of a lot in this life, no matter what the authorities want you to think. And really, risk is always there, so why try to hide from it? The fact is, I’ve come to far and seen too much to ever be able to close my eyes to truth again. Delusion is a sweet balm to the self and poison to the world, as much as I want to close my eyes and hide away, one day, the effects of that poison will come to me too. So, I’m doing something radically different- Living my convictions. I am fortunate to have a wonderful network of support around me, others who understand, agree and are actively working to create the world they want to inhabit. I had been curious before, seeking the way I have in a hundred different worlds for the “ding!” lightbulb I’ve been looking for, and one day I woke up and my soul found it’s place.
There are seven basic things I think all human beings have a right too: Food, Clothing, Shelter, Medical Care, Information/Education, Creative Supplies, and Transportation. Given these basics I believe the accomplishments of the world could be limitless. Considering the world we currently live in, I can only personally focus on so much, however. Medicine and education have long been deep passions of mine, along with my creative outlet of writing. I went to college in the medical field for a while, and was disgusted by what I saw there, the corporate ties and the focus on treatment rather than prevention, pills rather than lifestyle. And I didn’t want to be hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt, and then have to charge patients buckets of money to pay said debts, and the other costs of this kind of modern medicine. I shared with Aaron how much I wished I could study medicine and be a healer with all of this against me, and he answered in the way anyone who started making income at 14 as a self-taught artist and blacksmith would, “Why can’t you? People didn’t always go to school, they just studied.” And suddenly it struck me, I read voraciously, and have consumed hundreds of books of nutrition, medicine, biology, herbal treatments and so on. I thrive on learning, and I already have done a lot of successful simple treatments on others who have crossed my path. Why couldn’t I just be self taught?At some point, by spending enough time and energy on ANYTHING, one can legitimately be an expert. With this in mind, I began to document all of the books I was reading(see my monthly review column) and made a list of all of the subjects studied for standard and natural medical schools(through online syllabi), setting myself the bar of 25 books minimum on each subject. That should get me reasonably familiar with each topic. I spent time in college, the method is simple- read, write/discuss, test, next. As I read each book, I write about each one, and discuss the subjects with my road family until they understand the basic concepts as well, or have brought up points that the author was somehow lacking, and I continue my research. When we find property I intend to start a small free clinic, grow herbs and so on, and have a legal waiver, doing all the treatment on donations or trade. I don’t need much to live on anymore, I did the consumer thing for a while, very enthusiastically I might add, never finding joy, only that the cost to body, soul and the world around me is just too high. I also do free online classes, and am seeking a mentor to train under and a lab connection for blood work or other testing.
I had always envied people who had a driving passion, that focus to the exclusion of all else, the high that was better than any drug and the force that created such impressive impact on the world around them. I had thought for so long that I could never pursue mine- writing and health, health and writing- because of social restrictions and spent many years to depressed to even write a word, and was miserably unhealthy and overweight. At first I decided to do it just for myself at least, until finally I realized, the only way to do the things I wanted to in life was simply to do them. No excuses, no if’s and’s or but’s, just doing, one day, one word, one new piece of information at a time. I’m on a whole new path now, one that is based on my beliefs- that people have a right to pursue whatever lifestyle they choose, whatever passion that drives them, and that no one is more or less worthy of the basic necessities and also comforts of life- NO MATTER WHAT. The problems of poverty come not just from lack of material goods, banded together their is plenty for all, I’ve seen it work. The main problem stems from hopelessness- the feeling that what they want most in the world in impossible, so the spirit turns selfish, clutching everything in it’s sight, trying desperately to fill the void, or forget it altogether with a name-your-addiction induced high. I have never met someone who genuinely wanted just to be rich or have stuff, what people seek is comfort, security, love, intimacy, control, challenge, expression, achievement, mastery, connection, respect, to name a few, and the way it expresses can be strange sometimes; because when one is starved for security regarding the bare requirements of life his drive and passion gets twisted. “I worked at a job I hated my whole life so that you could have food on the table”- how many of us have heard that? And what does that translate too? Certainly not display of love the person intended, but guilt at another’s suffering for your benefit and the feeling that to survive one must give up everything of desire in life- an absolute falsehood in the modern world. Of course, one must still do things one does not WANT to do, it would be foolish to think otherwise, but the QUANTITY of time spent at those activities can be the difference between life being seen as a mountain of misery or a challenging hike. We live in an age where a legless man competes in track in the Olympics and still think that ANYONE given the right tools couldn’t climb far above even their own expectations?
I’m not reinventing the wheel here, these ideas have been around for a long time, I’m saying that I now believe them and am working every day to live them, and hope you enjoy hearing about my journey. A life change like this requires connection and encouragement, and I am looking for others walking this path. More thoughts to come and please feel free to leave questions or comments on the issues I’ve discussed here.