Four different generations of activists. All dedicating their lives to not only their personal work, but to the collective work it will take to create a compassionate world that reflects its values. The four of them have unique backgrounds that allow them to assist the world in different ways. Their age, their status, their finances, their education, their gender, their country of origin; regardless of these being high or low, near or far, good or bad, accepted or unaccepted — there is no excuse — everything is being used as an advantage. This is what it means to be brave, to be grateful — to live fully. When one lives this way, the whole world benefits & improves. Everyone is & has, exactly what they need to make a difference.
Everything we are, everything we have, can be used to make a difference in the world. A single life is linked to all lives. Each human life represents all of humanity. There is no pointing the finger. There is no room for blame. There is no time to sit & wait, hoping that things will get better (when someone else makes them better). You are the one you are waiting for.
How many choices throughout our lives have we been given? How many days, hours & minutes have we been given? How many more will we have? And if we are given more, what will we do with them?
(avant-garde artist, turning 80 years old tomorrow — prolific as ever)
(former Vice-President of Citibank & General Manager at Citicorp, 63 years old)
Do you know what POPS are? You should. By law you have every right to be there — 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
All POPS (Privately Owned Public Spaces) created after 2009 must have the following: bicycle racks; litter receptacles; lighting & electrical power; plants & trees; access for persons with disabilities; seating for people; & be open to the general public 24 hours a day (unless a specific POPS has authorization, documentation, & visible signage to close early from the City Planning Commission).
POPS larger than 5,000 square feet are required to have the following: food kiosks or an outdoor cafe; artwork; moveable tables & chairs; fountains or pools; play areas; & game tables.
In New York, POPS have been in the news. The original Occupy Wall Street camp was set up in Zuccotti Park, which was a Privately Owned Public Space. The protestors had every right to be there. Yet police took actions that were illegal against the protestors.
This year there was an Occupy Public Fountains Ride (it was previously known as a yearly event called Time’s Up! Fountain Ride). Many participated in this peaceful demonstration. It was a group of people that rode their bikes from fountain to fountain (dancing, swimming & relating) reclaiming POPS & spreading awareness. Security guards asked them to leave or stop what they were doing, but there was not one arrest. They had every legal right to be there.
A great website to check out is #whOWNSpace (Who Owns Space). Here is a quote from a blog post about POPS featured on #whOWNSpace:It has happened slowly. Many of us have not even noticed. Little by little, the cities we inhabit — malls, shopping centers, movie theaters, private plazas, parks, and in some unfortunate places even entire streets and neighborhoods — become increasingly privatized. Yet many of us do not often stop and ask ourselves what this means and what we are losing in the process. What happens to democracy when we do not have the spaces to meet, organize, and collectively plan for our future? What happens when our city does not belong to us?…[to continue reading:click here]
There is a government website with the rules for New York City POPS. If you would like to view it: click here.
Another good resource is F-POPS, Friends of Privately Owned Public Space. It’s is an organization dedicated to the celebration & improvement of New York City’s POPS.
Whatever you choose do you, whether it’s taking full advantage of the POPS that you are entitled to; or educating yourself about the POPS in your community; or participating in public demonstrations that raise awareness about POPS; or simply sharing the news about POPS in your own way — take advantage of what is available to you. And if you feel moved, maybe dance & swim a little, laugh & relate a little. Have fun. Enjoy life!
I’m going to present videos & photographs & information about the Occupy Wall Street movement (OWS – also #OccupyWallStreet or #OWS, written as Twitter hashtags). Following that, I’ll write a few words on how I feel about the global need for change & what I think is on the horizon. And lastly, at the end of this post, I will leave information on how you can support the OWS movement.
Occupy Wall Street, New York City
I received a FAQs sheet at Occupy Wall Street being held at New York City’s Zuccotti Park (formerly Liberty Plaza Park) near Ground Zero. What struck me is that the sheet clearly read: “We are not a protest movement. We do not protest against things, and we do not have one or two simple demands. We are a movement which does call for accountability, however – accountability to ourselves and to our country.” To me the key word is: accountability. Personal responsibility for all aspects of one’s life is very important. This movement stems out of people who are tired of living in a country that calls itself a democracy when it is not. And now they have held themselves accountable for being the ultimate source for creating this democracy.
It continues, “We must be accountable to ourselves. First and foremost, we are calling upon ourselves, and upon one another, to wake up and employ our power as citizens: to participate rather than observe, to raise our strong voices together, rather than complaining feebly in isolation. We cannot ‘whine’ about the injustices wreaked upon us if we have been complacent and silent in the face of these injustices. We must take responsibility for our own futures – and here at Liberty Plaza, that is exactly what we are doing, by modeling the kind of society in which everyone has the right to live. Here in Liberty Plaza, having lost our sense that we live in a democracy, we are reclaiming its practice.”
The next paragraph states, “Our government must be accountable to us, and corporations must be accountable to the government. We are saying definitively: We no longer live in a democracy, and we refuse to accept that. We seek an end to the collusion between corrupt politicians and corporate criminals, as democratic and capitalist institutions have become conflated. (*1) As such we must see major advances in the area of the relationship between corporations, and people, on par with the amendments which outlawed slavery and assured civil rights to all people regardless of race, sex, or class…”
I wish I could type the whole FAQs sheet out for you, but this blog post would be way too long (-it’s too long as it is!) So, I will just add one footnote that belongs to the paragraph above, I think it’s important.
*1 “In the United States, the right to become rich has become collapsed with the very notion of liberty. From the time we are children, Americans learn to confuse democracy (a system of decision-making and governance), with capitalism (a system for regulating and releasing money flows).”
Occupy Together: Occupations all over the USA
All over the USA “Occupations” have been popping up from city to city. It’s steadily growing in the number of supporters & in the number of locations.
I was so proud to see this video of my hometown, the East Bay in Northern California. The video is from Occupy Oakland (aka #HellaOcuppy).
No doubt about it, there is much more to come. Not only in the way of government reform, or even epidemics & environmental concerns – but in each one of us individually in a way we haven’t been challenged before.
We will eventually find that there is nowhere to turn for a sense of true security & peace. At that point it will be obvious that it can only come from the one who is seeking it.
The only thing we can truly change is ourselves. The only place we can truly find peace is within us.
Looking for answers or solutions outside of oneself never works in the long-term.
At the same time, yes! – Occupy Wall Street & other movements are important & necessary. Especially when it comes to waking people up & taking them out of their comfort zone – their automatic way of sheepishly & passively speeding through their lives. It makes total sense to be forward moving & create the external changes needed at the moment, but after that, the work just gets deeper.
Otherwise, everything reverts back to the way it was. The work will not be done until we have uprooted the source of the confusion & suffering within us, & cultivate a new way of being.
In my opinion we need a balance between the tangible side of ourselves & the intangible side. Our culture is so wrapped up in the importance of materialistic things, or external things (anyone or anything outside of ourselves). But it is the intangible experiences of love, harmony, joy, generosity, trust, balance, peace, & more, that truly make us happy, that make us come alive & make us feel whole.
Love, harmony, & joy are states of being & they can only be experienced & generated from within. The only one that ever has control of this is us. Each one of us has the power to create & maintain these states of well-being.
For lasting change, the most important revolution that needs to take place, is the one within.
Creating a daily lifestyle for ourselves that is meaningful & healthful, as well as building communities with others based on the values & qualities we believe in, this is what change in action is all about.
So let’s #OccupyLove! #OccupyBliss! #OccupyJoy! OccupyAwareness! #OccupyMindfulness #OcuppyPeacefulness #OccupyOneness!
The ways you can support Occupy Wall Street or other Occupations near you…
Every Occupation needs something, the most important thing you can give is you. Share your love & support by physically being there & by sharing your intentions (what you intend by showing your support) with others. If you aren’t able to be there in person, actions like: donating money, food, blankets, hygiene supplies, drinking water, rain gear, tarps, tents, etc, can also be a great way to show your support. So can blogging, taking & sharing photographs or video, spreading the word, & doing whatever you can to contribute.
To send a donation to Occupy Wall Street in New York, their shipping address along with a link for information on their current needs is listed below. There is also a link to all other city Occupations in the USA.
The UPS Store
C/O Occupy Wall Street
118A Fulton Street #205
New York, New York 10038
“As I go through all kinds of feelings & experiences in my journey through life — delight, surprise, chagrin, dismay — I hold this question as a guiding light: “What do I really need right now to be happy?” What I come to over & over again is that only qualities as vast & deep as love, connection & kindness will really make me happy in any sort of enduring way.”
– Sharon Salzberg