August 2015 Newsletter // by Ian MacKenzie
Dear <<First Name>>,
Recently I attended a music festival on one of the Gulf Islands in the Salish Sea. Though modest in size, the gathering was a beautiful mix of young and old, live music and electronic, art and food.
One afternoon, nearing the end of her set, a friend and female artist left the stage and stormed into a few of us chatting to the side. "Did you hear that?" she proclaimed, visibly shaking with anger. "He cut me off!" Before we could respond, the stage manager, a white male, approached her with bewilderment. He believed he had no choice: she had gone over the allotted time slot. "I told her to finish the set, but she kept going."
My friend is a petite and fiery Mexican; she followed his words with a hail of accusations. "You don't cut off an artist!" she admonished. Her set had been a rich fusion of Latin American beats, invocations for the ancestors, and prayers for the land. "I wasn't finished. You people just don't understand."
The argument continued briefly before she ended it by walking briskly away to collect her gear. The stage manager, also a DJ, looked to us for support. "What could I have done differently?" he asked, genuinely affected. I assured him there was nothing further to be done in the moment, and he left, puzzled.
While it's tempting to see this conflict as a passionate artist unwilling to relinquish the spotlight, I believe this was a conflict with much deeper roots. At the heart is their differing conceptions of time.
The dominant culture runs on the modern invention of universal time. This is the collective deference to a shared understanding that we all agree upon - hence, ask someone the time in the modern world, they will likely give you universal time. (For example, 3 o'clock). The miracle, and calamity, of this development cannot be understated. From this perspective, time is linear, quantifiable, and infallible.
From an indigenous perspective, time is relative, unique, and fluid. Anyone who has sat in ceremony knows that one enters a place "outside of time." The ceremony or ritual is a living thing, and the ones that might show up to your courtship, both seen and unseen, are living as well. The proper space must be given for the conjuring to run its course, therefore, deferring to an abstract "schedule" is an absurd act of violence.
When white people washed up on the shores of what they would come to call The Americas, this is one of the illnesses they brought with them. The culture of colonization runs on the consciousness of universal time. A people can only rapaciously consume if they see the world as inert, interchangeable, and inevitable. And a people can only be at home if they see the world as alive, unique, and preciously precarious. It will not continue unless we are willing to keep up our end.
Here's what I think: that day at the festival, the sincere stage manager was inhabiting a universal notion of time. The indigenous artist was inhabiting a relational notion. I'm not saying either of them should have done anything different.
But I do know we are children of forces that began long ago, heirs to its debt as well as its redemption.
Salish Sea, Canada
DIE WISE - EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT FROM AUDIO BOOK
A few months ago, I had the extreme good fortune of collaborating on the audio book for Stephen Jenkinson's Die Wise: A Manifesto for Sanity and Soul. For four long days, Stephen and I wrangled a recording that stands as a compliment to the written word. And for many who may approaching their dying time, who no longer possess the strength to turn a page, they now have the opportunity for Stephen to read his words to them.
As a thank-you for remaining a loyal reader of my newsletter, I offer a short excerpt from the opening pages, which remains one of my favourite passages from the entire book. Click below to listen to RIVERS (runtime 9:21)
And if you'd like to catch Stephen in person, he is currently on a massive speaking tour in support of the book. Check the existing dates for your city.
INTERVIEW: THE EVOLUTION OF LOVE / FROM BURNING MAN TO TAMERA
I'm please to share a new interview published in The Seattle Star, conducted by the journalist Lola E Peters. I appreciated this deep dive with a Boomer, who has their own life and generational experiences to draw upon, offering shared perspective and insight. We tackle key questions like:
"Can we create that place where every individual feels so deeply valued and loved for who they actually are that it would eliminate envy, greed, jealousy, rage, and violence? Are there aspects of individual self-satisfaction that must be sacrificed to ensure the life within community? Is it possible to create that place without creating the stifling rule-bound orthodoxy and power struggles my generation railed against?"
» LISTEN: The Multi-Generational Teeter Totter of Love (45 mins)
BLESSED COAST - WORKSHOP: SEX, PARTNERSHIP & THE VILLAGE
This August, I'll be offering a new workshop at the inaugural Blessed Coast festival in Squamish, BC. The details:
"New paradigm filmmaker Ian MacKenzie (Occupy Love, Sacred Economics) shares his recent journey to Tamera peace village in Portugal, exploring the foundations of the new story in love and sexuality. How might we cultivate communities of trust to support the freedom to love without fear? Whatever your relationship form, monogamy, polyamory or beyond, this workshop will explore the role of the community in healthy partnership."
The workshop time is Sunday, Aug 22, 12pm-2pm. Hope to see you there!
» Get your ticket online here
» RSVP on Facebook
FEATURED CAMPAIGN: 'DUSTY PLAYGROUND'
My good friend and incredibly talented photographer Zipporah Lomax is raising funds for a new photobook about the children of Burning Man.
Part of the challenge with emergent festivals (especially gatherings like Burning Man) is that they are still seen as big parties in the desert, fuelled by drugs, and intolerant to the young and old. And yet, having attended the last six years, I've seen how vital and crucial the presence of children offers the community.
Zippy is really crafting an amazing #mindbomb by showing the beauty of these kids as they wander the "dusty playground" and her photobook will share this perspective with the world. While the campaign is now complete you can pre-order the book below.
» Watch the pitch & pre-order the book
» Read an interview with Zipporah in Ignite Magazine
BOOK IAN FOR SPEAKING
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THANK YOU FOR READING!