Saturday, May 31, 2008

Time to Think...And Dream

I'm writing this blogpost from a beautiful, serene place in the Adirondack Mountains in upstate New York, called the Blue Mountain Center. It's a special place that was made possible by the generosity and far-reaching vision of Adam Hochschild, one of the founders of Mother Jones Magazine, and an accomplishsed author in his own right. Progressive writers and activists (and writer/activists) are welcome to Blue Mountain to rest, rejuvenate and write. More importantly, the open space here--which includes a lovely garden with stone labyrinths, a lake to canoe and row on, and miles of hiking trails, offers a weary city-bound radical like me the opportunity to escape the noise and hubbub of the concrete jungle and have some time to do something truly radical: THINK.

I'm here as part of a small gathering of people assembled by Kim Klein, a renowned fundraiser and fundraising trainer, author and a good friend and mentor of mine. She's been working on something called The Commons, which I like to think of as the resources and space that we as human beings hold in common in order to live and thrive. More on this in a later post, as the internet connection here at Blue Mountain leaves much to be desired, and I have no idea how long it'll keep working.

But suffice it to say that I'm glad I've taken two days off work and traveled for about 12 hours to get here and be in what my friend and colleague Julie Davidson-Gomez calls 'Dreamspace'. That is, a space of imagining the possibilities to come, the ideals that we wish to manifest in our lives and in the lives of our children and grandchildren, the visions that we work so hard in our activist and social change work to make real (someday, if not sooner). I think I hadn't realized until I got here--and began having dreaming, visioning discussions of what it would take to truly have everything that our communities needed to survive and thrive--that I rarely occupy this Dreamspace these days, at least at work. My fiction writing (the novel's on the backburner but I've been working on a story about a future dystopia) helps me get into that space, but I rarely spend more than a couple hours a week doing that. I remembered, being here, in the splendor and lushness of nature in the Adirondacks, that not only is dreaming and imagining crucial to our work as organizers and activists who are trying to build a better world, it is crucial to our very humanity, to our experience of what it means to be fully human.

I'm leaving Blue Mountain and this gathering of people tomorrow, and while I'm homesick (I know, pathetic huh, even after just two days) and tired of travel, I'm sad to be going. It's rare that any of us, during these work-work-work-hectic modern times, gets to have this opportunity to just think, to imagine, and to dream. Thanks Kim and to all my colleagues gathered here for helping to create that space.

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