Do you remember the second time we went to war with Iraq, after 9/11, when George W. Bush was President?
How horrifying that was?
How uninformed and brutal that action was, and still is?
Do you remember sitting in your kitchen when the announcement to enter into this war was made - way back in 2003, was it? - dumbfounded at the savage violence this country was about to inflict on the world in a way we could not even imagine —
Some people imagined.
Some people shouted at the top of their lungs to stop.
Some people knew exactly what was to come from this war.
Do you remember that you needed to get to rehearsal that afternoon, and you just couldn’t do it that day?
It made no sense, no sense at all for you to rehearse for a dance when the United States was about to embark on one of the worst and longest wars this country has ever engaged in.
A war that is still going on to this day.
Do you remember the dream you had that night?
The one where you were recruited to fight in this war?
The dream where you got on the bus with your old mutt, Tess-Dog, to drive to the front line, with a machine gun strapped across your chest.
The dream where you were sick to your stomach, and Tess-Dog was whining and trying to get away.
The dream where she was clawing at your face.
In this dream, you stopped the bus that was on it’s way to war.
You stopped this bus, because you didn’t know what else to do, but you knew you couldn’t fight in this war.
You stopped the bus, and you stepped out of the door, with Tess-Dog pressed into your chest, still clawing at your face.
In your cowardice and in your fear, with Tess-Dog screaming in your arms, you jumped from the bus, over and into a ravine.
And you - I - have that luxury, don’t I?
To get off the bus.
To take my old mutt, and walk away.
I have the luxury to be far away from war and violence and terror.
Did you ever read Starhawk’s The Fifth Sacred Thing?
It’s about a utopian enclave that was once San Francisco.
This utopia is about to be invaded by the violence and degradation of the outside world.
The defense council, made up of a group of older, wise women, vision, dream, and imagine the best way to defend their city, which ends up being focused on reminding and wrapping the opposing forces in their own humanity.
They do this by having all the townspeople line up, waiting to be killed, one by one, by the oncoming and invading army.
They whole town chooses who will be killed first, and then second, and so on, by discussing the impact and importance of this each person’s role in the larger community.
If the person isn’t so important to the survival of the town, they will be first in line to be killed (sort of like Survivor, huh?).
Guess who that is, that first person in line to be killed?
Yup, you guessed right.
The Town Dance Teacher.
Don’t even know what to say about that.
Each townsperson must make eye contact with the army guys who have the guns and are waiting to kill them.
They must say hello.
They must extend a hand to welcome the invading army to their town.
And one by one each townsperson makes the required eye contact, says hello, extends a hand, and then is shot and killed, until the men in the army go crazy and begin to slowly lose their minds from all of the killing.
They desert the army, seek refuge, and are taken in by the families of the people they have killed.
Bear with me now, as what I’m saying is connected to dancing, art making, embodiment, and imagination in a way that I don’t fully understand yet.
But I think it might be this:
When George W. Bush was elected for the second time, and there was a palpable sense of despair and wretchedness in the air, I asked a friend what I should do.
“You’re going to continue to do what you do, which is to gather with your people. You’re going to gather in small groups and large groups. You’re going to dance, and sing, and listen. You’re going to vision, and dream, and imagine. You’re going to feed each other, shelter each other, and help each other to rest.
You’re going to continue to create pods of goodness.”
As I write this, the Republican Debate is gearing up and getting ready to explode into my privileged and entitled bubble of a town, Boulder, Colorado
(I do love you Boulder, and I will be the first to admit that I love the bubble I live in, and the privilege and entitlement I am afforded by living here, for sure.
But man, we have a lot of hard work, discussion, and nuanced questioning to engage in as a community if we honestly want to be the forward thinking stewards of this planet, and all of her inhabitants, that we claim to be),
but back to the Republican Debate, and Dancing, and Art Making, and Embodiment, and Imagination and how all of this is connected:
I’m not a pollyanna in any stretch of the imagination (Case in point: I mentioned to a friend that I was trying to work on having a more bubbly personality, and that I was also trying to keep some of my stronger opinions to myself, as that particular quirk of mine has burned some bridges in the past. She laughed so hard she fell out of her chair — now that’s a good friend),
Pods of Goodness.
It all comes back to Pods of Goodness people.
I believe, in my strongly opinionated and unbubbly way, that we need to keep creating pods of goodness around the entire world, to counter the hateful, ignorant, and godawful trends happening right now.
As the dance teacher —who, if we lived in the future utopia that was once San Francisco, would be the first to be killed. I’ve thought about this scenario a lot, and I’m okay with it. I get that we need the farmers and the plumbers, the doctors and the engineers, the school teachers and the social workers before we need the dance teachers. But please, if they kill me first to save our utopian enclave, take care of my dog and my cat for me will you? The dog loves to be petted on her belly and on top of her head, and the cat needs to sleep on your face or she won't stop meowing — my only pod of goodness to offer to you, is the dancing.
Dancing is what I know.
It’s the pod of goodness that I’m drawn to over and over again.
And, as I’ve said so many times in this newsletter, dancing continues to be the only thing I truly understand in this world.
My pod of goodness for to you today, as the Republican Candidates for The United States of America descends on the city that I was born and raised in, this city that was once funky and groovy and eclectic; this city that once was affordable to all kinds of people, is this:
Become an investment banker or a corporate lawyer or own Crocs and then sell Crocs so that you can afford to live in this Bubble of a City called Boulder.
No bitterness here about the affordability of living in this town these days.
None at all.
(I can’t find an emoticon to place right here that depicts all of the confusing emotions I am feeling about all of this, so just imagine what that emoticon might be).
My pod of goodness for you today is this:
Yes, of course, it is.
Could it really be anything else?
The pod of all goodnesses, in any situation, is to DANCE.
Dance your heart out at the inequity, the fear, the ignorance, and the greed.
Dance your heart out at the terror that some face every day and every night.
Dance your heart out at the exhaustion of the refuge, the homeless, and the hurting.
Dance your heart out for all that we do not understand and cannot not even fathom, and then dance for all that we do.
I know I do not, on most days, have a bubbly personality because I am, a lot of the time, shy and unsure.
But that is not an excuse to stop dancing.
That is not an excuse to stop creating pods of goodness, however small they may be, to counter and to challenge the status quo; to counter and to challenge the lay of the land where some can not afford and/or are not welcome to rest here.
Your dance mission for the week is to create small pods of goodness wherever and whenever you can.
I have no idea what that will mean for you, but I am curious to hear.
Can you tell me about your pod of goodness here?
If you like what you just read, and it matters to you that others read this too, so that we continue to create pods of goodness throughout this entire world of ours, can you share this newsletter with a few friends?
And then have them sign-up, here, to get this newsletter delivered to their very own inbox every single Wednesday of every single week.
With Warmth, so much warmth, and Jivey Vibes, so many Jivey Vibes,
Joanna and The Agitators
sweetly agitating/persistently upending