Torn Between Worlds

Hello, Whoever You Are!
Funny—I feel like my blog might as well be a food blog for the amount of time I spend talking about eating and drinking. I just can’t help myself. I love good food and drinks. I especially love the experience of sharing a delicious meal with others—no matter if it is from a tin in the car to a fine dining restaurant. Good friends, good food, great memories.

I just had the exquisite pleasure of eating at Pure Food and Wine again in New York City. The first time I went was about three years ago and I was by myself. But this time I went with friends which made the experience all the more fabulous. Pure Food and Wine is all raw vegan goodness. The appetizers we shared were out of this world! My favorite was a nut cheese plate with rosemary crackers and blueberry spread. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. Truly, the best cheese I have ever had in my life—better than any cow, goat, or sheep cheese. My main course was a wild mushroom roulade with dehydrated herbed bread. I think out of the main courses, my friend Paul’s was the best. He had an enchilada that defies description. But the over-the-top, beyond belief, blow your mind magic was the mint sundae that all three of us shared. CAN NOT BELIEVE it was raw vegan! Eat your heart out Name Brand ice cream. You can’t even come close to this delightfully delicious decadence!

After a great meal and wonderful conversation, we hopped in a cab and went to the Yippie Museum where Mike Roselle was doing an event touring with his newly-released book, Tree Spiker, and his co-author, Josh Mahan. The event was a fundraiser for the work happening to end mountain top removal mining. Mike Roselle is a legend. He has been a tireless activist for close to 40 years. He co-founded Rainforest Action Network, Earth First!, and Ruckus Society, three of the most important activist groups of our time. It was an honor and a joy to happen to be in town to be able to show up and support him and the event.
Please buy his book TREE SPIKER—From Earth First! To Lowbagging: My Struggles in Radical Environmental Action. Written by Mike Roselle with Josh Mahan. Published by St. Martin’s Press. It is a great read!

As for mountain top removal mining—unfortunately we are seeing all too clearly that President Obama says he is for green jobs even though he keeps appointing dirty industry execs to high levels of leadership. Obama got LOTS of money from the coal industry. Hence, his way of trying to appease all sides was to talk about “clean coal.” As if there is such a thing. Go look at Kentucky; West Virginia; or Big Mountain, Arizona and it is all too clear that there is no such thing as clean coal. To me, Obama is looking more and more abysmal. I wish I could say I am surprised, but I am not. We know that by the time someone makes it to the White House, they have slept their way to the top—getting in bed with one major corporation and dirty and exploitative industry after another.

Damn, I wish we lived in a country where people took to the streets and didn’t go home until a massive shift occurred. It seems that part of our history is now a thing of the past. We like our comfort way too much. We like rationalizing our complicacy and pointing fingers in order to not be accountable for our own role in the mess. We like pontificating and attending conferences in order to feel enlightened and superior.

I wrote a poem while I was in Luna that has a line, “Wake UP! It is time for Revolution!” But we freak out from the term, “Revolution,” because it scares us. We think it only means blood and war. But what it really is about is us being willing to risk our comfort, break free of our addictions to comfort and consumerism in order to be free. We have traded freedom and justice for consumer, comfort addiction. Keep an addict addicted and you will control them. From a Joules Graves song, “What are you willing to do, for what you believe? Are you willing to get up and take a stand, or roll over and go back to sleep. On the rickety raft rides the refugee to brave the winds and the wild, wild sea. And risks it all to be free. And risks it all to be free.” We say we want freedom. But we are not willing to let go of our addictions in order to earn it. We suck on the pacifiers of cars, home mortgages, clothes, tv, shopping, and fear.

It is funny to look at the beginning of this blog with me talking about eating at a high-end restaurant and ending with rabble-rousing, get off our butts and DO SOMETHING! I have been unsettled lately. The urge for Freedom is stirring in my bones. I am tired of living in a culture that is so damn complacent—even so many of us who think we are not. I am usually the one who sticks it out. Who stays and fights. I have been knocked down time and again only to drag myself back up and stand again. My belief in humanity is waning. I think I would rather get eaten by a shark in the Ocean than this numbing stupor of a death called, “America.”

I find myself less and less interested in the USA. We have become profoundly uninteresting, boring, and obnoxious. And I do include myself—which is why I say, “we.” There is something stirring in me. Maybe, I will go make trouble. Maybe, I will just disappear. In many ways, the latter feels more effective these days.

These are the ramblings I type into my expensive, consumerist bought computer while travelling on a train. The irony is not lost on me.

That is all for now. Over and out from a torn between worlds view.

Published in: on October 3, 2009 at 7:47 pm  Comments (21)  

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21 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I have a tendency of feeling the same way about America after I visit someplace new…

  2. It’s a balancing act, being open to all the pain and suffering of the world and still holding on to the joy of being human. Basic joyful experiences like eating good food! The balance is the ability to continue and to sustain. It’s also knowing when to pull back and retreat, gathering strength. You are scrutinized for every action and I can’t imagine how that must change how you view life. You have been put on a pedestal; someone always righteous, fighting the good fight. I know you know this but you have permission to live your truth. . .without explanation.

    Your blog sparks thought. Thank you.

  3. That torn feeling is shared by many in the movement toward human and environmental justice. To walk away rather than bear the pain of what feels like useless head banging seems tempting. The wave of ignorance will wash over the land completely if we cease being the present force that we are. I say lets stir up some trouble!

    With regard to the Obama issue, I hold that until a man or woman rises to the fold who will run solely on the donations of citizens, and who refuses to take a penny from a corporation or lobby group, we will not be a true democracy. The citizens must take back their government.

    What you did for Luna, Julia, was the most inspirational act that I have seen within the environmental movement. Your actions and sustained courage resparked something in me that I set aside while I pursued material garbage. You inspired me and inspired many. Every profound action such as yours relights candles in the masses. I think that we forget how many candles are lit out there. Thank you for relighting mine. If I can ever return the favor…..

  4. I’m sorry you’re feeling disillusioned kitten. I know what feeling like you’re running out of obstinacy is like. All I can say is, what is asked of us is not that we succeed, only that we do our best. Those that would love you would have you make the decision that is right for yourself, those that would not, are not to be heeded.

  5. Considering the insanity of the present system momentum and its acceleration towards the Nothing – maybe its ok just to enjoy the present while it lasts on the outskirts, like the ocean and maybe revolution really is an inner one? Hope is watching all the kids come to their super cosmic senses..

    There is no beginning, and no end..

  6. Perhaps I am naive, but this article on the EPA tightening the screws on mountaintop removal gives me some hope.

    From Julia Butterlfy Hill: Let’s be clear, tightening the screws just means slightly lessening horrendous damage. It’s like saying, “I am going to rip your guts out, but don’t worry, I will give you a bag to attach to the outside of your body to feed you and for you to dump your excrement in.”

  7. I do not think this is all Obama or the US. Even in ancient times, SOMEBODY chopped down the last tree on on Easter Island…

    Our society runs on abundant affordable energy. My recollection of physics is that there is no perfectly clean or safe way to do it, but there are certainly better ways than removing mountaintops or acidifying the oceans.

    From Julia Butterlfy Hill: It goes without saying that we are not the only problem makers. If I had listed every problem in the world and throughout time, I would have had to write a book. I am addressing a very particular problem called this country and this administration. And our society does NOT run on abundant and affordable energy! It is running on finite, destructive, and subsidized by our tax dollars energy!

  8. Staying whole, especially when amidst the fixated or addicted, is challenging. A yardstick i find helpful for measuring choices and making decisions is: Activist, Monastic, or Combination… and the answer often depends on the particular situation. An oversimplified example that hopefully sheds some light: an Activist protests; Monastic prays; Combination (aka armchair-activist or animated-monastic) signs and e-mails a petition from home. Which action accomplishes more? Or, cosmically holistically, if i pray and someone else protests THAT Combination may work best.

  9. I agree that our energy sources are subsidized either directly or indirectly (e.g., some energy sources are more regulated than others, enforcement scope of agencies, etc.). The point I was attempting to make was that our society is energy intensive and and even if we were to reduce to levels of Japan or Switzerland it would still leave a large energy demand. As I said in my post, I believe we need better ways to supply this energy (e.g., without acidifying oceans).

    Even revolutions must respect chemistry and physics 😉

  10. Love

    Love is not something you can dive into
    Love happens when you follow through
    What does love mean to you?
    It is all about being true

    J. P. Nature

  11. Every time I’ve heard you speak in person or on a video, I feel as if I’m hearing perfect pitch, you resonate with truth, wisdom, and reverence. I’m full of gratitude for your perspective and the revolutionary blood that we all share!

    You wrote about ‘waking up’ and that’s the theme that’s been running through my life recently. I had to grin because we’re hosting an Awakening the Dreamer Symposium later this month in Fayetteville, AR. One by one, as we awaken to the truth, wisdom and reverence for life inside each of us, we collectively practice making choices that are in alignment with those principles. I feel the tug of revolution, or rather transformation calling … namaste

    From Julia Butterfly Hill:

    Give my LOVE to Fayetteville! i miss it there!

  12. Bill Maher had a hilarious line (among many)in his last post, “What do we want?! CHANGE! When do we want it!? 2016!” He was speaking to the utter impotency of the Executive branch and the useless solution of phasing in solutions to urgent problems. He closed by talking about food, and how our diet is rendering us collectively submissive and complacent. Funny, you start with food and end with politics. Bill starts with politics and end with food. There’s a thread here.

    I was saying to a friend the other day that sometimes it’s really hard to not join the “We’re fucking doomed” team, and just disappear. And then I went down the street and found that 30 people, over 2 days, had signed up for my vegetarian supper club, Kindle Cafe, my weekly, mini-revolution, and I was inspired.

    We’ve been sedating ourselves with nasty food for 50 years and it’s going to take awhile to purge enough people of their subsidized drugs before we’ll rally into the streets again.

  13. Hi Julia,
    I have wanted to write younfor some time now, and this particular entry has spurred me on to do so. I am by vocation a Benedictine monk and am under obedience not to “mess around” on blogs, but what you have said here is so important to all of us and to all of creation that it behooves me to assure you that there exists a growing number of people on the planet (from all walks of life, and every sort of background) who feel as you do, who feel the (sometimes) overwhelming contradictions surrounding them esp. when they try to do something good for the universe and have to do so while employing the very same devices and working within the very same social structures (and this includes institutions of all kinds, e.g. organized religions) that have seriously wounded creation in the first place! It is inspiring to see you regain that original sense of profound chutzpah (!) you first exhibited in Luna and to continue to share it with others. Keep going—the revolution, if it comes from the heart, cannot be stopped!!! P.S. Is there some sort of snail mail method of contacting you in order to continue this dialogue? & Sempre avanti, cara mia. Dom Ezk.

  14. I really appreciate your honesty Julia. I’ve been feeling the same way about widespread complacency over the war in Afghanistan. There is barely a protest to be heard or seen anywhere. Heck, I remember school kids from all over the world walking out of classes to protest the Vietnam war in the early seventies.

    Anyone who thinks the military can solve this should read Ann Jones’ book “Kabul in Winter” and articles in In Canada, our right wing prime minister attempted to stem perceived opposition to militarization (expressed in polls) during the last election by promising to pull the troops out by 2011. Now there is concern that Obama will pressure him to increase militarization and stay even longer! Obama has inherited a horrible mess, but seems to keep choosing between false dichotomies – like, which is best? 10,000 or 40,000 new troops? Andrew Bacevich argues that the real winner is Bush-era ideology that continues to frame the “war on terror.” Obama’s penchant for the compromised “middle way” on everything is not principled enough.

    How much death does it take to disturb people from their sleep? While meditating on this the other day the words “too comfortable” kept coming into my head. Just like you say here – we’re all too comfortable to do much about it (including me).

    In my view, a better role for our involvement is beautifully documented in the film “God Grew Tired of Us” about the lost boys of the Sudan wars who started a new life in the USA. It’s not only uplifting, but funny too, as we watch them make the transition from refugee camps to American society. That’s obviously not a sustainable solution, but it is moving nevertheless.

  15. Dear Julia,
    I too feel torn between worlds living a life, and living in a world, so full of contradictions. It seems too that the more aware and conscious we are the more those contradictions are highlighted.

    Many times over the years you have articulated exactly what I think and feel, and this post was no exception. Thank you for not being silent. You are a light to many who feel unheard and alone. And while you have no responsibility to lead me (or anyone) out of darkness you do so just by your very loving, courageous and passionate nature.

    I’m so grateful you are on this earth at this time.

  16. High-end restaurants, world travel, and expensive typewriters. It’s revealing. I think we really become what we secretly desire to be, not what we pretend to be to the world.

    From Julia Butterfly Hill:

    Your comment seems to me a bit passive aggressive which interests me considering how my whole blog is me being open and honest with all of my journey. i do not hide from or shy away from my edges. i have also written blog entries about eating a salad out of a tin in a car (which i briefly mention in this entry.) i find it very interesting that you focused on a very particular view and chose not to take in the whole picture in your response. However, i do my best to post all responses as long as they are not name-calling or overly attacking or extremely mean-spirited, so i am choosing to post yours. You are heard.

  17. Certainly, there has been a Catch-22 to the whole carbon/climate issue: i.e., if all those concerned stop all travel and communication to individually reduce carbon they will leave the discussion to the advocates of the status quo. The dichotomy is real, but most activists I know genuinely struggle with the issue of travel and energy use in their activities.

    How to feed/clothe/educate/employ/etc. the large global population without destroying the biosphere or radically affecting the climate is one of society’s biggest challenges.

  18. Disappear in Colorado.

  19. I believe that enlightened people should start over and become a model for the rest of the world. Where to go?

  20. Julia,

    I loved your words below. I started reading your writings at a time when I was very discouraged with the world and my place in it. I really admire how you faced up to the cutting of Luna and how a faction in the movement attacked you. You took a lot of heat and stood up well to it … SBS

    “I am usually the one who sticks it out. Who stays and fights. I have been knocked down time and again only to drag myself back up and stand again. My belief in humanity is waning.” JBH

  21. just perusing some of your blogs to catch up on what you’ve been up to. your feelings are what a lot of people are feeling. take heart in the fact that the Obama farce HAD to happen. it had to take the public being fooled on a large scale to wake them up. ONLY this will finally shed light on the true nature of what we are facing. no change is coming to us via politics or laws or treaties because ALL of that is controlled by a small amount of people who OWN it. and what do they want? to get rid of the majority of people on earth. just check out Obama’s science czar Holdren and the textbook he co-authored in the 1970s. this plan for eugenics has been in effect for decades now. it is the largest endeavor ever undertaken by man and will not happen overnight. but they have made progress. the question we must be asking now is HOW to deal with this? for the paradigm shift to occur we will have to endure some things that are going to be very difficult. time now to gather around your tribe and survive – the new world we all dream for is within grasp, but we must be highly attuned and aware to traverse the gauntlet of horrors which have been manifested by the old dark and dying energies.

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