Friday, August 31, 2012
on august 28th, my last night with the superhero bike ride at sofi's, we had a wonderful bonding experience through ridiculous improv theatre. there is a tradition on the superhero bicycle ride called 'dice of destiny' in which we roll two dice and find an activity, written on a list in our journal, that has the corresponding number. some of the other activities we did were: 'speak in a foreign accent for the next 24 hours', 'exquisite corpse', and 'fashion parade'. this time it was to perform our backstory, or how we got our superhero power, through improv theatre. a couple of the superheroes who were more experienced with this kind of thing figured out how it could be done...
we were asked to write off-the-wall phrases of exclamations on a few slips of paper. all were put into a hat. while the two actors were on stage, given a setting and action to start with, the audience could call out any time the action seemed wanting, "HELLO!", and one actor would pick a slip of paper and read it out loud. this would add an element of the ridiculous to an already ridiculous performance. none of the stories made any sense. this was the best kind of comedy and we all had some good laughs. i was amazed that when we got up on stage, even shy little me, we seemed to transcend our ordinary personalities. some people got REALLY into it.
Thursday, August 30, 2012
people are learning to come together in detroit for positive change. when i arrived with the superhero bicycle ride on august 24th it was during the occupy the midwest conference. we had decided to check in with the folks at the main detroit occupy site on michigan ave. we had a nice lunch there in the shade of a large tree.
while there i reworked the compost pile with another superhero who had joined us the night before. she was excited to learn and i was in a good mood to teach. i get really excited when there is such an opportunity to tidy up a compost pile. the way we found it was with food scraps exposed on top of a bunch of weeds in one side of a small triple bin built out of wood. in the middle bin were some dry materials of the stemmy variety, also with food tossed on top. we extended the pile out from the front of the bin (open front bins), building it up with the weedy material and stemmy material on the outside of the pile. food scraps went in the middle of the pile, protected and held by the outer layer. we used what cover material was available to cover the food. there was not a sufficient amount on hand. while we were there a bunch more food scraps got dumped on top of the pile and i vainly tried to emphasize to this good member of the kitchen staff the importance of depositing them UNDER the cover material. seems so simple to me, but most people do not get it. i was able to speak with the person responsible for the compost pile and advised procuring more cover material.
us superheroes rode on to another occupy site on the west side of detroit where there were going to be events throughout the evening and we would have a place to camp. sitting three feet from grace lee boggs when she spoke in the back yard of a squatted house to a small crowd of activists was a profound experience. she spoke with conviction and strength, and also with so much peace and compassion. you can see me down in front on this video. it was grace's 97th birthday this july. please also check out the powerful videos on this page.... and this one.
that night the superheroes (all white) joined neighborhood folks (all black) on the corner holding children's worship with songs and bible study around a camp fire. this kind of activity, coming together across differences, is a great joy for me.
during the couple days we spent at this site, camped on a lawn which used to be community garden in a vacant lot next to an abandoned house, we helped out in the neighborhood and also at a farm farther to the west. this urban farm is called d town farm. we received a thorough tour on saturday and went back to do some work the next day. since i had expressed my interest in composting, i got to take the lead on clearing the area which will become the compost demonstration site. we sifted compost that remained there from a previous pallet bin setup. most of the composting is done on the large scale these days using the method they learned from will allen of growing power. i'm glad they are doing this large-scale composting, as it means they can recycle food scraps and woodchips into tons of valuable compost, some of which is sold to others. i am also very pleased to know that the smaller thermophilic system being built in the space i helped clear will be used for educating folks in detroit about how to do their own composting at home!
|looking through donated produce as|
the LoveBomba preps dinner
|the great gitchigumi decorates after|
boarding up windows and doors
|evening meeting and cup of life ritual|
|even superheroes need a nap sometime|
in the grassy lot where we camped Trashformer and i built a triple bin out of pallets. it is part of a solution to the problem of some residents not having plumbing. it will also be a place for food scraps to be recycled. one bucket toilet was built as a model for others and placed at the community hub, where the occupy events were held. i had the honor of doing the workshop to demonstrate the proper method of deposit. one man took particular interest and said he would take responsibility for overseeing the maintenance of the compost and educating others. right after the workshop i observed him telling one friend about how to deposit food scraps, by burying it under the cover material.
|ComOcean of Love and i giving the thermophilic composting workshop.|
perhaps the most influential leader and visionary we met at this location was Jasahn. he had been working in this neighborhood before we arrived. the organization he is the chief organizer in is called this hood of ours. he was really excited about our approach to transforming ourselves and the world through service. he helped us to be more comfortable there and joined us in many of our circles. we gave him a goodbye circle before we moved on. the superhero name he chose: EpochAlypse
it comes from the concept grace lee boggs spoke about; that "We have to think in epochs." meaning we need to realize that at this time we are shifting into a new epoch, as important as the shift from hunting-gathering to agriculture and from that to the industrial age.
i was interviewed by a nice guy with a show called v-radio. you can watch the interview on video here.
after two nights at the west side neighborhood we proceeded to the house of a woman named sofi east of downtown. i don't know how we met her, but she welcomed us and encouraged us to take a day of rest. this was the perfect place to do it.
|sofi talks with knight shift|
some folks were very excited about the shower! i had been pretty happy with the bathing set-up at the previous location, which was a space surrounded by walls of greenery
|infinity man by art house|
sofi also let us use her kitchen to make our shared meals. that is where i spent much of the day of rest actually. i made a big pot of hot oatmeal sweetened with soaked raisins for brunch. many participated in yoga that morning before eating. for dinner i made a coconut curry soup and greens, which we enjoyed with an abundance of free bread from avalon.
some folks went out on our day off to see the art houses at the heidelberg project. others went swimming out at belle isle.
our second day at sofi's some teams of superheroes went off to seek or follow up on volunteer opportunities. i decided to take it easy, since i had worked on cooking during the rest day. i was showing signs of fatigue, like getting grumpy and irritable. i did decide to venture out to a nearby service opportunity, which was at any one of several old-folks homes on a main street not far from sofi's. i connected with a man named otis who shared about his life and even came to tears at one point. he really needed someone to talk to and i was able to be totally there for him. it felt really good. i played some mbira music for him too. he said our interaction helped him forget all his problems.
on my last full day with the superhero bicycle ride i made a connection with a fine fellow who came by the house we were staying at in search of a friend who used to live there. turned out he is quite the local superhero, doing community-building and visioning for a more peaceful, holistic detroit. specifically, he is working in the area of bicycle advocacy and leads a ride with his wife and child called bike and brunch.
Wednesday, August 29, 2012
Saturday, August 25, 2012
check out this video!
the chapel is a cozy place
one of the services we provided for the institute was to install a gate for the garden and make it more fantastic with these prayer flags.
|another task was to create this very lifelike scarecrow.|
|on the morning we proceeded into detroit we got up on the roof to get these epic pictures!|
|here at the superhero heartquarters the vision is continuously born|