Saturday, March 24, 2007

The Price of Doing this Work: Some Questions on What Transformation of Life, Community Costs...

The following is a Letter to my dear friend Julia Dinsmore:
Writer/ Community activist/ Spokesperson for People in Generational Poverty/ Artist and Angel/ Fundraiser for Spoken Word Poets.

(Under separate title, I also sent a copy of this to Daniel Pierce Bergin, Senior Producer at Twin Cities Public Television; Reporter Chris Williams at the Catholic Spirit; and Tom Borrup, Community and Cultural Development Genius, formerly of Intermedia Arts. )
Hey Love,

Do you know how much I adore and respect your energy?


Here are some questions brewing:
Who pays for you to live?
For your rent and your health care?
Your groceries, therapy, down time? (Assuming these are essential for quality of life and continued breathing. ;-))
Your gas and car insurance?
Your phone bill?
Are you on contract as a promoter and community organizer? Where are those deep pockets that are funding the social entrepreneurial initiatives that you are leading?

If you stepped out of this ring, where would it be?

It seems your work here is one of an essential lynch pin, holding all the loose ends together. You are at the center, the source, as I see it. Holding space in the concentric circles of power - radiating from the core of your lived experiences, (navigating poverty and knowing the power of spoken word as transformative arts/ life tool) - To the second ring of negotiating power and creating opportunity for others in your midst, young people especially who are so gifted - to perform, share, inspire; To the outer circle of Policy Makers and those so far removed from the immediate, daily encounter with poverty and art and literacy.

So again, I wrestle seeing what I see, and posing the questions from my own perspective.
What does transformation of a community, a world, no! A LIFE require?

What are the necessary resources , and who is making that public, visible?
Who is supporting YOU as you do all of this work?

Are you on God's payroll? ;-)

You've inquired as to my whereabouts in this realm of fundraising and spoken word: sittin this years fundraising out? Let me know!!! Gots ideas!!!

I appreciate wholeheartedly your curiosity, and take this as an appropriate time to make visible - or plainly known - once again why I'm not at the table.

I'm taking care of myself. As I look to all that you are up to, I feel a kind of mirror to my own life and experiences in this work and realm of arts, literacy, education, reform, and leadership.

I know more clearly than ever: that this work cannot come at the price of my own well-being, my own personal life passions and goals: to marry, create a family, and work in that tiny sphere or circle of radical love and transformation. I have had one tiny decade of an opportunity to work and follow my professional callings as public educator and arts literacy leader and reform person. The price has been nothing short of my own personal life and family. I cannot afford that any longer.

There may be speculation about my absence from this work, as that occurs naturally in all circles.

I hope all the dear people that I have been in relationship with over the course of the past two years know that I wish them well, and pray for your success and your ability to sustain yourselves!!!

Perhaps after my own children come along, and I'm in a solid space where my own needs are accounted for -- and I'm able to thrive, then I might find my way back to work alongside you all, and be present in a way that truly I can say is for the absolute greater good. That time, for me, is simply not now.

I make my way, clearly focusing all creative energy toward a life-time committed partnership, (rooted in a common faith, and radical love); making babies that will be well provided for and know God's abundance and grace, and a life as working writer and artist in my own right. I do look forward to the day that I'm able to introduce my husband and children to many of you! And I hope that my writing about this time in my life serves you well, honors your spirit and presence and impact as I've known it.

Again, Peace and blessings to you all!

Melissa B

Love is the religion. The universe is the book.
From Coleman Barks in "The Illuminated Rumi."

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