A thick, burping river of foul pink slime flows beneath a dark, angry city. The slime feeds off the fear, anger and anxiety of the people and magnifies depths of despair.
Demons of the past haunt. Hunger for power over all threatens.
Only music, the symbol of liberty and, well, Ghostbusters, can save the day.
Last night I sat with equal amounts of eye rolling and laughter through Ghostbusters II with my family. I didn’t think such a film would provide me with clarity for starting the new year… but here I sit preparing to tell you about it.
For me, the close of 2012 was enthusiastic, to say the least. I proclaimed a desire to “rock 2013”, and with the help of friends and family, I’m happy to say that I did. I not only received wellness, but I may have discovered how to magnify and share it in 2014.
Song vs. Slime
I’m a realist and an optimist, which these days feels like it could lead to schizophrenia. The pink slime of fear, anxiety and anger oozes through my brain from time to time, and threatens to overtake my capacity to face the challenge of environmental, social and economic upheaval as mother, citizen and public servant.
Beyond my brain, I see this slime oozing throughout society. It overwhelms the dis-empowered, over-consuming and under-resourced… of which there are many.
Mid 2013, I was buoyed out of the slime with a trip to the Social Change Institute at Hollyhock. While many of my cohort were as slimy as me, their intention was to shake it. They did so with warmth, caring, expertise, mentorship and the power of good will.
Also, they did it with song. It was peppered throughout the week, and culminated in a talent show where my new found
friends family and I brought an audience to tears with our campfire rendition of Cindy Lauper’s “True Colors.”
This followed my very first performance of a song I wrote while there. A song inspired by the good will of the SCI crowd, and written to shake the slime of despair.
Mary Poppins, Meet Slimer
As a child, I was indoctrinated by my great grandparents with the spirit, song and lessons delivered by Mary Poppins. I suppose that film was the only way to get a very busy little girl to sit still.
To this day, I trace several of my tendencies back to this character including approaching difficult tasks with a “spoon full of sugar” and appreciating the influence of song. She just seemed so darn effective!
But Mary Poppins, while firm, is never cross. These days, it’s hard not to get cross.
Some would argue that we can’t get ahead without getting angry, and I won’t disagree that there is a certain amount of tension we need to motivate change. However, I fear the immobilization factor of the slime…
You see, the Ghostbusters were the only ones mobilized by the slime – they had the gear and the gumption. Everyone else that encountered the slime succumbed to it. The only thing that motivated the masses to win the battle against the aspiring evil overlord was cheer. Music and cheer… conveniently delivered by the Statue of Liberty.
I like this approach: it resonates deeply in my reality.
This word supposedly means “Atoning for educability through delicate beauty” and oddly, I find it quite appropriate in these times.
Making up for the educability of the masses, or lack thereof, we need beauty. You see, climate change and social issues are terribly complex and we can’t expect most people to understand them. However, we can paint a picture of a beautiful future and motivate the masses to move towards it.
[Example: Stephen Sheppard and his crew at the Collaborative for Advanced Landscape Planning (CALP) are demonstrating future visualization as a powerful tool.]
No Pom Poms Required
I’ve written before about rallying the spirit. I also admitted to being a bit hard headed at times regarding frivolity, mostly lamenting it as a waste of limited time. I constantly seek this balance in myself – between the head and the heart – and experience the most success when I find it.
Emotionally charged hope is necessary, as is a carefully calculated trajectory for it.
So to end this year end pep-talk to myself… I invite you to shake the slime with me.
Let’s make 2014 the year of the cheerleader.