Thursday, January 11, 2007

HAVING SOME FUN: My remarkable therapist for the past ten years, Shellie Hatfield, has her office in a building shared by several therapists, and all clients share a common waiting room. (Won't Sean Hannity, whoever he is, get a kick out of this! And does anyone know how to get a clip of his dig at me, us, whatever it was? It would be good for the website.) This morning I was sitting silently in the waiting room with one other client, a woman who was reading a magazine, when Shellie came through the door with a big smile on her face, chuckling, and clapping her hands. The Beach Impeach event has been all over the Bay Area news. This morning's Bay Guardian called our photos "iconic" and noted that they've already gone worldwide. "Aww...," said my waiting room mate, "my therapist never claps for ME!"

This evening, Shellie stopped by the "Impeachment Surge" rally at a busy intersection in my neighborhood. At the rally's height we surged to perhaps 40 people (including 10-15 who'd been at Beach Impeach) and a Channel 2 news crew (not sure if we made the news -- I didn't watch). It was cold out, and the event sure seemed small compared to the crowd at the beach. And, darnit, no helicopter. Cars honked their support of our impeachment placards. When the news crew came I gave a short speech. And then we all went home to news reports that said we had not missed anything good in Bush's speech.

SAM RUBIN: Thirteen-year old Sam Rubin was at the rally with his video camera. The Beach Impeach clip he posted on You Tube was, in the first 24 hours of its posting, the 51st most-watched clip on You Tube, his mom Sally told me. And it really IS something. Blake Rodman, best man at my wedding, called me to say Sam's video made him tear up. Apparently lots of people have been touched by it. Sam said: "I'm getting 100 emails a day from people I've never met!" He's having fun. I'm having fun. When Shellie was leaving, I called Sam over, told him to turn on his camera, put my arm around Shellie, and said, "This is my therapist, Shellie. Now, Shellie, tell this crowd what you told me this morning when I asked you if you thought I might be insane." And Shellie, game, but a little uncomfortable in front of the camera and all those strangers, said, "You're not psychotic, you're not manic, and you've never been medicated. You're grounded, and you're passionate..." And so I let her go...

But as much fun as the past few days have been, this all revolves around a very serious subject. People are dying in Iraq, the world is heating up. And we have a president who seems psychotic, manic, and who knows about his meds...? He simply must go. By April 1. And while I'm having fun basking in my 15 minutes here, I'm doing my best to stay grounded. On Sunday, after the European Pressphoto Agency called me in my cab (and is there anything more grounding than cab driving?), I heard my little voice say, "Wow, aren't YOU cool, mister?" I've had 15 minutes of fame before, and I know that the little voice that says those types of things to you does not have your best interests in mind, and whenever its presence is noticed, it is always best to put up your guard. I immediately pulled my cab to the side of Ceasar Chavez Avenue, pulled out my worn Eckhart Tolle book ("A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose"), opened it at random, and began reading:

"To do whatever is required of you in any situation without it becoming a role that you identify with is an essential lesson in the art of living that each one of us is here to learn. You become more powerful in whatever you do if the action is performed for its own sake rather than as a means to protect, enhance, or conform to your role identity. Every role is a fictitious sense of self, and through it everything becomes personalized and thus corrupted and distorted by the mind-made 'little me' and whatever role it happens to be playing. Most of the people who are in positions of power in this world, such as politicians, TV personalities, business as well as religious leaders, are completely identified with their role, with a few notable excpetions. They may be considered VIPS, but they are no more than unconscious players in the egoic game, a game that looks so important yet is ultimately devoid of true purpose. It is, in the words of Shakespeare, 'a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.' Amazingly, Shakespeare arrived at this conclusion without having the benefit of television. If the egoic earth drama has any purpose at all, it is an indirect one: It creates more and more suffering on the planet, and suffering, although largely ego-created, is in the end also ego-destructive. It is the fire in which the ego burns itself up."

Oh-KAY! Back to the fire we go...

POSTCARDS: The first offer I received has been the best. Inkworks, a very gracious worker-owned cooperative in Berkeley, four of whose members came to the beach on Saturday, are delivering 2,000 postcards to me for FREE on Friday. I've been saving all the other very kind offers, and when I digest those first 2,000 I'll figure out what the next step regarding postcards is.

MY NEW PLAN: Still shaping itself. I'm trying to let it be. I like what I see so far. Got to figure out the first step and take it.

VOLUNTEERS: I'm looking for from 1-5 volunteers to help me in the Piedmont Avenue neighborhood of Oakland, Mondays through Thursdays, between 8:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. Anybody? Email me, please:



hi brad
i am a mendocino resident, and want to thank you. i watched sam's film, and posted it on my blog. amazing. one thing i noted... so many older folks, like me. where are the young ones? that worries me some.
if i still lived in the bay area, i'd love to assist. i want to be a part of this, as i can't take the hopelessness and and anger anymore.
i want to turn it into action.
thanks again.
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