A Few Things On My Mind

The past couple of weeks have been hectic—to say the least. On July 14, I launched Her Lost Year at my favorite coffee shop and writing studio, Java John’s Coffee Shop. I didn’t quite know how many people to expect, so I was overjoyed when people kept piling in until there was “sidewalk room” only (as one of my friends put it).

Launch party for Her Lost Year
This picture was clearly not taken during one of my jokes. . . Surviving psychiatry is serious stuff.

Three days later, our story appeared as a guest post on Mad in America, a website founded by Robert Whitaker, who wrote the book that changed our lives (and possibly saved my daughter’s life), Anatomy of an Epidemic.

The response blew me away. People really want to engage these issues. We didn’t all get along in the 100+ comments, but it was a civil discussion with interesting insights such as:

Regarding your list of semi-rhetorical questions under the heading “Why?”: While I suspect you may already know or at least sense why, my response is that this is exactly how sensitive, feeling human beings should be expected to react to a toxic culture for which the bottom line is obscene profits for corporate rulers who promote self-hatred (and other hatred) as a means of controlling the masses, then capitalize further on the ensuing guilt, anxiety, depression and/or agression [sic] by pushing drugs, “therapy,” or whatever — anything but the social change you and many others realize is necessary before our collective psyche will be experiencing the sort of “reality” we yearn for. —”oldhead”

Seriously. Awesome!

After this post, I saw some “great” ranking numbers on Amazon (great is relative when you’re an indie publisher). Then it slowly started to slip down in the 100,000s. My husband said, “we don’t get depressed until it’s in the millions.” (Love him!)

Now I’m trying to figure out how best to spend my time promoting the book for maximum return on effort (return being getting it in the hands of people who may benefit from it). I have a sneaking suspicion that guest blogging for big online publications is going to be the best option, but I’m also open to speaking engagements/book talks/webinars. I really don’t want to spend a whole lot of time on social media (per this post).

Because I have social change to do!

So what’s next?

My conclusion after writing this book and continuing my search for answers is that we need to create resilient, sustainable communities. Communities that are more than self-sustaining and live in harmony with the planet.

My friend and mentor in this area, Craig Mosher, shared an example of such a project with me today: The Oberlin Project aims to “revitalize the local economy, eliminate carbon emissions, restore local agriculture, food supply and forestry, and create a new, sustainable base for economic and community development.”

This is what I want to do, y’all. I think it’s the way to go.

Let’s stop supporting Big Business and start creating our own abundance (to use the UBUNTU Contributionism terminology).

And it’s not going to happen by focusing on the problems. Explains Norwegian psychologist Per Espen Stoknes, “We [should] tell new stories of the dream, not the nightmares. We must describe where we want to go, such as smarter green growth, happier lives, and better cities.”

Can we make an agreement to focus on the dreams? It will take a concerted effort. It’s so easy to talk about problems. It’s a little more difficult to talk about dreams. It’s even harder to actually make those dreams come true.

We’re very distracted by news about murdered lions, Donald Trump, and Paper Towns. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and email provide constant interruptions. What to do?

We start.

We have friends over for dinner and dream out loud. We talk to everybody we meet about our dreams. We create Transition Streets. We join community groups. We sing together. We dream with our kids and our parents and partners. We restore nature. We reframe the public debate. We create abundance.

Because you know what, soon we won’t have a choice, so why not start now?


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