It’s early Thanksgiving morning. I’m the only one awake. I’m looking forward to family, friends, and food later.
I’m looking back to yesterday. It was the one year anniversary of my wife Chris’ brain surgery. Last night, as we ate dinner with a friend, I remembered following the ambulance from Woods Hole to Boston at high speed. I was wondering, as I swerved onto Route 24, if it was all just a dream. A nightmare. It wasn’t; it was the real deal.
One year of health. And she gets healthier – every day.
And now we thank our lucky stars for the great medical care, for the outpouring of support, for our children and grandchildren, for each other, for our good fortune. It is a dream, in a way.
A year ago, as I followed the ambulance to Boston, nobody knew the phrase “the other 99%.” It is now an essential part of our common vocabulary. The dreams of the 99% have been awakened. The genie will not go back in the bottle; once released, it never does, does it?
Here’s what an Occupy Wall Street protester recently said, about the spirit of this movement:
If you are looking to contact one of our leaders, go to the nearest mirror and peer deeply into it. It may take some time, but, eventually, one of our leaders will appear with answers to all your questions.
That is the way of this new movement, this new awakening that includes us all.
Jonathan Schell, writing in the Nation two weeks ago said:
When such sea changes of opinion and will are under way, entrenched institutions start to tremble and shake, and political miracles become possible. The signs say ‘Love is the New Fear’ and ‘The Beginning is Near.’ To this we can now gratefully add, he says, ‘The Beginning is Here.’
In 1985, when Steve Jobs was forced out of Apple, he was determined to top anything he’d done before, to avenge the terrible wrongs to which he had been subjected. Once he recovered from the shipwreck of his despair he tackled his mission with uncommon resolve and ability. But it came from a troubled place, and his path to unparalleled triumphs of design and imagination was littered with corollary damage and contradictions.
Last year, when Jeffrey Hollender was forced out of Seventh Generation, the environmental cleaning products company he founded in 1988, he took a page from Jobs’ book and decided to Think Differently. But he didn’t aspire to revenge; rather, his experience caused him to consider what’s wrong with American business and how he might help to usher in a New Economy that is vital, democratic, resilient, and restorative. For everyone.
Last month I met with Jeffrey and two potential funders of his new enterprise, called CommonWise. CommonWise is committed to “building resilient and revitalized communities by applying design, entrepreneurship, systems mapping, worker cooperatives and technology to achieve a new framework of wealth and wellbeing.”
As I listened to Jeffrey talk, I realized that the new framework he was describing is a pure expression of the dreams and aspirations of the other 99% and a blueprint for achieving them.
Occupy Wall Street and CommonWise represent ideas and forces that have been stewing at the edges of our culture – part of a mosaic of new institutions and approaches that may be ready to bring down high walls and build long bridges.
I had an epic dream some time ago. At one point in the dream a guy asked me to take a look at a piece of writing. I read the title. It was called “An Open Letter to My Shoes.” I thought: what a great title. It evokes so many possibilities – shoes, where they’ve taken me, path, journey, odyssey, etc. Hmm, I mused, I wish I had thought of that. And then I woke up and realized – hey I did think of that! It was my dream.
This helps me remember – it’s our dream! It’s our journey, it’s our path, it’s our design.
It doesn’t take much to rev up my hope; it never has. One year of health. The other 99%. CommonWise. The beginning is here.
I see you down there, shoes, and I remember how I once saved your supple red leather for dance parties, steppng out. When did that change? I forget, but you look as fine worn out, going to work together every day, as you did on the dance floor.
And the feet, how’s the feet in there? A little lumpy in the bone, but still truckin’. What is it now, sixty five years of continuous operation?
All praise, wonder, and thanks.
Let’s go for a walk.
Always good to hear from you John. Happy Thanksgiving.
I’ll take you up on that walk sometime, Peter! Thanks, and be well. . .
Thanks, from Ireland, for the inspiration. Happy Thanksgiving…
Appreciating the reminder that preparation for an idea’s foundation is intention. The intention with which one approaches a challenge can make all the difference in the world, quite literally.
Thank you, as well as Jeffrey.
I didn’t know Jeffrey got booted from 7th Generation (I use their products). I look forward to seeing CommonWise unfold. We need all the help we can get/be part of!