Michael Cameron
Show Notes – Episode 4:

How to Keep Smiling in Times Like These…

an interview with Michael Cameron of the Eastlake Hall of Silo’s Message in Oakland, California

What if you’re just starting out in life and everything you’re supposed to be excited about – college, career, money and success – leaves you cold? What if even your friendships seem empty? What if nobody you ask can tell you how to find meaning in life?

That was Michael’s quandary at 17. All through high school he’d been looking for answers, and now he figured he didn’t have any choice. “Either I find meaning,” he resolved, “or I end my life…”

Well – he’s still here. I know – I talked to him just last week on zoom, and he smiled a lot.

So I asked him what happened, and how he keeps smiling – even in the face of climate change, the pandemic, and all the other the disasters brewing all around us all the time.

And he told me – and I ended up smiling too.

Here’s a little of what we talked about:

  • How to have faith in the future without being naive or fanatical
  • What’s so great about cleaning up garbage with your neighbors
  • Why people are building meditation halls shaped like Hershey’s kisses all over the world
  • Why people in the part of Brazil with the highest teen suicide rate are flocking to Silo’s Message
  • The great gift a dying old geezer on oxygen gave Michael
  • Why failure is the most important thing that can happen to you
  • The real question: how can we NOT keep smiling?

We top all that off with some ribald poetry and amazing music, and I’ll wager you’ll be smiling by the end…

 

Episode #4 Transcript:

Hello everybody – I’m Trudi Lee Richards from the Community of Silo’s Message in Portland, Oregon, and this is yet another long-awaited episode of the Day of the Winged Lioness, our podcast on rebelling against death.

Today I have someone very special with me. Michael Cameron is an old friend, a very remarkable young man whom I’ve known for many many years, and who has now grown into a very interesting human being. So here we are today, and we’re going to explore a particularly indispensable aspect of rebelling against death: how to keep smiling in times like these!

Michael, so glad you could come!

MC: Thank you Trudi, it’s really good to be here.

 

TLR: Let me just start by giving folks a little introduction about what you do.

For Michael’s day job he works with children, as an assistant teacher in San Francisco, right?

MC: That’s right.

TLR: And I will be that you are one of the kids’ favorite teachers, because you probably see them as human beings and treat them that way.

But today we’re going to talk about Michael’s other work – the unpaid work that he’s been doing, filling his free time with, for many years now – for no other reason than that he loves it. This work is building communities of Silo’s Message, where he meets weekly with neighbors and friends who want to rebuilt our damaged social fabric, and find meaning in life.

Is that about right, Michael, would you like to add anything?

MC: No, that sounds just about right – building community.

TLR: So let me start with my question, about how to keep smiling. Particularly in these radically challenging times, this question is on everybody’s mind.

And for me – I’m an old crone, and even in the best of cases my future will be relatively short – whereas you have your whole life ahead of you. So given the daily news about the various crises we are facing, how do you keep smiling?

MC: I think for me, what I’ve been learning recently, is what it means to have faith. What it means to have faith in myself, what it means to have faith in the people I work shoulder to shoulder with, what it means to have faith in the process of humanity. I think everybody is familiar with naive faith – the people who’ve been telling us, everything’s gonna be okay, everything happens for a reason… just unfounded faith, right? And we’re also familiar with fanatical faith, which also is pretty unfounded and leads to violence. And so I guess what I’ve been learning is kind of steering clear of either of those two roads, the naive thing and the fanatical thing, and just looking for a faith that’s based deeply in experience – and not only my personal experience, but the experience as I read history, and as I see how many obstacles we’ve overcome as a species. We didn’t get here by magic, right? I’m somebody who works in the community of SIlo’s Message here, trying to improve this little neighborhood where we have a community center, that puts me shoulder to shoulder with other activists, with other people on an internal search, with other people who are just looking out for their families or their ethnic group, and really trying to do good work, working shoulder to shoulder with all these different groups of people – it gives me faith that maybe it’s not all of us, maybe not all of humanity is working to progress, maybe a lot of people are doing things that are destructive, or are lost and just trying to distract themselves… Whatever the situation, I know that there are a few of us, and I know that there’s little pockets of people all over this planet, who are doing things just to improve the lives of those around them. And I think that faith is important – that history moves forward because of those collectives of people that take it in their hands to push

it forward. That gives me faith and I think that’s pretty well grounded historically.

TLR: Yeah. I think another thing about naive faith and fanatical faith is that both are based on fear – and our faith is not. Our faith is based in joy, it’s based on loving to be alive, it’s based on seeing that it’s impossible for this incredible energy that is humanity to disappear.

MC: Yeah, yeah – humanity disappearing doesn’t even cross my mind! No, no. At times I think it’s really difficult to see the obstacles that are in our way, I think it’s easy to get overwhelmed if we only think about the climate, if we only think about all the people in prison, if we only think about the problems. And I try to stay informed, and I try to make my little contribution, as much as I can, but I think we can’t just have tunnel vision on the problems. That’s it, that’s it. I think if we tend to our gardens, with the simple things, it’s easy to find a reason to smile, right? If you’ve found your garden, if you’ve found your community center, if you’ve found your people to take care of, your cause, that’s why I can still smile – it’s because I’ve found my garden.

TLR: That’s wonderful Michael, that’s really great to hear.

So can you tell me how you came to be involved in this work with the Community of Silo’s Message in the first place?

MC: I was looking for a spiritual path a lot in high school I remember, and I don’t know why.  But I know I was really looking for it, I would stay up til really late at night reading on wikipedia about different spiritualities, and basically what does enlightenment mean? And who really knows the path to get there?

And I was really lucky in high school, I had a teacher who took us to visit Zen Buddhist monasteries, and Catholic monasteries – the people who were really looking there, right? And in those more traditional paths, and even in the new age ones – that same teacher brought in new age folks to teach us breathing techniques… I didn’t find anyone who to me was a strong reference. In those communities I met a lot of people who had just kind of given up, just to be honest. I had a Buddhist monk tell me, “I have no idea what enlightenment is. I came here grieving, and I’ve just tried to deal with that grief, but enlightenment is something… Which was fine, but I was looking for a spiritual path, like you were saying, based on growth and on joy – and I found a lot of solemnity in the traditional paths, and then a lot of naive and magical thinking in the new age ones. And so I kind of gave up after that – gave up on the spiritual search, and a few years later, I think when I was about 17 or 18, when I experienced a big failure in my life, I met somebody involved in silo’s message.

TLR: How was that person different?

MC: You know, what was amazing was that after all these years fo being trained in critical thinking and pulling apart people’s arguments and all of that in high school, when I met this person it really didn’t matter what this lady Janet Shirley whom I met – she came to talk to me at my house and we were having a conversation in my living room and she explained to me about the spiritual path she was on, and as she talked about it, it wasn’t the ideas that were the most important thing to me. It was really Janet’s energy. I could tell she’d had some experiences of change. Just sitting with her in my living room i said this is a person like i’ve never met before, and I could feel something inside of me that was like I want to have the experience this woman has had. And what has it been – 10, 12 yeasrs later? And I’ve felt that start to grow inside of me too.

TLR: I think you once remarked to me that she glowed.

MC: Yeah! And it was great to meet Janet but  as I traveled around the world and met Silo’s Message communities in northern California, in France, in Argentina, in Chile, in Mexico, it didn’t matter what country or what culture these people came from, they had that spirit, and that culture of treating each other really well – of learning together, the least individualistic, competitive thing ever. Really smart people, really experienced people, but working together on the spiritual path. I’d never seen anything like that. When I met smart people or powerful people before that, they were always looking out for themselves – it was all about building themselves up, adults, young people. And when I met the different communities of Silo’s Message, there was a genuine good treatment that I’d never seen before.

TLR: One thing I’ve noticed that’s common with so many of the people in the Community of the Message is this thing of failure. We call can pretty much say that we haven’t made the mark in the System. And we treat each other as humans because that’s brought us to a common level, where we see the vulnerability in each other, and we recognize it. We tend not to judge each other so harshly. There’s a certain humbleness about people in Silo’s Message, that is hard to find. Most people in the System really have their guard up, they have to keep up a kind of pretense so that people will think well of them. And it’s so wonderful to be in a community where that is not necessary, and we can be really real with each other. You said that when you were 17, you were in a moment of failure like that.

MC: Yeah… and it was a deep failure. It wasn’t a situation like I had failed to get into college or… but looking at my friendships and looking at the path ahead, looking at college and a career – there was a profound emptiness. And I remember walking home from a party – you know San Francisco, you can walk from one side of it to the other for a few miles – and I had a few miles by myself and I remember meditating that night as I was walking. I realized that I could find a way out of this emptiness and of this nonmeaning, or… I said “this is a juncture. I either find a way out or a way out is presented to me, or I end my life.” Not to say that in a super melodramatic way, but at that point, nothing else was interesting to me. I wasn’t interested in empty friendships and continuing to suffer. I can find a way out, or i can just end it – go back to something that’s not suffering. So it was a few days after that that I met Janet. And I definitely felt like something in the universe was showing me this path.

TLR: You told me once about your first experience at Red Bluff Park. Would you tell me that again? It’s one of my favorite stories…

MC: Absolutely! I remember going up to Red Bluff Park not long after I met Janet, and that’s where I met people from different communities of Silo’s Message.

So Red Bluff Park is there, three hours north of San Francisco, and people come from the Bay Area, people come from Sacramento, from Portland, from Washington – the Park is the meeting point for all the communities when they get together.

So I remember being invited up to the Park and folks were sitting in a circle, in the main building, and there was a woman who was going to facilitate an activity called the Experience of the Human, which I’d never done before. And she said OK, everybody get a partner, preferably the person sitting next to you.

But the person sitting next to me was on like an oxygen tank, and was really struggling to breathe – and scared the hell out of me! I was just getting out of high school where everybody’s young and hip and this that and the other thing, and here’s this guy on an oxygen tank, wheezing, next to me, and I’m supposed to do a personal, up close activity with him – no way! So I went to dart to the other side of the circle, and the man grabbed my hand, and it was like, “No, you’re going to do this with me!”

Oh, my God – this one – I don’t know if I’m ever coming back here…!

And so we took each other’s hands, we looked into each others’ eyes, and the facilitator she was reading these phrases, and we would repeat them back, and it was something like this:

“I feel the human in you, and I feel the human in me, and I feel that it is exactly the same.”

And i was looking into this guy’s eyes – Jorge Espinet – and as I was saying those phrases and looking into his shining eyes, all of a sudden I perceived something deeper – something so joyous and luminous in him, and I felt this real deep connection – it was the craziest thing, it was the craziest thing! But it was enough to give me a little shock – like here they’re working with a different kind of magic! Here they’re working with something else… here they know how to access something deeper… And yeah, I haven’t stopped going back to Red Bluff Park since then.

TLR: He was a pretty magical guy… Someday I’m gonna do a podcast on his experiences. He came from Argentina, he was in prison during the Dirty War, and he had some amazing experiences there, that I’m sure you’ve heard him tell about more than once.

I asked you how you keep smiling, and when I think of what we’ve been talking about, how can you NOT keep smiling?! you know…

MC: That’s the better question… that’s the better question!

TLR: It reminds me of something Silo said in 2004. Silo was up in the mountains, talking to a big gathering of people. And he said he would really like to transmit to all of us the certainty of immortality. But then he said, but how could what is mortal generate something immortal? Maybe instead we should ask ourselves, how is it possible for the immortal to generate the illusion of mortality? And everybody there just clapped and cheered and burst into laughter because it was so wonderful.

That’s where we’re coming from, that’s the interesting realm to be in.

That’s how you rebel against death.

So now maybe you can talk some about your experiences with your community there in Oakland, what kind of things you do, for instance. Not long ago you told me about a neighborhood cleanup

MC: Yeah! So we opened up the Eastlake Hall of Silo’s Message in May of 2018, a little over 3 years ago. The principle activities we’ve been doing there are weekly gatherings of Silo’s Message. We work with doing ceremonies, concentrating our internal force without putting any specific belief system on it. People are welcome to come of all backgrounds and belief systems, or non-belief systems. We try to work with closing our eyes, concentrating that energy, that life force, within us, strengthening it, and then basically learning to live lives that give that energy direction, so steering away from internal confusion, violence, incoherence, and focusing on directing our energy in daily life toward unity, coherence, and better relationships with the people around us. We have a few ceremonies that help us do that on a weekly basis.

Also on a monthly basis, before the pandemic, we were doing potlucks to gather different memebers of our community together.

And outside of that we try to guide ourselves by inspiration. So we’ve got our Monday night community, we did have a Wednesday and a Tuesday night, but some of those meetings merged and went onto zoom – and all those people who are part of those communities are free to use that space for the projects that really matter to them. And we’ve got pretty diverse interests.

So the neighborhood cleanup is an activity that was inspired by one of our volunteers, Christine, who’s been living in the building where we have the community center – she’s been there over 20 years, in the apartment upstairs, and she comes every week to our meeting. She really enjoys the spiritual aspect and the community aspect of the Monday night meetings, but she also is really active in the community, so maybe eight weeks ago she told us, I really want to organize a cleanup.

We were in our Monday night meeting, before the ceremony, and she’s usually someone who speaks really strongly with a lot of confidence, right to the point – but you know she kind of opened up a little bit, a more intimate part of herself, and with her voice shaking a little bit she said, I think it would be really good to do a neighborhood cleanup. And we just all had to stay quiet, because we’d never seen her so vulnerable. It was obviously something that mattered. And so she share that yeah, she’d been thinking about this for a long time, and she wanted to do a big, collective effort to clean up the neighborhood.

We’re definitely not in the cleanest neighborhood. There’s garbage everywhere on the street… And yet, for me personally, cleaning up litter is not what moves me, it’s not something that inspires deeply in me. But I see there’s somebody here in my community who it means the world to.

And so all of us in our Message community found a way that we could support it and help organize that day. One of us is really good at designing flyers, another person is better with the website, I’m pretty good at making phone calls and just calling people I don’t know and communicating with them so I did that… We spent over a month organizing that.

And a bunch of people showed up! And I, who had not been interested at all, the day of it when this huge gathering of people showed up, really inspired to help their own neighborhood – I went “Oh, wow… we never would have been able to send out such a good signal if we hadn’t done… you know?” And we were just doing the simple work of cleaning up the garbage in the neighborhood. And people were super enthusiastic to do this really unrewarding type work. We didn’t invite the press out or anything like that. It was just, “come out if you’re genuinely interested in cleaning up.”

And after that we gathered in the hall, we had lots of social time together, and we decided that the next community cleanup is going to be in mid-September. I’ll let you know when we get the exact date, but we’re going to do another one.

That’s one of a lot of activities that we do there.

TLR: I remember when you first told me about it, you said you initially – and other people too – were initiall. But you went ahead with it and you were surprised at what came out of it.

 

MC: That’s right! And I think that’s the important thing about our community center, is that we all have this intention to be better people, to be better neighbors, and to learn how to build community. But that doesn’t mean that we share all the same interests, or that we think all the same. And that’s really ok. There’s nobody there trying to align everybody ideologically. We grow with our diversity.

So when there’s a protest about feminism that we’ve organized from the hall, I’m personally not involved in the feminist movement, but I’m going to show up and see any way I can support it. And for a lot of folks it’s been like that.

We did a ceremony of death after George Floyd was killed, and people who weren’t super involved in Black Lives Matter or anything like that still supported us, and we ended up with 10,000 people out doing a ceremony of Silo’s Message with us at Lake Merritt. It’s a time for that I think.

TLR: Wow – that’s beautiful.

MC: It’s the time for that, I think.

TLR: That’s really wonderful…

Your garbage cleanup story also reminded me of the fountain project at the Park. I related to your initial reluctance because I did not participate in the fountain project except at the very end, because I live quite far away, and I was lazy. And it was hot! But I got down there finally, and everyone was having such an amazingly wonderful time, that then I felt like, Oh, I’ve really missed something here! And still the people who were there, sweating and breaking their backs in this horribly hot sun, speak of that experience with such nostalgia! Something about working together for a common purpose, even in incredibly uncomfortable situations – there’s nothing like it.

 

MC: Yes. I remember that. I thought, who’s going to show up to pick up garbage in East Oakland? When we got there that day, and we were there at the hall, the primary volunteers, and I thought, OK, it’s just gonna be us, ok, great! And then one by one the hall went filling up with other volunteers and neighbors. I could not believe it. And folks didn’t want to leave afterwards. They’d spent hours cleaning up, doing this kind of uncomfortable, icky work, nobody wanted to leave. It was at least an hour after we had finished that we were finally able to say goodby and lock the doors.

TLR: That’s what happens in our communities. Nobody ever wants to leave. We can be at the Park or at one of our meetings, even if it’s only on zoom, and just sit there in silence, just enjoying each others’ presence without doing or saying anything. It’s the strangest thing.

MC: It’s true, it’s true, yeah…

TLR: It’s really wonderful… 

But I’d like to talk about one of the other Halls dedicted to Silo’s Message, one that you were telling me about not long ago – the one in the south of Brazil, that’s such a special place.

MC: Yes, that’s Sala Sul de Minas Gerais – the Hall of the South of Minas Gerais, Brazil. I did not understand that one at all when they started building it. It was just a small group of people – I think it was mainly three people – who started with this inspiration to build a meditation hall of Silo’s Message – which is usually part of a big project with lots of people, and  usually part of a park of study and reflection…

But Margarete especially was getting into her 60s, and was really looking for her next contribution, feeling like she really needed to leave something very important before her departure. And so she did lots of askings to her internal guide, asking what’s this contribution going to be. And it came to her in a dream, that they would leave Sao Paolo, they would go out into the south of Minas Gerais, about three and a half hours away from Sao Paulo, where all the hillsides are these rolling green hills, and she could see it in the dream, she could see this meditation hall being there. And operating from that deep inspiration, she and two other friends started making trips out there to meet the people.

They had no idea how to relate to townspeople, because it’s not the same when you’re in a city of a few million people, and then you go out to a small town. They started off handing out flyers of Silo’s Message, and this guy finally came from the Ministry of Culture, and he told them, No – Silo’s Message is great, and you guys are wonderful, but you’re scaring people away. And so they had to learn, how is it that you build relationships there? And so this guy  from the Ministry of Culture, said I’m gonna help you, just give me some time. And they made a few other close friends there, and they showed them the ropes of Minas Gerais and the smaller towns there. Eventually this guy Braga retired from his job in the ministry and just became fulltime, dedicating himself to helping them do this thing of building the meditation hall.

So they built their meditation hall, they did it in a place that’s a convergence of different spiritualities and different cultures. Brazil obviously is like a melting pot of different cultures, but this particular place is a pilgrims’ path. So people regularly come through there to make their Spiritist pilgrimages, and Catholic pilgrimages. So it’s already endowed with this other meaning.

But for me, what was super interesting – one of the many things – was this was a part of Brazil that had the highest rate of youth suicide. A little similar to my personal experience of efeeling like life didn’t have meaning and I could take my life – a lot of people in that state were going through the same thing, and they were taking their lives. And so this particular place had a huge need for a new spirituality. And I’ve just seen that in the past seven years that they’ve been there in Minas Gerais, so many people connect to Silo’s Message, and without any need to shed their old spirituality. They bring their Catholicism, they bring their Umbanda and their Spiritism, and their different things – but they recognize something immportant in Silo’s Message, and you can see it in how they relate to each other, in how they’ve started to build their own Salitas around that meditation hall. Salitas are more local, small places where you can do weekly meetings, like we have the Eastlake Hall here in Oakland. And you just can tell that the people there have really taken Silo’s Message to heart and made it their own.

TLR: Yeah! And there are many, many other halls of Silo’s Message and Parks of Study and Reflection and community centers like yours all over the world. This morning we spoke with another friend from Spain, where a group of people is working on building another meditation hall on the Camino de Santiago, the famous pilgrimage path on the way to Compostela – which I find so inspiring! We have at least 50 halls, right? And others being built all the time.

MC: I think there’s 50 parks of study and reflection, more or less, and there’s a lot of halls.

TLR: Right. So in our country, in the United States, we have one in New York, Hudson Valley Park, and we also have our Park on the west coast. And at both of them are in the process of building a meditation hall. So that is super lovely.

MC: It is, it is, there’s inspired people working in both places.

TLR: Well you’ve been super involved here in Red Bluff.

MC: Yeah, yeah. We’re getting close. I think the last step we have is to put in a small pump, for our fire system, and that’s it. Then we can apply for a building permit for our meditation hall. So that’s Sept. 1.

TLR: That’s so fantastic! So now we can imagine that in the near future, if you are driving down Highway 5 or up Hightway 5 past Red Bluff in northern CA, you can stop and take a break and visit our beautiful dome-shaped meditation hall. It will be a such wonderful place to take a break – completely quiet and still inside, a perfect place to make contact with the stillness inside you – something we all need to do regularly, especially these days…

So if you’re in the area, don’t hesitate to pay a visit to the Park. It’s beautiful even now, without the meditation Hall, and it’s open the the public, right Michael?

MC: Sunrise to sunset. But, if people want to participate in a retreat, if they want to come to a workshop, they’re more than welcome to that too. We try to do that as much as we can. I would just say contact your most local community of Silo’s Message. It’s great to go to the Park alone, but if you can go with a group of people who are working with a theme, who can do ceremonies with you, who can talk about the meaning of life with you…

 

TLR: Yeah! That’s the best. Being there with friends or meeting new friends there, that’s really the best way to be any of our Parks.

And that was the end of my conversation with Michael about how to keep smiling in times like these. I know he’d love to hear from anyone listening – before we end I’ll provide information about how to get in touch with him, and also about how to learn more about the Community of Silo’s Message around the world.

To me Michael is a clear example of someone who is rebelling against death with everything he’s got, by affirming and celebrating life in his own passionate, caring, down to earth way.

I really appreciate that, especially since these days it’s so easy to get sucked into a vortex of paralyzing fear about the future.

It’s in that spirit of loving life despite all the looming disasters that I cannot resist dropping in a little dose of pure joy from Bach’s Cantata 201, Swift, swift, you swirling winds – and I’ll follow it with a recent poem of mine called “This Day.”

[Music: Opening chorus from BWV 201,Geschwinde, ihr wirbeinden Winde”*]

And here’s my poem.

This Day

 

Today

the Day arrives

with the crows

wild-voiced

and exhuberant

at 6am

 

This Day

is its own Presence

born shimmering

clean and new

as never before,

alive

as a young girl

waking

full of joy

with her own body

and breath

 

Today

the Day

has thrown off

yesterday’s shrunken offering

of fear

turning up her nose

and running in circles

barking

like a puppy

 

Today

shape-shifter Day

has donned a glorious

new suit

wearing fear

as an elaborate

but meaningless embroidery

on the lapel

 

This Day

is Real Food and

Precious Water

and I gloat

and celebrate

and eat and drink

in greedy gulps

like a starving person

who has spent

their whole life asleep

and mutely dying

of hunger and thirst

 

This Day

is Friend and Lover

crooning a caress

in mellow viola descent

down my naked back

 

Today

I will not read

anyone’s instructions

on how to be here

 

I’ll save my reading

for the next time I forget

Who We Are

and let fear descend

not just as a filigree doodle

on our lapel

but as a seductive

serial killer

who wraps us

in a full-length

dark woolen dress

and has us

for dinner.

 

I can’t end this podcast without telling you more about Red Bluff Park’s sister park on the East Coast: Hudson Valley Park of Study and Reflection.

Hudson Valley Park is located in the beautiful Hudson River Valley in Upstate New York. Our friends there are also in the midst of building a meditation hall – and in fact they’re quite a bit farther along than we are in Red Bluff, with the Hall already well on its way to completion.

I blush to admit that I’ve never been to Hudson Valley Park. But I can say without hesitation that it is worth a visit. It’s clearly in a lovely part of New York state – and most importantly, I can vouch for the people, many of whom I know personally to be the most joyful, caring, and kind people – above all kind.

Of course if been around the Communities of Silo’s Message anywhere, that goes without saying. I’ve traveled all over the world, from Community to Community, Park to Park – and everywhere I’ve been, I’ve been welcomed like family. I have no doubt the same holds true for anyone visiting Hudson Valley Park.

Now, to share some inspiration directly from that park, I want to play a song from a new album created as a fundraiser for their meditation hall. This song, written and performed by Chris Wells of Hudson Valley Park, is one of my favorites – it’s called simply “Silo.”

[Music: “Silo,” from Songs for the Sala]

That was so beautiful…

The album, and all the lyrics, are available on the website Bandcamp.com – just search for “Songs for the Sala” and it will come right up. Songs for the Sala is an amazing, richly diverse collection of 13 songs by musicians in Silo’s Message from around the world. All donations for the album go to support the construction of the Meditation Hall at Hudson Valley Park.

Which brings me to an important point: all the projects inspired by Silo’s Message are funded entirely by volunteers. This includes all the Parks of Study and Reflection, all the Halls and local community centers, and the many many creative labors of love that come out of them, including this podcast. Nobody is paid for their work, and we accept financial contributions only from real human beings – never from corporate pseudo-human entities.

That’s because what we celebrate and cultivate is the best part of the human being: our caring, our compassion, our laughter, our generosity, our ability to share insights and skills and work together toward our common aspirations. Money occupies only a humble, though grudgingly respected, position in our scale of values. We do invite participants to help cover the costs of projects they participate in, and financial donations are gratefully received – but they are never required. We welcome you for yourself.

That said, feel free to support this work! Eastlake Hall – like all our halls and parks – has amazingly managed to keep its doors open all through the pandemic thanks to small donations from friends, and would welcome your participation and/or support. Their meetings, like so many nowadays, are hybrid – you can participate either in person or via zoom (zoom links can be found on their website). And if you’re in the Oakland area and would like to participate in the next neighborhood cleanup, it will take place on September 12 – I’ll post more information on wingedlionpress.org. 

Finally, here’s a whole list of ways to find out more about and help support all our projects:

  • Eastlake Hall – visit silosmessageoakland.org or contact Michael at quasar.rb@protonmail.com 
  • Red Bluff Park – visit RedBluffPark.org
  • Hudson Valley Park – visit HudsonValleyPark.org
  • Compostela Hall – visit Salacompostela.org 
  • Minas Gerais Hall – visit facebook.com/salasuldeminas/
  • Portland Community of Silo’s Message – contact Trudi at wingedlion@gmail.com
  • To see all this in writing, visit wingedlionpress.org and look for the latest episode of the Day of the Winged Lioness Podcast.

Thank you so much everyone for listening. As we like to say in Silo’s Message the world over, Paz, fuerza y alegria – which means  “Peace, Force, and Joy” – (force – yes, like in Star Wars!)

 

TLR:…see you soon –

MC: OK hope to see you soon –

TLR:…eventually – that’s the way it is, we’re hunkered down here again because of the Delta virus…

MC: Not a bad idea, not a bad idea.

TLR: But this too shall pass…

MC: That’s right – I’ll see you after Delta and before Epsilon…

HAHahahahahaha

hahahahaha

hahaha…!!!!

 

*Lyrics:

Swift, swift,

you swirling winds,

join at last together in the pit!

So that the back and forth resounding

might please even Echo

and be delightful to the air.

– Opening chorus of J.S. Bach’s Cantata #201, The Contest between Phoebus and Pan, one of Bach’s many secular wonderful secular cantatas.

*J.S. Bach, “Geschwinde, ihr wirbeinden Winde,” Cantata BWV 201, from the European Archive, – courtesy of Musopen.org.

This work is licensed under Creative Commons, Public Domain Mark 1.0 

 

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The Day of the Winged Lioness Podcast: Episode #4 – How to Keep Smiling in Times Like These

Trudi Lee Richards

Trudi Lee Richards, a poet-bard of Silo’s Message, is the author of "Confessions of Olivia"; "On Wings of Intent, a biography of Silo"; "Soft Brushes with Death"; and "Experiences on the Threshold." Exactly two of her poems have ever been published: "Fairies of the Forest," which appeared in the Palo Alto Times "Youth Said It" column in 1957, and "The Great 21st Century Poemic," which appeared in the April 2021 edition of Global Poemic (globalpoemic.wordpress.com). She also edited and published the independent San Francisco newspaper "Human Future" from 1989-1997, and before that co-founded "La Mamelle," a '70s San Francisco arts publication. A graduate of Stanford University, she helped raise several humans from infancy, and is now enjoying their friendship. She currently lives in Portland, Oregon.