August 2, 2008

In the winter of 1994 I was workin’ as a security guard
outside the dorms in Huntsville, TX.
From 10pm to 7am I’d sit in a box about 4 foot by 4 foot
and 7 feet tall
with a little heater I had to turn off a lot.
I got a D in my 8am racquetball class that semester.
Couldn’t see the ball through all the sleep deprivation.

I was in my guardshack readin’ U Magazine
lookin’ for a summer job… and found it.
Fast forward: me on a bus headed for Chicago that summer
working with junior high and high school students
at an “accelerated learning forum”.

I thought I’d do camp things, ya know, like take kids fishin’
play soccer, swim, campfires
and maybe some academics like the employment packet talked about…

…When I walked into the main room for staff training
there were such happy people clapping and dancing
and there were affirmations on the walls and color
and excitement for the students coming and
every step I took was acknowledged awesome and
I was told I couldn’t dip Skoal if I wanted to stay…

I was in a different place at the time,
brushin’ up on my bravado,
riding bulls and trying not to break character,
which I was really bad at.

Their positive language and life skills
and the action steps they showed me how to take
through the judgment they asked me to suspend…
I couldn’t believe they actually paid me anything at all that year.

I went on to work with them for 11 more years during summers,
except one, through 2005.
While meditating in January this year
I decided I wanted to go back for their newer Leadership Forum program
where all the students were returning campers,
as opposed to first-year kids who sometimes take
6 or 7 days to acclimate to such an environment.

Nothing sounded more appealing to me than getting back to being
among a whole lot of people showing up to a metaphorical fulcrum
knowing no other option than to kick it up a notch, work the kinks out
and rock this life uninhibited by a fear of image, sharing what we know,
planting seeds for the ultimate life.

I’m now back in Venice Beach house-sitting for a few days
but still very much feeling the presence of the 70 friends I
just left in Colorado Springs where I had the pleasure
of working as a facilitator with the most beloved dang bunch of students this side of this side
for an undeniable program through Quantum Learning Networks called Leadership Forum.

This was my Facilitator Team:
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This was our Whole Staff Team:
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This was our Whole Camp Team:
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Man I’m a sucker for good folk
who embody integrity
with real drive
and a genuine desire
to live here
whole-heartedly
without ignoring the
“si se puede!”
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I miss them, a bunch.

…which brings me to Prince:

Flew into Los Angeles yesterday.
Mike McGee and I were picked up at the airport by
Mindy Nettifee (otherwise known as Jeffrey McDaniel’s sister
in the living legends of knock-you-on-your-ass writing
[translation: see her perform; buy her book]).

We met up with folks at a friend named Amber
did a show for Filter Magazine
then went to Prince’s house…

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photo by Mighty Mike McGee.

Ain’t Skeered.

Super, Camp