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I’m Not Waitin’ on Roosevelt Any More

by our roving shamanic reporter, ClareShale Mountain Star

This week has been all about noticing that the things that have held me back and taken a long time to be released in the past are now just non-issues. It (finally) feels like simply having the intention and a connection to the earth beneath my feet is enough to create any state of mind I choose.

Interestingly, the art I’ve been surrounding myself with over these last few days has been all about the transformational period of human history that occurred during the 1930’s. In particular, the turning point that occurred in the hearts of Americans — when they realized that their lives were impossibly difficult and it was time to stand up and do something about it. This time was a time for organizing, striking, and demanding fair wages and safe working conditions.

Astra and I attended a showing at Victory Gardens of “Voices of the People’s History” a cinematic production inspired by the work of Howard Zinn: A People’s History of the United States, one of the best selling history books of all time. This show spans 500 years of American History. The general story is about how regular, “ordinary” people stood up throughout those years and demanded what they wanted from those “in charge.”  It’s a story about the persistence and vision of the masses. This of course includes an in-depth look at the depression era social climate. The film presented a very moving reading by Danny Glover of the Langston Hughes poem “Ballad of Roosevelt”, followed by the song “Dear Mr. President” by the artist Pink. A brilliant juxtaposition.

Two days later we were back at the same theater watching “Waiting for Lefty;” a play by Clifford Odets which weaves together multiple stories from situations taking place during the depression.  It’s a layered piece that peels off, one by one, veils of societal restraint; going from frustration to desperation, to despondence to anger and finally circling into inspired commitment to action.  Our client Jeremy Glickstein gave a fantastic performance; I don’t want to give away anything about his role though, as it was such a great surprise! 🙂

At one point our favorite female character implores the group to “Tear down the slaughterhouses of our old lives!” I can so relate to the need to do that in my own life at times; and it totally relates to my personal theme for the week of completely letting go of whats not working. I know I’m going to remember that quote for a while. After the show we had the opportunity to chat with actor Warren Levon (“Agate”), who gave the final rousing monologue – an incredibly moving performance that brought tears to my eyes. Here’s a pic of Warren, Astra and Jeremy:

The aspect of this era that stands out for me as a shining gem is that moment when we realize: “Something must change and I need to be the one to change it.” It’s when our hearts can no longer bear the burdens and the heavy cloaks of others that have been heaped on us, and we realize that those burdens and cloaks were never ours in the first place. It’s when we give those ideas about life back to their original owners (parents, teachers, employers, etc) and allow ourselves to say:  “Now I create my life as my own!”

Here is a link to that Langston Hughes poem read by Danny Glover http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HADGKw_wa5E&feature=results_video&playnext=1&list=PL2FC920682755327E

Excerpt from:

Ballad of Roosevelt

Cold winds blow
And didn’t have no
Place to go
Pa said, I’m tired
O’waitin’ on Roosevelt,
Roosevelt, Roosevelt.
Damn tired o‘ waitin’ on Roosevelt

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