A Woman, Always Ahead Of Her Time, Helps The World Catch Up
an article by our site
Number of families: 9
Total number of children: 16
Number of adults: 16
Total number of individuals: 32
a. 40m, 38f, 18m, 16m, 13f, 3f
b. 75m, 74f, 50m, 48f, 25m, 24f, 4m, 2f
c. 39f, 12f, 8m
d. 36f, 2f
e. 46m, 45f , 4f, 2m
f. 38f, 14m, 11f, 9m
g. 33m, 32f , 5m, 4f
h. 44m, 43f
i. 75f, 70m
Economic factors: upper middle class
I'll tell you about myself. I'm 45, married and have two kids—a boy and a girl, two and four years old. My name is Lisa, my husband is Steve, the kids are Jeff and Naomi. I have a successful career and I feel very happy about my life. However, I don't feel very happy about the condition of the world, and therefore I can't feel completely happy, even though my immediate situation is very fulfilling. One of the ways I try to help the world situation is to be supportive of organizations that clean up the environment, or that fight legislation that's potentially harmful to the environment. I'm behind anything that will do anything to either clean up or prevent further harm to the planet. I'm against all environmental radicals and militants, however, and especially loath eco-terrorists. What hypocrites!
I guess I am in a lot of ways like a product of the sixties—born in 1969 during the divisive anti-war era. Back then (1972) my Mom and I walked in demonstrations against the Vietnam war, even though I was quite young—only 3! Mom had strong moral values (she'd been protesting since 1968), and her unwillingness to accept the hypocrisy and greed and senseless waste of life and resources the war represented—it rubbed off on me. I learned to understand how it was that we (Mom and me) could love our country dearly at the same time we hate the immoral, wrong, foolish direction our leaders were taking us. Later, both Mom and I abhorred what happened with the S&L scams of the 80s and even worse—in the 21st century—the bank bail-outs of 2008 and the corruption that led to them.
I was eating natural foods a long time before most people had ever heard of brown rice—but later dropped that in favor of a Paleo diet. And I've recycled what I could whenever I've lived in a place that supported it. It's funny because in my own way I've been concerned about the Earth and the environment ever since I first heard of the word ecology in the 70s. The whole concept of caring for a precious Earth was definitely an issue for "liberals" until the late 80s. Finally in the 90s and 21st century this cause to save the Earth has become a concern of all citizens—especially since global warming and species kill-off and the ozone hole. It's no longer labeled "liberal." The same with healthy foods. In the 70s and 80s, doctors used to swear up and down that what you ate had nothing to do with your health. They've sure changed their tune!
I am supportive of women's causes and I belong to several national and local women's organizations. I do, without hesitation, believe in a women's right to choose, although I plan to do whatever I can to support birth control responsibility in order to preclude the need for abortion. The best abortion solution is fixing things so abortions are no longer needed. This means quality-of-life enhancement.
I haven't marched for civil rights because I wasn't born then in the early 1960s, but my Mom has, and she and I continue to support human rights across the planet, although you might not find me marching these days.
My family and personal life also manifest my open-minded leanings. (Some would call them "liberal"—I wouldn't—the "L" word has been thoroughly and deservedly discredited by the Republicans—the Democrats are simply going to HAVE to come up with a new world view not dependent on the naïve foolishness of political saviorism and social engineering.) I meditate regularly. I have always fancied myself a daughter of the new age, while doing "new age" in my own style. I've no patience for ESP, channeling, astrology, or other time-wasting mumbo jumbo, however. To me, the New Age necessities are getting the environment and our lifestyles healthy while we shift our thinking to the new, ecological paradigm, à la Fritjof Capra.
I lived with my present husband for many years before marrying him when we decided to have children. We also lived in the country for several years doing the back-to-the-land thing. When I got bored to death, we moved back to civilization and became part of it. Steve is a musician, and when we first moved from the country, it was necessary for us to have additional means of income since we weren't growing our food any more, and needed to pay rent. He was doing some performing, but not enough for both of us to live on. I was eager to get involved in the world, so I got a regular job. And though there were a few years where I was pretty much the sole breadwinner in the family, we have both contributed fairly equally over the years to our support. Steve is still a performing musician and—due to a couple of very wise investments—now owns a chain of music stores as well.
My career came first until I was 37 when we decided to get married and have kids. I put my career aspirations aside temporarily to have some terrific kids. We've read all the books on parenting, and also took classes to help us through the rough spots. We, like all parents-to-be, stated firmly that "we would never raise our children the way our parents raised us. We would never act the way our parents acted." (Although I love my Mom very much and love the values I got from her, she went from strict to lenient every other month and it was very confusing—she really didn't know any better.) But as parents—lo and behold, we acted the way our parents acted anyhow. We didn't know any other way to act. And as soon as we found ourselves "being" our parents, instead of giving in to it, we got some help. We took the P.E.T. classes—among other things—and determined that P.E.T. was the most humanistic method of all those we learned about, and have been seriously practicing P.E.T. since Naomi was born.
Steve and I (and the kids, when appropriate) share all the responsibilities of our daily life. We both cook and do housework when necessary, and take care of the house. I do admit that our achievement of affluence has enabled us to afford domestic help on a regular basis. I could be super-woman and never rely on anyone else, but I've learned to be realistic. My life is only so long and I have to make choices about whether I'm going to spend it scrubbing the floor or participating in actions that make a difference in the world in the long run.
The affluence that enables us to make choices allows us to be concerned with the quality of life, rather than the quantity. I have chosen several times not to advance my career because it would mean moving my entire family to a city that I didn't want to live in—sacrificing the quality of living for the almighty dollar and the prestige of a more advanced position. Money has never come before my own or my family's happiness. That doesn't mean I don't like things, or even a few luxuries. I like to be comfortable. But I can't relate to people who have 100 million dollars but who are unhappy because they don't have 100 billion! I believe that when quality of life suffers because of greed for money and power (which usually go hand in hand), that is the worst perversity in our culture. And unfortunately that is the "American Dream" that we've all been force-fed since the moment we were born—the media tells us that life is not for the pursuit of happiness, but for the pursuit of things and more things. And if we don't have all those things, and even more of those things, and the newest of those things, we aren't really living, and couldn't possibly be happy.
I consider myself an innovator. I started eating healthy foods while the mainstream culture pooh-poohed them. I began exercising regularly long before the culture as a whole recognized it as a good idea. We were very serious about how we raised our kids and learned everything we could about parenting and communication after I gave birth to my first child. Meditating and reading about alternative ways of thinking and being has kept my mind open and kept me always looking, albeit not always actively, for good alternatives regarding any aspect of my life—whether it be my physical health, emotional health, or intellectual pursuits. I've been concerned about the Earth for a long, long time, and done what I could to support what I determined to be the best causes. I knew that would never be enough to "save the world," but I couldn't think of any other form of action. When I read Capra's The Turning Point, I knew that he had hit upon the appropriate context for the changes the world needed. And when this MC thing hit, I knew that it was what was needed for the paradigm shift to take place.
Now, granted, you have probably labeled me a liberal, ready to jump into any potential innovative activity that seems to be good for something. I'll let you call me liberal, but because I wear that label, it does not mean that I approach things without my full intelligence. And I consider myself very intelligent. If you have labeled something "only the liberals do that," I may or may not be in on it, depending on what you're talking about. I guess what I'm trying to say is that I consider myself liberal because I'm WILLING to change, because I'm open to change. But it doesn't mean I'm a chameleon changing every time the wind blows. I make changes based on my logic and intelligence combined with feelings, and a sprinkling of intuition. All of which I trust implicitly.
So when this MC thing hit the world, I was very interested. I had been very busy at work when the movie came out, so I started hearing about it from friends and acquaintances before I had time to go see it. Everyone told me that I had to see the movie, that it was written just for me. They told me I'd love it. When I'd ask them what it was about, they'd always hem and haw and give me a couple of sentences about some detail of the movie that sounded inane! I was very suspicious—the more someone tells me something is tailor-made for me and that I'll love it, the more I'm sure they're wrong, and I tend to resist.
There was a lot of media hype about it, too. The movie was setting all kinds of records. It had left other blockbuster movies in the dust as far as ticket sales and numbers of people attending. And you'd hear the news broadcasters say that the revenues were going to be reinvested in the activation of the MC movement. I found that very intriguing. They were talking about the TV shows coming on in the fall—every network, as well as the cable channels, were planning at least one MC-related weekly show, as well as numerous specials. The media also told about theaters that had reserved the movie only for a week or two, but were refusing to send them back to the distributors because the crowds were still so big. Many towns were showing the movie in several theaters at once fourteen hours a day! More copies of the movie were being produced.
I didn't have to hear too much of this to know that even if I didn't like the movie, I had to know what the phenomenon was about. So about two and a half weeks after the movie was released, Steve and I went to a showing. We were both blown away. We laughed, we cried, we were inspired, we were scared, we were thrilled, we couldn't believe it, and by the time it was over, we knew. We knew that MCs were the answer to the horrible problems in the world. They weren't an overnight answer. But nothing was an overnight answer (even though politicians liked to promise them). They were the transformational answer, the answer providing the framework for the shift to the new paradigm, and the answer that everyone could participate in, and that left no one out and left no problem unsolved. And we laughed because the MC concept was so simple. And we laughed because of the title of the movie. And we laughed because our friends hadn't been able to really tell us what the movie was about except by saying all those inane things.
We immediately got on line and registered, filled out the questionnaire and started searching for compatible groups. We printed the online book, so we could read and re-read it and have it as a reference. We went to the movie several more times, often taking friends, or just going with friends who also wanted to see it again. Now I understood why the movie was setting so many records. People were seeing it even dozens of times. They wanted to know it intimately, they wanted to remember everything, and they wanted to keep EXPERIENCING it over and over because they wanted MCs so much. (I was imagining what the DVD sales would be like when that was released!)
The Big Answer website, inundated with questionnaire data, had set up their servers and was ready long before the movie was released, and they handled the influx of registrations flawlessly. It turned out that there were many groups in our community that came up matching our search criteria. We particularly wanted to meet people who had a strong desire to bring MC living widely into our community. This area had so many interested people that we decided to set up lots of local meetings so people could meet face to face. So many of the groups had life goals that were similar to ours, it was amazing that we hadn’t run into them before. But that’s the whole point. You could be living next door to people who could be your best friends with interests compatible to yours, but you have no way to know it. That’s why it’s important to register and answer the questionnaire. Of course we did a lot of communicating through the MC messaging system before we shared emails and phone numbers. We also verified common interests by sharing questionnaire details. After about six months of getting to know several other groups, we all, along with a few other families that we'd met through the MC network started an MC!
It was very exciting. We had already gotten to know all the others so well and our goals were so aligned that when we decided to be in an MC together it was mostly just a matter of the logistics of finding a location and getting all of us moved. While we waited for everyone to relocate, we had a PSB-MC. It enabled us to streamline our activities, take care of the kids efficiently, and of course, enabled us all to get to know each other even better. And plan outreach to get more people involved in MC living. After everyone was moved in, we built a major caregiving and MC structure as the sun for our MC. I realized, teary-eyed, the day we dedicated the structure, that we as a group were the key source of happiness for everyone in our community. I was so inspired. As we got busier and busier, I cut my regular job back to half time so I could do more MC work. We had adequate income from the music stores, so money wasn't an issue at this point. Steve spent about half of his "work" hours on community outreach, too. And soon, the MC organization was seeing enough revenue from the movie, and associated products, and anticipated revenue from the several TV series and specials, that the MC organization was able to fund some outreach MC Centers like ours. Obviously the movement wanted the best people looking out for humanity's interests, and if it meant that people had to be lured away from their current jobs with an offer of a reasonable income to be an MC employee, the movement happily was able to eventually afford this.
Of course, the MC organization was about information dispersal for the purpose of MC movement empowerment. It had no actual power. It reinvested its profits into more MC movement propagation. Those that had set up the business were already very rich and had no need of making more money for themselves. They made it for their cause—the cause they believed in: MCs.
Over the next six months I spent a lot of time communicating with the MC organization about ideas that I had. They liked my input a lot, and often asked me for feedback and advice on their ideas. Because of my ongoing feedback and interest, I was gradually becoming part of the central MC organization. They were also monitoring our community activities closely because they saw this particular community as somewhat unique—it was very quickly becoming one of the most MC-full communities.
One day, probably close to a year and a half after the movie came out, I got a call, and before I heard what it was about, I knew what it was about. I just had a feeling. They wanted me to work for the MC Organization. But actually, they didn't want me to work for the MC Organization, but in the International MC Organization that was being formed. The plan had been for MCs to start big in this country, and then—based upon their success at greatly improving American lifestyles—start spreading to the rest of the world. Well, the movie had spread fast, and the rest of the world was not willing to wait much longer. A tremendous number of registrations and questionnaires from foreign countries had been submitted to the MC database. And the people were clamoring for support "like in America." So MC International was being formed, and they wanted me—little old Lisa—to be the strategist for the international effort.
And now Lisa had some soul searching to do. You see, in my career I had done a great deal of international business. I had travelled extensively before the kids were born, and had also been quite good at communicating long distance and making things happen from a distance. I also speak several foreign languages. And now I was being asked if I'd like to become an MC leader and help the whole rest of the world start MCs. I felt like my meager efforts (before MCs) at supporting organizations that were trying to help the world—that I knew were not really helping enough—were back to haunt me. They were saying: "Here's something you can do that will really make a difference. Are you willing? Or was all that previous ineffective support motivated by the wrong intentions?"
I was overwhelmed. I was honored. I knew my capabilities. I knew I could do a terrific job. And yet I was so happy and comfortable in my new MC. I was surrounded by people that I felt close to, and my children had a perfect environment. I was really torn. My life was happier than it had ever been. But then I looked at that world question again, and how I had always "done my best" at helping world concerns, but never done much at all, really. Could I turn my back on the world? And what about my family? It would mean being away from them a lot, or dragging them around with me, which was not at all practical, or moving them out of their MC so they could be with me when I wasn't travelling abroad. I wanted it all. But not at anyone else's expense. I had to choose.
In the discussions with the MC organization people about this, it was suggested that I not consider pulling my family out of their MC. Realize, they said, that you chose your MC because it was the best thing for your family. You chose people whom you trusted to care for your kids; and you chose people who could support you in your own life. There is no reason to give that up. You still need your MC people and they still need you. You will just be there less.
It would mean international travel, sometimes for weeks at a time. It would mean spending time at MC Headquarters now and then. But with communication the way it is in the world, there was no reason that I could not also do a great deal of my work from home. Planning and strategy don't have to be done in a particular place; they merely have to be done in a good environment. And with a home office, computer, internet connections, wi-fi, telephone, fax, video chat, texting and e-mail I could be in touch with anyone nationally or internationally at the touch of a few keys.
The MC organization gave me some time to decide. I sure used my PSB codes a lot the next week or so. I was alone a lot. I had many soul-searching talks with Steve and my other friends in the MC. I talked to the kids about it. It was scary and exciting. Everyone was very supportive of whatever decision I might make. They told me how it seemed like such an honor to be given so much responsibility at that level, and yet if I would not be happy doing it, I shouldn't. They all promised they'd love me no matter what I decided. And they assured me, and I already knew, that the kids would be well cared for and loved while I was away.
The people at the MC organization also told me that it was important for me to make the right decision for myself, not because they needed me, and that if I didn't want to take the position, they had other very capable people who were interested, and they were confident that several of these would do very well. They were incredibly understanding about how I was feeling. They suggested that I look at it as a simple choice. "Close encounters of the first kind" were happening for me because I was in an MC, and that's simply part of being in one. "Close encounters of the second kind" were also happening for me because I was involved in all Local MC coordinating and events. I was already out there for my entire community. Now, I had to decide if I was ready to choose "close encounters of the third kind," and be there for the world.
I said to the woman I was talking to: "How could I say no when you put it that way?" She responded that she was confident that the world was going to be taken care of whether I was specifically involved or not. The process had already started. And any individual involved in that process would have some exciting and unique and challenging experiences. No doubt about it.
She went on to tell me to really look at what would make me the most happy in my life. If I could continue to be happy and challenged working like I was, currently, and if leaving my family for extended periods would be hard on me (she knew it wouldn't be that hard on them because they were in an MC), then I probably shouldn't consider it. But if what would thrill me was the challenge I would be facing in this position, and if passing it by would mean I'd keep wishing I had done it, I should consider it seriously. Whew!
By this time I had met many of the MC organizational people. I already included them in my world and considered them good friends. I had also met some of the other people who had made a commitment to work on the international effort. I definitely liked being around them, and felt nothing but good feelings about what it would be like to work with them.
We already had our local MC coordination running flawlessly. And I wasn't feeling all that challenged anymore, although I was very excited and satisfied with how we were doing, and I was always inspired doing any kind of MC work.
But this woman must have studied up on me. She knew enough about me to talk to that part of me that was concerned with what was most important to me. She cut right through to what was the bottom line for me personally, and asked the questions that really enabled me to decide.
Needless to say, I decided to be in on the international effort! My children were now close to four and six years old and so I had less concerns about being away from them than I would have even a year ago. I felt like I was choosing to have the world as my family. And once I made the decision I was melting inside with the joy of it.
As International MC Coordinator, I did get to have the whole world as my family. I traveled a great deal for two or three years. And after that, the international MC community was well able to take care of itself at the local level—it merely required some coordination on my part. I continue to be the center of coordination for the MC world community (wow, what a statement!) and I am able to do most of my work from home. So I've got my cake and I'm eating it, too. I've got the people I'm closest to right around me, and I've got the world as the rest of my family, too. Sometimes I pinch myself just to make sure I'm not dreaming. Because slowly, but surely, the world is becoming the place that I had once only dared dream it could be.