BodhiBill.com is about sharing the songs I've been gifted with.
Where did they come from? Two remarkable, life-changing events happened In 1996. First, I experienced an unexpected encounter with a friend of the family who was dying. The impact was so profound I left my career in advertising and became a board certified chaplain, working with the dying. Second, original songs began channeling through me with no warning. This was a complete surprise. Even though I'd played guitar since high school, I'd never considered myself a songwriter—or even a singer for that matter. More like a third-rate folk music plunker. But the songs came through anyway.
Since I retired in 2015, I now have the time to record and share these songs. Although they are not "commercial" in style or content, I feel they are lovely little gems worth preserving and sharing.
AS I PREPARE for today’s second Fasting for our Future, I thought I’d pass this along to any of you willing to get involved, or more involved, in this life-or-extinction global issue. For those not following it, the Global Climate Strike has been organized by students around the world to demand the urgent systemic change necessary for a survivable, sustainable future. The strike will begin this Friday in cities, towns and villages spanning the globe.
From my vantage point, those of us like me who have lived lives of luxurious comfort from the present system of inherited privilege, ruthless extraction and mindless waste owe them our support. An apology also seems in order. But maybe that’s just me. Showing up would be enough, so here is your opportunity.
In Reno, the strike will be from 5:30 to 7pm at City Hall Plaza, 10 North Virginia Street.
In Spokane, the strike will be from noon to 3pm at at the Rotary Fountain in River Park Square, 507 North Howard Street.
IT WENT well enough, I suppose. I was mostly ignored, which I expected. I’m just not that big a deal to the world at large. It’s taken me many more years than it should have for me to figure that out. But I have. Still, I was ignored much more politely than I anticipated. Chalk one up for civility.
Of the hundreds of people that strolled by, maybe six engaged with me during my morning shift (8-12:30). The evening outing was a different learning experience. First, the late afternoon wind gusts whipping down from the Sierra scattered my flyers, a kind of blessing in disguise because the people who scrambled to help me were my only connections during that shift. Turns out, downtown Saturday night is agenda driven, and that agenda is escape and entertainment. I might have figured that out myself beforehand, but this way I know for certain. My contribution was to just add background color to the revelry. Don’t need to do that again.
Of the hundred-plus people that walked by, maybe six engaged”
Next go round, I will stay at my morning station and add an afternoon shift. At least there, the people who ignored me still actually saw me. That’s something.
And, also as expected, my coffee invitation for the next morning was a no-show. I thought it nice to give people an opportunity to chat since I was fasting in silence. Not nice enough, apparently, so don’t need to do that again either. Learning as I go.
It is what it is.”
For me, just showing up was success. I needed to do something to abate my baffled rage at humanity’s (America’s?) general indifference to the coming climate cataclysm that is now happening in real time all around us. And, in the actual face of that indifference during my fast, it did calm some of that rage. It just is what it is. Doesn’t mean I’m giving up action. Just seeing more clearly that most people are either unable to grasp what is happening, or if they do, that they have any choice but to let it happen. As Walt Kelly noted way back in 1971…
So I’ll be at it again, at least through September. Might as well. The fasting wasn’t all that difficult, in fact it induced a bit of a nice, spacious buzz. And the sense of doing something, even as insignificant as this, was helpful to my own psyche.
BY THE TIME you read this, I will likely be out there with my A-frame sign, chair, bottle of water, flyers and wavering hope for the future. Am I nervous? Ummmm…yeah. More than a little. Haven’t fasted since college so hope I don’t get too grouchy as the day wears on. Not a good look for someone engaged in non-violent action to be striking out at passerbys.
And, one of my main points actually is making a sacrifice to get their attention—because we can’t solve this without sacrifice; we’re not going to just buy our way to global sustainability with bigger, better, smarter, greener purchases. Not fair, I know. Downright UnAmerican! But that’s the reality we face (or ignore and perish).
…we’re not going to just buy our way to global sustainability…”
So here’s how I think this will work: I’ll be fasting in a high-pedestrian-traffic area downtown along the Truckee River in the morning from 8am to whenever the traffic dies down—maybe early afternoon. That spot has a bustling indoor-outdoor coffee shop “anchor” that draws a crowd. Then, I’ll take a break and return in the early evening to a second spot on the river near a movie theater complex and cluster of restaurants that creates its own traffic vortex. And we’ll see how it goes.
The plan is to do this every Saturday as long as weather and stamina permits. The fasts will run 24-hours, midnight to midnight, liquids-only. They will also be silent; for me, talking is draining and arguing is unpleasant and pointless. And my other majorpoint is not about changing minds; it’s to inspire people who are aware but have not yet engaged—because the system is not going to save itself or it already would have. Solving this crisis requires many more people actively involved than are currently involved to reach critical mass.
I will be offering the flyer below to explain my action. I’ll also be offering an invitation to join me the following morning for coffee and conversation to discuss ideas to save the planet, which seems a graceful end to the process.
The genesis of this action was our move back to Reno after 12 years in Spokane. I was horrified by the amount of consumption required to “downsize and simplify” along with the explosive growth of the city and surroundings. I am—and we are—consuming ourselves into extinction. That horror inspired a dystopian NEW SONG that was poetic but bleak—although also, I think, a true reflection of our inability as a global community to comprehend and respond to the crisis we face. It does end with a hopeful call to awaken. As I lived with the song, I realized I needed to also awaken myself to greater action. Hence, this fasting campaign.
I hope my small, insignificant effort will inspire you to either find a way to renew your commitment to action or find a way to engage that works for you. For that, check out this list of LINKS to climate action groups.
THE HERMIT CRAB(AKA Bodhi Bill) is in the midst of moving to a new shell in another sea far from Spokane—to the VirtualOcean of Reinvention in Reno, Nevada. Once settled in, likely June 1st, he will return to making records, posting blogs and seeking gigs. Your patience in the interim is much appreciated.
AS SOME may know, we’ve moved back to Reno, where we lived 22 years before Spokane. Last December, Marianne received an unexpected spiritual imperative to return to the high desert and, to both our surprise, I agreed. Neither of us had ever considered moving back. Once we decided, our house sold quickly and a friend of Marianne’s offered us her vacant condo downtown to camp in while we look for new digs. Both appeared to us as positive affirmations for an otherwise impulsive decision.
We arrived last week and have semi-settled in to the condo. As I’m always eager to keep recording and because I have some interesting design assignments, I temporarily reassembled my studio posthaste. Otherwise, it’s boxes everywhere.
We have started looking at houses. So far, we’re not experiencing the easy grace of selling ours or finding a condo campsite, but we have time on our side for once. Like Spokane, Reno is a tight, seller’s market, with not much inventory. So we practice patience. I will keep you posted on our progress.
AS WE PACK to move back south to Reno* in the next month, I made this chart for our local 350 Spokane chapter as a parting gift. The version they had for their tabletop display was, I thought, too wonky: it laid out the facts but didn’t effectively tell the story.
In the process of redesigning this 800,000 year time line, I looked up the CO2 levels for 1760 (dawn of the industrial age), 1960 (200 years later), then every 20 years after that. The results were more dramatic—and alarming— than I expected. Our level of burning of fossil fuels has continued to increase, not decrease, and the consequences are clearly escalating to catastrophic. That our media continues to ignore or downplay these facts is a crime against humanity, in my view.
Everybody needs to know this…
…then choose how to best act accordingly.
Meanwhile, I’ll be offline for a few months while we pack, move, unpack and resume life with a much smaller footprint.
YES, I’M STILL obsessing over that 12-year irreversible tipping point from the 2018 UN IPCC Report. Silly me, huh? Hey, we still have almost 12 years left before we fall into the abyss of no return. No cause for alarm, right? Must not be. No one I know is talking about it. Not to me anyway.
So, I decided to take my concerns to the streets with a new bumper sticker design. I had some printed up for our local 350 Spokane group. It’s also under consideration by 350Maine.org. And, I’ll be sending the PDF file to the other climate activists groups that are using the poster version for their consideration.
Maybe that will start a conversation?
Meanwhile, if you know of any group that might be interested in taking this message to the streets, let me know.
So why am I still pounding on the climate lectern? I visited a friend today. He’s highly educated, well informed and deeply involved in bettering our community. I gave him one of my “12 year” posters to put in his business. He didn’t have a clue what it meant. When I explained the UN report, he expressed skepticism because it was just a “projection” and then blamed his indifference on the Chinese because they aren’t doing enough—so why should we.
Why? Because we are sacrificing our great-grandchildren on an altar of inconceivable misery, privation and suffering. And why are we doing that? Because most of us are too goddamn complacent with our carbon-based comforts and convenience to be bothered. And if we are bothered, we blame it on the “Chinese.”
It’s down to this: If we are not the people we’ve been waiting for, there will be no others.