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14 July 2000

It's amazing what happens when you give up money as a major deal. Of course, you do what you have to do to take care of your kids and pay the bills. But when you give up the Big Windfall, you get free of some majorly bad karma (listen up, all ye dot-commers). We have it so good here. We need to make it good everyplace else. And as a patriot, I say, export the idea of a democratic republic at work. And give young people everywhere something to read besides sacred texts and wartime rants. Then they are able to triangulate, you see, and their narrative intelligence is awakened, and we may have a world that makes sense again.

When I was young, I had many advantages. My folks sent me to a private school (DePauw University) from 1968 to 1972. Talk about a good time to be in a tight community. It was righteous. In my junior year at DePauw I took advantage of the Year Abroad program to go to Eastern Europe. I studied German and politics at Karl Marx University in Budapest. I whipped out my guitar and played "Back in the USSR" in the Moscow train station. I saw women in black shrouds at dusk moving with candles through gravestones on the Day of the Dead in Russia. I wrote a thesis on alternative theatre in the Soviet Union.

In the last 25 years, I have been around the world 2 or 3 times. Hong Kong, Australia and its many parts, France, Germany, Sweden, Czechoslovakia, Spain, Polynesia, Japan. There's more I want to see. This fall I am going to Chile. All of this because I shoot my mouth off and something connects. And also (young folk, take notice), because I have worked my ass off every day of my life since junior high. But mostly this has happened because I have what I like to think is an open mind and am never afraid to have an opinion, research it, recast it, and speak it out when the time and place seem right.

I am a utopian entrepreneur. I've started two companies that ended in failure. After losing Purple Moon and licking my wounds, I wrote a little book about what I had learned. Truth be told, I was so depressed that I couldn't write it, actually. What really happened is that my man, Peter Lunenfeld, spent a day sifting through my website. "This is your book," he said. "Do you want to edit it?" Of course I did and he did an we came up with something cool. And we're not dead yet.

I'm 51 years old, almost 52. Surviving my dear friend Timothy Leary and my reckless youth. Oldest member of my tribe, if you don't count my mom with Alzheimer's in her little wheelchair in Indiana. Three beautiful children and an astounding mate and my cats and my garden - not bad for a person who didn't know what to do when she grew up.

I like to think I know now. I am pledged to the Earth, to sustainable living and reasonable food sources, to the prana of all beings. I am graced with the ability to meet a fresh crew of trans-global young people every fall at Art Center, and I get to teach them what I've learned and see what their amazing minds do with it all. They do iridescent work.

When I am in Santa Cruz county in my forest home, I work remotely for Art Center, feed my long-horned sheep, raise vegetables, play Tibetan bowls, read, do Tai Ch'i, boogie-board and get down with my family and my friends. When I am in Pasadena, I have the honor of teaching brilliant students. There I have the pleasure of a sunny little apartment which is not a hotel room. I learn from my students and colleagues. We manifest change. Yet in both places the thing I most enjoy is folding laundry. Go figure.

I'm out as a Gaian, a monogamous bisexual (yes, it's hard - go parse it), a thoughtful person, a good citizen, a patriot, an activist, and a citizen of Earth. Nobody can mess me up by accusing me of inhaling because I don't dispute it. My life so far makes me feel like I can be me, after all, and also make a difference.

So may it be for you.