Bridge over Troubled Water

I feel so much sorrow for the pain I see all around.

“Bridge Over Trouble Water” came to me today as an expression of how to “ease your mind”. I believe Mutual Aid can be a bridge over troubled water for us.

we need to radically rethink the stories we tell ourselves

James Allen

Simply put, Mutual Aid is a radical departure from the structures most of us live with. Structures based upon vertical hierarchies, where those above control those below. Structures causing so much harm today.

Mutual Aid works with no hierarchy. Everyone in the community has a voice and is expected to think for themselves. To use their creativity to figure out what needs to be done, then do it. Not wait for someone to tell them what to do. To be active, not passive.

The problems before us are emergent phenomena with a life of their own, and the causes requiring treatment are obscure. They are what systems scientists call wicked problems: problems that harbour so many complex non-linear interdependencies that they not only seem impossible to understand and solve, but tend to resist our attempts to do so. For such wicked problems, our conventional toolkits — advocacy, activism, conscientious consumerism, and ballot casting — are grossly inadequate and their primary utility may be the self-soothing effect it has on the well-meaning souls who use them.

If we are to find a new kind of good life amid the catastrophes these myths have spawned, then we need to radically rethink the stories we tell ourselves. We need to dig deep into old stories and reveal their wisdom, as well as lovingly nurture the emergence of new stories into being.

Pontoon Archipelago or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Collapse. By James Allen, originally published by Medium, June 18, 2019

How do we rethink the stories we tell ourselves? We let go of the stories we have discovered to be untrue. Rethink stories of our past, of other cultures. To seek and really listen for Spiritual guidance. Act on that guidance. Question everything.

What this means for me is I don’t worry about the dysfunction of the political system. The culture and identity wars. What I pay attention to, what I can actually help with are the survival needs of my community. Every week I join my Mutual Aid friends to distribute food to those in need. Others in this Mutual Aid community help those who need shelter. These things get done NOW. Done in a way that doesn’t stigmatize those in need, who have been failed by systems that should be helping them. We know we ourselves might someday need the help of our Mutual Aid community. As my friend Ronnie James says:

I’m of the firm opinion that a system that was built by stolen bodies on stolen land for the benefit of a few is a system that is not repairable. It is operating as designed, and small changes (which are the result of huge efforts) to lessen the blow on those it was not designed for are merely half measures that can’t ever fully succeed.

So the question is now, where do we go from here? Do we continue to make incremental changes while the wealthy hoard more wealth and the climate crisis deepens, or do we do something drastic that has never been done before? Can we envision and create a world where a class war from above isn’t a reality anymore?”

Ronnie James

These are links to more I’ve written about Mutual Aid.
https://landbackfriends.com/mutual-aid/
https://jeffkisling.com/?s=mutual+aid
https://quakersandreligioussocialism.com/mutual-aid/

our conventional toolkits — advocacy, activism, conscientious consumerism, and ballot casting — are grossly inadequate and their primary utility may be the self-soothing effect it has on the well-meaning souls who use them

James Allen

Bridge Over Troubled Water

When you’re weary, feeling small,
When tears are in your eyes
I will dry them all
I’m on your side
Oh when times get rough
And friends just can’t be found

Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down

When you’re down and out
When you’re on the street
When evening falls so hard
I will comfort you
I’ll take your part
Oh when darkness comes
And pain is all around

Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down

Sail on, silver girl
Sail on by
Your time has come to shine
All your dreams are on their way
See how they shine
Oh if you need a friend
I’m sailing right behind

Like a bridge over troubled water
I will ease your mind
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will ease your mind

Simon and Garfunkel

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