Dangerous Compassions

barefoot Occupational Therapist

“Hey, I wanna be a diy Occupational Therapist.  A barefoot Occupational Therapist,” I said to Ming.

He seemed to think that was a good idea.  Being a consultant always seemed fun, to me.  I could specialize in crazy people and fat people.  Yes, my favorites!

Too bad I’m horrible at money.  I would never charge a friend, and I want everyone to be a friend.  Thus, money fails as a concept, for me.  But it’s ok.  I manage to survive somehow.

young visitor

Last week a young person was visiting, the nephew of a friend.  He wanted to talk about intentional community and had a lot of questions.  He’d just been at the goddess temple and was explaining gift economy to me and Ming.

The young person didn’t know Ming and I are very familiar with it, were on the council of the Goddess Temple for years, with the previous priestess, and I resist capitalism for fun every day.

He mentioned acroyoga, and was like, “Not sure you’ve heard of that,” which made me smile also.  He probably sees us as old, sees I’m fat, and doesn’t know anything of the yoga I’ve done for 30 years, or what Ming has done.

It’s ok.  I’m afraid the pineapple he brought is overripe, sitting on the altar.  Last pineapple Ming let sit too long–it got a little alcohol tang to it.  But they’re very pretty.

Yes, I could just love pineapples as objects.  I love pineapples to symbolize welcome.  Funny this spikey thing could mean welcome.  But life is confusing.

new ideas

We were talking with the young visitor about consensus decision making and money.  He said, “Oh, so if there’s a common purse, that’s done with consensus decision making, to decide what to do with the money.”

“No, there are all different ways to make decisions, and a common purse could be controlled by just one person, or a small group of people,” I said.

Then I was telling him how a lot of orgs are falling apart, as the power changes.  White cis rich people were controlling everything, as people of color and other non-dominant people were biting their tongues.  And now with Black Lives Matter and new pushes toward justice, transness more in the media and entertainment, and hopefully fat liberation and other liberations more legible, the oppressed people are speaking up more.

It’s a intriguing to watch and see whether the orgs will crumble because they can’t handle switching to something more just.  Can the orgs really transform?

UUs and Catholic Worker

I mentioned the local UU church, and how I saw it being controlled by white, rich, cis, mostly abled people.  Can that last?  God I hope not!

I watch the Catholic Worker, and I wonder similar.  Can it change to be just?  Or will it become more and more of a relic, as the vibrant young people are not interested in sticking around to dismantle the huge problems.

Racism, classism, transphobia, hating on queers, misogyny, ableism, and other painful power issues run through it.  It’s painful work to look at all that and be honest, trying to fix it.  It’s easier to feed people or house people, while maintaining the status quo of white, abled, cis-het people controlling everything, than to do the work of self-reflection and redistribution of power.


The young visitor was a white cis-het guy.  When I mentioned the changes and move toward justice, I’m not sure what his inner response was.  Most of the cis white guys I can think of are not interested in redistributing power.  They say, “I’m not racist,” and continue accumulating wealth, controlling all they can, and building their little empire that’s supposed to protect them from suffering and death.

They see themselves as not part of the problem, so they can continue on their merry way, doing whatever they want.  Feels sad to watch.  Who will see and admit that they’re perpetuating injustice, and actually want to do the work.  Dodging responsibility is easier than facing the pain of whole huge swaths of people who have done wrong.  “I don’t wear a white sheet or hate Black people!” they say, and duck out of all the work.

My dad was like that.  He worked his well-paying job as long as he could, built his little castle, and believed he deserved it.  “I worked hard–I deserve this,” is such a common sentiment I hear from comfortable white men.  As if the people working at McDonalds didn’t work hard, or the young mothers, or disabled people like me.  As if we all don’t deserve to be comfortable and have our basic needs met.

The haves don’t want to admit that they don’t have more right to their comfort than the have-nots.  If they keep saying they deserve it, they can ignore the starving, dying, homeless, and near-homeless people everywhere.  Or they send in an annual check, or volunteer on Christmas, to get a hit off giving, and believe that’s enough.


Oops, meant to talk about how I would like to be a barefoot Occupational Therapist, then slipped into talking about Everything.  It happens!

Mother God, please bless me to see how I’m acting like the white cis-men I’ve known.  Please help me work for justice, in a visible everyday way, and an invisible way deep inside me.  Please help me understand and choose justice.

Reader, thank you for taking this ride with me.  Thank you for keeping your arms and legs inside the vehicle at all times.  Even if a beautiful snowflake is falling beside the vehicle and you want to reach out with your mittened hand and catch it, restrain yourself.  Or a ladybug, a ray of sun, or mega-lizard.


By Laura-Marie

Good at listening to the noise until it makes sense.

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