I started out angry and stayed that way for a long time, including
intermittent periods of burnout. I think this was somewhat common for
many people during this period, unfortunately. Things began to change
for me during summer 2008 when I first read Eckhart Tolle's "A New
Earth." Rather quickly, my perspective changed, along with my demeanor
and some behavior. I learned to observe my ego and it made me mellower
and less prone to stress. I discovered how to calibrate the intensity
I project and keep my thoughts from fixating on past and future. I
became more present.
"A New Earth" started coming up in conversation with lots of people who
had read it. One of them turned me on to Rob Breszny's "Pronoia,"
which is the belief the universe is conspiring on your behalf. As with
karma, we pay it forward and thus the notion of Manifest Positivity was
born. During the end of 2008 I negotiated exiting my business
partnership and by the end of January I was free of work obligations.
I then visited some family and friends and by the end of April
returned home to build ManifestPositivity.org
and prepare the new book*.
I've been doing full time public service
work since then and having much more fun working for a better world
coming from a place of love. My mantra is now "Live to love as much as
possible." I use that when meditating and jogging and it helps me stay
There are other changes I've made during this transition. In April, I
bought a video camera. So before, my advocacy journalism was mainly
writing about what I was doing and now I'm making videos to help other
people and groups accomplish their goals. Also, a lot of this is now
apolitical, such as The Ink People (TIP) and Humboldt Mediation
TIP is a 30 year old art and culture incubator that
has accepted Manifest Positivity as a DreamMaker program, affording it
non-profit status and assistance with organizing and administrative
tasks. HMS has been a volunteer community mediation service for 26
years. I just completed my certification to be a mediator. And I
didn't just join these groups, I've also been working with them on
their marketing and media outreach. Of course you can follow the
progress of these projects and others at ManifestPositivity.org
T ell us more about mediation.
Mediation is a common alternative to the legal system and sometimes the courts refer people for mediation. Many cases come to Humboldt Mediation
Services simply because they are known as a low-cost or free volunteer
community conflict resolution organization. Some examples of cases are
landlord/tenant, parental custody, land ownership, and business
partnership dissolution, for which I personally used HMS last year.
I think what I saw most clearly from my recent certification training
is that regardless of the source of the dispute, the mediation
process is about getting past a communication impasse by helping people
hear the other party and be heard by them. As a mediator, I have no
vested interest in the outcome and no responsibility for even
suggesting solutions. The process itself needs to be trusted to create
the space in which people create their own agreements. I can see
myself getting additional training and also doing lots more to use
media as a tool for doing this kind of dispute resolution.
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sounds like you've found a potent way to avoid burnout. Many of us
could learn from that. Let's back up and talk about the We Do Not
Consent principle for a moment. It's based on the fact that the public
can no longer be confident about the outcomes of our elections, either
locally or nationally. Can you talk about why that is so?
We've covered some of this already - the election process itself
creates no basis for confidence in the results reported and instead
demands our blind trust, assuming our Consent and taking it for
granted. This is because vote counting has been outsourced to private
corporations using computer code kept secret from the public. Even
using paper ballots, but especially without them, these machines
provide no way for meaningful recounts and sometimes provide results
that are completely non-sensical, such as when there are supposedly
more votes than voters or a candidate receives a negative total number
Essentially, current election conditions make the results unprovable
and inherently uncertain. Compounding the problem, the corporate media
report these unprovable election results as fact, even though they have
not and can not independently verify what they are reporting and have
received the information from only one source, which is the government
If we actually had a Democracy, media would be independent of
the government and serve as the biggest proponents of all for hand
counting paper ballots in the polling places on election night because
this would allow media to document the way the reported results have
been derived and create a basis for confidence in the outcome where
none currently exists.
I don't see election integrity work as activism anymore. It is a public
service. The same is true of working for media reform, peace, caring
for veterans and everything else explored in We Do Not Consent, Volume
2 and at ManifestPositivity.org
In fact, at this point, I think the audience for my work, really the
community with whom I'm collaborating, is much more about the presence
and pronoia spiritual (non-religious) approach to social change than
the traditional angry activist community. The righteous indignation of
We Do Not Consent is entirely justified. However, peaceful revolution
requires we proactively build the world we want to live in rather than
just opposing the fascists controlling things now.
went to check out your Manifest Positivity website this afternoon and
found all kinds of videos that were uplifting and positive. I watched
one on laughter yoga and another on free hugs at a peace festival. I
definitely felt those positive vibes floating around. Is that part of
what you're trying to accomplish?
good vibes is definitely part of what I'm trying to accomplish, both
for its own sake or as its own goal, and to set an example and show it
can be an important part of effective work for change.
I'm having a hard time grasping the concept behind your new project.
While I can certainly see that coming at activism from a place of love
and positivity is better for the activist than being bitter or burned
out, how does that positive activity or mindset translate into actually
changing the very messed up world we live in? Is it more in the
No, this is literal and concrete. The easiest place to start is
getting rid of your television. On a bigger level, I've discussed
disarming weapons of mass deception through advocacy journalism and
creating our own narrative. In this way we can withdraw our complicity
of acceptance and perpetuation of the myths that make up the Big Lie,
no longer pretending that America is a capitalist democracy with free
markets, free speech and free press when in fact America is textbook
If there is to be Democracy, it is going to have to be local grassroots
and ultimately come through municipal civil disobedience, where entire
towns or counties or states defy a higher order of government that is
attempting to direct actions against the people, most commonly through
unfunded mandates. Examples include protecting medical marijuana
patients, same-sex marriages, and refusal to legitimize the results of
secret corporate vote counting machines (as Andi Novick recently
announced that Columbia County, NY Election Commissioner Virginia
Martin has pledged).
We seem so far from that now. Yet every journey begins with a first step.
every journey does begin with a first step, so hopefully it is a wisely
chosen "least you can do" move, like getting rid of the TV, or helping
the environment by simply eating less meat.
I don't watch TV. And a while back I did away with waking up to the
jolt of bad news delivered by my clock radio. So you could say that
I'm on my way down that path.
for that. You have withdrawn consent and complicity through a "least
you can do" peaceful revolutionary step, directly altering the
relationship of power, in this case, that media has over you.
I guess that's true. This has been a treat, Dave. Thanks so much. I
look forward to following your progress with ManifestPositivity.org.