Monthly Archives: January 2015

The Art of Trusting (in times of terror)

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The Art of Trusting (in times of terror)

Dear you,
Thanks for taking the time to read this and care enough.
It’s been a hard couple of days. So shocking. So sudden.
I can’t really say the right things about what happened in Paris. So I won’t. No words can describe the pain, the sadness, the despair, the feeling of total paralysis.
But I will say this. (And I use my words extremely sparingly, as I don’t know how else to put it.)
It’s hard to trust.
… (Wait, what, trust?! How can you talk about trust in this situation??!!)

What Hurts More?

So yes, it is incredibly hard to trust. Of course it is, because it HURTS when your trust is broken. Yes. It hurts. It hurts like hell and you cry without end when it happens. But I want to ask you and myself the following question. What hurts more? Trusting with the knowledge that it can hurt when something happens that tries to trample that trust? Or the fact of not trusting at all?
I’m sure many people would argue for the first one as it seems the more obvious one. If you don’t give something away (like in this case trust), it can’t be taken or stolen from you, and you can’t get hurt, right?
Wrong. So wrong.
It’s so wrong it even hurts thinking about possibly living in a world in which everyone thinks like this. It hurts because the first one we hurt when living like that, is ourself. And this is really ironic, because the primary reason we don’t dare to trust is self-preservation. We think we are protecting ourselves from something by withholding our trust, but we are in fact harming our own fragile little selves. Every. Single. Time.
But why does it hurt ? I think it hurt so much because that little fragile self of ours can’t possibly be whole, be happy, be elated or inspired when we block the first reflex that any living creature has as it is born into this world, the reflex of trust. Without it, we wouldn’t drink our mothers milk, ( it might be poisoned ! ), without it we would not learn to walk ( we might fall ! ), without it we would not learn to talk ( words can be so painful ! ). I would argue that without it, we would not learn. Anything.

The Radical Response to Terror (The “Good” Kind)

When faced with terror, it is of course SUPER hard, to keep our hearts wide open, trusting the world.
It hurts SO much. It’s SO sad. And of course we feel SO hurt, and SO afraid, and our first reactions are quite logically reactions of self-preservation. At least it seems rational and logical in first instance. But it is then that we have to decide if we will let terror into our hearts, if we will let the fear it induces control us.  The goal of all terror is control. And someone who fears is easily controlled. Someone who fears is predictable. Someone who fears will definitely not try anything new, anything potentially harmful, anything as messy and definitely unsafe as… trust.
As strange as it may seem, as counter-intuitive (depending on the definition of this intuition), I am convinced with all of my heart that the only thing we can do to get through things like this, as an individual AND as a community, is to increase our trust in each other.
And if you disagree, please do argue with me. It’s so important.
I’m nuanced in most everything, I think, but this one doesn’t seem to be done justice, nuancing.

I think it is of vital importance to be a radical, extremist truster. 

And will it hurt? Undoubtable. But we have to trust that there is always more love available than we could ever possibly need to heal the wounds, to pick ourselves and each other up again from the floor and to continue on trusting and loving. More fearless than before. I believe in our capacity to love and to trust and I know that if we all join hands and love and trust like we have never done before, we will thrive, we will evolve into a force that is unstoppable by anything.

Why I wrote this

I want you to know this is not an article in which I’m trying to tell you what to do. It’s an article that I needed to write, for myself. To give myself the courage to trust. More than ever before. And I ask for your help. Because it’s not easy. It’s scary. So scary. But I’m doing it. Even if it is.
So please.
Will you please help me trust? Will you please trust me? Will you please trust yourself? Will you please trust the world?
Thank you.
I love you.
I trust you.

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Resolutions for 2015 I’m planning to keep

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1. Being the most loving human being I can be, in the profound experience & knowledge that when I give fully, and hold nothing back, I am truly living, and being myself in my most natural state, beneficial to myself AND everyone around me in the best possible way.

2. Supporting, sharing and promoting wonderful ecologic and humanly economic projects.

3.  Consuming as ethically, honestly and responsibly as possible in a fun way, supporting with my money and energy the production processes I believe in, and want to see more of in the world.
Asking myself with each action (as I’ve heard it is said Native Americans used to do) : ‘What will the effect of this action be, if it is repeated for 7 generations.’ Will it be wonderful or harmful? If it is harmful, why do it?

4.  Recycling and upcycling as much as possible, making treasure out of trash and if I can’t do it myself, having it done for me by these amazing people. (Don’t want to ruin the surprise, just check it out, you seriously won’t be sorry.)

5. Asking and accepting the help & support I need when I need it in the knowledge that asking and accepting help is allowing others into our hearts, that vulnerability doesn’t make me weak but actually reveals my true strength.

6. Finding what it is I can do to benefit the world and beings in it in the best way possible.

7. Appreciating all the beauty within each and every one of us, focussing on it so it can grow.

Happy 2015 sweet people. What are your resolutions you plan on keeping this year ?
Love –
The half of the couple of weirdos called
Susan

Resolutions for 2015 I plan on keeping.

Inspiring little image.

How I became a Vegetarian thanks to “Pay what you want” philosophies

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How I became a Vegetarian thanks to “Pay what you want” philosophies

PWYW

In the last couple of years our interest for “pay what you want” strategies (PWYW), crowdfunding and open-source philosophies has been growing steadily. I started with funding a significant part of SH.TG.N’s debut on MoonJune Records with a crowdfunding campaign, went on with a lot of reading, and recently Susan and I experimented with donation-based living room concerts with our new project RUNtoSEED. We also placed our own bids on crowdfunding campaigns such as Boyan Slat’s “The Ocean Cleanup”-project which managed to raise over $2M from 38000 funders from 160 countries in 100 days to clean up the ocean.

Not only did we discover new ways to consider a music career, but we were exposed to entirely new ways to look at the world, which would change us forever. But in this article I will focus on one in particular : I’ve become a Vegetarian.

Consumption

Now what do these things have to do with each other ? Well simply put : consumption. Being busy with price and consumption in a different, more flexible way, I started to take a different look on what I bought. With no obligation to pay and no set price, you start gaining consciousness of what your payment really represents : an endorsement. And that’s what any payment is, really, even with a set price. The real power of the money we spend is there. If I choose to buy something at one store instead of another, I choose to support that one store over the other one.

So that got me thinking, when I buy something, who am I endorsing ? What am I supporting ? Who am I giving a tap on the shoulder saying “keep doing what you do, this is good work!” ? And naturally I realized I had been an accomplice of a whole bunch of practices I obviously couldn’t support. Now of course I knew they existed, and in a lot of cases I knew the products I bought were unethical and sure I tried to buy, like, fair-trade coffee, organic food and avoid Monsanto or such products (these specific causes happen to be more advertised than others). But I didn’t exactly realize how far my endorsement went, or how big my power actually was.

Everyone does the best they can

Let’s cut ourselves some slack for a minute. We are trained to think fatalistically about the world. The old “this is how it is and has always been and you won’t do anything about it” song. We are trained to look at people who want to do otherwise as either disconnected idealists, crazy radicals, or both. I’m no exception. And I must say realizing it doesn’t have to be that way is a long and complicated process. For one, you start asking a lot of questions, lose one’s points of reference, and it might seem like you start saying ‘no’ too often. So I learn to say no with a radiant smile.

Because now I know, when I say no to casual meat-eating, I’m saying no to the current trivialization of massive insensitive killings, to deforestation, to objectification of animals, to global disconnection with the life-and-death cycle, etc. etc. etc. And my little ‘no’ to a little toast with, say, foie-gras on it, is a big ‘yes’ to embracing life, the world, and my own personal power to make it an even better place. Definitely worth a smile.

I’m aware that being 100% coherent is this approach is difficult and I’m absolutely not there yet. While contemplating veganism (animals are mistreated whether it’s for their meat or what they produce), I do not yet feel ready to make the step. I own clothes and electronics that have been partly created by exploited workers (I’m typing on my Apple computer right now). Even parts of my instrument probably have been. But demanding to be entirely coherent from the start is part of what’s been paralyzing me and influencing me to keep my eyes closed. Now each day they open a little more. And that also means more of the world’s beauty to see.

Passive resistance

You know in the end all this, including the whole PWYW thing, is nothing but Ghandi’s Satyagraha. Holding on to truth, not to force. So I’ll leave you with that song Susan and I wrote together a few months ago for our project RUNtoSEED, performed live at La Monnaie/De Munt (Belgium’s National Opera House), and called “Satyagraha”. With the whole personal power talk I could have as well picked my song “You’re in Charge” but I’ll let you discover that one on your own on our site.

We’ll talk about PWYW and all that again very soon : we’re busy setting up a Patreon account for RUNtoSEED.

Antoine Guenet

PS : Just to show that we have more individual power than we tend to think : here’s a PETA report showing that each vegan individually saves the lives of in average 185 (most of them mistreated) animals per year.