A new David vs. Goliath

I’m tired of slinging stones at Goliath.
My arm is sore,
And he’s of little use when dead

I think I’ll try to deal with Goliath,
With music, poetry, and dance for a time.

Maybe at the Avalon Theater reopening celebration.

I’ll share the results of this experiment over blueberry pancackes at the Riverwest Co-Op if this story interests you.
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What Does It Mean to Re-Spirit a City?

A Working Draft You Are Invited to Co-Create: 10,000 Aphorisms and Mantra

What does it mean to Re-Spirit a City?
It means a lot of things to different people in different contexts.

It surely means that a critical mass of people
Fix their eyes on a prize that captures much of the essence
Of the Good, the True, and the Beautiful…
The Divine!

And does it not mean that a growing number of people
Transform themselves from merely commercial to commonwealth actors?
From material boys and girls to co-creators of the way to the good life!

I think it means that people pay close attention to their “deepest voice,”
Their quiet inner meanings, their visions, utopian imaginings, their hero quests!

Power to imagination! فلنعط الحرية للخيال

And I think it means that enough people have the courage to give voice
To these visions in support of action projects and sustainable, collective self-reliance experiments,
And enough focus that each is a solid foundation, fertile soil, for those that follow.

“You wished it, stranger, you left the path on your own free will,
And you are lost…if you believe in danger.”

People have faith in Re-Spirited Cities, in themselves, in one another,
In the ancestors’ Spirit inspiring today, in the generations calling from afar,
People of faith, food for aeons of evolving tomorrows!

In this day and age I think it means there are a lot of people paying attention to
Concepts like permaculture, sustainable and transformative development,
Triple bottom lines of profitability, social justice, and earth stewardship.

And I think Re-Spiriting a city means a tipping point of people
Believe in their bones that their city is in process of self-construction
Toward the day when it becomes widely accepted that
Their coming Holy City had become a Holy City,
Renown across the planet for the good its citizens had done,
For themselves, their families, neighborhoods, communities,
And ever-widening circles of communion and solidarity,
Planteary-wide in implication.

Let us Re-Spirit Milwaukee!

It’s time!

Grace Lee Boggs’ Viewpoint

Fathi Zabaar’s Viewpoint

Re-spiriting is like watering a piece of land suffering of drought, offering water to a thirsty traveler in the Sahara (الصحراء-desert), re-spiriting is offering a new life. Re-spiriting a city is offering her the possibility to be inclusive and caring about disfranchised categories of its population. Offering warmth in times of cold, comfort in times of sorrow, hope in times of hopelessness…

A city can only be totally re-spirited by its own community, so do not ask what Milwaukee has done to you rather ask what you have done to Milwaukee.

Ken Wilber’s Perspective

”A Stone of Hope: Prophetic Religion and the Death of Jim Crow”

Toward the First 99 Partners for Re-Spiriting Milwaukee

Projects in Service of the First 10,000 Partners for Re-Spiriting Milwaukee

Communities of Practice

Spirit Poets

Pilot Project for Community Transformation?

Essay of the Day for Re-Spiriting Milwaukee


In the Service of Life by Rachel Naomi Remen

In recent years the question how can I help? has become meaningful to many people. But perhaps there is a deeper question we might consider. Perhaps the real question is not how can I help? but how can I serve?

Serving is different from helping. Helping is based on inequality; it is not a relationship between equals. When you help you use your own strength to help those of lesser strength. If I’m attentive to what’s going on inside of me when I’m helping, I find that I’m always helping someone who’s not as strong as I am, who is needier than I am. People feel this inequality. When we help we may inadvertently take away from people more than we could ever give them; we may diminish their self-esteem, their sense of worth, integrity and wholeness. When I help I am very aware of my own strength. But we don’t serve with our strength, we serve with ourselves. We draw from all of our experiences. Our limitations serve, our wounds serve, even our darkness can serve. The wholeness in us serves the wholeness in others and the wholeness in life. The wholeness in you is the same as the wholeness in me. Service is a relationship between equals.

Helping incurs debt. When you help someone they owe you one. But serving, like healing, is mutual. There is no debt. I am as served as the person I am serving. When I help I have a feeling of satisfaction. When I serve I have a feeling of gratitude. These are very different things.

Serving is also different from fixing. When I fix a person I perceive them as broken, and their brokenness requires me to act. When I fix I do not see the wholeness in the other person or trust the integrity of the life in them. When I serve I see and trust that wholeness. It is what I am responding to and collaborating with.

There is distance between ourselves and whatever or whomever we are fixing. Fixing is a form of judgment. All judgment creates distance, a disconnection, an experience of difference. In fixing there is an inequality of expertise that can easily become a moral distance. We cannot serve at a distance. We can only serve that to which we are profoundly connected, that which we are willing to touch. This is Mother Teresa’s basic message. We serve life not because it is broken but because it is holy.

If helping is an experience of strength, fixing is an experience of mastery and expertise. Service, on the other hand, is an experience of mystery, surrender, and awe. A fixer has the illusion of being causal. A server knows that he or she is being used and has a willingness to be used in the service of something greater, something essentially unknown. Fixing and helping are very personal; they are very particular, concrete, and specific. We fix and help many different things in our lifetimes, but when we serve we are always serving the same thing. Everyone who has ever served through the history of time serves the same thing. We are servers of the wholeness and mystery in life.

The bottom line, of course, is that we can fix without serving. And we can help without serving. And we can serve without fixing or helping. I think I would go so far as to say that fixing and helping may often be the work of the ego, and service the work of the soul. They may look similar if you’re watching from the outside, but the inner experience is different. The outcome is often different, too.

Our service serves us as well as others. That which uses us strengthens us. Over time, fixing and helping are draining, depleting. Over time we burn out. Service is renewing. When we serve, our work itself will sustain us.

Service rests on the basic premise that the nature of life is sacred, that life is a holy mystery which has an unknown purpose. When we serve, we know that we belong to life and to that purpose. Fundamentally, helping, fixing, and service are ways of seeing life. When you help you see life as weak, when you fix, you see life as broken. When you serve, you see life as whole. From the perspective of service, we are all connected: All suffering is like my suffering and all joy is like my joy. The impulse to serve emerges naturally and inevitably from this way of seeing.

Lastly, fixing and helping are the basis of curing, but not of healing. In 40 years of chronic illness I have been helped by many people and fixed by a great many others who did not recognize my wholeness. All that fixing and helping left me wounded in some important and fundamental ways. Only service heals.

Adapted from a talk given at IONS fourth annual conference, “Open Heart, Open Mind” in San Diego, California, July 1995.

Accessed April, 2007 from The Institute of Noetic Sciences Website


The Institute of Noetic Sciences says, “We are a nonprofit membership organization located in Northern California that conducts and sponsors leading-edge research into the potentials and powers of consciousness—including perceptions, beliefs, attention, intention, and intuition. The Institute explores phenomena that do not necessarily fit conventional scientific models, while maintaining a commitment to scientific rigor.”

Last edited by Tyler Schuster. Based on work by Fathi, Alexandra and Olde.  Page last modified on August 29, 2007

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