In 2014 we will rise up like never before. We will rise up with compassion, action, and consciousness. We will rise up rooted, like trees.
We will rise up connected, like mycorrhizzal fungi, a rhizome spreading, cracking, shattering the cold concrete of a consumer culture bent on self destruction. We will rise up symbiotic, interdependent and independent, free thinking and open hearted, throwing our mind body heart and spirit into service to the greatest good in this time of greatest crisis.
We will turn the tides, correct the course, re-align, re-design, re-vamp, re-jig it all before the jig is up. Then we’ll dance a jig!
The time is now to seize the day before the day seizes us.
We will transcend the howling complaints of our ego, let go the petty jealousies, and breathe, deeply, before we act, remembering to love. Remembering to remember.
The time is now, not a moment too soon. We will laugh in the face of cynicism, and dare to be radically optimistic, against all odds, because nothing less will do.
We will open our hearts with empathy to those still locked in fear and apathy, for those who have lost their way, for those who mock us in our loving, for they are us, and we are them. There is no separation. To love them is to love ourselves, and until we practice self love, the journey will be incomplete. We are the 100%.
We are the 100% but we will call the 1% to task. For our love will be fierce, and uncompromising, and we will do everything we can, with peace in our hearts, to stop the destruction and start the healing. Transformation is risky, love is risky, caring is risking. We will risk it all, for the present is crumbling and the future is in jeopardy.
We will stand trembling in awe before the great mystery of life, knowing that we can never know it all, that the journey is never over, that we will always be just beginning, out here on the leading edge of evolution.
We know that nothing less than everything needs to change, that change is not enough, that only transformation through and through will do, and that’s the wonder and excitement of this era of chaos and possibility.
A new year is upon us, a year like none before. Anything could happen, if we dream it into existence.
A new day is dawning, and we are all invited to surf the crashing wave of possibility.
We are all needed now, all hands on deck. Unwrap your gifts, bring it into the light and unleash it on the world, let yourself shine. Together, we can outshine the darkness of this world, together we can do this, if only we dare to try. Let’s do it!
~ Velcrow Ripper, Jan. 1st 2013
“If we surrendered to earths intelligence we could rise up rooted, like trees.”
~ Rainer Maria Rilke
“In 2014 we will rise up like never before.”
~ Occupy Wall Street
Images from the Occupy Love screenings around the world.
I’d like to offer you an invitation, an invocation, a wake up call. I’m inviting you – me, we – to celebrate the astounding goodness of our essential beings, the goodness of this gorgeous miraculous unsurpassable earth glittering like a green emerald in the vastness of an incredibly mysterious universe. I’m inviting us to return to our true journey, to align our hearts and our minds and even our bellies with the unfolding evolutionary adventure, to break free from these dark dark ages and help to bring in a new era, an era of empathy, of harmony, of co-operation, of shared power, of meaning, of purpose.
It will be messy, we will stumble in our awakening, hit the snooze button, fall back asleep, wake up again. And again. And again. Make no mistake about it. There will be more suffering on the journey- perhaps a great deal more. But the time has come. It’s time to let go the petty profane existence the greed machine is relentlessly selling us, to break free of the shackles of illusion they have built, out of thin air.
Wake up! (Zen hand clap)
It’s time to come to our senses, and wake up!
Listen – can you hear the alarm bells ringing? Can you hear the cries of Mother Earth? Can you hear the cries of Her children? Can you smell the stench of an industrial growth addicted civilization rotting from the inside out? Look – have you noticed the species going extinct minute by minute, the disappearing bees, the melting glaciers, the rising seas, the expanding deserts, the suffering skyrocketing out of control, the politicians that act like childish lunatics, the greed crazed gamblers of Wall Street throwing dice while the whole world careens on their roller coaster of illusion, bubbles of hungry ghost money ballooning, ballooning, soon to burst yet again, banks expecting bail outs while millions lose their homes amidst the deafening roar of collapsing economies drowned by the noise of the dream factories of mainstream media encouraging us all to be selfish children seduced into a cycle of endless consumption by heartless corporations hellbent on using up everything this sacred earth can offer as fast as possible, backed up by a militarized police force who do not protect us but oppress us when we dare to dream out loud of a better world, a beautiful world, a world that puts love before profit?
Wake up! (Zen hand clap)
It’s not too late, it’s never too late to seize the day.
Wake up! (Zen hand clap)
It’s time we realized that this planet is having a near death experience.
And therein lies the hope.
I’m not calling in an apocalypse – oh no, quite the opposite. Hollywood is busy visioning that for us. We can do better. For in this chaos lies the possibility of transformation – and transformation is what we need. There’s nowhere else I’d rather be than right here, right now, in this incredible time of transition. The situation is so complex, the world is changing so rapidly, that no one can guess with any degree of certainty what will happen next. If you like surprises, stay tuned! Anything could happen.
Listen – can you hear the sounds of revolution in the streets? The spark has spread from the Arab Spring to the European Summer, from Occupy Wall Street to Occupy Together, from the Maple Spring to the climate justice movement, from #IdleNoMore to #FearlessSummer to the WorldWide #WaveOfAction.
The fire of change is blazing anywhere anyone is working to create a world that works for everyone and all life. From Transition Towns to community gardens, from the gift economy to restorative justice, from permaculture to maker culture, from renewable energy to mutual aid, from Open Source to Direct Democracy, we know what is needed, we know the time is now.
There is a global awakening blooming all around this trembling earth. A thirst for justice, for equality, for harmony, for sustainability, for creativity, for compassion – for love. And it cannot be stopped. It’s a Tsunami of transformation, and the time is now.
A naturally arising movement of movements, a global super movement, is emerging, rooted in compassion, rooted in interdependence, in participatory democracy. We have no interest in the tired old ideologies of days gone by – don’t come to this movement with answers alone. Come with the questions, come with an open heart. This revolution is a process, not a product. We are Occupying with Love.
I’m not asking you to crawl on your knees in acts of service and supplication. I am inviting you to be of service, but in a way that is joyous for you. I’m inviting you to discover your bliss – not your ego’s bliss, but the bliss of your true Self. You know the difference, if you dare to check in. I double dare you to become a blessing, to allow the universe to offer you the true riches of a life of love, a life of meaning, a life of possibility.
Ask yourself this – are you a gift to the planet? Are you a gift to your community? Are you a gift to your family, your friends, your lover, your true Self? Are you a gift to the whole damn universe?
If you aren’t, then you’re missing out. Because when you become a gift to this universe – to your world, community, family, lover, friend and Self – when you become a true Giver and not just a taker, you will discover the incredible power of reciprocity. The real Secret is that the more you give, the more you receive. As you go deeper into true Giving, the particles become waves. The oscillations between giving and receiving speed up, until they become instantaneous, until there is no giver, there is no receiver, there is just flow. Try it out. Let me know how it goes.
It’s time to take hold of your birthright. To discover your true calling. It’s uniquely yours – not anyone else’s. You are a perfect singular snowflake of a being inextricably interwoven with all the other stunningly unique snowflakes dancing through this participatory interconnected living, ever evolving universe. We are all miracles. Wake up to your true Self.
As the Zen prayer goes – don’t squander your life. Wake up! (Zen hand clap)
I promise you this: you cannot lose when you lead a life of love. It’s as simple as opening your heart. It’s as natural as breathing. All that other stuff – the addiction, the suffering, the separation from Source – that’s unnatural. That’s just a big bag of hot air, an illusion of smoke and mirrors. We’ve been tricked! Are you gonna let them keep fooling you? Stealing your happiness?
Wake up! (Zen hand clap)
Cut the cords and claim what’s rightfully yours.
It’s not too late to turn the tide. Start small, start big, but start somewhere – can you spare a smile? Can you spare some compassion? Some creativity? Some action? Some Love? Some love in action? In the end, it all comes down to love. Love is the bedrock of the universe, of the planet. We are part of an incredibly complex system of systems, systems within systems within systems, all relying on each other in a web of checks and balances, of co-operation, of community. Even our bodies are made up of organisms that rely on each other to keep our system going. This is a form of love. Gravity itself is a loving force – without it, we would float off into space, and nothing would hold together. We need that force of attraction. Love – it’s all about love.
I invite you all to join in the awakening – to use whatever creativity and skills and tools you can find to make this world a better place. There are so many ways to do this – in fact, there are as many paths as there are people. Each one of us has a unique role to play – what’s yours? Take the time to go deep within, and listen to your heart. Follow that heart, wherever it may lead you. With every opportunity that comes your way, ask yourself – is this a path with heart? If it’s not, move on. There’s no time to waste in false pursuits. You can be a sacred warrior, you can be both fierce and compassionate, you have the stuff! Occupy the emptiness of corporate culture, with love.
It’s time to wake up. Wake up! (zen hand clap)
This is the moment – right now, not tomorrow, not next week, not next year. There’s no better place to be than right here, in this moment, right now. Welcome to life in the fire of change. Heart by heart, we can transform this world, from the bottom up. We aren’t waiting around, we aren’t asking for permission. We are doing this. Now. With love. Let your fierce love shine.
All over the world – Fierce Love Films announces the Global Community Screening launch of Occupy Love, a feature documentary from award-winning director Velcrow Ripper (Scared Sacred, Fierce Light) that connects the dots in this era of rapidly evolving social change and global crisis.
Community screenings begin April 11th around the world, including multiple cities in Australia, Brazil, Chile, New Zealand, England, Germany, Turkey, Bulgaria, France, Italy, Scotland, across the U.S. and Canada, with new screenings being added every day. This crowd sourced, social media driven approach to distribution is consistent with the theme of the film, which was also partially crowd funded through IndieGoGo and Kickstarter.
A profound shift is taking place: humanity is waking up to the fact that the dominant system of power is failing to provide us with health, happiness or meaning. Join Velcrow on a journey deep inside the revolution of the heart that is erupting around the planet, as he asks the question, “How could the crisis we are facing become a love story?”
Featuring captivating insider scenes from the Egyptian Revolution, the Indignado uprising in Spain, Occupy Wall Street in New York, Indigenous activists at the Alberta Tar Sands, the climate justice movement, and beyond, Occupy Love shows that love can unite as much as greed can divide.
Occupy Love is the culmination of Ripper’s Fierce Love Trilogy which began with Scared Sacred, named one of Canada’s Top 10 movies of 2004, and winner of the 2005 Genie (Canadian Academy Award) for best feature documentary. It continued with 2008′s award winning Fierce Light: When Spirit Meets Action.
“Occupy Love is the movie I have been waiting to make, all my life,” says director Velcrow Ripper. “Today’s global awakening is what my earlier films have been anticipating and fostering – a current of potential that was pulsing and rumbling just below the surface. As the popular Occupy sign reads, The Beginning is Here.”
Featuring interviews from some of the world’s leading visionaries on alternative systems of economics, sustainability, and social organization, including Naomi Klein, Bill McKibben, Jeremy Rifkin, bell hooks, Charles Eisenstein. For a full list of the visionaries visit http://occupylove.org/visionaries/
Occupy Love is a moving, transformative, heartfelt film, featuring Ripper’s signature stunning visuals and rich soundscapes. A powerful cinematic experience that will leave audiences inspired.
FOUND LOVE MOBILE APP A free global photo sharing application and web gallery that focuses on capturing and geo-tagging “found” heart images with moods and stories that describe love and interdependence. A collaboration between One Net Marketing, Fierce Love Films, Canada Media Fund, and Super Channel http://occupylove.org/found-love/
THEATRICAL RELEASE AND ONLINE LAUNCH MAY 3RD
Occupy Loves opens in New York City with an exclusive engagement at Cinema Village Friday, May 3 – Thursday, May 9, 2013. Events and discussions with directors, producers and cast to follow all weekend screenings.
Additional theatrical screenings to follow in Los Angeles, Seattle, San Francisco, London, Dublin, Belfast, Madrid, Barcelona, Berlin and more. Canadian Theatrical release begins in May 27, 2013 in theatres across Canada.
Occupy Love opens in Japan August, 2013 via United People Corporation
ONLINE , VOD AND DVD RELEASE RELEASE MAY 3rd
Occupy Love will be available on DVD and on-line in the via OccupyLove.com and most major platforms starting May 3rd in the US and internationally, The film will be available via DVD and download in Canada.
BROADCAST PREMIERE THIS SUMMER IN CANADA on SUPER CHANNEL, a key partner in the production of Occupy Love http://www.superchannel.ca/
PRESS KIT HERE http://occupylove.org/articles/
TRAILER AND MORE INFO: www.occupylove.org
Occupy Love is directed by VELCROW RIPPER. Produced by NOVA AMI, IAN MACKENZIE and VELCROW RIPPER. Executive Producers BETSY CARSON, CATHERINE TAIT & GREGG HILL.
A Community Funded Film, produced in association with SuperChannel and the Canada Media Fund.
For more information, visit:OccupyLove.com
Twitter @OccupyLoveFilm #OCCUPYLOVE
About Fierce Love Films
Fierce Love Films is committed to changing the world through cutting-edge feature documentary films that inspire personal and global revolutions. We produce films that entertain, enlighten and offer transformative perspectives on the world we live in through effective and innovative methods of storytelling. We believe in reaching the widest audience possible, and release our films with a powerful combination of traditional film marketing and the latest social networking tools, transforming movies into movements.
”I live on Earth at present, and I don’t know what I am.
I know that I am not a category.
I am not a thing — a noun.
I seem to be a verb, an evolutionary process
— an integral function of the universe.”
~ Buckminster Fuller
We are all verbs. Not a one of us a noun. Not one a fixed identity. Thank you Bucky, for articulating something so critical, so crucial, so clearly. The liberating power of this deep understanding is a game changer.
Somewhere a few centuries back, we developed the fragmented, Newtonian worldview that haunts us still. With help from the new power of the zero, we accelerated our reduction of the world to facts and figures, cleaving it apart with a sword of Hubris. . Our very perception shifted, as we fragmented ourselves, specialized ourselves, as we created a binary world of black and white, of us and them, of either/or. Nature and spirit a distant other. There was security in this view. A false sense of security.
Look up! The skyscrapers are falling. Rapid climate change, economic collapse, ecological collapse, political instability and technological escalation: the only thing we can be sure about is radical indeterminacy. In the face of this acceleration, we have choices to make. We can freeze in fear, becoming paralyzed. Static. Resistant. Frozen. We can buy stuff or watch stuff or eat stuff, anything to avoid feeling. There’s too much pain out there.
Or we can rise onto our surfboards and surf the power of this wave ~ particle ~ wave of change. This Tsunami of transformation. We can dive into the frothing waters with joy, celebration and Love, following the currents, not fighting, not resisting, yet not succumbing ~ transforming poison into pearls.
Buckminister Fuller’s gravestone reads, “call me Trimtab.” The Trimtab is the tiny rudder that trims the direction of great ships. We are not trying to shift the steel prow of the oil tanker that is industrial growth civilization, which is clearly on a collision course with limits, heading for the next spill. The next crash. The next dead end. Instead, we are becoming the collective Trimtab for spaceship Earth. We are learning to meet the raging tides of this age of extinctions with radical grace.
We are schools of fish lost at sea, seeking to change course from the bottom of the ocean up. Slowly, then suddenly, with a committed wave of our million fins, we will steer the seemingly immobile forces of top down self-destruction, back towards harmony, towards Love, towards an ever evolving universe story that is as ancient as light.
There is tremendous energy to be found in these days of quantuum leaping. We are facing record breaking weather around this trembling Earth – the hottest, the wettest, the coldest, the driest. But we are also seeing record breaking vision arising everywhere, in this season of transition. Millions of people around the world are creating a new story. We are the largest mass movement in humanities history, and we are a verb.
Welcome to the era of resilience. Of fluidity. Of flexibility. Balanced with the strength of right relationship, of clear intention. Free will in service to the Universe made manifest on Earth. Which is Us.
The rigid, the fixed, the unmovable- they will be moved, regardless. Most likely they will snap, crackle, crumble, unable to bend with the winds of evolution. Unless they (who are Us) learn that we are truly verbs. How beautiful this understanding that we are evolving. There is so much joy in this – so much meaning. How can we not help but be in awe of the stupendous 14 billion year journey that has brought Us to this place of consciousness, of conscience, of self aware Love? A miraculous mirror reflecting the infinite journey back to the creative life force Ourself.
I am in Love with Life. I can’t get enough of it. I am in Love with this pearl of a world. I am in Love with humanity. I am in Love with our wisdom – and our folly. To those who say the planet would be better off without Us, I ask that they reconsider. For we are integral to this planet. We are Earth.
We are in the midst of a great Love story, and part of that story currently involves a separation. Yes, we have lost our way, We have strayed far from our Love. But still we carry the torch, burning away, buried in Our heart of hearts.
We are in a reckless mid-life crisis, spending all our resources on some useless, big red Ferrari, racing away from compassion and responsibility, lost in denial, searching for something we’ve always had. One day, may it be soon, we’ll crash the damn thing one last time, and come back home, to our true Love, to our true Life, with a much deeper appreciation for all we have left behind. Carrying new gifts, borne of the experience of separation. And in that return, we will Love like never before.
Love is a verb. It is something we do, something we live, something we are. Every dancing cell is alive with Love. The stars are burning with Love. The Earth gives birth to Love, night and day. Death is part of Love. Sadness is part of Love.
The whole spectrum is Love, in action, in motion. Even our illusion of rigidity – borne of fear – is all about Love, about our vulnerability. Our human vulnerability. We are afraid of truly living, of truly Loving, for to Love is to accept that one day, the Lover will be gone. To open the heart, is to be deeply vulnerable. But to be vulnerable is to flow, to be open, to give and receive.
Yes indeed- all is impermanent, all will be lost. And that is the ultimate source of liberation. So don’t hang on – but don’t let go. Breathe it all in! Don’t miss out by numbing down or dumbing down or running away. No matter what is happening, you are Loved, and you are Love. And it will all disintegrate, dissolve, decompose, be gone in a flash.
Don’t turn from the journey! The greatest show on Earth is this very moment. This very breath. This this very heart beat. This endless Love. Welcome home to planet Earth. May you Love the Life you Live.
Love is something we do. It’s active, it’s action, it’s process, not product. Don’t wait around for love! Be love, do love, fiercely. Love is not fuzzy, it’s not packaged, it’s not pink, it’s as red as blood, it’s life itself, and it’s not for sale. Occupy Love!
It’s that time of year again ~ love is in the air. Or at least in the shop windows. A day to celebrate love is certainly a great idea. Too often love is neglected, forgotten, or misunderstood. As with everything these days, Valentines Day has become yet another opportunity to turn the sacred into a product. But if there is one that cannot be sold, it’s love. The moment it becomes a commodity, it is no longer love.
So let’s Occupy Valentines Day – and every day – with Love. True love. That fierce love, the love that is justice, the love that is compassionate, passionate, alive. The love that recognizes that all things are connected.
But just what do we mean by that word love? In the last few years of shooting Occupy Love, I’ve asked many people to explain it to me. Almost every answer has been different, and yet they all work together. That shows just how big love is. There are many kinds of love – from the love between lovers, to the love between molecules that binds them together and enables matter to exist. From the love between the stars, to the love between humanity and the planet. The love from our hearts to the source of creation itself. To the compassionate love that compels us to create a world that works for everyone, a world that works for all life. Love is the current than runs through everything. Love connects the dots.
Most of the time, when I’m writing about love, I’m talking about the larger love, the universal love. But personal love is also a refraction of this great love, the love that is the creative source itself. When individuals fully connected to the source of love come together as whole beings, true intimate love becomes possible. A love beyond insufficiency and dependency, beyond all the many pitfalls on the path to romantic love.
Our society doesn’t offer us great role models – too often, romantic love is depicted as yet another dreary commercial transaction. I’ll give you this, if you give me that. Possession, ownership, control, fear, none of this is a part of true love. True love is not a transaction – it’s a relationship. It’s a process. It’s ever evolving, it’s ever deepening, it is always calling us to evolution, to authenticity, to liberation. True Love wants what’s best for the other, always. For we are bound together in a beautiful web of mutuality.
Today my love, Nova Ami, and I, announced our engagement. Our love is ever evolving, and we have decided to publicly declare our commitment to each other. Not as a transaction, not as a statement of ownership, but as a declaration that we want to journey through life together, through love together, as deeply as possible. With the support and witnessing of our community.
Nova loves to joke that when I started this film I was Mr. Love. By the time I’m finished, she says, I’ll be Doctor Love. If I do make it to that place, where I can truly embody the love I am, moment to moment to moment, it will be thanks in no small part to her incredible love. She offers me the greatest gift I have ever received – unconditional love. Nothing is more spacious, nothing gives me greater strength, nothing is more empowering, than this. Yes, love is always there within me, but to receive that constant reminder from another, who mirrors and reflects that love back to me, is incredibly expansive. At the same time, her love is completely grounding, supportive – a practical rapture. And I offer her unconditional love too. It is as natural and effortless as breathing.
We made this video together, our first creative collaboration, to celebrate and to share our love. We wove our personal love story together with the great love story of life itself, through the words of our friend and spiritual teacher, Hawaain Native elder, Kumu Raylene. She teaches that all life is love. “The essence of one being, or one creation, is love. Through our experiences of life, it at times can be buried deep within. But it is within. It is not something outside of ourselves. It is not something outside of anyone or any thing. It’s a part of who we are, always has been.”
This understanding helps a great deal – because we can stop looking for love. It can never be lost. So relax! When you recognize that love is the ground of being, everything becomes much less laborious. There is a spaciousness that emerges. More than just a thought, you can feel into this, open into this realization. Roshi Joan Halifax told me that, “being awake, is love.” To be truly present, to show up, to be mindful, to be here, fully – that’s love. To let go attachment, and delusion, to participate in each moment, moment to moment, that’s love.
My dear friend and spiritual activist, James O’Dea, formerly of Amnesty International and the Institute of Noetic Sciences (a potent combination, which shows you the breadth of James himself!) compared love to a keyboard, that has all the ranges – from the deep difficult low frequencies, that can very sad, connected to the vast oceans of suffering that we all will experience as part of life on planet earth, all the way up to the high, ecstatic frequencies.
James emphasized the schizophrenic split that we so often experience, between the head and the heart: “the head is a poor master, but an excellent servant, and the heart is a poor servant, but an excellent master. And that’s probably BS, because we’re past masters and servants. It’s time to end that game, and move towards the integral moment, where we have the loving mind, and the thinking heart.”
In this rushing world of endless distraction, there is much to block love. Like the sun going behind the clouds, it is never gone. It is always there, we just need to remember. Re-connect. Re-awaken. Love is a process, as is awakening. The moment we try to possess any realization, any state, and stage of awakening, it slips away from our grasp. For grasping itself is not-love. Spaciousness is love. Trust is love. Letting go is love. Letting go of what? Fear, attachment, anger, hatred, delusion- let them go.
Breathe love. Every breath can connect us with the ground of being. Occupy love, moment to moment to moment. Not in the past, not in the future – right now. But just Being is not enough. It’s easy to get comfortable, to want to stay in that perfect state of bliss, but love is a verb. It calls you to action – loving action.
Love has infinite arms to embrace the suffering of this world. Compassion calls us to action. Love in action is a great, limitless source of meaning. It doesn’t have to be something big – a billion small actions can mean a whole world of change. Of course, if you are a big dreamer, go for it, dream big! But if your gift is something small- do it well, do it honestly, do it truly and in the law of inter-being, you will be doing all actions.
Angaanaaq, a Shaman from Greenland, warned me, “to never fall in love. Because everything that falls, even the leaves, will eventually hit the ground. Instead, we can become love itself. What kind of love? Unconditional love.”
Rather than falling, how about we rise in love. Rise into unconditional love. Why settle for anything less? The unconditioned heart/mind is the primordial state, that essential being that we all are, beyond the filtering, beyond the cultural smokescreen that buries the deeper truths. It’s time to reclaim love! Let us support each other, always, with presence, with mindfulness, with full connection, recognizing and celebrating our interdependence. May the whole world rise in love. The time is now!
We did it!! In fact, we sent it through the roof! Thanks to you all, we not only met, but we have exceeded the goal of our IndieGoGo crowd funding camapaign! As my beautiful team mate Ian MacKenzie wrote yesterday, “still basking in the glow of human generosity. Over 700 people donated towards our film (6 hours still to go!) and it was not in their “rational self-interest.” Or perhaps, it is… because they understand their Self actually includes the Other. So as you support others, you are enriching and supporting all humanity and all life. A humble bow of gratitude to you all.”
Hear hear! Deep bows, and deep love to you all!
Between our two fundraising campaigns, over 900 people have participated in creating Occupy Love. That’s a lot of love!
481 people took the time to post comments section of the IndigieGoGo site, see great evidence of all the support for the project, and the Occupy Love movement itself. That so many people are committed and excited and passionate about compassion, about creating a world that works for everyone, a world that works for all life.
From the three of us producers of Occupy Love – Gregg Hill, Ian MacKenzie, and myself, Velcrow Ripper, please accept our deepest gratitude, and love. We are a community of change agents, and there is nowhere better to be, than right here, right now, a time of the greatest crisis that humanity has ever faced, and at the time of the greatest love story on earth.
“Power without love is reckless and abusive, and love without power is sentimental and anemic. Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice, and justice at its best is power correcting everything that stands against love.” ― Martin Luther King Jr.
Today the Occupy Movement will be engaging in global actions centered around the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The heart of Dr. King’s vision offers wonderful inspiration for the movement – one that is deeply rooted in love. King’s approach to activism was all about “love in action.”
The activists of the civil rights era faced incredible repression and brutality, yet remained firm in their conviction to love, their conviction to non-violence. This gave them tremendous “moral capital.” Violence, as an activist tactic, very rarely is successful. It is speaking the language of the opressor, and they respond with even greater violence. But the images of loving activists in contrast to brutality, is poignant, moving and transformative. It opens the hearts of the undecided, and calls them to join in the quest for justice. Those who seek to undermine the Occupy Movement, or any activist movement, invariably point to acts of violence.
King taught that while legislative changes were important, such as desegregation (a focal point for the movement at that time), unless we also change our hearts and minds, we would end up with, “a society where men are physically desegregated and spiritually segregated, where elbows are together and hearts apart. It gives us social togetherness and spiritual apartness. It leaves us with a stagnant equality of sameness rather than a constructive equality of oneness.” He beautifully said that, “we are tied together in the single garment of destiny, caught in an inescapable network of mutuality.”
Dr. King’s greatest vision was that the world would come together in a “Beloved Community.” The civil rights movement represented an attempt to created that Beloved Community in microcosm. Today, within the Occupy Movement, we can also create this kind of community, founded on compassion, non-violence and mutuality. This is turn can help lead to the tipping point, towards that day when we are able to live in a world that works for everyone. King’s profound dream was to enlarge “the concept of brotherhood to a vision of total interrelatedness.”
If he were alive today, I believe Dr. King would have recognized the incredible potential of this remarkable time in history.
Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” ~ Martin Luther King Jr.
By remaining firmly grounded in love, we are practicing “prefigurative politics.” Instead of waiting for some far off dream of a peaceful, loving world, we are living it, right now, in real time. The principles of participatory democracy, central to the Occupy Movement, allow us to practice a world where everyone is important. Having a leaderless movement is also a radical step – we all are leaders today.
Buddhist teacher Thich Nhat Hanh has said that in this era, “the Buddha is the Sangha.” This means, the community is the new Buddha. It’s time for us all to wake up, and tap into our collective wisdom. We are moving beyond the top down hierarchal structures that have dominated all areas of life in the past – from politics to spirituality, from culture to economics. It’s time for a new era, an era of shared power, of horizontality. This is the way ecosystems work – complex webs of systems within systems, supporting, nurturing each other in webs of checks and balances. It’s time that we integrate fully into the planetary body, recognize our profound inter-connection, striving always towards mutually enhancing relationships.
The field of possibility expands exponentially each time any one of us truly steps up to the plate, and opens our hearts. How joyous, to live the realization that the greater the brilliance of any one of us, the greater is the radiance of the whole. We can go beyond that outdated dog eat dog eat dog isolating, disconnecting model of the corporatocracy, into a new world, where we care for each other in networks of compassion. Let us truly, deeply, authentically occupy the dream, the dream of a world that works for all life, where each and everyone of us is a shining star in a constellation of love.
“Everybody can be great…because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”
― Martin Luther King Jr.
MLK Occupy Events
OCCUPY THE DREAM TELECOUNCIL WITH VELCROW RIPPER
This is an exciting time in history! Let’s make the most of it. Please join me on Martin Luther King Day, January 16 2o12 at 4 pm PST for a a special tele council in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. and the Occupy Movement. I’ll be discussing King’s legacy of the “Beloved Community” emerging all over the world today, sharing my journey from Occupy Wall St, to Occupy Oakland, Occupy London, the M15 movement of Spain, the revolution in Tahrir Square, the meaning of “Occupy Love” and more. Learn more and sign up here – it’s free!
WORLD WIDE CANDLELIGHT VIGIL FOR UNITY
This January 15th all over the world, Occupy is holding a #J15 Worldwide Candlelight Vigil For Unity on the birthday, and in the spirit of Dr. King’s vision for racial and economic equality, peace, and non-violence. Candlelight vigils will take place at 7pm in each time zone to unite our world in a global movement for systemic change.
Wherever you are, let’s join together and light our flames for this beautiful vision. Be creative – you can create your own vigil if you can’t find one near you. Learn more at http://www.j15global.com/
Members of the African-American faith community have joined forces with Occupy Wall Street to launch a new campaign for economic justice inspired by the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Faithful to its philosophical origin, the “Occupy the Dream” coalition has called for a National Day of Action on Martin Luther King Day – Monday, January 16, 2012 – to focus attention on the gross injustice visited upon the 99% by the financial elite. More info at : www.occupythedream.org
Studio Occupy has a wonderful project related to this: “To honor Rev. Martin Luther King’s birthday, Occupy Wall Street is privileged to welcome African-American clergy as they join the movement to address economic inequality and social injustice. Dr. King’s dream made history. Now OWS needs yours! What’s your dream for your community? For the future? Grab your phone or webcam, make a video of your dream, and upload it by January 16th – Dr. King’s birthday. We can create history together. Let’s Occupy the Dream!” Learn more at: Studio Occupy
REBUILD THE DREAM
Van Jones, one of my all time visionary activist heroes, who is featured in Fierce Light: When Spirit Meets Action , has launched an initiative called “Rebuild the Dream.” This weekend, for MLK day, they are calling for meet-ups acrsos the country to celebrate Dr. King and link the Civil Rights Movement with today’s struggle for an economy that works for all. Neighbors and friends will gather to watch the great video they have created, plus engage in a special discussion about how we strengthen our movements in 2012. Find an MLK Meet-up near you, or host one of your own.
PS. We need your love! Please give to the Occupy Love crowd funding campaign so we can complete Occupy Love, our feature doc that captures the global (r)evolution of compassion inaction. Sharing the link and telling your friends helps a lot too. We believe this movie is going to be of tremendous service to the planet. In Theatres 2012 – with your help!
There are no manuals to read, no rules to follow, other than the open book, of the heart.
Love’s evolution is my resolution, my revolution, my solution. The time is now. 2012 is upon us. The beginning is here!
I’d like to offer you an invitation, an invocation, a wake up call. Wake up! (Zen hand clap) It’s time to come to our senses, and wake up! Listen – can you hear the alarm bells ringing? Can you hear the cries of Mother Earth? Can you hear the cries of Her children? Can you smell the stench of an industrial growth addicted civilization rotting from the inside out?
Look – have you noticed the species going extinct minute by minute, the disappearing bees, the melting glaciers, the rising seas, the expanding deserts, the suffering skyrocketing out of control, the politicians that act like childish lunatics, the greed crazed gamblers of Wall Street throwing dice while the whole world careens on their roller coaster of illusion, bubbles of hungry ghost money ballooning, ballooning, soon to burst yet again, banks expecting bail outs while millions lose their homes amidst the deafening roar of collapsing economies drowned by the noise of the dream factories of mainstream media encouraging us all to be selfish children seduced into a cycle of endless consumption by heartless corporations hellbent on using up everything this sacred earth can offer as fast as possible?
We’re filling our hearts and minds and bellies with junk food, junk television, junk video games, junk movies, junk music, junk toys, junk fears, junk violence, junk dreams, junk junk, junk and more junk for a society of junkies.
Wake up! (Zen hand clap) It’s not too late, it’s never too late to seize the day. Wake up! (Zen hand clap) It’s time we realized that this planet is having a near death experience. And therein lies the hope.
Occupy Christmas! With what? How about by giving that which never costs, that which can never have a price tag: Love. The more we give love, the more we receive love. Love is the economic growth we need, not the planet destroying growth of Gross Domestic Product. Love grows best when given freely. Love is at the heart of global evolution. Love is the expression of our profound interdependence.
For the love of the planet, and each other, we need to awaken from the trance of corporate culture, from the dog-eat-dog-eat-dog world of separation, fear, and mindless consumption, and learn how to create a world of mutually enhancing relationships, of collaboration, creativity, and possibility. A world of love.
I’ve been asking Santa, the earth, the sky, you and me, for a global r~evolution for years now. Guess what? We’re starting to deliver.
There have been some deep tastes of it along the way – my personal highlights include the Zapatista revolution in Chiapas; the profound creativity and resistance of the anti-globalization movement that began with the WTO protests in 1999; the enormous global day of anti-war marches, organized on the internet, when millions of us marched around the world in the name of peace, simultaneously. 350.org‘s global days of action for climate justice are always spectacular.
South America has seen an explosion of transformation – almost every country is trying some inspirational social experiment. Paul Hawken has tracked what he calls “humanity’s immune response to a planet in crisis”, a kind of Blessed Unrest that is the largest mass movement in history, working for change, that doesn’t even know it exists. We have been part of many beautiful expressions of evolution and compassion in action. (Watch interview)
And then came 2011. From the Arab Spring, to the European Summer, to the Occupy Movement, to the great strides taken by the Climate Justice movement, and all the other arisings bursting forth, the electric charge of transformation is in the air. As we gestate through this winter into 2012, my prayers are that as the frost melts, we will burst forth with creativity, enthusiasm, and love into a global spring that keeps right on blooming into a global summer of transformation.
We need it now, more than ever. We certainly need it more than another tree full of stuff.
The Eruption of Occupy
Sept 17, 2011 began as a quiet Saturday morning in Brooklyn with my love. Adbusters, media activists from my home terrain of Vancouver, Canada, had put a call out a few months back: “Occupy Wall Street. Bring Tent.” Someone had posted on Facebook at the time, “are you going?” I said, “I’ll be there, camera’s blazing.”
But that morning, a part of me wanted to sleep in. I asked Nova, “Do you think I should go?” She didn’t hesitate: “Go! Just check it out. It could be something great.” I packed my camera gear, got on my bicycle and peddled over the Brooklyn Bridge, into the financial district of Manhattan, towards a little park within sight of Ground Zero, a park that would soon be re-named “Liberty Square.”
And so began one of the most extraordinary seasons of transformation I have witnessed in my life. It’s as if we’ve taken the famed “red pill” of the Matrix – nothing has been the same ever since. A pandora’s box of possibilities has been flung wide open, and it can never be shut in quite the same way. We are awake.
We have been sold a hollow story, of endless consumption, an economic fairy tale that we can have limitless growth on a finite planet, that the extreme wealth of the few would in some way benefit the many, a world where there are no relationships, only transactions. A world where love itself is a commodity. We are awake, and we aren’t buying it any more.
On October 15th the Occupy Movement went global. I was in Times Square at that moment. 5,000 of us took the square, that electric altar to the gods of consumption. The energy was joyous, hopeful, inspired. And then something happened that sent chills down my spine: on the electronic ticker tape that gives the news bites of the day, came the words “Occupy Wall Street Movement Goes WorldWide.” Each time it appeared we let out a cheer. We were occupying the world.
Occupy Goes Global
In the course of making Occupy Love, our feature documentary that charts the global revolution of compassion in action, we have gone deep into the movement here in NYC at Occupy Wall Street, to the epic General Strike in Occupy Oakland, to Occupy DC, Occupy Canada, and Occupy London.
We have filmed with the sister movement, and precursor to Occupy, the Indignado’s of Spain, part of the famed “European Summer,” and with the courageous revolutionaries of Tahrir Square, in Egypt, who helped launch the Arab Spring.
When we first descended on Liberty Square we had the lofty goal of creating our own “Tahrir Square,” a claim that at first seemed outlandish, even presumptous, but today we have taken – and lost – and taken squares all over the planet, creating a global network of occupiers, and we are only just beginning. What this movement of movements is attempting to do is nothing short of re-inventing the world.
It is both a return to our shared roots – we are all indigenous to somewhere – and a new global cross pollination, which has been helped with the interconnectivity of the internet. We are falling in love, again, and again, with each other, and the planet. It is the profoundly public love that is justice. It is the power of empathy and interdependence, of knowing in one’s heart that if your belly is empty, or your home has been foreclosed, then I too am hungry, I too have no shelter.
It is the compassionate desire, that everyone on this planet, and all life, be offered the opportunity to “live well” as they say in Bolivia. The Aymara indigenous concept of “Living Well” contrasts with the western paradigm of “living better.” We have been taught to want more and more – to consume, to amass material goods at the expense of the environment, rather than to live well, in a world in which everyone’s needs are met while staying in deep harmony with the natural world.
We in the west are living in a deep cultural pathology, addicted to consumption, distraction and destruction. As a result, we are not a happy people. Buckminister Fuller has done the math – we can feed, clothe, educate, and keep well everyone on this planet. No problem – scarcity is a construction of a dysfunctional system.
The crisis we are facing is propelling us into a great love story, the greatest love story on earth. The time is now. 2012 promises to be extraordinary. I can’t wait to be surprised! We are waking up, and love is in the air. Thank-you for all you have given. Keep on giving, keep on unwrapping your gifts and sharing them with the world. My winter wish is for a global evolution of the heart, so that humanity may become a blessing to each other and this earth. Occupy Love!
~ Velcrow Ripper, Dec 24th 2011
PS. We need your love! Please give to our crowd funding campaign so we can continue to make Occupy Love. Sharing the link and telling your friends helps a lot too. We believe this movie is going to be of tremendous service to the planet. In Theatres 2012 – with your help!
My films are intended to be both a reflection of the heart of the times, and a catalyst, fanning the flames of love. ~ Velcrow Ripper
ALIVE MIND: Occupy Love is the third film of the “Fierce Love Project.” It comes after Sacred Scared (Special Jury Prize of the Toronto Film Festival), an uplifting pilgrimage through war-torn places around the world, followed by Fierce Light, a film about bringing together spirituality, and activism. Is there a logical progression to these films? How would you relate Fierce Light to Sacred Scared and Occupy Love?
VELCROW RIPPER: Indeed there is – the films are about about the “Heart of the Times” of this unique period in human history, from the millennium to 2012. It is a time of enormous crisis, and enormous possibility. The overall theme is, how can the global crises that we are facing lead to the evolution of humanity?
Scared Sacred takes us on a journey to ground zero’s of the world – places like New York City during 9.11, Afghanistan, Hiroshima, Bosnia, Cambodia, Israel and Palestine. In each of those places, I discovered some of the most remarkable individuals I have ever met. I found that there were two things that the survivors all had in common, that helped them get through the crises they faced with their spirits transformed, not crushed: having a source of meaning, which was different for each of them, and taking action.
This lead to the second film, Fierce Light: When Spirit Meets Action, which explores the relationship between spirituality, and activism. There has long been an artificial divide between these two important aspects of human society, and this film explores the power that is released when the two come together.
In Occupy Love I ask the question: how is the economic and ecological crises we are facing a great love story? I have gone beyond the word “spiritual” to the deeper, and more universal word, “Love.” The last lines of “Fierce Light” are, “another world is here, right now: listen.” On the sound track you can hear the rumblings of a volcano, the sleeping woman – who is now wide awake. Occupy Love explores this awakening, this revelation of our shared heart, and our shared oppression, and the process of working together to transform the bankrupt system of today into a world that works for all life. The Occupy movement, and the related movements that are erupting around the world, from the Arab Spring, to the European Summer, are all a part of this awakening. I recently showed Fierce Light at Occupy London and people were really struck by how the movie predicted the arising of Occupy. The films truly have their finger on the pulse of the times. In fact, Fierce Light was a little ahead of it’s time.
ALIVE MIND: From Desmond Tutu to Gandhi’s granddaughter, from Darryl Hannah to Congressman John Lewis and thousands of anonymous activists around the world, you show that the potential for ‘soul force’ exists. Fierce Light conveys the idea that another world is possible. Do you hope that it will actually contribute to unleash this potential for change?
VELCROW: I have seen Fierce Light transform people again and again. Real world change begins in our hearts, and a powerful documentary, done with art and the voices of those imbued with true soul force, has the ability to ignite and inspire us to become the change we want to see in the world. My films are intended to be both a reflection of the heart of the times, and a catalyst, fanning the flames of love.
ALIVE MIND: Besides being profoundly meaningful and inspired, Fierce Light is an extremely beautiful documentary, in which graceful glimpses of natural light are recurrent patterns. What part does the image play in your filmmaking in general and in Fierce Light in particular?
VELCROW RIPPER: Image, and sound – the language of cinema – has the ability to move us as true art can, at a level beyond only cognition, to the soul level, the heart level, to our deepest core. There are many great films out there that move us intellectually, there are great films out there that inspire our outrage, but what keeps me going is the excitement and inspiration I get from capturing the depths of the times with my camera, editing and sound design. I aim to create an immersive, heart opening, transformative experience. And when you watch my films, if you aren’t in a theatre, please use headphones or good speakers! The sound is very important – sound has a special way of going beyond the intellect. Don’t get me wrong – the intellectual aspect is also very important. What excites me is an integral experience that reaches the full spectrum of the human- heart, mind, body, and shadow. It’s all part of us, and when any part is left out you feel a lack. Non-literal images have a way of reaching a broader range than the same old same old “say apple see apple” approach of conventional documentary production. I actually come out of an experimental film background, so the imagery of my docs reflect my early, utterly liberated approach to filmmaking. Documentary imposes it’s own constraints, but I am always pushing at the edge of those limits.
ALIVE MIND Commenting on the protest that spurred in Quebec City in 2004 against the Free Trade Agreement of the Americas, you are asking “What would I do if I did not have a camera in my hands? Would I want to pick up a rock and throw it right back at these dehumanized Plexiglass faces?” What stance do you adopt when you shoot in the midst of demonstrations? Does being an engaged filmmaker mean taking a step back from neutrality in those situations?
VELCROW RIPPER I don’t believe in neutrality. That comment, which was a rhetorical question, was answered by the film: I would do what Carly Stasko does at that moment – she dances. My response to repression, violence and corporate dominance is to be as contrasting to that as possible – liberated, non-violent, and creative. That is the way to transform violence, not by speaking it’s language back at it. Neutral? Not in the slightest. I am part of the movements I document, I come from the inside. The most biased of coverage is to be found in the mainstream media – they have such a narrow frame of reference, and have had a profoundly negative influence on global society, with their news bites, the fact that they are profit motivated and corporate dominated, and always focus in on the violence of any given situation without greater context. How many times have I seen reports of “violent protestors,” when in fact the protestors are peaceful, and it is the police that are violent. Or, as is sadly often the case, there are a few agitators (often police infiltrators) or angry young men, who create the violence, and a whole movement gets tarred with an ugly brush.
ALIVE MIND On Sept 17, 2011, at Zuccotti Park, the epicenter of Occupy Wall Street, you’ve asked a giant FDR dime, “How could the global crisis we are facing become a love story?’ You made a short-film out of it, entitled Summer of Change: Occupy Wall Street.
Have you been personally involved in the movement since then? What are your future plans?
VELCROW RIPPER I have fallen in love with the Occupy Movement. I was at Occupy Wall Street since day one, travelled to Occupy Oakland for their epic general strike and just returned from Spain, where I was filming with the Indignados, Egypt, where I was covering Tahrir Square and the Egyptian Revolution, and Occupy London. I was looking at the roots of the movement, tracing it back from the European summer, to the Arab Spring, and looking at where the movement has evolved. The film is now called “Occupy Love.” The original project, Evolve Love, may come out after, or will be integrated into this movie. Two years ago I asked writer Naomi Klein, “how could the crisis we are facing on the planet become a love story?” And she laughed, and said that her and I do the opposite – she points out how bad things are and I look for the love. Last week I saw her at an action and she gave me a big hug and said, “history has re-arranged itself to prove your thesis.”
The Occupy Movement, and the much bigger, and deeper global spirit of transformation from which it arises, is the love story I have been looking for, all my life. In Fierce Light I reference Paul Hawken, who in his book “Blessed Unrest”, talks about a global movement of movements that is emerging all over the world, what he calls “humanities immune response to a planet in crisis”, the largest movement in history. And the remarkable thing about that movement is that it is self organizing, and it didn’t even know that it existed. The Arab Spring, The European Summer, and now the Occupy Movement, is that movement standing up, looking around, and discovering itself. And right now, this is the greatest love story on earth. This movement is rooted in interdependence, and is the opposite of the selfish, lifeless, dog eat dog eat dog world promoted through the vast capital of the corporations. We need to do everything we can to nurture this evolving movement, our ever evolving global society, and keep it moving always in the direction of love, in the direction of life. Love is the movement. We are the 100%
Occupy Love has just launched an IndieGoGo campaign to help fund the completion of the film. This is a commmunity funded film – if we are to get it made, we need your help. Please support us if you can, or help out by sharing the link. Thanks!
Velcrow Ripper is an award-winning filmmaker with dozens of films and videos under his belt, including Scared Sacred, winner of the 2005 Genie (Canadian Academy Award) for best feature documentary, and Special Jury Prize at the Toronto International Film Festival. Bones of the Forest, his 1995 environmental medittion, won nine major film awards, including a Genie and best of the festival at Hot Docs. Ripper’s latest film is Fierce Light: When Spirit Meets Action. This award winning feature doc’s message of hope and change is delivered via magnificent visuals. He is currently shooting “Occupy Love” a feature documentary which chronicles the heart of the Occupy movement, and beyond.
This interview with Occupy Love director, Velcrow Ripper, was done by the folks at Alive Mind Cinema, the U.S. distributor of Ripper’s award winning feature doc, FIERCE LIGHT: When Spirit Meets Action. The original interview can be found here.