Manifesto to Join the Living

by Gretchen Mead
Executive Director

Refuse the air conditioner. The stale air, with monotone noise buzzing over your thoughts. Turn it off.

Shut the screen. Slam it down so you may walk outside barefoot and step on a thistle if you damn well please.

When you meet an acquaintance at a party, kiss their cheek for longer than you feel comfortable. They will be your friend.

Laugh hysterically at a child’s bad joke.  It’s funny to them.

Don’t take credit for hitting a triple if you were born on third base.

Never take your cell phone in the garden or talk about TV at the dinner table.

Stop thinking long enough to arouse curiosity.

Let the heat make you bold and the cold make you strong.

Learn the phase of the moon, then skinny-dip in its glory.

If you are suffering from inaction, bring its voice to the forefront of your mind so you can hear it.

While eating cheese, contemplate on its liquid origins and process of decay.

Hang things on your walls only if there is a story to tell about them.

Hold the skin of a sweating baby against your chest.

Succumb to seasonality.

Refuse bureaucracy as your master.

Leverage action to cause more action.

Love the aging more than the ageless or risk sacrificing yourself to loneliness.

Keep a crock of sauerkraut in your basement and eat it by the handful when it’s crunchy, then sour, then soft.

Don’t go on vacation to escape from your life.

Shop only monthly and with purpose.

Have a sing-a-long. And a dance party. At your house.

Let your compost grow rich with bugs and microbes and if the mice come to take over, fight for it with your own urine.

Borrow stuff from your neighbors.

Know the artist. Look at her hands—and how many times she pricked her finger to make that stitch.

If the man who fixes your toilet has a broken back, recognize that he aches to fix your problem.

Commune with your chakras to know what your favorite color is. Subvert the marketing machine.

Have one glass of wine with dinner. Sip it.  Stop then, so when your friend confesses his pain, you can feel it.

Imagine your body rotting into a thousand millions bits and turning into a zucchini.  Eat it with friends.

Recognize the mainstream, then flow aslant to shore until you can stand on your own two feet.

Encourage something to grow wild. Your yard, your kids, your hair.

Decide what is sacred and makes it so.

Don’t believe in the United States of Economy.  If you are losing your way, go to the Lake at sunrise and eat only from your garden for one week straight.

Go to the Lake.

Eat from the garden.

Join the living.

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4 Responses to Manifesto to Join the Living

  1. Dennis Grzezinski says:

    Better watch out, Gretchen; you’re going to get people to think, and we all know how much trouble results when people think. . .

  2. Terry Murphy says:

    Reading your post left my head clear and my body feeling like I had just meditated — thank you Gretchen for your inspiration and originality!

  3. Jeannie Rufflo says:

    Love. Love. Love.
    I can honestly say everything on my walls has a story:)
    Thanks, neighbor!

  4. Natalie Jane says:

    This is really great! I loved this. Maybe Victory Garden Initiative should think about getting published to a literary magazine. 😉 This feels like prose.

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