Follow by Email

Translate

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Dispelling Rumors

I guess today I can't do my usual bragging about how healthy living moneyless makes me. I got a nasty cold, & so did Cody. I am house-sitting (yes, people ask me to house-sit; I never ask for house-sitting or seek it out). On the one hand, it's nice to be in a warm house when I am sick. But, on the other hand, honestly, it's only when I stay in houses that I get sick. With the exception of having gotten bronchial infection at a couple Rainbow gatherings a few years ago, I simply don't get sick when I'm living out-doors, even in freezing winter.
=================================================================
Media Myths About Me

I want to blog about other things. But since there are several myths about me spreading around the media, I am reluctantly writing the following:
=================================================================
I am learning how media works, & how the public & journalists often take what is published as infallible gospel, and how much rumor is spread without investigating the source.
=================================================================
Firstly, I must say I felt very respected & honored by all the journalists who have interviewed me, & the inaccuracies they reported could probably be due to my being unclear. Journalism is like painting. The painter can't possibly do a perfect representation, but creates artistic interpretation.
=================================================================

Here are the myths:
=================================================================
Myth: I have a master's degree in accounting & anthropology.
Fact: I have never studied accounting & have only a bachelor's degree in anthropology (not that degrees really mean anything). I have no clue where it came from that I have a degree in accounting! I don't put much stock in degrees or titles. I learned way more outside school.
=================================================================
False: I started living moneyless after my fishing trip with my friend Ray, after which I lived off the land in Alaska & then hitch-hiked back to Utah.
True: I started living moneyless years before working on Ray's Alaskan fishing boat. I went to Alaska 2 separate times. The first time was 2 years before I gave up money, and the second time was in the summer of 2007 (recorded in this blog), when I worked a summer without money on Ray's fishing boat. On both trips I ended up living off the land in Alaska. But on the 2nd trip I flew back, paid for by Ray. On the 2nd trip, I often felt I compromised my path, because I was supporting a money-chasing industry that exploits living things, & because I accepted the airline ticket. The experience was invaluable, though. I'm pretty unclear when I talk of chronology, which may have confused the reporter who wrote about me, & both my Alaska trips melded into one.
==================================================================

False: I was a sadhu in India and a Buddhist monk in Thailand.
True: I was never a sadhu in India, but only observed sadhus & considered becoming one. I was never a Buddhist monk. I only stayed & meditated for a month in a Thai monastery. I also stayed at a Zen monastery in the US for a while.

==================================================================
Maybe Either True or False: I don't work.
I say this because it is no body's business to judge whether or not I work, and it is not my business to tell! Perhaps when I say the whole point of this lifestyle philosophy is to "freely give, freely receive," I am lying or being a con. Perhaps not. The point of this path is to relinquish credit for work, as is proscribed in the Gospels, the Bhagavad Gita, the Tao Te Ching, the Buddhist sutras, & the Quran. This means doing service in secret. Credit is money. Credit is praise. If I do service work & advertise it, my living moneyless is in vain. I may be a lazy bum who does nothing, or maybe I'm not. It's not for me to say & it's not for you to judge.
=================================================================
Let me let folks in on a secret: life becomes splendidly beautiful when we stop judging (speaking assumption as fact), when we stop worrying about whether or not somebody we have never met might or might not be contributing work, and we do our own work and mind our own business!
=================================================================
True & False: I live in isolation.
True: Sometimes I do, sometimes I don't. I feel deep down it's unhealthy for anybody to not have solitary time; and it's also unhealthy for anybody not to have social interaction. Both must be in balance. Why is it that because my part-time home is walled by stone rather than sheetrock, this somehow makes me a permanent isolate?
==================================================================
A reason I live this way is to eschew the utter isolation of American suburbia, where people don't even know who their neighbors are! If spending all day in front of a computer or TV & having interaction only through gadgets & windows (car, teller, digital screens) is not isolation, what is? This lifestyle actually puts me into a position of not being able to hide my dependency on people. I must mingle with people. I can't pretend that I am "self-sufficient." There is no such thing as a self-sufficient life form, or even particle, in the entire universe.
==================================================================
Okay, this is really minor, & it's kind of silly I even have to bring it up - but folks love to capitalize on it for some reason:
False: My cave smells like patchouli (Denver Post article). My cave smells like I've lived there for years (Details article).
True: I've never used patchouli ever in my life - not that I have anything against patchouli. And I don't have anything against balanced, natural body odor. Either my candles or my citronella incense must smell like patchouli. The cave's vicinity sometimes smells of pack rat waste, since there are pack rats living in crevices above & near the cave. Having traveled, I hadn't stayed in that cave for months when I brought the Details reporter there. The Denver Post reporter says he didn't detect any bad odors on either me or in the cave - just the "patchouli" scent, while I myself noticed the packrat smell). I'm a clean-freak, like a cat, & I transport my urine & bury my shit & compost way away from the cave. And I bathe constantly in the creek, though I do not use soap (because it is a pollutant), though I scrub with sand. I constantly wash my clothes, too, by placing them in the creek overnight with rocks. Though these are minor issues, they are based on stereotypes. Perfect strangers I've never met, even on the other side of the world, have become experts in my hygiene! Then, again, maybe I reek so badly that my body odor wafts to New York & even to Europe!
=================================================================

There are lots of other myths floating around the media, but these are most common now.

=================================================================

Again & again, I keep recommending people read the FAQ in my website before making assumptions. I've tried in recent years to make my life as much an open book as possible, & to make investigating the facts about it as easy as possible. But folks still assume & insist on stating their assumptions as fact.

==================================================================

Hopefully I can get back to some real blogging now.