Hey, All - here's a copy/paste reply to someone who asked how we were going to use Mindful Occupation/community mutual aid in relation to Occupy Asheville and beyond, what the focus was going to be, etc.
"It has been a beastly busy week and things are falling by the wayside here and there. The past couple nights, I've planned to stay up late and catch up and then I've fallen asleep. Ah, well...it does all eventually get done.
As for AVL and Mindful Occupation, yeah - peer support, but more specifically collective mutual aid for activism and working together...a space to check ourselves on communication, perspective, and process frustration/activist angst/negativity - as those factors play hugely into activism fatigue and really seem to hinder our effectiveness re: outreach and successful collaboration with other groups.
So, it's not peer support in the traditional sense of people who identify as having lived experience with madness/extreme states/the mental health system supporting other people who similarly identify re: topics and issues around managing our wellness/experiences in ways that work for us, but it is definitely peer support.
I did a lot of one-one with the direct occupation here, and still do a lot of one-one with people in the movement, and my goal in doing so was/is not only to support the individual - but also to support their participation in activism and to try to help support a more broad ethos of community mutual aid...in the effort to erode some of the divisive, destructive and counterproductive stances that we sometimes take when under ego/emo duress/not having our needs met/in conflict - as those reactions are typically system/trauma-driven and system/trauma-reinforcing...dis-liberating.
Mental health plays a huge part in collective function, as we all got stuffs and we are all learning/un-learning and that can be intense.
I am really interested helping people to find ways to sustain vitality in their activism and to find ways to participate that work for them within the context of who they are what's going on their lives, heads, and hearts.
So, yeah, definitely peer support, but more broad activist community-oriented, than individual-oriented.
However, recognizing that many people need peer support on a more individual level and might not be keen on collaborative processing, I hope that we'll be able to strengthen some of the one-one support networks here and help folks to identify additional resources to meet their needs.
Also, I do a mutual aid/support group at a community safe-space called BeLoved (they're amazing) and a lot of the folks who use that resource are actively/chronically houseless and have some pretty huge barriers to wellness/liberation. The M/O info. about how to collectively cope with being outdoors and police vulnerable is really useful and could strengthen the efforts to organize among the houseless. Some folks are trying to get an ACLU case going against the APD, for the routine human rights/civil liberties violations against the homeless here. It's been pretty ugly for a while.
That pretty much sums up the aim of M/O in AVL. I'm in the process of making a spiffy banner and am going to have an outreach/inreach table at the park-party next weekend. So far, it's been a good organizing experience.
After the direct occupation broke up, in mid-February and they changed the GA schedule, I really minimized my face-time with Occupy - I still kept in touch, showed up at May Day for a minute in solidarity, shared info. with them and let a couple people stay in my spare room for a bit...but, I wasn't really engaged with Occupy for a while. M/O has offered me a way to re-participate in/more effectively support the movement and that's awesome.
Mad Love and thanks again for follow-up,
No child on this earth was ever meant to be ordinary - a. dillard