Geez magazine's De-Motorize Your Soul Campaign

Geez magazine's De-Motorize Your Soul Campaign

As a professional communicator I have long been a fan of Adbusters magazine and publisher Kalle Lasn. They helped me stoke and maintain my more subversive nature in a sometimes stifling environment – and helped me always hold out hope that someday I could “use my powers for good.” But it was only recently that I became aware of the related publication/movement Geez magazine. Geez promotes “holy mischief in an age of fast faith.” They are, simply, Adbusters for Jesus freaks. I am liking them.

I just came across an idea, a program, a clarion call that Geez sent out several years ago but still rings true and is an idea whose time has not only come but is still aching for more support. Well, actually, the idea may not be aching for support but the earth is certainly aching for more humans to live out the idea.

The campaign is this: De-Motorize Your Soul. It blends many of my fave topics into one non-fossil-fuel-powered ball of slow-rolling goodness: God, sustainability and a powerful idea. It essentially calls us to move past oil and the ways it speeds up our lives (and the demise of our planet). The De-Motorize Your Soul campaign “frames the move away from oil as a practical experiment and an irresistible spiritual adventure.”

They’ve got a great list of spiritual exercises that include challenges like this:

– Take your soul off the road – go without motorized transportation for a day or more a week.

– Each time you walk out your front door pray: “Grant me the grace to go slow.”

In our home we’ve been trying our best to live post-car, post-oil for some time now (no small feat in Texas) and it has had a profound impact on us physically and spiritually. We’re not “there” yet, as it is a journey (like faith, like sustainability), but we’re on the path. As soon as you do not assume that you must go as fast and far as the rest of the modern world you start to prioritize things very differently, experience things in new ways, feel things more fully – and really understand how hard it is to extract yourself from dominant culture. It offers a perspective that can only be gained by self-imposing some outsider status on yourself – not a yoke many people take on willingly.

So, think about what you can do to De-Motorize Your Soul and feel the changes coming on. Every bit of the ride will not be smooth or pleasant but it will be fulfilling and it will bring you closer to God (though I have yet to find a map for that, exactly) through “irresistible spiritual adventure” and that makes it all worthwhile.

Album cover of the Bob Ezrin-produced KISS "Destroyer"

Album cover of the Bob Ezrin-produced KISS "Destroyer"

I was in a band for a long time and still write songs, so many of my heroes are in the music business. One of the people I have always admired has been Bob Ezrin. He’s worked with some of my favorite artists of all time: KISS, Peter Gabriel, Pink Floyd, U2, Green Day and many, many more.

I started paying attention to him because when I was young his name kept popping up as I read LP liner notes around the turntable my brothers and I shared. KISS’s Destroyer in 1976? Produced by Bob Ezrin. Peter Gabriel’s first solo album in 1977? Produced by Bob Ezrin. Pink Floyd’s The Wall in 1979? Produced by Bob Ezrin. That alone would be enough to cement his legacy as someone who could channel and nurture the creative process, but in addition to those 3 albums he produced dozens of others, helped found several important musician-related nonprofits and continues to innovate in this field.

He spoke last year at one of the music industry’s biggest global conferences, MIDEM, about music and the creative process. The video of part of his appearance is only about 8 minutes long and worth a look whether you make music or paintings or socks or pre-fab sheds because his bottom line is this: creativity comes first and you should never devalue the stuff you make by calling it “content.”

In this blog I often write about where spirituality and creativity meet. Where does Bob Ezrin find his spirituality during the creative process? In the “HOLY SHIT” moment when a “deep visceral reaction” lets him know something very special and very much worth capturing is happening. To that I say “Amen!”

(special thanks to my brother Paul for sharing this video with me)

An Adbusters "One Flag Competition" entry from Rory Brady of London.

An Adbusters "One Flag Competition" entry from Rory Brady of London.

Here’s another clearly subversive yet wholly inclusive idea from Adbusters: design a flag that represents global citizenship. The “One Flag Competition” combines individual creativity with global community to powerful effect. Here’s the call to action:

“We invite you to create a flag – free from language and well-worn clichés – that embodies the idea of global citizenship. A symbol that triggers pride and cohesion, whether worn on a backpack, displayed on a door, or flown on a flagpole. A symbol for anyone to declare membership in a growing and vital human cooperative. We invite you to prove that design has a real role to play in the fate of our world.”

I’ve looked through the flags and voted. It was a tough choice as they are all provocative and compelling. Looking through the gallery made me long for a global flag that would fly over us all, reminding us to pledge allegiance to our fellow humans, our fellow creatures, our glorious ecosystems, our potential evolution here together – and to stop kneeling before economies, military might, and the trappings of empire. Go vote and be inspired!

I could recommend TED Talks all day long and someday I might. For the time being I will recommend a new 2009 TED Talk by writer Elizabeth Gilbert. Their synopsis is perfect: “Elizabeth Gilbert muses on the impossible things we expect from artists and geniuses – and shares the radical idea that, instead of the rare person ‘being’ a genius, all of us ‘have’ a genius. It’s a funny, personal and surprisingly moving talk.”

Essentially, this is an excellent perspective on the creative process that I appreciated, especially for its recognition of the divine and the role of something bigger, better and brighter beyond us that wants us to create, that tickles us, that runs us over, that loves us – but is not us.