A normal self-reflective essay would begin with something poignant and ethereal, something to ponder and set the mood for the story to come, but I will not do that here. Instead, I will give a brief synopsis of where I came from, where I am. Every self-reflective story is unique (just like our rifles in the Marines) and this one is mine.
When I start to write, it is often directed to myself as much as anyone here. I do not start with an outline, nor do I really know what experiences and perspectives will fill these pages. Just as a maker does not know what he is creating when he starts, they can make an mental approximation based on past experiences, but it is just as much about his perspective, the distilled essense of their character, mood, and the kernels of truth that are garnered from all then knowledge and experiences have accrued over their lifetime. This, combined with the ego, and the core character traits tell a story that is beautifully flawed in that is not of neutral point of view, but an intimate look at at who I really am, who I want to make myself into, and why I have arrived at the path before me, and that path is to help the poor, the disenfranchised, and the But in order to do that, you, the reader, need to understand some things about me.
I believe that to put the good of the whole over the good of the individual is paramount. I also believe that when you do good for others, other will reciprocate in kind. It is this drive to reciprocate that brought me here, to tell you about what I am doing.
I am giving. If you need something I have, I will give it to you. I do this because so many people, many of whom will read this, have given so much to me. It is for this reason that from this point forward, 20% of what i make will go to charities including, but not limited to, Corporate Accountability International, Veterans of Foreign Wars, USO, the New Beginning Center, a charity that gives victims of domestic violence, Broken Sidewalk Farm, some notable guys down in Austin that are helping the homeless to feed themselves in a very dynamic way,Whittemore Peterson Institute for Neuroimmune Disease, a group of people that know just how serious Myalgic Encephalomyelitis can be, and are doing everything they can to help the millions of people around the wold that have this illness, and to Open Source Ecology, a transcendent group of individuals that want to see that the people can ultimately build the infrastructure to start a microcivilisation, that I feel is a great model for ultimate self-reliance, empowerment, and a more perfect form of democracy, free from the collective influences of the entrenched powers that put profits above any sort of societal value.
I first would like to acknowledge my father, Don Clark who taught me so much, a lot of good practical skills and a strong work ethic and passion for one's own self-determined tasks, and equally for the lessons I garnered when working with him about how to overcome adversity and also what does not work in starting a business, what might work, and finally, what will work. My dad is a true maker, and while he may have some flaws, just like everyone reading (and writing!) this perspectus, it is our collective flaws that make us interesting and dynamic people.
I have been a man shipwrecked on an island, but I am building a boat with the pieces of driftwood that come my way. I have had Myalgic Encephalomyelitis for the last 3 and a half years. Anyone that does not believe that M.E. is a serious illness, I would, if I could, challenge them to endure it for a few days, to get a perspective about how tough it really is to deal with. My awesome roommates and friends, Lamont Dickson, Shane Turner, Martha Wyers, Kathryn Hemmrick, Keith Thokey, and many others that have been pivotal to helping me to recover and being there to support me when I am ill or doing well, they have been giving, have always looked out for me, and have spurred me into motion when I was at a standstill. I owe you guys my life, and will always consider you family, and I want you all to know that without each of you, coming this far in my recovery would have been nigh impossible. My time in the Locust House has been amazing, even though at times it was tough, but we all came out the better for it, and I for one can say it has been a transformative experience, and for this, I thank each of you with as much gratitude I can feel.
To my mom, I am forever in your debt. You have endured so much adversity and have overcome it and then were instrumental in your help to get me better. Without your patience, and gentle nudging and other support you have given me, I don't have any clue what would have happened to me. You have seen me at my worst and my best, and I want to continue to show you that I can overcome anything with enough time and will to do the work that is needed to be done.
To Jordan, who works as hard as she can and does everything she can to support her family, and sacrifices so much daily, working away from home that takes her away from her true loves, photography, being with her husband, and talking to Dad on the phone every morning. You are an example of self sacrifice, and you should always be proud of that. Your resolve, discipline, and perseverance are a credit to you.
To everyone one that is reading this, the above is a shining example of the fact that It is through collaboration that we can overcome our collective flaws and accomplish something truly extraordinary, and now I feel like I can make a mark on society, and overcome all the obstacles in my path, thanks to all of you. Thank you so very much. With all of you're support, each one of you, as well as others, have helped me see the the big picture, and with a bit more help, I know that I can persevere, like I always have, and build the boat that will bear me to my destination.
I am prepared. Having M.E. was a road I did not have a choice in taking, but like other unexpected events, if you can recover from it, you come out better than you were before. I started this journey while still in the ironclad grip of M.E., and only having a computer as access to the world at large, I began to chart my path in life. I knew that I wanted to do something sustainable, good for the world at large, and knowing how to build computers, I decided to start developing the most environmentally-friendly computers I could. Over time my ability to control my symptoms changed, as did the scope of my goals. It is during this time that I started developing plans for a carbon-neutral web hosting business, and a cooperative of sustainable businesses working together for the common good, not for the bottom line.
It was only a few weeks after I mentally developed this business concept that I came across Dr. Jakubowski’s TEDtalk about Open Source Ecology. I was instantly hooked. This was a group of people already doing what I had only been beginning to conceptualize. I knew within the hour that this was the work that I wanted to do for the rest of my life. And here I am, at the foot of the trail that leads to the top of my personal mountain.
I started this journey by asking myself if was capable of contributing more than I am now to Society, and the answer is yes; and, I suspect, the answer is yes for all of you as well. I devoted all of my being to make this possible up until now, and now it is my turn to ask each of you can make me into an instrument for good again; not for my own gains, but for the betterment of Open Source Ecology and the world at large. Open Source Ecology has a karmic oath of three. What this oath means is that what people have done to you, do thrice to others. I intend to meet this goal and exceed it...vastly. So now I ask everyone reading this, please help me with the tools I need for this journey, so that I may pay it forward many times over. I have accumulated a list of items that will allow me to the the most productive I can be, and accomplish my mission of organizing OSE’s logistics, and conduct geological evaluations of the land, to ensure the utmost in safety for these pioneering individuals so that their needs are met so they can continue to do the good work that they are doing, and that work will someday help the starving masses in the 3rd and 4th world, and, I believe with all sincerity, change the entire world. So don’t help me, help me help these intrepid individuals that are doing the greatest work a human being can do, toiling long hours in tough conditions so that some nameless child, not even born yet, can bear the fruits of our labor and have the kind of life we all take for granted. It is only when we engage these disenfranchised people in a positive way, that we improve Humanity as a whole, and truly understand what it is to be human.
So, what is the Ecophoenix Roost anyway? Well, this is where I will be talking about what I am doing with OSE at Factor e Farm. After all, I don’t expect you to donate to this and have no idea what it is being used for or why. And even though what I’m doing might not be into what you want to do, I’m sure that in some of the insights I share here will be of value to you. So drop in, see what I am up to, and a few words of encouragement would never hurt. :) So, for now I bid you adieu, and invite you to make a contribution that will keep on giving. Thank you all.
Interested in learning more about OSE? Visit www.opensourceecology.org to watch videos, participate in the IRC chat, or contribute to the wiki with your ideas!
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