During Trauma, Crisis, and Times of Transition, Love is Essential

I was hesitant to write some of my thoughts during this time of change and transition due to the Coronavirus. The main reason is because it seemed odd to me to offer my metaphysical musings at a time when people are looking for physical solutions: Food. Economic resources. Material comfort and the like. But I realize there is no time like the present to focus on what is important to us.

Finally, more people, including our mayors and governors are asking, what is essential to human culture and life? What are things or activities we can do without? Maybe in this way we can begin to live simpler and more sustainable lifestyles.

At the micro level we can ask the same questions. What is important to me? What gives my life meaning, joy, and strength and vitality? And when we find the answer, we can then find the courage to make sure that we commit to those things. For what gives us joy is a gift not only to ourselves but also to the world. Without these gifts being let to shine, we are left collectively poorer and wanting.

In my own life, I’ve found that love is essential. But I also understand that during trauma and crisis and times of transition it can be very hard to remember that love is essential. That joy is essential. That a smile is essential. That creativity is essential. The teacher said that ‘we can not live by bread alone.’ That means that there is an intangible nature to life. A spiritual nature. You can’t name it, but you know it when you experience it.

Trauma and crisis and transition bring our focus rightly to the material, but life is not only trauma and crisis and transition. The teacher has something to say about this as well when he offers ‘that he came to give us life and life more abundantly.’ The abundant life is a full life. Life in all its fecundity. Flourishing life. Life that beams in all seasons and at all times so that during the harvest we sing songs of triumph and during a drought we shout the blues.

I also understand that this time of adversity will affect our emotional and mental and spiritual well being. For some, it will be exasperating, one more inconvenience and difficulty and chaotic event thrust upon their already overwhelmed life.

For others, it will be like the Polish tale of the Rabbi who advises the farmer to bring his livestock into his home even as the farmer complains that his home is chaotic and devoid of peace and quiet. Many of us, like the farmer in that tale, may experience a moment of liberation when we realize that the majority of our complaints, in the grand scheme of things, are of little consequence.

The majority of us, however, will find ourselves somewhere in the middle. And the blessing of this state is that we will realize that we are a part of a vast continuum, with stress and anxiety on the one end, and liberation at the other. And with our eyes open to this reality we may find that we are a part of an expansive and infinite world full of possibilities. May we all, especially at this time of challenge, experience the greatest of these possibilities.

(This article was first published in The Weekly Oracle)

K.K.

Alan Keving Walton King is one of a growing number of Love Performers who finds creative ways to add love to his life and, in doing so, helps us to remember that love never fails. King is also the author and mind behind The Weekly Oracle, where he is an “oracle for the people – what is substantive, what matters, the heart, the core [of] what is important, what touches us deeply, out of which we come into being, and through which the world is created.”

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J.T. Endorses LAUSD’s Request for Collaboration with Verizon to Support Students in Case of School Closures

“March 9, 2020

Hans Vestberg
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
Verizon Communications
1095 Avenue of the Americas
New York, New York 10036

Dear Mr. Vestberg:

Los Angeles Unified serves the needs of almost 700,000 students who live in communities spread across 700 square miles. About 80% of students are from families living in poverty. 73% of students are Latino and 8% are African American. We serve students and families with high needs.

As we plan for a potential occurrence of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) in our schools, we are taking steps to ensure students can continue to learn from home in the event of extended school closures. At the core of this will be online instruction using a digital device connected to the internet. Unfortunately, about 25% of our students — 125,000 children — have neither a device on which to learn nor the ability to connect to the internet outside of school.

We would like to discuss with Verizon a plan to support our students by providing internet access to those who may not otherwise have access to learning.

We hope Verizon will consider working with us on this. I will call your office to follow up.

Austin Beutner”

J.T.

40 Cuentos become 25

It’s with great pleasure to announce that yours truly has achieved the first 15 sales of the new LOS CUENTOS hoodies by J.T!

I want to thank the community of friends who’ve supported me in turning this dream into a lived experience. It is going a long way!

And as I show up to these friends’ places to drop off Los Hoodies, I wonder just how much I might resemble the myriad of street vendors out in Los Angeles; the fruit-cutters, the tamaleros and tamaleras, and always, my mama with her revistas for the community, all of whom I’ve sough to honor with this blog, and all of whom I’m still just paying an ode to with this latest venture.

It’s an honor to be in their company.

Now, I’ve got 25 more of these hoodies to get out there. What do you say, L.A.? Are we looking like we’re up for the challenge?

But we’ve got more to show you!

J.T.

Calling All Bloggers, Writers, Storytellers: Publish Your Voice on Jimbo Times: The L.A. Storyteller

It’s true.

“After five years of JIMBO TIMES: The L.A. Storyteller, it’s time to make space on the blog for more voices and stories from communities in Los Angeles and beyond. Enter the new Submissions feature. To maintain and expand the blog’s love for city life and attention to its working class communities, here are the types of pieces writers everywhere are encouraged to submit…”

I’m very proud of this latest milestone for the site, and thereby look forward to seeing what types of stories we’ll be getting out there! Visit the new SUBMISSIONS page soon to go and see for yourself!

J.T.

Invest in Los Cuentos Snapbacks. Why?

To support Los Cuentos is to support a vision for the city of Los Angeles with a small nod or tip of the hat. In the beginning, ‘Los Cuentos‘ was just a motivational phrase for yours truly, something to push me towards seeking and appreciating ‘The Stories‘ that come with living in The City. It was also based off the blog, the full title of which is JIMBO TIMES: The L.A. Storyteller. Then came the clouds.

In the same way that the bubbly wandering epaluettes of the sky can appear from nowhere to draw our attention, the clouds for Los Cuentos symbolize the importance of mystery in our lives and imagining something different than what our immediate surroundings might offer. They also remind me of the far away places my people came from even before they became the ethnic and working-class communities highlighted throughout this blog. 

This is why the Los Cuentos Snap is just the right fit. The mission of my work over the last five years with JIMBO TIMES: The L.A. Storyteller has been to highlight and celebrate the magical and far-reaching ways of so many of our people out here. Now, with this hat, I can invite the rest of the world to celebrate their magic with me. So, pick up your first Los Cuentos Snapback, or support one for a student, and together we’ll nod to this great city in style.

J.T.

Picking Life Back up in East Hollywood, Rising Once Again

KL for Who Is Your Neighborhood, LACC; October 12, 2019

Arriving to the Los Angeles City College campus this past weekend was no simple task after a range of emotions in the wake of another tragic loss for the Virgil Village community, this one even closer to home.

But as our communities have done for generations atop the barren concrete of Los Angeles, we pulled our spirits up from within to will one foot in front of the other, and to travail through just enough distance to reach the college’s brilliant quad.

What we saw then was nothing less than reaffirming of this mission. Underneath a quilt of loving daylight the quad bustled with life, filled by people from all over Los Angeles and throughout the world who like us, were also seeking to make the most of their time in the environment around them as they made their way to our table, and to the next, and on, it all rushed back into clarity again:

Despite a world that will continue turning with or without our efforts, we’ve got to continue pushing for stronger communities in our neighborhood, for better youth and education programs here, for holistic support of the most vulnerable among us instead of their out-casting, and more. Because the future yearns for it. Because we want that future. And because we know we deserve the opportunity to create it for ourselves as much as anyone else.

J.T.

Join Who Is Your Neighborhood at LACC this Saturday, October 12, 2019

That’s right! Los Angeles City College is celebrating the College’s 90th Anniversary in East Hollywood with quite the event: a Community Resource Day this Saturday from 10 AM – 2 PM on the College Campus.

Naturally, the team behind Back 2 School and I have got to be a part of the special day. So we’ll be staffing a table at the event, where we’ll be talking with visitors about our annual Back 2 School Party, our local Neighborhood Survey, and more ways to get involved with our ongoing efforts to uplift this side of Los Angeles. We’ll also be debuting our brand new banner, courtesy of The Think Farm. Come enjoy the festivities with us!

J.T.

Have You Kept Up? EPISODE 5 is In

I remember the moment this past Spring that it became clear it was time to publish a Podcast for J.T. The L.A. Storyteller, when Ed and I sat down at good ole Cahuenga Library for a special workshop on the whys and how-tos. As we thought about the possibilities with throwing our own hats into the podcasting scene, we looked back on everything leading up to that point: we had POC Today behind us, along with the completion of our first-ever Back to School Party, and not one but two (2) Open Mics at Cahuenga as well. Considering the podcast ahead, then, Ed and I could trust in one thing: we had a strong track record together, making some qualitative work ahead of us only that much likelier. Now, in our fifth episode, Ed and I continue thinking BIG for Los Angeles. Please join us by tuning in HERE. And if you like what you hear, please write us a review to tell others how so!

J.T.

Subscribe to J.T. The L.A. Storyteller

That’s right! As our work in Los Angeles continues making waves, it’s important for yours truly to take the site’s organization and contact information to the next level. Enter the brand-new Subscription list for JIMBO TIMES: The L.A. Storyteller, now open to all readers and visitors to the site.

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Tune In to the 3rd Episode of J.T. The L.A. Storyteller Podcast

Yes, you read that right! Episode 3 is in. Tune in to hear all about how our event turned out, as well as more about the history that inspired BTS 2! Find the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and SoundCloud.

J.T.