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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Happy New Year! From Los Angeles

It’s a gift as precious as daylight to be able to greet the readers of JIMBO TIMES at the brink of a new year again. In the days following last Summer’s Back to School event, and the subsequent campaign to save Super Pan, my hands found themselves clinched before the magnitude of a host of other challenges and adventures through The City. Amid all of the bobbing and weaving to get to the next round with these latest travails, J.T. needed to be placed on hold, but at no point did the pages actually leave my sight.

In fact, The L.A. Storyteller has only gotten better organized. For example, readers can now visit the Poetry page for odes to The City in verse from yours truly. Or, they can visit the Events page for a list of gatherings featuring JIMBO TIMES and other friends over the last few years. There’s still more to do to bridge all the website’s material into one synchronized organ, but what I’ve learned through my time administrating for the website is that it’s a constant updating process.

I’ve also found that writing is a challenging, time-staking sequence of events that requires sums of energy and also one that takes a certain process of maturing in order for the clearest voice to break through. It’s mind-boggling to think of just how much of the world is actually made up in this way, that is, with so much effort from the ground up, day by day, one footstep after another. I look to continue writing the pages of JIMBO TIMES as such.

I read once that your heart is a muscle the size of a fist. Therefore, to clench my hands as extensions of that muscle before the gravity of a new world is to brace myself for the extension of life itself; to fight to keep what small body I have before its long shadow alive. The body of JIMBO TIMES.

And so I join the timeless fight for survival that I sprung from myself one day; a fight taking place all across The City but also beyond it, amid all of the places I’ve been to as well and many more I’ve yet to see; a world made up of peers, predecessors, successors and more alike, all of whom turn Los Angeles into Los Cuentos.

So let’s keep the momentum. And let’s keep it magnanimous, LOS.

J.T.



Meet these L.A. Stalwarts at our Back to School Party this August 25th,

Together anything is possible. Every bit of support counts!

J.T.

Housing, Climate Change, California

Los Angeles Shine, California
Los Angeles Sunshine, California

Most Angelenos today can see that we’re at an historic juncture with the city, as housing is at the forefront of social issues facing Los Angeles and the whole state of California. I can appreciate my personal position within the dynamic: I’m 27 years old and still living at home with my mom, where the two of us halve the rent in a rent-controlled unit within an area that’s only recently been dubbed as “East Hollywood.”

The situation is precarious; like many Angelenos, my mother immigrated to the United States from Mexico in the 1980s with virtually no wealth in assets, and although in a few years she’ll be able to claim social security benefits and plans to apply for housing assistance based on her income, she also understands that there is virtually no guarantee she’ll be able to secure anything.

She is one of millions of recently migrated Angelenos whose future is not exactly accounted for, and I’m one of a generation of millennials whose opportunity to build a home as it’s traditionally thought of is at an historic low. The question is obvious, then: where are people like my mother and I going, exactly? And in the case of a disaster, how could people in such circumstances possibly survive?

At the same time, during the past year the state’s wildfires and subsequent mudslide tragedies showed any Californians reading their papers how the fiscal and logistical burdens placed on the state by more extreme weather patterns are only growing dramatically in cost, size, and frequency alike. The events also revealed how regardless of where people fall on the income ladder, the state is largely under-prepared to help.

So then, where are the people of California going? One way or another, we’ve got to find out. Then we’ve got to share that information, and move. The rest is Jimbo Times.

J.T.

Rock Steady Los Angeles

It’s 10:40 pm on a Thursday night, and I didn’t make it to the night’s writing circle, instead finding myself splattered in bed after a gracious nap which my body apparently needed. I woke up and rolled over to read a text from Brit, who said her favorite picture from the other night was the one I took of the Wiltern’s display menu, which on the night that I photographed it was featuring Kendrick Lamar, who was performing at the venue that very evening.

Brit then asked me what my favorite picture was. I rubbed my eyes for a second, and took a look at the pictures on J.T. I texted her back saying that my favorite was the first one, which was a photo of a mother and her son as they walked holding hands through the dimly lit streets of Koreatown.

The truth though, is that the whole series was my favorite. I went through about 178 photos to get to the 12 that I’d publish, which itself took hours of sorting long after the shoot, and when I finally selected the dozen, I edited each photo into the night, even as I knew I’d lose sleep for the next day’s work schedule.

Less sleep was worth it; it was a matter of survival: JIMBO TIMES’s survival, man.

As the month has passed and the year comes to an end, it’s become more difficult to devote and honor time to J.T.

If I’m not working, I’m eating after another day at work, and if I’m not eating, I’m lying on the floor somewhere, taking it all in. On the few days I get to myself, I fight for my art — for J.T., but it’s an incredibly demanding fight, and there are a million and one reasons to give it up and kick it to the curb.

The honeymoon phase is over, after all; people have heard of J.T., ‘liked’ it, and moved on. And I’ve moved on as well, in my own way.

It’s not like last year when I was fresh out of college, and when I was just looking for a new foundation to immerse myself in as I rekindled life in L.A.

Today, I’ve got the foundations I was looking for, including my family, new friends and colleagues, and work. But now it’s a matter of keeping these things, and who knew that it was so much work to hold steady in a world that keeps moving, as if the wind itself is ready to whisk it all away the second we let go?

Who knew that every day is planting another seed for our dreams in a city that’s filled with them already, and which makes no guarantee that ours will be the exception to the endless waiting everyone else has to bear?

JIMBO TIMES is the seed, and the foundation that I fight for. No matter how worn down I might get along the way, every new day I stand up for it again.