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How a Harvard grad joined a cult, learned its mating rituals, endured exile, and – finally – mated in the wild.
How a Harvard grad joined a cult, learned its mating rituals, endured exile, and – finally – mated in the wild.
135 backers pledged $16,149 to help bring this project to life.

Couldn't feel, got back in touch

Posted by Helen Zuman (Creator)

Sunday, March 26, 2017.

Yesterday, two weeks into my campaign, my outer fingers went tingly numb. This had happened before, a couple years earlier, when I was revising my book each morning and editing college admissions essays each afternoon. I can only do so much thought-work per day, without hurting myself; in quest of maximizing income from a seasonal gig, I was doing too much.

Going numb means losing feeling. Losing touch. I realized, last night, that in my frantic push to reach my goal I’d lost touch. With what? With why this book matters. With the source that gives me words. With the sweet fertility of the text itself, and the joy of offering it up.


That is, I’d entered kickstarter hell.

In kickstarter hell, everyone you know and love, everyone who’s ever expressed interest in your project, is a potential source of funds, who should have pledged yesterday.

In kickstarter hell, you dutifully send word to persons and entities you see as having bigger megaphones than yours, even when you feel no open channel, and write the messages with your face in a grimace.

In kickstarter hell, you become a tweetbot, spewing inane shit on social media in hopes that somebody somewhere will be reminded that right now would be a great time to pledge!

In kickstarter hell, you check your total every ten minutes, and feel your sense of well-being rise or plummet in proportion to the size and number of pledges made since you checked the last time.

In kickstarter hell, every social occasion becomes a chance you’d better not pass up to sell, sell, sell. You seek openings to bring up your project, you plot your next move, while struggling to focus on others’ thoughts and joys and concerns – which, you have trouble recalling, are just as important as yours.

In kickstarter hell, you theoretically want support only when giving that support sparks joy for the giver – yet you force yourself to power through, in the name of productivity. This makes it hard truly to release your expectations of others.

In kickstarter hell, product trumps process, and persons – including yourself – become means to an end.

Fellowbeings, I describe this place in hopes of soothing my neighbors here. I trace its contours in search of a secret door through which to slip out.


Three years ago, after a plan to hold the 2014 Northeast Permaculture Convergence in New York had fallen through, a team of Mainers stepped up, with just a few months’ lead time, to organize the gathering in their home state – agreeing, at the outset, that despite the tight deadline no relationships would be harmed in the staging of the event.

Product would not trump process. Results, metrics, outcomes would not slash what really mattered: the sacred relational web.

Ever since launching this campaign, I’ve heard that declaration echoing in my head.

No relationships will be harmed in the course of this campaign.

The positive corollary? Relationships will be nourished, incubated, created. All who enter here will reap agape, from my choice to embrace a vision I can’t realize alone.

Gayle Mair, Erinn Mandeville, and 3 more people like this update.


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