During our recent events, I had the opportunity to meet and talk with dozens of people about the project and about my vision for what is possible for people without homes. Most everyone I spoke with understood the vision and some found a powerful place for themselves in it. One of those people is Laura.
Laura was homeless off and on over a period of 3 years, mostly because of bi-polar disorder. Unfortunately, she did not know that at the time and like many people, was attempting to medicate herself to deal with her symptoms. After living on a friend's couch for awhile, her friend moved and Laura was on the streets. She went to an overnight county clinic for help. They told her she couldn't stay because she wasn't suicidal or psychotic. So out she went at midnight when they closed for the night.
She hid in the bushes in a nearby office park, trying not to be seen. In process she became cold and wet and finally had to get out of her clothes so they would dry. As the sun began to rise, she stumbled out of the bushes with a quilt wrapped around her naked body. She hadn't slept all night, so she headed to the beach to lie down and rest, the only peaceful place she could think of.
As the morning rush hour drivers raced to work, she trudged 5 miles to the beach. She looked at everyone, waving, hoping someone would help. Her feet were bare and they hurt as she walked. No one stopped, she cried and stumbled along until she collapsed on the beach.
As Laura wandered the streets of Van Nuys, CA during another homeless stint, she began to believe she was dead. No one looked at her, no one talked with her, no one even acknowledged that she existed. She struggled to understand how this could be so. Eventually, she concluded that she must be a ghost, a spirit of a dead person still walking the earth. She believed she must have died but didn't know it.
While she was in a treatment center for the mentally ill, she talked with other people who were there. Some of them "saw" things and said they lived in a "spirit" world. In this world, people could sense things and feel things intuitively, without the use of a thought process. However, they were afraid to share this with their "handlers" because they would be classified as crazy, incurring a number of unpleasant experiences. Laura believed that these people where not crazy. She thinks that like a blind person who develops extremely acute hearing and touch, people with brain impairments develop other senses to compensate. In their case, the "mentally ill" developed intuitive senses that operate outside the logical thought process of the brain.
I found all of this extremely interesting and would like to know what you think. Please share your ideas.