Slab City

My wife and I are in Palm Springs this week.  I’m meeting several clients for annual planning, and we’re taking a few days together too. Yesterday we went out to visit Slab City, a former military base in the middle of the desert that attracts about 4000 squatters per year.  It’s largely lawless and is supposedly the last ‘free place in America.’

Slab City boasts some interesting characters.  There’s Wizard, and Caveman and Builder Bob.  There’s Salvation Mountain (check it out on YouTube).  While it contains a lot of interesting (and bizarre) art, I didn’t see a lot of freedom there.  I saw what seemed to me to be bondage; people addicted to or ruined by drugs; lots of mental illness and perhaps worse.

Like the ‘Slabbers,’ We imagine that freedom means no rules.

I believe that true freedom is built in the opposite way.  Applying yourself to doing something that helps others, putting limits on your selfish desires and curbing your appetites brings choices and opportunities for you to flourish.

Work is good.  It’s a blessing.  When little kids play, they work.  They build cities and nurture babies and engage in commerce.  We’re built to work.

So don’t chafe at accountability; it makes you better.  Having a mortgage keeps you showing up in life so you can contribute and not turn inward.

The irony of life is that we’re the most happy when we know we’re contributing to the happiness of others, not seeking our own.

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