Becoming William Tell


This begins with an e-mail exchange between follower Vikkilyn and myself, back in May.

Wednesday, 05/21/14:  Me:  Recent events[1] suggest it’s time for me to get more serious about “becoming” William Tell.  There are some emotional obstacles there, so it’s going to take some work, and seeing this, it’s easy for me to grasp why William Tell hasn’t “happened” yet.  I’ll get through it.

Tuesday, 05/27/14: Vikkilyn:  Not sure what you mean by “becoming” William Tell?  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Tell  What part of William Tell do you want to be?  (I realize that is your “stage name” but you must have picked it for some reason, after all you have written a lot about the power in a name.)

This post includes many footnotes. To get to any footnote, click on the link in the body of the text. When you’re done reading the footnote, ALT+LEFT will return you to your original place in the text.


“A star is born” will tell how I came by the stage name William Tell.

My relationship to the William Tell persona has changed over the years.  Until 2006, it was a character I would put on and take off, as Bob Keeshan put on and took off Captain Kangaroo.  I would “become” William Tell at the beginning of the show, and return to my normal self when I went off the air.  In character, I would teach the principles of Free Speech Handbook.  The only spiritual work involved would be, while in character, to (1) really welcome all points of view[2] And, frankly, (2) love each caller.

I wanted to teach autonomy.

From 2006 to 2011, my personal agenda changed radically.  Life in Barclay was a total immersion in squalor.  Both at home and at work, I was surrounded by people who preoccupied themselves with the active creation of poverty.[3] I became preoccupied with their need to let go of the ways of wealth-destruction and learn the ways of wealth creation; abandon the path of poverty and embrace the path of prosperity.

In Philosophy and Methodology of Spiritual Healing, Ambrose Worrall remarks, “Everything in Nature is according to law.  We live according to the laws of health or the laws of disease.  It is impossible to break any of Nature’s laws.  For instance, the laws of health cannot be broken, but one can live according to the laws of disease.”

Poverty is, in a sense, a disease.

I wanted to teach people to change their ways.  On the one hand, in this time I wrote The Way of Peace, which is a good thing.  On the other hand, I had a posture of wanting to scold people who weren’t living the right way.  I had misgivings about that, that continued long into my homelessness, as witness the post, Issues with upcoming posts.  I will say more about scolding and indignation below.

Things changed again once I became homeless.  If a lifestyle of presence is indeed the route to prosperity — and I’ve often enough felt I had every reason to believe it is — then it was no longer adequate that this be a message I just preach to others.  I need now to live it myself. William Tell cannot be a persona I step into and out of when I perform; rather, his message must be who I am, 24/7.  I must become living proof that this approach works.  That’s a tall order.

That’s what I mean about “becoming” William Tell.

I mentioned emotional obstacles.

It’s essential that anyone who wants to rise up out of poverty, focus one’s emotional energies wholly on one’s goals, without being distracted by negativity in one’s context.  Otherwise one will never have the emotional wherewithal one needs to accomplish the work.

I have a lifelong tendency to pay more attention to things I don’t like than to things I do like.  As mentioned in a previous post: “I trained myself from childhood on, to not think about how good I’ll feel when I get what I want, but instead how bad I’ll feel if I don’t get it.  This has been backwards, and a hindrance to my learning to want any thing.  See ‘When you can’t get what you want.'”

I need in particular to stop paying attention to things or people who make me indignant.  Two such are prominent:

(1) People whose lives are headed the opposite way from my own.

Related:   “I’m not changing my lifestyle.”

In fact, the overwhelming majority of homeless people have no interest in becoming un-homeless.  Most of the men around me have no desire for a job or a home.  Instead, what each one wants is a “check.”  Few share my dreams of upward mobility.

Perry, perhaps the very first guy who befriended me at the shelter, has been a particular disappointment.

Tuesday  2014-04-08.  Perry looks like he’s using again.  He must be selling his meds.[4]  Every day he comes in with more candy, more bling.  He’s been bouncing around from shelter to shelter, program to program, ever since before I first came here (March ‘11), and envisions no other life for himself.  He’ll disappear for a few months and come back and show me brochures from the shelters he stayed in out-of-state.

(2) Vandalism.  My strongest desire is that I, or anyone else, create prosperity for oneself and one’s community.  Vandalism is the exact opposite of that — the destruction of prosperity for oneself and one’s community.

The next three Saturday posts all deal with vandalism:
– September 27:  All stressed up and nowhere to “go”
– October 4:  Where trees thrive, people thrive
– October 11:  The poop on the stoop

Much of this material is a year old.  Posting it got held up because (1) I wanted to post them all back-to-back, and (2) “Where trees thrive” has been particularly difficult to write.

“Where trees thrive” is long and pessimistic, and deals with the difficult question of whether a Christian ministry predicated on unconditional acceptance can set even minimal expectations of those it serves; or must instead indulge the treatment resistant, tolerating vandalism of its own — and neighbors’ — properties.

If, as I anticipate, I must come into a place such that I won’t even notice vandalism; then, these posts may be the last gasp of a dying worldview.

My heart’s desire has been to become a channel of hope and courage for the distressed.  But I need to find hope and courage myself.  Presence, the approach to life that William Tell would preach to others, must become the way I live myself.  Then my own example may help others learn how to prosper.

[1]See “Unlocking the vision.”
[2]Compare Conspiracy theorists: America’s lost sheep?
[3]Related:  Easily breakable.
[4]The fat ticket for anyone is to get a prescription for 90 Xanax/month. You pay your $1.00 co-pay to get the prescription filled, and then sell the “bars” for $5 each.

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