Bucky and Me

Any long-term readers of my blog, and anyone who knows me personally, know that R. Buckminster Fuller has had a major influence on the way that I see, experience and think about the world and the human’s place and responsibility in the world. Bucky has been enormously formative in who I have become. Knowing him since childhood, and having spent summer vacations year after year with him and his lovely family on Bear Island in Maine, the decisions I have made at nearly every step in life have been shaped by the world view Bucky helped me develop.

Black Mountain College Museum and Arts Center and The Buckminster Fuller Institute collaborated in hosting a wonderful conference about Bucky this past weekend at UNCA, looking forward at his legacy. We were steeped in his vision and thinking and saw many demonstrations of how it is being utilized in diverse endeavors. I felt the familiar shift and thrill that I always felt around Bucky. And I realized something.

At major junctures of my life Bucky has been there in a huge way, unplanned and unscheduled by me, apparently scheduled by universe for me. At age 24 I was living in Atlanta, Georgia when I received an invitation to work in Los Angeles for 6 weeks. It would require me quitting my job and shifting things around quite a bit. I sensed that it was an important invitation and that it would probably change my life in a permanent way. I deliberated hard, and decided not to go, felt attached to the friends and life that I had created in Atlanta and was reluctant to disrupt the web of connectedness I felt there. Frankly, I think I just didn’t have the courage or vision to make that step.

Then Bucky came to town. He was speaking somewhere in Atlanta, and I ended up sharing several meals and spending time with him. It wasn’t anything Bucky said directly about my situation, it was just the light of Bucky himself that shined clearly into my inner world. By the time we said good-bye, it was crystal clear to me that I would accept that invitation, go to Los Angeles, embrace the change that presented itself to me. Within a couple of months I had moved there, began graduate school, and started on a life that would include tending a cosmological vision of how to be in service to the whole of universe. Marriage, children and career ensued. I always smiled inwardly knowing something about the grace of Bucky’s presence in my life had triggered and initiated it all, that he had emboldened me to embrace, subsist and persist in it.

Twenty-nine years later that phase of life had ended and I was on my own again. I wanted to open a retreat center. Circumstances assisted me to find a gorgeous location for it in a remote spot in the mountains of Western North Carolina, coincidentally not too far from Black Mountain where some of Bucky’s seminal work and ideas had gestated. Also coincidentally, just one week before the moving van showed up at the house in Los Angeles where I had raised my children, ready to move me out to North Carolina, Bucky’s family was holding a celebration on Bear Island for the centennial of their family’s owning the island. So, I left the moving project and took my daughters out to Maine so they could see for the first time the land, homes and shores where I had summered and learned and grown with Bucky and his family. I knew deep inside that it was no coincidence that Bucky’s spirit would be there for me so strongly just as I was again making a radical move across country, fortifying my vision and emboldening me once again. It was astonishing, and sweetly comforting.

And now, just as my retreat center has been sold and I am in the final days of packing it up and moving into town – a move that is few in miles but that feels more than any former one almost like I am leaving one planet for another – here, in space and time, just down the road from me, is a big Bucky event to stimulate my cells and bones, to empower and strengthen my spirit for the move. When it happened the first time I noticed, the second time I noticed, and now the third time… WHAT? Why should I be surprised or my mind be blown? But, WHAT? The design in cosmos is so precise. The mystery reveals itself so exquisitely, yet as it reveals itself in such a way it simultaneously serves to heighten mystery.

After such an inspiring conference, punctuated by Sunday night attendance for the second time at a one-man play being shown at the NC Stage Company entitled “R. Buckminster Fuller: the History (and Mystery) of the Universe”, my mind and heart were filled to full with Bucky-ness. I even got to enjoy time with his sweet daughter and granddaughter, who I grew up knowing as well. But a stark reminder of another vision for reality grated and greeted me immediately on the Monday night news. War. Killing. Syria. Iran. Afghanistan, where the Taliban had released a video in which a woman was being shot for the crime of adultery, while the man she had been with was free. The newscaster said, “After a decade of our presence in Afghanistan, nothing has changed.” A decade?, I thought. Isn’t this story thousands of years old?

It took me back to Bucky’s strong, brilliant, compelling, solidly formulated ideas that we must take all of the innovation and resources that we invest in Killingry and invest them in Livingry. He spent his entire live doing just that, creating solution after solution to the problems that we war over, showing again and again the reasons why war is obsolete. There is plenty for everyone, we do not need to fight for our own, humanity can easily co-exist with abundance for everyone. He explained the political and economic structures that prevent this, and showed a way out and through.

Ah, Bucky. Thank you. I re-commit to your brilliant vision for peace, to figure out how to turn the tide from Killingry into Livingry. I honor the amazing Love in your heart that so obviously fueled it all, and I re-commit to Love as well.

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5 Responses to “Bucky and Me”

  1. Gary Says:

    inspired….inspiring…and beautiful.

  2. madhupamaypop Says:

    Thank you for sharing Tayria! And, it is very interesting how he continues to reappear in your life at times of great transitions… Here he is again! I wonder what is in store???

  3. Holger Wendt Says:

    Thank you for the blog. I never met Bucky. Yet I’ve been inspired by him for decades. Last summer one of my sons and I built a dome. His thinking on the power of personal integrity, the courage to follow the truth, has been one of the things that led me since the 80’s, and Livingry instead of Killingry is a brilliant distinction. It was this last thing that led me to your blog. Now I’m inspired by you and I to commit to “figure out how to turn the tide from Killingry into Livingry”. and I “re-commit to Love” as well.
    Thanks Holger Wendt, Sweden

    PS: I did not write the “gravatur” web adress in the field below. Never seen it before and couldn’t change it.

    • Tayria Ward Says:

      Thank you for your comments, Holger. I’m inspired to hear how Bucky has influenced your life as well. And how exciting that you built a dome with one of your sons. I still hope to do that somehow, someday. So let’s recommit together, to livingry, and to living Love as Bucky always did. Also I want to re-commit to writing, as a recent big move has shaken me up so that blog writing has been far less frequent while I figure myself out. Thanks for re-inspiring me to write by sending your comment. Happy new year to you.

  4. Holger Wendt Says:

    Seasons greetings Tayria!

    Almost a year has gone since I commented on your beautiful post here. Then I completely forgot it. Sorry. The geodesic dome was my first contact with Bucky and I think this means more than an incredible construction, just as the dymaxion map. With his inventions he inspired people to freely think and create.

    What I’ve been thinking about the last days, and what led me back here, is the search for graphics that visually compare costs of military spendings, globally and nationally, with other spendings like education or maternal care. And this all leads back to Buckys brilliant distinction “Killingry vs Livingry”. That distinction is sadly not less needed now as when he invented it. It might be the most important distinction ever.

    I would like to make this distinction so visually comprehensible that our minds can grasp and understand the fact that this earth is extremely rich and the cost for one nuclear warhead could instead produce X value in Livingry. I would love to make people free from the myth of scarcity. I want to make it so clear and sharp that when whoever sees it and understand it, this person will change his/hers priorities immediately.

    I wish you a joyful, beautiful, loving, spiritual time with your family

    Holger Wendt

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