Lisa Anne Lindberg - home

50 Rock Gypsies
The Adventures of a Girl Called "Fire Within"
. . . my own personal story of my life . . . a story-and-photo essay . . .

by Lisa Anne Lindberg

Lisa Lindberg



This fire I feel -- and have always felt -- inside of myself . . .
Where does it come from? What is it for?
How can I keep it from consuming me, and instead use it for good?

Other people have also observed this fire and have commented to me on it. At an education conference recently, I gave a presentation on the importance of freedom of choice in subjects of learning and with whom this activitiy happens.

Afterwards, a woman in the audience came up to talk with me, saying she detected a fire inside of me --
"Not the kind of fire that destroys," she said, "but rather the kind that creates the new ideas the world needs."

"Oh my," I thought to myself; "Do I have what it takes to live up to


. . . Getting Glimpses . . .

Existential Jolts

When I was young, very young, like something around 6 to 8 years old, I started having these experiences which I now term "existential jolts" -- the feeling of "Am I really real ! ! ? ? Am I really here on this Earth ! ! ?? Is this Earth really real ! ! ?? " These were always remarkably clear experiences, and despite being so young, I always could express to myself exactly what was I was feeling -- it was as if I were witnessing the reality of my own existence.

Inner Silence

Later, when I was around 10 years old, my mother told me (or maybe also to my brother and sisters also -- that part I don't remember) about "people in the East" who had trained their minds to have no thoughts. By now, she may have forgotten she ever imparted this little tidbit of information. But I didn't forget it. Ever. I was immediately intrigued, and began to practice my own personal version of what I thought this could be -- and
all the time. I think this practice had an effect on my thinking process: my mind learned how to be deep and quiet and receptive, and also sharp and incisive. Also very alert. It felt as if I were observing the very inner workings of my mind and intellect. I found these inner workings to be so interesting that when I got older and in high school, I was never drawn to pursuing the enhanced/altered experiences achieved thru drugs or alcohol, even though they were easily available.


When I was young, I thought I would end up being an artist, feeling as I did a kinship with how I had decided artists think and feel. It was creating with fabric that I had my first tastes of the experience I later discovered was commonly called "creative rushes." Over the years I have done various arts activities, and find I can go into a kind of trance doing art forms such weaving, music, dance, etc., feeling transported. I also love all aspects of drama: play writing, set and prop design, costume making, music, dance, acting, photography and film-making.

But it is writing that has always been my muse. Despite finding the process of writing to be extremely blissful, I also find it to be an enormous lot of
work. I think this is the case with me because I care so much how it turns out. I want the written words on paper to be exact projections of my inner thoughts, I want those words to communicate my exact and complete content and meaning. And feeling.


Starting from an early age, my thoughts have continually run on the lines of individual freedom and the dynamic between the individual and society.

In addition to being interested in physical space and architecture (which led to going to architecture school in the late 1970's), I have also been continually intrigued with social space and social architecture -- how it influences and structures the shapes and forms (both physical and social) within which people live their lives. My interest in social architecture is similar to my interest in physical architecture
: how it affects the minds and hearts and spirits of the people living in it - - whether it chokes and imprisons, or whether it offers wide scope for the imagination -- for liberation and the spreading of wings.

I have frequently discovered my lines of thinking about social architecture to be
quite other than those of most other people. To me, my ideas don't seem particularly revolutionary. They are my ordinary everyday thoughts, lounging around in my mind, my constant companions, sometimes also at night when they rattle around keeping me awake. However, when I try out these ideas on other people, I often soon become clued into how different is the radio station constantly beaming into my head. After all these years and decades of continually re-discovering this contrast, by now I should have figured out this difference in tuning. But I remain always taken aback.

My mother tells me that starting from when I was a little kid, unlike others of my brothers and sisters, I never liked to just sit around being held, but rather wanted
to be off exploring and doing things. Decades later, I had a son of my own, Matthew, who shares this proclivity, something Duncan and I discovered about him very early in his life: As an infant, he was miserable being able to only lie there, wishing with all his might to grow up, squirming so powerfully that at 3 weeks of age he could roll over by himself. At 6 months when he learned to crawl by himself, he as if, declared, "All right ! ! At last ! ! This is more like it ! ! Now I can get where I need to go ! ! " With his newly developed ambulatory powers, he became much happier real quick -- and much easier to be around.

Similarly, in my own life, as soon as I got what I was always telling everyone I
really needed -- freedom -- my life started taking off. Immediately. As soon as I left home at 18 to go backpacking to Europe, then returned to the U.S. to live in Lawrence, Kansas. Right away, instantly, miraculously, I found what I needed to become myself.

And my future started rolling right out in front of me. . . . .

Fire, Existence, Consciousness . . . Art, Freedom, Learning . . .

It has been said the role of an artist is to see things before the pack does, to see into the future and lead the way.

If that is true, maybe you could say I am an artist of having new thoughts.

Over the years, my own, personal passionate need for personal freedom has never diminished. Instead, I have applied it to envisioning and reconceptualizing social structures, specifically
: transforming the physical and social architectures of learning: Communities of Learning: A New Story of Education for a New Century.

I hope the ideas in that site can contribute to the effort to help other people -- especially the young ones -- grow into their wings.


The Tree Through Her Seasons

. . . The baby sapling years: the 1950's . . .
. . . the young tree grows . . . and waits . . . and dreams:
"What will my leaves and flowers look like? What fruits will I bear?" . . .
. . . and begins soaking up the warming rays of Sun . . .

Early Spring
. . . The self-claiming pre-teen & teen years: the 1960's . . .
. . . the tree's sap rises . . . buds begin to swell . . . and tender new leaves unfurl . . .

Late Spring
. . . Busting out . . . the 20's Decade: the 1970's . . .
. . . the tree's buds burst forth . . . the new leaves take on stronger green hues . . .

Early Summer
. . . Young Mother . . . the 30's Decade: the 1980's . . .
. . . the tree puts out her fruit's first nubs . . .
. . . and strong flowers of Summer burst forth into bloom . . .

Late Summer
. . . Confidence . . . the 40's Decade: the 1990's . . .
. . . the tree feels certain of her fruits . . . and asks the universe for more:
. . . "Give me what I need to make the world full ! ! ! ! " . . .

Early Autumn
. . . Reflective . . . the 50's Decade: the 2000's . . .
. . . the fruits are ripe . . . the leaves weather-worn, some a bit crisp . . .
. . . sighs of fullness . . .
. . . "Well, how did I do?" asks the tree. . . asks the bush, asks the strong Summer flower . . .
". . . And how did my Springtime slip by so fast? . . ."

Lisa in South Mountain field
Lisa at a half-century

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