Sunday, July 31, 2011

Quakers in Santa Fe

Event: Sunday, July 31, 2011; Updated: 17 Sept 11
Front Gate to Quaker Meeting House in Santa Fe

After visiting Spanish Market I drove to Canyon Road to visit Dominique's and Phyllis's galleries. Looking for a parking place I noticed a space just in front of a sign to the entrance of Community of Friends meeting place. It was 10:45 A.M. when I noticed that their regular Sunday meetings were at 11:00--just fifteen minutes later, so I decided to enter. I'd never attended one of their meetings and had wanted to for years.

Since their normal procedure is to worship in silence, I sat with the gathering of 30 to 40 in pleasant, quiet surroundings. The lady who met me at the door as I came in explained that after about 45 or so minutes participants were invited to speak if they felt "led by the spirit".

An attractive woman was the first to stand, urging the gridlocked Congress get their act together to make a decision on behalf of the country. One or two others spoke identifying themselves as visitors. Then, I was shocked to find myself standing to share my most recent visit to San Ildefonso Pueblo where I learned about the nature of Indian pot making, that "One does not repair pots" and how illuminating that simple statement became for me.

Before long, others in the group stood to talk about their experiences with Native American pots, including a lament by a resident Quaker that their valuable collection of Indian pots had been recently stolen, recovered from a nearby museum and stolen again.

The woman just in front of me announced proudly (while remaining seated) that she made and repaired pots. Another, a retired school teacher, spoke of having spent much time on a local pueblo learning how to make pots the Indian way and how profound the experience was for her. Another lady expressed her grief up to that morning that one of her most cherished pots from Santa Clara Pueblo had developed a crack in it, but now she was at peace with that development in the life of her treasure.

 A man then stood to tell of having had a successful career in producing and selling ceramic pots made in Japan. At the end of his career he had taken a young Indian boy under his wing to teach him his business and to learn the Indian way. He was dismayed at the boy's lack of discipline and what seemed a sloppy work ethic. But when it came time to produce something for an upcoming festival, the boy spent over 100 hours the week before to make one pot, which sold for more money than the man had made in months of his own labor!

To top all these comments off, someone spoke of an upcoming discussion on the theme inspired by poet Leonard Cohen about "Light through the cracks"!

"Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There's a crack, a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in."

 When a lady announced an upcoming social potluck, I couldn't resist cracking (no pun intended) that I'd never be able to hear the word "potluck" again without remembering this experience. All laughed.
Quaker Meeting Room in Santa Fe

Quaker Announcement

I was invited to return and think I shall.

Spanish Market carvers

Event: Sunday, July 31, 2011;  Updated:  August 6, 2011

Coming to Spanish Market at the suggestion of Gregory Schaaf, I met several men who impressed me. 

Ramon Jose Lopez
Ramon's painting on goat skin parchment of a joint venture buffalo hunt between Native American and Spaniards in learning to survive together convinced me that he would be sensitive to capturing the dynamic between Native American and Spanish cultures.
Since Ramon had no email or website on his brochures, I hope he contacts me. I returned to the Market just before closing to give Ramon my contact information. He said he'd read my Tree of Transformation material when he got home. 

Jose Mark Chavez caught the vision of the Tree of Transformation Project. He has organized and facilitated large competitions such as the Albuquerque Balloon Festival, as well as being a master wood carver. We have exchanged email messages and hope to get together soon to discuss design and carving strategies.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Oviedo Ranch and Gallery showing

Event: Saturday, July 30, 2011; Updated: 6 August 2011

Birgitta and I attended a gallery showing at the Marco Oviedo ranch on Saturday evening. Birgitta fell in love with a horse sculpture and we left having put down a deposit. I took photos of the guests and Birgitta out in the rain during a thunder and lightning and heavy rain storm. Fortunately, there was a water-tight canvas covering over the patio to protect the musicians and guests.

Birgitta and the storm

Dominique, Phyllis and Birgitta

Musicians and guests

Pat has promised to take a photo of the horse sculpture and send it to us. I'll post it here when it arrives.

Second Eldering Breakfast

Event: Saturday, July 30, 2011; Updated:

It was my turn to present the program on Saturday morning at the monthly Eldering Group breakfast. The subject was getting to the wisdom of the elders from their dreams. It did not go as well as hoped, which surprised me. This subject was not as interesting to the members as expected.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Remembering son Ivan at 50

Posted: 26 July 2011; Updated:

Ivan circa 1991
This photo of my late son Ivan, at about age 30, in its unique glass frame created by older brother James, hangs on the wall of my study. It never fails to move me.

Ivan was the fourth and brightest of my seven children. I dare say this now without fear of offending his siblings. They might even agree! He was born in Salt Lake City in 1961 when I was in graduate school at the University of Utah. Ivan was the last to have "Kregg" as his family name before we legally reclaimed my father's birth "familia" from his native Ukraine.

Although Ivan left us physically in 1996, he has never left me spiritually. In fact, the last I saw him was late December 2010 in a dream series when he rescued me from a stuck inner place and sent a young woman friend to help and comfort me. At that time I was struggling to answer a question from friend and LADDOF director Joseph Dillard (a psychotherapist now living in Berlin) about the purpose of The Los Alamos Deep Democracy Open Forum. Joseph asked: "How do you imagine a reverse divorce of the split between science and religion in Los Alamos?" (Note Joseph's comment in the above mentioned dream series.)

Happy birthday, my dear, dear son! May you continue to live and flourish within all of our hearts. I know that your birth date was the most significant date for you and I'm sure your two older brothers will remember their annual toast.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Auspicious date

Posted: July 25, 2011;

Today is the 46th anniversary of an event that put me on collision course with the Mormon Church hierarchy, beginning in southern California. I wonder how things would be different now, had I heeded the warning of old bishop Reed C. Durham, Sr. in a priesthood blessing on my head just a week earlier. In the blessing pronounced the night before, which was at the beginning of a life-changing journey north, he warned me of "haughtiness".

"Beware of haughtiness...". There are other words: pride, hubris, grandiosity. The best word I've learned so far (and only recently) is the Russian word "prelest".  [Note Russian linguist Mark Hooker's essay on this word by scrolling  to his remarks on this prelest post]. It allowed me to begin to comprehend the dilemma of how to respond to ecclesiastical arrogance in all religious traditions, which claim to speak for God.

Today is also the 46th anniversary of my daughter-in-law Nicole. Somehow there's a tie-in here, but I can't yet get my head around it. It seems synchronistic that she would one day marry my son Steve in the Los Angeles Mormon temple and that the man who would perform their marriage ceremony was Ferren L. Christensen, the stake president who would receive me back into the Church exactly ten years later.

Mysteries abound...

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Jose Alfred Aguilar, Indigenous Artist

Posted: Saturday, 23 July 2011; Updated: 26 July 2011

(click on image to enlarge)
Alfred Aguilar, Indigenous Artist

(click on image to enlarge)
Jose Alfred Aguilar business card

After leaving the long postponed LADDOF board meeting in Santa Fe on Friday morning, July 22, Birgitta and I dropped by the San Ildefonso Pueblo on our way home to Los Alamos in mid afternoon. We intended to visit its gift shop and administration building before closing time. The board had met to set new strategy due to the unavailability of Arny Mindell or Max Schupbach to come to a Los Alamos Deep Democracy Open Forum anytime this year. Making direct contact with this pueblo became a first action item.

When we arrived at the pueblo, the Visitors Center was closed and the area seemed deserted. Furthermore, there were signs posted for visitors to stay on the main road and to keep their vehicles out of the Plaza area just across the street. Therefore, we parked on the main road under the shade of a tree near the Center. Leaving Birgitta in the car I walked into the Plaza to look around.

There was a huge cottonwood tree there, under the shade of which a pickup truck was parked. As I approached the nearby building, a tall slender distinguished old man got out of the truck and asked if he could be of help. He was Alfred Aguilar, owner of the gift shop in the building, and invited me to inspect his craft.

Inside the shop I asked how his pueblo had been affected by the recent Las Conchas Fire. He replied that they had been spared this time, although the Santa Clara Pueblo just to the north had been heavily hit. His San Ildefonso pueblo had been hit during the last fire eleven years earlier, the Cerro Grande Fire of 2000 and had received federal aid to recover. This time, however, although there was no structural damage, the fire had driven wild animals down to their area to find food and one of his cows had died.

I looked at his pottery on display and asked him when he had begun to create such pieces. He began his work after being discharged from the service after the Korean War. Since I was a Korean War veteran myself, we discovered we were about the same age. He had just turned 78, four months older than I. He showed me a book, which documented the work of local artists and was proud to show me a picture of his father and pointed to mention of his own work.

I asked him about the source of images his people used in their art and he mentioned three main animals: bear, buffalo and turtle. He acknowledged that there were no buffalo nearby, but in past years their territory extended to the Midwest. Did he know much about totem poles? No, that was what tribes in the north did. Did his people do woodcarving of any kind?. No, but the nearby Hopi did and their language was similar. Until the early part of the last century many different local tribes were in conflict and the Hopi often raided them. All that changed after the Second World War.

He gave me his business card and phone number and I wrote down the name of the book he had showed me. He also suggested that the best time to contact the pueblo administration would be next Tuesday, the day after Monday's upcoming celebration of Saint James Day. The new governor's name is Perry Martinez, who is in his mid 40s.

When I got home I called Gregory Schaaf, the author of the book, who lives in Santa Fe and left a voice mail message. A few hours later Schaaf returned my call and that is another story! We agreed to meet next week, possibly during the Saint James Day celebration.

Monday, July 25, 2011.
Birgitta and I traveled to the pueblo again, this time in the morning to see one of the dances of men and women in native costumes. We also visited Alfred's shop again and Birgitta bought a small pot. Here is a photo of it:

(click on image to enlarge)
Exquisite Miniature Pot


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Joining the Arbinger Community

Posted: 20 July 2011; Updated:

The First Book
I joined The Arbinger Community yesterday.

Five or six years ago, son Steve made me aware of a book he said had changed his life. Because his wife had noticed a positive change in his behavior before he, himself, was aware of it. He thought I'd be interested and he was right. The book was Leadership and Self-Deception by the "The Arbinger Institute". As I began reading the book, it seemed strangely familiar and I wondered why it had no named author. It wasn't until I reached the end note that all became clear. The note credited the work of philosopher Terry Warner as its inspiration. I knew the man!

In late December 1978, BYU professor Terry Warner, whom I did not then know, invited me to attend a six-weeks experimental seminar sponsored by the university's Moral Values Institute. It was during that seminar that I became familiar with the seed ideas that would eventually blossom into Leadership and Self-Deception. The seminar affected me profoundly. I know this because of two powerful dreams immediately before and after the six weeks seminar.

The first dream was a nightmare, which revealed deep, hidden fears about going into the experience. The second was transformative, which clearly revealed what I had learned. This second dream also gave me a more focused direction to my spiritual journey.

Second Book
Recently Steve's older brother James made me aware of yet another timely book by The Arbinger Institute called The Anatomy of Peace: Resolving the Heart of Conflict. It is timely because it is helping me deal with a passionate and challenging Muslim friend in Tehran.

As the more refined ideas and techniques for resolving conflict across cultural, societal and traditional divides became clearer to me in Anatomy of Peace, it became clear that The Arbinger Institute could be an important resource for our newly incorporated Los Alamos Deep Democracy Open Forum. For that reason, I applied for membership in their community yesterday and was accepted.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Attending Opera FAUST

Event: Friday, 15 July 2011; Updated:

On Friday night, July 15, Birgitta and I accompanied Father John Hennies and his Matushka, Ana Lea, to a splendid performance of Charles Gounod's opera Faust at the Santa Fe Opera House. Even though it was a sweltering night and we had seats in the middle of the nosebleed section, the performance was visually spectacular! Especially the staging, to say nothing about the young voices.

I was surprised to learn in overhearing the conversation between Fr. John and Birgitta, that Birgitta had sung the leading role of Marguerite in a Swedish performance years ago, when she was with the Royal Swedish Opera Company.

Arriving at the Opera House

Before the Performance

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Returning home

Event: Sunday, July 10, 2011; Updated: