Friday, December 28, 2012

Talking back to Dr. Phil

Posted: 28 Dec 12
Updated: 9 Jan 13

Months ago, when David Bedrick first announced the title of his intended book, I was dismissive. "How pretentious and opportunistic!" I thought. Dr. Phil has a gold-plated reputation, thanks to Oprah's launching years ago. Because he was a friend, I was curious how David would present his case as an experienced therapist and attorney.

In late November we received an RSVP invite to a book-signing reception at David's home in Santa Fe on December 15, but asked not to come too early (he would also be the chef that night!) and to park where there was space in public areas not far from his place. On our way from nearby Los Alamos that dark evening it began to snow and Birgitta and I got lost. Fortunately, I had my cell phone and David was answering his. So, with his patient guidance, we managed to find the place after parking and sloshing through fresh, wet snow. Without galoshes. I felt grumpy.

Many interested and interesting guests had already arrived and David met us with a warm embrace, kissing both of us on both cheeks. My grumpiness faded.

After we guests settled down with eat and drink, David began explaining the origin of his book and its title. My initial prejudgment began to change, especially when he sheepishly confessed watching "Dr. Phil" on TV while doing physical exercises. He found himself arguing with much of what the famous doctor would say and do. In mentioning this reaction to his friend and mentor Arnold Mindell, founder of Process Work psychology, Mindell suggested that David amplify his objections, this being a standard PW technique for understanding symptoms and disturbances. Hence the title, which I no longer objected to.

I met David and wife Lisa in Santa Fe three years ago at the suggestion of Arny Mindell, whom I have known since the late 1960s. I had been looking for someone experienced with Mindell's "Deep Democracy" concept in the process of building a new company called the Los Alamos Deep Democracy Open Forum. David and Lisa had recently moved to Santa Fe from Mindell's base in Portland, Oregon. It was good advice.

Signed: "Dear Eugene and Birgitta. Long term friends I Love  -- Stay strong brother. David"
Returning home from the book-signing and beginning my first read the next day, I noticed a long introduction and immediately complained to David via email about not liking long intros. But my complaint was premature! When I finished the section, he had fired my enthusiasm for reading and reviewing the entire book slowly, chapter by chapter. This is how I responded to Arnold Mindell's seminal Quantum Mind three years ago.

(click on image below to enlarge)

About the Introduction. 

The meat of this long section is contained in his seven "Principles Of A Love-based Psychology". As a professed believer in Jesus, I am impressed with Bedrick's seven principles, since he is a professed Jew, as is his mentor, Arny Mindell. Having known David for three years, I believe he is sincere in presenting these principles, so we have a common language. To feel free to tell the truth of what we truly think and feel to another human being is a blessed freedom! Such principles comprise a fundamental road map for any professed psycho-social activist! It is Deep Democracy in action.

Bedrick asserts that these principles "underlie the practice of a love-based psychology". And that "one or embodied in the alternative to mainstream psychology discussed in each essay of this book."

I am eager to put this assertion to the test in reviewing each part of the book below.
Principle 1: A love-based psychology deals with the structure and details of people's difficulties, whether internal or external, as reflecting important knowledge about changes they need or hope to make. 
Principle 2: A love-based psychology treats things that disturb people about themselves or others as revelations of their deeper nature.
 Principle 3: A love-based psychology deals with the powers behind difficulties or disturbances as allies instead of enemies. 
Principle 4: A love-based psychology treats the difficulties individuals and groups have as their own but also belonging to the greater web of relationships and culture. 
Principle 5: A love-based psychology treats individual and group diversity as natural and as expressive of wholeness and wellness. 
Principle 6: A love-based psychology views social prejudice as impacting people's well-being, and the promotion of social justice as an important psychological intervention. 
Principle 7: A love-based psychology takes into account the fact that people's emotions and behavior are affected by how they are observed by others.

To be continued....

Monday, December 17, 2012

Statement from Medical Doctor re CREEI

Posted: 17 Dec 2012

Bethlehem Evangelical Lutheran Church

I am grateful for the participation and support of local physician, Dr. Robert Thomsen, in the Bethlehem Evangelical Lutheran Church pilot dreamwork program. Bob first experienced the CREEI process at a public workshop here in Los Alamos in December 2007.
Dear Eugene, 
You have asked me to write a letter about my experiences in your CREEI Dream Workshop.  It has been and continues to be a wonderful experience.  The technique you have evolved for tracking dreams is interesting, private, and useful.  It does not involve attempts to do amateur (and potentially harmful) psychoanalysis or interpretation of dream contents, but rather considers the elements that form the dream.  By tracking those elements through time we are able to discover some things about ourselves that we may not have been aware of.  It is extremely worthwhile to do this self-examination as we walk on our spiritual path.  Thank you for providing our church with this new element in knowing our relationship with God.  It is a safe and secure way toward self- discovery in our religious community. 

Robert J. Thomsen, M.D.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Dreams of the Inner Church and its evolution

Posted: 14 December 2012
Updated: 16 Mar 13

On Wednesday morning, 13 December, I dreamed of being in a several-story church-like building where people are moving about at several levels. I am a teacher on one of the lower levels and am explaining to someone what I am doing here and that I need to be sure the leader is aware of my activities and purposes. No sooner do I express this need than I am talking to the leader himself on a stairway at the railing, who identifies himself as "Morris". He then smiles with approval at hearing my report and tells me that his responsibility is to evaluate and "dignify" the initiatives of church members (reminds me of the pastor of the church where I am currently teaching dream seminars).**

I then become aware of a toddler at the bottom of the stairs who seems lost and begins to cry. With concern and compassion I walk down and over to the child to hold and comfort him...

CREEI score: ++++++//+++/+++  Pattern: Transformative (comforting/confirming)

This brings to mind how my awareness of the "inner church" began. Prior to this time my awareness of "the Church" was fully external, having been born and raised in the Mormon culture. The change of awareness began with a nightmare in summer 1962 in Livermore, California, while working as a graduate research assistant at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Only weeks earlier in Salt Lake City, where I was in graduate school during the regular school year, I had been called to serve an extra-curricular Mormon mission as a counselor to the University of Utah stake mission president Morris (!) A. Kjar, an assignment I took seriously. President Kjar explained at this time that he had called me to this assignment because he was tired of "yes-men", that he valued my candor and independent thinking, and encouraged me to be my true self in my new position with him.

**Note: highlighted hyperlinks are to blog posts that come to mind associated with these recollections.

To be continued...

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Trying the 'REMEE' device for Lucid Dreaming

Posted: 13 Dec 12
Updated: 20 Dec

For the past week I have been trying out the REMEE mask device to see if I could become a lucid dreamer, as it is designed to teach. The device is the invention of two enterprising young men in New York City via the help of the Kickstarter project, which I contributed to at its inception, not actually expecting any results. But was pleasantly surprised to receive my unit last week as the project had promised months ago.

14 Dec.
As of this morning, after three successive nights using Remee, I've determined that the standard settings do not fit my sleeping habits. Therefore, tonight before retiring, I will make the first set of adjustments via the Internet "tool" that the device is programmed to accept and then try again....

15 Dec.
Rats! Yes, the reprogramming worked, but the mask slipped off during the night. Will try again tonight. It's taking a while to get the hang of this thing!

17 Dec.
Having difficulty matching the programming to my sleeping habits. Will keep working the process until this happens.

20 Dec.
Correspondence in reverse chronological order with developers:

Eugene replied later on Dec 20:

Thanks. I'll try that and get back to you.

From: Bitbanger Labs []
Sent: Thursday, December 20, 2012 8:09 AM
To: Eugene Kovalenko
Subject: Re: Trouble with Remee

In default mode, low brightness is at 20% - you may wish to reduce that significantly, as well as reduce the number of patterns that are actually shown from 3 to 1 (by selecting 'None' for signals 2 and 3)
On Thu, Dec 20, 2012 at 10:03 AM, Eugene Kovalenko wrote:

Yes, of course. But, since I'm an old man, I probably haven't got the hang of it yet.

Now that I've screwed up the standard settings (which don't fit my sleeping pattern), I'm not sure how to reset it. For example, there are three standard brightness settings (before accessing the online tool) which can be set in terms of one, two or three red lights on the RH side of the mask. I find that even one light is too bright for me. Then, when I go to the tool to see a brightness option in terms of %, it would be helpful to know the brightness % of those one, two or three red lights. That's for openers. That is, what is the brightness % equivalent for one red light?


PS. Can I talk to someone at bitbangerlabs?

From: Bitbanger Labs []
Sent: Thursday, December 20, 2012 7:03 AM
To: Eugene Kovalenko
Subject: Re: Trouble with Remee

Hey Eugene! Have you tried to use our online programming tool at all?
On Wed, Dec 19, 2012 at 11:39 PM, Eugene Kovalenko wrote:

Hey guys,

I'm having difficulty finding the right program for me. The standard setting is too bright and I can't manage to time it so it functions when I'm asleep. Do you have an online group to discuss strategies for finding the right settings?

To be continued...

Recalling inspiring letter from an old mentor

Event: May 1965
Updated: 14 Dec 12

(click to enlarge)
Page 1 of 2
In the midst of my excitement over discovering and reading George Adamski's books back in 1965, I received this letter from the late Howard E. Salisbury, an erstwhile Mormon mentor, who had unwittingly been instrumental in bringing the subject of flying saucers to my attention. Howard had sent a copy of a book to my laboratory at General Atomic written by his nephew Frank B. Salisbury, a Colorado State University professor of botany, titled Truth by Reason and by Revelation. He asked me to review the book critically as a fellow Mormon professional research scientist. I was not kind in my review, except for Frank's chapter on UFOs. Frank B. was one of five prominent American scientists in those days who had the courage to publicly urge the country to take the phenomenon of flying saucers seriously.

It was the second paragraph of Howard's letter that inspired my poem Nathan's Cry, written while in a state of personal crisis to Mormon Church president David O. McKay four months later in Salt Lake City. This hand-written poem was found in McKay's personal papers by one of the Church archivists and sent to me as a scanned attachment in 2005. That Pres. McKay would keep this item was for me particularly significant. It made me wonder if he had, after all, experienced the kind of remorse that ancient King David had experienced. Could this modern David have experienced remorse over the Mormon Church's reluctance to rectify its prejudicial policy towards the Negro race during his presidency? Or, more likely, in not protecting gay Mormons like Howard from abusive treatment at the hands of ecclesiastic leaders and regular church members? I was never sure what Salisbury's intent was in proposing "Nathan" to be the hero's name. Howard had been excommunicated for "perversion" by one of McKay's counselors in the First Presidency, who had been his missionary companion when they were young men. That same FP counselor nevertheless credited Howard for saving his ecclesiastical career after the counselor, having resigned his Canadian military commission, had come home from the Second World War in a state of depression and sought Howard's counsel.

Sent from Church archives in Sept. 2005

To be continued...

Sunday, December 9, 2012


Posted: 9 Dec 12

Birgitta made a Swedish fruitcake using a fabulous recipe from her daughter in Uppsala. I got to lick the bowl.


Going, going....


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Pilot Dream Seminar Results

Posted: 28 Nov 2012
Updated: 30 Nov 12

On the week before Thanksgiving the two Bethlehem Lutheran pilot dream seminars came to the end of their scheduled tenure. Members of Group A asked to continue in order to keep continuity, which I was pleased to accept. In response to my request for their experiences of the seminar, the two ladies below are the ones who had the snake dreams at the beginning.

On November 25, Sue K of Group B wrote:
Dreams tell us so much about ourselves, especially those things that are not in our immediate consciousness.  Yet, it is hard to determine what we are "hearing" in them.  CREEI is a good starting place.  This processes helps to focus on the content of the dreams, and identify the characters that can speak to us.  Combining this with deep listening allows us to explore the various possibilities regarding the message contained within the dreams.  It allowed me to discover many inner strengths that I possess but did not previously acknowledge.  I learned to trust my intuition, and to accept the challenges presented to me in a straightforward and brave manner.  I see those challenges as opportunities for personal and spiritual growth.  Understanding my dreams helps me to make the most of the opportunities by understanding what I truly bring to a situation.
Earlier, Kate T of Seminar Group A wrote:
Okay - so I have been having these recurring dreams about snakes (yuck!) and a deeply wise person at our church is conducting a workshop on Dreams and how to analyze them as a spiritual practice.  AND you all know how "woo-woo" I am... So I have put myself in the way of this workshop.  
 What my analysis is showing me is that these snakes in my dreams are my friends, and they are telling me to write - that I am doing all sorts of things to avoid what I fear most, which is putting my thoughts out there.  I am knitting, making pottery, campaign work, building a labyrinth at our church, visiting family, exercising, & having fun w/my husband and friends. The thing is, I don't want to stop any of those things.... 
 It woke me up in the middle of the night, so I decided to get up and write rather than try to go back to sleep or read.  So, it's 3:36 a.m., and I've just finished my first essay...
This led to the above mentioned essay, which could only have been written by an experienced, dedicated teacher.  Kate calls it: 

The New World Order
Teachers know something about life that people who don’t teach, don’t know.  We call it that “ah-ha” moment, for want of a better vocabulary term.  The “ah-ha” moments make this world progress in such a sacred way. 
 At the beginning of the school year, a teacher is facing all new faces for the first time.  Throughout that sea of unfamiliarity, this teacher knows that many of these children will “get” the content & processes presented to them with seeming ease and success.  Some of them will engage and catch on at a higher level, almost defining the nature of the content and processes.  Teachers use the answers and responses of these students to model the concept or process as “best practice.”  Some of the students will struggle and perform all sorts of passive aggressive tricks to avoid learning and growing, almost saying, “I dare you to teach me...”  At the beginning of each school year, no teacher can be sure of where any of these young people will fall - s/he just knows that s/he is responsible for filling their toolkit with the tools that will move each child forward in knowledge and ability within the teacher’s subject area.  Students must leave her classroom knowing what these tools are, how to use them, and what they can build with them.  At the most successful, these students will be able to create something original with these tools. 
 The true art and craft of teaching lies in the intuitive work of struggling with a student so that s/he can perform successfully on highly challenging tasks, without the help of the teacher.  That is the true nature of self-esteem.  In rare cases, that means celebrating when a student is able to put his name on his paper without help.  In most cases, it is that moment when a teacher sees the light come on in the face of a child - no matter what the age.  Or the student asks a very penetrating question, which demonstrates that s/he is really connected to the flow of thinking required to master the content/process.  
Or the student performs work that demonstrates another way of looking at the content/process.  This means that the student has to understand at such a deep level, that s/he is able to take the information and change it to create something new and better or just different. 
Teachers learn tricks, patterns, strategies, questioning techniques, and tools that prod this mind-blowing brain work.  They learn how to tell when a child is ready for more or needs more repetition to “get it.”  They learn how to present the information in so many different ways that all students, with variant learning styles, are engaged - that something clicks in their minds that breaks the ice jam of thinking and allows the thoughts to flow freely.  Teachers know when to stop and let the information sink in - when to weave in visual or metaphoric strategies - when to use other subjects to help students learn the new information.  An English teacher can teach the Concept of Compound by using science and mathematics applications of equations:  balancing them on either side and making sure that the expression is equal on each side.  And that English teacher knows when a child is not ready for the math, science, or language information about the Concept of Compound.  That teacher then knows how to take it apart and reteach, so that the student “gets it” in English, Science, and Math - she probably spends 5-6 six of her lunch “hours” meeting with this student, eating sandwiches & Oreos while asking probing questions that move that student forward.  
That one student - that one child who is willing to put forth the effort to “come for lunch,” will suddenly throw his sandwich down on the desk, jump up and shout, “ I've got it!”  He’ll go to the board and work a problem or attack a sentence structure or write an original piece of thinking to demonstrate the new learning - the teacher and student will both laugh - and shout - and say things like, “whew!” and “I thought I’d never get it.” and , “I always knew you could do it - I did - I knew it...”  The feeling filling their hearts that day is so satisfying - it’s just not like any other good thing this world has to offer. It’s what teachers know that people who don’t teach, don’t know.

It’s why teachers, who never earn a bonus or are ever paid for all the hours they work, are not paid for their lunch hours or their after school tutoring or their late night grading, are willing to keep on facing new students every August after spending $500-$1000 of their own money to prepare their classrooms for these new people.  They know the secret of the New World Order - teaching someone to do something is more powerful than doing it for them or doing it themselves. They know it is hard work, not babysitting.  The true act of good teaching is an art and a craft, not a job.  It is a Profession because all those who teach well, Profess their ability and joy in their art and craft. 
Our Present World Order pays people huge amounts of money for singing songs, playing sports, knowing how to put numbers in the right place to make the profit line grow, or solve scientific problems necessary for human progress.  It pays money to individuals who are “experts,” or “talents,” or “geniuses.” 
 In the New World Order, a teacher would be paid a huge amount of money for the ability to move this world forward by teaching someone to write a song, play a sport, put numbers in the right places, or create new discoveries.  It’s one thing to be great at something - it’s a New World Order skill to be able to teach these tools to someone else.  I can’t imagine a world without people who are so willing to give of their minds, hearts, and spirits to the youth of this country.  I can’t imagine a World Order: New or Present, without these people we name as Teacher.
To be continued...

Friday, November 23, 2012

The Thanksgiving Gathering that did and didn't happen!

Posted: Day after Thanksgiving 2012
Updated: 24 Nov 12

A close friend in Europe, who knows well my Mormon family story (including in-laws!), sent this today (23 Nov):

"Thanksgiving is all about having your entire dysfunctional family under the same roof and hoping the police don't get called!"
Ah, how well he knows!!  :)  

Birgitta and I did attend a morning gathering with about 30 Bethlehem Lutheran friends at their newly dedicated Labyrinth.

(click on pictures to enlarge)
Thanksgiving walk on the Labyrinth
As we completed our thoughtful, meditative walks, we gathered at the entrance, joined hands and expressed what we felt prompted to share of what we felt thankful for. My immediate thoughts served up my late refugee father and his example an honest search for meaning. My own search seems a continuation of his. During the last month of his life (April-May 1964), he and I went on a sentimental journey, the first such trip together before his unexpected death only a week or two later. I will always treasure having "hung out" with him during his last days. (See also here.)

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Birthday card for #79 from Birgitta

Posted: 17 Nov 2012
Updated: 20 Nov 12  :)

Bottom half, which was too long for scanner
(most important part)

And then came a belated  original mini painting from Birgitta's sister Ginny! Her talent always moves me....
Original Ginny Brownfield

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Ivan's daughter

Posted: 15 Nov 12
Updated: 26 Jul 17

My deceased son's first born:

Newly born


Learning to make decisions

Learning to read

Learning social skills

Hanging out with big girls

This lovely girl is now 24 years old...


Her adoptive mother sent this recent letter shortly after Devon first contacted me:
I'm sorry it has taken me so long to start this communication with you. I just typed a LONG letter to you and apparently lost it...maybe it's somewhere in cyberspace. Thank you so very much for being receptive when D... contacted you. We love her so very much and provide all that we can, but she's always wondered about her biological background...and that is something we couldn't give her. I should have asked Ivan more questions when we met him.  
contemplated contacting you when I saw Ivan's obituary. Part of me thought that if I lost a child, I would give anything to know that part of him lived on. On the other time, I knew that you were going through a horrible time, and didn't want to add to it by adding that information. I trusted that God would provide the proper time.
Ivan didn't even know that E... was pregnant until sometime in August. D... was born September 10. To his credit, he never doubted his paternity. He stepped right up, coming to E...'s next doctors appointment. We met and my husband did an Ultrasound where D... swam right up and showed us her little face! He was concerned that she would be raised in family that would provide a religious background and a good education. We've strived to fulfill his wishes. 

He was out of town (working on an investment property) the day she was born, but came the next day to the hospital. He spent quite a while holding her and checking our her parts. He seemed quite proud of his "product."
E... didn't tell her own mother that she was pregnant until she told Ivan. She had a 5 year old daughter at the time who started school on the Monday after D... was born. As far as I know, she never told her daughter about D.... I quite certain that she still lives in the area, but has never contacted us. We would be very easy for her to find. Because of that, I'm not sure how receptive she would be if contacted. 

I hope you understand how grateful we are to Ivan and E... for this beautiful girl. I do have a picture of her in her Baptism gown I'd like for you to see. To me, she looks so much like Ivan that I was certain that even if you knew nothing about her, you would believe her story after one look at the picture!
I will try to figure out how to put it on the computer so you can see it.

In the meantime, take care,
Warmly, S/S

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Swedish Grandsons

Posted: 14 November 2012

(click to enlarge)
From left to right: Johannes, Samuel, Ruben & Ezra
(October 2012 in Uppsala)

Are these sons of Birgitta's daughter not handsome indeed? Ruben 27, Ezra 24, Samuel 21, Johannes 16. Fine young men, all!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Romney's defeat: Blessing in disguise??

Posted: 13 Nov 12
Updated: 4 Dec 12

Romney concedes

The recent national election was a shock not only to Mitt Romney and his people, but to conservative Republicans (such as Karl Rove, Dick Morris, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, Mike Huckabee, Peggy Noonan, Charles Krauthammer), who had boasted a certain victory.

But was that all bad? I don't think so. At least it wasn't a revolution. Not yet. It is not all bad especially for those who must now reinvent themselves. Rather, it is an opportunity to self-renew by learning to tell the truth in a way that most of them had gotten used to not telling.

It is also an opportunity for Romney's Mormon Church top leadership to embrace an honest dialogue with the country and to tell their truth in a way that they have gotten used to not telling...

Yesterday (Nov 12) I received the following invitation from a close Mormon friend, former bishop and early editor of Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought:

Change in the Church 
"Liberations come from some strange region where the imagination meets change. . . . We need to re-imagine change itself, else we labor to confirm all our errors." --Ihab Hassan (Egyptian scholar)
Most of us have lived through periods in which we have witnessed changes in LDS doctrine, policy or practice. Some of these have been small but nevertheless significant (e.g., the recent lowering of the age for missionaries) and some have been large and consequential (ordination of blacks to the priesthood). 
If you were in a position to affect change in the Church over the next decade, what changes would you identify as the most important? In the space below, please be as specific as possible in describing the changes you would like to see in the Church (these can be related to doctrine, structure, systems, policies, etc.). Below each desired change, briefly identify any obstacles that would need to be overcome for the change to be effected, and any suggestions you have for overcoming them. 
What should guide you? There is an old saying, “Over the door it is written three times, ‘Be bold, be bold, be bold.’ Only once is it written, ‘Be not too bold’!” In other words be imaginative, even visionary, but stay somewhat in the neighborhood of the ultimately possible.  
Desired change: 
Possible obstacles:  
Strategy for overcoming obstacles:

This is an important opportunity for regular church members, if not others, to contribute from a grass roots level! How would you have responded to this invitation?

Here are my first three suggestions:
1. Desired change: Overhaul or eliminate the excommunication process.

Possible obstacles: There are at least three: a) Spiritual conceit (pride) of hierarchical ecclesiastical decision makers. b) Idolatry (such as 'my church right or wrong' or 'my country right or wrong', etc. I.e., lack of respect for individual conscience as the ultimate decision making authority; and c) Impatience (See Arnold Toynbee commencement address to U of Utah June 1967).

Strategy for overcoming obstacles: Approach them with the Creative Deep Listening (CDL) dreamwork process. [CDL = CREEI + IDL (Integral Deep Listening) interview technique] Explain its origin, application and results with various groups, institutions and churches (beginning with 1976 UCLA course Creative Dreaming and Spiritual Awakening). Refer also to Arnold Toynbee’s two papers delivered at the U of Utah in June 1967: a) Three Generations in a Crisis, U of U commencement address; b) The Role of Creativity in History, Fifth Annual Creativity Workshop, U of U. [See also my 2005 and 2012 Sunstone Symposium papers (respectively: 'Arnold Toynbee in Salt Lake City' and 'How the Bomb corrupted the world and how Mormons and American Indian Shamans can help save it'.

2. Desired change: Eliminate seniority as THE de facto criterion for choosing leaders and reinstate an authentic revelation process.

Possible obstacles: Same three above plus lack of knowledge, understanding and respect for personal and collective dreams and how to value and/or evaluate them.

Strategy for overcoming obstacles: Invite a knowledgeable dream worker to demonstrate the CDL process and reveal the 'Potential Creative Energy' (PCE) evident in any group of honest, open-minded participants. 

See these two blog posts: ...

3. Desired change: Review and pardon past excommunications, beginning with the September Six.

Possible obstacles: Same as above.

Strategy for overcoming obstacles: Same as above.

On Thursday, 15 Nov, Joseph Dillard wrote:

I saw just this morning that Romney explained his loss to his big donors yesterday in terms of Obama giving gifts to the 47% - extended health insurance to young adults; reduction of college loan interest repayment. So he bribed the "takers" and the "makers" lost.
 How's that for a unifying narrative? I hear it as a continuation of self-validating delusion. I see no sign from the Republicans that the real problem is that the majority of the country sees them as the Party that fights for inequality. 

To be continued...

Friday, October 26, 2012


Posted: October 26, 2012
Updated: 13 Nov 12

At the beginning of each dream seminar session at Bethlehem Lutheran, these words are spoken:

O Lord God, our Creator, 
from whence we all come, 
who knows our hearts, minds and intentions,
 hallowed be thy Name.
 We ask in the name of  Jesus, 
our Savior and Advocate,
 who loves us without condition
 in thy perfect Grace and Justice,
 to bless and sanctify this place,
 this moment and this small group
of seekers and believers,
 that we may by thy Holy Spirit
 better learn to commune with thee,
 learn to know our truest selves 
and each other
 through our dreams, reflections and conversations,
 that we might cherish and nourish  
our infant understandings,
 that we might attain new levels 
of maturity and parenting,
 achieve deeper levels of awareness
 and rise to higher levels of perspective,
 so that we might know thy will 
for each of us
 and magnify thy Holy Name 
by our example
 in this present earthly world
 of conflict, confusion and chaos.


Sunday, October 21, 2012

Mormon historian D. Michael Quinn about Romney

Posted: October 21, 2012
Updated: 13 Nov 12


Below is a link to a Vanity Fair article about Romney by D. Michael Quinn, who is probably the most prominent and generally respected Mormon historian alive. He is a personal friend who has been treated badly by the Mormon Church, having been excommunicated as one of the "September Six" excommunications of high profile Mormons in September 1993, who dared to tell their stories without the blessing of the hierarchy.

If you look at the accompanying comments at the end of the article, scroll down to the one by Clifton Jolley (#11), another good friend (he was chairman of my recent Sunstone Symposium session), who was once a member of the Church's educational system, a reporter for the Deseret News (official Church newspaper), and who for years wrote the scripts for the well-known Sunday morning radio and TV broadcast of "The Spoken Word". When Clifton became aware that many of his best friends were being excommunicated, "I became a Jew", he once quipped at a Sunstone symposium session.



From: D. Michael Quinn
Sent: Friday, October 19, 2012 4:08 PM

Hi, y'all !

      Consistent with the magazine's name, my ego requires me to send you my article about Mitt Romney that was posted to this URL on Monday:




Saturday, October 20, 2012


Posted: 21 October 2012
Updated: 27 Oct 12

Two Old Men Talking

Since June of this year, Tom Rogers and I have had an all-new correspondence consisting literally of well over 350 email exchanges! Tom is one of three current Mormon patriarchs assigned to Eastern Europe (mostly Russia and Ukraine).

The significance of this remarkable exchange became clear to me only a week or so ago upon awakening one morning with the realization that it is fulfilling an injunction of "responsibility waiting having 'something' to do with Russia" that I took seriously in spring 1959 as an undergraduate at UC Berkeley. Tom and I met twenty years later, originally in Provo in early 1979 when he was a professor of Russian at BYU, which was five years after my Northwest-Soviet Liaison Corporation had collapsed in June 1974. In those long-ago Cold War days he and I and another BYU professor of Russian (now also one of the other patriarchs to Eastern Europe) discussed a proposed choir exchange between the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and the Red Army Chorus as a cultural means to reduce tensions between the USA and the USSR. Moscow was interested back then, which I had already determined years earlier in the liaison business, but Salt Lake City wasn't.

Prior to this past June 2012, Tom's and my correspondence had been cool since August 2008, shortly after I sent him my Sunstone Symposium paper for that year titled Did Joseph Smith Know Himself?

Our current (now warmer) correspondence commenced because of Tom's encouraging response to an early draft of my more recent 2012 Salt Lake City Sunstone Symposium paper titled How the Bomb Corrupted the World and How Mormons and American Indian Shamans can help save it. He had been impressed by the "IDL" (Integral Deep Listening) interview of a dream character of mine called Hippie Woman, which was presented near the end of the paper.

The last few exchanges are:

 On Oct 18, 2012 at 12:50 P.M. Tom Rogers wrote:
Subject: addenda and changes to my 'thinking aloud' (in bold face):
L E T T I N G   GO An ongoing late life impression--prompted by the departure of dear friends like the late Art Wiscomb and our artists' co-op founder Colleen Parker, by Eric Samuelsen's powerful testimony in a recent issue of Sunstone and by a phone call just yesterday from my accomplished violinist cousin David Margetts, announcing that he is afflicted with metastasized prostate cancer but can still jovially quip that he now practices 'instant repentance' (e.g. whenever he become angry with his wife).  I quipped back that he seems to put little stock in the 'death bed' variety.  Admirable stoicism!  He'll likely leave us with a smile on his lips if he doesn't also parrot Steve Jobs's "Wow!" Ours is a time for 'self-emptying'--for letting go of what once so compelled us--and peacefully, quietly looking forward to the beckoning Light that others‘ ‘near death’ experiences suggest awaits each of us.  A time to graciously learn to say, “No, thank you.”  And to stop imposing on others!!  The life cycle is a part of us and we of it, and it is good. I want to expand with a sentence or two more on the term, 'self-emptying', for which 'self-renunciation' is perhaps a fair synonym.  (One recalls the profound truth of that classic medieval German play, Jedermann.)  Though I am hardly a devotee of Scientology, those who are such apparently still use the term (and the goal they shoot for) from its early predecessor, Dianetics--to become 'clear.'  That expression also fits what, it seems to me, is appropriate and especially needful at our age, or as Tyutchev expressed it in his haunting poem, "Poslednyaya lyubov'" (“Last Love”), "na sklone nashikh let." (“at the decline of our years”).   
But clear of what, exactly?  Of all this Earth’s tangible enticements.  Of ambition.  Of fear and frustration.  Of any and all dislike or resentment.  But equally as much of any apathy toward those to whom we were previously indifferent: besides our significant others, our immediate loved ones, all creeping, crawling creatures--certainly all other men and women, who just happen to be both our spiritual and our literal, if distantly related, earthly brothers and sisters.  These remain our cherished and most bona fide attachment, our raison d’etre, as we are theirs.  They and the eternally transcendent values we’ve all along been urged to live by and whose unimaginable effects we are so magnanimously promised.  A funny thing though: the Savior already charged us to be so disposed--and not just before we leave this life.  Consider the Sermon on the Mount.  
 As we observe those we’ve long ago begotten and theirs--as, like us before them, they energetically though often fitfully advance themselves and fill our ranks--the displacement seems not only appropriate and needful but--as our powers recede and our stamina declines--fairly easy, our ever increasing frailty and listlessness, even our ennui, a tender mercy. The oriental sages who taught and sought Nirvana must have been rather old men. May those who inevitably follow us have as fulfilling and meaningful a good ride!  
TR (10/17/12)    
On Oct 19, 2012, at 9:25 AM, Eugene Kovalenko wrote:
Beautifully said, Foma. 
But not yet! Not until I have meaningful conversations with all the members of my family here and abroad who will communicate with me. Not until I have meaningful conversations with all my friends and former friends here and abroad who will communicate with me. Not until I have meaningful interaction and conversation with all members of the church of my birth who will communicate with me. Not until I have meaningful interaction and conversations with all the members of the other churches that I have known and been part of here and elsewhere. Not until I have meaningful interaction with all our neighbors in this town where Birgitta and I now live. Not as long as I have breath enough to speak and communicate with anyone in this mortal life…. Zhenya  
PS. Birgitta just read this and smiled. Then she paused and said, "That's a pretty fantastic ambition"!  Ah, well….
On Oct 19, 2012 10:48 A.M., Tom Rogers wrote:
Bravo, Zhenya!
 What you just wrote strikes me as exactly coinciding with what I added to my statement below re. those to whom we were previously indifferent: besides our significant others, our immediate loved ones, all creeping and crawling creatures--certainly all other men and women, who just happen to be both our spiritual and our literal, if distantly related, earthly brothers and sisters.  These remain our cherished and most bona fide attachment, our raison d’etre, as we are theirs.  What a worthy late life endeavor--to seek mutual accommodation and reconciliation. Allow me to share the following, which I have since included in the same statement:  This is how ‘clear‘ Eric Samuelsen’s has become--forced at a still relatively young age by early onset Lou Gherig’s Disease to retire as BYU’s resident dramaturg and truly one of Mormonism’s most gifted playwrights.  In Eric’s own words: ”I’ve come to think that what I was just doesn’t matter....I am sicker than I have ever been in my life: an illness that’s likely to kill me someday.  And I count it a great blessing from my Father in Heaven” (“The Roots of My Faith,” Sunsstone, September 2012, pp. 10-17).  S dobrym dnyom--Tom           
On Oct 19, 2012 at 12:44 P.M. Tom Rogers wrote again:
Your undeterred yearning for communion with others, Zhenya, is another of your saving graces!

"Inner work is World work"...

Posted: October 20, 2012
Updated: 27 Oct 12

Autumn at Lewis & Clark College**

"Inner work is world work". So says Arnold Mindell, founder of World Work and The Deep Democracy Institute in Portland, Oregon.

**Lewis & Clark College, also in Portland, is a place where my personal journey took an important turn from inner to outer in early 1972, thanks to its then president, John R. Howard, who became friend and mentor.

This goes hand in glove with an injunction from the Bhagavad-Gita: "To action alone thou hast a right; not to its fruits!"

These are good reminders for me, if not for others, when feeling personally responsible for the world's woes or when we take ourselves too seriously.

An example comes to mind of the surprising "coincidence" of dates [June 8, 1978] after having just written a cover letter to John R. Howard to a freshly written first version of my play The Defense of Cain and then learning on that morning's news that the Mormon Church had just changed its prejudicial policy against African Negroes. It was this official, highly controversial policy that caused me to challenge the Church hierarchy on 25 July 1965, which led to my first excommunication, which inspired the play.

Dupre's Cain

To be continued...

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Friend's dream of yours truly

Posted: 17 October 12
Updated: 30 Oct 12

Last August, Rex M, one of my best friends from UC Berkeley days of over 50 years ago, an emeritus professor of management and currently an adviser to our LADDOF (Los Alamos Deep Democracy Open Forum, Inc.) initiative, wrote to me from Prague:
I had a small dream about you last night.  I had read in a newspaper about the results of an election in another state, where you live. It had said you were elected as Vice-President (of the state).  
Then (scene 2), you and I were in the same place and I congratulated you on the election.  You said, "they got it wrong, I was reelected as a Citizen, one of two.  Our function is to ensure that the government functions ethically, efficiently, and effectively."  I responded that this made me feel good, that they had made a good choice.
Normally, when someone has a dream about someone, I generally view it as representing some aspect of the dreamer, rather than the actual "someone". Most times such projections of self-aspects eventually return to the dreamer when the dreamer typically finds him/herself saying, "Oh, you aren't who I thought you were!" Or, "I'm so disillusioned," etc.

However, in the rare instance that the projection is accurate, it will stay and present the dreamer with an opportunity to integrate the qualities of the projection into the dreamer's conscious identity. In this case I very much hope my friend's projection of "me" is accurate! since I'd very much like to play the role assigned by his dream and try it for a while. It appears very much in line with what our LADDOF initiative is all about!

May it be thus!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Our 19th Wedding Anniversary

Event: October 16, 2012
Updated: 23 Oct 12

Anniversary Dinner at Blue Window Bistro 
Los Alamos

Gift painting by Birgitta's younger sister Ginny

Flowers from sister Elisabeth in Sweden

Wedding Day with friends 
Don and Pat Cummings
Malibu, California 1993
(Rie Mitchell in background)