Saturday, May 26, 2012

Handing off football to Opposing Team

Event: May 22 or 23, 2012
Updated: Thursday, May 31, 2012.

Curious dream on May 22 or 23.

I'm carrying the football nearing the goal line just ahead of an opposing team member who can't catch me. But just before crossing the line, I hand off the ball to him as we both cross....

Long ago (1976) I taught a class at UCLA called Creative Dreaming and Spiritual Awakening. In the take-home final there were four metaphors, two of which students were required to use in describing their lives. One of them was "The Inner Game of Football".  And now here it is literally in my own dream life!

So, what to make of it in outer reality?

If dreams can be seen as "pictures of feelings that parallel waking life", then this one is intriguing. In CREEI process terms, it scores Anticipatory.

In the last several weeks I've been playing a "game" with the local school administration regarding my retirement from school bus driving. In taking exception to how I was recently forced to retire by the HR director, I have called for a rigorous review of the circumstances leading to that decision. We are to meet again in her office next Tuesday (May 29), along with the transportation supervisor and the president of the school district employees union. My purpose in playing this game is not reinstatement, but a reexamination of how "the game" is played.

The school administration seems unaware of the declining morale in the transportation department and not having played the game with the awareness of injuring "opposing players" such as myself and others. The employees union president will be the "referee on the field" during the second half of this "game".

Tuesday, May 29, 2012. 10:00
The meeting went well.

On May 29 I met with members of the Los Alamos Public Schools administration in the HR director's office.  Attending the meeting were the HR director, transportation supervisor, School Employees Union president, and the school superintendent. I had met earlier with the union president to review the issue and get the objectives clear beforehand.

We all reviewed the video in question and I was satisfied that I had in fact "popped" that curb during the turn, which had so frightened the young mom pushing her tram on the sidewalk at that corner at that moment. It took me 5 or 6 viewings of the video to see it clearly. And it was when the school superintendent noticed the shadows inside the bus jumping at that moment, as well as hearing the sound of the "pop", that gave me the perspective I needed.

So, bottom line, such an infraction all by itself is enough to disqualify a commercial driver's license, according to the transportation supervisor, citing Federal DOT regulations. (That was his main input in the meeting). That was the central legal question to be addressed in the meeting. 

I conceded that I now was satisfied that the event was real and as reported. Furthermore, the fact that I was unaware of having done that was enough evidence for me personally to accept that it was time to retire from bus driving at my age. Better too soon than too late!

After that issue was settled, we carefully went through how the discipline procedure in the school district works, including that employees sometimes feel treated with disrespect, marginalized and damaged psychologically in the process. The Union president was also able to voice concerns for other cases pending, where employees felt unfairly treated. Other grievances were also discussed and I went away satisfied that justice AND fairness had been served in my case. More importantly, I felt that the school administrators in attendance had reached a deeper level of awareness--a LADDOF objective. I also felt that I could now retire with dignity. This was amplified when the superintendent accompanied me from the meeting and said he would have his secretary set up a private luncheon with him to celebrate my retirement. That lifted my spirit!

Before ending the meeting I showed the above picture of an old man carrying the football about to cross the goal line, but lateralling off the ball at the last second to the opposing team pursuer just behind him. I said to the group: "I have just given the ball to your team and it has scored two points! Congratulations. Let's keep a good game going."  Everyone laughed.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Remarkable coincidence re Berlin Tunnel

Event: Saturday, 19 May 2012
Updated: Sunday, May 27.

On Saturday, May 19, Birgitta received an email in Norwegian from one of her best friends from Swedish Royal Opera School days, now living in Berlin. Here is Birgitta's translation of her friend's message:

….I experienced a strange coincidence the other day while I was thinking intensely about you and at the same time turned on the TV -- and at that very moment I saw you (Birgitta). The "Arte" channel was just showing the program about the Berlin tunnel that we already had viewed on the DVD (you sent). We stayed seated and saw the whole thing over again. It is truly a unique story, and may it give Zhenya a little fame. Greet him heartily and say that whatever life has offered and offers, he has contributed in a way that few have had opportunity to do.

It warmed my heart.

Obviously the film has now been released to European TV.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Picnic in High Jemez

Event: Friday, May 18, 2012
Updated: Saturday, June 2, 2012

We almost didn't make it back!!

Geoff and four-year-old Jason came to our place Friday morning for an all-day trek to a special place in the nearby Jemez mountains. Geoff wanted to introduce his boy to this place and let him roam in the wilderness to his heart's content.

Because Geoff's pickup couldn't handle four people comfortably, we went in my old four-door 4WD red Honda Civic wagon. Geoff drove, while I sat in the front passenger seat and Birgitta sat in the back seat with little Jason in his child's car seat.

It was a beautiful drive and a perfect day.....

Birgitta, Jason, Geoff and Honda ready to go!

Stop on way
On the Trail
Self Portrait
Three grinning hikers

Rest break
Jason inspects bug
At picnic site

Birgitta at picnic spread
Geoff with hat gift from Jason
Geoff & Eugene in meadow
Birgitta at the river

Jason in the meadow

Jason's show and tell

Jason exploring

On the way back

Jason finds snow patch

Happy father and son

White knuckle return trip

On our way back to Los Alamos, Geoff still driving, he noticed the red alternator warning light had come on. We were still in the boondocks on a bumpy, rutty dirt road, but he quickly pulled to a stop. What to do? Was it really an alternator problem or just a faulty connection to the indicator light? He got out of the car and raised the hood to check for loose connections. None found. Hmmm.

 In helicopter pilot mode Geoff went into emergency planning. Warning light on. Out of cell phone range. No passers by. Worst case: alternator out, battery low. Best case: faulty indicator light connection, but functioning alternator. Only option: start car, get on road and get as close to civilization as possible until battery gives out. Did I mention prayers? Birgitta got into prayer mode and Geoff started the car. Miraculously the red light was out! A "Just-In-Time" prayer? Did this mean the alternator was charging again? Didn't matter; we got on the road. Things looked good and we gave thanks.

A few minutes later the light came on again, then off, then back on, off again.  This continued as we proceeded as fast a possible. Finally, the red light came on once more and stayed on. But we were close to town now and in cell phone range if needed. Our comfort level rose and we made it back home without further incident. Whew!

After Geoff left with Jason in his pickup, I hooked up our battery charger to the Honda just in case the alternator was the culprit after all. It was: the battery was completely empty! We must have had only a block or two left of battery juice when we pulled into our driveway. Again, thanks.

Later that evening we called our mechanic. How about coming over for dessert his wife offered and I arranged to have him inspect the car early the next Monday morning. Come Monday's inspection: it was the brushes that had worn out! Alternator OK. A $10.50 part +  labor expense. More thanks.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Open Letter to "A Wayseer"

Posted: 12 May 2012
Updated: Wednesday, 16 May

Envelope from "A Wayseer"
On Saturday, May 12, 2012, an extra-ordinary two-page letter marked "personal and confidential" came to my home from an obviously intelligent, perceptive anonymous writer signing off as "A Wayseer". I do not want to destroy or ignore it, because if it is well-intended it deserves a forthright and full response.

However, I'm not confident that Wayseer is well-intended. My wife Birgitta, who knows me better than anyone, suggests I ignore it if the person insists on being anonymous. We speculated on who it could be. "Apparently someone who knows you", she said. I thought so, too--at first. She wondered if it could be one of my clever sons. I could think of only one with a satirical sense of humor, but quickly dismissed the idea.

But now I think of another son, who is not speaking to me these days. No, I thought again. He does not care that much to do the kind of sleuthing Wayseer has done. Not so fast! (I catch myself.) On the other hand, he is an extra-ordinary sleuth and the more I think of this possibility, the more I like it and wish it were he.

Wayseer asks penetrating and important questions, which I will respond to as openly and completely as time and energy permit. That is, if he/she wishes a serious dialogue and is willing for it to be posted on this thread as it evolves.

So, Wayseer, if you read this and are well-intended, please comment below. Better yet, send me an email. You can find my email address on one of my several blogs. But best of all, in addition, Wayseer, send me a dream! That will tell me who you are really, just as my dreams tell you and others who I am really.


PS. To check my own "intra-personal balance", I am sending a scan of Wayseer's letter to six friends and family, who know me best of all and from whom I have no secrets.

On Sunday, May 13, at 9 PM, friend Clark responded first:
I will give you my first reaction without thinking about [it]--I am going [out of state] on business Mon. thru Wed. (driving so will have time to think) and will think more about it.  I don't know many people with the time or energy to do the research it took to write the letter.  It strikes me as someone who is blaming you for their lot in life or is jealous of you or vindictive and doesn't have what it takes to confront you directly.  I don’t think it was from a point of care or love, they would have signed it. If they thought your ego would be over whelmed they don’t know you and are playing a game.

Also, The thought popped into my head, so [I'm] going to put it down.  Be careful someone might be trying to set [you] up for something...
Less than a hour later, wife Birgitta responded:
Honey, If I were you, I wouldn't even bother responding to or engaging with someone who doesn't have the courage to sign the letter with their name, not much of a "wayseer". You have no reason at all to try to justify yourself to anyone whosoever. The Scripture verse in Ex. 14:14 "The Lord will fight for you, and you shall 'hold' your peace"  is deeply meaningful to me. Many years ago when I was severely maligned and wrongly accused, I took those words to heart and held my peace and I prayed [and] decided to just be forgiving and loving and gave the thing over to the Lord and saw a miraculous outcome. In your sistuation, I would trust in the Lord and refrain from a reply. That doesn't mean I don't think you could still work with some of the questions if you want to for your own sake. I love you and admire your persevering work with yourself and I appreciate deeply all that I learn from being your life partner and wife. B
Early the next morning [Monday, May 14], friend Joseph responded from Berlin:
Dear Eugene,
Thank you for sending me a copy of [Wayseer's] letter and the link to your response.
Mysteries are generally about drama, and regardless of who this person is they are trying to draw you into the Drama Triangle. Why? They pose as a crusader for the truth, rescuing your readers from your Purported lies, partial truths, and convenient misrememberings. But they are clearly a persecutor playing a game of "gotcha." The way you buy into the game is either by wasting your time attempting to defend yourself (The more you try the more it looks like you have something to hide - see Sadaam's Iraq) or by playing cat and mouse with someone who clearly has no intention of disclosing themselves, as that would solve the mystery in which they are seeking to entrap you. You have hurt people in your life. Or, more accurately, people have chosen to blame you for the hurt they chose to feel. Clearly, this person thinks you haven't suffered enough for it. They think you need another knife blade between the ribs - twisted, for good measure. Do you? I don't think so. And who appointed this genius God? Don't forget that 90% of what people think and say about others is autobiographical. This letter is about [Wayseer's] psychodrama mostly, not about you. Is he an interesting enough partner to dance with? Interesting, yes, but also cruel. When you dance with Tar Babies you end up black - just like the Tar Baby.
Early afternoon on Monday, friend Rex wrote:
Gene, I've been under deadlines all weekend, so just read the letter and your blog.  I agree completely with the comments of Clark, Birgitta, and Joseph.  Clearly, this is someone who has known you and chooses to blame you for the hurt he/she chooses to continue to feel, but is unwilling to interact authentically with you.  This makes the first paragraph of the letter a hypocritical mockery of the writer:  he or she castigates YOU for not being authentic and transparent, while claiming to have merely stumbled upon you and your writings.  I would not give the letter any more attention. 
 I was curious about the alias, Wayseer.  There is an organization with
this site:   ...and an interesting critique of
the organization and its manifesto at: Love, Rex
I read the sites Rex lists above and was surprised by the first site, then educated by the second. 

In mid afternoon on Monday, son Nick wrote:
Wow! That's pretty wacky and interesting that someone would give a rats ass to make such observations and challenge this stuff.
"Deep Forces" at work...
All I can say is there are some very interesting questions beginning with one I've also had with regard to the "i've always been interested..." quote.
Sounds like an appropriate penpal to keep you interested and honest, dad...
Since Nick is interested in the questions he refers to, I invite him to carry the dialogue in a separate exchange.

A little later that afternoon, son Steve text-ed:
...Obviously whomever [sic] wrote it went out of their way to be anonymous. Now you know it wasn't me! :)
On Tuesday, May 15 (my father's b/day) I called the one friend who had not yet responded.

Ken had received my email, but didn't know what to do with it. He is not as computer savvy as he would like, being in his early 80s. But as we talked I realized he had not read the attached scanned two-page letter; they had come up blank on his PC screen. So, I read the letter to him. 

He became angry at first and agreed wholeheartily with the responses above, citing Yogi Berra's sage advice, "If you get an anonymous letter, don't answer it." When I suggested I knew who it might be, especially because of the content on the second page, he thought that my theory was plausible and recommended reflecting on the writer's questions even though the letter was clearly an attack. 

Ken further pointed out that I shouldn't be surprised at such attacks because of my being so self-disclosing as in "It has not always been popular or safe". To that comment I can't help think of the examples of Jesus, as well as artists throughout the ages who were fearless and vulnerable. Why would I expect anything different? 

Perhaps we are we discussing suicidal tendencies here? :)

Thursday, May 3, 2012

End of school bus career?? A teaching moment.

Event: Thursday, May 3, 2012
Updated: Sunday, May 27, 2012

On May 3rd, the best job I've ever had came to an abrupt end. "Resign now or be fired!" said the HR director as softly as she could, in the company of the transportation supervisor.

It felt like an undignified end to a devoted 13-year service and I was left with a strong feeling of disquiet.

I was to learn subsequently (below) that I hadn't been properly advised that I could have had a union representative join me. Nor could the transportation supervisor prove I had damaged a travel bus as he had claimed and reported to the insurance adjuster. When I held firm that I'd noticed this damage during the pre-trip inspection, before taking the travel bus out on an early Saturday morning activity trip and had reported that fact on the trip ticket, he had to back off, acknowledging he had made a mistake. But the HR director drug out a more than ten-year old "reprimand" in my files to back up her decision, were I to challenge it.

To review, on late Monday morning, April 16, I was informed that I had come too close to a young mother and her tram at a corner turn that same morning morning, after driving the travel bus the previous Saturday. This was something I was unaware of having done and now very concerned about if my awareness and memory were failing me. A few days later I was presented with video evidence from the bus surveillance cameras, but did not have a chance to examine the video carefully. Therefore, I am not confident that the conclusion of the supervisor is correct. In any case, I felt I could not risk another such close call as on that Monday morning, if indeed it was as had been alleged.

So, regretfully, I am no longer a school bus driver. At least for the present.

As my disquiet continued to grow in the days following the termination, I wrote to a friend well-acquainted with such issues. He invited me to his home to talk and as we went over the circumstances in painstaking detail, he said I had a strong legal case for being re-instated if the video on closer examination does not show the bus "rocking" while making the reported turn and if the bus was in the street at all times. "If you popped that curb while making that turn as is alleged", he said, "it should be clearly evident in the video. You have to know what you are looking for. And because you did not have a competent representative with you at the viewing who knew exactly what to look for, you may have been wrongly accused. The termination decision rests squarely and only on that single event."

This brought to mind my recent  "anticipatory" dream where rocks like loose cannon balls are rolling towards my empty travel bus from a mountainside to the right. In that dream six weeks earlier than the termination date, I am able to stop the bus before damage was done and back up into a safe parking area off the mountain road. This was a heads-up to me then that "something" was coming from the "right" and that I should not go down that road any further. I did not know then how it would play out in real life, but now it had just manifested.

So, the conversation about the termination--and what precipitated it--is not over.

I now think of my poem Rainmaker, written in response to a dream long ago in a different "LA", but with the same theme at its beginning. For amusement's sake, here it is as a "teaching moment":


I’m nervous as I sit in front
The third chair from the isle.
The man who sits before me
Now speaks but doesn’t smile.

“What is your journey here, sir,
Before you are retired,
And make no joke about it
The word is more like fired!"

Startled I woke that New Year’s day
As the dream began to fade,
And three days later on the job
My back just up and gave!

Down flat in bed my body lay
Retired by the pain
While outside great clouds gathered
And then began the rain.

As outer ragged darkness
Sent torrents raging down
I dimly came to be aware
The Master was in town.

His inner light began to glow
In a school room way down deep
To show me what I’d failed to learn
Long formal years asleep.

He came now as a rainmaker
From regions far away
Where Nature’s master rhythm
Is balanced night and day.

He took confusion on himself
Influenced from without
And as the inner struggle grew
Began to sort it out.

A rainmaker comes for inner work
Chaotic states to feel
And restoring balance in himself
New harmony forms congeal.

         * * *

"This is now my journey, Sir,”
I say back in the dream,
“To seek that place where rainmakers
Can learn the craft they bring.

“I know it isn’t far beyond
For I can see the way;
The longer are the strides I take
The sooner arrival day.

“Even detours to the right or left
Are harder now to take
As my journey speed increases
It’s less effort moving straight.

“So that is where I’m going now,
I hope you understand.
If not, that’s all right too, Sir,
But I’m moving to new land.

“I’ll return a later time then
When I’ve better learned my craft,
And if you’re here and still in need,
my work will make you laugh.

“If it isn’t fun to work here
Anxiously building your careers,
Why work to frantic sweat and toil
If you’re always in arrears?

“Send for yourselves a rainmaker
I know there’s one around
Who’ll better help than I can give
When invited to your ground.”

A rainmaker comes for inner work
Chaotic states to feel
And restoring balance in himself
New harmony forms congeal.

Los Angeles
Feb 78

To be continued. Click here.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Most Memorable May Day: today's perspective

Posted: May 1, 2012.

Exactly 47 years ago today (May 1, 1965), I awoke from a distressing nightmare, which I recorded in my bedside pocket journal (begun in January 1965) and titled May Day! May Day! 

From today's perspective given the current 2012 presidential election year and the rise of Mitt Romney as the apparent Republican candidate, it is interesting (to me at least) to look at personal inner and outer events before and after that date that were surrounding my reality.

In outer life at the time of the dream I was a 31-year-old active Mormon elder with wife and family of five children, working as a nuclear materials research scientist for General Atomic in La Jolla, California. I was also in an intense correspondence with Howard E. Salisbury, a recently excommunicated Mormon gay man who had been a popular professor at Ricks College in Idaho (now known at BYU Idaho). In summer and fall 1959 Salisbury became a mentor of mine via correspondence when I was an engineering undergraduate at UC Berkeley and he was chairman of the Fine Arts Department at Ricks.  I had also begun writing poetry with two poems so far in my collection:  Pilgrim and Night. The first, written in November-December 1964, was inspired by parapsychology Professor J. B. Rhine at Duke University, the second, written in April 1965, by Salisbury.

Below are some musings on events surrounding May Day 1965.

My father had died the year before (May 14, 1964) and Salisbury would soon become a father figure to me. When I learned of Salisbury's excommunication in a January 1965 letter from the friend who had introduced us, I looked up Salisbury's phone number and called him immediately. We were both astonished at the timing, since Salisbury said he had just been listening to the tape recording I'd sent to him in summer 1959. This call launched an intense written and telephone correspondence.

To be continued....