Friday, October 26, 2012

Invocation

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.

Amen 

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Mormon historian D. Michael Quinn about Romney

Posted: October 21, 2012
Updated: 13 Nov 12

Friends,

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.

Blessings,

Eugene

From: D. Michael Quinn
Sent: Friday, October 19, 2012 4:08 PM
To: mike.quinn@finefriends.net
Subject: VANITY FAIR

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:

                                        http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/2012/10/mormon-politicians-lds-church-romney

Best,

Mike 

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Communion

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!
 T






"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)









Monday, October 8, 2012

Pilot dream seminars begin at Bethlehem Lutheran.

Event: 8 October 2012
Updated: 5 Nov 12


Bethlehem Evangelical Lutheran Church
Los Alamos

Dream Seminar groups A (Monday morning) and B (Thursday evening) began meeting on the week of October 8. Few showed up each time, due to scheduling conflicts, but those who did in this first week were in for a surprise!

Constrictor Snake

Serendipitously, a member in each seminar, independently and without each other's knowledge, dreamed of a constricting snake of which both were deathly afraid in their waking lives. In the Monday session it was a python; in the Thursday session it was a boa constrictor. Each participant was encouraged to interview these fearsome, non-human characters, which were more than willing to communicate with both dreamers and provide remarkable insights to all participants! In each case the dreamers were able to confront their respective greatest fears and then experience a liberating, enlightening dialogue!

On Tuesday, 16 Oct, one of these participants 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/...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...  
With this in mind, I am reminded of Joseph Dillard's IDL version of The Golden Rule:

Joseph Dillard's logo
Respecting and listening to your emerging potentials increases your ability to hear others.

If it is the case that how you treat others is how you are treating the parts of yourself that they represent, then the corollary is also true.
 
How you treat your emerging potentials is how you will treat those who personify those same attributes. The more you learn to listen to other aspects of yourself the more likely you are to listen at depth to others, with the result that you will assess their intentions and capabilities more effectively. 
For example, if it is the case that your hatred of liars indicates that you hate the lying parts of yourself that they represent, then if you interview a lying part of yourself and thereby treat it with respect, you will become more tolerant both of your own limitations and of lying in others. If it is true that when you avoid people, religions, and nations that scare you or that you disagree with, that you are avoiding and repressing the parts of yourself that they represent, then the corollary is also the case. How you treat those parts of yourself that personify what you avoid and repress - like the monsters in your nightmares - is how you are training yourself to treat those individuals, religions, and nations who personify those same attributes. 
This view states that you spend your life shadow boxing with a generally unseen and unknown self. If you want to stop and have real relationships with those you care about, you need to turn around and get to know that unseen and unknown self. It’s easy and fun in addition to being vital to health and happiness. This is the IDL version of the Golden Rule.








Thursday, October 4, 2012

Another 911

Event: Thursday morning, October 4, 2012
Update: Wednesday, Oct 10, 2012


At 04:30 this morning a loud crash from the bathroom woke me up. Not completely sure it had not come from outside our bedroom, I got up and knocked lightly on the bathroom door. A soft moan came from within and I opened it slowly to behold a shocking view of my lovely wife crumpled up on the hard tile floor amid a horrific mess of blood and feces. She had fainted due to blood loss from internal hemorrhaging from a violent reaction to a new medication for her headaches and hit her head on something that gave her a concussion. For a few alarming seconds I thought we'd lost her!

After cleaning the mess up enough to call 911, the paramedics were there within 5 minutes. Thank God for the efficiency of this town! And for the subsequent rapid prayer chain responses from Christian Church friends and those at Bethlehem Lutheran. To say nothing of the visits from neighbors who had noticed the flashing early morning lights of the two attending ambulances. Word travels fast and she soon received calls from her daughter in Uppsala, Sweden, and son David now in California. My only regret was that I did not feel free to call my local Mormon acquaintances to solicit their prayers.

The worst part of the ordeal for Birgitta, after she came to, was that she had forgotten completely the visit from Sweden of her dearly beloved son, David, who had left our home only hours before, following a wonderful, if rushed, business trip sidebar.

David and Birgitta the day before

Wednesday, 10 Oct. 
Birgitta is home now, having been released Saturday (10/6) afternoon. Thankfully, she has recovered her memory completely, but she now has bruises in various places from hospital blood letting and intravenous attachments, to say nothing of aches and pains all over. She is eager to get back to working out and into physical shape.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

David's visit

Event: October 2-4, 2012
Updated: 14 Oct 12

David, Birgitta and me

David Stavenow, Birgitta's beloved son, came and went in a day and a half, on a visit originally scheduled for two days and a half. His documentary film team in America had called for help from California while he was with us and he had to readjust his itinerary quickly. After all, he was the film's director, recruited from Sweden by a premium American-based global health care and medical research laboratory. Having worked with this client for at least five years on multiple documentaries, he could hardly ignore their request to change his plans.

Not knowing that less than a few hours after his departure his mother would experience a life-threatening trauma, David left a CD of his favorite music, which continues to bless his mother and me every time we hear it.