Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Salt Lake City trip objectives

Event: December 26-31, 2011.

Traveled to Salt Lake City for LADDOF, Inc. with several objectives in mind:

1. Deliver solicited personal materials to the U of Utah Special Collections repository.
     [Ongoing activity begun in March 2004]

2. Meet with John K. Carmack, Executive Director of LDS Church Perpetual Education Fund
3. Meet with Jack Tueller, Col (Ret) USAF,  WWII Veteran, fighter pilot and Trumpet Player
4. Meet with Oscar McConkie, Jr.,  Recently retired general counsel for LDS Church

5. Hang out with youngest son, John.

In general: lay groundwork for eventual LADDOF patrons and repairing reputation of second family.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Mormon-Church Factor in Los Alamos

Posted: 8 Dec 11; Updated: 12 Dec 11

Peaceful Religion

Typical Sunday at Los Alamos LDS Ward (full parking lot)

I am working on a short (5-10 minute) presentation as a draft open letter to the Los Alamos community called "The Mormon-Church Factor in Los Alamos" as a subject for an upcoming forum sponsored by the Los Alamos Deep Democracy Open Forum, Inc. This is a subset to a broader "first hot topic" regarding an apparent "disconnect" between the Los Alamos County Council and county citizens.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Meeting Myron (Strong Willow) Gonzales

Posted: Monday, 28 Nov 11; Updated:

Eugene and Myron in Los Alamos on 11/28/11
It is hard to imagine a more meaningful conversation!

At long last  I met with Myron Gonzales to discuss LADDOF's "Story Tree" project. Last August 18, San Ildefonso Gov. Perry Martinez assigned Gonzales in his role as the tribal council's representative for cultural affairs to evaluate the project. Frustrations, PC problems and unexpected obstacles delayed our meeting until Monday, November 28. But it was as if our meeting had been arranged by influences far beyond our control to give us ultimately an unhurried opportunity to meet and hear each other in a "deep democracy" setting. The meeting lasted almost three hours.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Marco's bronze horse sculpture

Posted: 23 November 2011

 On Saturday, November 19, 2011, Pat Trujillo-Oviedo delivered her husband Marco's bronze stallion, which Birgitta fell in love with at first sight last August in Chimayo. Last week she dreamed of receiving it. It was clearly time to bring her dream into reality!

Marco is one of the Hispanic artists who have agreed to contribute to the Hispanic spiral of the "Story Tree of Los Alamos".

Marco A. Oviedo

The Carthusian monks at Jerez de la Frontera, province of Spain, bred the best Iberian horses for the last 13 centuries to arrive at the purity and character of the Spanish horse of today. “Jeresano” refers to being of Jerez. In Spain, any good wine is aged in oak barrels and is called 'Il de solera' or 'of good origin' and made in the properly aged way. Hence the name, Jeresano de Solera, an elegant name which describes this beautiful Spanish stallion floating on air with character and flawless movement and a long-standing noble heritage. Jeresano de Solera pays homage to the French impressionist masters who saw the horse floating in the air, but could not prove what they saw until the first high-speed camera was invented in 1881."

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

First "Hot" Open Forum subject?

Event: 16 November 2011; Updated: 25 Nov 11

On November 16, the Los Alamos Monitor published my letter about the implications of a recent unexpectedly strong defeat of a proposal that most County Council members thought would be an easy victory. This seemed a good topic for a first LADDOF event. Two letters the following week (Nov 22) confirmed that perception: a disconnect between county government and county citizens. 

(Click on letters to enlarge)
Letter to Editor 16 Nov 11
Letters to Editor 22 Nov 11
This seems to me a local version of an issue being played out on national and international scales these days. In his classical book, The Spirit of Laws, French philosopher Montesquieu might refer to the issue as one of "political virtue", on which the republican form of government is built. That is, the willingness of the people to obey the law. When that willingness breaks down--when citizens no longer respect and obey the law--the republican form of government degenerates into one of two other basic forms. These are: despotic or monarchical. I believe we are heading for the former of these two.

On Monday, 21 Nov, I wrote to Max Schupbach, director of the Deep Democracy Institute in Portland, to alert him to this opportunity to offer a first forum and to ask support suggestions.

Max, you wrote us here in Los Alamos at this time last year from Nairobi to propose a first Los Alamos DD open forum. Remember? But we ran into a scheduling conflict. You asked us to identify a "burning issue" here for the forum. We have one now, which became clear only last week in the results of a county election on an initiative propose by the 7-person county council, which the council took for granted would pass easily. Instead, and to the council's dismay, it was roundly defeated by a margin of 2 to 1, indicating a profound "disconnect" between county government and community citizens. There is flash point energy brewing here, which I call "potential creative energy" or "PCE", which is manifest by low morale, suicide, destructive outbursts, etc. 
We need guidance from you and your people on how best to set up this first open forum. Will you respond to this request?
On November 22, 2011, Schubach again replied from Nairobi, Kenya:
Thanks for letting us know, dear Eugene, we will be back in the US in Mid December, maybe we can connect after this. Please write to me personally, I would appreciate it. Thanks and best wishes for your work. 

Friday, November 4, 2011

Dinner with Gov. Torres & Family

Event: Friday, November 4, 2011; Updated: Thanksgiving Day

On November 4 we were honored to have former San Ildefonso Pueblo Governor Elmer Torres and daughter Tracee to our home for dinner to get better acquainted and discuss LADDOF. To our mutual surprise, Elmer and I discovered that we had worked in the same SIO (Stakeholder Involvement Office) for LANL back in 1993, before Elmer was elected governor of San Ildefonso Pueblo. We were also pleased to learn that Tracee, a tenth-grader at Los Alamos High, is planning to visit sister city Sarov next spring.

Elmer urged me to follow up with Myron Gonzales to get the project back on track from the scheduling difficulties since August. With that encouragement, I visited the pueblo to make a renewed attempt to arrange that long-awaited meeting with Gonzales. Fortunately we re-established contact and are now scheduled to meet for an evaluation discussion soon in Los Alamos after Thanksgiving.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Los Alamos Quakers

Event: Sunday, 25 September 2011

My second meeting with the Quakers took place in a private home in Los Alamos. I love the first hour of complete silence! Two members from the Santa Fe community, who had been at my first meeting were there, but I hadn't recognized them. As is the custom of Quaker meetings, at the end of the period of silence those who feel led by the spirit are invited to speak. The hostess shared a story from the national organization. I felt like singing a song, but resisted the prompting at first. "Why don't you ask permission to sing?" the prompting continued. So I asked and then sang the song that had come to mind, a favorite old spiritual from Tennessee, circa 1830.

I'm just a poor wayfaring stranger
Travelin' through this world of woe
And there's no sickness, no toil, no danger
In that bright land to where I go.
I'm goin' there to see my father
I'm goin' there no more to roam
I'm just a goin' over Jordan
I'm just a goin' over home.
I know dark clouds will gather 'round me.
I know my way is rough and steep.
But golden fields lie just beyond me
And souls redeemed no longer sleep.
I'm goin' there to meet my mother.
She said she'd meet me when I come.
I'm just a comin' over Jordan.
I'm just a comin' over home.

We then gathered at the dining table for a potluck lunch. During our chat, someone asked why I had come to Los Alamos. I mentioned both the Los Alamos Deep Democracy Open Forum and my interest in dream work as well as originally working with LANL's nuclear waste management group. Shari, one of the two from the Santa Fe meeting, expressed special interest in dreams and disclosed having studied dream interpretation with experts, including the well-known Jeremy Taylor, a Unitarian minister, whose celebrated work has impressed me deeply. Encouraged by her interest, I asked if everyone (nine folks) would be willing to try my simple CREEI process as a group experiment. They readily agreed, so I asked all to recall a dream without disclosing its content and then asked the twelve standard questions.

In this setting I did not ask for titles for the dreams nor did I take notes as I usually do. But they seemed to get the idea how a group such as this can develop closer community in the process of doing inner work (privately answering the questions) while also being aware of how others were answering by a nod, a smile or another outward expression. A simultaneous inner/outer process.

Shari then stunned me with an observation. How appropriate it seemed to have introduced my dreamwork and LADDOF to them as Quakers and didn't it now make more sense why Quakers were in Los Alamos?! That is, peace activists in a legendary weapons laboratory town.

There it was! Our purposes coincided and I marveled why this connection hadn't occurred to me earlier.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Corn Dance at San Ildefonso Pueblo

Event: September 11, 2011; Updated: 17 Sept 2011

Corn Dance at a Pueblo

Having been invited by former governor Elmer Torres and wife Deborah to attend the pueblo's annual autumn harvest thanksgiving corn dance, I arrived early (while Birgitta attended Church in Los Alamos) to sit on their pueblo gift shop porch adjacent to the north plaza and wait for the festivities to begin. It was scheduled to begin at about 10:00 A.M. but actually began an hour later.

While waiting, a couple of foreign visitors came to the gift shop, not knowing what was about to take place. They were Yoram and Dafi Horowitz from Israel. It was a pleasure to discuss the pueblo and Los Alamos, as well as learn about their country, professions and attitudes. Yoram is a computer software executive; Dafi is a social worker. We agreed to keep touch.

After the dances began, Deborah came to meet her guests, while Elmer sang with the chanting men who gave life to the dance. All the guests were invited to a meal at their home nearby, an unexpected pleasure for the Israeli visitors.

During a rest break in the dances, I left to get Birgitta in Los Alamos. We also were treated to a delicious meal at the Torres' home together with another couple, who had come up from Albuquerque.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Viewing "Classic Maria Martinez" DVD

Event: Saturday, 20 August 2011; Updated: 21 August

While at Elmer and Deborah Torres's gift shop on Wednesday (8/17), Elmer gave me as a gift a copy of the "Classic Maria Martinez" DVD on active display in their store. I got hooked in watching the first few scenes of Maria's creating a pot. I don't know if Elmer knew that my technical background is ceramic engineering, so I watched the DVD at home with Birgitta on Saturday with two sets of eyes: those of engineer and poet.

Maria & Julian

Maria Martinez Bowl
Maria Martinez Plate

Maria at work

I gained an entirely new perspective of making and firing specially prepared clay and its behavior under high crafted heat and skilled smothered quenching. I will watch that DVD many times!

Thursday, August 18, 2011


Event: Thursday evening, 18 August 2011; Updated: 20 August

Jump start rescue

After leaving Mama Gonzales's wonderful dinner for the Sarov visitors and other guests, I walked in the dark to the Governor's office not far away to where my car was parked. Alas, my battery was dead! Again? The last time this happened was not long ago, just after dinner with our Hispanic friends in Chimayo' and for the same reason. Was there a message here, beyond my absent-minded memory, I mused.

On my way back to Mama's house to find help, I passed the house of a young man who had been at the dinner a few minutes earlier. He waved at me as I walked by to say he had enjoyed the story I had told about my father becoming a Russian cowboy in New Mexico in the early 1920s. I felt emboldened to tell him my battery was dead and he immediately followed me in his Lexus to give my old Honda a jump start. When my car fired up I asked if I could know the name of my rescuer. He was proud to say "Laurence Peña", a counselor at the pueblo. I told him I would post this event on my blog. He hoped I'd spell his name right. :) I have a hunch we will meet again soon.


Recalling old dream: Backsliding off Mt. Majestic

Event: Thursday evening, 18 August 2011; Updated: 21 August.

As I left Mama Gonzales's home to walk the short distance to my car parked at the governor's office, Deborah Torres was just driving into the driveway and stopped to ask how the dinner and tour with the Sarov kids had gone. I gave her a brief update, but as we talked, a very old dream (11-12 November 1964) came to mind that I'd recalled the day before in the process of writing an email to her and husband Elmer. In looking the dream up in my journal to refresh my memory for details, I realized that this particular dream was part of a set of three that were my earliest requested dreams. They came the night after I had read Hugh Lynn Cayce's freshly published book Venture Inward, which offered suggestions for recalling dreams. In those days I was new to this subject and did not know how to understand or interpret them.

In the spontaneous process of telling the dream to Deborah this past Thursday, it began to take on meaning that I'd never before considered. The dream ends with a few ordinary American Indians (!), who casually begin practicing basketball by shooting baskets at one end of a typical indoor basketball court. The dream begins with me on a slippery slope near the top of snow-covered Mt. Majestic, beginning to slide backwards on the snow without skis, but turning around by the time I get to the bottom where there is a school gymnasium.

To describe the parallel outer reality in November of 1964, I was a new PhD with General Atomic Corporation, working as a materials scientist on nuclear fuels for atomic power reactors. Professionally, I was at the "peak" of my (majestic?) new career. We'll leave the rest of the interpretation and associations for later... :)

Dinner with Sarov kids at Mama Gonzales's

Event: Thursday evening, 18 August 2011; Updated: 21 August

American Indian cuisine
After the Buffalo dance the Sarov visitors and I were invited to Myron Gonzales's mother's house for a delicious traditional dinner. Mama Gonzales's home is not far from the Governor's office and it was full of good cooking, family and friends. A favorite meeting place. It would be difficult not to feel comfortable there.

Myron and I got a chance to talk a little more about the LADDOF project, but somehow the conversation got sidetracked when they asked me about my background and I told the story of my dad coming west after the Russian Revolution/Civil war of 1917-20 to become a Russian cowboy in New Mexico in the mid 1920s.

Young Buffalo dancers

Event: Thursday, 18 August 2011;  Updated: 21 August

Big tree on Plaza

After former Governor Elmer Torres took the Sarov student visitors and me for a walking tour of the plaza and its surroundings, including an admiring look at the famous 750-year-old cottonwood in its midst, we returned to the governor's building to witness a courtesy performance of the American Indian Buffalo dance. Myron Gonzales met us in Native costume and introduced us to the young teenage dancers, two of which were the buffalo with horns.
Buffalo Dancers

Gonzales was also the drummer to whose beat the dancers moved. He explained beforehand that this dance was hundreds of years old and came from traditions that included the experiences of Plains Indians and their buffalo hunts.

Meeting Governor Martinez

Event: Thursday afternoon, 18 August 2011; Updated: 21 August.

 Former Gov. Elmer Torres, Gov. Perry Martinez & LANL's Ike Richardson
A day earlier, when I met former Governor Elmer Torres at his family gift shop on the pueblo plaza to ask him when I could meet the current governor, he suggested I meet with Governor Perry Martinez the next day in the governor's office, just before his scheduled 4:30 meeting with the visiting Sarov Sister City students. Elmer would introduce us. After we shook hands that Thursday, I gave Governor Martinez a copy of the Tree of Transformation flier. He had already seen the graphics days before when I left an earlier copy with his administrative assistant, but this time he read the text on the back. After asking me to say a few more words he suggested that I meet with Myron Gonzales, pueblo council member and resource specialist for cultural affairs.

Myron was in the next room briefing the Sarov students, after which briefing Elmer introduced us. Myron and I agreed to meet again soon for a more complete discussion of the project.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

LAPS Superintendent Schmidt rides my bus!

Event: Tuesday morning, 16 August 2011; Updated: 20 Aug 11

Rex, Eugene & Gene at the annual LAPS kickoff breakfast
When I reported for work this morning, the second day of school, imagine my surprise to be told by the transportation supervisor that the Los Alamos Public Schools superintendent was waiting for me on my bus! I wasn't expecting him for another two days. He was delivering on his promise to me made two years ago when he first came to Los Alamos and shook my hand at the kickoff breakfast for the new school year of 2009. At that time I made him aware that we had the same name (!) [Kovalenko is a Ukrainian version of "smith"] and that I was a school-bus driver.

Following that breakfast, in the Smith Auditorium, Dr. Schmidt presented to all employees his vision for the school during his tenure. Above is a pic of him and me with the new middle school principle Rex Kilburn at the annual breakfast on August 8, 2011.

If Our Hearts Are Right... was the slogan Dr. Schmidt presented in 2009 as his vision for LAPS. "If only this were more than rhetoric", I remember thinking back then and looked forward to discussing this very point some day when we finally met. That day came last Tuesday, August 16, 2011.

Schmidt's 2009 Vision

As we traveled on bus #139 to my first morning pickup on Los Pueblos Street, I mentioned this slogan: Was it more than rhetoric? He was quick to assure me that it was indeed sincere and was pleased that I remembered it. With that we launched into a most exciting, far ranging conversation, beginning with the subject of dreams as "pictures of the heart that parallel our waking life". Was he interested to discuss that subject with me sometime as applying to his slogan? That he was genuinely interested was heartening! In fact he pledged to arrange such a discussion soon over coffee, once these first days of school settled down. Our discussion would also include the mission of the Los Alamos Deep Democracy Open Forum, Inc.

I look forward to that day!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Sarov kids at El Rancho de Las Golondrinas

Event: Saturday, 13 August 2011; Updated: 

Sarov students at old closed church

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Meeting former Governor Elmer Torres and family

Event: Thursday, August 11, 2011; Updated: August 12

At the Los Alamos-Sarov Sister City welcome dinner tonight at the Bethlehem Lutheran Church, Birgitta and I were pleasantly surprised to meet the former governor of San Ildefonso Pueblo and his family. I was able to discuss the Tree of Transformation project with him and give him a flier. He offered to arrange a meeting with the present governor. Daughter Tracee, 15, is a student at Los Alamos High School. Wife Deborah manages their Than Povi Gift Shop at the pueblo. 

Deborah, Elmer and Tracee Torres

Eugene, Birgitta, Deborah and Elmer

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

God Light on Pueblo and LANL

Event: Wednesday, 10 August 2011; Updated: 

As Birgitta and I drove home in late afternoon after a meeting with LADDOF director/adviser Jim Bradbury in Santa Fe, we noticed what photographers refer to as "God Light" streaming from the clouds over what seemed to be the San Ildefonso Pueblo area.

God Light over Pueblo?

However, as we came closer to home in Los Alamos, the light seemed to have shifted. It was now clearly raining down on the Los Alamos National Laboratory!

God Light  on Los Alamos National Laboratory

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Tepees in Berlin

Event: 2 August 2011; Updated: 4 August 2011

Today's (Tuesday, 2 August) Skype conversation with LADDOF adviser Joseph Dillard in Berlin produced this photo of a tepee village not far from his home, which he photographed minutes after our conversation. Both of us were speechless after discussing my third visit to San Ildefonso Pueblo and he then mentioned what had been happening in the fields near Berlin for the last several weeks. Joseph was particularly impressed by Native American artist Alfred Aguilar's surprising, but illuminating comment about Native American art and their pots. In response to my question about how he would repair pots, Aguilar simply said, "One does not repair a pot."

I asked Joseph to summarize our conversation. He did so in an email and included this photo.

Tepees in Berlin 
(August 2011)
Here is Joseph's summary of our conversation:

Dear Eugene,
My first comment was in response to what you learned from Aguilar about pots, that to "repair" is to deny the life of a living thing. To think thus is to miss the meaning and purpose of this creative work. Even when it is broken or marred... 

So Los Alamos is broken or marred. The indigenous peoples of Russia and the Americas are broken and marred. The nuclear scientists of Russia and the United states are broken or marred. Those "pots" are living things. Living things need to be respected and listened to, to hear what song they want to sing, just like "the wind sometimes finds one of those songs still in the clay and lifts it out. And carries it down ito the pueblo and across the plaza."  

So maybe dreams and songs will be imprinted in this tree to weave together separate stories into a new, transformed, transformational narrative that doesn't need to repair, just to sing on the wind.
And that comment contains the second thought that I had, which was that perhaps the indigenous peoples of the Tree have contributions to make. Perhaps the Russian nuclear community has some contributions to make, both from representatives of the contemporary equivalent of Los Alamos and from some retired voices that have the wisdom of perspective to add... 

That led to the third, which was that perhaps an interview of the Tree of Transformation would direct you on this path. And perhaps an interview by Jim of his dream tree might be important. And that might lead to dream sharing by members of the Pueblos and perhaps even some interviewing of their relationship to this project. 
These are scattered ideas. Do not let them distract you!  


Tree of Transformation Project

Posted: 18 July 2011; Updated: 2 August 2011

A picture is worth a thousand words. 

Normally I place these posts to appear on the date of the event. This time, however, it is placed on the date of update to keep current on this now rapidly evolving enterprise....

(Click on images to enlarge.)

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Discovering the Quakers

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.

Hispanic wood carvers at Spanish Market

Event: Sunday, July 31, 2011;  Updated:  August 7, 2011

Coming to the annual Spanish Market at the suggestion of Gregory Schaaf, I met several men who impressed me as possible contributors to the carving project. One in particular 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. It will be interesting how this evolves....

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Oviedo Ranch and Gallery showing

Event: Saturday, July 30, 2011; Updated: 11 August 2011

Birgitta and I attended a showing at the Oviedo Gallery ranch on Saturday evening after having had dinner with the Oviedos at Rancho Chimayo the week before, where Pat and Marco agreed to join our LADDOF board of advisers.
(Click to enlarge)
Art by Marco Oviedo and Dominique Boisjoli 

Birgitta fell in love with a horse sculpture by Marco 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 took a photo of Birgitta's newly purchased treasure.

Spanish Horse by Marco Oviedo

Friday, July 29, 2011

Third visit to San Ildefonso Pueblo -- Artist Sa Wa Pin

Event: July 29, 2011; Updated: August 1, 2011

(click on image to enlarge)

I learned an important lesson today in my third visit to Alfred Aguilar in San Ildefonso Pueblo. I watched him as he crafted a pot and graciously answered my many technical questions. 

His answer to one question took me by surprise. How might he repair a pot that had lost its sheen or gloss? Without missing a beat he answered simply, "But then it would loose its value." It wasn't until he walked over to his card rack and showed me a poem that I began to understand. 

(Click on poem to enlarge)

One does not repair a pot! To "repair" is to deny the life of a living thing. To think thus is to miss the meaning and purpose of this creative work. Even when it is broken or marred....

And then I understood even more. The life of this pueblo and its people stands in stoic, silent and dignified witness to a greater, deeper, wider reality. It is well beyond the advent of the Bomb and its aftermath....

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Second Visit to San Ildefonso Pueblo

Event: Monday, 25 July 2011; Updated: 27 July 2011.

Birgitta and I again visited San Ildefonso on Monday morning, July 25, arriving early enough to witness a dance by four men and four women in traditional costumes. It was a very hot day and the dancing took place on the bare ground of the plaza well beyond any shade. Four men chanted facing each other head to head while another beat the drum, as the dancers performed various stylized movements.

We also visited the Governor's office and learned that new Governor Perry Martinez had been governor once before in 2000. I wondered if this governor had been in office when LADDOF adviser Geoff Rodgers had been Los Alamos County Council chairman a decade ago, when he had had personal contact in county-pueblo negotiations. In a subsequent phone call Geoff informed me that Martinez had just retired from his first term and a new governor had just come into the office. He also told me that there are apparently two kivas (family communities) who lead this pueblo, which provide alternate leaders every two years.

On our way out of the plaza Birgitta and I visited Alfred Aguilar once again. Birgitta bought one of his exquisite miniature pots.

(click on image to enlarge)
Artist Alfred Aguilar at work

Alfred Aguilar Miniature Pot

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Meeting Professor Gregory Schaaf, Constitutional Law Historian

Event: 26 July 2011; Updated: 27 July 2011

Entering the beautiful home of Angie Yan & Dr. Gregory Schaaf on Tuesday morning (26 July 2011) was like encountering a living museum. Their home features a collection of Native American art important to the world. Greg's life-long devotion to helping Native People and promoting Native artists began when his grandparents told him at age 5 that some of his ancestors were Choctaw and Cherokee. Angie grew up in Hong Kong and worked as a Graphic Artist for the County of Los Angeles for a decade. When she moved to Santa Fe, Greg met her at the Santa Fe Design Center, and he hired her as a book designer. They fell in love creating the "American Indian Art Series," an encyclopedia of Native Arts. Over 15,000 Native American artists biographical profiles have been published so far. See www.indianartbooks.com.

Below are a few photos of my visit to their Center for Indigenous Arts & Cultures.:

Holding Totem Pole. Masks in background

His book about pots and many examples.

Holding Carved Stone and Silver Poles

Holding Prized Wood Carving

Prized Painting on Fireplace & Schaaf's book about it

Dr. Schaaf graciously invited me to visit him in his home during the precious time he needed for meeting a deadline for his latest book. Among an astonishing range of topics, we discussed his personal relationships with prize-winning Native American carvers and artists, the governments of the local pueblos and the attitudes necessary to gain their attention and trust.

Dr. Schaaf suggested building a circle of private supporters to help promote our non-profit organization. Some patrons will share our vision and support our positive projects. Recently, Native American Artists for Japan requested donations of art which were sold by the group on ebay, raising almost $50,000 for Japanese disaster relief via the Red Cross.  

Many Native Americans are especially concerned about recent reports that the three damaged nuclear reactors in Fukushima, Japan . . . ARE STILL MELTING DOWN . . . hot as ever, and no one on Earth knows how to stop it! When Hopi leaders learned that without their permission the US Government had taken yellow-cake Uranium ore out of their land to develop the atomic bomb, they were greatly disturbed that they had inadvertently contributed to the disasters of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. They recited Hopi prophecies warning that one day there would fall upon the Earth a "gourd full of ashes," this they interpreted to be atomic bombs. They traveled four times to the United Nations to warn the world and finally, their prayer for world peace was narrated by the Secretary General to the UN General Assembly. Twenty-five years ago, Dr. Schaaf spoke in the United Nations on "American Indian Peacemaking Traditions." 

As a result of this visit, I realized that LADDOF needed to reconsider its title for the "Totem/History Tree" project. The new working title "Tree of Transformation" is better, because the project must include not only totem images from the Northwest, but also a history statement of our local Indigenous, Hispanic and Anglo traditions, plus a vision for the future.

Furthermore, it became abundantly clear to me from our discussion that the Los Alamos Deep Democracy Open Forum project should NOT be located on San Ildefonso land, as originally considered, but within current Los Alamos community boundaries. 

I left Dr. Schaaf's home with two of his many books: The U.S. Constitution and The Great Law of Peace (based on his doctoral dissertation for the University of California at Santa Barbara) and Franklin, Jefferson, & Madison: On Religion and the State (from newly discovered original historical narratives).

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Dinner with the Oviedos at Rancho Chimayo

Event: Saturday evening, July23, 2011; Updated: 21 August 2011

Birgitta, Eugene, Marco and Patricia

Birgitta and I met with Patricia Trujillo-Oviedo and her scientist-artist husband Marco at Rancho Chimayo for dinner and talk. My purpose was to recruit them into an advisory role with LADDOF. The conversation could not have gone smoother!

Jim Bradbury and I had worked with Pat Trujillo years ago (1993-94), when we worked together in the Stakeholder Information Office (SIO) at LANL. SIO had the responsibility of interacting with the public to find common ground and dealing with anti-nuclear activists.

Marco caught the idea of the intertwining spirals and suggested the practical strategy of creating miniature models of the tree to test preliminary designs and incorporating suggestions for change in the process. This would be an effective way to explore ways of working together towards a final design. As a bronze sculptor, perhaps he could design a preliminary working prototype.

Of particular interest to me was Pat's mention of having had a dream of me shortly after I had called to arrange to meet at dinner. Her candor in sharing this allowed us to get beyond superficiality. I was amazed by her dream:

as for the dream,what I remembered then and what I remember now is I was for some reason with some Austrian friends of mine who were with their grandchildren.  They needed help of some kind and had asked you, Eugene, to help them.  I advised them to be careful because you were some kind of an ex-KGB agent or something.  The dream then faded out.

 Then I told them about Birgitta's and my recent meeting with a British documentary film. My specialty in those long ago (1955-56) days was the KGB! Something in Pat had sensed something important and relevant!

Before leaving the restaurant that evening I discovered my car had a dead battery just in time to catch Pat and Marco before they drove off. They gave us an emergency jump start. Did that bode well for the future? Click here.

Friday, July 22, 2011

First visit to San Ildefonso Pueblo

Posted: Saturday, 23 July 2011; Updated: 

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 LADDOF board had met to set new strategy due to the unavailability of Arny Mindell, author of The Deep Democracy of Open Forums or Max Schupbach,  director of the Deep Democracy Institute in Portland, Oregon, to come to a Los Alamos Deep Democracy Open Forum anytime this year. Making direct contact with this pueblo now 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 to relax, I walked into the Plaza to look around.

One of the first things one notices is a huge cottonwood tree, which dominates the bare plaza ground. Under the shade of this tree a pickup truck was parked. As I approached a 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. He invited me to inspect his wares.

Inside the shop I asked how his pueblo had been affected by the recent Las Conchas Fire. He said 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 (Cerro Grande Fire of 2000) and it had received federal aid to recover. This time, however, although there was no structural damage and no similar aid available, 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 said he began his work after being discharged from the US Armed Services after the Korean War. He'd been drafted and spent his service in Europe. Since I was a Korean War veteran myself and had served in Berlin, we discovered we were about the same age. He had just turned 78, which made him four months older than I. He showed me a book documenting the work of local artists and was proud to show me a picture of his father. He then pointed to a paragraph mentioning his own work.

I asked him about the source of images his people use 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?, I asked. 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, but they speak faster. 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 above mentioned book, who lives in Santa Fe, and left a 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 at the pueblo.

New LADDOF strategy and action items

Event: 22 July 2011; Updated:

On Friday morning, July 22, the board met at Jim Bradbury's home in Santa Fe. There were four of us: Jim, Birgitta, Ed Storms and myself. This was adviser Ed's first appearance and his contribution was brilliant. As we focused on film maker Paul Ratner's "Totem Tree Proposal" (TTP), which I'd forwarded to board members a few days earlier, Ed had an alternative suggestion to the design.

Instead of imagining the bottom third of the tree to be the responsibility of indigenous carvers, the middle third that of  Hispanic artists and the top third that of "Anglo" (Manhattan Project) artists, Ed suggested three intertwining spirals telling three parallel, on-going and unfinished stories. That struck a resonant chord with all of us.

Furthermore, as we discussed approaching the San Ildefonso pueblo people, Ed took on the role of negotiator in their behalf. We quickly arrived at what seemed a generously fair position.

Armed with these insights, new approaches and potential negotiation points, I felt new confidence to visit the pueblo later that afternoon.

Monday, July 18, 2011

We are Official! The IRS has blessed us at last...

Posted: 18 July 2011; Updated: 19 July 2011

On July 11, 2011, having just received the hard copy from the IRS approving our 501(c)3 status, I sent an email to friends of the corporation.

Arnold Mindell, author of The Deep Democracy of Open Forums (which inspired the formation of LADDOF, Inc.), and Max Schupbach, Director of The Deep Democracy Institute in Portland, Oregon, both responded within hours:

Looks just wonderful, thanks Eugene, best to all, amy and arny

Congrats, fantastic, great work !!!!
Much love

Here is the email notice:



On June 28, 2011, the IRS accepted LADDOF, Inc. as a 501(c)3 corporation.

DIRECTORS and ADVISERS, please let me know ASAP your availability next week in Santa Fe for our next board meeting (which was postponed because of the Las Conchas Fire). It will be a strategy meeting to include:
1. Totem Tree Project (see attached proposal by Paul Ratner) 
      a. publicity and marketing strategies 
      b. approaching the pueblos 
      c. approaching activists groups 
      d. approaching area citizens 
      e. approaching Sarov-Los Alamos Sister City community 
      f. public screening of Paul Ratner's "The Caveman of Atomic City"
2. Eldering Group dream workshop 
3. Dreaming Parents of Dreaming Children (six to ten week seminar) 
4. UCLA (Unitarian Church of Los Alamos) Dream workshop on May 8, 2011
5. Eugene's report on Denver World Work conference last April with Arny and Amy Mindell.

All the best,


(click on letter to enlarge)
IRS Approval Letter

Monday, April 11, 2011

Denver seminar with Arny & Amy Mindell

Posted: Monday, 12 April 2011; Updated: Tuesday, 17 April 2011

Arny, Amy and Eugene

The seminar prior to the WorldWork 2011 conference was called INNER SAGE in the OUTER WORLD - Processwork and Spiritual Traditions. Tracking the Dreaming Landscape Beyond the Continental Divide: A Practice in Deep Democracy. It lasted three days, from Friday through Sunday, April 8-10, 2011, and involved about 100 participants from 29 countries and 20 US states, two thirds of which were women. The largest contingent was from Australia.

Here are the representative countries :

New Zealand
South Africa
South Korea

I was lucky to get the above photo of Arny, Amy and me, which was taken at the last session on Sunday, April 10, by Midi, a lady originally from Wales. She offered to take it after learning that my original photo had been lost when my camera disappeared after dinner at a nearby restaurant the previous Friday night.