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.