Leland Clipperton

Sunday, April 24, 2011

The Launching of Greenpeace

The Story of the 1970 Concert that Launched Greenpeace
October 16th, 1970, 8 p.m.

Night has fallen and it’s dark outside the Pacific Coliseum, Vancouver’s largest concert arena, but inside all is bright and tinged with the adrenaline buzz of ten thousand ticket-holders.  A pungent potpourri of patchouli, sandalwood and Acapulco Gold is wafting through the stadium.  My mother, flanked by my fifteen-year-old brother and me, is sitting in the first row of chairs lined up in front of the stage.  Every seat has been taken, and those unwilling to sit in the stands are plunking themselves down in the aisles and on the floor in front of us, with scant resistance from volunteer ushers.

Shortly after eight the house lights dim and a raucous cheer erupts as Terry David Mulligan, deejay of local rock station CKVN, saunters onstage.  The whole arena is humming, vibrating with anticipation.  I slip off my chair and slide into the crush of bodies on the floor.  A shiver of expectation shakes my whole body.  Can this really, finally, be happening?

When my father said he was going to organize “a rock concert” I thought he’d gone out of his mind.  Dad had never organized a concert before, and the thought of my middle-aged father dealing with rock stars was just sad.  Besides, it was absurd to think that anyone would play for free for an obscure little group which a local journalist had sniggeringly characterized as a handful of “eco-freaks and beardies.”

“I’d like to introduce…Mr. Irving Stowe.”

Dad is a big man, nearly six foot, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen him stand so tall.  He’s wearing a long-sleeved, button-down Brooks Brothers shirt left over from his trial lawyer days, which I’ve tie-dyed.  The thick white Egyptian cotton took the blue dye exceptionally well, and the cloth is streaked here and there with pale lines like trailing balloon strings.  Shapes reminiscent of clouds hover here and there in clusters.  It looks like he is wearing the sky.

“By coming here tonight you are making possible a trip for life and for peace.”

His resonant voice rings out into the cavernous space.  “You are supporting the first Greenpeace project:  sending a ship to Amchitka Island to try to stop the testing of hydrogen bombs there or anywhere!”
Applause explodes all around me, and I smile up at Dad, knowing he can’t see me in that blaze of light, and then tears blur my vision and I can’t see anything anymore. It’s the proudest moment of my fourteen-year-old life. It all started at the end of the summer of ‘69.

The Sixties were drawing to a close.  All over the globe people had taken to the streets, marching against a nuclear arms race that jeopardized the planet, demanding civil rights and repudiating the Vietnam War.  Women turned gender roles on their heads and gays burst out of legally enforced closets. Revolution was the order of the day.

In Vancouver, Canada, my idealistic parents, inspired by legendary activists Mahatma Gandhi, Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King, dreamt of a world where revolutions were crafted from velvet instead of steel.  As members of the Society of Friends (Quakers), a pacifist sect with a long tradition of intense social activism, they progressed from dreaming to action.  Among their other causes was an underground railroad which helped Vietnam war resisters find shelter in hippie hangouts on Vancouver’s Fourth Avenue, a.k.a Haight Ashbury North. Teens like me gravitated to Fourth Avenue too, peering shyly into head shops,
fingering turquoise in the House of Orange bead shop and flipping through stacks of LPs at Rohan’s Records.  My family downed its first vegetarian curry and drank chai at the Golden Lotus.  “Peace”, everyone said, flashing “V” signs and radiant smiles.  The anthem of the Sixties, the Beatles’ song “All You Need is Love,” lulled us all into a sleepy euphoria of innocence and hope.

But before the decade ended, the bliss of Woodstock would be shattered by murder at Altamont while the Rolling Stones played on.  Casualties in Vietnam would escalate into the hundreds of thousands.  And on Amchitka Island, 4,000 kilometers from our hometown, the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission would drill deep into one of the most seismically volatile regions on the planet, preparing for a series of nuclear weapons tests.

My father was incensed when he heard about the atomic experiments on Amchitka Island.  Seismologists were warning that any sub-surface blast -- nuclear or otherwise -- in the tectonically unstable Aleutian Island Chain could initiate earthquakes and tidal waves all over the Pacific Rim.  And Amchitka was a dedicated wildlife preserve, world renowned as the site where sea otters –- hunted to near extinction by the beginning of the twentieth century –- had first begun to recover.

When Dad heard that sea otters were washing up dead on the shores of Amchitka with their eardrums split by trial blasts, he exploded in his own carefully controlled way.  He grabbed a pen and scrawled a petition to “Stop the Bomb!”  Then he stormed downtown to the US Consulate and stood outside in the rain, collecting signatures.

Meanwhile, journalist Bob Hunter was writing in his environmental column in the Vancouver Sun that the U.S. was playing “a game of Russian roulette with a nuclear pistol pressed against the head of the world.”  On October 1st 1969, Hunter and my father stood together on a makeshift stage at the Peace Arch border crossing just south of Vancouver, addressing six thousand angry students, housewives, clergy, anarchists and other disparate groups.  By the end of “Operation Borderclose” the crowd had forced traffic to a standstill, closing the Canada/US border and .

Similar, smaller protests erupted at customs checkpoints all across Canada.  In vain.  Less than twenty-four hours after we hoisted “Don’t Make a Wave” signs at the Peace Arch, a 1.2 megaton blast ripped through pristine Amchitka Island.  The Atomic Energy Commission promptly declared the experiment a success and scheduled a five megaton test for the fall of 1971, two years hence.  Code-named “Cannikin,” it would carry more than four hundred times the power of the bomb that leveled Hiroshima.

My father gathered a small but potent group of activists together to form the “Don’t Make a Wave Committee” (DMAW).  The first to join were fellow Quakers and ex-Americans Jim and Marie Bohlen.  Jim was a visionary engineer who’d worked on nuclear weapon delivery systems before becoming radicalized and shifting his focus to environmental engineering.  His wife Marie was a respected nature illustrator.

Both were ardent conservationists, who -- like my parents -- believed in the Quaker practice of “bearing witness” to wrongdoing.  But how could DMAW bear witness to nuclear tests on an island located roughly halfway between Alaska and Russia? Marie casually came up with the solution one morning over breakfast:
“Why not sail a boat up there?”

No sooner had she spoken than the phone rang.  On a slow news day it wasn’t unusual for journalists to call local activists, looking for a story.  Jim, hearing a reporter on the other end of the line, boldly improvised a plan to sail a boat to Amchitka.  The next day the Sun printed the story as if the voyage was a done deal. Dad called an emergency meeting of DMAW.  Everyone approved of the plan, despite the fact that DMAW had no money, no boat, and hardly any of its members had ever sailed before.  As the meeting drew to a lose, Dad flashed the “V” sign at community activist Bill Darnell as he headed out the door. “Hey, Bill!  Peace!”
Bill was known more for listening than speaking, but tonight he tossed off a spontaneous reply in the deep bass voice I found so incongruous in a twenty-three year old:

“Let’s make it a green peace.”

The phrase resonated, and not only in the basement of the Unitarian Church.  Quiet, thoughtful Bill had captured the zeitgeist in two words.  A burgeoning environmental awareness -- stoked by Rachel Carson’s ecological wake-up call, “Silent Spring” -- was seeping into the consciousness of peace activists everywhere, prompting them to consider a larger definition of war.  Urbanites who’d never farmed before were going “back to the land.”  Citizens worldwide were starting to listen to the language of the earth, the sea, and the sky, to pay homage to our singular blue planet.

My father had been writing an environmental column in Vancouver’s underground newspaper, the Georgia Straight.  It was one of his oft-repeated caveats that the “military industrial complex” was destroying the environment as well as people.  He called Bill the next day, very excited.

“I can’t stop thinking about what you said!  Peace…and the environment…this puts it all together.”
Everyone in DMAW heard the magic in the phrase.  “That’s what we should call the boat, when we get one,” Jim declared at the next meeting.  “The Green Peace.”  Marie offered to design a button as a fundraiser.
Dad hammered together vending boxes and the next weekend we all went out to stand on street corners and hawk Greenpeace buttons.  But at a quarter a pop, by the spring of 1970 we’d raised less than $500 in button sales, and it would take thousands more to charter a boat.

My father had drawn up DMAW’s constitution, citing two lofty goals:  to stop nuclear testing worldwide; and to preserve the environment.  But if DMAW couldn’t even raise $18,000 to charter a boat, these visionary ideals would amount to nothing more than a grandiose joke.  Reluctantly, the Committee started to take fundraising more seriously. DMAW often met at our house.  Sometimes when I came home from ballet I’d perch at the edge of the living room, hugging our black cat and listening to wordsmiths like Dad, Bob Hunter and Ben Metcalfe (a journalist whose radio broadcasts focused on environmental issues) discussing strategy.  Amid the frustration that sometimes erupted in diatribes, there were also flashes of luminous speech, which lit up the room like lightning crackling through storm clouds.

Fundraising ideas, however, were scarce.  One afternoon Dad came into the kitchen looking more drawn and haggard than I’d ever seen him before.  With jittery hands he scooped beans into the coffee grinder.
“I know how we’ll raise the money, Peachy!” he said, using the pet name he’d given me as a child.  “We’ll have a rock concert!” There was a false bravado I’d never heard in his voice before.  I turned away so he wouldn’t see my expression.  As if! I thought.  His colleagues in DMAW had a similar response.  My mother and Bill Darnell were the only ones who supported the idea.  “Fine!” Dad bristled.  “I’ll organize it myself.”

In retrospect, putting on a rock concert was perhaps not the most insane idea Dad had ever had.  Although I hated to admit it, he was clued-in to the music of the day.  His sizable collection of classical and jazz records had expanded within a few years to include a lot of folk and rock.  Al Sorenson, the music critic for the Georgia Straight, lent him promo albums, virgin vinyl that hadn’t even hit the airwaves yet.  Word got around, and when there were no meetings our living room would fill with a combination of DMAW members, Georgia Straight staff and other friends, all listening to the latest Grateful Dead, Laura Nyro, or other offerings. On those evenings, a reverent silence would reign as Dad slid each LP from an unmarked sleeve and placed it on the turntable.  The only light would be a pole lamp beside the stereo system and Dad would sit there with eyes closed and a blissful expression on his face.  My parents didn’t smoke (anything) but sometimes a listener would wander onto our sundeck for a toke under the stars.  Those evenings were seminal, magic, and the house was filled with an air of hope and awe and wonder.

Dad started writing to musicians.  One afternoon in late spring, I came home from school and he tossed me an envelope. “Joan Baez!”  My fingers were the ones trembling now.  “You got an answer from Joan Baez?”
“She can’t come,” he replied calmly.  “She has a previous commitment.  But she sent this.” He handed me a cheque for a thousand dollars.

Soon, the Canadian band Chilliwack -- formerly “The Collectors,” whose hit single “Lydia Purple” would become an enduring rock classic -- signed on.  Political folksinger Phil Ochs, who had a large and loyal following, also agreed to play.  Then Joni Mitchell came through, even donating the cost of renting her grand piano.  “Ladies of the Canyon” had been released in April, and Melody Maker would vote her the Top Female Performer of 1970.  She was as big a draw as we could possibly hope for.

Suddenly the concert was an actual, happening thing.  Our house morphed into DMAW central as everyone pitched in to get posters made, sell tickets and attend to a ton of details.  Dad booked the Coliseum for October 16th . At a modest $3 apiece, tickets moved briskly but there were still some available when the  phone rang at dinnertime in the beginning of October. “Hello?” My mother, brother and I looked up expectantly from our veggie burgers as Dad put his hand over the mouthpiece.  “It’s Joni.  She wants to know if it’s okay to bring James Taylor.”  Taylor’s album “Sweet Baby James” was shooting up the charts and would reach platinum on October 16th.  The concert sold out.

But as mid-October loomed, Canada was spiraling into one of the darkest periods of its political history.  A cell of the Québec séparatiste FLQ escalated terrorist activities from mailbox bombings to the kidnapping of dignitaries. At four o’clock on the morning of October 16th, Prime Minister Trudeau invoked the War Measures Act.  Tanks rolled through the streets of Montréal, civil liberties were curtailed nationwide and all day long we feared the authorities would try to cancel the concert.

Opposition to Amchitka, however, was widespread.  Both right and left wing factions had roundly condemned the tests, and even as far back as October of 1969, when the traditionally conservative RCMP stood idly by while students blocked the border at the Peace Arch, it seemed that on this issue our nation stood largely united.  Now, as the expected order to call off the concert failed to materialize, the powers-that-be seemed to be turning a blind eye once more.

Canadian author and editor Alan Twigg later opined, rather more cynically, that the reason the bastions of law and order didn’t cancel the concert was because doing so might have instigated a riot.  Whatever the reason for the non-action of the authorities, music triumphed over politics on this night.  Phil Ochs stood under the hot Coliseum lights in black jeans and a black leather jacket muttering, “not everyday you get to play in a police state” before launching into “Rhythms of Revolution.”

After a vibrant set, a standing ovation and an encore, he ceded the stage to Chilliwack.  Bill Henderson and his band worked their magic with electric guitar, flute, sax, violin, keyboard, drums, bass and vocals, and by the time they ended with a transcendent, extended version of “Rain-O,” the floor was alive with blissed-out dancing hippie chicks.  I was one of them, and as Bill sang:  “If there’s no audience, there just ain’t no show” I turned around to see the whole Coliseum singing and swaying in unison.

Then my father drew the door prize.  “Whoever occupies… seat Number 4, in Row 10, Section F…will be the free guest of the committee on the ship to Amchitka!”  Thunderous cheers erupted as a roving spotlight swept the hall and came to rest on North Vancouver high school teacher Ron Jones high up in the stands.
It was a dubious door prize.  Although no-one in DMAW would say so aloud, the voyage of the Greenpeace looked like a suicide mission.  Sailing in the Aleutians was notoriously dangerous, especially in fall, when unpredictable winds known as “williwaws” ripped through the Bering Sea with enough force to rip a steel boat in half.  And when the bomb exploded, if the drill cavities were to vent then everyone on board risked being showered with radioactivity.  As if that wasn’t enough, should the blast trigger a tsunami, the Greenpeace would be right in its path.  I wondered how the winner of the door prize felt about martyrdom.

Despite the dangers, it seemed like all of Canada wanted to get on that boat. A halibut trawler going up against the U.S. military was a potent David and Goliath image, and people who’d never protested anything in their lives were sending DMAW letters begging to crew.  My father even nudged me to apply.  “That boat’s going to make history,” he predicted.  I resisted his entreaties, but the braver part of me sneered silently that I was a coward.  

After the prize drawing, Terry David Mulligan brought James Taylor on.  In his quietly mesmerizing voice –- a combination of Bostonian accent and Southern drawl. Taylor lulled us seemingly effortlessly into a blissful euphoria with songs like “Fire and Rain” and “You Can Close Your Eyes”.  We were all reluctant to let him go, and it was only by reminding us that Joni was waiting in the wings that he was able to slip away.

The hour was close to midnight when Joni walked on with her long blond hair cascading over her guitar, and the whole stadium seemed to rise several inches off the ground.  Equally at home on guitar, piano and dulcimer, she selected a range of songs from older albums as well as a few from the as-yet-unreleased “Blue.”  Near the end of her set she called James back to sing a duet of “Mr. Tambourine Man,” and then both artists called their managers (Elliot Roberts and Peter Asher), and Terry David, and my father onstage to join them in “The Circle Game.”

At one a.m. the house lights finally came back up and we all trooped out of the Coliseum.  Together, we’d raised roughly $18,000, just enough to charter the fishing boat of Captain John Cormack, the only man brave enough, crazy enough, and... rumor had it -- financially desperate enough to sail to Amchitka.
The Phyllis Cormack, re-christened Greenpeace for the voyage, was readied for the trip and a twelve-man crew was assembled.  There were no women, because Captain Cormack wouldn’t allow an unmarried female on his boat, and the only married woman short listed --- Marie Bohlen –- voluntarily gave up her position.

Marie had a child from a previous marriage.  Jim had two, including his teenage son Lance who was living with them.  I wondered how much it factored into Marie’s decision that, should any of the disasters we feared befall the crew, Lance would lose not only his father but his stepmother too.  As we’d discover only later, the Bohlens had another reason to worry.  Jim couldn’t bring himself to tell the crew but, the night before the boat was due to leave, he received a disturbing phone call.

The caller was a fisherman who’d sailed with John Cormack.  The Captain was quite competent, he assured Jim, but the Phyllis Cormack had sunk twice before, and he had grave doubts she’d even make it a thousand miles up the BC coast to Prince Rupert. It was a bittersweet moment for all of us when the Greenpeace sailed from the False Creek dock on September 15th, 1971.  A local rock band played as the crew made emotional farewells with wives, girlfriends and children.  We waved goodbye to Jim, Bob, Bill and the others, trying not to trip over the cords of television cameras as ABC, NBC, CBC and other networks vied for position.  I sensed Dad’s despair at not being on the boat, though he put on a brave face.  In World War II, while flying for the US Civil Air Patrol, he’d contracted a permanent inner ear disorder which gave him such a propensity to motion sickness that even the calmest ocean could make him violently ill.  I was conflicted with feelings of relief that none of my family was on board; the desire to stand with those men; and a sinking feeling that none of them were coming back alive.

As the Greenpeace headed for Amchitka, protests escalated throughout the Pacific Rim.  My brother Bob led a walkout of 10,000 high school students -- the largest demonstration of its kind ever held in Canada -- before flying to Ottawa with fellow organizer Peter Lando to present a petition, signed by thousands of teens, to the federal government.  In the US a coalition of eight organizations (peace activists, native rights groups and conservationists) launched a Supreme Court action against the blasts.  Meanwhile, in Japan, protesters were marching with signs that said: “Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Amchitka!”  Amidst all this, dispatches from journalists aboard the Greenpeace prompted an international media furor and ignited such national pride that even Prime Minister Trudeau sent a telegram to the crew, wishing them “Godspeed.”

Dorothy Metcalfe, also a journalist, passed her husband Ben’s transmissions on to us before feeding them to Canadian and American networks.  It was wrenching to sit in our living room, where so many of the crew had met in recent months, hearing reports of the halibut trawler battling twenty foot waves, especially when radio communication failed and days went by with no contact at all. President Nixon kept delaying the test, and on September 30th, fifteen days after the Greenpeace had set sail from Vancouver, the crew was arrested by the U.S. coastguard.  As they fumed in frustration, my father and Jim schemed to charter a second ship.  It had taken two years to organize the voyage of the Greenpeace, but support for DMAW was so high now that donations poured in, and within days Dad was able to charter a decommissioned Canadian minesweeper, the Edgewater Fortune.  On October 28th 1971, with a crew hastily assembled by skipper Hank Johansen, the 47-metre naval frigate sailed out of Vancouver and surged through stormy seas towards Amchitka.

On the morning of November 6th, 1971, the US Supreme Court ruled -- in a tight 4:3 decision –- in favor of the test, and shortly after noon that day, President Nixon ordered Cannikin detonated.  The bomb exploded before the Edgewater Fortune could reach the island.  The whole Pacific Rim was stunned by Nixon’s hubris.
We tasted the bitter, age old truth:  the sword had vanquished the dove.

My father and Jim Bohlen, exhausted, stepped down from the leadership of DMAW and championed Ben Metcalfe to take over the helm.  Our family home continued to operate as the Greenpeace office until 1974, when, my father died of cancer at the age of fifty-nine.  Two years before his death, however, he was to savor the sweetest moment of his life.  In February, 1972, three months after the Greenpeace and the Edgewater Fortune returned to Vancouver, the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission announced that it was canceling the test series “for political and other reasons”.  Eight test cavities had been drilled on Amchitka Island.  Only three of them were ever used.

Barbara Stowe
Vancouver, 2009

Link to Greenpeace CD: http://www.amchitka-concert.com/

Everything starts with an idea! What's yours?

Until later,
705 999 2107
905 510 9117

Saturday, April 23, 2011

I'm OK... You're Not!

Remember the concept that our mind is the projector and what we see and experience in our world is a creation of that which we project?

So what does that mean then when we are so easily finding fault in others, but not in ourselves? Our sensitivities must be developed and coming from our own perception which then creates this need to project our discomfort onto others... seeing them as causes of our discomfort.  Otherwise would they really bother us? Would we even notice?

If I'm thinking that you're not ok, where is that thought coming from? And why do I care sssooooo much about that and find a need to focus on THAT..... like it's going to KILL me!

Remember, follow the thought...

Until later,


Friday, April 22, 2011

the Light

"Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in."
--Leonard Cohen

Until later,
705 999 2107
905 510 9117

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Opening Up

My mind is like a steel trap... not in the way that suggests that I have a good memory, but rather in the way that it is limited and myopic in it's focus!

Although I try to understand another person's experience and am empathetic, I am limited to relate to another person's perspective in exactly the way that they do. Our ego's job is to differentiate... to demand that we stay at arm's length. It does this in self-protection in order to define itself as being unique and exclusive.

How then do we create the sensation of connection?

If we know, understand and apply this knowledge we can begin to suspend the innate judgment (based on difference and fear) to allow ourselves to feel more connected. In fact we do not have to create the connection, we have to be aware of the natural process that our egos undertake as use that to our benefit.

To not use the judgments that occur a thousand times per second to focus on our separation or differences... to become aware of our egos function and not have this interpreted information be a threat to its (egos) existence.

The more threatened our egos become, the more differences we notice and focus on. When we are more relaxed within ourselves, the less our need to sense a threat.

As great as our minds are, we need to recognize the extent to which we can be limited by our own experience, perspective and interpretations.

Start with considering that all of us have our differing ways of looking at things. We may be agreeable on some level, but not able to do this in an absolute manner. Make this the norm. Then, hopefully that will allow you to open up to another possibility, that there is no harm intended by the difference, that it is, in fact, a requirement of wanting to believe that we are individuals and therefore, separate and disconnected.

This, in turn, will create an openness to not being threatened. I encourage curiosity... be curious about another persons experience or perspective, not threatened... and allow for a better sense of connection.

Until later,

705 999 2107
905 510 9117

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Personal Love?

This is an interesting piece from Eckhart Tolle on love... 
It may help to understand the difference between ego love and the essence of love... worthwhile read...

Eckhart on Personal Love

Q:  If we’re all one, why do we feel drawn toward certain individuals in an expression of “personal love”?

ET:  True love is transcendental.  Without recognition of the formless within yourself, there can be no true transcendental love.  If you cannot recognize the formless in yourself, you cannot recognize yourself in the other.  The recognition of the other as yourself in essence – not the form – is true love.  As long as the conditioned mind operates and you are completely identified with it, there’s no true love.  There may be substitutes, things that are called “love” but are not true love.  For example, “falling in love”…perhaps most of us have experienced it.  Maybe one or two at this moment are “in love”, and those who have experienced it have also experienced “falling out of love”. 

We need to remember to understand [the difference between] true love and other forms of so-called love.  We are in the relative as form, and in the absolute as formless consciousness.  The two dimensions that the human being embodies are the ‘human’ and the ‘being’.  The human is the form, the being is the formless, the timeless consciousness itself.  It sometimes happens that the form has an affinity with other forms.  It could happen for a number of reasons.  One being that this form has come out of another form – called your mother – and so there is an affinity of this form with that other form.  You have a love toward your mother that might be called ‘personal’.  Another aspect of affinity with another form is male/female.  You can be drawn to another body in a sexual way, and it’s sometimes called “love”.  Especially if the sexual act is denied long enough, it’s more likely to develop into obsessive love…so much so, that in cultures where you could not have sex until you were married, falling in love could be a huge thing and could lead to suicide.  Naturally, there is an affinity of the male/female, the incompleteness of this form.  The primary incompleteness of this form is that you are either a man or a woman.  The oneness has become the duality of male/female.

The pull towards the other is an attempt to find wholeness, completeness, fulfillment through the opposite polarity, in an attempt to find the Oneness.  That lies at the basis of the attraction.  It’s to do with form, because on the level of form you are not whole – you are one half of the whole.  One half of humanity is male, one half is female, roughly.

You have the attraction for the other, then there may be finding certain qualities in another human being that resonate with certain qualities in yourself.  Or, if they don’t resonate, it may be the opposite that you feel drawn to.  If you are a very peaceful person, maybe you feel drawn toward a dramatic person, or vice-versa.  And again, you are hoping for some completion there.  You can have an affinity with another form, which can be called ‘personal love’.  If personal love is all that there is, then what is missing is the transcendental dimension of the formless – which is where true love arises.  Is that part of the personal love, or is the personal level all that there is?  That determines whether that so-called “love” is going to turn into something painful eventually, and frustrating, or if there is a deepening. 

There may be an attraction that is initially sexual between two humans.  If they start living together, this cannot endure for that long and be the fulfillment of the relationship. At some point, sexual/emotional [attraction] needs to deepen and the transcendental dimension needs to come in, to some extent, for it to deepen.  Then true love shines through the personal.  The important thing is that true love emanates from the timeless, non-formal dimension of who you are.  Is that shining through the personal love that is to do with affinity of forms?  If it is not, there is complete identification with form, and complete identification with form is ego.

Many times you may think “that’s it!” and after living together for a little while you realize “that was a mistake”, or “I was completely deluded”.  Even in parent-children relationships, which is a very close bond on the level of form, if the transcendental dimension does not shine through, eventually the love between children and parents turns into something else.  This is why so many people have very problematic relationships with their parents. 

Some relationships may start as purely form-based, and then the other dimension comes in after a while.   Perhaps only after a lot of problems, and perhaps you get close to a breakup, when suddenly there is a deepening and then you are able to bring in space.

The key is to ask, “Is there space in this relationship?”  Or are there only thoughts and emotions?  It’s dreadful prison to inhabit if you live with a person and all you have are thoughts and emotions.  Occasionally you are okay, but there is disagreement, friction. 

We need to acknowledge that there are personal affinities.  But in themselves, they are never ultimately fulfilling.  More often than not, they are a source of suffering.  Love becomes a source of suffering when the transcendental is missing.  How does the transcendent come in?  By being spacious with the other.  Which essentially means that you access the Stillness in yourself while you look at the other.

Not mental noise, not emotional waves.  That does not mean that there cannot be emotions or thoughts, but there is something else present in the relationship.  That applies not only to close personal relationships, but also to more superficial relationships at work.

With any human relationship, the question is, “Is there space?”  It’s a pointer.  Space is when thought becomes unimportant – even an emotion becomes unimportant. 

When people live together, sometimes the other is no longer acknowledged in daily life because there is so much to do.  If you wake up in the morning, is there a moment when you acknowledge the presence of the other?

It’s the most wonderful thing if you can be there for the other as space, rather than as a person.  At this very moment, you can either be here as a person, or you can be here as the space.

Until later,

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Delayed sex is better

Ok, for some of us, this is kind of obvious... 
Delaying sex makes for a more satisfying and stable relationship later on, new research finds.
Couples who had sex the earliest — such as after the first date or within the first month of dating — had the worst relationship outcomes.
"What seems to happen is that if couples became sexual too early, this very rewarding area of the relationship overwhelms good decision-making and keeps couples in a relationship that might not be the best for them in the long-run," study researcher Dean Busby, of Brigham Young University's School of Family Life.
Busby and his colleagues published their work Dec. 28 in the Journal of Family Psychology. The study was supported by research grants from the School of Family Life and the Family Studies Center at Brigham Young University, which is owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or the Mormon Church.

Past research on sex and its link to relationship quality has revealed two different paradigms. In one, sex is considered essential to a developing relationship since it allows partners to assess their sexual compatibility. Following this line of thinking, couples who marry before testing out their sexual chemistry are at risk of marital distress and failure later on.
The opposing view posits couples who delay or abstain from sexual intimacy during the early part of their relationships allow communication and other social processes to become the foundation of their attraction to each other. Essentially, early sex could be detrimental to a relationship, skewing it away from communication, commitment and the ability to handle adversity, this thinking suggests.
And past studies have shown the sex-relationship link is a complex one. For instance, a 2004 study of nearly 300 college students in dating relationships showed that when couples were highly committed, sex was more likely to be seen as a positive turning point in the relationship, increasing understanding, commitment, trust and a sense of security. However, when commitment and emotional expressions were low, the initiation of sex was significantly more likely seen as a negative event, evoking regret, uncertainty, discomfort, and prompting apologies.

In the new study, Busby and his colleagues looked specifically at timing of sexual relations. They recruited 2,035 heterosexual individuals who had an average age of 36 and were in their first marriages. Participants reported when they first had sexual relations with their current spouse; they also answered communication questions, which evaluated how well they could express empathy and understanding toward their partners, how well they could send clear messages to their partners, and other questions.
Other items on the questionnaire focused on relationship satisfaction and stability, with the latter gauged by three questions: how often they thought their relationship was in trouble; how often they thought of ending the relationship; and how often they had broken up and gotten back together.
Individuals were categorized as either having:
  • Early sex (before dating or less than one month after they started dating).
  • Late sex (between one month and two years of dating).
  • And those who waited until after they married.
Relationships fared better and better the longer a person waited to have sex, up until marriage, with those hitting the sack before a month showing the worst outcomes.
Compared with those in the early sex group, those who waited until marriage:
  • Rated relationship stability as 22 percent higher
  • Rated relationship satisfaction as 20 percent higher
  • Rated sexual quality as 15 percent better
  • Rated communication as 12 percent better
"Curiously, almost 40 percent of couples are essentially sexual within the first or second time they go out, but we suspect that if you asked these same couples at this early stage of their relationship – 'Do you trust this person to watch your pet for a weekend many could not answer this in the affirmative' – meaning they are more comfortable letting people into their own bodies than they are with them watching their cat," Busby said.
He added that those couples who wait to be sexual have time to figure out how trustworthy their partner is, how well they communicate, and whether they share the same values in life "before the powerful sexual bonding short-circuits their decision-making abilities."
Right now, the team is repeating the study on a larger sample in a longitudinal design – in which participants are followed over time. "We are particularly curious about people who report wanting to wait to be sexual but then they don't follow through on their beliefs, this may be a unique group with unique outcomes," Busby said.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Chasing Peace?

Are you in a state of conflict, having struggles, relationship issues, financial problems, confused, feeling helpless, feeling lonely, wondering when something good is going to happen?

Many are seeking an answer... the answer... looking for some magical solution to resolve their problems once and for all... maybe winning the lottery?

There is an answer that will help! But it takes some effort on your part... but if you're saying I'll do anything... I'll do whatever it takes... anything is better than the way it is right now...

If you don't have what you think you want in your life... why not?

Call or email me to set up a time when you can begin your path to peace.

Until later

705 999 2107
905 510 9117

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Healing... One Mind at a Time

We all tend to be very rigid in our minds regarding what we believe the world to be as well as then feeling the compelling need to blame others or the situation as the cause of our demise.

We can even believe (irrationally) that people who love us consciously create harm to us... this is our ego thinking running wild... trying to protect itself and it's beliefs.

We have a subconscious pre-existing conclusion that is often self-sabotaging and then set out on a daily basis to gather evidence to support our sense of reality...

We do not set out to do this consciously or willfully. When we are hurt as a result of our efforts, we then need to blame because why would we act in such horrific ways. Why would we choose to harm ourselves? Most of us claim to not know any of these thoughts, not want to explore the belief that we are, at the least, contributing to the existence that we complain about.

Healing is not a spiritual act as our spirit knows nothing of what we are doing. Our spirit is about connection, love, nurturing, altruistic caring... it is not about, nor can it be about fear, judgment, guilt, punishment, etc. These are all brought about from our ego needs... our humanity.

The healing that is required is our minds. What we hold in our minds is what we hold in our hands. We project our minds into a reality and then point at that reality as the perpetrator.
I tell many of my clients that the most challenging and difficult part of being in psychotherapy is becoming fully accountable and self-responsible... the other part is allowing an integral connection to occur with another human being without judgment.

If we are then somewhat responsible for our situations, then isn't that the good news???? We can change our lives in a fundamental way. This is not accomplished without challenge and cannot be accomplished on our own... but it can and does occur... one mind at a time.

Until later,
705 999 2107
905 510-9117

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Family Court Reform?

Kirk Makin wrote the following in the Globe and Mail March 25, 2011....
One of Canada's best hopes for family-law reform is Ontario Chief Justice Warren Winkler: He is influential, has a track record of reform and has sounded a steady drumbeat for change. And his patience is wearing thin.
“At a certain point, let's not adjust any more,” Chief Justice Winkler said from his home in rural Ontario. “This has been studied to death. We have to sit down with a white piece of paper and redesign the system. It has to be made cheaper, faster and simpler, without convoluted rules.”
Known for his tell-it-like-it-is attitude, he has heard many complaints from judges and lawyers since his appointment in 2007. “Everywhere I go, there is a constant refrain: The family-law system is broken and it's too expensive,” he said. “My strategy has been to get a discussion going. I'm the bully pulpit. But I get frustrated when not very much happens.”
A former trial judge with a reputation for banging heads together to resolve corporate and commercial cases, Chief Justice Winkler has a history of getting results.
A few years ago, he designed a process that slashed the Toronto civil-case wait-list. “We went from waiting 37 months to a trial to pretty much having one whenever you were ready,” he said. “As soon as you have a courtroom with the lights on, the settlement rate skyrockets.”
Chief Justice Winkler's manifesto for change, which he has been advocating for about a year, is based on a premise that most litigants cannot afford the financial and emotional toll of navigating a cumbersome process that leads from separation to the final dissolution of a marriage.
His model system would see a “triage” judge hear the gist of a case as soon as an action is launched. The judge would decide which track it is best suited for: mediation, traditional court processes, quick movement to decide child custody, and so on.
Most cases would move rapidly toward mediation with the same judge shepherding them along. “It's hugely costly to see a different person every time you go in,” Chief Justice Winkler said.
Even then, the number of forms, steps and rules in the family-law system entangle lawyers in paper trails. They also make the system impenetrable to many self-represented spouses – an estimated half of all litigants.
“The family court rules look like a Boeing manual for an airplane,” Chief Justice Winkler said. “It's the hours that are the killer. We have to make the system faster, less technical, and not have these convoluted rules.”
Inevitably, cases that move through the system faster become simpler, since there isn't time for as many motions. “As soon as the trial date is a couple of weeks away or a month away instead of three years from now, the motions all go away,” he said. “I used to say: ‘You can have an adjournment if you die or if you promise to. But otherwise, I'm not adjourning this case.' ”
Judges will have to play a role in rigorously policing parties who dilly-dally. “A trial date cannot be negotiable,” the Chief Justice said. “Here is the timeline you are on. If you don't meet it, your world is going to come apart.”
Martha McCarthy, a veteran Toronto family lawyer, said her bar has warmed to the attention from Chief Justice Winkler. “He's a bit of a rebel,” she said. “What he is saying is brilliant.”
She said the rules governing family court were created with the best of intentions, “but they have turned out to be not workable. The system is too complicated and expensive and we are buried in forms. Looking at the whole system again may not go over well with a lot of people, but it is revolutionary.”
Ms. McCarthy said her bar's main reservation about what Chief Justice Winkler initially advocated was his emphasis on mandatory mediation – a process that can put domestic-abuse victims across the table from their abusers in a mediator's office.
However, bar leaders met with Chief Justice Winkler and found him willing to modify his proposal from mandatory to “presumptive” mediation, in which judges can take suitable cases and home in on particular areas in which to create a peaceful resolution.
“We may not solve everything, but we may resolve two-thirds of it,” he said. “If we only have to litigate one little issue that's left, it can take just half a day. It saves a ton of money.”
The Chief Justice is also keen on the widespread creation of unified courts that would bring aspects of federal jurisdiction (divorce) and provincial procedures (access and custody; division of assets) under one roof.
“People wouldn't be running from one court to the other,” Ms. McCarthy said, approvingly. “We would have specialized judges.”
Chief Justice Winkler said the sort of redesign he is advocating means that governments have to co-operate and lawyers must commit themselves to less courtroom brawling and more mediation. He sees his role as being both a catalyst to get people talking about the issue and a participant in an ongoing, high-level dialogue with attorneys-general.
Given his stature, Chief Justice Winkler's voice adds force to a growing clamour for reform. Though there have not been any bills tabled on this as yet, his proposals will probably fuel bar committee reports and presentations to ministers of justice.
“This is an area that cries out for change, but it just needs resolve,” he said. “If legislators pass the laws, rules will be made to apply that law. Then, court administrators can administrate those rules. Bingo, bango, bongo, it all trickles down.”
Kirk Makin is The Globe and Mail's justice reporter.

Saturday, April 2, 2011


The secret in learning martial arts is to overcome ones problems and when in a state of humility, to strengthen ones mind, body & spirit.

The more difficult of the tasks ahead lies in the acquisition of self-discipline... to enable ourselves to choose what we know of as being beneficial, in spite of what our "minds" may be telling us otherwise.

Often easier said than done. It is convincing ourselves of  the value of doing something prior to actually doing it. For example, we can always listen to the excuses or justifications in our head to not do something... like got to the gym, go for a walk, get on the treadmill, go to our designated class... We will always feel better after, say, going to the gym. Most think that it is because of the physical workout... which is partially true... I'm not disputing that.

However, what is more important is that we have challenged and defeated that voice in our head that said not to do what brought us joy!

For today, be extraordinary. Step outside the normal boundaries of your mind... just one step!

Until later,

705 999 2107
905 510 9117

Friday, April 1, 2011

new phone number

My new office number for the Collingwood area is:
705 999 2107
Please change your records accordingly

This is cool!!!!

Add the last two digits of the year you were born to the age you will turn to this year...

For example:
          (19) 5    8  (year born)
(turning) 5    3  (will be 53 this year)
                 10  11
Is the answer 10-11?

Ask how I know this!!!

Until later,

705 999 2107
905 510 9117