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Williamscraig Update July 2018
Greetings (soon to be "Howdy")!The Goodbye Classes and Potluck at Aikido of Berkeley were wonderful!No group has ever showed up in dandy duds complete with bandanas, swayed to-and-fro, and sung Happy Trails to me in unison before. There were even claves for the sound of shod hooves. It was EPIC (in the contemporary sense) and amazingly cool. I felt loved. Brief fond words of appreciation were exchanged. It was the best. So much so that I forgot to announce the fundraising part of it, but remembered to give away some stuff and recorded some pretty cool video (coming later). Two people donated anyway toward helping us fix our van and get a rented truck all the way to Texas. THANK YOU! The food was particularly fine and the company was even better, as always. It feels so odd to bid adieu to a community that has been such a huge part of my heart since 1998. My final classes will be this Saturday at 10am and 12pm. Please come if you can! I'll be back Aug 22-24 because I'm organizing the Takamura ha Shindo Yoshin ryu (TSYR) seminar at Aikido of Berkeley with Toby Threadgill, Kaicho, and then I'm not sure when I'll be able to visit next.Speaking of communities that are an inseperable part of my heart, we are looking forward to a choral extravaganza and goodbye potluck at Epworth UMC on August 5th. That will be our last community gathering before departure, and we've been doing our best to make sure we spend time there whenever possible.My trip to Texas bore all kinds of fruit.Most unexpected and fascinating, a 10 inch by 5 foot hive of bees was removed from the floor between the garage and its apartment at my mother's house. The beedude captured and re-homed (?) around 20,000 bees (pictured in full capture box) and harvested 30-40 pounds of honey-packed hive. The workers have been building a home full of sweetness for seasons, and are now being abruptly relocated (mostly without harm), which has no metaphorical significance whatsoever and should not be harvested for the making of nourishing psychological meaning of any kind. Naturally.In the Home News, we have rented a house in Mesquite (on the eastern boundary of Dallas) into which we will be buzzing on August 8th. The house is two miles from White Rock Montessori so we can ride our bikes to school! I have opportunities in the works but no job yet (prayers and referrals appreciated). Professional info at https://www.linkedin.com/in/bdwilliamscraigUntil we go...If you'd like to take the kids for several hours, please let us know your availability on the following dates:Mon July 30Tue 31Thu 2Fri 3If interested in packing and loading, either at our storage unit or at home:Mon July 30 at 11amWed Aug 1
For the mythopsychology geeks in the crowdI think we are in the midst of Nostoi. Metaphorically speaking, the verbatim text of our epic seems inaccessible, perhaps lost to history, available only in summary by others, but is following classic patterns. Various heroic returns (homecomings) are still possible, both comic and tragic, but will remain problematic [beginning to sound a bit like a horoscope... Hmmm.], subject to the brooding resentments of logistical or automechanical gods, perhaps afflicted by familial storms or professional magic (or the lack thereof). Various categories of Return present themselves, and the challenge is to end up in a comedy.Doing our best to be foolishly wise,Brandon
P.S. If you’d like updates about Peace Practices, Conflict Done Well, and my other adventures in teamwork and social justice, please be sure to subscribe at http://abcglobal.net/Find_Us and follow https://www.facebook.com/brandonwilliamscraig/.There is more to all of this, obviously. If you want to connect with me, move the work I do forward, or read more and deeply into what is happening now, I cannot ask sincerely enough that you stay within my circle of friends:
- I write at Culturesmith.com, with the more detailed and personal material protected by signing-in. Please request an account via http://culturesmith.com/account/signup or sign in, if you already have an account. I will approve and welcome you, after which you will also have access to all kinds of fascinating materials for cultural study, should that interest you.
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TSYR Yamakage Dojo Seminar w Kaicho Threadgill Fall 2018
Takamura ha Shindo Yoshin ryu (TSYR) seminar at Aikido of Berkeley with Toby Threadgill, Kaicho
Aikido of Berkeley hosts the Takamura ha Shindo Yoshin Kai dojo under the direction of Ash Morgan Sensei. The history of seminars we have hosted is below. Kaicho Threadgill's seminars are usually open to the public (and free to AiBerk, Free Aiki, and Golden Bears Aikido students) on Friday night, a morning and afternoon session on Saturday, and Sunday morning. Sunday afternoon is usually a Kai-only class to cover specific areas of interest.
Most often the public seminars include the practice of jujutsu body dynamics and movement, principles of timing, connection and initiative, internal strength building (how and why), and application of Nairiki (internal structure power generation) as part of overall technique.
Upcoming 2018 Seminar - August 24-26
Full Seminar $175.00 or $60.00 per session as long as limited spaces (30 per session) remain. Register by completing the online form at https://goo.gl/forms/FqZQlFi7zOjlc7UJ2. An overnight stay in the dojo can be arranged. Your registration is guaranteed when you register, fill out our waiver at https://goo.gl/forms/yHQlWnyHmswrIH2F2, and we confirm receipt (by email) of the full amount received.
For information contact Brandon email@example.com
November 10-12, 2017 at Aikido of Berkeley - Downtown
August 12-14, 2016 at Aikido of Berkeley - Downtown
May 17-19, 2013 at Aikido of Berkeley - Downtown
March 23-25, 2012 at Aikido of Berkeley - Downtown
September 16-18, 2010 at Aikido of Berkeley - Bay View Dojo
This website is owned by Brandon WilliamsCraig, aikido 5th dan founder and Dojo Cho of Free Aiki Dojo and Golden Bears Aikido at UC Berkeley, who became a provisional TSYR student under Eric Winters in 2014, Ash Morgan in 2015, and joined the Kai by keppan on August 15th, 2016.Rachel Aviv - The Trauma of Facing Deportation+Discussion
Thanks to Rachel Aviv - The Trauma of Facing Deportation for this essential framing of the true cost of Othering. - ed.
"In Sweden, hundreds of refugee children have fallen unconscious after being informed that their families will be expelled from the country."
Not just in Sweden. There is somatic clarity here, tremendous psychological evidence, and a colossal lack of political will on the part of adults with power around the world to do what is clearly best for children and, thus, for humanity. The Golden Rule is called that for a reason. If you were the child, the refugee, the Other in the story, fleeing a life of fear, how would you want be treated?
"For nearly two decades, a political question—What should we do about migration?—has played out through the bodies of hundreds of children. The number of new cases of apathy declined in 2006, after the Migration Board took a more lenient approach, but the illness is still being diagnosed in dozens of children. Last year, some sixty children lost the ability to move and to speak. There is now universal consensus that the children are not faking, but no one knows why the illness is particular to Sweden. I spoke with more than twenty Swedish doctors who had either treated apathetic patients or written about them, and none of them had an explanation; most were hesitant to even propose a hypothesis. Björn Axel Johansson, a child psychiatrist at Skåne University Hospital, in southern Sweden, who has treated twelve apathetic children, told me, “I’m not convinced that this is only happening in Sweden. Maybe it’s only being documented and discussed and published in Sweden?”How Experience Works
Imagine that you are having an experience, for instance, the reading of these words. It is not possible to separate how you have the experience from the experience itself, because "experience" denotes, at least, what happened plus the way that it happened, as you remember it. It is not only possible but compelling, however, to imagine the elements of an experience as though they were separate, especially since they are variable. If you read this sitting down, for instance, it will always have been read seated, but you can imagine different ways of reading it, for instance, while standing.
If you imagine, in addition to reading while standing, that you are on an urban light rail car with a bunch of people around you, jostled by the car's movement, occasionally looking out the window, thinking alternatingly about what has just happened and what might happen next, you can see the tip of the proverbial iceberg of the myriad variables that are packed into "experience". All factors have an impact on the other variables, a few of which are recorded by your memory, which is far from comprehensive or exact. You will only ever be able to recall a few of the factors that you noticed and embodied as experience.
You are imagining every time you encounter anything, creating a fiction of inseparable thought, feeling, sense that becomes part of your "soma"--the biological and intangible complex that is You, and which cannot be recalled in a way that is identical with what happened, despite having been profoundly shaped by it. Precise representation is not possible, at least because comprehensive re-presentation of all relevant factors is not possible in a system as complex and dynamic as experience. Memory is notoriously unreliable and creatively dynamic, and assertions are always experimental proposals, no matter the authoritative terms in which they are couched. Just being conscious of something guarantees a selective frame through which experience will be filtered, in which meaning will be assigned and beliefs created, and on which behavior will then be based. Consciousness itself then, at least fundamentally, is a process of fictionalizing and embodying reality. Overlapping sub-categories of fictional consciousness emerge somatically, psychologically: fantasy, reasoning, narrative, and other ways of ordering experience becoming styles of selective imagining, meaning-making, and behavior.
Since experience becomes understood in particular styles, it may be difficult to parse when considered by being filtered through an unsympathetic narrative. It may cause confusion and dismay, for instance, when a group of people share an understanding that is very different from one's own, based on their imagination of shared narratives, and then believe what they imagine, perhaps even literally, and then behave and create a particular culture which presupposes that their narratives are authoritative. This dynamic is not only problematic in the religious and political realms. It colors all interactions shared by all participants in any system, because individuals are by definition both similar to and different from each other, and must make choices to navigate the pulls and pushes of resonance and dissonance.
The Scientific Method, for instance, emerges from a rational narrative in which theories (informed guesses) about reality are reduced by experimental elimination until only facts remain in the form of processes that others can verify. But no way of configuring experience can escape the system in which it operates and by which it is delimited. No matter how exhaustive, even the entire, tremendously powerful catalogue of facts derived and categorized by rational thought cannot approach the scope that consciousness as a whole encompasses: imagination turning experience into meaning by working through fictions to discern and creatively apply what is literally and metaphorically true to life.
It is helpful to think of the process of consciousness outlined above in terms of "mythology", and of "myth" as a narrative which configures consciousness as though a particular way of thinking were operational in the world to which the mythology applies. One of the essential benefits of mythological study is that it both questions and supports belief by explicitly promoting consciousness of fundamental fictionality, or mythicity. In this context, the phrase "The Myth Of Science", for instance, does not suggest that science is false, which is demonstrably not the case, but suggests that Science operates within fictions, an example of which might be the idea of its own supremacy in defining Truth. Working with Science mythically allows consciousness of a fundamental ambivalence in knowing anything, an epistemological humility which then makes the true mission of research, for instance, more likely to succeed. If one is aware just how powerfully framing a process as scientific makes all outcomes sound authoritative, then it becomes more straightforward to avoid plunging into the mire of scientism and thereby conduct scientific work authentically, dividing experience into helpful but non-ultimate categories, such as placing in opposition the reproducibly factual and the unreproducible and falsifiable, minimizing the chance of making what is unproven sound like fact.
When I began by suggesting that you imagine having an experience, I merely proposed that you become conscious of the way that you have always experienced everything. I make the proposal because the process has proved helpful to me, at least when I have been willing and able to uncover my beliefs and the ways in which they are extruded as behavior as I co-create the world of my daily life. Sometimes the narrative-belief-behavior vector is easy to uncover and influence. Most often some part of the process is more deeply complex than I can fully imagine, and requiring a more extensive frame, in this case the use of the idea "soul" or "psyche" on which "psychology" is based. Psyche-logic implies that making meaning of complexes requires the acknowledgment that "deepest" imagining is unconscious--cannot be uncovered, operates with autonomy--is a "realm" governed by its own powers, and exerts highly variable but universally extensive influence throughout humanity. This reasoning, and the behavior of writing and publishing it, reflects my belief in the mythology of depth psychology.
Believe the narrative and agenda being Trumpeted with each twit
Give up shock, "surely not", and "it's just politics." Believe the narrative and agenda being #Trumpeted with each twit. This administration is the opposite of American, uses tactics which are illegal and immoral, does not represent conservatives, and this phase in our civic life must end. Now. We must not build this darkest world, culture, and future.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/global-opinions/wp/2018/06/04/trumps-ambassador-to-germany-is-making-a-fool-out-of-himself-and-the-u-s/ - Anne Applebaum of the Washington Post
Richard Grenell, the U.S. ambassador to Germany, just told Breitbart News. “There are a lot of conservatives throughout Europe who have contacted me to say they are feeling there is a resurgence going on,” he said. “I absolutely want to empower other conservatives throughout Europe, other leaders. I think there is a groundswell of conservative policies that are taking hold because of the failed policies of the left.” Note the context: Grenell was speaking to Breitbart, the website whose comment section was the original breeding ground for alt-right white nationalism. Grenell was very clear that the kinds of “conservatives” he admires are not the ones in Angela Merkel’s centrist Christian Democratic party, which is currently ruling Germany in a coalition with centrist social democrats (authors, presumably, of the “failed policies of the left,” the same policies that have made Germany the strongest economy in Europe). On the contrary, the one politician he named — “I’m a big fan” — is Sebastian Kurz, a center-right politician who has criticized Merkel, borrowed language from the radical right and currently rules Austria in coalition with the Freedom Party, a nativist, pro-Russian and anti-pluralist party.
* Photo: Bernd von Jutrczenka/picture-alliance/dpa/AP ImagesGoodbye California
The Short Version
I will be ending my work as an instructor of graduate students at Pacifica Graduate Institute and Communications Director at Ragged Wing Ensemble, so that we may move back to Texas. We will be moving back to Dallas at the first of August to be with my mother, who turns 80 this year. Lisa is very happy to begin teaching for White Rock Montessori School, and we are in the midst of grieving, packing, spending time with friends, and feeling overwhelmed by logistics, endings, and the tremendous potential associated with this move. I am going back to the land of my birth, and plan to provide executive leadership, speak publicly, teach all ages of students, and write, as I devote more time to loving my family and taking in the beauty of being alive in the world.
Please contact me right away to schedule anything that needs to happen in June or July, including time together, so that I may attempt to follow up and make arrangements. There are many things with which we could use some help, given capacity and availability. If we don't make contact before August, I will also look forward to seeing you when next we meet, wherever that may be. If you’d like updates about Peace Practices, Conflict Done Well, and my other adventures in teamwork and social justice, please be sure to subscribe at http://abcglobal.net/Find_Us and follow https://www.facebook.com/brandonwilliamscraig/.
There is more to all of this, obviously. If you want to connect with me, move the work I do forward, or read more and deeply into what is happening now, I cannot ask sincerely enough that you stay within my circle of friends:
- I'll be writing more at Culturesmith.com, with the more detailed and personal material protected by signing-in. Please request an account via http://culturesmith.com/account/signup or sign in, if you already have an account. I will approve and welcome you, after which you will also have access to all kinds of fascinating materials for cultural study, should that interest you.
- I will use the newsletter here (Subscribe to my newsletter) for communicating the ways that this transition connects our inner lives with the wider world. There will be various gatherings to say goodbye, and I'll use that list to let you know about them.
Please re/subscribe now, during this time of profound transition, so we may stay connected, even if at a distance.
SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) - "Forty-six percent of people living in the Bay Area say they plan to leave it in the next few years,...according to a survey from the Bay Area Council. Last year, that number was 40 percent. People say housing costs and traffic are the reasons they want to leave...24 percent said they would move within California, and 61 percent said they would leave the state altogether."Fauxs - The Rise of Fake PeopleI use the tag #fauxs for the fake human "influencers" being deployed as we speak to activate the parts of you keyed to respond to the opinion-making power of other humans, but without the inconvenience of any of the needs shared by actual humans which incline us toward being humane. They are artificial, but not productive of intelligence.
This is the door to the dystopian sci-fi soon-to-be reality (available on every screen around you) in which actual humans are reduced to irrelevance, the juice of life is electric and for sale at an increasing price, and attention is drawn only by habit to what is fake and flashing. Why would anyone want a shift that dramatically increases the influence of faux people, perhaps until they are the model of what everyone tries to be like? Those are the very traits that [are] so attractive to companies: “They’re much easier to control...It’s a more efficient way of controlling the message" and, I would argue, "their target audiences."
"[Those] of sense often learn from their enemies. It is from their [fauxs], not their friends, that cities learn the lesson of building high walls and ships." - Aristophanes
For more, sign in to check out FAUXS - Fake Human Influencers - Artificial Yes - Intelligence No.Thomas Berry - Renewing Earth--From Anthropocentrism to Ecocentrism
Renewing Earth: From Anthropocentrism to Ecocentrism
The task of renewing Earth belongs to Earth, as the renewal of any organism [even the church] takes place from within. Yet we humans have our own special role, a leading role in the renewal, just as we had the dominant role in the devastation. We can fulfill this role, however, only if we move our basic life orientation from a dominant anthropocentrism to a dominant ecocentrism. In effecting this change, we need to listen to the voices of Earth and its multitude of living and non-living modes of expression.
We should be listening to the stars in the heavens and the sun and the moon, to the mountains and the plains, to the forests and rivers and seas that surround us, to the meadows and the flowering grasses, to the songbirds and the insects and to their music especially in the evening and the early hours of the night. We need to experience, to feel, and to see these myriad creatures all caught up in the celebration of life.
Extinction Is Forever
We especially need to hear the creatures of Earth before it is too late, before their voices are stilled forever through extinction occurring at such a rapid rate. Once gone they will never be heard again. Extinction is forever. The divine experience they communicate will never again be available to humans. A dimension of the human soul will never be activated as it might have been. None of the wonders of the human can replace what we are losing. . . . We have lost sight of the fact that these myriad creatures are revelations of the divine and inspirations to our spiritual life.
Wonder, Beauty, Intimacy
Our inner spiritual world cannot be activated without experience of the outer world of wonder for the mind, beauty for the imagination, and intimacy for the emotions.
Thomas Berry: Selected Writings on the Earth Community, ed. Mary Evelyn Tucker and John Grim (Orbis Books: 2014), 77-78.Take a knee
There is always a struggle for control of shared identity. This is normal and entirely appropriate. A part of a whole body which feels insifficiently represented certainly has a right, and may have an obligation to demonstrate the change they require, resist practices and structures they believe to be ill-advised, and protest in a way that refrains from harming fellow-creatures.
Most change movements either do or do not receive suport from a group perceived to be "mainstream", after which significant culture-shift does or does not actually occur. As one of the markers of mainstream shift has frequently been the support of more "conservative" people who are both religious and comitted to democracy and the freedom of religion, I would like to ask that you propose to your congregation a move toward solidarity with those who explicitly and publicly object to racism in the cultural insitutions of the United States. Furthermore, I ask that you spcifically tie your faith to the demand to end racism, especially if you are Christian, as is required by the deeply understood and unwavering compassion that is the undisputed central tenant of our faith.
Finally, as our Republic shines only insofar as it remains the land of the free, I ask that you place your hand over your heart and join me in upholding patriotism itself as an unwavering commitment, not to a party or leader, but to a Dream in which every person is lifted up by the restorative justice and determined compassion of their fellows so that no parent need fear for their child, officers of the peace may once again be celebrated for their daily heroism, immigrants may once again feel our shores to be sanctuary, and all those in leadership maybe judged solely on their selfless commitment to public service above their personal interests.
Thank you for planting the seed for having the church participate in taking a knee during the national anthem. M.O. and I have discussed this and have some thoughts to share. Neither of us like the idea of doing this inside the church. Both of us are uncomfortable, er, anti having anything to do with flags/nationalism/patriotism inside the sanctuary. For both of us that's a big no-no. We do think it is important for religious people to take a stand by taking a knee. Proposal: let's have an interfaith game. Soccer, flag football, softball, whatever. We open with the national anthem sung by a combined choir where everyone takes the knee. We get to play, sing, and take a stand/knee together in an appropriate context. Let me know what you think.
Totally legit response. These concerns are a big reason I asked for prayerful consideration. What you are proposing sounds awesome, and I'm all for it, and would take a while to organize, and mostly loses the power of the statement being made by significantly pink mainstream Christians. We might miss the moment when the larger culture-shift could use some religious people buy-in to expand the #takeaknee symbol from Sports to the nation. What if our video statement were shot on the stairs in front of the church, people coming out after worship and creating a choir all taking a knee and placing a hand over their hearts, or linking arms (if they prefer) to reclaim principled patriotism all the while obviously keeping it out of the sanctuary and on the street?
As often is the case for me, your eloquent way of expressing ideas requires my own "translation" before I can digest what you said. The way you spoke before church was much simpler, concrete and easy for me to follow. That said, I'd like to echo what someone else said on FB re keeping patriotism and flags out of sanctuary. I support doing an action on the steps. And, I don't like putting my hand on my heart when nationalism/patriotism is the issue. So that image is difficult for me. Just thoughts for the discussion.
With all this talk of #TakeTheKnee, I could not help and think about being in grade school.
I grew up in a rather conservative area for California, in eastern Kern County. I remember in school that the Jehovah's Witness classmates would not stand for the Pledge of Allegiance. Some of them would get crap for it but I admired them for being committed to their faith *and* practicing their Constitutional right to remain seated. In this country, they have the right to practice their conviction.
This protest within the NFL, and now in other professional sports leagues, is not about the flag. It never has been about the flag. It is about police brutality and racial inequality in this country. Some are offended because of the sacrifice the troops make, and you're right -- this is about the fact that our men and women in the service go out to protect the freedoms we claim to have while in reality they are compromised and undermined by the system to put POC in a disadvantage. These athletes, like the Jehovah's Witnesses, have the right to practice their conviction, remain seated, and bring awareness to the ugly reality.
And you know what? The Early Christians would be rolling in their graves to see Christians today exploding over this. Followers of the Way have no business in Nationalism through swearing allegiance to the empire or by displaying the flag in our houses of worship. And as we sung this morning at St. John's Cathedral, "In Christ there is no east or west, in him no south or north; but one great fellowship of Love throughout the whole wide world." Rant over.
N.O.The History Behind Kaepernick Protest: How the National Anthem and Sports First Became Linked:Logistically, kneeling and stairs are not the best of friends. Perhaps the Hopkins Street lawn/sidewalk? My personal concerns/considerations are bullet pointed (no particular order):
- The anthem itself. Celebrating war, drenched in racism... I don't feel that I can in good conscious sing The Song of Peace (This is my song, O God of all the nations) in church, and then walk outside and sing the national anthem.
- I don't think the National Anthem should be played before games anyway. It's mostly empty, habitualized patriotism. So in regards to my previous email, and with more consideration, I'm a much bigger fan of taking a silent knee.
- Is a photo of people taking a knee just as powerful as a video with a song?
- I don't know what "pink mainstream Christians" means? Churches have been leaders in the NFL boycott already (see 'Blackout') link below.
- Kap first took a knee over a year ago. I'm slightly confused by what feels like sudden urgency. I'm also happy that people care and want to support/participate in taking a knee and fighting oppression.
- Messaging: clarity is needed on what the action/s are and why. What does it mean, and what are you/we trying to say or achieve?
- I strongly encourage you, if you haven't already, to visit Kap's website. The knee and off-field actions go hand and hand. Taking a knee and doing nothing else is an empty gesture.
- Another idea: use this moment as an opportunity to join together to take a silent knee as a kick-off to a call for some kind of action/s inspired by the blackout or Kap's mission statement.Reading on the subject:OpEd: Colin Kaepernick and the Racist History of Our National Anthem:
Tracking the Kaepernick Effect:
https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/history-behind-kaepernick-protest-sports-dissent-star-spangled-banner-n640256Will 'Blackout' Be the Movement to Shut Down the NFL?Article includes actions taken by churches including:The #BlackOut movement advocates four action steps:
- Boycott the NFL (no games, no fantasy football, no jerseys, no nothing).
- Commit one to two hours during the NFL season that you would have spent watching games to mentoring young black boys and girls.
- Spread the word to others.
- “Take a knee” in prayer at 6 a.m. each day.Kap's website: http://kaepernick7.com/home/about/
Stated mission: "The mission of the Colin Kaepernick Foundation is to fight oppression of all kinds globally, through education and social activism."
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