Christmas in Quebec- Jules (19), Carol (50), Daniel (14), Jean-Luc, Jeremy (17)
Annual Christmas Letter to Friends and Family
January 7, 2008
Palo Alto, California
Dear friends and family,
Part of me feels incredibly guilty for failing to mail out Christmas letters for the past few years (Especially since I actually did write some and posted them on my website- at (www.communitycurrency.org/xmas2005.html & www.communitycurrency.org/xmas2006.html) but I didn’t quite get around to printing them and stuffing them in envelopes. In 2006, I ran for Congress on an Impeachment, Truth, Peace platform (which meant holding a rally in January and getting signatures to get on the ballot) and in 2007, I was working on press packets/and tabling materials to take to the National Conference on Media Reform where the Northern California 9/11 Truth Alliance had a large contingent, and manned a booth. This year I doubt if I will run for Congress and my first priority is regaining my health, and catching up on my own life, which has taken second place to my political work these past 7- 16 years.
This past year, I have pushed myself very hard, and have had to deal with many crises on many levels, eventually landing me in the hospital last December. Although I was able to go with the family to Quebec for Christmas, I still have not fully regained my health and my strength.
Our oldest child, Jules, is now in his second year at Oberlin which he loves. He is still very interested in music. In 2006 Daniel graduated from Middle School, and now is a freshman at Gunn High School. Jeremy is in his junior year and his passion is theater, although he is more often behind, rather than on stage- doing the lights, building sets, acting as stage manager. The boys and Jean-Luc are also still very active in the Boy Scouts and Jeremy is hoping to complete his eagle project this year.
Jean-Luc finally left Inxight last spring and accepted a new job at Google, which is very demanding, but loaded with fringe benefits, and I think he enjoys it, and is learning from his experience there, even if it can be stressful, and he hasn’t quite found his niche.
After the Media Reform Conference in Memphis, I tried to help with the 9/11 Accountability Conference in Chandler, Arizona which was held in February. The conference brought together some great people and got some good press, but it also had its own share of problems, and was a financial disaster and drained many of our members and resources.
Locally, I continued to work for Impeachment and began working on monthly impeachment rallies in downtown Palo Alto, which initially got some good press coverage. The rallies were held on the second Wednesdays, following my weekly “Listening Project” (which I have held since October 2001). We also participated in 4 “Beach Impeach” actions which drew about a thousand people to spell out IMPEACH on beaches in San Francisco and Berkeley, and at Chrissy Field.
I also agreed to do a weekly radio show on We The People Radio Network, (Out of Austin, Texas- www.wtprn.com) using my computer and Skype, and created another website for my show- Questioning War- Organizing Resistance. The rallies, weekly demos, the radio show, ate up a huge amount of my time and Jean-Luc said that I just had to give something up- it was impossible to do everything. Usually I do “take a vacation at least” in the summer when the kids are out of school and we go to Canada. This year, Jean Luc went to his parents 50th wedding anniversary and decided to not bring the family, but work at the Google in Montreal instead, since he had less vacation time than in previous years.
My 50th birthday was coming up in August and there were plans for a 9/11 and the media conference around that time, which I hoped to go to, but it was cancelled and at the same time I received an email invitation from my old friend, Tom Atlee, of the Co-Intelligence Institute, who had facilitated the Wisdom Circle at my 40th birthday party (and also at my first Strategies to Transform the Global Economy Gathering- ten years ago). Tom was organizing a 5 day conference whose stated intention was- “to gather a diverse group of creative artists, media people, thinkers, and doers engaged in story-work to share our stories of what we are doing and learning in our own work, to deepen our collective insights into the story change process, and to grow the relationships of new alliances.” We believe that changing the stories of the defining culture is a key to the social transformation of humanity now at hand. I really wanted to go to the conference, although it was a bit out of my price range. Jean-Luc offered to sponsor me as a “birthday present.”
To make a long story short, I did go to the conference, but in the process it cost me a friend (who used to be my best volunteer) who turned into a real adversary and has made it extremely difficult for me to do my activism (I now won’t go to meetings or demonstrations- to avoid him). The friendship ended in June when it became apparent to me that he wanted to create problems between Jean-Luc and I. When Jean-Luc went to Canada, I took the kids to Utah and Colorado to see my sister, my nieces, and my mom - whom we had neglected to visit for years. The radio station will play reruns of past shows when I’m on vacation, and I continued with the radio show, but gave up on the impeachment rallies during the summer, and went from weekly to monthly “Listening Project” demos in November (I now do my Listening Project on the 11th of every month - in solidarity with individuals and groups throughout the country and the world).
In August we also published Issue #10 of the Deception Dollar- featuring Cheney for a change and the graffiti “Impeach Cheney First!” We also printed the first Conception Dollars, featuring Cindy Sheehan, www.impeachforpeace.org, and websites pointing towards solutions- instead of the problems. I had hoped to print them in time for my Congressional campaign, but Blaine had computer troubles and couldn’t finish the art in a timely manner. I hoped the Conception Dollar would be a useful tool for the Storyfield Conference participants, as it featured the websites/books of two of the attendees Anodea Judith and David Korten whose books- Waking the Global Heart- Humanity’s Rites of Passage from the Love of Power to the Power of Love, and The Great Turning: From Empire to Earth Community focus on the shift we would like to nurture. I learned a lot from my experience and the other participants and went to a follow up conference in November and invited several of the participants to be on my radio show. (I also wrote an article about it entitled The Extraordinary Pattern, which still needs some work, but I’ll send it to you, if you’re interested- email@example.com.) The most important lesson that I’ve learned in my life is how to “forgive, accept, love”- “myself, my family/friends, the world” and at the conference my roommate taught “Radical Forgiveness” and gave me a book about it- which was helpful for getting through the drama of “friend who turned into a threat,” and I actually thought I could forgive him after the conference, but since then, he has attacked me so much, and others in the movement, without an ounce of remorse, that I have had zero desire to forgive him and would rather just never see him again, so I can’t say that I have fully learned whatever lesson there is to be learned from the entire situation.)
In September I organized our usual rally and march to the 911 Power to the Peaceful Concert, and helped with the 9/11 Truth Film Festival. In November I organized an event at the Grand Lake Theater with William Rodriguez, and in December two premieres of the film- Loose Change – Final Cut with the film makers, and I helped with the San Francisco Tea Party for 9/11 Truth.
The premieres were on the 12th and the 15th, the Tea Party was on the 16th. On the 17th was my radio show, and less than half an hour before the show, I started feeling bad, but just minutes before it began I was in terrible pain. I tried to endure it and get through the show, especially since my guest was a friend whom I respected tremendously, but I threw up my dinner and finally succumbed to the pain, before I could finish the show. Jean-Luc called 911, the ambulance took me to the hospital. I thought I had appendicitis, but it turned out to be a kidney stone. When they were able to control the pain and keep me from throwing up water (after 24 hours), then they were able to release me the next morning, but I certainly felt incredibly weak and still haven’t gotten my strength back (nor have I rid myself of the damn stone which is still a problem).
I’m not the only one who has had to face severe challenges this year, Jean-Luc’s father was diagnosed with cancer and had surgery removing ¾ of his stomach. My mother’s husband has had troubles with his heart and has been in pain for months and they still don’t know precisely what the problem is or how to solve it. My sister finalized her divorce.
We did enjoy our family trip to Canada, although I was ill for a couple of days. We all got to go cross country skiing with Jean-Luc’s sister and her family, and enjoyed the family get-togethers for Christmas and New Year’s Day. We are all deeply attached to Jean-Luc’s parents and it was wonderful to see them again, especially since we hadn’t seen them last summer and the kids all had grown. Jules was finally able to speak in French with his grandmother, an accomplishment which I know she would have liked to have happened sooner.
I brought a stack of books with me, but only managed to get through a few of them – the time went by so quickly. Now that I “am the media” – I find that I am more cautious in what I say, because I want to do the homework, and know what I’m talking about, and the subjects that I am interested in are generally very complex, controversial, and can profoundly effect decisions people make regarding the future.
I must say that those times this year when Life was really tough - and I was in terrible physical or emotional pain - what really pulled me through was the love and support of my husband, my family and my friends who have been extraordinarily generous with their time, attention and resources. I have been showered with gifts this year, and so has the Northern California 9/11 Truth Alliance which gives me strength, hope, and energy to continue with the work, which has been my passion these last 15 years. I have been remiss in sending out thank-yous and responding to the gifts, the phone calls, the emails, and I hope that this month I will actually begin to catch up on my mail (which has really piled up over the last three years). And I ask your forgiveness for my inability to stay in touch, fulfill my promises, do more than ten percent of the things that I always wish I could do in the course of a day, a month, a lifetime...
In Colorado last August, one guy, Omar, whose family was in Iraq, used to encourage us to say blessings on the water we drank. He would say, "When you drink, think of all who thirst..." I can't provide all of humanity with good water to drink or good food to eat, but I do try to spiritually send the strength of water and food and affection to all who feel hunger and thirst and love when I drink, or prepare food, or am within hugging distance of friends and family.
My "vacation" ends today. The kids are back in school. I will be doing my radio show tonight on Impeachment, which I still think is the best hope for the country (That and raising consciousness on the critical ssues of the day that have not been exposed by the corporate/war mongering media.)
I wish you a Healthy, Happy New Year and the Courage to not merely observe, but participate wholeheartedly in co-creating your own, and Humanity's Future. Together we can do what no one of us can do alone.