Dream: 8/03/2021. There is a reception for funeral service being held at our home on 1422 South River Road Fargo. People are coming into the house and the living room; I am concerned and busy getting ready for the service, food and drinks for the quests. A second group of guests are now arriving at the front door and we are getting ready to begin. This is the room where my dream unfolds. The window behind me is the walk way into the front door that I see people approaching.
Associations: I recently looked at this Christmas photo taken of the family in our living room where the dream occurs. I think this photo was taken in the fall of 1958, which I think would have been the first Christmas the family lived in this new house. The only funeral I can remember was of grandmother Amanda Skjonsby who passed away in January 1962. This photo of Amanda I had in a box of photos I have been working with. I took it out of its small gold frame and just scanned it, remembering her so very well. “I loved your chocolate cookies, Grandma!”
Amplification: Grandparent is our Wikipedia entry to begin this amplification. I will work this up later. The United States Congress passed the legislation proclaiming the first Sunday after Labor Day as National Grandparents’ Day in the U.S. and, on August 3, 1978, then-President Jimmy Carter signed the proclamation.Forget-me-not: The flower of the U.S. National Grandparents Day is the forget-me-not which blooms in the spring. As a result, seasonal flowers are given in appreciation to grandparents on this day.I will begin reading this Grandparent Wiki entry to expand this amplification into animation. Today is August 3 and I will try to buy some forget-me-not flowers and take them to Riverside. I looked for Amanda’s obituary in the Fargo Forum, but did not find it – there is only Donald Skjonsby. I sense I have a copy and wonder if Michael has Amanda’s obituary or any photos of her. Oh, and of course – memories, brother.
Animation: Animation is a new name for what previously had been Amplification2. Reading Aizenstat’s book Dream Tending I now see what I had intended doing with this 4th element of dream analysis – is the idea of animation. I will be presenting my understanding of animation, bring it to tending dreams. What a dream to understand and incorporate this new element into. So, let us begin! I realize my posting today on August 3 is a synchronistic occurrence with the establishment of Grandparents Day on August 3. I will next address Progoff’s treatment of synchronicity, here is an earlier post on synchronicity – animation begins.
I heardBilliette Calling the other day – she was asking where were we on the calling project? It was a hot night, I could not sleep, got up, came into my office to retrieve three of mom’s Billiette Calling columns she had written for Fargo’s Alcohol Anonymous Silver Dollar newsletter*. I read them slowly, imagining her typing them, and then realized she was with us in a dialogue on how we would move into this project. I also realized that if we were to undertake this project, mom expected me to be sober – I agreed but knew this would be a challenge. Understanding the loss ofpsychic energy when consuming alcohol is the focus of mom’s calling and I realized I needed to tap into her source of energy in order to complete this project. Billie often recited the AA Motto, which is:
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to wisdom to know the difference.
Billiette, Mom, was born, raised, lived, married, died, and is buried at Riverside Cemetery in Fargo ND. She was an acrobatic dancer graduating from Fargo Central High School in 1939. She married her high school sweetheart Orlando Scherling in 1942 and together they continued running the Scherling Photography Studio after Orlando’s parents retired in 1947. Billiette and Orlando raised five sons and were a prominent family in the Fargo community. Like many, in the 1950’s and 60’s, they had built an attractive bar in their basement. I can see them both now with their many friends gathered about the bar drinking and many smoking, which Mom did. However, it seems I never saw them stumbling about drunk. Now that I think more about this, it seems I can remember mom slightly ‘starry-eyed’ ‘out-of-focus’ on a few occasions.
I am the oldest son and was in my senior year at university when I remember confronting mom and dad about their frequent loud arguments. There was another woman involved now and their life spiraled out of control. Within two years they had separated and were divorced – mom’s alcohol dependence became dangerous, smashing our car through a cement garage wall! Mom was in severe pain and there was nothing, it seemed, we could do.
I am not sure how she found her way to Fargo’s AA Chapter, but there must have been a light form heaven as she soon entered Heartview Treatment Center, completing their treatment program, and remaining sober the rest of her life. As I started writing this, I watched the CBS Sunday Morning interview with Louise Penny, the murder mystery novelist. I was struck by her story that she was an alcoholic until she attended her first AA meeting and from that day on has not had a drink – this was Billiette’s experience. What also struck me was that Penny languished for years searching for a topic and a method to guide her dream to become a writer – one day it dawned on her, write murder mystery novels, her first novel was “Still Life”. So, I am now thinking Billiette Calling! is a mystery story? What is this mystery? What are you thinking it is? Intertrain this for just a moment… now write it down.
Billiette, continued caring for her two youngest children now in high school and then surprised us all at 45 years of age enrolling and completing her BA Degree in Counseling at North Dakota State University. Mom then enrolled and completed The Valley Hope Treatment Center councilor training program, and then was hired there as a full-time counselor. She retired from Valley Hope and moved back to Fargo, becoming again involved with Fargo’s AA Chapter. Mom answered her final ‘calling …’ in 2003 moving on, now working with An AA Chapter in The Sky.
This effort has been a long time coming! Several years ago, I accumulated some of Billie’s Silver Dollar columns and started to color the image of her appearing in the upper left corner of each column. This broad-beamed hat remined me of the red-hat-photo taken of her by Orlando, her high-school sweetheart and husband of their five sons. Billie started witting her column in January 1970 and ended in December 2000. She wrote a total of 250 columns. Last month, as I was being called to begin this project in earnest, I rose in the middle of the night, retrieved the top 6 letters from my stack, and began reading the January to June 1974 issues. In the March 1974 issue, “Hello, this is Billiette calling about having had a spiritual awakening.
Billiette Calling! Having Had A Spiritual Awakening
HAVING HAD A SPIRITUAL AWAKENINGT – just what does this phrase mean? Webster says – spiritual is relating to, or consisting of spirit and to have spirit is the activating or essential principle influencing the individual – a lively brisk quality in a person, a mental disposition characterized by firmness, assertiveness and courage.
It seems to me, in AA, spiritual means to admit, to accept and to act. These are the 3 A’s of AA.
First of all, we alcoholics have to admit that we are powerless before our own obsession of alcoholism can leave us. And to “admit” the fact that the “spirits” that had been influencing our lives was driving us insane.
Secondly, we have to “accept” the fact that we are alcoholic and that our will power was not working – it has fizzled out. We needed a power outside of ourselves to help us to be assertive, to be firm, and to have the courage to smash the spirit of alcoholism.
We have to accept the fact that we are not the gods we thought we were. What we needed was a “Power” greater than ourselves and that power we found was in AA groups. At first it was the people in our group, then we found that there was a “Higher Power” that governed that group – a God, as we each understood Him!
Nobody can “cure” an alcoholic, but the spiritual program of Alcoholics Anonymous can “save” us from a fate worse than death.
To realize that we don’t have to live in the dark sides of our minds, that there is a LIGHT shining to show us the way out of our private “hells” is “having a spiritual awakening”. Billiette S
Receiving Billiette’s Call! Having Had A Spiritual Awakening
March 3, 2021: I did not sleep well in the night, as I was going over and over what was happening in March 1974 when Mom wrote this Billiette Calling column. I had to go back in time and retrace our life-lines and Mom was about to graduate with her BA degree in Counseling from NDSU and I was moving from teaching management behavior/theory at The University of North Dakota to teaching at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. I remember our discussions about this point in the column she was preparing where she writes: “Thirdly, we go into action, for if we only admit and accept, we are alcoholics, we will only stay where we are – which is living a minute away from a drunk. We have to move on in order to grow; to be a self-actualizing person, a fully functioning person, mentally, physically and spiritually.”
Abraham Maslow’sHierarchy of Need Theory of which ‘self-actualization’ is the highest need was often a topic in our conversations. The issue for us still is how do “we go into action”, how do we “grow; to be self-actualizing, fully functioning, mentally, physically and spiritually.” Just how does one do this? How do we stated living at the top of the needs pyramid? We begin by realizing we have to climb up this pyramid and this is a really rough slippery climb!
However, Maslow’s Need Theory operating principle is really quite simple. A lower-level need has to be ‘relatively satisfied’ before the next level activates to be a motivator of our behavior. Makes sense, we are primarily concerned with physiological needs like food and water before our personal Safety needs like personal and work needs become important to us. Once these are again ‘relatively satisfied’ the need for Love and Belonging becomes important. Our belonging need is critical, most challenging, as it requires a deep understanding of Others. Unless our belonging need is secure, the needs for Esteem and Self-actualization are basically inaccessible. So, here is the central role Alcoholics Anonymous plays, providing a safe loving space to recover one’s esteem in order to build a ‘creative imaginative response to life’. This is Billiette’s and all AA members’ calling! This is sharing Having Had A Spiritual Awakening!
In my journal, I write more about feeling and thinking, and below we can share thoughts in Leave a Reply, I will be back to leave mine, read yours, and reply. The hyperlinks in the paper copy can be viewed at the blog site https://dialecticanalyticalman.wordpress.com/. Steven
It turns out I had only three of my mother’s Billiette Calling! Silver Dollar columns. I asked family if they had any copies and brother Michael sent me two additional columns. On February 5, 2021 I decided to attend the Fargo AA Chapter meeting, where Billiette had been a member when she wrote the column. This seemed to be the place to locate copies of the Silver Dollar and re-publish her columns. I walked slowly up and into the brown-stone house imagining that Billiette had often walked into – I sensed her presence! I stood still in the main entryway, then entered a full living room on my left where I was greeted by a friendly and welcoming Mike R. I introduced myself, telling him I was Billiette Scherling’s son and was wondering if the Fargo Chapter had copies of her columns. Mike suggested I call Bruce R. who he said had scanned the Silver Dollar papers and stored a digital disk and the papers in the House. I was told Bruce was not feeling well, but he did return my call suggesting that I write a letter to the Chapter’s Board of Director’s requesting access to the Silver Dollar columns. I wrote and mailed this letter:
February 9, 2021 Silver Dollar Society PO Box 1991 1112 3rd Avenue South Fargo ND 58103
Dear SOS Members: I visited the AA Chapter House on February 5 and spoke with Mike R about my mother Billiette Scherling writing the column titled Billiette Calling! for the Silver Dollar Newsletter. Mike suggested I call Bruce R and Bruce told me he had digitized some of the Silver Dollar issues and that a distal file and the paper copies were stored at the Fargo AA House. I would like to propose to the Chapter that I be given access to these issues for the purpose of assembling the Billiette Calling column into a publication illustrating Billie’s struggle to overcome her addiction. Such a book might have wide readership and, if you have an interest, I am hoping we might meet to discuss how such a project would be structed and managed. I have an MBA degree in management, have written and published several papers, managed associations newsletters, maintain a blog, and the family has a website. I hope that we might meet to discuss if such a project seems worthy and how to move forward. I often spoke with my mother about her work and see this a way for me to better understand, communicate, and commemorate her work with AA. Cordially, Steven Scherling
I waited a week and did not receive a response. Should I have sent the letter registered mail requiring a signature? I waited several more days and then decided to call the Fargo AA Chapter’s Chairman of the Board of Directors. I called many times for several days leaving my number but he did not returned my calls. I could not understand why a recovering alcoholic would not respond to my letter or return my calls on an the idea to present a unique AA story of recovery. Something is not right!
3/26/2021 4:50 AM Morning Page I had stop drinking shortly after my March 1 birthday and decided, I know with mom’s influence, to begin attending Fargo AA Chapter meetings. This was a ‘big’ decision and I made it; I realized with Mom’s help. I had received my first Covid-19 shot on March 23 and attended my first Fargo Chapter AA meeting on March 26 at 10am. I sat at one end of the rectangle room such that I could see everyone, waiting with a copy of Billiette Calling! to pass around. The meeting monitor sitting close by picked up on my newness and sensed I wanted to say something before the meeting began. I stood and started a copy of Billiette Calling! around the room as I began to explain why I was here. When a copy reached the opposite end of the room, a Chapter Board member I later learned, took the copy and threw it back around the circle angerly saying “This is not the place for this’! I sat down, receiving several questioning glances as if it was expected I would leave. One fellow then asked if I was an alcoholic attending the meeting, I said yes. I realized that his was going to require rethinking how Billiette’s Silver Dollar columns would be acquired. I hoped that this was not going to be a war, however, I wondered what SunTzu would suggest.
4/2/2021 5:17 AM Morning Page. I thought throughout the night about what to say at this morning’s AA meeting, finally got out of bed, brewed some coffee, and wrote down what I planned to say.
Hello, I am Steve an awakening alcoholic. It was a very reflective week since last Friday’s meeting. It was the second time I was in the house and the first upstairs to the meeting room. One of the members told us of his ritual drive to and from the meeting. I think I take the same drive down University to 3rd Avenue and here. However, what is on my mind is that my mother in-spirit is with me as I drove here and entered the Chapter House. And at one moment in last week’s meeting, I vividly sensed she was right beside me! Another member told us, as best as I can remember, how he was using different adjectives to describe what he was feeling. Last week I introduced myself as a ‘recovering alcoholic’ and after reflecting some I introduced myself today as ‘an awaking alcoholic’. To me this represents an important change from looking back to my past when I was drinking – to looking forward being free of the urge to have a drink. An ‘awaking alcoholic’ is like getting up in the morning looking forward to a clean day. There is more to work out on what one then does during the day and when I get it more sorted out, I will share it. I know most of you here have already worked this out and that is what we are sharing. However, I think everyone has to work this through on his or her own. I have the book The Wounded Researcher – Research with Soul, which I have been re-reading yearly for 7 years and some of its chapters every month. In the last chapter Writing down the Soul that author Robert Romanyshyn tell us that when he is writing down the soul of his work, his ancestors are gathered around behind him – looking on. Our ancestors, he maintains, have a vested interest in what we are doing. It occurred to me that AA members are engaged in Soul Work and I now see this is my mother’s work. Her Silver Dollar columns are very helpful to me and I expect could be to others. I will end by reading a paragraph from Billiette’s April 1974 Silver Dollar column just before she left Fargo to train in Norton Kansas to be an Alcoholic councilor.
My search for me was found when I began to know my brother and sister alcoholic. They shared themselves with me – their anger – their hurts – there very inner selves – their gut level feelings were mine, and mine were theirs and we were one. What a wonderful awakening to know I could find myself through others who were lost like me (Billiette Calling! April 1974).
I then requested access to Billiette’s Silver Dollar columns stored in the Chapter House and passed.
4/4/2021 9:14 AM I have asked the I Ching for advice on many issues during my life, recorded its advice, tying to follow through on what was advised. On April 4, 2021 at 9am I asked this question “What of my request to Fargo’s AA Chapter to have access to the Billiette Calling! columns?” I receivedHexagram 11. Tai / Peace which is encouraging. Here is the I Ching’s response:
11. Tai / Peace ____ ____ ____ ____ above K’UN THE RECEPTIVE, EARTH ____ ____ __________ __________ below CH’IEN THE CREATIVE, HEAVEN __________
The Receptive, which moves downward, stands above; the Creative, which moves upward, is below. Hence their influences meet and are in harmony, so that all living thinks bloom and prosper. The hexagram belongs to the first month (February-March), at which time the forces of nature prepare the new spring.
Peace. The small departs The great approaches. Good fortune. Success
This hexagram denotes a time in nature when heaven seems to be on earth. Heaven has placed itself beneath the earth, and blessing descend upon all living things.| In the world of man, it is a time of social harmony; those in high places show favor to the lowly, and the lowly and inferior in their turn are well disposed toward the highly placed. There is an end to all feuds. Inside, at the center, in the key position, is the light principle; the dark principle is outside. Thus, the light has a powerful influence, while the dark is submissive. In this way each receives its due. When the good elements of society occupy a central position and are in control, the evil elements come under their influence and change or the better. When the spirit of heaven rules in man, his animal nature also comes under its influence and takes its appropriate place. The individual lines enter the hexagram from below and leave it again at the top. Here the small, weak, and evil elements are about to take their departure, while the great, strong, and good elements are moving up. This brings good fortune and success.
Thunder over the lake: The image of THE MARRYING MAIDEN. Thus the superior man Understands the transitory In the light of the eternity of the end.
Thunder sites the water of the lake, which follows it in shimmering waves. This symbolizes the girl who follows the man of her choice. But every relationship between individuals bears within it the danger that wrong turns may be taken, leading to endless misunderstandings and disagreements. Therefore it is necessary constantly to remain mindful of the end. If we permit ourselves to drift along, we come together and are parted again as the day may determine. If on the other hand a man fixes his mind on an end that endures, he will succeed in avoiding the reefs that confront the closer relationship of people.
I had asked Mom to accompany and support my efforts having learned from reading The Wounded Researcher: Research with Soul in Mind that our ancestors stand beside us as we work on. I then soon realized that she was behind David and I meeting as we walked into last Friday’s AA meeting, separating into a smaller group together, and talking for 15 minutes after the meeting, learning he knew Billiette having attended one of her talks. We planned to meet for coffee, to discuss experiences recovering or as I say awakening from alcohol use. I sense that synchronization is operating. I now wait patiently to see how to continue with the Fargo AA Chapter’s position on my request to have access to Billiette’s Calling columns. This effort has taken considerable time and thought preparing, attending, and journaling about this experience. I am thinking to fold this effort into the Dreaming Project and let it stand as an Amplification of the dream I had before attending my first Fargo AA meeting. I understand that Billiette is working behind the scene and will wait patiently for this to unfold.
4/9/2021 6:53 AM Morning Page. I am attending this morning’s AA meeting at 10 am. Here is what I prepared to say: I am Steve an awakening alcoholic. This is my third meeting since beginning last month. I realize that this meeting is a monolog but I have always sat in a circle having a dialogue with others. So, I felt a desire to ask you all more about your struggles with addiction. So, this week I met a long-term member of this Chapter for coffee and we talked for almost 2 hours. My new friend said that I was different than others attending the meeting, saying that I had an agenda to obtain my mother’s Billiette Calling Silver Dollar columns. I disagreed with his understanding of my situation and told him why. In looking at all individual’s here this morning, I see similarities! We all have had similar experiences with the effects of alcohol and we also are finding similar means and persons to help us address this. In my case, my mother helped me personally in 1973 and again in 2021 through her Silver Dollar Columns. This is the bases of my request to the AA Chapter Board – to be allowed to have access to her columns that are stored in the Fargo AA Chapter house. The few columns I have, have been helping me with my sobriety. The Board meets next week and I was told that this is on its agenda to be discussed – I am hopeful! Thank you and I will pass.
4/11/2021 9:00 PM Email to David. Hello David, I listen carefully in our meetings and often there are points from each speaker that stand out, however, there are so many, after the meeting only a few are remembered. I need to take notes. What struck me, and I said this to you as we chatted leaving the house, is that you still seem to be ‘supporting’ the Board’s position of not giving me access to Billiette’s columns. I know you said you were going to do this last week and I really welcomed your stance. However, after last Friday’s meeting and what I said, I sensed you still do not understand fully why this is happening. We do not know for sure what the Board’s position is until after Monday’s meeting. However, I am pessimistic about the outcome based on their past behaviors and your stated sense of what is coming down, which you indicated to me leaving the Chapter meeting last week. This being said there seems no reason for me to try to appear before the Board having already having been told it is difficult to do and that one needs an invitation. Besides, my letter was received and the issue I assume is on their agenda. I had thought to ask you to attend to see how they come to a decision on my request. Might you consider attending? I understand you are not as interested as I am to watch how this group of recovering alcoholics decide this issue. You do realize this is the way I was trained as an organizational psychologist, which is to understand an organization’s decision-making processes. I would like to have been in the room observing their processes, mapping their logic. However, I am at an endpoint and am now thinking about what comes next. This is almost all time I can give this issue and as I mentioned before, Billiette will still be working to get her columns to her family! Regards, Steven
4/15/2021 9:09 AMGood morning David. I hope you slept well last night! I had several disturbing dreams with people angrily having to make decisions. The dreams were interesting and expected under the circumstances unfolding this week in our AA family. In the night, I tried thinking about what I wanted to say at the AA meeting this Friday and could only get half a sentence thought before giving up as my thoughts race on. If a decision was made regarding the ‘Billiette Calling’ columns last Monday, I expect that you have heard what it is. I understand your position of keeping your distance. With the 5 BC columns I have now, the project has reached 25 pages of writing. No matter what the Board’s decision is, I will retain my analysis of their behavior. To be honest it adds suspense, how is this going to turn out? As mentioned, I intend to be a fair ‘participant observer’ in writing about what is happening. The title of this image is ‘empathy’ a very challenging skill to develop – let’s see if an attempt can be made. Regards, Steven
4/15/2021 9:21 AM There, the above email was sent to David and Michael. Very interesting, as my past work with empathy has found a place in experiencing Billiette’s AA columns!
Michael, here is what I have added to the last section mentioning ‘empathy’, which I just sent you. It states clearly what my suggestion is for the Fargo AA Chapter is to try being more empathic. How many pages will it take me to present Jeremy Rifkin’s empathic thesis? I now sense what Mom’s Calling is Calling Steven to write – this is going to be challenging! I am now thinking to complete writing on the 5 columns we have and then look deeper into her other written work. Yes, it would be great to have to have all Mom’s columns in our possession before this needs to be considered! There, this is now being drafted inside as a part of the Billiette Calling manuscript now unfolding… is it preparing the ground for a more empathic Fargo AA Chapter – this might happen. The Empathic Civilization, was published on May 6, 2010 by Jeremy Rifkin as he investigates the evolution of empathy that has and is shaping civilization. I have a serious concern about the lack of empathic thinking in Fargo’s AA Chapter.
4/17/2021 6:54 AM Good morning Michael, I had prepared this above, printed it out, and reviewed it before I took my turn at Fargo AA meeting Friday. With this in mind, like everyone, I just talk trying to keep the outline in mind as a guide. I did well but missed the one important idea, repeating for the fourth time in attending these meetings that I seek the columns of Billiette, past member of this Chapter who wrote for the Silver Dollar Paper, copies that are stored in this AA Chapter house. I also did not give a copy of Mom’s column that I had printed to the woman I had in mind to give it to. This was suggested by David who observed that women in the Chapter are more sensitive and would be more receptive to my request for Billiette’s columns. For some reason I did not do this, after the meeting walked straight out and drove home. At first, I was disappointed, however, then I realized that last week I had turned this over to Mom to work on, this was her call! I remember the Chinese concept of wu wei and accepted the stream of life that is in motion! I will then add this to the Billiette Calling! book, which is still a dream unfolding! Steven, An Awakening Self! PS I will write soon on the change from a ‘recovering’ to an ‘awakening’ alcoholic – this is theoretical element of the experiential learning model. At the last meeting I sketched this idea but need to fully develop the idea of ‘An Awakening Self’.
4/16/2021 7:42 AM Good morning, I am Steven an awakening Alcoholic. This past week, I was again reflecting about having had attended several meetings now, listening to the readings and to others, thinking, and understanding what is being experiencing. I do much of this not sleeping well, finally getting out of bed, making coffee, and writing down what is tumbling about in my mind. I remember learning this process from one of an Oklahoma professor. He had a textbook for the class and assigned a chapter which we read and prepared. Then in the classroom of 15 students, he took a seat among us and asked us to lead and discuss the readings, later to write a short paper. I later learned this is the ‘experiential learning method’ and in several ways AA meetings are similar. I recently realized that I must pay closer attention to the readings beginning each AA meeting and then to what each member is saying. As I mentioned before, I have a need to write about what I am experiencing to better understand, it is my way of learning to stay sober. I also learned this from my mother Billiette who was a member of this Chapter and wrote a column for the Silver Dollar Paper. When I finished working yesterday evening, I turned on the TV just in time for the start of the British Netflix Documentary “The Truth About Alcohol”. It is frightening, I recommend it! I pass.
4/20/2021 6:03 AM On Friday I could not attend our meeting because I had to visit a friend living on his farm who is having alcohol difficulties living alone now that his wife has left for medical reason. I got to know Jerry as a member of a university fraternity, where we started drinking. He has been a long-time, hard-drinking, past member of the Fargo AA Chapter, and now alone struggling for a life. One would have expected that by the time one is 75, life would about writing a bestselling book of memories. I recently sensed that “the AA approach” that I have been experiencing, is missing an important element which Billiette addressed in her columns, like the really understanding the processes of ‘self-actualization’ which is here addressed by Tom Cheetham – Spiritiual Imagination of the work of Henry Crobin. This is an amazing understanding of Corbin’s work and I sensed a need to understand what this documentary is telling us on being alone with the alone.
4/30/2021 7:08 AM I prepared for AA meeting this morning. Good morning, I am Steven awakening more every day. I thought this past week of not attending today’s meeting. This is my 6th meeting in a row and I am making progress. However, my efforts to work this program are being tested. I have still not received any word or help form the Chapter on getting access to my mother Billiette’s Silver Dollar columns that she wrote. However, this past weekend I was asked by a long-time friend and the MN Social Service agency to attend a meeting to help a long time alcoholic. I drove 30 miles last Sunday and whitened the State of MN intervein in my friend’s life and ask me to help. When the 2-hour session was over and the case worker had left, my friend asked me to take him to the liquor store. His wife has left, he lives alone, and now in the care of the State. This is what I said, resumed listening to others, and when the meeting ended, pause for a moment, stated to walk toward the main door, when a Chapter Board Member motioned me into the main floor living room, where he and two other members sat down – I realized they wanted to talk with me and sat down facing them. The AA member directly across form me was 6′ 300 pounds and did all the talking, aggressively with words and non-verbal behavior getting off the couch warning me to stop requesting the Billiette Calling columns and then saying if I did not he would physically have to intervene. He said there were noSilver Dollar papers in the House and only one old computer. There was a lie, if the papers had been digitized as we were told they had been, I asked, “may I see the computer you have in the house?” He stood up all 300 pounds and I at 150 ponds was required to meet his aggressiveness stood up taking half a step forward, marking the territory I would defend! He and the others marched out of the living room. I headed for the main door and left! It was a clear sunny day!
To realize that we don’t have to live in the dark sides of our minds, that there is a LIGHT shining to show us the way out of our private “hells’ is “having a spiritual awaking”(Billiette Calling! March 1974).
It took the Fargo AA Board of Directors 82 days to finally respond to my request – when they finally did respond, they were not truthful and verbally threatened me. I remember Billiette calling this stinking thinking behaving! Steven
Let Go Let God – is an AA motto that may sound simple, but many of us find it very difficult to do. Many have asked me how I Let Go and Let God. Maybe what works for me will work for you.When I am afflicted with worry or anxiety or have feeling of frustration or despair, here are the seven steps I try to take to gain serenity:
Relaxation. I tell my “Big I” to get out of the driver’s seat and hand over the controls by returning to nature – such as lying on the ground and feeling its energy, sitting by the river, or a lake, or in the silence of my home. I relax and make contact with God by taking deep breaths, breathing God’s air deeper and deeper. Then let go, by completely relaxing every muscle in my body from head to toe. RELAX AND BE STILL!
Turn your will, your thoughts, your life to the Higher Power. Remind yourself that the over-whelming Power of God is surrounding you. It envelops you like your mother’s womb. You are one with God – – growing spiritually with God’s energy flowing through like sap flowing through the trees.
Consciously contact that Higher Power. Tune into it. Ask for the spirit of God to be present NOW.
Keep relaxed. Be still. Soon you will feel the flow of this Power surging through your body, mind and soul. When it happens to me, I feel a cleansing, a renewing and creative energy flowing through my whole being.
Surrender yourself, your needs, your problem, your anxieties, your fears – – dump them into God’s box. Somehow (don’t ask me, because I don’t understand) he takes them – and things begin to happen to resolve them.
Think of the people who worry you or those you have resentments for. Bring them into the present with your Higher Power. Let go, Let God handle these people. Give your hatred to God and He will turn it into Love. It took me a long time to turn one of my resentment over to God, but when I finally let go, I found an attitude of love for this person. Having a conscious contact with God for fifteen minutes each day, this way will release you there will be a spiritual growth filling you with gratitude and humility. Billiette S.
Receiving Billiette’s Call! Let Go Let God!
The AA motto to ‘Let Go Let God’ is challenging! Billiette suggests seven steps that she took to accomplish letting go in order for her understanding of God to begin helping her. We will eventually address all of these steps but for now our focus is on Step 7, which is to “Be expectant, wait trustingly for the Higher Power results in His guidance. It’s there – but we have to learn to be silent, to listen and to relax in his presence, and to be thankful that God has freed us alcoholics form bondage of alcoholism to live One Life and that Life is God’s Life and that Life is ours if we Let Go and Let God.” The emphasis here Billiette suggests is that we have to learn to be silent, and to listen. So, the challenge is learning to listen! This is a real challenge since most of us like to hear ourselves talk!
Learning to listen is where we begin to Let Go Let God! To do this we can consider Theodor Reik’s idea of ‘Listening with the Third Ear’ to more clearly understand what is happening. Reik’s extensive book is a tough read and so we look at Kyle Arnold’s condensed paper Reiks_Theory_of_Psychoanalytic_Listening (2).pdf, to help AA members sharpen their listening skills. Arnold’s short paper, can be downloaded as a pdf file which I will reference briefly to frame the key points of deep listening AA members can consider developing.
Arnold’s paper systematizes Reik’s theory of listening by laying a foundation for assessing Reik’s contributions to psycho-analysis. Reik’s theory is organized around an emphasis on your natural sequence that begins with unconscious conjectures about another AA members situation and ends with conscious specific formulations about what is motivating this AA member’s drinking behavior. Arnold writes that “Psycho-analytical conjectures crystallize out of the intersubjective, reciprocal illumination of the therapist’s and patient’s, unconscious minds” (44). In our AA meetings, our understandings are beginning to emerge out of our and members unconscious minds. This is the process we wish to become more conscious of and therefore more in control of. Understanding others and ourselves is a reciprocal process – it is called the norm of reciprocity – what you do for me, I will return to you.
At our next AA meeting, begin to apply the first sequence item of ‘listening with the third ear” – begin carefully tendingto your own “unconscious conjectures about the other AA members.” As each AA member shares his story, begin to listen carefully to what is shared and how it is shared. It will help if we take notes on what we are hearing from others and also what we are hearing from inside ourselves – this is a first step. This is not meant to be a secretive process that we are undertaking so, if you are asked what you are doing, as is the AA way, share what you are doing and hope to accomplish. We will be addressing the other let go let god points and the other listening points. Now, I will write more in my journal – what am I feeling now? I just let go and write what comes to me – I do not stop to correct spelling or improve grammar. Steven
WHY WAS I BORN? Seven years ago, on an April day, I asked that question of God. I could not live with myself, nor was I fit for myself to know. I couldn’t even look at myself in the mirror. I asked mirror, mirror, on the wall, who is the fairest of then all?” And there before me stood the witch that alcohol had created. I hated myself for the things I’d done to my family and to myself. I couldn’t hide myself from me any longer. I could see that others could never see, and I hated what “me” had become. My search for me was found when I began to know my brother and sister alcoholic. They shared themselves with me – their fears, their anger – their hurts – their very inner selves – their gut level feelings were mine, and mine were theirs and theirs were mine. What a wonderful awakening to know I could find myself through others who were lost like me. What has seven years of sobriety brought me? I have tried to make up for the hurt I caused my family and the rewards have been great. They love and respect me when I once gave my drinking problem to God and regularly attend AA. Events in my life started to change. Many recall that four years ago I started going to col1ege. On May 24th’ I’ll be graduating – something that I consider a miracle for this 52-year-old “has-been drunk”. July 1st I go to Valley Hope Treatment Center in Norton, Kansas for my training to become an alcoholic counselor. My seven years of sobriety have not been a ‘bed of roses”. However, this I know, I have had a peace and contentment within, even though the storms I had had to face. I know that my serenity is the result of faithfully trusting and accepting God’s plan for me even though I could not understand “why at the time”. I do know now that through each trial and tribulation I have suffered, I have grown and become stronger. I look to the future with confidence and I know I can’t lose as long as I have God and AA. In seven years, I have learned there is strength in faith. There is power in humility and there is happiness in helping others. I am still learning to overcome myself, for it is not the difficulties of life that I have to conquer, but my own selfishness. Keeping sober is the most important thing in my life for without it, all I have gained in the last seven years would be lost. I am totally convinced that my whole life depends on my not taking that first drink. Nothing in this world is more important to me than my own sobriety. Everything I have or will have, or ever hope to have depends on my sobriety. Can I afford or can you afford to ever forget this? Thankful I was born? You bet I am! I consider it an experience that I wouldn’t have missed for all the world! Billiette S
Receiving Billiette’s Call! Why was I born?
For me on one level this is an easy question – I was born because my mother and farther decided to get it on with having their first child – I had no say in this transaction. The Normandy Landing was exactly 3 months away from when I came into our war-torn World. When I am depressed, it is likely I am anxious about something, that the question “why was I born?” surfaces. I also feel that this is a question often appears more often in the second half of one’s life, say after 40. In the first 40 years we are too busy just living life. It is often in the second half that we realize we have reached the noontime of life and are headed into the evening of life and death. The issue for me, now 77 years along, is have I left behind a handprint like early cavemen did telling us that they once lived here. This is what is being done here, re-telling, preserving, Billiette’s stories, expecting to preserve them. The Johari Window has helped me to this. The Johari Window has four areas as seen in the diagram below: Arena where you and others know about you; Façade area are items know by you but not by others; Blind Spots facts not know by you or by others about you; and Unknown areas not know by yourself or others. The object of the exercise is to expand the Arena quadrant by exchanging information about yourself with others in your group. The Johari Window process, in my experience, is how AA Chapter meeting operate. During the operation of the Johari Window process, it is suggested take one takes notes on what is revealed in each quadrant, and then write about what you have learned about yourself. Graphing the sharing of Self within a relationship offers a simple and quick explanation of this cube. There are many other YouTube clips available to enhance one’s experience of sharing views of each other.
See if the Johari Window is useful and fill in the 4 areas as best you can. You might ask a friend to help you with parts of the Window. Now in your Journal write something about why you were born, who have you become, what remains for you do do, and what are you planning to accomplish, what are you dreaming – tend to dreams. Steven
My brother Michael located two Billiette Calling! columns, one of which is presented below as a concreteexperience to be followed by reflective observation using our abstract conceptualization (theories) calling us to actively experiment with generating a new more enlightened alcohol free concrete experience to guide our lives – this is the experientiallearning model, (CE – RO – AC – AE). This is Billiette’s AA Way that she used and wrote about to self – actualize her Self and to help others. This is a never ending process and to implement Billiette’s AA Way requires that we keep a journal on life. So, to begin your new journal tomorrow morning, if you remember your dream, immediately write it down before even thinking of getting out of bed, record it in your journal – if you do not immediately write your dream down, the dream will be forgotten! After it has been written down, think about it and tend to how it begins moving. You have now begun the process of tending dream. Okay, now you can get up to start your coffee or tea – after all, it is a beautiful morning This is the important step in actualizing yourself!
Billiette Calling! Oh, what a beautiful morning.
Oh, what a beautiful morning – this tenth day of March. “This is the day that God has made. Let us be glad and rejoice in it!” I shall never forget past days when I awoke with ‘head in hand’, moaning, “Good God, it’s morning.” “Tis good to remember those ‘daze’ – for in remembering them I am able to be ever so grateful for this beautiful sunrise today, with nearly 28 tremendous years of sobriety. No matter what the day may bring – good or bad, prosperity or famine, sunshine or storm, whatever it may be – “I BE ME, BILLIETTE”, a very grateful recovering alcoholic. I am grateful to my God to be Sober and Free! He came to set us ‘captives’ free. Glory be to my God and Creator! We, alcoholics, know, all too well, that there is a ‘power that destroys’. It may be alcohol – drugs – and let’s not forget ‘self’. But, we who are sober and free today KNOW that there is a power greater than ourselves, a ‘power that creates’. This Power that creates gives life and joy and peace. It gives freedom and not bondage, life and not death, transformation and not coercion. The power that creates restores relationships and gives the gift of wholeness to all. The POWER THAT CREATES is SPIRITUAL POWER – the power that proceeds from God. It is the Power that you and I came to believe in after we gulped down our PRIDE and HUMBLY ADMITTED we were alcoholics and could not manage our own lives. We came and we learned that we were “suffering from an illness which only a spiritual experience will conquer” (Big Book, p.44). “Selfishness – self-centeredness! That, we think, is the root of our troubles. Driven by a hundred forms of fear, self-delusion, self-seeking, and self-pity…” With all the negative happenings that have been occurring in my life recently, I have found myself once again in the ‘drivers’ seat’, attempting to take control, shutting God out. I came to realize that I was on a ‘dry drunk’, with all the above-mentioned defects of character in full bloom. I had to get back to the basics or die. “Oh, God,” I cried, “I can’t You can. Help me get through this one more time.” This is the how and why of it – without God, we will be on a drunk, be it dry or wet!!! HOW IT WORKS… peace of mind in sobriety: The Big Book says on page 62, “This is the how and why of it. First of all, we had to quite playing God. It didn’t work. Next, we decided that hereafter in this drama of life, God was going to be our Director. He is the Principal’ we are His agents. He is the Father, and we are His children. Most good ideas are simple, and this concept was the keystone of the new and triumphant arch through which we passed to freedom.” “When we sincerely took such a position, all sorts of remarkable things followed. We had a new Employer. Being all-powerful, He provides what we needed. If we kept close to Him and performed His work well. Established on such a footing we became less and less interested in ourselves, our little plans, and designs. More and more we became interested in seeing what we could contribute to life. (emphasis added) As we felt new power flow in, as we enjoyed the peace of mind, as we discovered we could face life successfully, as we became conscious of His presence, we began to lose our fear of today, tomorrow or hereafter. Every day can be a ‘new beginning’ if we but remember to say to our Maker, as we understand Him/Her: “God, I offer myself to Thee – to build with me and to do with me as Thou wilt. Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do Thy will. Take away my difficulties, that victory over them may bear witness to those I would help of Thy Power, Thy Love, and Thy Way of life. May I do Thy will always!” (Big Book, Third Step Prayer, p. 63)
Receiving Billiette’s Call! Oh, what a beautiful morning.
I suppose agreeing with someone completely indicates one has been brain-washed. We need to listen carefully with our ‘third ear‘ and read carefully with our ‘third eye‘ to what is being said and written. Billie and I often discussed ideas and had disagreements we tried to work through. She ends this column writing this, which is an example of what we discussed: “Every day can be a ‘new beginning’ if we but remember to say to our Maker, as we understand Him/Her: “God, I offer myself to Thee – to build with me and to do with me as Thou wilt. Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do Thy will. Take away my difficulties, that victory over them may bear witness to those I would help of Thy Power, Thy Love, and Thy Way of life. May I do Thy will always!” (Big Book, Third Step Prayer, p. 63). Billiette, uses the words “our Maker as we understand Him/Her” but we know her understanding is Christian as this prayer reveals. What I did try to point out to mom, is that writing “Relieve me of the bondage of self” is incorrect psychoanalytically. We do not hope to be ‘relieved of self’ but to be ‘assisted in the fulfillment our Self’. This is our project, however, I have not forgotten as Sartre points out “that ‘nature’ has an aggressive way with the human consciousness, which is analogous to the way a bellicose man thrusts his face close to the face of a person he is threatening.” I am still processing my frightening “bellicose AA person experience” that I had at the Fargo AA Club House – a very disappointing and startling experience still needing to be understood!
For many years I have tended my dreams – dream tending has been and is essential in understanding how I have and am still becoming. A useful book on my journey as been Maria Mahoney’s The meaning in dreams and dreaming, which has helped me. Here is one of my dreams shortly after I started attending Fargo AA Chapter House meetings.
Dream 5/25/2021 6:58 AM. I am still working on an issue that is slowly finding its way to the surface – something is being clarified. Associations: The theme of this dream has been repeating itself these past weeks. My first association is that I am in the midst of trying to secure Billiette’s Fargo AA Silver Dollar columns, which are helping me and I sense will help others become more conscious! Amplification: I am re-reading Colin WilsonStrength to Dream. I have been re-reading Chapter Seven The Need for Polarities – with it central topic of imagination. Reading from p.189-191, I sense is an amplification for this dream and also realized it provides insight into to a Billiette Calling Silver Dollar Column. Now, can this be seen and felt? I have red-highlighted what seem especially presentient sentences, with two sentence in purple that laser-focus for me what needs additional attention.
“Some kind of moral judgment on the world must, then, be inherent in all works of literature, the writer’s accepted view of man and the universe – which is to say that, in some sense, every work of fiction that has ever been written is somehow obscurely concerned with the problem of how men should live. The judgement may be overt, as in Candide or Rasselas, both openly concerned with man’s dubious position in the universe. It may occur only at the end of a work, as in Epitaph for a Small Winner, the work of the great Brazilian writer Joaquim de Assis, who feels that his hero is a ‘small winner’ in the game of life because he has left no children to whom he can pass on the misery of human existence. In this case, as in all classic tragedy, the polarities are the hopeless desires of man and the indifferences of the universe. But the most important condition for the function of imagination has been observed – the great gap has been fixed. This generalization leaves one important fact unexplained. There are many writers, particularly among the great novelists of the nineteenth century, who seem to work on a ‘humanistic’ level, with no great polarities of good or evil, triumph or tragedy, and yet who reveal a considerable inventive power. Dickens, Thackeray and Balzac are arguably among them, …Trollope and Dumas most certainly are. The interest here lies in the ‘unseen’ pole of which the writers may be completely unaware, the instinctive faculty of ‘affirmation’. The negative pole of the world is always visible, since man is far more capable of pain than of pleasure. Most pleasures are brief and easily forgotten; on the other hand, human life seems to be largely a matter of obstacles, always culminating in death, and frequently in a great deal of pain. It is easy to be fully conscious of ‘evil’; any philosopher of minimal talent can produce a hundred reasons why life is not worth living. The power of the urge to live is an altogether different matter. It requires either enormous strength to become aware of it, or one of those freak mystical insights that certain men seem to experience. A powerhouse exits in the subconscious regions of the mind. Occasionally we may become aware of it in some moment of relief from anxiety or of sudden joy. But for the most part it seems to communicate the urge to life in a curiously stealthy manner, on a level where we fail to notice it. A man like Dostoevsky, about to be executed, sees it without disguise, and spends the rest of his life trying to explain to human beings that they have no idea of what life is. He does so by a curious method; from the gentle melancholy of his early work, his books develop an increasingly gloomy picture of human existence. There are brief flashes of mystical affirmation, but these are only hints. His purpose seems to be to communicate to his readers the inexpressible value of lift by deliberately trying to produce a kind of ‘soul sickness’ in them, and relying on this sickness to evoke a sense of values. His own imaginative powers increase as he becomes more deeply aware of the polarities, the visible pole of human misery and futility and the invisible strength of human misery and futility and the invisible strength of the powerhouse. It might be said, then, that the ultimate aim of all imaginative literature is to teach men ‘what life is’. In La Nausee, Sartre points out that ‘nature’ has an aggressive way with the human consciousness, which is analogous to the way a bellicose man thrusts his face close to the face of a person he is threatening. It tends to hypnotise, to jam the ‘prehensive powers’. Art is the most primitive human device for enabling the consciousness to retaliate; it attempts to thrust nature to arm’s length. Like science, it works on the principle of hypothesis and proof; it suggests ‘general theorems’ about life (i.e., spirit is good, nature evil; ‘you can’t win’; ‘as for living, our servants will do that for us,’ etc.) and then tries to create works of art that will ‘demonstrate’ the idea. All this means that the Flaubert-Joyce attitude to literature is untenable. Literature need not have a ‘message’, in the sense that a problem play has, but neither is its purpose simple to hold a mirror up to nature. The passive attitude to literature is ultimately as untenable as total pessimism. No matter how detached and uncommitted an artist pretends to be, he is involved in a world whose ‘direction’ is as positive as the current of a river. It is impossible to exercise the imagination and not to be involved in this current, in man’s need for a supra-personal purpose, in the evolutionary drive.” (189-191). Steven
This is the last Billiette Calling! column that the Scherling family possesses. Still, there has been no movement from the Fargo Acholic Anonymous Board of Directors regarding the family request to be given access to the columns they have stored. In a forced meeting with three Board members, I was threatened with physical harm to stop requesting access to files I was now told did not exist. The only items stored in the house, I was told, is an old computer and a file drawer. My request to see these was not addressed. The family’s hope now is that someone or organization in the community has kept these Sliver Dollar AA newsletters and will allow them to be copied. Bob Lind and the Fargo Forum have been informed that we are looking for Billiette’s Silver Dollar columns.
Billiette Calling! I hope you all had a Happy New Year!
I hope you all had a Happy New Year! Once again I was so thankful that I was not recovering from one of those insufferable New Year’s Day hangovers. However, my sons and I were experiencing an insufferable loss, with the death of their father, who suddenly died from a heard attack two days before Christmas. Needless to say, our Christmas was not very “Merry” or our New Year very “Happy”. As I sat in the funeral home, I thought, “What happened?” I then recalled how John Barleycorn had become a member of our family. We even build a special room for him, with a fantastic red leather bar. This room became our ‘shrine’ and the bar became our ‘altar’, where we brought our friends to ‘worship’ him. We held our glasses high, praising him… “Here’s to you! Cheers! Down the hatch! One more for the road!” Oh, John Barleycorn, you make me feel so good, so warm and cuddly. We honestly believed life was so much better having J.B. around; and , really, what fun can anyone have in life without him? The GREAT DECEIVER started to take over the day we invited him into our home. The take-over was slow, but was sure to end in disaster. I suppose one could equate the whole experience to taking a bus trip up a mountain with Johnny B. as the driver, who had control of the wheel from day one of the trip. I became physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually bankrupt before I came to realize that J.B. had thrown a blanket of DENIAL around me. It was like driving in a blizzard and exclaiming, “You idiot – why did you start out on this trip? What in the world has happened to you? Why did you trust J.B with your life? Look what he’s done to you! You’ve become a liar, a cheat, a conniver, a hag, a bitch, a spoiled brat who screams and threatens annihilation or stalks about of the room if you don’t get your own way. What a catastrophe my life had become! My trip up the mountain was fantastic. I was in never, never land, somewhere over the rainbow, with an attitude of “who cares?”. Fact was, I was in a progressive numb-out! Over the top and on the down side became a nightmare. I became aware that something was out of whack; the brakes went out; the bus went careening down and down as I started screaming, “STOP, STOP THE BUS AND LET ME OFF!” It didn’t stop! As the bus was headed over the cliff to crash into the valley below, the door opened and I leaped off. There by the road was God, waiting with the open arms of love and safety. But I still know that Johnny is hovering around the corner, tempting us to get back on the bus. “No Thanks J.B., I have God’s power in my life today!” As I was leaving the funeral home I said a little prayer’ “God, thank you for what you’ve taught me in AA – how to love, to find peace of mind, to forgive those who have hurt me, to make amends to those I’ve hurt, for your persistent nudging me to make amends to my sons’ father, asking for his forgiveness. I am thankful that I have leaned another lesson form this sorrowful death, DON’T PUT OFF FOR TOMORROW WHAT YOU SHOULD DO TODAY. THEN THERE WILL BE NO REGRETS! My sons’ father and I parted friend, because in AA we learn to say, “I’m sorry!” Remember … God says, “NOTHING IS GOING TO HAPPEN TO YOU TODAY THAT YOU AND I CAN’T HANDLE TOGETHER!”
Receiving Billiette’s Call! Yes, sharing it with you was happiness!
Reading this Billiette Calling column is easy to apply it to my life because I was there. For others reading this, I suggest as you read Billiette’s experience, going from a fun-loving family to a drunken wife and mother, that you compare her experience to yours. Billiette wrote this column shortly after Orlando Scherling’s death December 22, 1994, which will always be emotional. I remember spending hours writing and practicing what I would say about my father’s very caring, creative, and productive life – a life I am still searching for a way to memorialize. His many photography awards, work with Professional Photographers of America, the establishment of the Jerry Scherling Island Park Memorial to his son’s life are important, however, something else is moving. I remember when my belief in Santa Claus was shattered. Dad dressed up to play Santa until the year I realized, he was always in the back room when Santa arrived, appearing shorty after he left. The next year to throw me off the scent, he asked Dan Olson, one of his photographers to play Santa. Santa had gotten much larger during the year and when I looked into his eyes, I thought I saw Dan there. As soon as Santa left, I rushed to the front window, pulled back the curtains, and saw Santa getting into Mr. Olson’s car – reality hit me, all we see may not be real. Billiette describes a process that all alcoholics need to be aware of becoming “physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually bankrupt before the ‘alter of drink’, becoming a “liar, a cheat, a conniver, a hag, a bitch, a spoiled brat who screams and threatens annihilation or stalks about of the room if you don’t get your own way. What a catastrophe my life had become!” It seems just reading this should jolt a person in to realizing his/her loss of life. This last Billiette Calling column was obtained from her son Michael. I appreciate his sending this last column, for now, for this blogging effort. I expect this column, like the others, will expand our understanding of where we are headed. However, I still have the menacing image of a Fargo AA Chapter 6+ foot 300+ pound goliath verbally threating me in the Chapter’s living room to stop seeking the Billiette Calling columns or else. I wrote this in BC 06.01.2021 blog: “What I would try to point out to Billiette, that she writing ‘to be relieved of the bondage of self’ is a wrong psychoanalytically statement to make! We do not hope to be ‘relieved of self’ but to be assisted in our self-actualization. I know mom agrees with this and it was always fun to discuss these issue with her. However, in BC 06.01.2021 blog I added this on Sartre who makes this point: “that ‘nature’ has an aggressive way with the human consciousness, which is analogous to the way a bellicose man thrusts his face close to the face of a person he is threatening” I now sensed a synchronistic experience had occurred when ‘goliath’ stood up and threatened me. So what? What should we do with this? I am going to attempt see this as a synchronistic experiences with the Fargo AA Chapter. I sense Jung’s concept of synchronicity is operative. It always is operative, one just needs to recognized and understand how it unfolds (Aziz, Syndetic Paradigm, 2007). I remember checking out Ira Progroff’s book Jung, synchronicity and human destiny from UCLA’s library, coping it, when I was staying with my uncle for a week in August 1983 on my way back to teaching in Taiwan. I have kept this book by my bed stand since then, often re-reading it, especially the last chapter XI – From synchronicity to the transcausal, which I will unpack next. Here to begin explaining synchronicity is Carl Jung on Synchronicity
Dream 06.08.2021. I have been at a conference in France and I am now at the airport to catch a plane. I meet school mate David Stillman who helps me pack up all my Sachi bags into one very compact carry-on bag. I then am looking for the way to the terminal and ask two older ladies who do not understand what I am asking. I then interrupt a fellow listening to headphone music to ask and he points the way to a lower level, which I take a spiral staircase down to. Associations: I worked several hours yesterday on the 4th Billiette Calling Blog post whose outline is almost complete. To complete it, I need to amplify Progoff’s treatment he wrote about in Chapter XI From synchronicity to the transcausal, which I started re-reading, ending with me falling asleep “working of the archetypal element in a situation cannot be encompassed in any of the usual definitions of causality. It is not causal, but rather recrystallizing and restructuring.” Amplification: I fell asleep with Progoff’s description of this process trying to apply it to what is unfolding with the synchronistic experience of being confronted by a bellicose member at the AA meeting and then reading about a bellicose confrontations of the same nature. Amplification2This is going to take time and space to unpack. I have space but do I have time? Look in your files now to see what you have collected on Progoff. I found my Progoff work in Project 4 / Writing / Manuscripts / Resources / Authors. I will begin again to work on using Progoff’s At a Journal Workshop, which I attended many years ago. How is it that I have not kept at this? Do I have time to finish this work? We shall see… Yes, I am aware of the “sacred space between me and the (my) ancestors…” (Romanyshyn, Wounded researcher, 2007: 344) and that they are now looking over my shoulders as I write this. This is really what keeps me writing, knowing that Billiette is watching over this effort. Steven
Published on Apr 6, 2021 Recorded on March 30, 2021 Dr. Stephen Meyer directs the Center for Science and Culture at the Discovery Institute in Seattle. He returns to Uncommon Knowledge with Peter Robinson to discuss his newest book, Return of the God Hypothesis: Three Scientific Discoveries That Reveal the Mind Behind the Universe. In this wide-ranging and often mind-bending interview, Dr. Meyer explains the God Hypothesis; makes his continuing and evolving case for intelligent design; describes how Judeo-Christian theology gave rise to science; discusses why the discovery of DNA is actually an enigma, as its existence cannot be explained by natural selection; and more.
There is a monument at the Texas State Capitol of the Ten Commandments which the U.S. Supreme Court let stand in its Van Orden v. Perry (2005) decision. The Ten Commandments Monument also stands in Fargo ND’s Civic Center Courtyard. It can be seen in the far background behind the thesis Scherling imagines for this Ten Monument Poster, which he wrote about in this High Plains Reader essay. This poster is available by contacting Scherling.
A New Universal Spirituality in Fargo’s Civic Center Courtyard By Steven A Scherling
One year ago, during Fargo’s Ten Commandments Monument debate, a local professor supported his argument for removing Fargo’s Ten Commandments Monument with this reasoning, “Try to imagine you have recently escaped persecution in another country and are now a refugee in the United States. You travel to city hall or a courthouse to find a tablet saying, ‘Thou shalt not have other gods before me.’ What if you aren’t Christian? Are you going to feel as though you will get a fair treatment in this country? Your entire life has been one of fear of being hurt or killed for not belonging to the accepted group. And you escape that, only to find an apparent requirement to belong to another group” (Reasons clear why marker should be removed, Forum 9/03/03). His rationale is that emigrants and refugees entering public buildings should not have to pass any such religious monument so remove them all.
I tried putting myself in refugee shoes, walking into Fargo’s Civic Center courtyard for my first civic experience, and thought about what I would like to greet me. Instead of having no references to the center of life, I would prefer to see the Civic Center courtyard displaying monuments to the many ways men and women have found to touch center ground – place monuments to all beliefs and to “no belief”, if no belief is possible. For me the most welcoming reception would be to see all religions openly acknowledged – this would tell me that Fargo’s belief systems are encompassing and accommodating. And this seems to be the issue – are we open and tolerant to all beliefs?
This summer I was working on a Fargo photo collage and when I took a photo of the Civic Center, I saw an opportunity to state my opinion photographically. With a panorama of the Civic Center at the top and the green lawn extended downward, I placed at the poster’s center a photo of the Ten Commandments Monument. I then selected saying from the other religions Houston Smith, author of The Religions of Man, discusses to surround the Ten Commandments Monument photo. These saying may not be the ones others would choose to represent these faiths but they have similar themes.
I had the opportunity while at UND in the 1970s to attend visiting lectures by Houston Smith and in the last chapter of this book he suggests that at the core of man’s religions we find the same underlying truth. In Smith’s final chapter, he asks us to ponder, “how do these religions fit together? In what relation do they stand to one another?” He poses three answers and suggests a direction forward. The first is that one religion is clearer and superior in expressing religious truth. The challenge here is to live to the depths of them all in order to make this judgment. The second is that in “all important respect they are the same” – each contains a version of the Golden Rule, sees man’s self-centeredness as source of his troubles and seeks to help, and acknowledge a universal Divine Ground from which man rose and good is sought. The challenge is again to fully understand them and then decide how to fit them together.
The third answer stands in contrast to the first two, in that, not all religions say the same thing but they do have a similar unity. Nor does it find one tradition to be superior, for if God is a God of love, surely, He would be revealing himself to all others as difference necessitated. The third answer is the most challenging in that the light of man’s religions derives from the “same source.” Smith suggests the challenge in this third response is “whether our personal, autonomous reason is qualified to stand judgment on matters as important as these, picking and choosing what in other traditions is authentic and what is spurious?”
Smith’s last question is, “What should be our approach to the religions of man from this point on?” Here I suggest Smith misses the point, in that we should not be about “picking and choosing” with “autonomous reason” but of exploring inwardly with symbolic reasoning our common source – our common collective unconscious. Smith’s suggestion that we must listen first to our own faith and then to others, left me wondering what listening involves. Smith views the “same religions source” as an objective rather than a subjective experience and thus left me looking for more direction.
In the face of the threats Smith saw in 1958 from “nationalism, materialism, and conformity” (today add terrorism) he correctly calls attention to the urgency of opening a dialogue on “man’s spiritual life.” In spite of these plagues, Smith called this a potentially “great century” if, however, the scientific achievements of the first half are matched by “comparable achievements in human relations” in the second. What happened to Smith’s call for a basic change human relation? How do we rate the capacity of man’s mind today to destroy itself? Where have all the soldiers gone? Still going to fields everyone….
Indeed, soldiers are still going, as suggested by C.G. Jung, in that the body count in the wake of 20th Century’s political faiths surpasses the slaughter left by the crusaders, inquisitor, and Holy Wars following the Reformation. Jung writes, “Not even the medieval epidemics of bubonic plague or smallpox killed as many people as certain differences of opinion in 1914 or certain political ‘ideals’ in Russia.” There certainly is an urgency to find common understanding – a new universal spirituality.
In considering Smith’s approach to “religions from this point on”, I discovered John Dourley’s book, The illness that we are, to offer a point of departure. What is unique is Dourley’s thesis that a universal subjective symbolic reasoning process provides a way to deeply listen, understand, and dialogue about man’s common religious function. Symbolic reasoning addresses this key concern of Smith’s, “Who does not have to fight an unconscious tendency to equate foreign with inferior?”
Smith closes his book with this Jesus saying, “Do unto others as you would they do unto you.” However, at a deeper level this Jesus saying, “First take the beam out your own eye,” has to precede “Loving thy neighbor as thy self” or “Doing unto others…” Symbolic reasoning is about “understanding the beams”, which in turn unveils the “unconscious tendency to equate foreign with inferior” or that “evil” is out there in an “empire” or “triad” and can be eradicated. A more universal spirituality might begin by placing many religious monuments in Fargo’s Civic Center Courtyard.
Scherling, S.A., 2004, Ten Commandments or a new universal spirituality in our Civic Center courtyard?High Plains Reader, October 14, Vol.11, Iss.6. p.3. www.hpr1.com.