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by James C. Stephens


June 20, 1975

 

nsa-pre-bicentinneal-convention-1975-button-snippet-from-have-a-gohonzon

1975 Pre-Bicentennial Convention in Hawaii featuring a floating stage in Waikiki Bay. A live performance for 50,000 spectators watching from the beach and from their hotel balconies.

Aloha!

Well, it’s getting closer. Only 36 more days. Tonight we’re going to be watching Mr. Murray and Mr. Rachey on a T.V. talk show. They’re being interviewed by a guy named Zooloo, like Johnny Carson Mainland style. I understand that it was a super successful interview and it lasted well into the allotted time. In fact Zooloo said this movement needs more publicity. It’s so interesting. This was not arranged PR, but rather this guy’s seeking mind about this Buddhism. Really groovy.

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The floating stage was an amazing engineering challenge as fireworks were shot off from the volcano, there was a rear projection screen and hundreds of performers were shuttled by boat at night to perform on stage. It was quite an amazing production to say the least. To bring a floating stage in required the EPA’s and Hawaiian Government’s approval. 

 

Many people I understand have been shakubukued by our warehouse. One heavyweight was really impressed, so impressed that he’s given us free laundry service. Daily no less. Delivers in one day. Other people have donated 88 construction helmets that normally run $7 a piece. Then there’s the bamboo. The Ranger is really amazing. Calls Rejicho, George.

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What you see is a Polynesian Village we constructed in the warehouse and moved in the middle of the night from the old Dole Pineapple warehouse to Fort DeRussy in downtown Waikiki. I was in charge of procuring the plants and was loaned over $500,000 worth of plants for the convention, which we returned of course. So kind of the locals. I helped Mike Strawbringer and other gifted carpenters, but was pulled off and assigned to do what I did best, raise money and ask for donations! Lol.

The Polynesian Village requires one hell of a lot of bamboo. I’m sure we’ve used well into 14,000 pieces of bamboo. Well, the Ranger let’s us cut in the bamboo forest reserve. They wouldn’t even let the Boy Scouts cut any during the big Jamboree. He’s the grooviest Ranger I ever met. Dresses in an aloha shirt. One morning he brought us 15 pineapples. Boy were they were delicious. After one bamboo run, he took us to they say one of the most beautiful places in Hawaii. It was definitely far out. Beautiful waterfalls and a refreshing dip in the pool of water at the bottom did me in. Of course no one else is allowed to trespass here. But the ranger really stuck his neck out and let us swim here. Unbelievable.

The construction of the convention is progressing on schedule, really beautiful. Everyday though we are getting more projects which is far out. The warehouse is really being used by Rejicho for Shakubuku. People can’t believe what is happening.

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Our Hawaiian “Aunt” and our little sister who dove for the puka shells and made us a lovely necklace which I later gave to my wife Elizabeth. Such good people.

The neighbors bring their friends by to check it out all the time. Beautiful grass huts. Just wait. You’ll cry when you come here. The Hawaiian members and our crew are becoming really close, just like brothers and sisters. One women’s division Lizzy made me cry when she brought me some beautiful puka shells she collected and strung herself. Invaluable.

The Human Revolution is very intense over here. I personally have never gone through such a period. Definitely a Summer Training Course of the highest magnitude. It’s about 10 times more intense in a strange way than a Brass Band practice. 88 guys you can imagine. Did you know there were 88 guys in the US Continental Congress? Myoho!

Pupukea is really beautiful, wow. The Hawaiian members have really put their whole life into that project.

hawaii-outrigger-canoe

Oh the water is definitely far out over here. Really clear and blue and warm. I and Mike were fortunate to go with 15 guys to do Gongyo with Rejicho and then go outrigger canoeing and surfing with Rejicho. I learned a lot that day to say the least.

So much to say but so little time now.

Awaiting everyone’s arrival!

Imua,

Jim

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by James C. Stephens


Wednesday, June 05, 1979

Finished a terrific day off with life. I love my wife very deeply. Our relationship is growing tremendously each day and I would just like to express my appreciation here of my wife’s magnificence. I will stick by her no matter what, let me always remember this. Death will not sever our relationship. I think I experience fear of things worsening when things seem to be getting better at times. We must both look ahead. This is of utmost importance. Then our relationship is so terrific. After the toso tonight, on the way back home, Liz talked about many things she was feeling. I can’t tell you how overjoyed I am to hear her communicate so freely. It’s such a tremendous joy for me to experience her exuberance.

Judy called this evening and left a message on the tape. She got my letter and was moved to hear from me. I tried to reach her at 11:10, however no one was home. I’ll try tomorrow.

Had teeth cleaned today. Talked to Dr. Coombs. Seems to be having some problems. I like the guy; had a short conversation regarding his work and his having bad days.

Physical exam for General Telephone Employment application. Dr. Stevens’ letter upset me in its incompleteness. Worked it out. Still waiting for the word on acceptance.

Breakfast with Kathy this morning. Talked about our experience with workshop and our sexual relationship with people. Interesting.

Toso tonight. Chanted for about 45 minutes. I ended up leading it. Session of chanting was a real personal workshop. Benefited from the experience greatly. Feel tremendous. Sleep well! Love, me.

P.S. Saw Suzanne Tarlton tonight. Talked with Geoff Johnson, very interesting fellow, has a lot going, hope to see him more. Our conversation was meaningful. Instead of flitting around to several people, I really stayed with him and gave him my presence. I enjoyed sharing with him.

File1209Wife and I sailed on Sunday with brother Ron in Marina Del Rey. It was a fun experience. Of course it was cold and I broke out in usual hives and rash. Most of all I enjoyed seeing Liz take off in boat with Ron. Her first time sailing. Leaning over board, switching sides, it was exciting. What a trip!

Went through a quick number previous to going sailing with Mike going to Malibu and Liz possibly going. I wanted her with me. My possessive nature. It worked out, but the conflict remains inside me although no where as heavy as previously.  Goodnite., Oh one more thing.

Went to General Lecture tonight with Sudo. A real drag. Started on my personal campaign to become a class A lecturer on Buddhism. I can do it.

Thursday, June 14, 1979

File1338The Actualization’s workshops for June began today with seven NSA members attending. Donna Bond, Darlene Benson, Ford Watson, Greg Case, Ric Coleman, and Elaine Elders.

Yesterday Liz and I attended Holiday Spa for the fourth time. Chris DeLisle, Lydia and Linda came with us. On our way out we ran into Judy the Doctor of Psychology who took the May workshop. We spent over an hour in the Van talking. It was an interesting experience. One observation. Everyone goes through bummers, the important things is to keep moving, keep doing and you’ll work through it.

Afternoon drove Bob Rafkin to pick up wife’s car from UCLA hospital. They’re in the process of getting a divorce and Joanne is bringing a lot of sickness to herself by tension, etc. She has colitis and has been bleeding internally. She needs to practice, but evidentally is not facing the reality of the situation. Suzanne and Mrs. Harris evidently have been giving Bob one hell of a rough time. Liz and I met him at Pacific Sandwich and Savings tonight and spent some time together.

Big thing accomplished this week. Got hired at General Telephone as a customer service representative. Big step.

Problems with school-no motivation. Just dropped off.  Did learn some good stuff so I don’t feel I wasted money and time.

So much happening. Spa is definitely a plus experience. Redoing house, less clutter, more light, more spacious. Environment reflects my life condition.

Roquemore and my friendship meaningful. Great friend. Reading Kahlil Gibran. Bought several of his books.
Les Steinberg and my relationship-rocky. He seems unsure of who he is. Being a judge much of the time. Uncomfortable being around him. I assume part of the responsibility.

NSA reorganization plan from the Executive Planning Board–not impressed so far. However, I am open to possibilities. Belief that Workshop campaign is most valuable booster now for NSA.

Substance vs. Form is essence of any look at Organization.

Have been going through major ups and downs.

Feeling more stable. Action. Very important. Creative energy.

I am definitely feeling better about myself. I mean this is a major benefit.

Liz and I have our trying times, I need to give her more space to herself. For our relationship.

Cancelled music lessons-finances-must work on this one together. I must take more responsibility there.

Garden prospering. Yard is improving day by day.

James C. Stephens


Friday, June 1, 1979

Deep inner turmoil, yet a great shaft of light pierces the gloom and a tremendous and magnificent spirit emerges with power, unyielding and determined.

Relationships blooming everywhere. The literary group again lives! T.H. White’s The Once and Future King.

Les Steinberg got recharged by the workshop. Bruce is registered for June. (Bruce was my district leader and also best man at my wedding). Must help him get the money, he must experience his magnificence, so must I. I had a brief glimpse of his tonight during our conversation. Damn it is so beautiful. I am so beautiful. [JCS post note. We were taught to do affirmations, even when we didn’t feel so good about ourselves].

Nichiren Shoshu needs a tremendous amount of love and energy. We must help her feel her magnificence. Because we are her. Michael Crenshaw asked to be taught how to practice. Michael Roquemore is going through tribulations about that fact.

Liz and I are growing closer. I am feeling more whole. Forward~

Forward

Towards the Magnificence

Of Life.

Worked on the West Hollywood Newsletter with Lydia, Betty Dunn and Ric Coleman.

Wrote an article on nuclear solution and put in some awareness games.

Yesterday met Rocky’s (Mike Roquemore’s new nickname after Actualizations) friend Wendall for the first time.

Called Shawna Lianne today.

Thought about Scott Ferguson.

Thought about Judy Gold.

In fact, I will write her a note after this entry.

Talked to Manny at work today.

Last night Liz met with Cheryl Pistono. Worked on each other’s relationship. Change–for the best–Liz was holding on to dislike of Cheryl. We discussed this and she told me she has always had a hard time expressing her feelings to people. I told her to do it. She did. She told me afterwards that she now knows a different Cheryl. They hugged on departure. Of course I joined in on the festivities. I love hugging. I support my essence of course.

Good night.

12:15 am

 

by James C. Stephens


May 24, 1979

What is my goal now? It is to love myself, to enjoy myself in my life. To always support my dream in life. To be a significant part of doing kosenrufu or world peace through true humanism. My true joy is being with people and in seeing people become happy and productive in their life.

Last night, actually this morning I have made a decision, one which I will share with you. For the past months I have become increasingly aware of the need for a training program for companies whereby the effectiveness of those companies is increased. I have also started to become aware of my talent as an individual human being and have seen it in its rough form. Several months ago I decided on a career in international business. Why I don’t know. It was just a career. The emphasis was in marketing. Now comes the interesting realization for me. I have always had a pretty non-supportive attitude towards myself. Finding many reasons why I haven’t been ahead in life. One of the major things has been no Bachelor’s degree. I now see this as utter nonsense. I recognized that I learn best in life under pressure of a situation. I grasp things that otherwise escape my concentration. My concept of education is rapidly becoming altered and reinforced at the same time. My life in the past was so hung up on the future that the present was passing me by. Strange thing you never do live in the future always the present. The future never really comes. So what to do? Always trust your intuitive sense that what is upon you is a great opportunity, and do just what it requires to make it just that, a great opportunity.

My idea has already seen fruition in Actualizations.* Yet there is a seat, no, a role in it for me. What makes a good marketing man? Is not this the education I was going to school for? My education lies in my experience truly.  No longer will I be hung up in the concept of the future the way I saw it before. I must do what supports me at this moment. The workshop is my concept for helping business’s help themselves. Carol Augustus, though I have not met her, has helped me realize you can do many things. Not only is she the co-founder of Actualizations, she is also the head and founder of other businesses. That is the quality I will and am developing. Marketing skills and personal effectiveness tools. There is a place for me being a marketing agent for Actualizations. To get there or somewhere else, just takes a step forward, anywhere. Whether my mind changes or not, this leads me to new possibilities in myself which is my ultimate goal. Le’t call it my beautification and enlightenment concept. Any person or business can experience it. What does that particular entity need? It needs a supportive environment. How does it get that? It works for it. Nothing will be just bestowed on you. It requires work, perseverance and determination. Unyielding to your essence, yielding the right to pass the negativity in life. Remember everything in life is a Golden Opportunity. Choose to see life that way and do what supports you.

To cover a pimple with makeup is to cover the problem. It still hangs you up, because most probably you’re thinking someone knows you’re doing so. You’re right, congratulations! Take care of the inside and the outside becomes luminous.

Monday, May 28, 1979

Wife and I took a nice walk today down to McDonald’s, talked about things in general. Felt much better. When down, take a walk. It’s very therapeutic especially with someone you love.

by James C. Stephens


Tuesday, May 22, 1979

I just wrote several pages of hate which I tore up and threw away. I’m in hell and I am miserable. I’m frustrated and did Gongyo. Does chanting really work? I like the philosophy, but I still have problems believing in the power of nam-myoho-renge-kyo. My relationship with myself is super uncomfortable at present. The same goes true with my Gohonzon and my wife. I mistrust myself, my wife and my Gohonzon. I have deep feelings of frustration over my schooling and of just succeeding in something in life. I’m becoming afraid of human relationships because I can’t get, oh I just am in pain. My wife is attracted to other men. I saw her hugging them. Intellectually I fought it, but I deeply hated it. I’m still pretty immature. I feel like getting out of this relationship and not getting into any more. It’s all so silly, because a minute earlier I felt the opposite on all issues. That’s why it is so frustrating. I have a lot of self doubt and hate. I’ve never really done anything worthwhile in my life that I feel is worthwhile.


[Note looking back: I think I was feeling the pangs of jealousy, self loathing and also a mistrust of women which I only came to grasp much later on in life as a result of my mother leaving my father when I was a freshman in college–unannounced. One day I came home and she was nowhere to be found and later discovered she had planned leaving for a long time with my younger brother-all unbeknownst to me. For two years I was in a daze following my parent’s break-up, as was my father who had not seen it coming and was suicidal. It left a scar upon my heart as I experienced my mother’s betrayal of her marriage vows and the trust I had placed in her as a son. For years, I wrestled with a wandering eye which I came to recognize after many years was looking for a woman made in the image of my young mother who would accept me, which I failed to recognize for many years. It is dangerous because these traumatic experiences open us up to seduction as we attempt to subconsciously repair the damage.  I tested my own wife Elizabeth for years without knowing it, testing her faithfulness, “are you going to leave me too?” It is something that I regret now which may have been rectified earlier had I sought specific counseling in the area of my wounding. If you are married and come from a broken family and resolve not to continue the pattern as  I later committed to, it would be prudent to seek a wise family systems counselor].


Wednesday, May 23, 1979

Good morning! I love you world and I love myself. I’m good looking and have one beautiful self to offer to this world. [JCS note: looking back on taking the “Self Esteem” workshop our group was taught the practice of positive affirmations. It’s a bit embarrassing to recall, but as I said, this is a raw journal] I believe in me and I believe in my wife Liz. I believe that anything beautiful is possible and can be achieved. Self doubt is death. It is destructive when you let it take over the driver’s seat of your life.

Appreciation of the moment.

The moment we can let go of the past

we don’t need to wallow in our own excrement.

We need to move on in life

For it is but a beautiful succession of moments

I am beautiful

To enjoy everything life has to offer

I am a child of the great universe

I suffer and am happy

I am ill, and also healthy

I am old and also young

I am death and I am life

To exclude any of these I would not be alive,

To enjoy the birds beautiful song of life

is to enjoy the beautiful song of life within

me. The past, the present, the future

all rolled into one moment

Enjoyment, and

Appreciation

You live so you should enjoy

and share

to help others enjoy

it is so miserable to be miserable

Just to hope to be joyous

is not enough

Be joyous

that is enough

And let go of that possession we

call reason

and take hold of that great tail we

call life

and enjoy where she takes you.

You need not try to possess the past.

It is part of you.

You need not worry about the future

There will always be one.

You and I let’s enjoy the present and

do what serves our life at this moment.


JCS post note: I have grown to embrace a far different reality. I do not hold to what might be called the philosophy of hedonism, “live for today for tomorrow we die,” or as I put it at the time “do what serves our life at this moment.”   I do not think that the future holds the same prospects for each person, but is determined by the faith which one ends up professing and practicing. What one believes does affect our ultimate destiny as individual human beings, families and nations.  We must be concerned about the future, decisions we make today, and resolutions to restore others for wrongs we may have committed in the past. I do believe in the faculty of human reason based upon eternal and unchanging principles.

by James C. Stephens


Friday, May 18, 1979

The past two days have been interesting needless to say. Thursday I started on my strict study schedule. Business Law is my number 1 priority, since my midterm arrives on Wednesday, May 24. I have thoroughly studied and reached my goal of 6 chapters in the last two days. My goal: To catch up-keep up and keep ahead. This is a great practical challenge for me. I’m learning to concentrate my energies on a project instead of just planning to. Believe me that’s a big step for me.

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My wife Elizabeth at our home on Woodbine in Culver City.

Liz is taking the workshop this weekend. She was really experiencing a lot of anxiety about it on Thursday afternoon. We have been going through a lot of growth problems lately, and have been working out a lot of solutions. I have grown and become much more aware since I took the Self Esteem workshop and the original workshop. It has been awfully painful coming out on this end since I now can see what is not only holding me back, but also what’s holding back my wife.

I tend to be hard on her at times. Sometimes I’m loving, at other times cold. I am working towards consistency in my life. Thursday night I was really worried about Liz taking the workshop. She came home and all she could do was complain. I wouldn’t put up with that garbage, told her, rolled over and went to sleep.

We have been having trust problems lately. Sincerely I do love her although my love at times is clouded by my own inability to be open and loving.

This morning she complained about the workshop and I told her its like life– you can choose to see the bad or to enjoy the experience. You might get nothing out of this. People are people. Anyway it was a cloudy situation and a bit cold. However, I did not support the line she was feeding out into the environment. She felt condemned, she told me. I said, honey I don’t feel like I’m condemning your essence at all. I love you, but I don’t love the bull. So I’ll tell you frankly what I don’t like when I see it.

11:25 pm. I feel some kind of weight is gone. I believe in the workshop. It was a weighty experience in my life. It definitely gave the seed of Buddhahood a needed boost. I am in full support of Liz’z experience and undoubtedly feel like she is growing. Believe me I’m pulling with her. We are in a creative situation and I sincerely pray she opens to all the workshop* has to offer.

Love,

Your husband.

*Workshop to me exemplifies life itself.

It is a game, certain rules

and if we only open our eyes

we can see a new horizon

meant for us to see and

experience

It’s called Life.

11:30

Saturday morning, May 19, 1979

I’ve got to tell you how happy I am. God am I happy. Not pasted to the wall happy, deeply moved. Last night it was so great to see my wife. So great to see her happy and involved telling me what she saw yesterday at the workshop. She looked really different. Damn! I’m sincerely happy. She got in about 1:30 last night and I just could feel so well. My intuition about it last night was right on! She only could say how she wanted Marshel and her sister to take it and so we talked until 2:30. What can I say?

This morning I dropped her off and went in with her. What a great feeling. Shucks. Rocky was busy and on top of it. Said hello to Pamela, Chris and Shawna, and Frank. Sia is looking really well. (Actualization’s Communications Team).

It’s time to get to work!

P.S. got gas-short line 15 minutes. That was nice-even got my windows done (Chevron Station).

Saturday Evening-Sunday morning 1:30 a.m.

I’ve got to tell you how I feel uneasy. I’m a lot disturbed that Liz hasn’t called me all day. I don’t feel its very considerate of my feelings. It causes unnecessary doubt to crop up for me. In a relationship it is very important to communicate on the part of both parties. Consideration of another’s feelings is shown when a simple call is made.

~~~~~~~~

We talked afterwards and situation was resolved very rapidly. I just handed her the previous paragraph. She read it. And she told me she didn’t call because she said she thought I would just say that she called because I said something “about it” yesterday.

She looked so good last night. We talked for a long while and had a swell time. She’s my lover,…and friend…and wife.

Do you know she shared first in the workshop and she didn’t want to tell me at first. I’m so proud of my gutsy lady.

What can I say?

 

 

 

by James C. Stephens


Monday, May 14, 1979

Well its back to the drawing board and studying. Los Angeles was really hot this weekend. Not only were the temperatures high, but so were tempers as gas lines grew to frustratingly long lines. Things are looking worse in Los Angeles all the time. Prices are so ridiculously high as far as real estate, one as young as our family could not possibly hope to own property or even a condominium in a reasonable area. Rents are continuing to soar over Los Angeles and in Santa Monica, the renters finally got rent control passed over all the landowner propaganda.

My birthday #28 was on Saturday and was quite enjoyable. We had a party and invited several of our friends over. Who showed up? Well there was Francis and her daughter Annie and her boyfriend Phil, Bruce Barnes, Michael Roquemore, Marshel, Kathy Schindler, Kurt, Jeff Silver, Devorah Sorrell, Pat Kremer, Steve Seigal, Chris Delisle and a friend, Barry Simon, Adrianna Lascar, Liz and I (Togo and Lyla-Katie Newman’s cats).

There were debates, games, food, booze and great conversation.

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My Dad, Carlton W. Stephens visited the memorial commemorating the loss of the crew of the USS Arizona which included one of his childhood friends who lost their lives defending the fleet during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. The date was December 7, 1941. “Because the attack happened without a declaration of war and without explicit warning, the attack on Pearl Harbor was later judged in the Tokyo Trials to be a war crime.” (note date was May 1979).

Dad arrived home from Hawaii Sunday night and evidently had a really nice time. He went to a luau and took several tours and had a party on a catamaran cruise. Also went a visited his high school buddies’ watery grave at Pearl Harbor. His friend was killed on the U.S.S. Arizona.

Sunday afternoon Liz and I went to Ocean Park beach with Jeff Silver, Danny, Linda Dekowski, and had a lot of fun cooling off in the ocean. Really enjoyed myself with my wife immensely. We are getting much closer. I pray we have a long life together. She is a great woman and very liberated from a lot of bull. I’m learning a great deal from her.

This morning Dad and I went out to breakfast. Prior to breakfast I told him that I thought it  not befitting of him to sink to the levels of bickering our landlady and neighbor have fallen to. I told him I thought it unbecoming to his beautiful nature. We had a nice talk. We also talked about Oregon.

I can’t seem to keep a move out of my blood. In a sense I’m sick of L.A. and in another I’m L.A. That’s why Liz and I are planning our August vacation up the coast. I can’t wait. I must get some literature about the various areas and write some letters to some friends about arrangements when we arrive.

Wednesday night Liz, Adrianna and I went out for Liz’s birthday at a family Yugoslavian restaurant on Fairfax Blvd. We had a delightful meal and i had brought a fresh fruit type cake and brought it in the back door after we arrived. Liz was surprised as the family brought out the cake and sang happy birthday to Liz. It was a lot of fun.

Presently, I will set up a program of consolidation of what we have put into cash and also to get our bills paid and finances straightened out on paper.

Also I am studying business and am gaining an interest in the study of Buddhism. I have always enjoyed this. Why not make it your hobby, your job. A lecturer on Buddhism might not be a bad career and very rewarding I’m sure. Definitely not a preaching way as I have at times seen. But presented in a clear, concise, humorous 21st century mode that inspires people to examine life, see the essence and live in a creative mode.

Bob Rafkin called and is doing well in his new job with W.L. Cult, a new country band. They play at the Landmark in Glendale which evidently is in competition with the Palomino Club in North Hollywood. I sure like Bob, he’s a funny and inspiring guy.

We’ll I’d better get busy!