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by James C. Stephens

James Stephens and Patricia Allen, the Director of the UCLA Extension Landscape Architecture Program. Here we are in the UCLA Greenhouse we converted for our Progress Print Landscape Architecture Student Show.

May 14, 1980

Touching. Ashley Montagu. “Such a close bodily relationship is the basis of good feelings about oneself, and the feeling of bodily connectedness leads to a feeling of self esteem. Fundamentally the source of self esteem is love. The infant uses its body to express its love, its emotions.”

Friday, May 16, 1980

Dinner with Wendall and Sue, Mike Roquemore, Liz and I. Went to Insight Ashram a kibbutz and a commune. Liz said this looks like the future way things will be headed. We looked and observed much. Meeting started first with chanting some mantras, followed by 15 minutes of sharing. Then one hour of John Rogers, their spiritual master on a video cassette tape. It was a bit verbose, nothing I haven’t heard before, lacked punch. A bit indulgent. Don’t understand or agree with fact he alone is a Mystic Traveler at this time and holds the keys to higher realms. Had refreshments afterwards, nice people-made future arrangements with a gal named Susan Shaw to attend a Buddhist discussion meeting. She works on the newspaper for the Ashram.

John Rogers to a certain degree has put down intellectualism. This is questionable to me on the grounds of exclusivism. “This religion or whatever it is in not for everyone,” he has said. I may be misquoting his exact quote, but this is the gist of what I gathered.

Long discussion with Wendall, Sue and Michael (Liz retired, I don’t blame her, I was getting a headache as well from all the cerebral craziness). Did get to some critical points. Michael extremely irritated, said when they were leaving, “Don’t hug me. You cut my off ten times!” Poor guy. He’s having bad luck at present and much pressure. Car broke down, Morrison his cat in hospital this afternoon. I’m surprised he carried on as well as he did.

Reading Ashley Montagu on Touching and ran across this quote:

The Everlasting Gospel

by William Blake

” This Life’s dim Windows of the Soul
Distorts the Heavens from Pole to Pole
And leads you to Believe a Lie
When you see with, not thro the Eye.”

Saturday, May 17, 1980

Liz and I worked at the UCLA Greenhouse today until about 4:00 pm. Leveled the ground out, laid brick, Liz painted and leveled as well. The movement in school is picking up steam. Patricia Allen, the facilitator of UCLA Extension’s Landscape Architecture program introduced me to Craig who’s interested in getting the Landscape Architecture club started. (I prefer Association as it sounds more established and not so high schoolish). We had a talk regarding his ideas.

Liz met Pat Allen today. Pat was telling me that Francis Dean of Pomona was impressed by my comment about Liz and marriage. He’s a famous landscape architect and founding partner of Eckbo, Dean, Austin and Williams and a very warm and caring individual. He’s on our Guidance Committee for the UCLA Landscape Architecture program.

Around 7 or so Mike, Kirk, Mark, Pamela, Liz and I went to a General Telephone company party. Although we saw a lot of people we knew, we made our own party. Liz and I had a ball dancing in the backyard to all sorts of crazy music-New Wave. It was a riot!

Jacuzzi next door. Naked people male and female. Porno flick playing in the living room. Boring. We left.

Tuesday, March 20, 1980–12:30 a.m. Raining

I was a bit frazelled today and turned on some Johann Strauss, Emperor Waltz. I got a lot of work accomplished. Today, I worked on Ford Watson’s landscape plan for his place in Paradise Cove in Malibu and also talked to Michael Roquemore for a couple hours. I’ve started to take notes regarding our conversations as we’ve talked about recording them. Sometimes they consume me too much.

Michael Roquemore, a good friend who joined us at my Mother Alice’s at a dinner party in Santa Monica when she lived on Arizona Street.

The ‘Progress Print” Exhibit is fast approaching. I probably should have June’s newsletter out in time for the exhibit. Creative Personal Interactions is also almost upon us. Liz and I had a planning discussion tonight; afterwards we danced to a Strauss Waltz.

Wednesday, May 21, 1980

Lighting tonight. Showed project at Interior Design class tonight. Project was a Mini Transport system in downtown L.A. Pat Allen dropped by with Invitations to Progress Print Landscape Architecture Student show. She asked me if I would serve on the Student Advisory Board for the program.

Read “The Movement” newspaper and more specifically an interview with
Satchitananda. He seems to be quite an enlightened man. I think I will look into:

1. Yoga for Health

2. Vegetarian Diet

3. Dropping Junk food and Sugar Intake.

4. Quality Longevity and Cytotoxic Diet.

[ JCS: I have learned there are many fad diets which come and go in life and have had questionable results.
https://www.quackwatch.org/01QuackeryRelatedTopics/Tests/cyto.html ]

My Landscape Architecture Plan for the Ford Watson Residence.

Finished Ford Watson’s landscape plan today. Helped Dad on math for General Contractor’s school. Talked to Michael Roquemore. Wrote letter to Grandma Beaulah and Aunts in Israel.

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by James C. Stephens

Friday, May 9, 1980

Today was so beautiful inside and out. A lot of preparation came to a beautiful climax. The meeting with the Youth Development Committee was simply outstanding. Everyone shine and felt involved. Michael Crenshaw came for dinner at 7:00, so did Michael Roquemore. We covered a lot of ground before dinner regarding the program. The environment was warm and close. The commitment towards a workshop has come faster than I had expected. The environment was supportive and extremely conducive to a deep sharing of ideas. Michael Crenshaw complimented me on the set up of the meeting. It worked well and he was well received. He’s a light.

In reference to the youth movement I said the future is coming up behind us very fast. In essence this is very true. The youth are the future. It is our great opportunity and privilege to be able to create a new environment for youth to grow in. I am so profoundly excited and moved to be a character in this act.

When our entrance comes

When our part’s time has arrived

Only in that moment will

We know how it will be played,

and only time can judge

the results of that

Movement in time.

The crucial preparation is now.

Every moment is so damned valuable.

Does the great Redwood judge

a winter storm, only in its character. or

a year with much rain

only in its rings, its life.

Every moment is so “neat”

Every moment is so valuable.

Life is a joy!

We create our own environs.

We have a commitment to do a workshop for Michael C. and from Pat Smith, Andrea, Alan Van Campen, Jim S (me) yeh! hip hip hooray! Enough, cut it out kid! Boisterous fool! Yuck! Yuck! Mark Horton, Michael Roquemore.

When: July.

Where: Malibu

Cost: Talk to Michael on Monday $25 or $40.

What: Workshop for coordinators and youth.

Purpose: To deepen understanding of ourselves, and to deepen the experience of ourselves. To develop our loving ability. To be able to transmit the experience and substance of workshop by experiencing it.

Much is left in my mind, have to sort it all out and will transmit more as it develops.

Sweets prepared a superb dinner-chicken, rice, vegetables–exquisite sauce. She’s asleep now and I so much want to convey my hearts feelings to her.

Michael Crenshaw said he really feels comfortable and desires to work with our group. A two day workshop would work fine.

Michael Crenshaw and I will have to work out logistics, that goes without saying. Michael Roquemore wants to work with Michael Crenshaw. I think it will definitely do him service. I also know I can gain much from Michael C.

Anyway, I could write for hours.

Andrea communicated idea of 1st the coordinators being able to do the workshop. Pat contributed concept of an ongoing aspect. Drugs are a problem with youth also. Mark H.-Idea of working with handicapped youth.

Youth need an environment which attracts them. I need sleep and power to bring my ideas to reality. I need experience.

By James C. Stephens

Wednesday, May 7, 1980

Health improving. Taking several 1000 milligrams of Vitamin C, penicillin, B, and Calcium a day. Sore throat has gone down, runny nose and slight cough remain.

Getting ready for Birthday party Saturday. Liz’s birthday tomorrow. I want to get her a present, I think a real nice slim briefcase for her union business. She deserves the best.

A photo of my Bride Elizabeth at our home on Woodbine in Culver City.
My Bride Elizabeth.

Tonight we had an intensive, and made some real headway. Brief: She can’t take name calling and criticism. She can’t understand why people call her names. Her stepmother who is and was basically insane found something wrong with Liz everyday. Liz never felt at home, could never talk back. She didn’t feel it was worth it. She rebelled as she got older, yet a lot of pain remains. At one point we had a slight argument. I got frustrated, she would not communicate. Then she communicated her hurt and what we got down to was her hurt from the past. She could never talk back to her stepmother and communicate. She would not permit Liz to. She would out argue her. Liz hurt everyday for several years. It was a painful period. The pain is embedded in her memory. She revealed to me that her stepmother used to make ugly in every way she could. Words were the worst. At times physical beatings…Then we struck a reveal. Her mother used to cut her hair short and extremely ugly and then put grease all over it. Consequently, when she went out everyone thought she was strange and would not approach her, therefore they were not able to accept her either.

So she grew up saying inwardly to herself, “I’m not this way,” and so sincere she was hurt when people would say she was such and such, because she knew it wasn’t true, it was what had been done to her. She felt powerless. I now feel she must develop that power and has a golden opportunity to let go of a great deal of pain and to develop her tremendous ability to communicate her deep experiences of life.

She is a marvelous human being and has a great deal of power. She is recognizing that she throws a lot of it away by not communicating. She had a rotten go of it by having an insane stepmother in her adolescent years after her mother had passed away. She said to me how hard it is. To become so independent you can become arrogant so it must be balanced.

I’m genuinely excited for her because I have and can continue to be of help to her in changing this situation and using it as a stepping stone to better communication. We are becoming closer.

I feel I am definitely growing. Michael Crenshaw (Actualization’s facilitator), Rocky (the nickname Michael Roquemore took after a workshop) and I met briefly yesterday. We dropped Michael Crenshaw at the airport. He had a meeting with Roland and Stewart Emery regarding him working on creating a Creative Workshop for Actualizations. Very exciting for him. (That maybe the workshop which Episcopal Priest David Crump, a protege of Carl Rogers later lead called CPI or Creative Personal Interactions, which later morphed into his own creation–New Trust Network).

I personally have taken a step back to check out my situation this week and feel pretty good about myself. Although I have been a bit sick, I’ve been able to take a better look at myself and sort of get a sense of new direction. I talked with Gary Curtis a couple of hours and covered a lot of ground with him. That was a breakthrough for me as well as for him I believe. I made a tape of the conversation’s ideas with Liz. I promised Bruce Barnes I would type out a transcript of it.

I’m feeling a tremendous new confidence in what direction I’m traveling. In a sense I take things very slow, but I’m not competing with anyone quite frankly. That’s one thing I am getting away from.

Step by Step

Golden hours each

Only I can sense

What is real for me

I grasp diamonds and

the realization from books

one by Einstein,

It is humans, individuals

that make the difference.

Step by Step.

Marjie Miramoto (Hall) and Andrea Hairston are dropping out of the Youth Development Program Committee, yet we still have their support. In a sense I am happy here is an area where I can experience myself and new growth. The Youth Development Committee is underestimated, patience, tolerance.

A power is to grow

unimaginable to any human being

Yet called for by so many

Through the centuries

Raw and invisible as it may be,

What can be perceived can be.

Only the pursuit of value for life gives purpose to my life.

Excellence, Dignity,

Style,

Humor.

Read an article on Andrei Sakharov, a great scientist, but greater humanist. Fighter, really fighter for his beliefs. At the time, even while in exile, like Nichiren Daishonin, the same.

Religious Revolution. Scientific Revolution.

Revolution of a single person. Never blood spilled, please. To be a true Buddhist, a true pacifist, a true humanist.

I sincerely have got to get my ass in gear. I think I am. I’m not great. I’m just an animal trying to become a human. Just trying as an individual to do something. I’m not famous, or great, or wealthy or even smart, just a human. Not even as sincere or humorous or gracious as great men like Einstein are. I’m just trying.

….

[JCS: The following list was an early indication of my natural gift to organize and develop ideas to reform one’s life. Michael Roquemore and I used to talk about all sorts of ideas and also implemented them as well, e.g., we had a film nite in Santa Monica Park and showed “Ikiru”, directed by Akira Kurosawa].

Conversation with Michael Roquemore at Kenny’s Deli. Ideas:

List of Books-Experiential; Dale Carnegie-How to Influence Friends.

One year dedication to Breakthrough, How-Looks. Writing down-Workshop type exercises-Games; Dialogue. Dedication how to keep determination.

Environments. Aikido, one year program. Focused on something-Group. Scheduled. Beautification process.

Dancing, Singing, Appearance, Finances, Career, Travel, Hobbies, Literature, Reading list.

by James C. Stephens

Monday, April 21, 1980

Up earlier today. Did quite a few sketches–working on doing quick sketches–developing style. Retyped and re-edited Youth Development Plan and dropped it off to Andrea for Senior leaders meeting for approval. Dropped off (Communication Worker’s of America) Union papers for Liz. Attended Studio Skills class tonight at UCLA and afterwards, Nori, Phil and I talked about the Greenhouse studio. I pinned Nori down to some dates. He didn’t realize things were coming up so soon. I hope that I can be of service to this program.

Nori Hashibe, my Studio Skills Instructor at UCLA preparing for our Student Show. One of my designs is being prepared to be put up of my Star System living design.

My plan is to get involved in starting this school of Landscape Architecture. I am starting to design Progress Print, the newsletter I started for the Landscape Club.

This week I measured the Greenhouse and put together a plan for the Design Center for Landscape Architecture. Saturday we will start cleaning up the Greenhouse. The staff okay-ed my layout for the newsletter.

Meeting this week discussing the reorganization of Marina and Beverly Hills Area.

May 6, 1980- 1:30 a.m.

The most important thing is what my career can do for humanity. Not just designs that please my own ego, but designs which stretch people’s imagination and help them strive for deeper meaning in life. Otherwise what, why do I design a garden? To make money, become famous? I am nothing really. The greatest feeling is being part of humanity. Without humanity I would be but an animal only concerned with eating, sleeping, procreation. To be of service to others is my greatest joy. My greatest treasure are my friends.

What can I do for humanity, but try and grow. I am not a sheep, my friends are not sheep. We are unknown shepherds trying to live and better our life.

by James C. Stephens

Monday, March 17, 1980

Weekend was really strange. We finally tied up an apartment, then roommate Vincent Wong caused some real upsetting problems. The guy is exceedingly immature. He is rude and also unaware of his actions and of himself. His table manners are gross–he chews his food with his mouth wide open and it grates terribly on my nerves. 15 minutes before I had to be at a meeting he says he wants to have a talk–only when it is convenient for him. When we’re relaxing on a Sunday evening, he comes in and wants to figure out the bills. Late at night he would make noise in the kitchen while we were trying to sleep and on top of that he talks to himself.

Our place in Culver City on Woodbine.

I find him incredibly irritating. We’ll see what I can learn here. He’s like a little child. It’s not so much his actions, but his attitude. It’s a temporary situation and evidently I must be in it to learn something. I have never felt intuitively right about him, so maybe it’s the universe’s design to help me change something. I’ll stick it out, but as soon as we move in I’ll just be me and not hold back anything. He’s an extremely arrogant “intellectual” engineer and quite frankly he really is short, I mean really short on human skills. He says with his mouth he wants to change. He talks of the fact he would like to be a politician. Why is it people who don’t really care about people want to run our government? I also think he designs military weapons which disturbs me. The person has very little conscience and or consciousness.

Well, we’ll see what happens in the next few months. Who knows? At this time I just wanted you to know my feelings. The guy is a real schmuck. A PhD to me is worth about a shit to me if that’s the type of person you are. He also Malaysian, educated in English schools and Catholic. Very unfrank and deceitful.

Anyway we got the place on 1133 6th Street in Santa Monica. I don’t feel too good regarding the move. We’ll just have to see if it’s just my mood or illusion or whatever. It’s right across the street from the World Culture Center. Why? Who knows. It’s frustrating. Chanted for the right move.

Yesterday had diarrhea. Felt sick. Went to Spa. Stopped by open house at Santa Monica Community Center, very little vitality in the elderly. I felt more ill just being around there. I just don’t know what is going on in my life, its all so strange.

When I drop in on a meeting at the center, I can’t quite feel sincere with the leaders or the people. I have a tremendous resentment against many of them. The leaders just grate on my life.

Quite honestly I don’t know where all this is leading.

Without Liz sometimes it would be hard to bear what goes on.

It’s time to make and find some new friends for new growth. I feel we’ve outgrown a lot of acquaintances that are just not too interesting to be around.

This new move is a good opportunity to change a lot of things.

Monday, April 7, 1980

Had a chiropractic treatment today from David Clemmens, D.C. and am feeling better mentally. To me it is so incredible what a difference I feel when my back is aligned. I needed very much to get an adjustment since all I seem to have been doing for the past weeks is moving. Three Saturdays ago we moved into our new apartment at 1133 6th Street, Apartment #1. What a move! Fortunately a lot of friends helped us out. Bruce Barnes, Bob Rafkin, Mike Roquemore and Kirk, Lydia, Adrianne Lascar, and Dad. It sure made it easier and I really do appreciate their help. We had more help than our UCLA Extension Landscape School in moving the drafting equipment on Saturday April 5.

Last Monday Liz and I helped Dad move out of the garage. What a monumental task. Liz is such a beautiful and remarkable woman. I love her so much. And I enjoy working with her. She doesn’t fool around. She gets things done. Well I have to tell you we did one helluva lot of work and quite a good job. It sure felt good to finally see a phase in our life pass. (The cars were gone. Hip!Hip! Hooray!)

We had our share of Mrs. Nelson too. She became a terrible bother at the end. I didn’t find her a very enjoyable person. Strange lady. A touch of Nazi in there I believe. Enough there.

Our new place is really charming. It’s taking some time to get settled, but we’re doing fine. Sunday, Liz and I took a walk to the pier and Ocean Park. Although I wasn’t in the best of spirits I have to say I did enjoy myself.

Our new place is really charming. It’s taking some time to get settled, but we’re doing fine. Sunday, Liz and I took a walk to the pier and Ocean Park. Although I wasn’t in the best of spirits I have to say I did enjoy myself.

Few things. Adrianne and Mike Roquemore got together, as Adrianne was having problems with someone who shows her concern; I’m getting friendly with a girl Bonnie from school. She’s married, not too happy. We had a nice talk on Saturday alone when we were moving desks donated by a big design firm. I think it would be nice to have a more intimate relationship with her. I think we could be very good friends. In fact I think it looks very promising in that direction and I will definitely commit some time in that direction.

Design School looking really great. I helped along with Nori Hashibe, John, Tom L, Pat Allen and Bonnie, Vince and a few others to move a great deal of drafting equipment to our new prospective design center.

I’m talking to Pat Allen, Chair of the School of Landscape Architecture, UCLA Extension.  

Nori, Phil and I talked til late about the future in this area and regarding Pacific Cultural ties. I’m taking Studio Skills from Nori and Interior Design for Landscape Architecture from Tom Lockett.

Tom Lockett, Land Images.

I feel I’m on the ground floor of something great happening and I am EXCITED! REAL EXCITED.

Same in NSA with the Youth Development Program. Michael Crenshaw (An Actualization’s Workshop Leader) and I had dinner and he’s very interested in helping develop the Young People’s Workshop.

In the area of Relationship with Liz it’s deepening. Some problems, but a lot of advancement.

Family: Uncle Johnny Dow (Tony’s father) is not doing well. He has terminal cancer. I don’t know much more than that presently.

Bruce and Maggie got married last weekend in March. Very nice wedding small and beautiful. Bruce’s family seemed really happy. It looks like a good bet!

Started a million daimoku campaign today.

Losing my hair stylist Linda. She and her husband are moving to Carmel. Really nice gal from New York.

Tomorrow–Sexual Self Expression Workshop–Touching. Should be interesting.

Good nite for now.

Oh, a couple of other things: must push career–progressing too slow. Looking for a job. Must complete resume this week.

Liz and I going to Yosemite with Jerry Wilhelm and Pat Cuda on Ecological Systems field trip (While we waited for Jerry’s Professor, we soon heard tragic news that he was killed in a motorcycle accident on his way to teach the class. It was very difficult for all).

Elizabeth at Yosemite.

Must get serious with Career by doing.

Michael Roquemore having a hard time at present, but I think it’s going to turn around.

Chris DeLisle doing great. Helped us with garage move. Gave him my old skis and boots. He’s doing well.

Got a letter from Chris Scott–from Actualizations CPI (Creative Personal Interactions) Workshop–must get in touch. He’s really a super guy.

by James C. Stephens

Wednesday, March 12, 1980

Times

I hurt from friends

Who are now like strangers

Why?

It’s hard to tell.

I pray to the universe

for the wisdom

and mostly the fortitude

to stand for what I believe.

….

[JCS. The following is about Russ Dilando, my district chief and YMD leader for years. We went to California State University at Northridge together in the 70’s during the Vietnam war and experienced many demonstrations on campus after Kent State. He was a serious practicing Buddhist who shakubukued me at James Monroe High School in 1969 and later introduced me to the practice at CSUN].

Russ Dilando really down on NSA calling everyone sick. He believes I’m stupid too. I let him talk, lots of venom coming from his life. He’s as self-righteous as the people he’s condemning. He spoke of the treachery of the leadership and was very angry. It’ll be over 20 years before anything can happen. The Soka Gakkai and priesthood are corrupt. I don’t know about the priesthood he said.

I can expect no encouragement from him definitely. I feel and must go with how I feel in my heart. I’m not worried in the slightest, I have absolute confidence.

….

Today-must rest for my health. The time is nearly upon me. I feel I will do battle with darkness. No, I’m not a crazy or lunatic, okay maybe a little. To live in this world you have to be a little of both. I feel I’m ready to come out. To make a stand. The world cries for true humanists. People with guts and wisdom. To see and change this world will take tremendous courage. Not hope.

As Benjamin Franklin wrote, “He that lives upon hope will die fasting.”

“Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.”

-Ralph Waldo Emerson.

“Time is the great physician.” Benjamin Disraeli, (1804-1881).

by James C. Stephens


Monday, March 10,1980

I apologize for my arrogance in faith and I apologize for judging people so quickly and thoughtlessly. I am now in a position where some people trust my judgment. I feel a little unsure-a hellavalot unsure about the effects of what I say. I’m pretty careful, and I have to chant more to the Gohonzon and sometimes I wonder “what do I know?” I want to be an example of the law–I’m not afraid of making mistakes and let me tell you I’m sure I am. Thank the Buddha for Hendoku Iyaku!

Confronted situation with Jeff S and Devorah individually last night. Two situations regarding friends resolved.

Liz and I had a nice Sunday together–Liz is going through a painful judgmental period. She’s incredibly perceptive of ignorance, arrogance and hypocrisy. We both are working on how to also become aware of the better aspects of people. It’s hard at present to walk the middle road.

I pray to to the Gohonzon of the universe for power, wisdom and mercy. I determine to develop the power to see the problems of a person of humanity for what they are and to help support them towards change. And to put myself in an environment where I’m supported to change and grow in the direction for Kosenrufu. I have a hard time apologizing to the Gohonzon.

I apologize if I am lacking the wisdom to see that I need to. It’s a hard concept for me to grasp. I can apologize to people–isn’t that the same as apologizing to the Gohonzon? The concept I feel strongest towards my practice is one of determination and recognition. I recognize the problem exists and make a determination to change myself. Apology to me has no meaning unless you change what you are apologizing for.

Friends,

An oasis in a vast desert

A creation by the universe to cool

the thirst of the heart

Friends,

A mirror

that we can reflect in

and see union and not separation

Friends,

A call,

A flower,

A note in the night,

When one feels alone.

Friends,

A thread

to reality, to beauty,

to life.