Electric Dreams

A View from the Bridge
October 2, 2005

September Snapshots

Jean Campbell

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Campbell, Jean (2005 October). A View from the Bridge. October 2, 2005:
September Snapshots. Electric Dreams 12(10).

What can one possibly say about a month which began with the largest hurricane ever seen on earth, and ended with the largest worldwide demonstrations for Peace since the beginning of the war in Iraq? It would be foolish to say that I have captured even a fraction of the events of September, but I can at least speak about the events which have deeply affected members of The World Dreams Peace Bridge...and there have been many.

Hurricane Relief

When Hurricane Katrina ripped through the Gulf Coast of the United States, The World Dreams Peace Bridge responded immediately with a People to People Hurricane Relief effort. Although no members of the Bridge lived in areas hit by the devastation, several members lived in areas to which hurricane refugees were being evacuated. And most of them were working directly with people affected by the hurricane.

So not only were we collecting funds for hurricane relief (You can learn more about this ongoing effort by going to our Hurricane Relief page at http://www.worlddreamspeacebridge.org/hurricane.htm), but members of the Peace Bridge discussion group were talking about Katrina, asking the questions which were being echoed around the world: Why did the U.S. at first turn away assistance from people in other countries? It reminded her of when the Russians refused help in raising their submarine, Kathy said from Australia. And why, once they had finally allowed some "foreign" aid, did they insult the other countries by destroying the goods, calling them unfit for human consumption?

Why, when it came to hurricane relief, Ilkin asked from Turkey, did the Peace Bridge create a special fund, when huge destruction was being created by Mother Nature in other parts of the world? One example she sent comes from India, where a cyclone on September 22 brought enormous destruction. Here is only a part of the news report:

Powerful storms in the Bay of Bengal have left a trail of destruction across India and Bangladesh killing at least 64 people and forcing hundreds of thousands to flee their homes.

The southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh bore the brunt of the storms, which killed 58 people in the region, said provincial Chief Minister Rajasekhara Reddy. Six more people have died in storm-hit Orissa state which adjoins Andhra Pradesh. "The situation is very grim and so far we have evacuated 150,000 displaced people to 473 (emergency) relief camps in 10 of the 23 districts hit by the storms," Mr Reddy said in the state capital of Hyderabad.

Mr Reddy said 9,747 houses were completely destroyed by the storms and another 82,353 homes partially submerged in the coastal districts....

The airport in the port city of Vishakapatnam was closed for the third straight day Wednesday, the air force said, adding that military helicopters were evacuating marooned people.

In Orissa the administration evacuated 12,000 people from low-lying areas in 10 of the state's 30 districts, said revenue secretary Tarunkanti Mishra....

Storms and cyclones which form over the Bay of Bengal in September and October every year kill hundreds and destroy cattle and crops in India's eastern states and in Bangladesh.

Questions and responses flew around the Bridge.

And meanwhile, people from the United States, and many other areas represented by the Peace Bridge sent donations so that hurricane victims could be helped. In Austin, Liz bought school clothes and underclothing for children who would start school with nothing but what was given to them; in Virginia Beach Stephen collected stuff toys to be sent to Valley in Dallas; Janice and her friends collected a truck full of essentials to be sent to families in Mississippi, and May advocated for the animals who were left behind in the rising flood waters.

One example of the generosity of the friends of the Peace Bridge comes from Cincinnati, where one family arrived with nothing but the clothes they wore and an air mattress.

Bill, (Peace Bridge member Jody wrote to the man collecting items for this family)

I can gather some things this afternoon too and I have $100 given me from my friend Jean's sister (from the Peace Bridge) that may help. I'll put in a call again on the car seats, need to know the weight of the kids.

I also have my grandson Simon's little blue bed which should work for the three year old.


Altogether several hundred dollars have been collected and distributed in hurricane relief.

Dreams and Hurricanes

Another hurricane-related incident came at the end of the month, which a second hurricane, Rita, threatened the Gulf Coast. This one involved both dreams and the storm.

As Rita moved through the Gulf of Mexico during the week of September 21st, it appeared that she might create a repeat performance of Katrina, hitting exactly the same area with another huge storm. The IASD PsiberDreaming Online Conference began that week, so I suggested that as an experiment, people might try to dream down the winds of Hurricane Rita. The invitation was sent across the Internet, to people on the Bridge (many of whom were participating in the conference), to several IASD study groups, and to various other online dream groups.

There was a lot of conversation about this experiment, questions about whether we had any right to interfere, either awake or asleep, with God or Mother Nature. Some people felt all right with the idea of creating an energy wall for the hurricane to bounce against. Some felt all right to try to hush the storm.

Three days after Rita had blown herself out to a Category Two storm, still significant but much less destructive than Katrina's Category Five, one of the people who participated in the experiment, Roger, had this to say:

Hurricane Dream news from New Mexico,

Jean, to catch you up, I went to lead a small workshop/dream group up in a small community up in northern New Mexico this past Saturday....

At the end of the group, and everyone had shared their thoughts and such, It was obvious to me this group was ready to do something more for "homework." I asked them if they would join in on the Hurricane Relief Dream Project. They were interested, but decided they didn't feel comfortable to stop Mother Nature, but chose to spread the wealth, ie, make it easier for them to handle. This by spreading the storm to other areas that need the moisture, ie, northern New Mexico. It has been raining here for two days straight all over northern New Mexico, Taos, Santa Fe, Espanola, Albuquerque, and I am not sure how far it is going, but dream on, its a prayer of its own.

The Middle of the Month

Of course, by the time that the monthly DaFuMu Dreaming for Peace arrived in the middle of September, things on the Bridge, as in the rest of the world, were completely stirred up. We had been dreaming of water, water for the world, and water arrived by the bucketful. Should we slow down? Should we revise our dreams?

In response to Olivia's DaFuMu dream for September, Kathy replied in a way that defined the boundaries of group dreaming, peace dreaming, for all of us.

"IF I were to think of your dream as a dream about peace," Kathy wrote to Olivia, "I think it is about the need to see the world and our actions in it as REAL - to focus on what we do and on what the consequences are, for if we don't we will end up hanging ourselves. Especially - imagine if we were to treat fighting with seriousness - if we didn't think of it like a movie with no consequences - then I think we'd have peace much much more often. BUT if we continue to treat fighting as a movie then we harm/kill ourselves (just like that little boy did). No wonder Mark said he "hung" him. Mark seems like FATE. That is our FATE if we behave like that.

Imagine if all the soldiers and politicians and mercenaries and "insurgents" were to see what they are doing in Iraq IN FOCUS (not as a movie where they have "no awareness of danger").

And the middle of September also saw the realization of a long-term dream for Peace Bridge member, Dr. Ali Rasheed, and the entire Peace Bridge, especially May Tung who has worked very hard from California. Utilizing part of the funds raised by the Silent Auction at last summer's IASD conference, Dr. Ali was able to host several interns and staff members from other hospitals in Baghdad for a day-long seminar on Post Traumatic Stress. The miracle was that though the days prior to this seminar saw the worst violence Baghdad had experienced in months, still the seminar was held. This was also the day of the Chinese Moon Festival, an event that the Peace Bridge has celebrated with dreams and candles for the past two years. Around the would that night, Peace Bridge members dreamed and lit moon candles for the success of the Baghdad seminar.

The Peace Train Travels to Washington

When Jeremy Seligson of Seoul, South Korea, dreamed in July of 2002 that he was riding on a Peace Train across the United States to Washington (See the full story of the Peace Train dream and the worldwide movement it has created at http://www.worlddreamspeacebridge.org/peacetrain.htm) he could not have imagined that one day he would do just that in waking life.

But just days before the March on Washington on September 24, Jeremy flew from South Korea, boarded a real Peace Train in Atlanta, and rode across the country to Washington.

He sent several emails to the Peace Bridge on the way, describing the ride. This is one of these posts:

At one of my rest stops, an old man was sitting near me talking to a guard. I realized he was Indian and soon we were talking. He had worked for the oil industry for many years around the world including three and a half years in Maputo, Mozambique, where the people are very nice. He is visiting his daughter in Atlanta....

The India friend also told me the American gun manufacturers are supplying both sides of the conflict now, as the longer it goes on the more money they make. He left but later we met again and he shared with me the India dinner of rotis and veggies his daughter had made for him.

I viewed the exhibit of Primitive Black Art and walked a lovely mile to the little red brick Amtrak station. My friend and classmate, Melvin a Black, Attorney, drove down and spent an hour with me until the delayed train came. He asked me to call him if needed from Washington Also I called Madelyn a 75 year old friend who was a playmate with Martin Luther King and she blessed our journey.

The Peace Train arrived at 8:30 pm, and the engine, like the one in the dream, was painted with black --this one with silver and was a diesel not a locomotive. But in the dark it had the same impression on me as in the dream, the same time of day, the same long silence. I got on and was assigned to a car --on the way inquired about the other peace trainers and was told by a porter they were in another car and that later he would connect me.

I had two seats to myself, and soon the porter came over as the train was moving through the night and led me through three cars. There I met several people dressed variously and all ages, friendly and warm and soon was sharing my material, wearing a Vietnam Vets for Peace Peace Train Button, writing a peace poem for a banner and talking poetry with a contemporary from Washington State. In my dream I had joined another Peace group and was told that it was good because they were better organized than mine, that together we could get more done. This was apparent here. I had shared food in the dream with others, and here the man Joe shared sweet green Washington State apples.

Another woman from a group Democratizing with 70,000 members on their site, said she would add word of our world dreams site to theirs.

After a few hours of sharing, a conductor sent me back to my seat as new people were getting on. A very nice Black lady of 65, Gloria, sat near to me, but fortunately I had been able to sleep a little first. She was a gentle, charming soul, a former school teacher there in Greensboro North Carolina....

Through the night they hated many times, and the engine whistle would sound 3 or more times ahead. That was a beautiful sound. Our Peace train was moving on, calling out to all ahead, "Here we come Here we Come!' When day broke the beauty of the natural day, all that green and blue broke through. We stopped at Charlottesville, and a large group of Peace Demonstrators were at the stop, greeting us with placards and sending in cakes and fruit for us to eat. We rode on through the mountains, by rivers and streams and hills full of trees. It was wonderful, lying there on roomy seats just a few feet from the trees, peering down over bridges and streams and listing to that whistle blow.

At last we pulled into Union Station. Some pictures were taken with the group and a few warm farewells and then we parted. I was exhausted. First I went to the P.O. and sent a package of detox herbs and seaweed my daughter who has been in Iraq for a week now. Then I called my friend Ed, who wasn't in. What to do with the rest of the day? I remembered another friend Ed Richardson, an 86 year old American Indian Child Psychologist, told me in a recent phone conversation to visit the new American Indian museum. So half awake I wandered outside, following a map. and came to a newsstand where I asked for directions. A woman nearby said she was going there with her son and to follow her - I looked at her and asked if she was an Indian. She was. She had come to demonstrate for protection of her homeland on the northern coast of Alaska from a bill in congress, hidden in the budget, for oil drilling on their sacred land.

She said there is only enough oil there for 6 months, and this land is the breeding ground 120,000 caribou and also for species of birds from all 50 states. I asked if she was carrying a drum in the round case on her back, and she was. As we walked I realized the Capitol Building was right there next to us looming high, just like in my dream. In my dream the Peace Train stopped right in front of the Capitol Building where I was greet by Al Gore and Congressmen....

Several members of the World Dreams Peace Bridge went to the Washington March, and stayed on to celebrate Jeremy's birthday on Monday. No words could do justice to the entire event, but here is a post I wrote to the Bridge when I returned home:

Dear Dreamers,

I didn't carry a camera with me this weekend at the March, because I was traveling with only a back pack. That being true, I thought I would write down some of the impressions I had of the kaleidoscope of events and images of the weekend before they got squeezed out of my mind space for other, more immediate things.

Saturday morning at 5:30a.m., I boarded the bus in Norfolk for Washington, one of two that went from this area. The bus dropped us off right at the corner of 15th Street and Constitution, which made me happy, because my pack was heavy. I even called Jody and told her I wasn't going to walk all the way up to the Corcaran Gallery since I was already on the Ellipse, which was the center of the action.

After a few minutes of searching for Camp Casey, which was easily visible from the bus window with its rows of white crosses representing fallen soldiers, but not so visible inside the throngs of people coming from all directions, I told Anne that I needed to go find Valley. I walked across the street, walked about fifty feet more, and there she was, crossing the field toward me. (It's really true that I find telepathy better than telephones in situations like these :))

"I needed someone to hold the other end of the Crawford Peace House banner when Hadi speaks," Valley told me. So I ended up spending the day backstage at the main stage, with a unique view of all the people: old, young, and everything in between. Even though reported numbers varied widely from one source to another, everyone seemed to agree that there were over 150,000 people there, even the conservative Washington Post. And that did not include the thousands of people from Boston south to Philadelphia who probably never made it to Washington due to a reported electrical problem in the train lines that stopped all the trains for hours. People were demonstrating in Penn Station, chanting "Bring the troops home now!"

I discovered that I've fallen in love with Hadi Jawad, the founder (along with Valley and another friend) of the Crawford Peace House. Hadi has the same soft eyes and twinkling smile I remember from my teacher and friend, Hector Kuri, who taught me Bioenergetic therapy. Hadi, being a Sufi, spent the weekend telling us stories about Nasruddin, the cosmic jester of the Sufi oral tradition. (For more on Nasruddin, here's an article http://www.lifepositive.com/Spirit/world-religions/sufism/
More about this part later.

For me then, despite the acknowledged horrors we all know about, the weekend was full of magic...the magic of being with good friends, and the magic of multiple synchronicities. Because I was back stage, I got a first hand view of speakers like Cindy Sheehan, Ramsey Clark, Jessica Lang and others. And I know I was able to listen with more attention than I would have surrounded on all sides by the crowds.

Later, at Camp Casey, I was able to help put out the food (donated by a friend who recently opened the Poets and Busboys Cafe on V Street) for the Camp Casey reunion before Jody, Jeremy and friends of Jody's joined us...and shortly after that, hot, tired and dusty, we left for the hotel. Jeremy and Jody's friend Mike joined Jody and me at dinner in (catch this) the New Orleans Restaurant in Arlington.

Now, Jody and I not only decided to share a hotel room, but we had each independently decided to do neither civil disobedience (Thank you for thinking of me, Diana :)) nor lobbying, but instead to spend some time with each other on Sunday, which we spent by walking in the gardens at the Smithsonian, visiting the National Art Gallery, and (yes) eating lunch at the Water Wall which is part of the sculpture which separates the gallery of modern art from the rest of the building. Talk about dreams of water. I always make a point to eat at the cafeteria near this wall whenever I visit the Smithsonian Mall. Jody encountered three members of Code Pink, women who HAD been at the civil disobedience training that morning, when she went to get some coffee. They told her they were taking a "beauty break"...which is what I felt I was doing too. Somehow, for me, finding the balance between horror and beauty seems essential.

Plus, it gave Jody and me time to deepen our friendship, the kind of deepening that also seems essential to me. In many ways, I went to Washington as much to see Jeremy and Jody and Valley and Hadi as I did to demonstrate against the war...or maybe they are the same thing. There is a powerful magic in these friendships.

For dinner on Sunday, the five of us met at the Lebanese Taverna on Connecticut Avenue, one of my favorite restaurants. It was the first time we all had to actually sit down together and talk. And oh, the stories!

In addition to stories of Nasruddin, Hadi told us the story of going out with his friend Johnny with detailed maps of the Crawford area before they decided to buy the Peace House. With the same twinkle that he told the stories of God's fool, Hadi told about how he and Johnny drove around the area, locating every tree and dip in the road, thinking (several years ago now, right after 9/11) about how to deal with a crowd of 5,000 or more in Crawford. Near dark they were not very far at all from the Bush ranch. Johnny asked Hadi to locate something for him on the map. Hadi said he could barely see, let alone see what was on the map. So they stopped the truck. Because the dome light wasn't working, Hadi took a flashlight out of the glove box. The two of them sat looking at the map.

Then, Hadi said, it occurred to him to wonder what might happen if the Secret Service found them there, two men in a truck, one of them of obvious Middle Eastern descent, looking at detailed maps of the area by flashlight. His smile lit up his face as he told the story, and he gave a little shrug.

On the bus trip to Washington, one of the organizers of the buses, a member of Veterans Against the War who had traveled to Crawford gave a little pep talk, in which he mentioned that the Peace House. The month before Camp Casey began, he said, The Peace House hadn't even been able to pay the phone bill. It now had received enough in donations to be able to pay off the mortgage on the house. When I asked about this, Valley and Hadi both nodded.

"It's a miracle," Hadi said. I felt such pride in the two of them, how hard they have worked over the past two months, and how much they've accomplished. It was Hadi who had earlier said that this antiwar movement needed its own Rosa Parks, and it was Hadi who encouraged Cindy Sheehan to begin the vigil in Crawford.

I was proud too when I heard Valley interviewed by a journalist, how articulate and knowledgeable she is. Like Hadi said when they met us for lunch on Monday after several hours of lobbying, "Valley is good. She really kicked butt!"

At the end of dinner on Sunday, Jody worked her own magic by asking us all to reflect for a moment on what our deepest wish might be, and then to tell the rest of us. Mine was (and is) that all children in the world be allowed to dream, and be supported in their dreams.

You have already heard from Jeremy the story of his Peace Train travel, but here's the story of his birthday party which, at his request, we held at lunch time on Monday in the new Museum of the Native American at the Smithsonian.

There were many magics. Jody and I missed our subway stop. (I'm convinced that the Smithsonian stop simply didn't exist that day. :)), and got out at Federal Center, a stop on the line I've never made before, only to discover we were just two blocks from the museum, much closer than we would have been if we'd gotten off at the Smithsonian stop.

On his Friday meanderings at the museum, Jeremy had located a quiet lounge (if you can imagine this in one of the most frequently visited locations in the world) where we could meditate for half an hour before lunch at the museum's cafeteria. The cafeteria there serves Native American foods from North and South America, some of the best food I've ever encountered. I left Jody, Jeremy and Jody's friend Mike still meditating when I went out to pay tobacco tribute. I returned to find them standing in a circle with Hadi and Valley, softly singing, "Peace is Flowing Like a River."

Now, when we asked Jeremy on Saturday night what he wanted for his birthday, he said, laughing, "An Indian Maiden to sing Happy Birthday to me." Sure enough, just as we finished eating, one of the cafeteria staff came by "her" table, and asked how we were doing. Hadi told her it was Jeremy's birthday.

She recited her Native American lineage back before slavery, and said that in Louisiana where she grew up, the saying was that a person's age should be measured not in years, but in the number of friends he had. This woman simply radiated joy. And of course she stayed to sing the birthday song with us.

We spoke often of you other Peace Bridge folks during the weekend. Jeremy told about visiting with Olivia. We talked about missing Gina and Wendy. We wondered how May was doing at the demonstration in San Francisco, and how Liz was doing with hurricane Rita in Texas, and about how Kotaro had sent Jeremy a birthday flower. And mostly we allowed ourselves to feel the deepening, which is so much a part of creating Peace.

Love to all you world dreamers. I know I will catch up with the rest of the mail eventually.


A final note, and a funny story about the March came from Gina a few days after we returned:

One of the most impressive things about the peace march was the huge number of people who took time out of their regular lives, incurring expense and inconvenience, to go to Washington DC, many traveling hundreds or even thousands of miles. All the media I've checked out so far is grossly underreporting the number of participants in the peace march. Maybe that's because no civilian aircraft are allowed to fly close enough to the White House or Washington Monument to get an overhead view of the crowd. My own estimate is at least 400,000.

I got my undergraduate degree at the University of Pittsburgh, which is notorious for large class size. I had a several classes in a big double room in the Common Facilities Building (now called David L. Lawrence Hall, I think). That space seats about 400 people -- I used to count them during boring classes -- so I'm pretty good at gauging clumps of 400 folks. There were at least 1000 of those clumps at the peace march -- no way were there just a few 10s of thousands, or even 100,000. People were walking 10 or more across, filling those wide streets by the White House. At one point, I got out of the march, went into one of the Smithsonian buildings, stood in line for the bathroom for about 20 minutes, used the bathroom, went back outside and, because my sore knee was bothering me, sat on the base of a lamppost to rest my knee for 45 minutes. People kept coming past that whole time - new people that I hadn't seen before (unless they were changing signs, costumes, and props while out of my sight -- not likely). Then I saw a friend from Pittsburgh who had gotten separated from the people she'd come with, and I walked with her for awhile. Then my knee started hurting again so we both sat down on a bench for 20 minutes and watched more people go by -- different people -- including a large group carrying full-size flag draped "coffins" that neither of us had seen before. Whoever is providing the counts to the media is either lying or should go back to grade school and learn how to count!"

A busy and wind-blown month on the Bridge.

If you would like to know more about the work of The World Dreams Peace Bridge, take a look at our web site at http://www.worlddreamspeacebridge.org, and if you would like to join us in discussion, just send a post to