Saturday, November 8, 2008

John Calvi’s Year End Letter 2008

Dear Friends,

A year ago I was finishing up another year of travel work and was quite weary.  I said good-bye to several people with chronic conditions I’d been working with over the years, stepped aside as founder and convener of The Quaker Initiative to End Torture- QUIT, and began my sabbatical.  My intentions were to rest and restore my body and mind for another 25 years of compassionate work.  I separated myself from work entirely- no teaching about trauma or torture, no touch work healing trauma.  I stopped reading 6 newspapers a day, got off listserves, and had an auto-reply for email- gone fishing.

At first I did much resting, always needing more than I knew.  The torture nightmares ended and I slept through the nights.  After some travel, I was painting the small upstairs of our little house, discovering that I had neither talent nor skill for such but had chosen the most wonderful blue.  Various corners of the household got cleaned out- my archives got put into dryer, more useable space, linen tablecloths from years of thrift store finds became many pillow cases.  It was a winter of resting and nesting.

With spring came outdoor work- mowing the field twice, moving tree limbs and collecting kindling.  I hauled a thousand pounds of rock, soil, and flagstone.  I created 2 new vegetable beds, a flowerbed, outdoor steps for our 3 south-facing doors, and began a rock wall.  The goal of restoring my body with physical work was being met.  I am stronger in body, toned muscles, clearer of mind, and grateful.

A couple of interruptions held sway.  A diagnosis of osteoporosis in the spring was a shock and discomforting.  A “heart event” this fall seemed to show what I thought was an inherited trait of an occasional slight cardiac arrhythmia needing only rest.  But the cardiologist says no, it's unclear what happened and I am fine.  Blood pressure is better but I have failed to lose enough weight to stop meds.  Amidst all this, please know I am very well, active, happy, and glad to have rested now.

All in all, I am a much more healthy person- rested and cleared of accumulated body and mind fatigue.  But the years, or actually the miles, are being revealed in my body during this long hibernation.  I trust that my spiritual disciplines of rest and cleansing will mean years of good works to come.  My leadings continue, well tested and honed, from years of being faithful, constant learning, and gratitude.

My work calendar begins in February 2009.  I am feeling a renewed delight at the idea of being on the road and being of help once again.  I’ve new appetite for teaching and touch work.  I’ve warmed up my hands a bit this fall, which I’ve written about on my blog - see link from

Working by invitation and gifts for 25 years has been miraculous.  Now to have had a long rest supported by the grace of your gifts is a blessing beyond good care and respect.  I am more grateful than I have words to share for this wonderful gift of sabbatical.  As I set to work on a book of speeches in these last sabbatical months, please consider sending me a gift.  Your good care and kindness has made all this possible for me to reach so many over time.  Please help me continue.

In the Light, 

PO Box 301 Putney VT 05346

John Calvi’s Partial Incomplete 2009 Calendar (as of Nov 08)

February 27- March 1  Powell House  Deeply Relax to Deepen the Spirit  

Old Chatham, NY

March 29 Colorado Regional Spring Gathering of Quakers- talk on Spiritual Deepening Denver, CO

April 24-26 Woolman Hill  Spiritual Disciplines for Healing   

Deerfield, MA

May 29-31 Pendle Hill Lay Down the Burden and Rest   

Wallingford, PA

June 27-July 4 Friends General Conference workshops    

Blacksburg, VA

July 15-19 North Pacific Yearly Mtg  Keynote/Friend in Residence   

Missoula, MT

August 3-5 New England Yearly Meeting workshops   

Smithfield, RI

September 25-27 Quaker Center weekend workshop   

Ben Lomond, CA

Please send a gift to my address below.

I need your gifts during sabbatical to rest and prepare for another 25 years.

Definitions- tax law says a donation carries the expectation of work for which I am taxed.

gift is given out of respect, affection, or charity, such as

my birthday- May 14, my wedding anniversary- August 28, or a Christmas gift.

 “Chief among the sabbatical luxuries is solitude.  I have always, all my life, needed more time to myself than anyone I know.  It’s difficult to explain.  Often it feels as though I am not sure what I am feeling until there is no one else around- as though others feelings clog my radar until what is mine is unclear.  I did not consciously learn the discipline of solitude as a pragmatic professional and spiritual practice for someone of my gifts until I was in my 30’s.  And then what might be possible unfolded in bright colors after years of yearning for goodness knows what.  What was all this feeling and sensitivity for?  Why could I feel where the trouble was in the room or in one person’s body?  Why did I know the questions to help sort out confusion and pain but was too shy to speak or believe I might know something?”  -  sabbatical journal November 2008 - Blog via Website.


New engagement  updates, photos, and writings at my website- Please see my journal BLOG now.  

My thanks to Blake Arnall and Sehoon Ahn for website expertise.

John Calvi    PO Box 301 Putney, VT 05346   802/387-4789