Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Year End Letter 2009

John Calvi’s Year End Letter November 2009

Dear Friends,

2009 has been a full and wonderful year of travel work following my 2008 sabbatical. I worked with 24 groups in 12 states. From planning meetings for The Quaker Initiative to End Torture- QUIT in DC to the main plenary at North Pacific Yearly Meeting in Montana to the Dragonfly Transitions young adult treatment center in Oregon, I was well used in the right places. 13 of these were return invitations, a good sign that I am useful in on-going work and continue to be well received. The new invitations were a delight.

I’m often asked did sabbatical change things, was it good, how was it to re-enter? Yes, sabbatical was very good- right on time, life-saving. I am refreshed and glad to be back. I did/do more writing- see my blog via my website – Both prayer and work are deeper than before. I was also shocked to discover how old I’ve become – if you are too busy to notice that decades have passed, that’s TOO busy! 60 is 2.5 years away and I cannot for the life of me comprehend how this happened. And it was surprising to love being a hermit- my solitude and quiet needs have grown with the years and the work. Tons of people contact with re-entry was both welcome and challenging.

Work has changed a bit over the years. More groups have me in to help them heal conflict. While trauma survivors still attend all workshops and speeches, there is also a large draw from clergy, health care professionals, and various kinds of leadership. I think in part this is due to the state of the world being in so much pain and many many people overwhelmed by the their work. While there is hope, there is also exhaustion, despair, and some doubt about doing ones best for the long haul. My path has been very particular in learning and teaching such things. I also did QUIT Updates on every one of my stops this year. I’ve learned to work in places where reverence is valued.

The scenario of working by invitation and living mainly on gifts would appear risky. And after 27 years I confess to looking over my shoulder now and again wondering if I am still aloft. One leaps expecting a net and is wonderfully surprised to discover flight. My work – healing for trauma survivors, teaching and mentoring to healers and others with ministry, convening The Quaker Initiative to End Torture - QUIT, and writing – has been made possible by the generosity of many. And by your trust, for which I am eternally grateful. There is much good that needs doing and I have plans for some of that. Thanks to you more will be possible.

I ask you please to give generously. You know I am tried and true and the need is great. I go on, knowing that you and I are doing our best, that has always been what’s needed.

In the Light, John

John Calvi PO Box 301 Putney VT 05346 www.johncalvi.com calvij@sover.net
New engagement dates, new photos, and new writings at my website- also a new journal blog.
My thanks to Sehoon Ahn for website expertise.

John Calvi’s Completed Calendar 2009

March 12-13 Quaker Initiative to End Torture- Planning Mtgs Wash, DC
March 28 Mountain View Meeting of Quakers- Healing www.mountainviewfriends Denver, CO
March 29 Colorado Regional Spring Gathering of Quakers- Speaker Denver, CO
April 24-26 Woolman Hill Abandon All Weariness woolmanhill.org Deerfield, MA
May 30 Pendle Hill Lay Down the Burden & Rest pendlehill.org Wallingford, PA
June 14 Putney Friends Mtg Quaker Initiative to End Torture Noon Putney, VT
June 15 CONTACT International Peace Conf School for International Training Brattleboro, VT
June 27-July 4 Friends General Conference Abandon All Weariness fgcquaker.org Blacksburg, VA
July 15-19 North Pacific Yearly Mtg Plenary Speaker, wkshps npym.org Missoula, MT

August 3-5 New England Yearly Meeting workshops QUIT neym.org Smithfield, RI
August 9 N. Sandwich Friends Meeting QUIT Update N Sandwich, NH
September 18 Friends House QUIT Update www.friendshouse.org Santa Rosa, CA
September 19-20 Redwood Forest Mtg Healing Community, Meeting for Healing Santa Rosa, CA
September 25-27 Quaker Ctr Restoration/Preparation/Light w.quakercenter.org Ben Lomond, CA
Sep 30 -Oct 2 Multnomah & Bridge Ctiy Mtg Energy Work, QUIT, Mtg for Healing Portland, OR
October 1 West Hill Friends Church QUIT Update www.westhillsfriends.org Portland, OR
October 3-4 Willamette Quarterly Mtg Plenary Speaker, QUIT Update, Healing Mt Hood, OR
October 6-7 Dragonfly Transitions Students Healing www.dragonflyadventures.com Klamath Falls, OR
October 7 Klamath Falls Friends Church QUIT Update Klamath Falls, OR

Nov 6-8 2009 Powell House The Body as Temple Old Chatham, NY
Nov 14 Wellness Works Holistic Health Center Glendale, CA
Nov 14 Santa Monica Mtg On Healing off site Santa Monica, CA
Nov 15 Claremont Meeting QUIT Update Claremont, CA

2010 John Calvi’s Partial Incomplete 2010 Calendar (as of November 2009)
February 13 Quaker Initiative to End Torture QUIT Update Meeting School Rindge NH
April 17, 19 Lake Forest Friends Meeting Retreat Lake Forest IL
June 20-24 Pendle Hill Washed in Light by Tender Hands Wallingford PA
July 4-10 Friends General Conference Abandon All Weariness Bowling Green OH
July 16 VT People with AIDS Coalition Workshops Massage Stowe VT
July 18-24 New York Yearly Meeting QUIT Update Silver Lake NY
August 8-12 New England Yearly Meeting workshops QUIT Update Smithfield, RI
September 24-26 Quaker Initiative to End Torture Quaker Ctr Ben Lomond CA
November 2010 Healing from Life Wounds Powell House Old Chatham NY
November 19-21 Quaker Initiative to End Torture Conference Old Chatham NY

Definitions- tax law says a donation carries the expectation of work for which I am taxed.
A gift is given out of respect, affection, or charity, such as
my birthday- May 14, my wedding anniversary- August 26, or a Christmas gift.

P. O. Box 301 Putney VT 05346

Postage is prohibitive. I need to reduce paper mail to actual live Beethoven Letter readers. I am happy to keep you on my Beethoven mailing list Email or paper. Simply send word. Please help by sending your e-mail address to calvij@sover.net or a postcard to P. O. Box 301 Putney VT 05346

Monday, December 7, 2009

World AIDS Day - memories

All day I've felt a bit sad. I've been remembering the arc of AIDS in my
life, what I usually think of as the AIDS WARS. I remember hearing a little
something in August of 83, an article in Time magazine perhaps, about gay
men getting cancer in San Francisco and New York. I was teaching in a
summer camp and quite isolated.

But when I returned to massage school in.Boulder, Colorado, I began to learn
more and seek out more information. I
remember in October going to an informational meeting by the Colorado
department of health and learning what little information they had. Maybe
it was a virus. AIDS as a word had not yet happened. No one was sure yet
how it was spread but probably by body fluids. Not sure about kissing,
except gay men kiss their grandmothers and grannies did not seem to have
AIDS, the doctor said.

I called that doctor soon and offered to give
massage to anyone in Colorado with AIDS whether or not they could pay.
Fortunately, the numbers were still in the single digits and I did massage
on 4 people very soon. 3 became long term clients. 2 were dead in a few
years. Many more were diagnosed and died quickly as we had so little
understanding of the new diseases and none of the existing medicines worked.

Back in Vermont in 85 I taught AIDS 101 at Quaker meetings and in NY
prisons. I became part of the Vermont People with AIDS Coalition and did
tons of massage and teaching there. In 86 my best friend got swollen lymph
nodes and though he wouldn't die for several years, my heart began to break.

I met Marshall and moved to Los Angeles, began to teach with AIDS, Medicine,
and Miracles and did massage with Michael Callen over the years. And then
we moved to Washington DC where John Meyer got me hooked up with AIDS
services and I was hands-on in several hospitals, teaching buddy teams, and
just beginning work with tortured refugees for a change of pace- it was good
to work with people who were not dying.

About this time, my best friend
began to be seriously ill. And that long vigil of support and saying
good-bye began. More friends became ill. Any illness I felt was
terrifying. I was now deeply in love and married in all senses but the
legal one and feared greatly that one of us would become ill and we'd be
among the many sinking low and disappearing and then part of the great flood
of memorials.

I was doing grieving circles at night at Friends General
Conference because there was a need from more grieving than usual life
allowed and these circles were crowded with amazing stories and so many

When we moved back to Vermont, I was relieved of doing regular
hospital visits and the density of memorials. But became part of the rural
work of education and service. Bill, my best friend, began a decline
slowly. He would have a rally and stay strong for a bit. And then some
other infection would bring him low again and his true love did an amazing
job of care, beyond what I could do, I am sure.

And by the time Bill died I was nearly numb to the great pain of the world in this pandemic. It had
become my coming of age in my early 30's and now had squashed my heart and
hope almost two decades later. I still teach about AIDS when I'm invited.
And I still lay hands on people with AIDS as a massage therapist and energy
worker. And a couple of friends, still living, are among the very first
people diagnosed in NYC in the very early 80's.

Recently I worked with a young doctor from Rwanda whose life work has become pediatric AIDS in a
children's hospital. He told me he felt numb and had no emotions left. We
discussed avoiding burnout, the advanced form. And we did some hands-on
work that felt full of Light and well guided from on high. He told me that
in Rwanda he had not seen the worst. I was afraid to ask what that meant in
Rwandan terms.

And this summer I'll return to an AIDS conference I have
been teaching at for more than 20 years. I'll see old dear ones and laugh
and clap my hands as I walk to them calling out in a loud voice Oh For God's
Sake, Are You Still Alive?! And we'll hug and laugh to still be here, still
be doing the work, still be grateful for so many things. And I'll talk
quietly with the newly diagnosed- young girls and boys and some grandmothers
- and find some ways to help them relax and maybe to laugh and maybe dare to
hope that as bad as the news is, they can still do life and do it in a big
way with this new family as an anchor.

I am so honored and exhausted and
proud of what we've survived. I can't imagine a life without this education
that I never signed up for. And I'm so happy to have learned how to get up
each day and work in hell and that to go in smiling created the best chance
to carry Light as far into those dank corners as possible.

I still miss Bill, especially on this day, and listen to his speeches on tape and get
teary. But I remember his living more than his dying and his laughter more
than his tears. I was so dearly looking forward to getting old with him.
Now, I just remember how it felt to be with him and when I see some handsome
man walking down the beach, some part of me smiling inside says - hey Bill,
look at that! It's life itself that draws us on, that bright Light and hope
that we'll see how lovely life is.