Saturday, November 16, 2013

John Calvi's Year End Letter 2013

John Calvi’s Year End Letter 2013

Dear Friends,

Thank you for all your good care and strong support over 2013.  It’s been a very full year.  I’ve been working with several people – helping some to live, helping some to die.  I’ve traveled the country and worked with groups in 10 states.  I’ve been teaching massage, energy work, healing from trauma, avoiding burnout, among other things.  This is my 31st year teaching all this, working by invitation, and living mainly on gifts.

The biggest news for me was the publication of my book in late June.  “The Dance Between Hope & Fear” is 225 pages of my journals, letters, speeches, and lectures.  The response has been beyond all I could hope for with many people saying it’s a long awaited gift to keep and use for all time.  Shelly Angel, my editor, has done a tremendous job of shaping stacks of old papers, scribbled journals, and ancient computer files into a cohesive whole.  It’s available from Friends General Conference Bookstore and from Amazon.  I hope you will enjoy it.  Work on a second book already began this summer.

My calendar shows a wide range of uses for a Quaker healer in his 6th decade.  All this has been possible because support has come even during difficult financial times.  I’ve never gotten use to the suspense of living on gifts really.  But every year I am made grateful and productive because your kindness and generosity continue and so much good work is done.

I need your help to do more.  Please.  I have more work to do as a Quaker healer and as a teacher.  I have more work to do as the founding convener of the Quaker Initiative to End Torture- QUIT!  I have more work to do as a writer and a seeker.  Please send a gift and help me continue.  Thank you for all your kindness these many years.

In the Light,

John Calvi

PO Box 301 Putney VT 05346  802/387-4789

New engagement updates, photos, writings, and my book available at my website

John Calvi’s Completed Calendar 2013

February 27 – March 7  Final Edits with Editor  Richardson TX
March 9 Friends in Need   Atlanta GA
March 10 Friends in Need Candler NC
March 11 Friends in Need   Winston-Salem NC
April 20 Friends in need   Williston VT
May 14 – 18 Final Edits with Readers   Provincetown MA
May 31   Friends in need   Brookhaven PA
May 31 – June 1 Pendle Hill Weekend Workshop, Mon Lecture   Wallingford PA
June 2 Friends in need Newtown PA
June 18 – 21 Albuquerque Friends Meeting Healing w/Friends Albuquerque NM
June 22 Santa Fe Friends Meeting QUIT Update, Goodness Workshop   Santa Fe NM
June 30 – July 6 Friends General Conference   workshop, book release   Greeley CO
July 7 Boulder Friends Meeting   Ministry Among Friends   Boulder CO
July 26 Vermont People with AIDS Coalition workshops   Stowe VT
August 5 – 7 Workshops, book release & reading   Smithfield RI
August 16 Friends in need   Williston VT
September 18 Friends in need   Putney VT
October 14 QUIT Update OLLI Lectures    Dummerston VT
Dec 7 New England YM Jr Hi Retreat  GOOD TOUCH Woolman Hill Deerfield MA

John Calvi’s Incomplete Anticipated Calendar 2014
March 14 – 15 Powell House Rest, Release, Repair, Restore  Old Chatham NY  weekend workshop massage, energy work, rest, cleanse
May 30 –June 1 Pendle Hill Workshop GOODNESS Wallingford PA  weekend workshop of massage, rest, and feeling goodness
June 29 – July Friends General Conference Abandon All Weariness  California PA  5 mornings of massage, energy work, meditation
July 25 – Vermont People with AIDS Coalition workshops  Stowe VT
August 2 – 7 New England Yearly Meeting  workshops Castleton VT  three days of workshops – massage, energy work, avoiding burnout

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 26, or a Christmas gift.

P. O. Box 301  Putney VT 05346


John Calvi
PO Box 301
Putney, VT 05346

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

29th Beethoven Letter May 2013

The 29th Beethoven Letter – John Calvi 
Dear Friends,
A new adventure has taken me.  My years are full of invitations to teach and touch.  Once in a while the schedule gets thin and I know some new arrangement is being made. A light schedule in 1990 allowed me rest at Pendle Hill.  In 2008 I was able to celebrate 25 years of trauma work with a sabbatical.  Now something new.

Last year a very brave editor asked for everything I’ve written on healing.  Shelly Angel of Dallas, Texas has now edited 30 years of letters, journals, speeches, lectures, and articles creating my first book. The Dance between Hope & Fear will be available in June from Amazon.  I expect it will also be available at both FGC and Pendle Hill bookstores.  Shelly has done an amazing job of working reams of poor spelling, jumbles of punctuation, and heaps of over-written pages into a good look into my journey as a Quaker healer with a gift for releasing pain following trauma.  My light teaching schedule made way for tons of rewrites and choosing what must wait for a second volume.  This is miraculous for me and a great joy.

My traveling work continues as you see by my calendar—Pendle Hill very soon, Friends General Conference Gathering in July, with various stops before and after with the usual meetings, conferences, and annual gatherings.  I am about to be 61 and have been on the road learning about healing from trauma since 1982.  And your good invitations to teach massage, energy work, avoiding burnout, and deeper spiritual life through good selfcare have kept me going all this time.  Thank you for making this life work available for so long and to so many.  Working by invitation is a dance we’ve done together.

Living mainly on gifts has lots of suspense to it.  Generosity seems to depend on the general economy, personal connection, and what is possible.  I have used your gifts now for 30 years to reach into places with no Light and bring care and comfort to those in need.  I am grateful for all we’ve done together and I hope you will help me continue.  I need your help.

In the Light,  John Calvi

PO Box 301 Putney VT 05346

The Dance between Hope & Fear Celebrating June release of my new book  
Amazon, FGC & Pendle Hill Bookstores

John Calvi’s partial incomplete 2013 Calendar (as of May 2013) 

January – May:   Final Edits.   The Dance between Hope & Fear

May 31 – June 2:  Pendle Hill – Come Away and Rest Awhile - workshop on deep rest and restoration for better life and work.

June 3: Pendle Hill  How I Taught Murdering Rapists Massage and Stayed Calm – And you can too!  First Monday Series free lectures. Wallingford PA

June 12–15:  Albuquerque Friends Meeting – meeting retreat.  Albuquerque New Mexico 

June 22:  Santa Fe Meeting – Avoiding Burnout workshop and Quaker Initiative to End Torture – QUIT! Update.  Santa Fe New Mexico

June 29 – July 6:  Friends General Conference Gathering – Abandon All Weariness workshop, book reading/signing, Quaker Initiative to End Torture Update.  

July 7:  Boulder Meeting – speaking on Released Friends tradition, new book, avoiding burnout, and The Quaker Initiative to End Torture – QUIT!   Boulder CO

July 25 – 28:  Vermont People with AIDS Coalition annual retreat workshops.  Stowe VT

August 3-8:  New England Yearly Meeting – workshops on energy work and avoiding burnout, book signing/reading, QUIT update.  Smithfield RI

Here is the link to my talk to Friends General Conference on healing America by ending torture.

Here’s a radio interview I did on healing and torture.  Listen free or purchase CD.   http://www

P. O. Box 301  Putney VT 05346

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.

I need to reduce paper mail to actual live Beethoven Letter readers. I am happy to keep you on my Beethoven mailing list.  Simply send word. Please help by sending a postcard to the address above or an e-mail addressed to

John Calvi
PO Box 301
Putney, VT 05346

Monday, February 18, 2013

The Future Work of Quakers

Dear All,

Quakers have a grand history of being some of the first people to carry water to put on the fire of a social crisis: Margaret Fell going into prison to care for prisoners and their children in the 1600's, some few of us working the underground railroad in the 1800's and later helping Latinos across the southern US border, the opposition to war and the death penalty, and the supporting of women's and gay rights, and on and on.

In talking with older Friends there is some thought as to what is coming, perhaps a time when democracy will be much less in our country and the need to give shelter, oasis, and refuge to the suffering will become our spiritual work.  This is difficult to ponder.  There has largely been safety for a broad section of the middle class who played nicely by the rules.  But perhaps there is a shift, a shift in what is middle and in what is dissent and what are the protections which we have relied on that may be at risk?

I think we have a new spiritual work approaching us in this new century and it will encompass all the skills and experience we have from our entire 350+ years of social crisis' work.  Can you see yourself in some manner helping to form new networks to offer new depths of help and compassion?  I think this is an important questions for all Friends at this time.

I apologize for bringing up what can feel to be mind-boggling and over-burdensome.  But I and some others are seeing signs that call to us perhaps to ask these questions now in preparation for our collective spiritual work to come.  Below is an article that I feel sets the stage for some of what we may be in for.  There's more information to be had and various ones of us, of course, have already been working on solutions to this part and that aspect.  But here's news of a new level of trouble to consider.  Again my apologies for this call to vast seriousness.  I would prefer otherwise, of course.  But please, if you can, take the time to read below and consider what you may be called to do in the next 5, 10 years.

I hold us close in much Light as way opens for new seeking and new work, John 

John Calvi
PO Box 301
Putney, VT 05346

The NDAA and the Death of the Democratic State - Chris Hedges  Feb 17, 2013

Last week, a few hundred activists crowded into the courtroom of the Second Circuit, the spillover room with its faulty audio feed and dearth of chairs, and Foley Square outside the Thurgood Marshall U.S. Courthouse in Manhattan where many huddled in the cold. The fate of the nation, we understood, could be decided by the three judges who will rule on our lawsuit against President Barack Obama for signing into law Section 1021(b)(2) of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

The section permits the military to detain anyone, including U.S. citizens, who “substantially support”—an undefined legal term—al-Qaida, the Taliban or “associated forces,” again a term that is legally undefined. Those detained can be imprisoned indefinitely by the military and denied due process until “the end of hostilities.” In an age of permanent war this is probably a lifetime. Anyone detained under the NDAA can be sent, according to Section (c)(4), to any “foreign country or entity.” This is, in essence, extraordinary rendition [3] of U.S. citizens. It empowers the government to ship detainees to the jails of some of the most repressive regimes on earth.

Section 1021(b)(2) was declared invalid in September after our first trial, in the Southern District Court of New York. The Obama administration appealed the Southern District Court ruling. The appeal was heard Wednesday in the Second Circuit Court with Judges Raymond J. Lohier, Lewis A. Kaplan and Amalya L. Kearse presiding. The judges might not make a decision until the spring when the Supreme Court rules in Clapper v. Amnesty International USA, another case in which I am a plaintiff. The Supreme Court case challenges the government’s use of electronic surveillance. If we are successful in the Clapper case, it will strengthen all the plaintiffs’ standing in Hedges v. Obama. The Supreme Court, if it rules against the government, will affirm that we as plaintiffs have a reasonable fear of being detained.

If we lose in Hedges v. Obama—and it seems certain that no matter the outcome of the appeal this case will reach the Supreme Court—electoral politics and our rights as citizens will be as empty as those of Nero’s Rome. If we lose, the power of the military to detain citizens, strip them of due process and hold them indefinitely in military prisons will become a terrifying reality. Democrat or Republican. Occupy activist or libertarian. Socialist or tea party stalwart. It does not matter. This is not a partisan fight. Once the state seizes this unchecked power, it will inevitably create a secret, lawless world of indiscriminate violence, terror and gulags. I lived under several military dictatorships during the two decades I was a foreign correspondent. I know the beast.

“The stakes are very high,” said attorney Carl Mayer, who with attorney Bruce Afran brought our case to trial, in addressing a Culture Project [4] audience in Manhattan on Wednesday after the hearing. “What our case comes down to is: Are we going to have a civil justice system in the United States or a military justice system? The civil justice system is something that is ingrained in the Constitution. It was always very important in combating tyranny and building a democratic society. What the NDAA is trying to impose is a system of military justice that allows the military to police the streets of America to detain U.S. citizens, to detain residents in the United States in military prisons. Probably the most frightening aspect of the NDAA is that it allows for detention until ‘the end of hostilities.’ ”

Five thousand years of human civilization has left behind innumerable ruins to remind us that the grand structures and complex societies we build, and foolishly venerate as immortal, crumble into dust. It is the descent that matters now. If the corporate state is handed the tools, as under Section 1021(b)(2) of the NDAA, to use deadly force and military power to criminalize dissent, then our decline will be one of repression, blood and suffering. No one, not least our corporate overlords, believes that our material conditions will improve with the impending collapse of globalization, the steady deterioration of the global economy, the decline of natural resources and the looming catastrophes of climate change. 

But the global corporatists—who have created a new species of totalitarianism—demand, during our decay, total power to extract the last vestiges of profit from a degraded ecosystem and disempowered citizenry. The looming dystopia is visible in the skies of blighted postindustrial cities such as Flint, Mich., where drones circle like mechanical vultures. And in an era where the executive branch can draw up secret kill lists that include U.S. citizens, it would be naive to believe these domestic drones will remain unarmed.
Robert M. Loeb, the lead attorney for the government in Wednesday’s proceedings, took a tack very different from that of the government in the Southern District Court of New York before Judge Katherine B. Forrest. Forrest repeatedly asked the government attorneys if they could guarantee that the other plaintiffs and I would not be subject to detention under Section 1021(b)(2). The government attorneys in the first trial granted no such immunity. The government also claimed in the first trial that under the 2001 Authorization to Use Military Force Act (AUMF), it already had the power to detain U.S. citizens. Section 1021(b)(2), the attorneys said, did not constitute a significant change in government power. Judge Forrest in September rejected the government’s arguments and ruled Section 1021(b)(2) invalid.
The government, however, argued Wednesday that as “independent journalists” we were exempt from the law and had no cause for concern. Loeb stated that if journalists used journalism as a cover to aid the enemy, they would be seized and treated as enemy combatants. But he assured the court that I would be untouched by the new law as long as “Mr. Hedges did not start driving black vans for people we don’t like.”

Loeb did not explain to the court who defines an “independent journalist.” I have interviewed members of al-Qaida as well as 16 other individuals or members of groups on the State Department’s terrorism list. When I convey these viewpoints, deeply hostile to the United States, am I considered by the government to be “independent”? Could I be seen by the security and surveillance state, because I challenge the official narrative, as a collaborator with the enemy? And although I do not drive black vans for people Loeb does not like, I have spent days, part of the time in vehicles, with armed units that are hostile to the United States. These include Hamas in Gaza and the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in southeastern Turkey.

I traveled frequently with armed members of the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front in El Salvador and the Sandinista army in Nicaragua during the five years I spent in Central America. Senior officials in the Reagan administration regularly denounced many of us in the press as fifth columnists and collaborators with terrorists. These officials did not view us as “independent.” They viewed us as propagandists for the enemy. Section 1021(b)(2) turns this linguistic condemnation into legal condemnation.
Alexa O’Brien, another plaintiff and a co-founder of the US Day of Rage [6], learned after WikiLeaks released 5 million emails from Stratfor, a private security firm that does work for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the Marine Corps and the Defense Intelligence Agency, that Stratfor operatives were trying to link her and her organization to Islamic radicals, including al-Qaida, and sympathetic websites as well as jihadist ideology. If that link were made, she and those in her organization would not be immune from detention.
Afran said at the Culture Project discussion that he once gave a donation at a fundraising dinner to the Ancient Order of Hibernians, an Irish Catholic organization. A few months later, to his surprise, he received a note of thanks from Sinn Féin [7]. “I didn’t expect to be giving money to a group that maintains a paramilitary terrorist organization, as some people say,” Afran said. “This is the danger. You can easily find yourself in a setting that the government deems worthy of incarceration. This is why people cease to speak out."

The government attempted in court last week to smear Sami Al-Hajj [8], a journalist for the Al-Jazeera news network who was picked up by the U.S. military and imprisoned for nearly seven years in Guantanamo. This, for me, was one of the most chilling moments in the hearing.

“Just calling yourself a journalist doesn’t make you a journalist, like Al-Hajj,” Loeb told the court. “He used journalism as a cover. He was a member of al-Qaida and provided Stinger missiles to al-Qaida.” 

Al-Hajj, despite Loeb’s assertions, was never charged with any crimes. And the slander by Loeb only highlighted the potential for misuse of this provision of the NDAA if it is not struck down. 

The second central argument by the government was even more specious. Loeb claimed that Subsection 1021(e) of the NDAA exempts citizens from detention. Section 1021(e) states: “Nothing in this section shall be construed to affect existing law or authorities relating to the detention of United States citizens, lawful resident aliens of the United States, or any other persons who are captured or arrested in the United States.” 

Afran countered Loeb by saying that Subsection 1021(e) illustrated that the NDAA assumed that U.S. citizens would be detained by the military, overturning two centuries of domestic law that forbids the military to carry out domestic policing. And military detention of citizens, Afran noted, is not permitted under the Constitution.

Afran quoted the NDAA bill’s primary sponsor, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., who said on the floor of the Senate: “In the case where somebody is worried about being picked up by a rogue executive branch because they went to the wrong political rally, they don’t have to worry very long, because our federal courts have the right and the obligation to make sure the government proves their case that you are a member of al-Qaida and didn’t [just] go to a political rally.”

Afran told the court that Graham’s statement implicitly acknowledged that U.S. citizens could be detained by the military under 1021(b)(2). “There is no reason for the sponsor to make that statement if he does not realize that the statute causes that chilling fear,” Afran told the judges.

After the hearing Afran explained: “If the senator who sponsored and managed the bill believed people would be afraid of the law, then the plaintiffs obviously have a reasonably objective basis to fear the statute.”

In speaking to the court Afran said of 1021(e): “It says it is applied to people in the United States. It presumes that they are going to be detained under some law. The only law we know of is this law. What other laws, before this one, allowed the military to detain people in this country?”

This was a question Judge Lohier, at Afran’s urging, asked Loeb during the argument. Loeb concurred that the NDAA was the only law he knew of that permitted the military to detain and hold U.S. citizens.