Hiroshima Day Prayer for the World

In this one–hour video (in two parts), I tell the story of how I started on the Neutron Trail and where it led me, with a focus on my time in Tokyo, Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The video if of a talk I gave in Vancouver on March 10, 2015, but with full frame photos of my travels, taken by myself, Noriko Nasu Tidball and Stephen Imbler. A big thank you also to Diane Park for the skill and care she brought to post production.

There are many more people to thank listed on the Credits page for this most rewarding Neutron Trail journey I’ve been privileged to travel – both to actual places and to heart opening spaces. I look forward to sharing all that I’ve learned and continue to grow into – though no longer primarily with neutrontrail.com. I’m continuing to write on other platforms. Please call on me for individual counselling & coaching and classes. Blessings on your journey of inner and outer growth.

~ ~ ~

Today is the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombing on Hiroshima, Japan on August 6, 1945. Germany had fallen some months earlier and World War II ended on August 9, 1945, when the US dropped a second atomic bomb on Nagasaki. As many as 200,000 Japanese civilians were killed by the two bombs. In all, 50 – 70 million people, primarily in Europe and South East Asia, died during the war — one of the deadliest events in human history. From here, World War II looks like a series of wars waged as nationalistic drives for conquest of other nations and peoples. What do we need to learn from this tragedy — about shared existence — that we can apply to surviving and thriving on a planet with 7.3 billion of us and counting?

A few weeks ago, a biographer of Enrico Fermi contacted me with evidence that in June 1945, my grandfather had fought with Oppenheimer, Compton and Lawrence that they should advise President Truman not to demonstrate the bomb let alone drop it.

It had been the normally taciturn Fermi, so Oppenheimer reported… who had resisted him most stubbornly… Men will always fight wars, Enrico had argued. One could not responsibly place nuclear weapons into circulation. Their existence had to remain concealed as long as possible. It took the others until after 5 am [the next day] on Sunday, June 17, to ‘talk him down,’ recalled Oppenheimer…
Day One: Before Hiroshima and After, New York (1985), by Peter H. Wyden, pp. 170–171.]

Learning of my grandfather’s courage, 70 years later, touched me deeply. I imagined him standing up to the vast and complex forces of history as he argued with his boss, all the while clearly knowing he was simply one person with one voice. Even if Enrico had succeeded to convince Oppenheimer to warn Truman off, it’s unlikely if not impossible that the scientists’ voices could have stopped the tremendous forces at play pushing the bomb to be used.

Anniversaries are a time to contemplate where we’ve been and where to next. As this anniversary approached, I realized my pilgrimage to Japan, at the end of last year, marked the culmination of a journey along the Neutron Trail I’d started in 2009, visiting the sites related to the development and use of the first atomic weapons.

The Japan I encountered was the one I was hoping to find, that continues despite modernity and foreign influence, to be, in many ways an interconnected and caring culture with traditional elements intact. (Hopefully the abatement of its aggressive military culture since World War II will continue and be matched by all nations.) Caring shows up in so many ways — as a visitor I experienced it in the efficiency of the trains, the stylish care infused into all human–created objects, that we bow to each other and for me most fundamentally of all, in prayer.

I didn’t grow up with prayer, but I’ve come to realize how enriching it is for human life. Normally we go about our day and get more and more caught up in the illusions of successes and failures, accomplishments and defeats. Prayer offers a natural pause, like a cup of tea, a place to stop and surrender to the divine, to the mystery of life and death, the emptiness and fullness of being. Prayer is a place to dissolve, to offer, to receive.

Torii Gate Hiroo, Tokyo by Olivia Fermi 2014

Torii Gate, Hiroo Tokyo. Photo: Olivia Fermi © 2014.

 

Japan is set up in way that supports prayer whenever we are willing to find a moment to give over, to rediscover in freshness our place in the larger scheme of life. One tangible way I saw prayer being welcomed into daily life was in the open invitation to walk through the torii gates of the shrines and temples sprinkled virtually everywhere in the big cities and the small villages alike. When I saw a shrine, I paused at the threshold and bowed, walked through and bowed again. Inside there was water to ceremonially cleanse and offer. Further inside, there were more places and ways to pray.

Visiting Hiroshima and Nagasaki brought me face to face with the horror and tragedy Japan has had to recover from. We all pray for ourselves, our families. The Japanese also pray for all of us, for world peace. In 70 years, since the end of World War II, that’s a lot of prayers. I’m sensitive and I felt them, especially in the Nagasaki Peace Park, where I was fortunate to meet an atomic bomb survivor who has dedicated his life to peace.

Nuclear war ended in Nagasaki! Nagasaki is the period! Peace starts from Nagasaki!” – Takashi Nagai (永井 隆), Peace Tower

Travelling in Japan, prayer in public became a nurturing part of my day. Back home in Vancouver, my heart couldn’t quite settle. I longed for the open temple gates, feeling a kind of reverse homesickness. Like the torii, which supported me to flow so easily between the sacred and secular, some new gateway had opened in my heart during those three weeks away.

I want to keep the gates open — and open them more. Connecting through prayer is a shared human experience, giving us a sense of humility of place and interdependent belonging. Today on Hiroshima Day, I long for all cultures to learn from Japanese prayer culture, to find ways to honor the sacred in the secular and to see the secular in the sacred. Perhaps prayer can help us find our way to an healthy, happy existence together on our little blue planet Earth.

Olivia Fermi offers prayer at Nanzen-ji, Kyoto Japan by Noriko Nasu Tidball 2014

Olivia Fermi offers prayer at Nanzen-ji temple, Kyoto Japan. Photo: Noriko Nasu Tidball © 2014.

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Japan Healing and Systemic Constellation Work

 

Bert Terpstra, mathematician & Constellation facilitator, Olivia Fermi, Hisako Morioka, Constellation facilitator (left to right), Tokyo, November 2014.

Preamble

In response to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, USA of 1941, the Allied Forces unleashed a series of fire bombings on Japan. 70 years ago today on March 10, 1945, US B-29’s flew over Tokyo dropping incendiary bombs. In a single night more people lost their lives than in any other act of war in all of human history. Perhaps 100,000 died, many more were injured or dislocated, with vast tracts of Tokyo destroyed. Ultimately the Allied forces destroyed or partially destroyed 67 Japanese cities, killing hundreds of thousands of civilians, if not a million or more. The true count will never be known.
Some years ago, I watched The Fog of War, the Erroll Morris documentary interview-style of Robert McNamara, which recounts the above acts of war, but I had never allowed myself to fully comprehend the enormity of it. Like most of us today, we remember the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and forget the fire bombings, which devastated so many of Japan’s major cities.

Counting the Dead. Tokyo, 1945.

In Hiroshima there is a world famous Peace Park and a Peace Museum. Likewise in Nagasaki, there is a place to go to honor the dead and pray for peace. Today on the 70th anniversary of the Tokyo fire bombing it feels important to honor the dead, who have no such visible monument that I know of. Tonight I will be speaking about this as part of a new talk On the Neutron Trail: A Healing Journey to Japan, about my fall 2014 pilgrimage there.

Preamble (above)
Opening to Shared Human Experiences
An Experiment in Service of Healing and Social Evolution
Setting a Constellation for Connecting to Japan
A Revelation in Tokyo
Hiroshima, Nagasaki and the Spirit of Japan
Systemic Constellation Work Briefly Described

Opening to Shared Human Experiences

Fall Colors, Kyoto. Photo: © Noriko Nasu Tidball 2014.

On the Neutron Trail, my focus is on the psychology of healing on individual, familial and cultural levels. While science, technology and politics naturally are a part of the inquiry, they are not the focus. I am not looking at right or wrong, nor at trying to justify what happened on any side. Rather my project is dedicated to understanding and accepting what happened in the past, so that we can make better and healthier choices now and for our future. At different times, I examine the different experiences of various nations or cultural groups and when I do so, I tend to want to look from their point of view, to walk in their shoes. For some time I have been specifically looking at the Japanese civilian experience. Recently I read the personal account of the invasion and occupation of Singapore by the Japanese military government for balance, (When There Were Tigers in Singapore: A Family Saga of the Japanese Occupation, by Edmund Schirmer). Before that I read Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand. I cannot compare tragedies. When I immerse myself in one, it feels just as terrible. Death is a shared human experience. Voicing that truth I feel a kind of lightness, my heart expands.

An Experiment in Service of Healing and Social Evolution

My Neutron Trail treks are dedicated to healing and social evolution. Trailblazing is naturally an experimental endeavor. I utilize a number of therapeutic modalities in new ways to expand the reach and depth of the project. Over the past 18 months, I’ved learned that a relatively unknown one — Systemic Constellation Work (SCW) profoundly helps Neutron Trail. If you are unfamiliar with SCW, please see my counselling website for a brief description of Systemic Constellation Work.  On the Neutron Trail and in systemic constellation work, the focus is on our shared human experiences. SCW is done with a group and Neutron Trail is a social project. SCW supports generative information flows between identified issues (left brain) and imaginal awareness (right brain). Tonight in my first public talk about the Neutron Trail Japan trip I will also be talking, for the first time, about this new turn on the Trail.

In preparing to go to Japan on the Neutron Trail, I wanted to tune into the most important messages and themes for healing and moving forward. Diana Claire Douglas facilitated my constellation from Ottawa, via Skype audio, with five of us in the Lower Mainland in three locations. Because the constellation turned out to be so evocative and meaningful both in relation to my Japan experience and my grandfather Enrico’s place in social consciousness, I’m including a detailed description of how the constellation unfolded (far more detailed than what I will be able to share in tonight’s talk). Typically we do not analyze or discuss the work. I would like to thank Diana Claire and my fellow constellators for their recollections, which fleshed out the following account, and their kind permission to share our experience publicly. My intent in the sharing is to further the ripple effect of the constellation we set together.

Setting a Constellation for Connecting to Japan

My Intention: To connect with Japan and transcend any fractures…

Space Mapping: Because we were not in the same physical location, Diana Claire suggested we imagine the face of a clock as a positioning device. As I placed each representative in the space, I stated where s/he was in relation to the clock. We continued to use this method throughout to tell each other and Diana Claire where we were. There were only five of us available to represent. We also used labeled pieces of paper to represent important elements, and sometimes changed roles.

Temporal Mapping: Diana Claire asked me to choose an orientation for the past and future. I picked toward 6 o’clock as the past and toward 12 o’clock as the future. Having an orientation in time added a vital element.

I chose and positioned the representatives, except Diana Claire specifically directed I not be the one to position Enrico. Someone else placed Enrico — towards the future end of the temporal map.

Representatives in order of placement:

Spirit of Japan
Japanese People
Neutron Trail
Olivia Fermi
Nuclear Legacy
Enrico Fermi
Connection
Disconnection

Initial Placement – Neutron Trail Japan Trip Systemic Constellation

Once everyone was in position, the constellation unfolded. Connection said it felt a strong heart connection to Spirit of Japan and moved close to Spirit of Japan.

The Japanese People spoke, “We feel the Ancestors behind us walking the Earth. We are aware that Spirit of Japan and Nuclear Legacy are connected, but we are not ready to look at Nuclear Legacy.” Japanese People felt strongly drawn to face Enrico and expressed gratitude and curiosity for him as an ancestor and the mystery. Japanese People then felt moved to bow to Enrico in full recognition of him as an ancestor.

Enrico spoke, “All of the things said so far impinge on me.

Enrico Fermi (foreground) holding photograph of Hiroshima atomic bomb cloud with Edward Teller, 1946. Photo: Courtesy Los Alamos Historical Society.

“I am in the terrifying position of being close to the center of all of this. It’s more than a human being can bear.” A resource for Terror was added on a piece of paper for Enrico to hold. Enrico said, “It is humbling and moving for me to have the Japanese People consider me as ancestor. It’s terrifying to feel the connection to the Japanese People.”

Disconnection said, “As Enrico acknowledges the terror, I feel more settled,” and turned from facing outside the circle to facing in.

Connection spoke up noticing that there was a lot of pressure on Enrico, that he was the only one besides Olivia specifically named in the constellation.

Disconnection spoke up again, “I am representing people. I’m not sure who we are, my sense is we are part of the Japanese people.” After a pause they said, “we are the forgotten dead, the unrecognized ancestors.”

Disconnection became the Unrecognized Dead.

Olivia was asked and agreed to represent herself. I was deeply moved by the recognition of the suffering of the Unrecognized Dead and felt myself releasing expectations around the grieving process. The loss was more profound than I had known. Recalling the earlier part of the constellation, I said the Japanese People’s acknowledgement of Enrico as an ancestor, felt right.

Spirit of Japan stated, “This is a powerful gathering.”

Enrico was invited to move toward 6 o’clock, to join the Ancestors in the past. He passed Olivia who was standing near the center facing Neutron Trail and the future. Enrico said to Olivia, “I’m proud of you. You are carrying on my work. You make it possible for me to move back.”

As Olivia representing myself, I was uncomfortable with Enrico’s statement because I am not a physicist and I don’t exactly see myself as carrying on his work. But I was willing to listen for the spirit of the representative’s words and so remained quiet. After the Japan trip, when I was gathering recollections of this constellation, I spoke with the representative for Enrico to see if the person could shed any light on the comment.

The person who had represented Enrico told me: “The reference point for me when I go into systemic constellations, is allowing myself to be dreamed up, allowing myself to feel and express things in my body psyche, which at the moment don’t feel like they belong to me, feel more like they belong to the field or to the one I’m representing. It’s like as Enrico, I was being dreamed up. For me, it’s very important in my heart, your grandfather did something with unbelievable ramifications. My statement in the constellation, ‘yes Olivia is carrying on the work of her grandfather,’ what surprised me is that it didn’t come from my rational ego.

“I am a world person, as are you and your grandfather. Here you are two generations later visiting places where Enrico worked on the Neutron Trail, you’re connected by place, by genealogy. I’m grasped by the mystery you allow yourself to be part of — It’s not easy to put in words something coming from a cosmic place.”

I continued to reflect. It’s true, as I’ve walked the Neutron Trail, I feel my grandfather’s spirit with me, more and more. Toward the end of my grandfather’s life it appears he began to think more about social evolution. I found a quote where he states humans will certainly continue to make technological advances, but what is less certain is whether we will mature enough to handle our creations responsibly. In that sense we are one, as grandfather and granddaughter — yet each with our own individuality and life work. Or Enrico’s representative’s comment may have some other meaning yet to be revealed.

The Ancestors looked at the Unrecognized Dead and spoke, “We notice the Dead and feel a strong calling to you. There are more of us ancestors. We can embrace you. We haven’t processed you yet.” The Ancestors moved to embrace the Unrecognized Dead, standing with them. Both representatives felt connected with the consciousness of the Spirit of Japan.

Grief was placed with the Ancestors. The Japanese People felt lighter. Olivia felt moved by the embrace and felt spaciousness.

The Unrecognized Dead said, “Enrico was named. We all had names.”

Olivia said, “Hearing you, I feel grounded and present, with a kind of strength.”

The Unrecognized Dead replied, “I feel the grief moving.”

Enrico responded, “The whole field made this happen. The whole field suffers and learns from the suffering. I’m a small character now. I feel relief. I’m moving on here. I want to be part of the embrace. I’m just part of the field now, no longer Enrico as an individual.”

As myself, I felt a relief that my grandfather could be released from the unbearable pressure no individual can rightly comprehend. I feel gratitude personally as it takes a pressure off of me as well, and gratitude for all of us in society.

Feeling the support of ancestors from the east and the west, the Japanese People turned to face Nuclear Legacy and the future, saying, “We’re ready to roll up our sleeves and get to work,” and acknowledged Olivia’s presence beside them, her leadership — that she is, “opening a door”.

Final Placement – Neutron Trail Japan Trip Systemic Constellation

Olivia spoke, “I feel more and more solid, a loving, powerful calm energy pervading me and the space — a lot of energy and gratitude.”

The Japanese People responded, “We can breathe. It’s reachable. We’re willing to look at what’s around us, and at what we need to tackle.”

The Ancestors felt settled.

Spirit of Japan reiterated the power in the gathering and reflected on the true power in the unfolding of the constellation, saying, “It’s been powerful to gather these particular representatives and this energy. And it’s enabled me as the Spirit of Japan to look at the grief.”

The Unrecognized Dead agreed, “In our gathering, this feels like the right use of power.”

Spirit of Japan shared a feeling of love and openness of heart.

We ended it there.

~ ~ ~

In the next section of this blog post I will share a few specific ways the movements that emerged from our constellation corresponded to my experiences in Japan. I’m not saying one caused the other. Rather, as nighttime dreams can open a window to the landscape of the psyche’s path, beyond normal restraints of linear consciousness, so seemingly can constellations.

A Revelation in Tokyo

Before I left Vancouver, I looked online to see if there were constellation facilitators in Japan. I found Hisako Morioka and her Dutch husband Bert Terpstra, (a retired mathematician, formerly at Shell). The couple live in the Netherlands but visit Tokyo to offer constellation workshops. Synchronistically my time in Tokyo and theirs overlapped with a day where we could meet. Our conversation lasted for a delightful nine hours and included an introduction to the Tokyo subway by Hisako, a walking tour of Meiji Jingu Shrine, coffee at Starbucks on Ometesando and dinner at a Japanese style natural foods restaurant. At one point I was sharing with Bert and Hisako some of the Japan trip Neutron Trail constellation. When I got to the part about the Unrecognized Dead having names, Bert stopped me. It was a profound moment for all three of us. He said his gut sense was that the Unrecognized Dead were the uncounted victims of the fire bombings in Japan. Even if we can’t name the victims, Bert pointed out that to be counted, is to count — to matter, to be shown respect. He began to explain the enormity of the fire bombings. As I said in the Preamble to this blog post, I had not ever really fully let it in, until that moment.

We all three realized that without the constellation and the Unrecognized Dead speaking up, we wouldn’t be having the same conversation. Bert told me that he had done some research and his preliminary findings showed that the number killed was likely far greater than is normally reported in the history books. Our conversation and further emails sparked him and Hisako to do more research. By the numbers, based on Japanese census records, Bert calculates an upper limit for the number killed to be in the millions. There are many factors which would lower that number to an actual count. For example, how many fled to safety before and/or after the bombings? How many died of other causes?

To accurately determine those factors seems impossible. Hisako tells us that after the fire bombings the Japanese military government prevented ordinary people from seeing the bodies of the dead, as it was not good for morale. No real attempt was made to identify the bodies. Instead they were buried en masse as quickly as possible to hide them from view. In this way the Japanese government hid the true size of the horrors. The Pulitzer Prize winning historian Herbert Bix and others have shown that the Emperor and his military knew for at least a couple of years before the fire bombings and atomic bombings of 1945 that they would lose the war with the Allies. Yumi Kanazaki, journalist at Chugoku Shimbun (Hiroshima daily paper) added to our email exchanges, that the Japanese government also banned citizens from leaving their cities, effectively making them into dispensable human shields. According to Robert McNamara, General Curtis LeMay, US Air Force, who planned and ordered the fire bombings admitted that if the US had lost the war they would have been tried for war crimes.

Bert and I plan to continue our research and hope to find alternate ways to account for what happened to the victims of the fire bombings in Japan. If we are able to add to the story, we will publish our findings. In honour of those lost souls, there will be a moment of silence in my talk tonight. May they rest in peace.

Hiroshima, Nagasaki and the Spirit of Japan

The theme of the Japanese People turning to face the future showed itself particularly in my meetings with Ms. Tanaka (in Hiroshima) and Mr. Hayazaki (早崎猪之助) (in Nagasaki), atomic bomb survivors. Both of them, inspired me with their courage and fierce commitment to peace. Each in his or her own way has come to a place of acceptance and now devotes his or her life to spreading a message of peace to citizens of the world. For more on their activities and the stories of our meetings, please see my Hiroshima and Nagasaki posts.

The Spirit of Japan was ever present in the constellation and on my trip. My friend Noriko Nasu Tidball, a Japanese native now living in Vancouver, was my guide and companion on the Trail. Together we visited Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples wherever we went on and off the Neutron Trail — five cities in all — from humble Kii–Tanabe to bustling Kyoto. Noriko patiently taught me the proper way to enter the shrine gate, how to purify with water once inside, and a few of the many ways to pray. I came to love the little moments of silence. The cleansing water and the simple prayers sustained us, through the more intense parts of the journey. Sorely missing what I call Japanese prayer culture, I came home to a kind of reverse culture shock.

Tokyo was the last stop on my pilgrimage, a sixth city on my own without Noriko. Hisako wanted me to see Meiji Jingu Shrine. It was raining lightly and I was skeptical — did I really need to see another? Hisako gently insisted and off we went. Later I would thank her! Meiji Jingu is in the heart of a large forested park on 175 acres within Shibuya, Tokyo. As we approached the park, I noticed an elderly woman ahead of us stop and bow, before and after she passed through the first gate. As we walked through the woods, I saw her again. While exploring the main shrine, there she was offering a prayer. After we returned through the park, I saw her one last time and felt compelled to take a photo. Does she visit every day? I never saw her face, yet her movements radiated grace and dignity, giving me the sense she is a living incarnation of the spirit of Japan.

Woman Bowing, Meiji Jingu Shrine, Shibuya, Tokyo. Photo: © Olivia Fermi 2014.

 

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Japan’s Prayer Culture in Action: Nagasaki Healing

 

Iinosuke Hayazaki (早崎猪之助) (83), atomic bomb survivor, shares his story and message of peace at Nagasaki Peace Park. Photo: © Olivia Fermi 2014.

“Nuclear war ended in Nagasaki! Nagasaki is the period! Peace starts from Nagasaki!” – Takashi Nagai (永井 隆), Peace Tower

A life long desire to experience traditional Japanese culture, aesthetics and spiritual practice motivated my first trip to Japan, along with a more recent urge to follow the Neutron Trail to Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The US dropped atomic bombs on both cities in August 1945, ending World War II. To this day, humanity struggles to make sense of what happened. Victory? Tragedy? These questions are part of a larger movement toward healing that I hope to support with my Neutron Trail journey. When a Japanese friend and photographer Noriko Nasu Tidball (則子 那須) said she wanted to witness my pilgrimage and offered to accompany me, I was delighted.

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Hiroshima Atomic Bomb Survivor Heals Herself by Speaking Out
被爆体験を伝えることの大切さ、そしてヒーリング

Toshiko Tanaka, atomic bomb survivor, and I sharing stories about our lives; thoughts on art, action and healing over tea in her home, Hiroshima, Japan. Photo: © Noriko Nasu Tidball 2014. (被爆者である田中稔子さんの被爆体験、彼女のアートを通しての行動、お互いの人生について話をする二人。田中稔子さんの広島の自宅にて。)

The highlight of my visit to Hiroshima earlier this week was meeting Toshiko Tanaka now 76, a Hiroshima atomic bomb survivor. She shared her story with me. Toshiko was 6 years and 10 months old when the bomb fell. She, her mom and her little sister were living 2.3 km from the epicenter and suffered severe burns and radiation sickness, but all survived. Her father was away fighting in the war. In the next generation of her family there are thyroid problems and cancer. Toshiko showed me the scars on her arm that are almost gone and said, “It takes longer to heal inside.”

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A Visit to Hanford

Sketch of Enrico Fermi and his colleagues at Hanford (c. 1944), Enrico Fermi’s Office, Hanford B Reactor Museum Photo: © 2012 Olivia Fermi

I’m thinking about the different challenges you confront when sometimes you know something isn’t right, but yet you still do it.

I’m thinking about history, and how society and science influence each other.  What we do today will influence the future.
– Neutron Trail workshop student participants, October 2012, Richland, WA

In Southeastern Washington at the confluence of three rivers, the Yakima, Snake, and Columbia, is the traditional home of the Wanapum, Yakama and Walla Walla native peoples. The land and the rivers gave these peoples a home and sustenance. Later, they were almost entirely displaced by a wave of European settlers who established towns there, including Richland, now one of the Tri–Cities. Another wave of displacement came in 1943 when the US military evicted Richland area citizens to build the Hanford Nuclear Site, a top secret plutonium refining facility (now decommissioned), and the town of Hanford (which no longer exists), to house its workers.

Today Hanford is the site of the largest environmental cleanup project in the world.

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Full Body Burden: A Personal Review

Guest blogpost by Adam Kullberg

Kristen Iversen’s Full Body Burden: Growing Up in the Nuclear Shadow of Rocky Flats (Crown 2012) is a book about the power of secrets and of silence. In a masterful fusion of memoir and thought-provoking investigative journalism, Iversen braids together her less-than-ideal suburban childhood—peppered with an alcoholic father, a melancholic mother, and a neighborhood tinged with radioactive runoff—with the controversial Rocky Flats Plant near Denver, Colorado. Rocky Flats, open from 1952 to 1992, built plutonium triggers for the United States’ ever-growing nuclear stockpile during the Cold War. Employing a spectrum of artifacts, court records, press releases, and interviews, Iverson focuses her journalistic lens on the history, people, and repercussions of Rocky Flats. She reveals how the worlds we imagine we can isolate ourselves within, may so easily leach into and transform the worlds of others.

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Reflections on ‘Things Left Behind’

 

Photos: Ishiuchi Miyako

Sometimes on the Neutron Trail I have experiences, which exist more in the realm of emotion and feeling than in linear thoughts. These experiences have a coherence of their own, before words, yet they yearn to be expressed and shared.

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Nuclear Disarmament: Don’t Stop Now!

 

Jean Gore, former US section President of Womens International League for Peace and Freedom speaking July 8, 2012 at Neutron Trail Nuclear Disarmament: Don’t Stop Now” talk, Frasier Meadows Retirement Community, Boulder, CO. Photo: Alan Cogen, © Olivia Fermi 2012.

I’ve just returned from a Neutron Trail trip which began in Boulder, CO, where I gave a public talk on the world nuclear disarmament movement to approximately 75 people. In our planning conversations, the organizer at the retirement community hosting the event emphasized how engaged and articulate the audience would be. Wow was she ever right!

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Tsunami-struck Fukushima Community Inspires Creative Recovery

 

Fukushima Game Jam, August 2011. Kids playing games w developers in Minami-soma. Photo: Ryo Shimizu

A Japanese farming community of 70,000 torn apart by the earthquake and tsunami, on the edge of the Fukushima Dai–ichi nuclear exclusion zone, is finding a way to move forward through video games.

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TEDxTransmedia Rome, Italy

What if socially responsible human beings? On September 30, 2011, I gave a seven-minute TEDx talk: Becoming the Inspiration You Seek: the Alchemy of Opposites. It was part of TEDxTransmedia Rome: What if… socially responsible media?, a one day speech fest at the MAXXI Museum sponsored by the European Broadcasting Union, RAI 5 and others.

This poem is a synopsis of my speech:

between
reality and imagination,
a pressure cooker of contradictions.
be curious
embrace opposing forces

as Buddha suggests, build a stainless vessel*
within
to contain the most difficult opposites
in your life and your work…

grow
reach out
become our own heroes!

~ ~ ~

* Buddhist dedication: By whatever boundless merit we have attained through practicing the precious genuine dharma of the supreme yana may all beings become a stainless vessel of the supreme yana. Dharma = teaching, Yana = method

Here is a link to playlist of all of the TEDxTransmedia Rome 2011 talks.

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