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A Letter to the Bridge, from Jean Campbell

Dear Bridge people,

Since I finally got my Rolduc presentation transferred from 3x5 cards to the computer, I thought you might like to see what I said there. As I was giving this paper, the photos from the various Drum Dance and Dream for Peace events were running in a PowerPoint presentation in the background. The photos are at 

Huge thanks to all the photographers who sent in photos while Laura and I were winging our way to the Netherlands, and even huger thanks to Laura, who selected, resized and powerpointed the photos while the conference was going on. They are the real heroes of this tale:))


Jean Speaks
Panel discussion from L to R

Ellie, Jeremy, Laura, Massimo, Janet, Jean

Panel Presentation
Monday, June 27, 2011
Jean Campbell

In 1997 I recorded a dream in which I entered a room with white walls and polished wood floors. I walked toward a casket at the end of the room and, as I did so, I overheard two men sitting near the door. One was telling the other: "She is Einstein's daughter." It was Einstein in the coffin.

This dream puzzled me. One thing I understood was that I was a child of the atomic age. I was born near the end of World War II. One of my earliest memories is of a cover of Life Magazine showing the mushroom cloud over Hiroshima. My uncle, a nuclear physicist, helped to develop the atomic bomb, a fact which made my family proud.

This year marks the tenth anniversary of the World Dreams Peace Bridge and, as a result of natural causes, another nuclear disaster has unfolded in Japan, this time caused by the meltdown of nuclear reactors at the Fukishima Power Plant after a 9 point magnitude earthquake. It has been a difficult time to organize Drum Dance and Dream for Peace 2011, a Celebration of the Future of the World's Children.

But I cannot imagine a time when the world had been more in need of such a celebration, or in need of another element that the Peace Bridge provides: dreaming in community to attempt solutions to global issues.

Another aspect of being Einstein's daughter is to acknowledge that without an understanding of some of the same nuclear physics that created the bombs or the power plant, we would not be able to speculate that time might not be linear or that consciousness might affect what we perceive to be reality.

In this context, let me tell you a little about the development of this year's Drum Dance and Dream for Peace.

In January, I received a message from Dr. Ashfaq Ishaq, Director of the International Child Art Foundation, asking me if the World Dreams Peace Bridge might again provide Drum Dance and Dream for Peace as part of the World Children's Festival which he creates every four years on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

Almost simultaneously, the Peace Bridge received the news of the unexpected death of one of our most loved and respected members, Kotaro Mayagi from Tokyo.

Many of you are familiar with Kotaro's almost daily flowers of HOPE, which he sent to the Bridge from his cellphone, photos he took on his way to and from work. For him, it was a form of daily meditation.

Members of the Peace Bridge community were devastated by this loss. It was hard to think of saying yes to organizing a global event--because that's what Drum Dance and Dream for Peace is: not only drumming in Washington and providing a Ceremony for the Future of the World's Children, but coordinating global drum circles throughout the week of Summer Solstice.

Despite our pain over losing Kotaro, the group agreed on the importance of Drum Dance and Dream, and decided to take it on. Then things really began to happen!

On March 11, I was awakened from a sound sleep around 4 a.m., knowing that I needed to turn on the computer.

When I logged onto my email program, a message had just arrived from Laura Atkinson. "Just curious if you're awake this early," the message read, :and if you know about what is happening in Japan? Kotaro woke me up."

In Laura's dream, she and Kotaro were having a conversation about photography when he shoved his cell phone into her stomach, waking her up. She heard a voice say, "Misa!" (the name of another Peace Bridge member who lives in Tokyo).

Kotaro was part of the Peace Bridge in 2003, when Jeremy Seligson wrote, following Hiroshima Day, a post entitled: "My Mother Died in Hiroshima," noting that when he was a little boy, his family lived at the nuclear facility in Oak Ridge, Tennessee where the bomb was developed that would be dropped on Hiroshima, and that his mother developed the same type of cancer that was prevalent among female victims of the bomb.

A clear example of the value of the Peace Bridge approach to life grew from that conversation, which included not only Kotaro, but psychotherapist May Tung, who was a twelve-year-old refugee in China when the bomb was dropped.

"Don't forget the Chinese when we talk about Hiroshima," May wrote. "Though my family was fortunate enough to move to the safe region, the Japanese were pushing closer and closer. That kind of fear and panic, feeling your back against the wall with no more ground to retreat.... We CHEERED when the bombs were dropped and Japan surrendered."

There followed a conversation about the kamikaze warriors who killed themselves while flying planes into a target. "I think I would certainly be one of them if I was born in those years," Kotaro said. "This imagination always frightens me."

"Dearest Kotaro," May wrote back. "Here we are, a Japanese and a Chinese, with genuine affection for each other. As a matter of fact, dear friend, you alone have made more difference in my feelings toward the Japanese than any other single factor. We are none of us without blood on our hands!"

In the days following the earthquake in Japan and the dream that woke Laura, and then me up, the World Dreams Peace Bridge filled with a steady stream of dreams and dreamers, immediately responding to the worsening situation in Japan by adding their energy to a worldwide attempt to cool the waters around Fukishima and participating in the work of collecting funds to aid Peace Bridge member Misa Tsurata's efforts to work with post traumatic stress for children and their families in Japan.

Before the month was over, we had collected $500 to send to Misa for art supplies. In April, the orchestra in Massimo Schinco's town in northern Italy donated the entire proceeds of a planned orchestra concert to Misa's work.

Dr. Jenny Parker of West England University in Leeds wrote to me: "I hope you don't mind, but I wanted to share the dream I had last night with you. I don't do this often, but it is directly related to the Fukishima Nuclear Plant as you will see.

I was looking at the plant from some distance, just like pictures on TV. I saw the clouds move and four angels sat at each corner of the plant. They were huge, with massive wings, and dominated the scene in their glory and presence. The first (and closest to me on the left) took a huge breath and inhaled the radioactive smoke into her body. The second angel (at the back and on the left) began to cry. Her tears flooded the broken plant and put out the fires. I turned my gaze to the third angel (on the right at the back) and realized it was a bear, a huge bear with angel wings. The angel bear was scooping its paw up and down in the earth, and with each movement was scooping up people and animals dying from radiation poisoning. My angel bear cradled the wounded in her arms. She looked at me with such compassion it made me cry. The final angel moved to the horizon, and took up the whole panorama. She stood facing me (miles away) and lifted her hand. With one finger pointed upward, she moved her hand back and forth in a "no" gesture. I heard a voice say: "No more of this."

Shortly after this, on April 3rd, a new member joined the Peace Bridge. Diane Rickards from Vancouver, British Columbia wrote: "I'm here because I had a dream about standing on a beautiful blue sky bridge with Jean, watching radioactive water being towed back through the ocean to an island from whence it had come. We were discussing the futility of this process and exploring other options."

Fortunately for our current efforts, Diane was also enthusiastic about the development of Drum Dance and Dream for Peace 2011, particularly one aspect of it, that of raising funds so that our Iraqi family: Ihsan and his three children Zeyneb (thirteen), Mohammed (twelve) and Ahmed (nine) could travel from their home in Portland, Maine to join us in Washington for the closing of the World Children's Festival on the Mall. The Peace Bridge, through its many members around the world, has supported this Iraqi family's progress from Iraq, through Turkey, to the United States. Many of us, including me, had never met this part of our family in person. So it was particularly important that we be able to get together. Due to Diane's donation, and the generosity of several others, Ihsan's family and members of the Peace Bridge were able to spend a weekend in Washington.

You can see from the photos at that from the date of the World Children's Festival on the National Mall in Washington, June 19 through the week of Solstice, all over the world--from Tehran to Istanbul, to the High Sierras in California; to Vancouver and Calgary; in northern Italy and the Cascades in New York; from Dallas, Texas and Windyville, Missouri to Rolduc Abbey in Kerkrade, the Netherlands, people have been drumming and dreaming for Peace and the Future of the World's Children.

I would like to thank all the members of the Peace Bridge, and all of the others around the world who have helped to make Drum Dance and Dream for Peace 2011 a success, and a special thank you to all who continue to act in the way of Peace, through both dreams and waking life.

copyright 2011