A Billion Years Distilled

This is a poem my brother wrote some years ago about life in the Sea Org.

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I’ve stood my tallest, strong and keen
sharp navy blues on white unpressed
gilded with such pride of meagre rank
still thrilling inside grim-faced mask
all individual, part of elite group.
I am the team
I work flat out
I run, don’t walk
I know the score.
(This life grand Yvonne’s softly eyes endorsed
This adventure David’s manic glint engaged).

I’ve walked the gangplank, up to Flag
a bridge to total freedom? no,
to something better: duty, care
penultimate, right next to Source
where action is, and bellys young and fired.
to graduate
to make my mark
to give my all
to save the world.
(Surprise! my greeting is a Terri laugh,
precursor to a thousand smiles
Surprise! they’re just a hundred guys like me
with taste for action — vive la vie!)

I’ve met the Old Man, Commodore
(an LRH who fancied to be HRH)
my guru, chief, raison d’être
strong, inspiring, our own Thor
and only sometimes showing feet of clay.
He chatted, navigation stars
he yelled, a flub-catch leaving port
he messengered, all wee winged feet
he wrote, prolix! (but always fun in OODs)
(Oh Lafayette you weren’t exempt,
great power overpowers *all* egos
Oh David young Hermes indeed
fly close, fly high – wax melts, take heed!)

I’ve weathered fiercest ocean storms
a hurricane close to the rocks
“one more degree of list and she *will* keel”
grip-riding drenching high bow waves,
my ship my surfboard, I’m The King!
Hear rigging’s scream
feel dancing bolt (hung from a string)
see faces white
taste waves, my God the waves!
(Poor ‘Frank The Bucket’ – desparate!
and extra food for us who don’t turn green
Poor children of our legend be
those Sea Org members without sea).

I’ve worn a uniform with pride
‘on mission’ like Blues Brothers but
by orders of some lesser Gods
My ethics in, my confront high,
they’d look away but up their game when Sea Org came to town.
Get those stats up!
get back on-tech!
get regging, quick!
get off your ass!
(But Doreen did that knife-in-wall trick really work?
and Jill why did down stats return
and why were bridges all so burned?)

I’ve loved intensely, sardine style
when stress entreats and close feels like affinity
Too-easy touch can seem like need, and havingness means gettingness
We practiced well at kidding selves, were righteous stars like Hollywood
so honour waned, and family. The smorgasbord awaits.
Is she with him?
is he off lines?
is “flows” 2D?
is family and a life just wog-world dreams?
(No wasn’t scared of your Dad hon
but yes I knew he’d think me low
No I’ll never listen to Hey April
without heart-clutch about mischievous green eyes.)

I’ve done my time in serfdom, slaved in boiler-suited RPF
some higher up thought low of me, gold buttons making goldenrod
or dirty needle? dirty hands!
so here’s some hell – go janitor and rehabilitate!
Some MEST got rehabbed but not me, I know how POWs feel:
you fake Yes SIR through bitter sweat, and only cry at night.
No, I see rust!
no, no time off!
no case on post!
No! CSW is not OK.
(Ah irony of destiny
mete balance and such just deserts
Ah them that lightly “banish!” said
will soon enough be banish-ed).

I’ve stopped and thought, looked at my life, evaluated stats
Examined tech not Chinese style or ‘knowing’ it correct
In doubt looked at polarities, deciding paths to take
So walked down gangplank tenuous, goodbye?
but leaving friends, not enemies, ’cause now I understand.
Me? I’m just a graduate.
me? I’ve made my mark.
me? I gave my all (and more besides)
me? my world is everyone’s, not some’s (the ‘able’ rich).
(Father was it my fault that my life went thus so long?
well no but yes, we made it all go right
Father was there one thing I should now do different?
what if?…who cares, or possibly could know?)

What I know is
we can come back
or not – now power comes from self
the past has passed
abandon self to love,
and dance and learn
hang tough take care
each moment built your life’s net wealth
so drink your Sea Org buddies’ health
our new quest life right here!

DWJ August 2006

DWJ Sea Org

Life in Scotland 1970, an interlude

Scotland
My new husband and I went to Scotland to start anew, blessed with the courage of the young (he was only a couple of years older than me.) I had absolutely no idea of what I was headed into and was trusting that it would certainly be better than the life I had left behind. I was 17 years old and with so much having happened within the last couple of years I also hoped that I could somehow learn about and begin a ‘normal’ life.

I had visited Edinburgh in 1969 when I had joined the SO. I didn’t get to see much of the city though, as you can imagine. I remember grey…grey … and cobblestone streets. The buildings are grey, the roads are grey. And of course the skies. I wish now I had been able to really see more.

Life in a small Scottish village north of Glasgow was a tremendous culture shock. It was a beautiful place. The village was crowded around the end of the loch, wee houses with boats out front, and surrounded by the mountains. Picture postcard beautiful, with snow showing almost all year round on their peaks. The first thing that struck me was the cold. Oh my God, it was cold to a young Aussie! I wore multiple layers and suffered badly and was told scornfully by the locals the only way to be comfortable was to acclimatise.

My mother-in-law didn’t like me at all and we were living with her in a tiny council flat.
Somehow we got by. I learned to shop in the tiny local grocery. We ate lots of canned goods and instant meals as I didn’t know how to cook, and she refused to other than a family meal now and then. But when she did cook it was glorious! Lots of haggis and turnips and mash, I loved it.

The only heating in the tiny hoose was a wood fire that also heated the water tank above it. So no hot water most of the day. When I washed clothes and hung them outside they tended to freeze solid in the winter. This was amazing to me and I’d go around knocking on them.

I wanted to fit in, I had no intention of going back to East Grinstead, but it was almost impossible. I started having bad headaches and went to the local doctor. Within an hour my mother-in-law asked me if I was pregnant (and didn’t look pleased at the prospect). Apparently I had been seen by some of the locals walking away from the surgery with a green form (diet sheet) that was usually handed out to pregnant ladies! Word spread fast in that place, the curtains twitched whenever I went out. It’s funny looking back on it now.

I loved to roam the local hills above the village. The views were so breathtaking, I can remember them still, and the smell of truly fresh air. I remember going on a picnic once, a great outdoor event on another close by loch. Terrific food, good company and a million bloody European wasps. It didn’t seem to bother anyone that they were crawling all over the food.

Every afternoon at 4pm we had to go to my husband’s grandparent’s house for High Tea. This was very ritualised, with a precise number of cakes and tea. I liked them, they were very down to earth and only saw their grandson starting life with a new wife, unlike his mother. Then dinner was 8-9pm and that was a full meal.

There was a local Mission in Helensburgh, not too far away run by Sheena and Hunter Robinson. We went there a few times with the intention of working towards getting back on lines, but I don’t remember much about it and nothing came of it.

The funniest thing about my life in Scotland was that I started to mimic the accent.
“Och away wi’ya, ya daft wee hen” etc. It became so pronounced that towards the end of my time there my mother couldn’t understand me on the phone. I can still translate Billy Connolly quite well.

Life there didn’t suit me, and I soon found my husband was as crazy as you could imagine. I mean really, really nuts. He would fly into rages and have “invisible” stalkers. His mother hated me, this blonde bimbo from Australia who had taken her son. It was not fun.

I had left Scientology, left my family, left everything I had known. The relief I had felt at leaving behind the insanity started to recede in importance as I wondered what my life would become where I was. Isolated way up north, not in the country of my birth, I wanted to be with my family. But my family were in Scientology and I had fled it…..

Eventually I couldn’t take it as my husband was starting to become more and more crazy and violent in his actions, so I knew I had to get out or my life was in danger. I told him I was leaving and he threw all my clothes down the stairs and was so angry he broke off a piece of the stair railing and came after me with it. I stayed locked in a room and the next morning went to the local train station and sat there until the train came.

I travelled from one end of the country to the other and it was, for me, a terrifying experience. However I was befriended by a solider on his way back to London. I didn’t trust him at first, I was so scared  but he bought me lunch, chatted quietly and calmed my fears. When the train reached London he found a cab for me back to East Grinstead and waved goodbye. I have never forgotten him, and thank him for looking after me.

Leaving staff the first time

This period of my life was total stress. I was living in a room at the Stables (part of the original property converted to a few apartments) and I tried to cope with a newborn babe at the age of 16, while working on staff. My parents were busy and I didn’t have any other support or knowledge of caring for a baby. I couldn’t cope with all the dirty nappies either, and started storing them in cupboards out of desperation. They were discovered and I was asked to leave, and moved back with my parents.

I don’t know if the time sequence is right here, but sometime around then Martyn’s Place (a huge old mansion with about 20 bedrooms) was finished being renovated and my family moved there. It was a really beautiful place and I remember it fondly, and will try to post some pics sometime. I continued working on staff.

During this time I was raped by a student who I was silly enough to go for a walk with in the woods one day. I wasn’t hurt, except emotionally, and so shocked by what happened and the guilt of “pulling it in” that I didn’t tell anybody. How could I say it was rape when I had kissed him? I didn’t even know at that time that being pushed to the ground, jeans ripped while I was saying “no” was rape. He was a respected older student at Saint Hill and who would believe me? And if I did tell, it would cause a huge Public Relations “flap” and be bad for scientology. It took 30 years for that to come out, I cried for a week when I first told someone, and it has had a lot to do with my subsequent healing.

This is the sort of thing that interests me, as it reflects the values of the group. I did not feel safe enough to report a sexual crime, and lived with the certainty for many years that it was all my fault. Of course this is not unusual, but here was I in the midst of the supposedly safest place on the planet, and I could not tell ANYONE.
Heavy ethics penalties were brought in while I was on staff there. This meant that if your ‘statistics’ on your job (post) were down on the week before, physical restrictions were assigned. For example after a ‘downstat’ week I was not allowed to leave the premises, get food, shower etc. There was nothing I could do immediately to get my stats up and I remember once having to try to find somewhere to sleep the night other than under a desk. A friend whispered that there was a key to LRH’s camera/photography room he could get, so we spent the night there, on the floor amongst Hubbard’s cameras! If we had been found there would have been hell to pay.

I met my first husband on staff, we had an instant rapport and decided to marry quickly, and escape Saint Hill. I had to argue long and hard to get my parent’s permission and I knew it also meant leaving my baby behind for some time.  She was settled within our family and I knew she would be safe, I had been becoming more and more unhappy on staff, it was really an insane time and place to be. He was unhappy on staff too, and the thought of the freedom of a new life with him was too enticing to ignore. Our wedding was arranged to be held in Saint Hill Chapel. I can’t remember the sequence precisely; I think I blew the day before the wedding as I had been refused permission for leave.  I still was married in Saint Hill Chapel! How did I manage that? I am still amazed. Only half the guests came, and I suppose the fact that any did was because they hadn’t heard I was blowing ! My new husband and I drove off into the sunset (towards Scotland) with a profound sense of relief. I will remember that feeling forever. In my mind I had totally left scientology and I didn’t intend to come back to it, however life isn’t always that easy.