Howdy is what we say in Texas when we greet friends, the land where Davy Crockett died and George Bush lives. I am pleased to be here, and to accept the position of president of IASD for the coming year. I know some of you well, some of you not so well, and most of you only through the warm smiles that we exchange in the hallways. I am always interested in meeting you and hearing your nighttime dreams, as well as your dreams for our organization.

I have served in various capacities in my adult life, and some say it makes for good reading. I am currently a professor of counseling, a psychotherapist, a writer, a dream analysis trainer, a website designer, and a fly fishing guide; but the work I do is one work, in whatever area I find myself. I am constantly asking, “How does this experience represent an initiation; that is, how does it challenge me to respond to life in deeper, more courageous ways?” As an early lucid dreamer, influenced by the extant Buddhist texts on the subject, I began to see the dream and the dream of life as one continuous initiation, in which the soul is challenged by the “emergent novelty” of the great dream. Monty Ullman used the term “intrusive novelty” during a seminar that I attended in his home, and I will never forget the beauty of that phrase. The next time, someone’s in your face, it might help you to think of it as “intrusive novelty,” and see if you dig up a better response. 

I am always looking at what I am called to do in every circumstance. As a fly fishing guide, I always say to my clients and students, “Never blame the fish. Your presentation, your cast, is all that matters.”  And those of you who are familiar with my co-creative approach to dream theory and analysis know that I focus on the dream as a relational process, and put the emphasis on what the dreamer feels, thinks and does in the dream as a co-determining influence in the dream’s outcome, on par with the dream imagery. I am thus always looking at what we can do to optimize our competencies in the face of conditions that may seem intractable until we examine our own neglected capabilities. Consistent with this worldview is an insistence on direct and honest communication, and accepting the initial cost of such boldness as a means to maintaining a healthy community. I look forward to upholding that ideal in our community.

As an officer of the IASD, I am truly surrounded by wise and capable stewards, some of whom bear in their hearts a clear vision of our tribe’s origins and history.  I owe special thanks to Jody Grundy for spending long hours on the phone mentoring me for the past three years. I am also humbled by the scope of Rita’s Dwyer’s grasp of the IASD’s legacy, and how she regularly anoints us with an elder’s blessings, and a mother’s tenderness.  I am stunned by Bob Hoss’s tireless industry that, along with Curt Hoffman and Robert Gongloff, keeps the annual conference team, known as the Oz team, outdoing themselves from year to year. I am comforted by Robert Gongloff’s kind, compassionate approach to all creatures great and small, and his masterful attention to the details that some of us overlook. I am secured by David Kahn’s daunting grasp of the IASD’s bylaws and procedures, and I am utterly confident that David L. Kahn’s financial wizardry will carry on Bob Hoss’s tradition of fiscal responsibility. In other words, there’s not a whole lot that I have to import into this opportunity. To the contrary, it’s more a matter of serving as a harmonizing presence among an established leadership, as well as welcoming new blood into the Executive team.  We are enjoying an embarrassment of riches in having Tracey Kahan come in as our new secretary, and Laurette Dupuis as our new Vice President. If I were a coach, I’d say we had incredible depth in our team, and a very bright prospect making the finals in coming years.

I joined IASD only seven years ago, and so my own trajectory should give all of you, who have gifts to bring us, confidence that you will be noticed and welcomed for the contributions you could make. At my first conference, at the University of Bridgewater, I had just met Fariba Bogzaran. We had known of each other, but had never met. As we visited in the cafeteria, she suddenly asked me, “Don’t you have a presentation to do?” “Yes, I said, at 11:00.” “I thought it was at 10, she said.”

Where is IASD headed at this time? Thinking ahead is, of course, am important part of any organization that endeavors to survive the ups and downs of macro forces that are outside of our control, as well as harnessing trends that can enhance our influence and outreach. A president that has one year, however, cannot presume to set very many new goals. Instead, he would do well to take the advice of the great chessmaster Ruben Alekine who was once asked how many moves he was able to plan ahead.  The questioner was influenced by Bobby Fischer’s defeat of Spassky in an unprecedented display of foresight in which he sacrificed his queen, and then checkmated Spassky nine moves later. Alekine startled the questioner by saying, “One or two moves.”  “How was winning possible?” the astounded questionner asked. Alekine said that he focused on the strength of his position, not what the future would bring.
And so, as President, I hope to preserve and strengthen IASD’s current position and structure. In practical terms, it means supporting several robust directions that are already underway, including:
  • the upgrade of our website. As a website developer myself, I am excited to know that Jean Campbell and Richard Wilkerson will be overseeing this process, which will allow content management by committee members, and a more user-friendly, streamlined site structure. Donations have been earmarked for this project. I hope to get behind this project personally.
  • the expansion of our regional representatives network, and regional conferences under Jody Grundy’s able leadership. While Jody is leaving her role as chairman of the Board, she is putting her skills as a community organizer to work in fostering regional development and programming. She will be working closely with Diane Rickards, our new Membership Chair who comes to us with fresh ideas for member recruitment. The synergy created by these two Chairs, in particular, will doubtless create more avenues from first contact to active membership. 
  • the further expansion of our virtual footprint in the social networking domain. We are fortunate to have Ryan Hurd head up our various networking efforts. While the conversion from first contact to IASD membership is difficult to track, the goodwill generated by IASD in the larger nonmember community is expanding daily. It is no accident that 50 media passes were requested for this conferences alone--a new record that we can trace in part to IASD’s wider exposure on the web.

We are a part of a great endeavor, one that is undeniably unique in the world. Here we are at this conference, 450 strong, a group comprised of the most distinguished laboratory dream researchers, dedicated academics, dream theorists, artists, therapists, and lay dream workers alike. You can listen to Ernest Hartmann and Bill Donhoff debate the leading edge of dream research in one room, and draw dream mandalas, or engage in group dream work in the next rooms. I would like to think that it is more than mere tolerance that brings such disparate interests and activities together under the same tent. To the contrary, I believe that it our collective respect for the authority of our dreams that binds us into a remarkable family. Such deep respect for our differences, such a willingness to look beyond outward status springs from our mutual respect for the dream as the matrix from which we all derive a sense of identity, healing, and direction.

I am reminded of when Rabbi Weiner, the author of  8 1/2 Mystics, spoke at the Assn. for Research and Enlightenment some time ago. A member of the audience asked him, “Why do you speak here, to an audience comprised of people who are mostly Christian in their backgrounds.” Weiner simply replied, “Deep speaks to deep.”
I am grateful and honored to be a part of an organization wherein a person with a GED can receive the same deep respect as someone with a PHD. Deep does speak to deep among those who listen to their dreams. 
And finally let me say that I struggle as I know you struggle. Last night I struggled with the question, “Why me?” What can I say about why I’m here at this juncture to accept this role other than “you may have gotten the wrong person”? I sat up and prayed and went back to sleep.
I had a lucid dream, which lasted for about an hour--perhaps the longest lucid dream I’ve ever had. I saw my deceased father, I meditated on a blue sun surrounded by a golden white aura, and I danced among Christmas trees and brightly colored lights with people who greeted me as a friend. I awoke restored in my faith that for some reason that I cannot fully understand, it makes sense for me to be here now, with you.