Monster, Part II

4

January 16, 2018, Prescott-  Dolores O’Riordan had a powerful voice, calling out those who exacerbated tension and bloodshed, in her Irish homeland and appealing to those who take the feelings of loved ones lightly, to think deeply about their choices in life.

I’m thinking of her,now, in the wake of an untimely passing and on the heels of some very harsh judgments, flying in all manner of directions.  Dolores both made rash judgments and received quite a few, over a 25-year public career.  She made amends for the former and absorbed the latter, as many of us do, in similar straits.  I find her music compelling, regardless.

The ego leads us into horrible choices, even among those who have dedicated their lives to the welfare of humanity.  I have made plenty of my own, and I know of many others who have, as well.  In each case, there are people who could come forward and point fingers.  We’ve seen quite a bit of that, lately, and in most cases, the accused could probably stand to make amends, if they have not already been made.

The ego leads us, also, to set conditions on our love for others.  Christ says:

Matthew 5:43-48
“You have heard people say, “Love your neighbors and hate your enemies.” But I tell you to love your enemies and pray for anyone who mistreats you. Then you will be acting like your Father in heaven. He makes the sun rise on both good and bad people. And he sends rain for the ones who do right and for the ones who do wrong. If you love only those people who love you, will God reward you for that? Even tax collectors love their friends.

If you greet only your friends, what’s so great about that? Don’t even unbelievers do that? But you must always act like your Father in heaven.”  (CEV)

Baha’u’llah says

“Now is the time to cheer and refresh the down-cast through the invigorating breeze of love and fellowship, and the living waters of friendliness and charity.”
(Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 7) , and, through His eldest son and interpreter, ‘Abdu’l-Baha, He admonishes us:

“The greatest gift of man is universal love – that magnet which renders existence eternal. It attracts realities and diffuses life with infinite joy. If this love penetrate the heart of man, all the forces of the universe will be realized in him, for it is a divine power which transports him to a divine station and he will make no progress until he is illumined thereby. Strive to increase the love-power of reality, to make your hearts greater centers of attraction and to create new ideals and relationships. First of all, be ready to sacrifice your lives for one another, to prefer the general well-being to your personal well-being. Create relationships that nothing can shake; form an assembly that nothing can break up; have a mind that never ceases acquiring riches that nothing can destroy. If love did not exist, what of reality would remain? It is the fire of the love of God which renders man superior to the animal. Strengthen this superior force through which is attained all the progress in the world.”
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Divine Philosophy, p. 111-112)

Satan, the personification of the  dark aspects of the ego, is clever, as the human mind is clever.  It can get a person to do and say the most heinous of things, even in the name of the Lord.  It can make a person fear those who mean no harm, and embrace those ready to apply a dagger to the back.  It can lull a soul into complacency, whilst raising the hackles of another, leading to lost spiritual growth, in each of them.  It leads to disease, contention and strife.  Yet, this is not some one of the supernatural dark forces, being summoned, (though these do exist).  It is the power of a person’s own ego, or of the collective ego, manifest in a community.  The time is now, to work at channeling our egos towards love, and away from self-aggrandizement.

I have said enough, for now, and will have more to say about love, in an upcoming post.

 

Monster, Part I

30

January 15, 2018, Prescott-

Last night, I was lovingly, but forcefully, admonished to turn away from what I know in my heart to be the greatest Source of Light the world has yet seen.  I will not, ever, do that, even under pain of death.

This morning, someone I thought I could trust, has attacked me on Facebook Messenger, for refusing to pass judgement on the President of the United States.  While I take umbrage at his remarks, concerning nations of colour, I will not, ever, judge another human being’s inherent worth, even under pain of death.

We, as a nation, and as a human race, mark the birthday of a powerful, if flawed, personage, who did as much, if not more, to advance the cause of human dignity than any other American in the Twentieth Century.  Quite frankly, if there is such a thing as a body rolling in its grave, I am sure Dr. King is turning somersaults, at the back and forth verbiage that has plagued our nation, for nearly two years.  Remember his words: “Hate cannot overcome hate.  Only love can overcome hate.”

There is a monster loose in the world.  We know him as Satan.  He has no power, save what we give him, as Jesus the Christ and Baha’u’llah have both said.  Satan is not an actual physical being, but the personification of our own egos.  These days, though, ego is rampant, as rampant as ever.

I have been told my deepest beliefs are only my opinion.  I have been told that if I don’t attack other human beings, that I am just as guilty as they are.  I, have been told, by different people, to conform to their beliefs and expectations, or else.  Sorry, my beliefs will only change when the Holy Spirit guides me to change them.  Even if I have no friends left in the human race, that will be the bottom line.  I’ve always been a loner, so that is no big deal.

The only way to fight a monster is to not give it an inch.  I will respond to any comments made below, in Part II.

Whose Toilet?

10

January 14, 2018, Prescott-

My day will likely be a joyous one, with my spirits telling me to get the laundry done, attend a memorial service, then either go and help my dear friend, or go hike in Granite Dells, if she is not in the mood for company.

Now, back to the title question.  I was discomfited, annoyed, put out at the tale coming out of the White House, as to our President’s purported comments, regarding immigrants and their countries of origin.  Either he said these things, thus committing a serious breach of comity OR his actual words were translated to fit the opinion of the observer towards the President, thus committing a serious act of calumny towards him.

Either way, I have to say this, about countries in general:  Each has its places of sublime beauty, and each has its places of squalour.  This is as true of the USA as it is of Haiti.  It is as true of France, Germany, the UAE, as it is of Liberia, Guyana or Bangladesh.  I have seen exquisite, serene villages in Guyana and decrepit, unsettling places in France.  No one who has been across our great nation would deny that there is astonishing beauty in Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon and the Great Smoky Mountains, whilst admitting that there is much work to be done, in addressing the matters of homelessness in cities large and small, in raising up the standards of living in First Nations reservations and in run-down sections of both urban and rural areas, across the continent.

No one likes to have their good name, or that of their country, sullied.  Some will argue, “Well, if the shoe fits, wear it!”  If that shoe has a hole in it, I would gather that the person has every right to decline its adornment.  Far better, in my view, that, having shone the light on the filth and the problems, the President, and each of us who has looked down their noses at a person, community or country, should put down that flashlight and ask, “How might we help?”  One immediate thing we can each do is, stop referring to the shortcomings of a people, as their be all and end all.  Acknowledge the beauty of a place, or of a society, instead of yammering about how horrible SOME aspects of it happen to be.  Messes happen, even in the finest of communities (just ask anyone in Montecito, CA). Beauty and strength, likewise, may be found anywhere.  How about building on that beauty and strength?

Ice Cream

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January 11, 2018, Prescott-

I ended my work day by being reminded that today was the 11th, after a fatigue-based brain fart.  That gave rise to the inevitable concern from Lead Teacher, about the onset of dementia.  Umm, no.  I was tired, exhausted.  I know tomorrow is January 12th.

Now, on to the reference in this post’s title.  On the podcast, this morning, one of my mentors was accenting an aversion to success, using ice cream as an analogy.  If one were to go up to a counter, see a flavour of ice cream that appealed, and was asked what would be your preference, and then dithered, thinking about whether one deserved ice cream at all, even while knowing that thousands of other people enjoy ice cream, each day, what would that feel like?

I have long dithered about enjoying life.  I have long felt that I did not deserve success, even having a hard time accepting, initially, that Penny found me attractive.  I have come to the conclusion that it was my autism talking.

The fact is, she DID find me attractive.  I was not the dregs with which she had to make do.  So, we had our ups and downs, for 29 years, but they were years of love.  I have been amazed at finding myself in places like Neah Bay, downtown Portland, San Francisco’s Russian Hill and Fisherman’s Wharf, Paris, Versailles, Utah Beach, the Dom Sector of Frankfurt, Iolani Palace, Bruges and Sitka’s Mt. Verstovia.  I really DID walk the length of Prescott Circle Trail and Black Canyon National Recreation Trail, albeit in sections. I am amazed, also, by the beautiful lady who now calls me friend.

So, all those bowls of ice cream later, I am looking at a huge sundae, and preparing to nibble a spoonful at a time.  I have spoken of giant steps being on my horizon.  I still need to convince myself that I am not the family’s hood ornament, or an appendage to the two-woman team in the classroom where I work.  It’s these very giant steps that will do this, for me.  The mentor cautioned us to not falter.  I won’t, having come all this way.

Giant Steps Continue

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January 10, 2018, Prescott-

I am finding time zone differences

are the muck that is

complicating

my giant steps.

Doing two jobs at once,

until the end of March,

albeit for a short fifteen minutes,

in the morning,

could be a bit messy.

Good thing my day job supervisor

is agreeable

to my giant steps continuing.

61 .THE WEATHER OF LOVE _ Suzy Kassem

4

This is how love has come into my life, both thirty-seven years ago, and much more recently.

optimisticlifeat30

Love
Has a way of wilting
Or blossoming
At the strangest,
Most unpredictable hour.
This is how love is,
An uncontrollable beast
In the form of a flower.
The sun does not always shine on it.
Nor does the rain always pour on it
Nor should it always get beaten by a storm.
Love does not always emit the sweetest scents,
And sometimes it can sting with its thorns.
Water it.
Give it plenty of sunlight.
Nurture it,
And the flower of love will
Outlive you.
Neglect it or keep dissecting it,
And its petals will quickly curl up and die.
This is how love is,
Perfection is a delusional vision.
So love the person who loves you
Unconditionally,
And abandon the one
Who only loves you
Under favorable Conditions…⚜

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Flights

6

January 8, 2018, Prescott-

He was like Gibraltar’s rock,

working day and night

to secure his future,

and those of countless others,

for he was a man of finance,

and a man of principle.

I’d have trusted him

with the account I am building.

He loved a sacred space,

not far from where he

and his beloved

had lived

for over two decades.

He worked the grounds

of that sacred space.

I had the honour

of working alongside him.

Now, he has taken his flight,

after a life lived powerfully.

She was in the worst  of pain,

the sort that only a flood of love

can even come close to healing.

Those closest to her,

not knowing her level

of suffering,

tended to other matters.

She tended to her matter,

and took her flight,

after a life lived tortuously.

We know not what

is in store for us.

We can only live

in as much of the Light

as we can absorb.

We can only absorb

as much of the Light,

as the size of our lens,

will let in.

Our lens is

only as big,

as the heart that

it mirrors,

and the lenses

off  which

it reflects.

So, I honour

a forthright,

valiant man.

So, I feel pain,

for a tortured

woman.

 

Blogging With Depression

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I hope every one of my friends who is depressed, or knows someone who is depressed, takes heed of the last section of this post.

Harotian Essentials

eb78710049d2ed82a39f6bbace485515-rain-drops-dew-drops

Since I could remember, writing has always been a liberating experience for me. It has gotten me away from the harsh realities of my current situation. Growing up wasn’t easy, but I see now that those experiences are guiding me to where I am supposed to be and who I am supposed to be. Without the joys of writing, I wouldn’t have made it out alive. As a small child without a voice, I was able to use my ability to transform characters into letters, letters into words, words into feelings, to give me the chance to dance, sing, and dream.

Depression has the ability to take away what you love the most. Its desire to feed on your negative energy is insatiable. I will admit for a long time, I allowed depression to convince me that writing was something I wasn’t good at and that it wasn’t a goal…

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Reading List and A Full Plate

6

January 7, 2017, Prescott- 

My best friend and I had a wide-ranging conversation, yesterday, about  inner peace, among other things.  She suffered a loss, recently, and the subject arose about those who blame others for their pain and suffering.  Neither she nor I blame anyone but ourselves, if things go sideways in our lives.  I love her dearly, but if she bid me farewell tomorrow, I would go on, and figure it wasn’t meant to be, for longer than it was.  On the other hand, I am glad for every minute of our friendship, and will treat her like royalty, as long as it lasts.

Those of us who are blessed by the Universe tend to have a mighty full plate.  I was informed today about another responsibility that my fellow Baha’is would like me to assume.  My financial education continues, work resumes tomorrow and I still like to read as many of  the posts on my Reader, as humanly possible.    Exercise remains important. I will also make time for M, when she needs me. So, the schedule remains, 4:30 AM-10 PM, 6 days a week, and a “sleep-in” until 5:30, on Sunday.

My winter reading list is also present, to fill in the “gaps” in my day:  “Cash Flow Quadrant”, by Robert Kiyosaki; “Facing Grief With Eyes Wide Open”, by Medea Bavarella Chechik; “Tribe”, by Sebastian Junger; “Winter of the World”, by Ken Follett; “Footloose in America”, by Bud Kenny; “The Elegant Universe”, by Brian Greene.  That should last until March 21, or 31.

We were talking, at a meeting today, in Phoenix, about how people often assume the young and the old have lots of time on their hands.  I can’t speak for the kids, but there is joy for me, in choosing to maintain a full schedule.

2018 and the Four F’s

15

January 5, 2018, Prescott-

I have addressed the new year, in terms of where I might go, and such.  In terms of the Now, however, any new year is best approached by looking at the Four F’s of one’s life: Family, Friends, Faith and Finances.

So, let’s do this.

Family-  I have to be at the ready, always, for any changes that happen in my large and cherished family.  As with anyone, I need to be ready for births, deaths and any dire emergency in between.  Right now, the radar screen shows my niece’s wedding, in June. May peace reign, in the interim.  My family goal this year, though, remains more regular communication with all.  Social media takes up much of that slack, and I am already engaged in writing a traditional letter to my mother, every 1-2 weeks.  A similar letter, to my eldest brother, goes out once a month, and he follows my online postings.  The same is true of my son.

Friends- There is someone who I consider my best friend, and to whom I would devote as much time as she needs.  She is a busy soul, though, so up to now, that time has not amounted to a whole lot.  There are many others, from my fellows in Faith, my co-workers and people, from three blocks away, to Zimbabwe and Siberia, for whom I would give my life. I have two caveats:  Please do not call or message me, randomly, and get offended when I don’t have time for a social call- deferred attention is always an option. Secondly, not buying a product you have for sale or endorsing a mass message you are promoting on Facebook Messenger does not mean I don’t care about you.  Conversely, if you don’t take up my cause, I will still regard you as a friend.  Visiting goes by the same rules.  I will always call or message, in advance, when headed your way.  Right now, a visit to a friend in Orange County, CA is in the works and there may be several more, between here and Philadelphia, come school year’s end.

Faith- My day starts with meditation, prayer and recitation of a sacred verse.  Faith, though, has to be reflected in everything one does, especially with regard to other people.  So, my work, my driving, my business transactions, even my leisure activities, are approached with Baha’i principles in mind.  I am no saint, but the Golden Rule is ever present.  I will have many activities brought to my calendar, faith-wise, this year, and as with concerns with family, so do I need to be ready and flexible on my schedule, to prioritize Baha’i activities, when they directly impact the spiritual well-being of the community.  This afternoon, and this coming Sunday, are examples of short-notice gatherings, for which I am able to be ready.  I anticipate many more.

Finances-  Given my temperament, this area has long been my weak spot.  I am giving it a lot more attention, and being coached financially is one reason why I am choosing to wake earlier each day. I fully intend to grow my estate, given looming events, for which one is normally expected to have a fair amount of cash on hand.  The main thing is that I have put a scarcity mentality behind me, and will persevere in the coming months, in building more short-term security.  I tended to possible elder care needs, at Penny’s behest, while she was still alive.  I am also very well-insured.

The Four F’s being much on my mind, this should be a fabulous year.