“Be Bigger Than Your Small”

12

March 31, 2018, Phoenix-

I just completed “Rich Dad’s Cashflow Quadrant”, by Robert T.  Kiyosaki, also well known for his previous book, “Rich Dad, Poor Dad”.  He reviews his own struggles with finances and concludes that the world of finance is comprised of four quadrants:  E (Employee); S (Self-employed); B (Business owner) and I(Investor).  The upshot is that the path to ending financial struggle ultimately lies in investing- using other people’s money to create wealth for oneself.

Mr. Kiyosaki goes far beyond dabbling in the stock market, though he does give several pointers on how to be successful in that aspect of finance.  He is not as big on diversifying, as I would have expected.  His emphasis is on intensive financial education, especially reading financial journals-and The Wall Street Journal.

What I’ve taken from this first reading of a powerful book is that I need to continue on the course I have set, though part-time work (which he says to make as temporary as possible, whilst saving and, bit by bit, investing) is likely for the academic year to come.  He says to learn from mistakes, not to try to bury them.  “Be bigger than your small!”, meaning to not let mistakes define oneself.

This is perhaps the greatest lesson that I have learned from the past seventeen years.  It’s reassuring to see a “high marker” corroborate it.

Harold, Maude and What Makes Friends

6

March 29, 2018, Prescott-

Bud Cort turns 70, today.  He is best known for his role as the death-obsessed young suitor of a spry elderly woman, in the 1971 May-December black comedy, “Harold and Maude”.

After I moved to Prescott, following Penny’s passing, I provided transportation to out of town activities, for  a long-time friend of ours, a woman my mother’s age.  This led to another local acquaintance snarkily referring to us as “Harold and Maude”.  There was no similarity, except in his jaundiced mind’s eye, though it ranked me a bit.  Then, and now, I have no romantic interest in anyone, least of all a person many years my senior- or junior, for that matter.

Friends, I have found in all ages, shapes, sizes and walks of life.  It’s always been that way.  As a child, I would on occasion, visit much older men and women, and ask their views on a variety of matters.  Not having the presence of my grandfathers contributed to that, perhaps, but I have always been a soul who does not identify with a specific time element.  It’s been all about commonalities of interest.  Young, old and in-between will remain my friends.

So, being neither “old” nor “young”, in that regard, I go on, and wish Bud Cort a most happy entry into the dignified strata of Septuagenarian-hood.

Flautist

4

March 25, 2018, Burntwater, AZ-

Kevin Locke is an accomplished flautist, a master of the flute.  He is also one of the Great Plains people who popularized the Hoop Dance, a Native American traditional dance which illustrates the oneness of Creation.  A complete, properly executed, Hoop Dance will produce a sphere, representing the Earth.  Kevin demonstrated this, in an afternoon presentation, after having taught several of us how to make and use a flute.

(Presently, I am unable to access my photo stock, due to a problem with File Explorer.  Please bear with me on this.)

Getting back to the flute:  There is a base, of either hardwood or plastic.   Six sound holes, and one air hole, are drilled into top of the flute base. A couple of sound pieces are fitted together, then placed inside the base, using a light dowel.  Then, an arrow-shaped fitting is tied to the top of the base, near the air hole.

Playing the flute requires a fair amount of dactyl dexterity (co-ordinated fingers), which is a challenge for someone like me, but I will practice a bit, as a means to produce a calming sound.  It will be a good stress reliever.

Finally, getting back to the Hoop Dance, Kevin invited several people to join in the dance.  I sat it out,as my right shoulder is being treated by a chiropractor, and I want to get this matter finished, before subjecting my faithful friend of 67 years to any more difficulty than necessary.  The recovery is coming along nicely, by the way.

We ended the afternoon with a Friendship Dance, in which everyone begins holding hands in a circle, then winds their way around in a spiral, eventually shaking hands with every other person in the circle.

It was a long day, and a long drive back to Prescott, but well-worth the visit with an old friend.

 

 

 

Rising

9

March 26, 2018, Prescott-

I attended a gathering, yesterday, at the Native American Baha’i Institute, which is 4 1/2 hours’ drive from here.  The occasion was an intensive flute making and playing workshop, by a long-time flautist, who is a friend.  Kevin visited our home, years ago, when Penny, Aram and I lived on the Navajo Nation.  His work is always worth supporting.

I will have more to say about the flute, and about the event, in my next post.  Today, though, a brief word is in order about the rising of those who have been subservient.

In the mid-1990’s, my mother-in–law would insist on the Victorian dictum, regarding children maintaining silence.  She would later come to regret that stance, but at the time, it was her way of keeping our son and his girl cousin in check. I disagreed, vehemently then, and do now. Children should be seen, heard, believed- and properly educated and guided.

Women have largely been relegated to a subservient role, over the centuries- across the globe.  Thankfully, this nonsense started to unravel, as far back as 1965, though people like my mother have never been content to have their voices go unheard.  The presence of so many strong women in my life has made such a state of affairs seem totally absurd to me, forever and a day.

When I was a senior in high school, one of the seminal events was the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., fifty years ago, next week.  In my social studies and English classes, I would raise the issue of civil rights, to a largely deaf audience.  My school, at that time, had five African-American students.  I knew two of them, brothers, who were kept at home, the day after the senseless murder.  There were hoots and hollers, expressions of satisfaction, by young men who have long since overcome their prejudice, born, as all prejudices are, by ignorance and fear.  There were tears shed by more enlightened young women, who dared to date young Black men, from the next town over.  My hometown is a more open-minded place, nowadays, and people are increasingly, though not completely, expanding their circles of friends.

There is a new world, a better place, rising from various ash heaps.

Enough

17

March 24, 2018, Prescott-

Great minds think for themselves.

300 people marched in our town

of free-thinkers,

a conservative majority,

and a vocal liberal minority.

Today, the conservatives

liberals,

and folks like me,

who are neither,

walked together,

had mostly civil discussions,

and in the end,

conservatives, liberals

and none of the above

stood together,

in a minute of silence.

There is no one trying

to sell the odious

Victorian-era epithet,

“Children should be seen

and not heard.”

Children should be seen,

taught to think,

and heard.

When what they say

is truth;

when what they  do

is sensible,

they should be believed.

Then, they should be supported.

On the edges of the march route,

there were 3-6 armed civilians.

They were not there to intimidate.

They were there to watch out,

for any crazies.

Ditto for the police

who were present.

One lone man

carried a sign

saying “Abortion is murder.”

He’s largely correct,

but it is not

up to men,

to tell women

how to manage

their own bodies.

It is up to women

to exercise their

consciences.

This is, though,

a topic for another post.

For now,

I need to remain

clear headed.

I need to remain

available to support

these two generations

of children and youth,

who are taking

responsibility

for themselves.

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Yes, there was a Trump supporter standing with the kids on the Courthouse steps.  There is something about people not being killed, that appeals to each of us.

Another New Dawn

15

March 22, 2018, Prescott-

I got up well before sunrise, as usual, and went about the routine, except that coffee and breakfast waited until after my annual lab work for next Friday’s physical.  I was first in line, so that was an in/out process.

I did something else, with assurance from my spirit guides.  On what would have been my very frugal father’s 91st birthday, I tore up all correspondence from a sweepstakes company and tossed a few other pitches for money that I just don’t have to spare for them.  Dad always honoured his commitments and his obligations, and I walk, as best I can, in his footsteps.  I am assured that all else will follow, as needed.

It was another moment when I got a nice message from a good-hearted new online friend, and pondered my commitments for the rest of this month.  Meditation told me, once again, that my choices are just that, my own.  Nothing can really be imposed on us, except to pass on, when that day comes.

This dawn brought heavy cloud cover to us in Arizona, heavy rains to southern California and yet another heavy snowfall to the Northeast.  Punxsutawney Phil is rolling on the ground, laughing, with his little trick; the groundhog lied.

The Fast: Day 19- Clarity

4

March 20, 2018, Dewey, AZ-

I ended the Fast this evening, taking part in a community meal at Puerto Vallarta Mexican Restaurant, in this small town, east of Prescott Valley.  Whilst I chose to wait until exactly sunset, to eat,  others with different health conditions and needs started their meals earlier.  Catchy tunes got me up and leading a small group of people in dancing around the room.  This continued for about fifteen minutes, then a couple of children and their grandmother  did a mini-Conga, to Gloria Estefan’s “The Rhythm Is Gonna Get You”.

It was a lovely ending to a Fast that has provided quite a bit of clarity for my world.  I know that my short-term plans are going in the right direction and that I need to not be distracted by well-meaning, but at times overbearing, folks whose agendas clash with those plans..

So, Spring has sprung, around these parts, as Fall has fallen, Down Under.  My academic  work has 9 1/2 week to run, this year.  My Baha’i work, of one form or another, has the rest of my life to run.  Special events will be fairly frequent, especially on weekends, these next several weeks.  I hope many of you, my friends and family, will be along for the ride.

The Fast: Day 18-Continuity

8

March 19, 2018, Prescott-

Today found me back at work.  Spring Break was restful, if as fast-moving as the Academic Year itself.   No matter who a person is, how old one gets or where s(he) finds self, there are certain constants.

Mine are waking at or near dawn, careful bathing and grooming, devotions, nutrition, focused prayer, communication with friends and family and some act of daily service.  Work, in the Baha’i Faith, as in Christianity and several other religious traditions, is an act of worship, when performed in service to humanity.  This goes for manufacture, public service and parenting.  That implies a goodly amount of integrity, in all one’s acts while on the job, or while representing one’s place of work, or one’s employer.

Continuity is also a sign of cognitive awareness, when performed in a logical and mindful state.  So, as my sixties roll on, I’m glad to be at work, winding down my third-to-last physical 19-Day Fast and being in good company, wherever I happen to be.

 

The Fast: Day 17- Compassion

9

March 18, 2018, Tucson-

Visiting a good  friend, northwest of here, I found myself invited to a performance by a group of refugees from DR Congo and a few other African nations.  So, on this rainy morning, we headed back into town and contented ourselves, in the on-again, off-again showers and chill, with greeting and making the young singers and dancers feel at home.

They showed an enthusiasm that belies their horrific experiences with the conflicts that stem from tribalism and greed.   The emphasis of their messages, in both song and dance, is on unity of effort and on, thankfully, gender balance.  America’s youth are not the only ones showing the way to a more equitable world.  African young people are taking the Cape buffalo by the horns and setting their elders on notice, that suffering of the common folk is no longer an option of convenience.

Here are some scenes of their performances.

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The songs they sang were of gratitude to the U.S., and Tucson, for welcoming them, and giving them a chance to recover from the horrors of tribal and regional conflict.  These are all young people on a legal path to citizenship, having been brought here by the International Refugee Council, which hosted a “Walk A Mile In Their Shoes” event, following the performances.

It is a central tenet of Baha’i belief, to succor those fleeing from persecution and slaughter.  I was proud to be hugged and called “Brother” by these amazing young men and women.

The Fast: Day 16- Cultural Preservation

13

March 17, 2018, Tucson-

This is a day when all the world loves what is Irish, or at least what the world thinks is Irish.  Of course, there is more to the Emerald isle than Guinness Stout and shamrocks.  Corned beef is an American addition to the day.

I came here, to Arizona’s Second City, to attend the dedication of The Loop, a trail network around Tucson and its suburbs of Oro Valley and Marana.  There were many festival booths, offering everything from meticulous examination of various animal tracks to fried food offerings, which I would not eat anyway, but which the Fast gave me an excuse to politely decline.

I walked about the grounds of a former Mormon settlement, called Binghampton Rural Historical Settlement, in which is found Brandi Fenton Memorial Park, dedicated to the memory of a much-loved 13-year-old girl, who was killed in a traffic accident, several years ago.

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Here, I watched as 12 Mexican-American children and teens performed exquisite folk dances of their ancestral country.

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After these dances were finished, I took a walk along the path above the Rillito River, currently a rather sere landscape, but be not fooled.  The Rillito has wreaked havoc in the Tucson area, on several occasions, most recently in 2006.

I leave you with this thought:  Baha’u’llah teaches that the positive and honourable traditions of each culture, such as the dances shown above and many musical/artistic styles, are to be preserved.  Humanity needs to avoid uniformity of thought and culture, the goal being unity in diversity.