Dimensions, Part 2

2

January 30, 2019-

As I mentioned in the previous post, many people look at themselves, or at others, and see ONLY one, two or three aspects, or dimensions of the person.  If one sees one’s own worth,  solely in terms of work ethic, then the admirable work drive consumes the person, and most likely will leave the soul wanting affirmations, as to all that there is, untapped and atrophying, in its other dimensions.  If a person views members of the opposite gender, primarily in terms of physical attributes, then the beholder will be constantly bored, listless, looking for the next comely person to appear.  The person so objectified may pick up on this, in fairly short order, and understandably move on, feeling basically unappreciated.  The same is true for ANY single attribute:  Athletic prowess, financial acumen, generosity, being light on one’s feet, sense of humour, and so on.

We are far more than the sum of our observable parts, because so much of one’s whole is UNOBSERVABLE, to the naked eye- and to the naked psyche.  I could be dressed to the nines, should I attend a gala event, and perhaps attract a woman’s attention. If, when next she sees me, I am in a message teeshirt and old Dockers and am perhaps a bit unkempt, she will experience cognitive dissonance, to the extent she sees me as a one or two dimensional individual.

If a stand-up comic regales his audience, of a Saturday night, leaving most of those in attendance, in stitches, and a few days later, in a foul mood, encounters one of them and brushes off a request for an autograph, the same sort of dissonance may be the jilted fan’s experience.

Simply put, it takes time- and a fair amount of it, to really “get under the hood” of a human engine.  I experienced my late wife, in all of her moods, and vice versa, BEFORE we were married.  Being prepared to stick together, through whatever storms came our way, made all the difference, including readying me for the caretaker role I was to assume, in her final eight years on this plane.  It was NOT true, as one of my accusers put it, not long ago, that the only way Penny could get my attention was to get sick.  We lived for one another, day and night, for nearly thirty years.

The same is true of every other married couple I know, who have endured, or are enduring, similar storms.  The same is true of work partners, in many enterprises.  The same is true of the most intimate and enduring relationships, of any sort.

NEXT:  What are some of the dimensions, of which little is commonly known?

Dimensions-Part 1

9

January 29, 2019-

As I regarded one of our young helpers this morning, I saw a physically lovely, highly intelligent, athletic and fairly industrious person, quietly reading a quality book on a rather deep subject.  It came to me that THIS is why I have devoted forty-two years of my life to the well-being of young people:  The development of the whole.

In the next few posts, I want to look at the concept of dimensionality.   We all know that there are three dimensions, of any physical object:  Height, length and width.  There are also six dimensions of wellness: “The Six Dimensions of Wellness include physical, social, emotional, intellectual, occupational/financial, and spiritual wellness.” https://www.nwmissourinews.com/opinion/article_aac31352-d4bb-11e0-a3d4-0019bb30f31a.html

My concern here is with dimensions, in how we view ourselves and other people.  Let us consider the idea of  unidimensionality, or seeing oneself, or another, as being one-dimensional.  We do this, all the time.  For example, have you ever looked at a member of the opposite gender, or your own gender, and “seen” only the comeliness, or homeliness, of the person’s face or physique?  Have you ever listened to a person speak, and heard only the cogency, or ignorance, of their remarks?  Have you encountered a person who thinks, behaves or believes differently than you, and experienced only their statements or immediate actions?   Have you viewed anyone as “strictly” or “only” an “jock”, a “nerd”, an “empty suit”, a “hottie”.   Unidimensionality is rife, in today’s world.  If it weren’t, people would not be so quick to judge one another.

Other people see humans as two-dimensional-either one thing or another.  Someone who shows two sides is often called “bipolar” (in the days of my youth, such a person would be called “manic-depressive”).  I have found few, if any, people who can be so easily typecast, in terms of fact.  There are too many mitigating factors that affect people’s behaviours.

The truth is, most of us are three-dimensional beings, and then only when life circumstances suppress the development of the other three dimensions of wellness.  Everyone is, at minimum, a physical, spiritual and emotional being.  Everyone is, potentially, an intellectual, a social or an occupational/financial being.  In fact, in both the physical and spiritual realms, there are many more dimensions- which the discipline of Quantum Mechanics lists, simply, as “infinite”.

In the next post, I will look further at the results of seeing self or others as one-, two- or three-dimensional beings and consider some of the possibilities for our species and our planet, of seeing people in a hexidimensional (6-dimensional) model.

 

Starting at Home

8

January 27, 2019- 

One of  my mother’s favourite sayings, “Charity begins at home”, was made a basis for many of my actions, as a child and as a teen.  Nothing was made, or done, that wasn’t shared with family, on some level.

So it is, also, with conservation- as the late John McCain was also fond of saying.  A few weeks ago, during the height of the ill-fated shutdown, I went up to Sunset Crater National Monument, to see if I might help with a clean-up.  It turned out not to be necessary, though there was a mess, on Federal land, some twenty miles west.  Others took care of that clean-up.

With the shutdown over, however temporarily, I decided to take some time, after a study session this afternoon, and check a popular local trail, Lynx Lake, for residual clean-up that might be needed.  I was thanked by a few other hikers, especially accepting three pooper bags in my larger trash bag.  It was rather cute, that a lone duck followed me in the water, as I walked along the north shore, collecting a few plastic bottles.  It was almost as if it knew that the toxic items were being removed.  Long story short, I put a half-filled trash bag in the dumpster of the  south beach.

It was a minor effort, in the scheme of millions of acres of Federal land needing attention, after the lengthy hiatus.  I can only hope that there were thousands of others stepping up and doing their part, with there being way too much to be done, as it is, by those returning to work.  I think of the first National Historic Site I ever visited:  Saugus Ironworks, of the most extensive I’ve ever seen:  Grand Canyon and of the park I visited most recently for the first time:  Valley Forge.  Then, there is Arlington National Cemetery; today would have been the 95th birthday of my father-in-law, who is interred there, along with his wife.

I can only hope there are no more shutdowns of government, but if there are, I know to be ready to help, as a citizen.

Commitment

6

January 25, 2019-

We had, all in all, a good, productive meeting at work, today and prior to that, I felt a firmer commitment to us paraprofessionals, from our leadership.  These set the stage for a productive period, for the rest of the Winter and through the Spring.

It reminds me that my own commitment, to the well-being of humanity, branches off in many directions:  Our team and the students; the local Baha’i community, and the wider Prescott/Yavapai County community-through Red Cross, Slow Food, American Legion-and those who are just beloved friends ;  my friends who run the businesses around town, which I have come to love and appreciate- Frozen Frannie’s, Ms. Natural’s, Rustic Pie, Cupper’s, Chi’s Cuisine, Raven Cafe, Peregrine Books , Cornerstone Chiropractic, Planet Fitness and, most of all, Prescott Farmers Market; my family, most directly my son and daughter-in-law, mother and siblings-each of whom, are doing just fine.  When I’m needed, I will do what is necessary

I have always had a global take on things, though, even when that was considered odd.  So, I think, often and pray daily, for people in places which I might visit frequently- Phoenix, Flagstaff, the Verde Valley; not so frequently- Tucson, Superior, Carson City, Orange County, San Diego, Massachusetts,Missouri, Pennsylvania, the Great Lakes region, Virginia, Tennessee and Florida; once and again-the Pacific Northwest, western Europe, Alaska and east Asia- and those places which lie in my future, God willing-Africa, the rest of Europe, Central and South America, south Asia and the Middle East.

Yes, there is a commitment to travel, to visiting and to service where needed. Mainly, though, I am committed to living a full life, to doing the Will of God.   Thich  Nhat Hanh says commitment has nothing to do with convenience- so be it.

 

Graphics

8

January 24, 2019-

What may be discerned,

from a facial expression?

A smile may be loving,

condescending,

or masking anger.

Flashing eyes may

indicate contempt,

severe concern,

or exasperation.

A stare could

show boredom,

intense interest,

a desire to intimidate,

or confusion.

Only a focused conversation

can provide the clues

to deciphering a look.

Primacy

7

January 23, 2019-

I have watched the aftermath of this past weekend’s dustup, involving White, Red and Black activists, talking at, and over, each other- with only a smidgen of understanding, and that coming solely from the Native American elders, who thought drumming and singing a prayer would defuse tension.

The whites started out marching on behalf of banning abortion.  The blacks were mainly stating their beliefs about their being descended from the 12 Tribes of Israel.  The Native Americans were in a sanctioned march for Peace on Earth. The whites and blacks began berating one another, and it is academic as to who started what.  There have been all manner of comments, on all sides and from the sidelines, suggesting that, once again, no one was listening to the others- except the silent, grinning Nick Sandmann who, depending on who was watching, was either standing still out of respect to Nathan Phillips or was grinning in contempt of “an other”.

In reality, it IS disrespectful in Native American culture, to speak to someone who is chanting, praying or dancing in a spiritual manner.  Nick would know this, as, likewise, no  Catholic churchgoer engages a priest in conversation, when the prelate is saying Mass or giving a sermon.

It is also reality for some to stand, often with arms folded, grinning while their eyes flash hatred, as I have often seen when disparate groups of people confront one another.

I saw no hatred in the eyes of Nick Sandmann.  I saw a boy who didn’t want to speak, for whatever reason.  I saw his face momentarily turn serious, and what was going through his mind, at that moment, is known only to him.

Commentators have interpreted the behaviours of various people in the situation, according to what they, the commentators, have witnessed in the past.  I could do the same thing, and note that when I was a teen, my schoolmates and I poked fun at one another, sometimes to the point of invoking anger and tears.  We had one another’s backs when real adversaries attacked us.  Thus, the solidarity, the other day, when the whites, the reds and the  blacks felt threatened by one another.

Gradually, as will likely happen with the Covington kids, many of my contemporaries and I expanded our social circles, to include people of various groups.  Primacy of one group over another does not hold water.  Nick Sandmann, and those of his friends who join in, will start learning this WHEN they sit down with Nathan Phillips, and hear his story.  I hope they listen with both ears-and I hope Mr. Phillips remembers what it was like to be male and sixteen.  In answer to his question: “THIS is our future?”, I can only say:  Yes, sir, and it is also our past.  Intemperance and ignorance give way to open-mindedness and awareness, when the latter are brought to bear, in a loving way.  We are, in the end, one human race.

Foresight

9

January 22, 2019-

Though I am often content

to live a simple life,

going to and from work

and tending to a small number

of daily and weekly tasks,

when not so engaged.

insights come to mind,

and I am made aware

of things that are to happen,

matters to which I must tend,

in either the near  or intermediate  future.

Most of these involve

cultivating friendships,

something at which I have improved,

over the years.

A few involve eschewing fellowship

with those who would challenge

the very spirit that keeps

the human race afloat.

Thankfully, I find the former

increasing, daily,

and the latter,

with which I last dealt

in mid-Autumn,

is a rare occurrence.

I feel the power

of the Holy Spirit

and of various angels,

keeping,

as the old popular song goes,

“watch over me”.

Yes, I do get messages,

as to how I should

proceed in certain matters

or where I should go,

on a given day, or

period of time.

These have been

uniformly spot on.

Mistakes have happened

when I have relied only

on my own limited reasoning.

Foresight is there,

waiting for those

who open their

minds and hearts.

Fire Sign-Part II

6

January 21, 2019-

My act of service, on this national act of service day, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, was to join a determined little family, on a Red Cross project.  Sound The Alarm is a nationwide project to ensure that all homes in the United States have  access to working smoke detectors, installed free of charge, by Red Cross volunteers or team members from partner agencies, such as a local Fire Department.  I have been working with this family, for well over a year, to get this program off the ground in western Yavapai County.

Today, after manning a table for a few hours, outside a closed Boys and Girls Club, in Prescott Valley, we had generated a list of ten clients.  One of them asked that his alarms be installed today, so after the tabling activity was finished, we went to his home and installed two alarms.  This activity was a significant jump start, to a rather lengthy process.

I was born under the fire sign.  Corrective action, the fulfillment of promises and facing even severe challenges, without backing down, have been constant, in my adult life.  When I was challenged, last Fall, as to whether that was still the case, I had to recommit to it, though on my own terms, not those that were being dictated to me.

The fire is still here, and I will stand up and work through whatever challenges come, in the remaining future.

 

Fire Sign

2

January 20, 2019, Scottsdale-

Today is World Religion Day, so after a regular monthly study session, in Prescott Valley, I headed down to the Baha’i Community Center here.  There is an annual observance, honouring the commonality of the world’s religions, and most of the major faiths of North America were represented – Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Sikh, Buddhism and Baha’i. (Only the Native American traditional faiths were unrepresented.  We consider Catholicism and LDS to be Christianity, as well as the denominations of Protestantism).

This also being the weekend of the Women’s March, the theme of today’s gathering was “The Role of Women in Religion”.  It is quite commonly held that the various faiths hold women down, to one extent or another.  While a  careful examination of various Scriptures shows that this is not so. it is very clear that those who promulgated the major religions, after the Ascensions of their Founders, saw fit to cherry-pick and manipulate the meanings of certain verses, so as to subvert women’s equanimity with men-in all too many instances.  I will have more to say about this matter, especially during March, which is Women’s History Month.

I want to note, regarding yesterday’s Women’s March, in Prescott, that several hundred people, of various political standpoints, managed to be in a small space together, displaying signs with  their points of view, and managing to not antagonize one another, at least while I was there.  This is as it should be.  One conservative woman, carrying a “pro-Trump” sign, nonetheless voiced agreement that women must be given the right to speak, on any issue, and be heard, on every issue.  Penny and her mother would be shouting in agreement, as do my mother and just about every woman in my family and in my circle of friends.

The fire of purification burns on, in their hearts and in my heart.

Here is a presentation, at any earlier event, by Rev. Renee Morgan Brooks, who sang today, as well.  She was a friend and collaborator of Penny’s.

Nine Tasks

2

January 19, 2019-

Many people make resolutions, the first thing, when the calendar rolls over.  I don’t indulge in that particular practice, knowing that making firm commitments to new practices takes time.

There are nine task areas, labours of love, that have defined my life, since the passing of  Penny, nearly eight years ago.  I will focus today on what these mean, relative to 2019.

1.  Family- With Aram and Yoonhee based in Busan, for at  least the rest of this year, my focuses are: To be in Korea for their sacred wedding ceremony, in March; to tend to such of their needs as can only be addressed on this side of the Pacific; to meet them in the U.S., should they visit here in the summer.

2.  Work- I remain committed to working, during the regular academic year, through at least December, 2020 and no later than May. 2021, depending on the needs of the school, preferably in the High School Autism Program.  Thus, work is a major daily focus through the fourth week of May and from August-December.

3. Faith- No day has gone by, since February 23, 1981, that I have not begun my morning in devotions and a fairly long recitation of prayer.  Service to Baha’u’llah remains  a prime expression of my inner joy and love for humanity.  This year marks the Bicentenary of the Birth of al-Bab (The Gate), Who we revere as both Baha’u’llah’s Herald and His Twin Messenger of God, as al-Bab’s spiritual Dispensation took place from 1844-1853, immediately before the beginning of Baha’u’llah’s.   Their birthdays also fall on two consecutive days, on the lunar calendar.  This year, these are October 29-30, with al-Bab’s  anniversary occurring first. (Historically, Baha’u’llah was born in 1817 and al-Bab, in 1819).  There are also regular Spiritual Feasts and other Holy Days, throughout the year and I  am participating in regular study groups and other activities.

4.  Community Life-  I take part in volunteering on community projects, with the American Red Cross and Slow Food Prescott.  The focuses are on disaster response, home safety, school gardens and,  new this year, food recovery.  These activities largely define my giving back to Prescott and Yavapai County, for having been a large part of my solace, in the Fall of 2011.  The American Legion’s Post 6 celebrates its 100th anniversary, in May, and I will have a part to play in that celebration.

5. Writing- Blogging and journaling have also been critical to my inner healing, even in the midst of my caretaking, in 2008-11.   They remain an integral part of who I am, and so Word Press, with its being extended to Facebook and Linked In, remains my primary means of self-expression, through this year and beyond.  I also maintain a pen and ink private journal.

6, Hiking-  This has been a huge lifelong pastime, pretty much since I was old enough to walk.  Since I’ve been old enough to take off on my own, without getting into trouble, many trails and paths, from my native Massachusetts to the desert Southwest, Colorado, southeast Alaska, Korea and northwestern Europe have seen my bootprints.  This year, my focuses will be on further segments of the Maricopa Trail, at least two visits to the Grand Canyon, more beach walks in southern California, Fall hikes in Utah and the Navajo Nation, and several walks with Aram and Yoonhee, whilst in Korea.

7. Travel-  This has also long been one of my passions, often dovetailing with hiking.  The Korea trip will take me to Gwangju and Jeju, as well as Busan.  Prior to that, will be a Presidents’ Day weekend visit to southern California, hopefully connecting with friends in Orange County and the San Diego area-with La Jolla, Dana Point, San Clemente and possibly Crystal Cove being on the itinerary.

June and July largely hinge on my little family’s schedule.  Carson City, in late May, is a given, with a new extended family member having been born, this past week.  A 1-2 week visit to the Northwest, Vancouver Island/Sunshine Coast and southeast Alaska is likely-as is the now customary jaunt through the Midwest to New England and back through the mid-South.

October (Fall Break) will find me in Monument Valley and southeast Utah- returning to Capitol Reef and Natural Bridges, as well as the Goosenecks of the San Juan River.  Christmas, God-willing, will see a return to Massachusetts.

8. Diet and Exercise- Planet Fitness and our daily Adaptive Physical Education regimen have largely provided my continuity as a healthy physical specimen.  Stretches at home have also proven critical, as I recovered from a posterior knee strain, over the past ten weeks.  Things are 99% back to normal and I want to keep it that way- up to, and maintaining, 100%.  I am cutting back on coffee consumption, not out of any pressure, but because my body tells me that’s what it wants.  Less red meat is also finding its way onto my plate-and what there is, is certified grass-fed and organic.  A greater percentage of my diet being of vegetables, fruits and whole grains is on tap for this year, as well.  Yes, I will drink more water-that’s not an empty statement. Therapeutic Grade Essential Oils, including Lifelong Vitality Supplements, are a continual source of sustenance.

9. Study-  My mind is always looking to keep current with advances in health, trends in positive thought and expanding my awareness of subjects in which I have scant knowledge- as well as continual study of Baha’i texts and new correspondence. This will continue, as 2019 progresses.

This is a longer post than usual, but there you have my year’s plan.