Unstuck

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August 31, 2021- I was given to a bit of a rant, yesterday, none of which I regret. I still stand for the betterment of the lives of people, through networking, consistent effort, perseverance. I will never subscribe to the quick fixes of begging, unilateral solving of other peoples’ problems, exclusion of certain groups for the benefit of the relative few.

A student asked today, whether it was to be the norm for people to be expected to hate being White. It should never be, that anyone be made to hate who he or she is. I stand, foursquare, for inclusion-of everyone, regardless of their falling into any category. It is violence, deluded thinking, taking advantage of others and actively working to deprive others of their God-given rights, which I oppose. The student in question should certainly, always, love who he is.

Many around the world are, simply put, “stuck in second gear”, to quote the theme song of the old TV show, “Friends”. I have gone through periods of such a state of mind and body. The Baha’i Faith helped me get unstuck, but I had to make the consistent, persevering effort to overcome that state of mind completely. Only then could the balance between conservative and progressive, rational and emotional, decisive and contemplative be established.

Being unstuck brings greater responsibility, as well as greater reward, and I look forward to being, more and more, part of the solution, not part of the problem.

Ignorance is Bliss?

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August 30, 2021- So, I am looking at a letter which says that, because someone in another person’s community is likely to be jealous of his success, should he build a network of support, I should just give him the money, quietly, and no one will get their feathers ruffled. I am not following the logic, other than the individual adhering to a beggar mentality. It will get him nowhere, of course, but ignorant attitudes die hard.

So it is, with several of the major newspapers in this country, squawking about how imperfect the rescue efforts in Kabul have been. I doubt any of the media moguls who are complaining right now would do any better than the current President, or his three most recent predecessors. In fact, several of those who are the loudest critics were, only a week ago, saying that those Afghans who served our efforts there should stay put and that they were just goldbricks, trying to get a free ride to our country. I am not impressed by the mentality that anything our President does is wrong.

Fire, water, and wind wreak havoc across this country, and several others around the world, and yet those who have theirs are aghast at “the cost of infrastructure repair and of combatting the effects of climate change.” What do they think is going to happen, while destruction continues, God knows what diseases follow Delta, and people in power are sitting on their hands, because procedure has to be followed? A voice of reason, from Louisiana, has called for an end to the mad delusions of his fellows in the U.S. Senate, and elsewhere. Good for him!

Ignorance is leading to the opposite of bliss, and it’s time for those who are suffering to send the U.S. Senate, the Supreme Court and the likes of The Washington Post and The New York Times a clear message-nonviolently, of course, but loud and clear, all the same.

We, the People, have had enough.

Wellness Trumps Sinuses

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August 29, 2021- A brief, localized fullness was in my head, for much of the day, with none of the aches and congestion reported by those who have contracted one form of COVID or another. Yes, I am one of those who has not let up on wellness regimen, throughout this pandemic. It is the only way I can function, in all that needs to be done.

Thus, it was a blessing that the sinus headache responded well to an hour’s nap, a bowl of spicy chicken tortilla soup, being out of the desert heat and the clearing of the skies tonight, after a few bolts of dry lightning (which thankfully did not start any fires.)

I am feeling energized, also, by the elevated conversations that my friends in Lake Havasu City and I had last night and this morning. There is strength that comes from facing issues and from helping others with what they think are intractable matters. This will long have to continue. A week more, at least, lies ahead at Prescott High School, (with Friday devoted to another elementary classroom), with the days after Labor Day being something of a cipher, as yet.

There is one thing I haven’t figured out yet: How do we resolve the headaches caused by ignorant prattling? (i.e. “Creative Comrades is a Communist organization!”) The aforementioned organization is a job-search assistant, in Lake Havasu City, hardly a hotbed of Marxism.

How I Overcame Self-Absorption

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August 27, 2021-

There was a time when I bumped into a clearly visible barrier pole, whilst backing my car out of a space, at Breakheart Reservation, in my hometown of Saugus. My head was so far into a matter of such earthshaking importance, that I can’t even vaguely recall what it was. I remember the fender bender, though, and the mildly amused twelve-year-old kid who chuckled at my ignorance.

Mom and Dad didn’t raise us to ignore our surroundings, and I caught more than a few rounds of indignation, when I turned too far inward. Gradually, in the wider world, the core of my being, which loved my family and those around us, took focus. Penny came into my life, and we helped each other break out of our respective shells. Students, clients, by the hundreds, became my focus and between wife and children, I realized that my life actually mattered far more than I had thought. Aram became our responsibility and made sure, in turn, that I didn’t lapse into my former bubble.

There was a long eleven years, in which my wife was my primary responsibility. In the end, son and his crew, Penny’s family and my brothers were our primary support group. The cackling crows who castigated me for using the adjective “my”, when I referred to Penny, offered absolutely nothing in the way of help-save their mealy-mouthed ideological puffery. There were also the masses, who went about their business, but at least didn’t get in my way.

On my own, I had choices to make, and slowly shed the residue of self-absorption, once again. A few women came to me, hoping that perhaps they would be the next Penny. It didn’t happen, and life took a far wider turn. I almost deluded myself into thinking that one or two others might be the next Penny. That didn’t happen, either, and life took a wider turn, still. There were three things that propelled me out of my bubble, altogether.

The first was dealing with five people who were/are so intensely self-absorbed, in their own right, that I was constantly wondering what, if any, place there was in the world for me, or any other good soul who was just trying to live a good life. Four of these five are gone from my world now, banned for constantly magnifying every single mistake I made, ignoring any good thing I did and yet clawing at me for attention. The fifth at least thanks me for what has already been done. I thank them, though, for making me aware of all the times I was the same towards others.

Secondly, I found myself largely responsible, for the well-being of over 80 people in a storm shelter, in Alexandria, Louisiana, late last summer, during the daylight hours of a Red Cross operation. That is when my work never stopped, until wiser heads pointed out that the opposite of self-absorption is not complete other-immersion. Then came a more balanced view, that both my personal needs and those of others had equal importance. I also realized that being too deeply in the business of other people robs them of dignity.

Third, the full acceptance of others as complete human beings, beyond their physical trappings and even their personalities, has come about from our collective dealing with COVID and all the climate change-based events that we have faced, and will continue to face, long after I myself have left this earthly life. It takes me three to five seconds to recognize that a woman has pleasing features, that a child is precious, that anyone has an engaging nature.

There are things that are about to happen in this life, that make such an emergence from self-absorption more essential than ever. I look forward to them all.

Best Laid Plans

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August 26, 2021- To those hoping for a sestina, followed by an octina, in the next two posts-sorry, I worked extra hard today and am ready to do so again tomorrow-so, rain check on the two big kahunas. I don’t go by other people’s schedules anyway.

My day began with a phone call from my colleague, for whom I am covering classes. We have worked as a team, these three weeks-I, in person, with the students and she from her family’s home, in another state. I was on my own today, with basic, but well thought-out plans, which kept five groups of potentially rambunctious teens happily engaged. Not everyone got all the concepts being considered, but when does that ever happen? The students made my day dance.

Plans, these days, are made to be changed. This is a poster year for flexibility, and methinks it is not the last such year that lies in wait. I thought for sure that I would visit Canada in the Spring and Europe in the Fall. Instead, two cross-USA trips took place this Spring and Summer and New Mexico will replace Silesia and Old Prussia, in October. I am very fortunate, regardless.

A man in another country thought for sure that glomming onto me and calling me “Brother” would guarantee him a steady supply of money. Instead, he got some help and a few lessons on forbearance and trying to network, rather than the old “You owe us” guilt trips, which are fast running out of steam.

This has become the year of shattered assumptions and of resilient self-reliance. I am feeling finer, with each day that I face whatever fire happens along. I wish everyone the same.

A Pentina Palette

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August 25, 2021- Last night, a small group of us engaged in a conversation about the effect of colour on the human psyche. It is not surprising that certain colours generate aggression and others have a calming effect.

The following pentina, a variation on the sestina that uses five sets of five lines, rather than six sets of six lines, with a two-line envoi, of five words (with either two words on the first line and three on the second, or vice versa.) considers the matter of colour.

The day begins with a shimmer of gold. In less than an hour, the sky reflects the warmth of blue. Our majestic life-generating orb sends down beams of yellow. Too much time outdoors, with no protection, leaves one red. This can be relieved by the shade offered in green.

A sense of healing energy is evoked by green. Power flows into the mind that senses gold. The call to forceful action arises from red. Calm reassurance emanates from blue. A sense of mirth springs up from yellow.

The initiation of harvest is indicated by yellow. This comes after a long season of green. Through the transition, air and water remain blue. As the change progresses, some organisms present gold. Still others show off their red.

Excitement arose, upon the entrance of the lady in red. Her hair contrasted, being of shimmering yellow. She walked untrammeled, through the field of green. At the end of the path, stood a field house, domed in gold. The structure’s centerpiece was a large pool of blue.

Serenity ‘s imparting of peaceful strength, flows in blue . Doubt and fear stir, when enveloped in red. Only a modicum of joy can come from green. More fleeting still is the satisfaction proferred by gold. All can be made peaceful again, by a light bath of yellow.

The colours of the school where I work are gold and blue, with a swatch of yellow. Students are good here, when it comes to stopping on red and going on green.

Tritina for the Masses

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August 24, 2021- Beneath the fa├žade of shouting lies a fear. Both genders, and all ages, are shown to stand in the crowd. The trigger is often the very thought that the other side has truth.

A reporter keeps eyes and ears trained on the crowd. Her greatest challenge is to sort out the truth. Making it hard for her is the pile of blankets of fear.

The gathering maintains its own rendition of truth. The sight and smell of this, however, is the soil of fear. The intrepid woman works hard to find a crack in the crowd.

In the end, she convinces some in the crowd to face their fear and to smell at least a bit of actual truth.

As is evident, a tritina is a truncated sestina, with three tercets-verses of three lines each, and each line ending with one of three words. The tercets proceed with ending word order 1-2-3, 2-3-1,3-1-2 and a fourth stand-alone line, containing all three words.

What we’ve seen recently, in many lands, are large groups of people who are seemingly easily manipulated by wirepullers. A caveat, from the French Revolution: Sooner or later, the masses become disillusioned with, and turn on, their controllers.

In My Element

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August 23, 2021- Friend Jupiter glows in the eastern night sky, encouraging me to dream big. Friend Venus shimmers in the west, telling me that to love is celestial. These orbs will trade sky spots, as summer moves into winter, by way of autumn. Venus will, additionally, become a “morning star”. The abundance of heat and water will shift southward, and we in the north will enter into a modicum of rest.

It occurred to me, this morning, that I am most in my element when in the company of those who have youthful energy and vision, yet are fairly self-sufficient and can contribute mightily to the mix of ideas. This does not mean exclusively those who are chronologically young. Such people can be as young as three and as advanced in age as 100. The prime loci of these individuals are middle schools, high schools and institutions of higher learning.

Maybe that’s why I continue to work on special assignments in school settings or in places where people are both loving and fierce. It’s also the prime reason why I am both comfortable here in my Home Base of Prescott and am prone to visit other places where ideas and achievements are happening. It is why I devote the sharing of my resources as I do. It is why I continue to grow as a person and as a soul. It’s why my cup is ever at least half full.

Dream big; love celestially.

Arrangements

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August 22, 2021- I had to cancel, or actually postpone, a couple of medical procedures slated for this week. They will be reset for a time that suits both the provider and the people who are depending on me to help with continuity of instruction at Prescott High School. I have been there for the better part of two weeks already, and have no intention of abruptly springing an absence on an already understaffed faculty and an underserved student body.

The situation came about because the medical facility sent a reminder of the first procedure, at 4 p.m., Friday, when the school office had already closed and arrangements could not reasonably be made. In fairness, the medical facility itself is probably understaffed, at least on certain days.

This particular situation will be resolved in short order, with a brief consultation at the school and a phone call to the medical facility. Arrangements, however, always need to include as many of those affected by the course of events as is possible. Timing, when it involves consideration of people’s schedules and off hours, is of the essence. In a fast-paced environment, with very busy people and heavy workloads involved, arrangements are even more critical.

This brings me, briefly for now, to the issues that arise when even larger organizations are involved. There is the conceit of “need to know”, which engenders an exclusive mentality. Thus do large governments and corporations hand down decisions that affect millions, and not always after allowing an accessible medium for public comment. The evolution of public discourse is likely to change this process. Just how this will happen remains to be seen.