Pain Body

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May 27, 2020-

There has been, in the time of pandemic, a particularly acute explosion of awareness, of various acts of violence against people of colour, by both those in authority and private individuals; against indigenous or pastoral groups, by those seeking to exploit mineral or plant resources, without having done the requisite research into archaeological and anthropological remnants at the resource site; by those who are ust lashing out at whoever disagrees with them, on a given issue.

The philosopher, Eckhart Tolle, refers to the existence of a pain body, which stores physical and emotional memories of unhealed pain. This concept explains everything from the phantom limb, felt by amputees to the acting out, by dementia patients, recalling an abuse from many decades earlier.

Many are acting out their pain body memories right now. I know what they are feeling is real-I went through the purging of much buried emotional pain, some of it from my formative years, during the period 2008-14. Part of it surfaced, as I was still caring for my dying wife. The rest came out while I was rebuilding my life. It had to all be handled as quietly as possible, so I thought. None of it was Penny’s fault, or our son’s. Most of it, in truth, came from bad decisions I made, or from things happening around me that, for the most part, were no one’s actual fault.

I have reached the point of stasis, so I know that it is possible to overcome one’s buried pain. It involves communication. It involves trust. It involves commitment to self. It involves resolution. It involves reconciliation and forgiveness-especially towards self.

Those who have committed, and are still committing, crimes against humanity are also committing crimes against themselves-whether they tell themselves it’s for the greater good, for the stockholders or for the survival of the community. It is still an injurious act-with no real winners.

Let us all give some thought to healing our pain bodies.

Ad Hoc Authority

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May 26, 2020-

I began reading the National Geographic, for the month of June, whilst doing my laundry, this afternoon. One of the opinion pieces, about the effect of satire and humour, in getting people to understand science, contained the curious statement that “most scientists” agree the GMO-foods are safe to eat-and that Jimmy Kimmel says they’re safe to eat, as well.

I have never heard Mr. Kimmel speak, about anything. When people talk about dietary or nutritional matters, their main frames of reference are: Their dietary needs and preferences; their investments (GMO foods are lucrative) and their aversion to what they see as lapses in efficiency (Small farms and organic methods are often cited as being “inefficient.”)

I also have a problem with “most…….”. It reminds me of the phrase, “They’re all doing it”. Not being a lemming, or a sheep, I have to weigh trends in my mind, before followong along. Nebulous citations, or quoting lay people, who may or may not be authoritative, or articulate, are not altogether convincing.

Many of the problems into which we have fallen, today, are the results of having followed the words of the loudest voice in the room. Ad hoc authority figures have risen up, at various levels of national life-and in other countries, as well. They set policy by feeling their way. I have to caution my readers, to revert back to conducting scrutiny, to the best of your ability, and not taking anything at face value.

Things that may, or may not, be safe, are not ascertained by saying “The scientists say it’s so!” What scientists? Working for whom? Where are their studies, and the peer reviews, published?

Nuance

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May 23, 2020

One of the major pitfalls of viewing life strictly through a digital lens is that three of the five physical senses are left hanging-thus depriving the sixth sense, intuition, of what it needs to be validated. Lack of touch, taste and smell deprives the mind of nuance, which is intuition’s best friend.

So, we have the minor spectacles of the “Karens” and “Nervous Nellies”, on both Right and Left, making and passing judgments about events in places far from their abodes-even places to which they’ve never been, about people whom they’ve never met.

Of course, we’ve probably all done it, at one time or another. I have expressed loud disapproval of cruel acts committed against children and animals, or the depredations of sex traffickers and overzealous abortionists. My only defense is that I have spoken on behalf of innocents.

COVID-19 has brought this phenomenon to a boil. People in small towns and cities, relatively unaffected by the pandemic, in terms of actual infection rates, can make the case for THEIR communities to not adopt the same regimens as large cities-or close-knit rural areas, such as the Navajo Nation or the Amish communities, where large families share living space.

Likewise, those large urban areas and large family groups do well to take stringent measures, in combating infection. They do not need to take, to heart, the objections of people in less densely populated areas, to those measures.

In this time of trial, and of restricted travel, chances are that neither really, deep-down, comprehends what the other is enduring. Rural people feel the bite of a slowed down economy, in ways that that people in larger communities do not- and vice versa. We have each been hit by a different sack of bricks.

People like the Navajo, their neighbours-the Hopi, Zuni, Southern Paiute and Ute, as well as countless other First Nations tribes, the aformentioned Amish, Appalachian Whites and Blacks in the rural South tend to get the worst of both situations-geographic isolation AND no safe harbour from living in close-quarters.

Those in densely-populated cities in the East and Midwest, as well as the major urban areas of the West and South, are enduring real-time catastrophes, in ways that those in the rural Midwest and West can barely comprehend. The converse is also true. Those who feel the fright of dealing with a loss of income, due to a pandemic which has otherwise scarcely affected their communities, are right to voice that fright.

I feel it is time for one and all to take stock of the other’s situation, knowing that we can not have a full-on understanding of that experience. With that knowledge, let us set our emotional reactions to what we see and hear, about far-off events, aside. Take several deep breaths. How long, and to what measure, New York, Los Angeles and the Navajo Nation are in lockdown should not be the target of the objections of people in the Great Plains and non-Indian Mountain West. Neither should the reopening of Arizona, Montana and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan be grist for the anguish of those in communities that are still struggling with COVID-so long as people from reopened areas don’t descend on the war zones, or vice-versa.

Only grasping the nuance of the other person’s experience can bring understanding.

Discombobulation

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May 22, 2020

Discombobulation was a term used by one of the more effective teachers, in my junior high days, to describe the constant shifting of one’s physical or social situation, without allowing for a reasonable explanation or period of adjustment.

The notion that change is a constant is widely understood. What does not seem to be as well understood are the notions that opinions can evolve and that people can’t be typecast by their ethnicities, genders, generations or even prior stances on issues.

Much is being made about the constantly changing positions of the president, some members of Congress, some state governors and some medical authorities, with respect to COVID19. I attribute most of that clamouring to fear of the unknown and a desire for some measure of consistency, that people may deal successfully with the disease, in their own spheres.

The public state of affairs caused by the pandemic, as well as the virus itself, are evolving, continuously. Thus, people, including those in positions of authority, need to be afforded some measure of flexibility, in their public pronouncements and in their assessments of the situation. This virus has variously presented us with a clearcut roadmap for flattening the curve of infections and hospitalizations, followed by what appears to be an insidious game of Whack-A-Mole.

There is, almost as a sideshow, the spectacle of the presumptive Democratic candidate for president making what he now says is an offhand remark, regarding the qualifications for being “black”. Whitesplaining is odious, in any context, and introducing a measure of cognitive dissonance, into the lives of African-Americans who have conservative political views, makes it even more so. I’ve pointed out, in a different context, that there are liberals, conservatives and all point in between, in every given community.

We each have our opinions, on just about everything. The fact that we have them, or that we feel strongly about them, doesn’t make them right. The fact that we are free to change these opinions, hopefully in light of new information, doesn’t mean that we are suddenly either in grievous error-or imbued with wisdome from on high.

Change is ever a constant.

Dreams Not Deferred

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May 21, 2020-

After visiting the newly reopened American Legion Post 6 and stopping by Bill’s Pizza for a couple of slices, which I then enjoyed at a park bench, in Courthouse Square, I headed along North Cortez Street, and made note of more places re-opening, this coming weekend.

It was another of life’s sublime pleasures, to see a fairly good cross section of our area’s graduating high school seniors, lining up in their vehicles-sedans, trucks, SUVs and Jeeps, preparing for a motorcade through downtown, after which they would go to Pioneer Park, on the north side, for a group celebration. I stayed around and cheered all of the grads, as they drove by my perch on the outside of a long-defunct Chinese restaurant.

This group has been challenged to complete their course of study, in ways not seen since World War II. People of my parents’ generation may well identify, yet at least they got to finish school in their buildings. This spring semester, at all schools, has been an intense swirl of innovation-much of it accomplished on the spur of the moment. The best of it has relied on inquiry and discussion, followed by students coming up with solid new ways to accomplish things that had relied on formula, for far too long.

I had little to do with the achievements of this class of seniors, but I did cheer one young lady, a special needs person, who learned the value of setting personal boundaries and safeguarding herself, without, thankfully, having to undergo trauma. She can now take her place among those pursuing, and realizing, their dreams-hers being to work as a cosmetologist.

May each of these remarkable souls make their mark, not waylaid by any future misfortune-either greater or lesser than the one that interrupted, but did not dismantle, their last year of high school.

Altogether Fitting and Proper

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May 20, 2020-

I woke today, feeling the power that comes with a day which may be written as 05-20-20, and which is the midpoint of the twentieth week of 2020.  Being Wednesday, I found myself in two consecutive Zoom calls, for two different reasons, this afternoon.

After those were finished, it was time for a regenerative cat nap-THEN came the urge to finally take the first of four directional walks.  So, on went the sneakers, sunglasses and ballcap-and east I went.

Today was the last of a series of mild, rather breezy days, so walking was a veritable pleasure.  My eastward route took me as far as the still-shuttered Planet Fitness franchise, in a shopping center called Frontier Village.  This was a 1 1/2 mile-one-way jaunt, and relatively easy.

The way back led me along the edge of Prescott VA Cemetery, resting place of many military veterans, and a place where I usually join a large group of volunteers, placing American flags at gravesites, on Memorial Day weekend.  I’ve heard nothing about that, this year, so am thinking it’s another casualty of COVID19.  I stopped and read Abraham Lincoln’s “Address at Gettysburg Memorial Cemetery”, thinking about what, today, is “altogether fitting and proper”.

There are three things that come immediately to mind:

  1.  Treat all citizens, especially those with whom one disagrees, as worthy of respect.

2.  Honour those who may need us to make small adjustments in our daily conduct- i.e. people who might be immunocompromised, and need those around them, in public places, to wear face masks.

3.  Continue thinking for self-and that means THINKING, not following the loudest voices in the room, on the Internet or in the streets.

These are altogether fitting and proper, nearly 157 years after our nation’s 16th President dedicated a military cemetery, receiving the remains of those who fought in one of our nation’s bloodiest, and most divisive, conflicts.

Then and Now-The May Version

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May 19, 2020-

Change is a constant, even if some hectoring voice uses that bromide as his mantra.  It occurs to me that there was a different me, sometime ago, which is either fading or has disappeared.

Time was, when I was concerned with how people thought of me, how they looked at me, whether I’d be accepted.  Now, I see others as fellow travelers, even if they go on a path that’s different from mine.  We will all end up at the same place; we’ll just be asked different questions, by the Gatekeeper.  I accept myself, and how I look, so it doesn’t matter how others find my appearance. Besides, more and more people are far younger than I am, so they will most likely just see an old man.  As for acceptance-that starts with self-and that horse came back into the barn, a long time ago.

Then, I tended to patronize people-kids, women, old folks.  I thought it the best road to being regarded as “just folks”.  A rough old soldier called me out on the matter, and I began the long road to seeing humans as eyeball-to-eyeball.  I had made a lot of progress, in terms of being genuine, by 2005. Then, my beloved began to really go into decline and I put my self-care, and development, on hold.  After she left, it took three solid years of struggle, some travel and a fair number of mistakes, whilst on the road, to reach my equilibrium again.

Now, it’s 2020-and getting closer to mid-year.  How am I doing?  I’m good, in place, and once the curtain gets lifted, and I am cleared to be on the road again, I probably will hang on around here- to see how the school situation is shaking out, and if I am needed there.  I will also be even more focused, whether at home or on the road, than I was even last year.  There is a five-dimension sense that has taken over my consciousness.  It’ll be a most astonishing seven months ahead, and even more astonishing afterward.

When “Clean” Becomes Filthy

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May 17, 2020-

I used to live in central Maine.  On weekends, I would go either north or east, as a rule, exploring the further segments of New England’s largest state.  One area that always impressed me was the North Woods- one of the largest stretches of unbroken forest, east of the Mississippi River.  Even when I lived there, a small group of people, mainly Europeans, who didn’t understand why we “needed” so many trees, were agitating to cut down many of the trees and build something “useful” in the region-like second homes for people from more congested areas.  We would hear how, in Europe, there was not this obsession with keeping the land “empty”. and people were just happy with less wilderness. (I did not get this feeling, when I visited some western European countries , in 2014, but there we are.)

So, it doesn’t surpise me to learn that a Spanish-owned company, Central Maine Power, is going to court, to force a clear-cut of a 53-mile swath, through the North Woods, for the purpose of building a “Clean Energy” transmission line, from the St. Lawrence River, in Quebec, to Massachusetts. The total line would run 145 miles, so a third of it would go through the North Woods.  The width of the cleared path would be 300 feet across.

The Woods are owned by a timber company, which permits a wide variety of recreational uses throughout its property.  The forest products industry stands to lose a fair amount of resource material, through the clear cut-even if CMP’s Spanish parent company pays a decent sum for its trouble.  The loss to the environment would be even greater, with unknown damage to the lakes and rivers of the area.

Thus does another “New Age” company find itself in the position of being inimical to the very environment it purports to protect.  Rather than bull their way through North America’s largest remaining temperate forest, the Spaniards may find it better to explore some truly clean means of providing power to southern New England.

https://environmentmaine.org/feature/mee/protect-north-woods-stop-transmission-line

Little Stuff

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May 16, 2020-

As I have thrown some very lengthy “shares” on my other social medium, I will keep this brief and just mention a few things that come to mind, as the night progresses.

I haven’t seen the Moon, in its waning phase, this month.  Turns out, it rises at 2 a.m. and sets when it’s mid-afternoon.  I do, however, go outside and meditate under the stars, before calling it a night.

My computer desk is something of an altar.  Penny appears in three photos. My singing bowl is right in front of me.  A family heirloom Buddha, which my father-in-law brought back from Paris, in 1945, sits atop the mantle, next to a hand-carved wooden soldier, modeled after the ones in Nutcracker Suite.   A photo of ‘Abdu’l-Baha and one of our son bookend the mantle.

I planted my four vegetables, this afternoon, adding  granulated organic food scraps to the soil and spraying animal repellent around the area.  Javelina tend to come in the yard, during the night, so I want to get them accustomed to not liking the scent of the yard.

Now, it’s time to change course and say goodnight to the laptop.  Books have their turn, in my wind-down.

 

Hint of A New Normal

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May 15, 2020-

I went over to a far neighbourhood restaurant, this evening. The clientele tends to be folks in my age group or older, so we were seated with physical distancing.  The buffet was, of course, empty-though the owner says it’ll be back and full, next week.  I will watch that one closely-as I am personally rather finicky, when it comes ot buffets, anyway.

The crab cakes were back, and just the right size for my palate.  Opting for a baked potato, I likewise was pleased that it wasn’t half the size of Idaho.  There was a nice portion of steamed, mixed vegetables- and two pieces of garlic toast.

Enough of the meal; the important thing is that about twenty-seven people were there to dine in, and not all were seniors-a gentleman brought his daughter and two granddaughters along.  The owner made the rounds and caught up on some old times, as well as praising the Lord for not letting him, and his family, go under.

I do a fair amount of fixing my own meals, yet part of community life is supporting one’s neighbours.  There is a balance, and as the proprietor of this eatery says:  “It’s all a very fine line.”