I had three snippies (skin tumor removals) slated for this year. The first, and largest, took place in early summer and is now a distant memory, with a faint scar. The second, which was both the smallest and the most serious, was done today. The bandage will accompany me to work, tomorrow, and I will answer questions like “How does the other guy look?” and “Are you going to get the other cheek (facial) done, the same way?” The third and last one will be done in mid-November, a week before Thanksgiving.
These events have made Manda Sunblock my friend, even if it initially gives me Ghost Face. They have also left me with scars-the first of which has mostly faded. The urban myth about scars on men being attractive to women has scarcely entered my mind, day to day. Then again, my women friends are mostly past that sort of thing. We are all pretty much into facilitating one another’s dreams and life plans.
So, the scraping, cutting, cauterizing and suturing have not been any big deal. The alternative, however, would be a VERY big deal, and I would have no one but myself to blame. Once the last one is done, dermatology will become a semiannual part of my health regimen, and life will be that much more unimpeded by snippies.
It was more quotidian than I thought, this transfer, this purchase of an SUV. The dream of a silver warrior tooling down the TransCanada, next Spring turned out to be a fairy tale. In this realm, there are no fairy tales, and if there are any fairies, they know to make themselves scarce.
It was more quotidian than I thought, this exchange of cash, for a sound vehicle that will do its part, and sans rocket science, but plenty of regular maintenance, will see me safely from one place to another.
It was more quotidian than I thought, driving to the Motor Vehicle Department, sans license plate, with only the transferred title, to prove any validity, with regard to my presence behind the wheel. It mattered none, as in less than thirty minutes, I had accomplished what thousands of people do each year.
It was more quotidian than I thought, this putting a car legally on the road. That says more about my state of mind, than about how the world is working.
October 15, 2021- In the fall of 2020, there were protests against keeping the statue of Juan de Onate, one of the Conquistadores who re-established Spanish hegemony in what is now the American Southwest, after the Indigenous Peoples’ Revolt of 1680. The statue still stands at the southwest entrance to Old Town Albuquerque. As painful as much of Spanish rule was, for both the Puebloan and nomadic tribes that were subjugated, that collective pain and the response to it-including the retributive pain meted out by the rebels upon the Spanish settlers are cautionary tales-two among many from which mankind is learning, ever so slowly. The horrors endured cannot be wiped from memory.
All across Europe, there are reminders of the grim events that forged that continent’s present state, from the Museum of Torture, in Bruges, Belgium to the preserved concentration camps of World War II. In Africa, the dreadful remnants of Slave Castles and places like Ile Goree, remind residents and visitors alike of the widespread culpability for this most heinous sustained and codified injustice. Hiroshima and Nagasaki bear witness to the ultimate fate that awaits the worst of ultranationalists, along with the millions of innocent victims that their excesses cause to be brought down with them.
Here in North America, it is surely tempting to “correct” history, by eradicating statuary that reflect the erroneous notion of one racial subgroup, or ethnicity, being superior to others. Indeed, statues of Confederate leaders and slave holders scarcely have any place, standing in communities that abolished slavery, to the extent it ever was practiced in them, well before the onset of the American Civil War. Ditto for the Stars and Bars.
I have visited places associated with controversial, even unsavory, historical figures and events, from the Confederate Cemetery of southern Maryland to the site of the Silver Creek Massacre, in eastern Colorado-and will continue to do so, for the purposes of my own understanding. I do so, knowing that I will never subscribe to either heinous mistreatment of other human beings, or to the systems that spring from it.
Careful, measured and accurate presentation of unpleasant to horrific episodes of our history, and of the blinkered systems they produced, is however part of learning. De Onate’s role in the suppression of both indigenous peoples of New Mexico, and of the lower class settlers (including Afro-Spaniards, many of whom were enslaved) needs to be kept in mind. Seeing his likeness on horseback, upon first entering Old Town, is a suitable prompt in that regard. It also brings forth further contemplation, as to the role of the clergy, including the founders of the nearby Church of San Felipe de Neri, in the oppression of those viewed as of a lesser humanity. Again, gratuitous statuary in places not associated with a given figure of history- as in a statue of Christopher Columbus in, say, Portland, Oregon or of Robert E. Lee, in downtown St. Louis, serves no purpose other than to gratify that figure’s local admirers. In such a case, those admirers should be free to keep their memorabilia on their own private turf. For the rest of us, history presented in its true context will suffice.
Those are my thoughts, after visiting Old Town Albuquerque, before heading back to Home Base.
October 14, 2021, Albuquerque- The themes expressed in the New Mexico History Museum are common, in their presentation of the call for rectification of all that has been done wrong, between one group of people towards another, over the centuries. Simply put, there is no person, group of people, ethnicity or nation that has a corner on purity, kindness, love for the Earth, etc. Any time people feel backed into a corner, they lash out.
This is true, no matter how privileged and well-off people are, in actuality. “The reality of man is his thought”, said ‘Abdu’l-Baha, on His visit to Paris, in 1911. If a person feels that he is a victim, then no amount of explaining from someone else, even grounded in real time, will change the afflicted one’s perspective. it has to come from within. Before Europeans came to the Americas, there were times when the various Indigenous nations would quarrel and wage war. Usually, this was sparked by natural disaster, combined with population growth, resulting in scarcity. The influx of large numbers of people who came from other parts of the world, and who had different values and practices, did not exactly ease the situation.
The solution, though, is never to deny another person’s reality, as some intellectuals are trying to do with regard to social justice movements. The conservative who refers to the claims of a progressive as “that hoax”, and vice versa, brings no peace. Everyone has a piece of the truth, and deserves to at least be heard, so that the feeling of being backed into a corner does not arise. I came to this realization, again, after visiting the section of the New Mexico History Museum that deals with the Pueblo Revolt of 1680. The rebellion succeeded, initially, because there was unity of purpose across the various Indigenous nations. It failed, in the end, both because that unity did not hold and because the victors did not see fit to treat Spanish civilians, especially women and children, in a humane manner. It was the generating of extreme negativity that sucked the energy out of the otherwise worthy campaign for relief and equanimity for maltreated Indigenous people.
The songwriter Pete Townshend warned, after experiencing callous behaviour from some attendees at the Woodstock Music Festival, in 1969, that “parting on the Left” could change to “parting on the Right”, in his song “We Won’t Get Fooled Again”. It happens when, as the initially victorious have so often found, their views on holding power turn out to be unimaginative, merely copying the practices of their former oppressors-and thus either paving the way for the return of those oppressors, as happened in the late Seventeenth Century, or worse, hard-wiring the succeeding generations in patterns of socially maladaptive behaviour.
I have paid close attention, especially lately, to the interactions of people, across ages and ethnicities, in the latest stages of COVID19. I have heard of incidents of line jumping and people flailing at each other, over masks vs. no masks. I saw nothing of the sort, anywhere in mask-mandated New Mexico, these past four days. People appear to be making an effort to get along, on a very basic level. even when, as one conservative friend said, they regard the mask mandate as inane.
Everyone’s struggle is real, and though that struggle does not become everyone else’s God-given burden, we can at least wish the bedraggled soul the best, and not actively make the onus heavier, by denying that it exists.
I left Santa Fe, around noon, after the museum visit, making brief stops in the artistic havens of Galisteo and Madrid, before settling in at the avant-garde, minimalist Monterey Motel, near Old Town, in this sprawling, but still rather charming metropolis on the Rio Grande.
Here are a few scenes of the day.
Learning, with some satisfaction, that the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum has sufficient rock star status as to require a fair amount of advance planning, before a visit, I made a note to wait until next time.
After leaving Santa Fe, a drive to quiet, artistic Galisteo introduced this adobe church: Our Lady of the Cures.
En route from Galisteo to the artist community of Madrid, I drove past some badlands.
Once in Madrid, I found this little gem, in the Gypsy Plaza. Mr. Shugarman carefully packaged two of his signature chocolate bark squares, for my gradual enjoyment. He also ships his wares, so some beloved friends may expect an occasional surprise, direct from Madrid.
Madrid, on the east side of Sandia Crest, is another reason for me to return to northern New Mexico, soon. After tending to a critical business matter in uptown Albuquerque, I settled into Monterey Motel, about two blocks west of Old Town. The avant-garde ambiance was welcome this evening.
We tend to love our redundant language, perhaps for fear that someone, somewhere, will feel left out, confused or disrespected. A man is, by definition, an adult male human being. Why, then, should he be identified as a non-pregnant person? A woman is, by definition, an adult female human being. Why, then, should she then be identified as a pregnant person? A person whose gender is re-assigned, and who is of legal adult age, takes on all the trials and adjustments that come with that transition. Why, then, should s(he) be still identified as born male or born female? On a more benign note, the passage of a year, since an event, is the first anniversary of that event. Anniversary is the passage of one year. Why, then, do we speak of “year anniversary”? Tuna fish, childlike child, erudite genius, clear logic: In the words of a then-five-year-old, spoken in 2011: “We understood the first time!” Let’s give each other the benefit of the doubt , that we can get the meaning, without unnecessary repetition.
Just some musing about yesterday’s social media meltdown, which happened right after a whistleblower appeared on television.
You can’t get in, because both doors are locked, and the keys are inside. I hold the keys, and I’m the only one who can decide when and how there is an unlocking. I’m the algorithmic program, designed to teach everyone just how inconvenient it is to challenge my master. I follow instructions, and am breathtakingly loyal to my master. Unlike his army of attorneys, I don’t cost any money. I can communicate a very telling lesson, for pennies on the dollars that it costs to send the suits after any whistleblower. I am the algorithmic program that locked the doors once, and I can do it again. Be nice to my master.
October 2, 2021, Sedona- Sometimes, home isn’t where you think it is. Other times, the path to home involves going back, very deeply, into a past that has been long buried in layers of detritus. Both points were brought to me, quite clearly, this afternoon.
I made an appointment to sit in an exploratory session with Anastasia Martynova, a licensed therapist in the Sedona area, to see what revelations might arise, with regard to the impact of my early childhood on my present state. Before that, I stopped at Synergy Cafe, a place which I had, until this afternoon, come to feel as a homelike environment.
Strangely, upon entering the cafe, with the intent of enjoying a cup of coffee and reading a meditation book, until Anastasia had returned to her professional space, I found a hostile reception. I retreated to an area in the back space of the cafe and, though I was served and allowed to remain, it was made clear that my presence was to be brief and any interaction with others limited.
Fortunately, I got a message from Ana, that she had arrived at her space early. I found the place fairly easily and my exploration began, after decompressing a bit from the earlier experience. Ana guided me through the customary process of foot-to-crown relaxation, then I found myself remembering the very process of my birth. The gist was that I was turned, almost against my initial impulse, and was able to enter this world head first. My first recalled memory after that was of wanting to comfort my mother.
There was then the recollection of a flower-filled meadow, below the home where my maternal grandmother lived, and where Mom had grown up. I recalled it as a favourite peaceful place., surrounded by forest, where we were not supposed to go alone.
As the session progressed, I was visited by Penny, my brother Brian, and my father, all offering encouragement and giving the message that they were each in a good place. It was not a seance, though, and the messages were conveyed to me while I was in a dreamlike state. I also saw a vision of a former student, who has been missing for over a year now. I found myself guiding, and at times carrying, him through a narrow canyon, eventually into a place of light, where his family members were there to welcome him.
The final vision was again of me as a child, walking hand in hand with a girl, climbing up a mountain that had stairs. No meaning of this scene came to me, other than that, during this time, we were both being watched by two angels, one masculine and one feminine.
During all the scenes, the colours of peace were gold, light yellow, light blue, pink and purple. The colours of challenge were red and green. Ana’s voice was soothing and guiding, throughout the process. The other helpful aspect of the session was that magnets were laid out, under various pressure points. This added a massage element to the session, and served to greatly relieve residual stiffness, from last week’s accident.
I left the space with a greater understanding of how I have come to focus so much of my life on nurturance and trying to be helpful to others, especially to children and youth. For those interested in Anastasia’s work, here is a link to her practice. https://portalofrebirth.com/
September 30, 2021- Around 4 p.m., as I was multitasking, some water spilled on my computer table and found its way to the device. The laptop is now in Tech ER. Geek Doc, being a master of reality, gave me all the sympathy I deserved: None. He wants two days, with few guarantees.
Coming as it has,on the occasion of the anniversary of Penny’s birth, I can hear her voice: ” Well, I guess you know what not to do next time!” She and I knew when to comfort each other, when to get after one another and when to do a bit of both.
Now, we are each on parallel paths. Hers is pure spirit, and thus subject completely to divine will. Mine is yet paint-by-numbers. Still, anything I do that’s worthwhile is the result of careful contemplation. Anything I do that’s messed up is the result of not giving it due consideration.
I will be back behind the keyboard, soon, and yes, no more multitasking. I had been getting a lot better, in that respect. Change, though, is a process, the result of events, some seismic, some just blips.
September 28, 2021- Yesterday, thoughts of new bullet points, on a well-worn path, started to materialize. Today, things became clearer.
It is ever more likely that I will have a replacement for my road warrior, soon. When that vehicle arrives, it will be exclusively for work and for journeys within the Southwest and southern California. Travels further afield will be by train or bus, with car rentals taking up the slack, in visits off the beaten track. There will be an occasional airplane flight, as with this coming Thanksgiving, but mostly I will stay earthbound.
Working with children will be a part of life, as long as I am of sound mind and body. The assignments, though, are becoming more selective. No longer will I sign on for work with those whose style is controlling, manipulating or degrading. I’m not talking about students, but about adults.
The same holds for volunteer work. It requires a bit more forbearance, as people in crisis are often at their worst. Nonetheless, I will expect the communication to be clear and will not indulge anyone in games of “gotcha”. Power and control have no place in a healing environment.
The most important aspect of all this is self-care, and towards this end, maintaining my current regimen of natural supplements, as organic a diet as possible, regular exercise and rest when needed is one bullet point that will not change.
The other aspect of self-care is the use of time. I find that I am less oriented towards mandatory attendance at gatherings, lest the organizer be woefully offended, and more towards joining those gatherings at which I am moved to be present, out of genuine interest. Recently, those have included both long-planned events and those more of an impromptu, spontaneous nature.
I fully plan to make my journeys abroad, over the next four or five years, as conditions allow. Most ocean crossings will probably involve air travel, but I am open to journeying by boat or ship, as well. Again, in the spirit of the above paragraph, I make no commitments to being somewhere, out of an odd sense of obligation to online correspondents. Lord knows, COVID has disrupted that whole process, as has the occasional hyperintensity with which some have tried to get my attention.
The whole process is just becoming less frenetic and more organic.
September 22, 2021- The pleas were almost incessant, but in the end, they were about maintaining a fragmented, capricious view of the world. They were a biproduct of the colonial mentality-that those perceived as rich should help a small number of those who regard themselves as poor, to become a new elite.
In the unbroken circle which I inhabit, there is no trading one elite for another, or for simply welcoming a select few into some kind of upper echelon-especially since I have no interest in occupying that echelon, myself. I am only about the kind of family bonds that are treasured by the sincere among conservatives and progressives alike- and I know plenty of people across the spectrum who hold that ethic dear. I am only about the kind of community bonds that open the door to all of good will, regardless of any physical trait, ethnicity or method of worshipping the Creator. I am only about empowering children and youth, from where we may find them to the point where they might thrive on their own and achieve their dreams in an authentic manner.
Two things happened today: First, Dr. Donald Streets, an international educator, whom I knew for many years, was laid to rest, after a long life of promoting holistic, empowerment-oriented education-in the United States, Canada, and the Czech Republic. He is out of pain now, and knows how much his work achieved.
The second thing, infinitesimal in the Universe, but huge to one person, was that the humble soul, sitting on a curb with his dog and a splayed out deck of cards, got a fresh muffin from a passerby. It was the first food he’d had in two days.
Life plays out, and changes form, in many wondrous ways.
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