Setting Things Right

8

December 5, 2018, Prescott-

Whilst on the exercise bike, this evening, I glimpsed a segment of “Property Brothers”, in which the men were called to rehabilitate a house that was ravaged by carpenter ants, mold and shoddy original construction.  They made the restoration happen, with a tight team effort and more money spent than planned.

Life is that way, for so many of us. We take up the slack for others, and ask for more money in the process.  Some of that money doesn’t get repaid on the lender’s schedule and some  lenders raise the roof.  Some of the shoddy workmanship causes more trouble than it’s worth, and the fixers walk away.

I thought about my own life.  A month from now, small debts will have been repaid.  A couple of  sidetracks will have been calmly brought to an end, with thanks said to the good souls involved.  I will be on track to visit my little family, in Korea.  My schedule in 2019, outside of work, will otherwise be pretty much open, otherwise,.

The prime mission I have is to set things right- with any loved one who has misunderstood my absences, silences or abrupt changes of plans, over the past few years, but especially this year.  Some of that will happen next week, and the rest will  follow.

For the next several days, I will focus on a variety of things, in the nineteen days leading up to, and including, Christmas.  The first of these is desert-grown shrimp.

Illusions that Limit

10

December 4, 2018, Prescott-

I read about you today,

the “chamberlain” drinkers,

who contrive beverages of everything

from cough syrup to aerosol propellant.

These are to help you escape,

what you see as an untenable,

unbearable reality.

I read about the stock market,

flailing, and looking for any excuse,

to take other people’s money,

to strike back at the government

or to just take the money and spend it,

willy nilly.

I read about the lawsuits,

going in both directions,

to also strike back

at one’s political opponents

or at people with whom

one disagrees in areas

as widely separated,

as religion and commerce.

These pastimes are those

of the lost,

of those whose faith is

in scarcity.

My faith is in abundance.

I have a duty to my body,

to see that what goes into it,

is at least digestible,

does not poison my vital organs,

or numb my brain.

I have a duty to my elders,

including the departed,

to take what they have

so generously left me,

and nurture it.

I have a duty to my fellow humans,

to not besmirch their dignity,

to not savage them,

for their different viewpoints,

but to encourage their growth,

along with my own.

My faith is in abundance.

The Little Sticker Bur

6

December 4, 2018, Prescott-

Life is going pretty much as it should be, right now.

There is still that little sticker bur,

though,

in my head,

or actually,

all through me,

my heart sinking for some reason.

When we were kids,

the sicker burs,

sometimes got onto our clothes,

or in our shoes.

It’s like that today,

and I’m not sure why

the free-floating anxiety

is hitting so hard.

Maybe the feeling,

that I have enraged someone.

I picked up on that,

from the person’s terse message,

yesterday.

I will find out,

soon enough,

next week.

Whatever happens,

I know it’ll be okay,

once the storm passes.

 

Bumps

4

November 29, 2018, Prescott-

It was overcast, almost gloomy, this morning. It seemed the community was almost at a standstill.  Lines were a bit longer; traffic, a bit heavier.  Our students were a bit later, getting to school.

My new phone will wait until the weekend, to get set up. Snags appeared, in getting to my mother-in-law’s services.  There was an overall mood of grouchiness, hereabouts.

Noon came and went, with the day being fairly routine, once we got going.  By 2 p.m., the sky had cleared, at least for a time.  By 4, a possible solution to the above mentioned travel snags had presented itself.  I had a good chiropractic session and took a blessed nap.

Bumps in the road are temporary, if we can see past them.  The other thing is to not be attached to a given outcome.  I would be a bit saddened, if it turns out I don’t get to pay my respects to “Bunny” at her gravesite.  I will not be shattered, though.  There is plenty of need for me to be right here.

Tomorrow, November will bid us farewell and yet another festive season will take its place on stage.  I am another 360 around the Sun, and still sense a lot of fine things are in store, especially if we endure their opposite numbers.

Neophytes

2

November 17, 2018, Superior-

(I came back to this old mining town, to visit a friend who operates a unique cafe and to inquire as to the health of her husband, who has been seriously ill.  He’s doing much better and she is still doing a good business.)

So, people have, on occasion, asked

if this or that anomalous situation

is my first rodeo.

Most know better,

and are being sarcastic.

I don’t deal with new situations,

the same way the street warriors

of New York, Los Angeles or Atlanta

deal with such things.

Then again, I have not faced

very many life or death situations.

That said, few of us are neophytes,

to most of what life throws at us.

We need patience with one another;

the spring-loaded with the laid back,

and vice versa.

That patience is hard to come by,

and sometimes may not happen,

in this life.

It is, nevertheless, worth making an effort.

My life, at present, is peaceful.

I am thinking, more presently,

of a newly-elected official,

a steady-as-she -goes workhorse,

now being attacked by

a spring-loaded,conservative journalist,

for not living up to the letter of a promise

she made.

A variation on the letter of the matter

to which she made the promise,

took place this past week.

The rabble rouser pounced,

in the pages of our state’s largest newspaper.

This was a most transparent attack

on the integrity of a public servant,

whom I have followed closely,

for 19 years.

There was a promise of more to come,

and with this particular journalist,

I  take her at her word.

I will say this,

there is a learning curve,

in anything we do.

There will always be

someone who takes umbrage,

at even the most well-intentioned act.

Some people have just been hurt too often,

and see down as up.

Some people crave control,

and smell blood, from the tiniest cut.

Some people just enjoy chaos,

and fuel the spectacle.

Neophytes must learn fast,

these days.

Unconditional

9

November 11, 2018, Prescott-

Happy Veterans Day to all who served, in “times of peace” and in open conflict.  I regret one thing about 11:11:11/18- I was resolving a conflict over material possessions (someone else’s) at the time, so I missed the reflection which that time merits.

Basically, I have been storing items for a benighted and angry individual.  I had temporarily forgotten where they were stored, and was thus subjected to yet another tirade about how stupid and worthless I was.  Fortunately, this was all electronic, a “hit and run”, so to speak. Even more fortunately, I found the items, they will be transported to a third party, tomorrow and I will be free to ban the above-mentioned person from ever contacting me again.

I have had it with detractors and naysayers-as opposed to sincere, earnest critics, who point out errors, out of love.  The latter will always have my attention.

It has taken a  long, long time for me to value myself and to know that those who lambaste me  are not worth my time.  That time has arrived and I know, both in heart and mind, that I deserve the best that life has to offer.  Actually, we all deserve the best. The fact that some have been raised to regard themselves as worthless, is precisely why there is so much conflict-whether over THINGS,  or over ideas, or over social norms.

If each of us recognized our worth, material possessions would not be the cause of strife, money would not be the source of grief, attention to detail would not be the cause of condemnation.  We would know that all would be alright, if not immediately, then over time.

If each of us really understood the Universe, the nature of Creation, the eternity of being, then there would be no conflict of egos.  There would have been no Lucifer’s rebellion; no smug disregard, by our distant ancestors, of spiritual instruction; no ongoing conflict, often perpetrated by those who cast themselves as “enlightened”, but whose egos only project utter darkness.

I can’t claim to understand it all, but I do understand these:  There is only a place for Light in this world, in this Universe.  There is only a future for those whose hearts are open, whose goals are based on unconditional love.  All else will fail, and will fall away, in confusion and disappointment. More’s the pity.

Face The Lion

21

October 28, 2018, Prescott-

One month remains of my being 67.  October, thus far, has been another instance of what the forest rangers call “facing the lion”, the feline in this case being a mountain lion (aka cougar or puma).  The broader meaning of this, of course, is facing one’s trials, without flinching.

I stood for what I believe, earlier this month, was castigated for it by a troubled soul and am not sorry for standing my ground.  I have promised to not harp on this, so I won’t. The most important thing is that, if I am all but ordered to compromise who I am, under pain of disapproval- I will take the scratches and bite marks of disapproval.

Physically, I have recovered from a mild injury to my left knee and am maintaining a rehabilitative exercise regimen.  It was gratifying to have returned to our local Planet Fitness, this evening, and to have been able to complete my usual exercise regimen, with a few modifications.

Yesterday, I chose to stay close to home during the day, rather than go down to Phoenix for what would have been a mere hour, before returning to this area for a Halloween party.  The day was greatly satisfying, though, as I attended a Fall Festival, at the site of the chiropractic office which I use.  There were many raffles, and I won a plastic sled.  The sled ended up going to a five-year-old boy.  I believe every child ought to have the enjoyment of sledding on snow- and in his grandparents’ yard, to boot!

The Halloween party, at my lead teacher’s home, was a masterful blend of food and imaginative visual effects.   There were “talking” creepy ghouls and monsters and a fine variety of hot and cold buffet items.  The best part, though, were their three German shepherds, including a very vocal albino G.S., named Lloyd.  He and I got along just fine, as I would talk back to him, saying it’s all okay.

I got mesmerized by yet another replay of Bette Midler’s classic “Hocus Pocus”, which we used to play every Halloween, when Aram was a child.  It’s been a while, so looking back on how different child characters stood up to Bette’s character and her sisters was a treat.

Yes, some lions are more comical than others. Some are more problematic. All must be faced with confidence and courage.

For Whom?

16

October 25, 2018, Prescott-

Four rather disconcerting points of view:

“The retreat is open for ticket purchase.

The cost is $500, for one week,

whether you need lodging, or not.

See, we simple spiritual folk must

also eat,

and pay our plane fares

to other places.

It simply would not do,

for me to sleep in a hovel,

or for my guru,

to fly coach.”

“We have the cheapest food in town.

Our hot dogs and sandwiches

are fantastic, n’est-ce pas?

Our house-made desserts

are nationally acclaimed.

That’s why we keep the tips,

you so generously give

our wait staff.

Besides, we have three kids to raise.

The guys and girls behind the counter,

they’re all single- except Mandy.

We pay her subsistence wages,

so she can get state insurance.”

” I am grateful, just a little,

for the help you gave me.

It’s just, you’re too stupid

for me to spend my time here.

See, I’m the new Saviour

and have to spend my time wisely.”

” Let’s see, I figure it’ll take

about two years, to get the rents

to a level where none but the

highest income bracket can

afford to live in our cities.

Then, there be no hue and cry,

when we take public lands,

across the country,

and build socially acceptable

tenement housing.

Yep, Yaki Point Estates,

Half Dome Senior Living,

The Village at Clingman’s Dome.

People need to live somewhere, right?”

 

For whom is this life intended?

 

The Thing of It Is

12

October 17, 2018, Prescott-

Through my life, I have learned things from friends, which have been very useful.  I have learned things from detractors and haters, which have also been very useful.  The most recent hater in my life has cut off all contact, but not before leaving these tips:

  1.  Presence is something in which I need to up my game, almost to the psychic level, if I want to live out the years I am intended to live.
  2.   Messages can be scrambled.  It is the duty of the reader or the hearer to unscramble them, if one’s true intent is to work for peace.
  3. Unintentionally, this person showed how to turn well-meaning people into adversaries, just by refusing to believe that any failure to provide assistance on demand, however small, was not subconsciously planned.

I could say that, in addition to Aspberger’s, I might have a touch of ADD.   I was raised, though, to not offer excuses.  I do need to make presence an up-game focus for the next 14.5 months, so that there are no more “G’s”, or if there are, that I will be less blameworthy, when things go sideways.

My priorities have been Faith, family and work, in that order.  Those who have none of the above, often cannot understand such logic, or to the extent they do understand it, they resent it.   There are more “hurting people” who hurt others, in spite of their original intent, than society wants to acknowledge.

These people on the margins are going to be part of a convergence, an in-gathering, that is coming, and sooner than we like to think.  Their perceptions will be skewed, their tempers will be frayed and many in the communities will want them to go back out on the fringes.  This will prove a serious mistake.   I already see this happening with people living in the national forests, around commercial structures- and in city parks.

Their anger is troublesome.  Their demands are highly vexing.  Their patience with the rest of us is shot.  I have spent a fair amount of time with homeless people, over the past four years.  In two significant cases, individuals looked at me as being very well off.  The two also saw my scattered attention as a severe sign of disrespect.   In a sense, they were right.  Communication between one who relies on a phone and a laptop, is mostly diurnal and holds down a job, with those who have spotty connectivity, are nocturnal and are unemployed or post-employed, is pretty much one-hand-tied-behind-the back.

It has to happen anyway.  Thinking out of the box,  seeing the skills of those on the edges and tapping in to those skills, from the get-go, is the only way the reluctant convergence will work.

Burning the Mask of Obligation

6

October 13, 2018, Prescott-

Obligations are things one takes on, in order to please other people.  They could become passions, which are those things one takes on out of sincere spirit and pure love.   Parenthood, spouseship and a sane and intelligent patriotism are examples of the latter.

In this life, however, there are obligations each of us take on, which raise the person to whom we feel obliged to the status of superior, or master.  Unless one feels passionate about the activity  in which s(he) or he is involved, the obligation becomes a false one.  Many holiday celebrations, for example, become empty rote activities- none of them memorable.  Going to the place of employment, for all too many people, is an empty obligation.  Even having a conversation, if there is no passion, involves putting on the mask of caring, almost a political and vapid exercise.  It fools no one, except, perhaps, oneself.

I have been in the process of shedding obligations, for the past seven years.  Marriage was an act of living love, and never felt like an empty obligation.  There were plenty of moments of misunderstanding, but the passion did not disappear.   Fatherhood is an act of living love, even when miscommunication and physical distance seem to create a sense of discord.  The passion does not disappear.

Working with children and youth is an act of living love, even when their behaviour seems to be enough to drive one to the edge of insanity.  The passion cannot disappear.

Growing as a spiritual being is the greatest of passions- otherwise I would likely dissipate as a person. This means two things:  Do not filter communication, no matter how seemingly drawn out it may be.  Presence is a burden, when viewed in the least obligatorily.  It can only be viewed, from a passionate viewpoint, by not filtering the subject presenting self, in any way.  This requires being totally non-judgmental, as to what is worthy of one’s attention and to what is trifling or frivolous.  How many wars have been started, and fought, because of a perceived or real slight?

So, as I look at obligations, great and small, and bring those that matter to the level of passion-I must chance the burning of the masks of obligation, that I may show the real face that comes with passion.

NEXT:  The Mask of Self-Disdain