Monster, Part II

4

January 16, 2018, Prescott-  Dolores O’Riordan had a powerful voice, calling out those who exacerbated tension and bloodshed, in her Irish homeland and appealing to those who take the feelings of loved ones lightly, to think deeply about their choices in life.

I’m thinking of her,now, in the wake of an untimely passing and on the heels of some very harsh judgments, flying in all manner of directions.  Dolores both made rash judgments and received quite a few, over a 25-year public career.  She made amends for the former and absorbed the latter, as many of us do, in similar straits.  I find her music compelling, regardless.

The ego leads us into horrible choices, even among those who have dedicated their lives to the welfare of humanity.  I have made plenty of my own, and I know of many others who have, as well.  In each case, there are people who could come forward and point fingers.  We’ve seen quite a bit of that, lately, and in most cases, the accused could probably stand to make amends, if they have not already been made.

The ego leads us, also, to set conditions on our love for others.  Christ says:

Matthew 5:43-48
“You have heard people say, “Love your neighbors and hate your enemies.” But I tell you to love your enemies and pray for anyone who mistreats you. Then you will be acting like your Father in heaven. He makes the sun rise on both good and bad people. And he sends rain for the ones who do right and for the ones who do wrong. If you love only those people who love you, will God reward you for that? Even tax collectors love their friends.

If you greet only your friends, what’s so great about that? Don’t even unbelievers do that? But you must always act like your Father in heaven.”  (CEV)

Baha’u’llah says

“Now is the time to cheer and refresh the down-cast through the invigorating breeze of love and fellowship, and the living waters of friendliness and charity.”
(Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 7) , and, through His eldest son and interpreter, ‘Abdu’l-Baha, He admonishes us:

“The greatest gift of man is universal love – that magnet which renders existence eternal. It attracts realities and diffuses life with infinite joy. If this love penetrate the heart of man, all the forces of the universe will be realized in him, for it is a divine power which transports him to a divine station and he will make no progress until he is illumined thereby. Strive to increase the love-power of reality, to make your hearts greater centers of attraction and to create new ideals and relationships. First of all, be ready to sacrifice your lives for one another, to prefer the general well-being to your personal well-being. Create relationships that nothing can shake; form an assembly that nothing can break up; have a mind that never ceases acquiring riches that nothing can destroy. If love did not exist, what of reality would remain? It is the fire of the love of God which renders man superior to the animal. Strengthen this superior force through which is attained all the progress in the world.”
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Divine Philosophy, p. 111-112)

Satan, the personification of the  dark aspects of the ego, is clever, as the human mind is clever.  It can get a person to do and say the most heinous of things, even in the name of the Lord.  It can make a person fear those who mean no harm, and embrace those ready to apply a dagger to the back.  It can lull a soul into complacency, whilst raising the hackles of another, leading to lost spiritual growth, in each of them.  It leads to disease, contention and strife.  Yet, this is not some one of the supernatural dark forces, being summoned, (though these do exist).  It is the power of a person’s own ego, or of the collective ego, manifest in a community.  The time is now, to work at channeling our egos towards love, and away from self-aggrandizement.

I have said enough, for now, and will have more to say about love, in an upcoming post.

 

Monster, Part I

30

January 15, 2018, Prescott-

Last night, I was lovingly, but forcefully, admonished to turn away from what I know in my heart to be the greatest Source of Light the world has yet seen.  I will not, ever, do that, even under pain of death.

This morning, someone I thought I could trust, has attacked me on Facebook Messenger, for refusing to pass judgement on the President of the United States.  While I take umbrage at his remarks, concerning nations of colour, I will not, ever, judge another human being’s inherent worth, even under pain of death.

We, as a nation, and as a human race, mark the birthday of a powerful, if flawed, personage, who did as much, if not more, to advance the cause of human dignity than any other American in the Twentieth Century.  Quite frankly, if there is such a thing as a body rolling in its grave, I am sure Dr. King is turning somersaults, at the back and forth verbiage that has plagued our nation, for nearly two years.  Remember his words: “Hate cannot overcome hate.  Only love can overcome hate.”

There is a monster loose in the world.  We know him as Satan.  He has no power, save what we give him, as Jesus the Christ and Baha’u’llah have both said.  Satan is not an actual physical being, but the personification of our own egos.  These days, though, ego is rampant, as rampant as ever.

I have been told my deepest beliefs are only my opinion.  I have been told that if I don’t attack other human beings, that I am just as guilty as they are.  I, have been told, by different people, to conform to their beliefs and expectations, or else.  Sorry, my beliefs will only change when the Holy Spirit guides me to change them.  Even if I have no friends left in the human race, that will be the bottom line.  I’ve always been a loner, so that is no big deal.

The only way to fight a monster is to not give it an inch.  I will respond to any comments made below, in Part II.

Whose Toilet?

10

January 14, 2018, Prescott-

My day will likely be a joyous one, with my spirits telling me to get the laundry done, attend a memorial service, then either go and help my dear friend, or go hike in Granite Dells, if she is not in the mood for company.

Now, back to the title question.  I was discomfited, annoyed, put out at the tale coming out of the White House, as to our President’s purported comments, regarding immigrants and their countries of origin.  Either he said these things, thus committing a serious breach of comity OR his actual words were translated to fit the opinion of the observer towards the President, thus committing a serious act of calumny towards him.

Either way, I have to say this, about countries in general:  Each has its places of sublime beauty, and each has its places of squalour.  This is as true of the USA as it is of Haiti.  It is as true of France, Germany, the UAE, as it is of Liberia, Guyana or Bangladesh.  I have seen exquisite, serene villages in Guyana and decrepit, unsettling places in France.  No one who has been across our great nation would deny that there is astonishing beauty in Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon and the Great Smoky Mountains, whilst admitting that there is much work to be done, in addressing the matters of homelessness in cities large and small, in raising up the standards of living in First Nations reservations and in run-down sections of both urban and rural areas, across the continent.

No one likes to have their good name, or that of their country, sullied.  Some will argue, “Well, if the shoe fits, wear it!”  If that shoe has a hole in it, I would gather that the person has every right to decline its adornment.  Far better, in my view, that, having shone the light on the filth and the problems, the President, and each of us who has looked down their noses at a person, community or country, should put down that flashlight and ask, “How might we help?”  One immediate thing we can each do is, stop referring to the shortcomings of a people, as their be all and end all.  Acknowledge the beauty of a place, or of a society, instead of yammering about how horrible SOME aspects of it happen to be.  Messes happen, even in the finest of communities (just ask anyone in Montecito, CA). Beauty and strength, likewise, may be found anywhere.  How about building on that beauty and strength?

Ice Cream

15

January 11, 2018, Prescott-

I ended my work day by being reminded that today was the 11th, after a fatigue-based brain fart.  That gave rise to the inevitable concern from Lead Teacher, about the onset of dementia.  Umm, no.  I was tired, exhausted.  I know tomorrow is January 12th.

Now, on to the reference in this post’s title.  On the podcast, this morning, one of my mentors was accenting an aversion to success, using ice cream as an analogy.  If one were to go up to a counter, see a flavour of ice cream that appealed, and was asked what would be your preference, and then dithered, thinking about whether one deserved ice cream at all, even while knowing that thousands of other people enjoy ice cream, each day, what would that feel like?

I have long dithered about enjoying life.  I have long felt that I did not deserve success, even having a hard time accepting, initially, that Penny found me attractive.  I have come to the conclusion that it was my autism talking.

The fact is, she DID find me attractive.  I was not the dregs with which she had to make do.  So, we had our ups and downs, for 29 years, but they were years of love.  I have been amazed at finding myself in places like Neah Bay, downtown Portland, San Francisco’s Russian Hill and Fisherman’s Wharf, Paris, Versailles, Utah Beach, the Dom Sector of Frankfurt, Iolani Palace, Bruges and Sitka’s Mt. Verstovia.  I really DID walk the length of Prescott Circle Trail and Black Canyon National Recreation Trail, albeit in sections. I am amazed, also, by the beautiful lady who now calls me friend.

So, all those bowls of ice cream later, I am looking at a huge sundae, and preparing to nibble a spoonful at a time.  I have spoken of giant steps being on my horizon.  I still need to convince myself that I am not the family’s hood ornament, or an appendage to the two-woman team in the classroom where I work.  It’s these very giant steps that will do this, for me.  The mentor cautioned us to not falter.  I won’t, having come all this way.

Giant Steps Continue

9

January 10, 2018, Prescott-

I am finding time zone differences

are the muck that is

complicating

my giant steps.

Doing two jobs at once,

until the end of March,

albeit for a short fifteen minutes,

in the morning,

could be a bit messy.

Good thing my day job supervisor

is agreeable

to my giant steps continuing.

Reading List and A Full Plate

6

January 7, 2017, Prescott- 

My best friend and I had a wide-ranging conversation, yesterday, about  inner peace, among other things.  She suffered a loss, recently, and the subject arose about those who blame others for their pain and suffering.  Neither she nor I blame anyone but ourselves, if things go sideways in our lives.  I love her dearly, but if she bid me farewell tomorrow, I would go on, and figure it wasn’t meant to be, for longer than it was.  On the other hand, I am glad for every minute of our friendship, and will treat her like royalty, as long as it lasts.

Those of us who are blessed by the Universe tend to have a mighty full plate.  I was informed today about another responsibility that my fellow Baha’is would like me to assume.  My financial education continues, work resumes tomorrow and I still like to read as many of  the posts on my Reader, as humanly possible.    Exercise remains important. I will also make time for M, when she needs me. So, the schedule remains, 4:30 AM-10 PM, 6 days a week, and a “sleep-in” until 5:30, on Sunday.

My winter reading list is also present, to fill in the “gaps” in my day:  “Cash Flow Quadrant”, by Robert Kiyosaki; “Facing Grief With Eyes Wide Open”, by Medea Bavarella Chechik; “Tribe”, by Sebastian Junger; “Winter of the World”, by Ken Follett; “Footloose in America”, by Bud Kenny; “The Elegant Universe”, by Brian Greene.  That should last until March 21, or 31.

We were talking, at a meeting today, in Phoenix, about how people often assume the young and the old have lots of time on their hands.  I can’t speak for the kids, but there is joy for me, in choosing to maintain a full schedule.

Reason and Rage

12

December 30, 2017, Spring Hill-

I was scolded, a while ago.

Someone is furious,

that I said people who

learn from their mistakes

are winners.

Let’s revisit that one.

Everyone learns.

I am sometimes a slow learner,

my lessons might be repeated,

a dozen times or so.

Yet, I do learn.

I do, eventually, win.

That ought to satisfy

my enraged reader.

 

Year-End Reflections, Part 6: Risk and Delivery

12

December 29, 2017, Spring Hill-

I have consolidated a couple of small holdings.  Being well-insured, it is a small risk, that will take care of obligations.  Historically, I have taken several risks, both great and small.  Some, like an early involvement in stem-cell therapy, for Penny, proved to be of no benefit, and considerable loss.  Others, such as my low-level involvement with do Terra Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade Essential Oils, have given me long-term health benefits.

I have been roundly excoriated, a few times, for failure to deliver on my various projects.  What I’ve learned from those failures, is that I went forward, without having understood all the ramifications and possible barriers to success. The lesson of 2017 is that, despite the mistakes I’ve  made over the years, which have long lowered the opinions some family members and past associates have of me, I am still a worthwhile human being.

I have gained many friends, this year, as mentioned earlier.  Friendships are never without risk, loss being first and foremost.  Some online friends have drifted away, or become distant and standoffish.  That will hardly keep me from being devoted to those who remain, or from making still more friends, in the days and months ahead.

As 2018 glimmers in the not-too-distant horizon, I sense there will be a cash flow, either from the source I described yesterday or from somewhere not yet evident.  I will be a bit more cautious, and not drawn in by glamour or exuberance of others, yet neither will I shy from risk.

Fear of  failure, or of scolding, is a thing of the past.

 

As If On Cue

4

December 21, 2017, Prescott-

As if on cue, today was the coldest day since last February.

It snowed, north of us,

but with the caveat that Old Man Sundowner

was coming back, with milder temperatures,

over Christmas weekend.

A dear co-worker has to sit out

our classroom’s run-up

to the holidays.

I pray for her recovery.

It’s quite something,

how some teams of workers

bond almost instantaneously,

while others contend with

one another and clash

until the bitter end.

I also pray for the recovery

of a student who injured himself.

Teens can be daring,

and foolhardy,

not realizing the pain

felt by those who love them,

including, first and foremost,

other teens.

As if on cue, I rushed out,

and finished shopping,

and connected with

three people with

whom I had been

waiting to connect.

I have met a snag,

in my online business course.

It’s called, team leader,

who stresses speed and efficiency,

has a life, away from his work.

So, I wait, for him to reply

to my request.

Not on cue, but in time.

Dancing With Reality

5

December 19, 2017, Prescott-

My comments, of a few days ago,

regarding relationships seemed stark to some.

They do have a flip side.

It was not my intention to pigeonhole women in any age group,

nor to automatically “friend-zone” anyone. ( I hate that term, anyway.)

Reality for me, at the edge of 2018,

has several very positive aspects.

On my present job,

I face the possibility of violent outbursts,

on any day or at any given moment.

These are never personal, and our team is well-equipped to handle them.

The positive aspect of this is that we are well-supported,

internally and system-wide.

We also know what the triggers are,

and can be proactive.

Outside of work,

I have my Faith group,

several friends from

the wider Prescott community

and so many,

across the nation

and the planet.

Revamping my blog,

as I will mention again,

in my year-end recap,

has brought hundreds of new

friends- and a few critics,

to my world.

There are those,

towards whom I feel close,

who are quite skittish,

and dancing with reality

requires that I approach

them, with carefully-chosen

words and actions.

This dance is complicated,

but it is breathtakingly

joyful!