Honouring

7

February 3, 2019, Paulden, AZ-

Whilst many of my fellow humans were watching what started out as a Stupour Bowl, I chose a different route for a fine Sunday afternoon:  Revisiting friends at Dharma Farm, an unassuming, but loving little settlement, on the west side of this unincorporated community in northern Yavapai County.

The family’s older child decided I was a fun companion, so we built, and dismantled, several mud villages. This child is a true Shiva, great at building and destroying  items of wood and mud, alike.  When the digging got old, and child decided it was “cold”, we went inside and she regaled the lot of us with a very expressive series of dances, in her best party dress.  Then it was time for me to make a blanket fort, which she occupied very happily, for forty-five minutes. Finally, I became a blanket-covered creature, called Swaug-as the only sound it makes is a low, guttural “Swaug!”   This went on for another hour or so.

Such is the world of a bright, imaginative three-year-old.  The family lives, and the children are being raised on, a system of honouring: Honour each other’s space; each other’s work; each other’s presence; each other’s dignity and worth.  If time were taken, by anyone, to practice this code, how much higher would the state of peace be?

Life at Dharma is not letter perfect- The above-mentioned child has her life lessons to learn and there were fatigue-caused meltdowns, from both children.  The honour system will help address these concerns, as will the violence-free regimen of their parents.  The couple’s commitment to Permaculture, a work in progress, will also contribute greatly to the little farm’s thriving.

A review of an astrological concept:  The north node, its notion of “past lives” aside, did explain to me the basis for some difficulties and conflicts I’ve had in my actual past.  It is, in many ways, a spot-on psychological analysis.  It basically notes, in a largely accurate manner, that the Infinite, as the author refers to the Universe, will unfold life as it is intended to unfold, and that how one reacts to both challenges and triumphs alike, determines the degree of one’s happiness and feeling of satisfaction, or the lack thereof.  This gave rise to a discussion of just what the nature of successive lives might be.  I do not believe in continuous rebirths as human beings, and it turns out, neither do my friends.  We concur that there are different beings, or levels of being, which follow this one.

It was an interesting day, capped by roasted vegetables and a green/beet salad. I learned, soon enough, that the Super Bowl was a low-key affair, with a predictable ending.  On our lives go, as, for the most part, intended.

Dimensions, Part 3

6

January 31, 2019-

As there are so many languages and ethnic groups, among the entity that is the human race, and as there are so many species of plants and animals, living on Planet Earth, alone, we may reasonably surmise that there is an infinity of living creatures, composed of any of the several elements, found in the Periodic Table, or perhaps a combination thereof.  There could be as many, or more, silicon-based living creatures as/than carbon-based beings, across the Universe.

This leads to the fifth through tenth theoretical dimensions of the physical Universe.  They each deal with comparisons between this world and at least one other possible world.  The Fifth Dimension would be a world slightly different from ours, which we might compare and contrast with this one.  The Sixth Dimension would be a plane of all possible worlds which have the same start conditions as one another.  The Seventh Dimension  would be a plane of all possible worlds with start conditions that are different from one another.  This is the basis for the theory that there are several Universes (if “universe” actually means “one song”, that theory simply means there are several cosmic songs, in one Cosmos.  The Eighth Dimension would be a plane of all possible worlds, each with different start conditions and each branching out infinitely.  If Earth were to branch out, infinitely, then it is reasonable to expect that we humans would interact with those of other worlds, who are branching out infinitely, as well. The Ninth Dimension would be a plane of all possible worlds,  with all possible start conditions AND all possible Laws of Physics.  Remember, the Laws of Physics are atmosphere-based and gravity-based.  What “flies” on Earth, does not “fly” on Saturn, or, necessarily, on the fourth planet from Sirius.  The Tenth Dimension would be the plane of infinite possibilities.  There, it could be that we could escape from politics, or death and taxes. https://ultraculture.org/blog/2014/12/16/heres-visual-guide-10-dimensions-reality/

That is the view of Bosonic String theorists.  Some of them even posit a Cosmos of at least 26 dimensions, far beyond my level of understanding.  You are free to examine that matter. https://physics.stackexchange.com/questions/292919/why-are-there-specifically-10-11-or-26-dimensions-in-string-theory

However, let me take just a few minutes to ponder what the above means, in terms of  the dimensions of human wellness.  Man does seem to have an infinite capacity to rationalize.  Suppose this ability is actually rooted in a state of alternate realities, each of which could fit the needs of a given world that the Seventh or Eighth Dimensions.

Suppose, also, that the upper dimensions are peopled by those of any number, or combination, of structural elements.  How would we communicate with such beings?  This may prove a critical issue,  perhaps as soon as 200-300 years hence.

It could, finally, be that the Tenth Dimension represents the closest we can imagine to the Reality of God- a State of Being that is far, far beyond it, but which dimension can command the  human imagination at its zenith.

I like to think that the fifth-tenth dimensions are the source of all human progress, compelling us to seek, and find, knowledge that our forebears could imagine only dimly, at best.  Let us keep trying, and growing.

Commitment

6

January 25, 2019-

We had, all in all, a good, productive meeting at work, today and prior to that, I felt a firmer commitment to us paraprofessionals, from our leadership.  These set the stage for a productive period, for the rest of the Winter and through the Spring.

It reminds me that my own commitment, to the well-being of humanity, branches off in many directions:  Our team and the students; the local Baha’i community, and the wider Prescott/Yavapai County community-through Red Cross, Slow Food, American Legion-and those who are just beloved friends ;  my friends who run the businesses around town, which I have come to love and appreciate- Frozen Frannie’s, Ms. Natural’s, Rustic Pie, Cupper’s, Chi’s Cuisine, Raven Cafe, Peregrine Books , Cornerstone Chiropractic, Planet Fitness and, most of all, Prescott Farmers Market; my family, most directly my son and daughter-in-law, mother and siblings-each of whom, are doing just fine.  When I’m needed, I will do what is necessary

I have always had a global take on things, though, even when that was considered odd.  So, I think, often and pray daily, for people in places which I might visit frequently- Phoenix, Flagstaff, the Verde Valley; not so frequently- Tucson, Superior, Carson City, Orange County, San Diego, Massachusetts,Missouri, Pennsylvania, the Great Lakes region, Virginia, Tennessee and Florida; once and again-the Pacific Northwest, western Europe, Alaska and east Asia- and those places which lie in my future, God willing-Africa, the rest of Europe, Central and South America, south Asia and the Middle East.

Yes, there is a commitment to travel, to visiting and to service where needed. Mainly, though, I am committed to living a full life, to doing the Will of God.   Thich  Nhat Hanh says commitment has nothing to do with convenience- so be it.

 

Nine Tasks

2

January 19, 2019-

Many people make resolutions, the first thing, when the calendar rolls over.  I don’t indulge in that particular practice, knowing that making firm commitments to new practices takes time.

There are nine task areas, labours of love, that have defined my life, since the passing of  Penny, nearly eight years ago.  I will focus today on what these mean, relative to 2019.

1.  Family- With Aram and Yoonhee based in Busan, for at  least the rest of this year, my focuses are: To be in Korea for their sacred wedding ceremony, in March; to tend to such of their needs as can only be addressed on this side of the Pacific; to meet them in the U.S., should they visit here in the summer.

2.  Work- I remain committed to working, during the regular academic year, through at least December, 2020 and no later than May. 2021, depending on the needs of the school, preferably in the High School Autism Program.  Thus, work is a major daily focus through the fourth week of May and from August-December.

3. Faith- No day has gone by, since February 23, 1981, that I have not begun my morning in devotions and a fairly long recitation of prayer.  Service to Baha’u’llah remains  a prime expression of my inner joy and love for humanity.  This year marks the Bicentenary of the Birth of al-Bab (The Gate), Who we revere as both Baha’u’llah’s Herald and His Twin Messenger of God, as al-Bab’s spiritual Dispensation took place from 1844-1853, immediately before the beginning of Baha’u’llah’s.   Their birthdays also fall on two consecutive days, on the lunar calendar.  This year, these are October 29-30, with al-Bab’s  anniversary occurring first. (Historically, Baha’u’llah was born in 1817 and al-Bab, in 1819).  There are also regular Spiritual Feasts and other Holy Days, throughout the year and I  am participating in regular study groups and other activities.

4.  Community Life-  I take part in volunteering on community projects, with the American Red Cross and Slow Food Prescott.  The focuses are on disaster response, home safety, school gardens and,  new this year, food recovery.  These activities largely define my giving back to Prescott and Yavapai County, for having been a large part of my solace, in the Fall of 2011.  The American Legion’s Post 6 celebrates its 100th anniversary, in May, and I will have a part to play in that celebration.

5. Writing- Blogging and journaling have also been critical to my inner healing, even in the midst of my caretaking, in 2008-11.   They remain an integral part of who I am, and so Word Press, with its being extended to Facebook and Linked In, remains my primary means of self-expression, through this year and beyond.  I also maintain a pen and ink private journal.

6, Hiking-  This has been a huge lifelong pastime, pretty much since I was old enough to walk.  Since I’ve been old enough to take off on my own, without getting into trouble, many trails and paths, from my native Massachusetts to the desert Southwest, Colorado, southeast Alaska, Korea and northwestern Europe have seen my bootprints.  This year, my focuses will be on further segments of the Maricopa Trail, at least two visits to the Grand Canyon, more beach walks in southern California, Fall hikes in Utah and the Navajo Nation, and several walks with Aram and Yoonhee, whilst in Korea.

7. Travel-  This has also long been one of my passions, often dovetailing with hiking.  The Korea trip will take me to Gwangju and Jeju, as well as Busan.  Prior to that, will be a Presidents’ Day weekend visit to southern California, hopefully connecting with friends in Orange County and the San Diego area-with La Jolla, Dana Point, San Clemente and possibly Crystal Cove being on the itinerary.

June and July largely hinge on my little family’s schedule.  Carson City, in late May, is a given, with a new extended family member having been born, this past week.  A 1-2 week visit to the Northwest, Vancouver Island/Sunshine Coast and southeast Alaska is likely-as is the now customary jaunt through the Midwest to New England and back through the mid-South.

October (Fall Break) will find me in Monument Valley and southeast Utah- returning to Capitol Reef and Natural Bridges, as well as the Goosenecks of the San Juan River.  Christmas, God-willing, will see a return to Massachusetts.

8. Diet and Exercise- Planet Fitness and our daily Adaptive Physical Education regimen have largely provided my continuity as a healthy physical specimen.  Stretches at home have also proven critical, as I recovered from a posterior knee strain, over the past ten weeks.  Things are 99% back to normal and I want to keep it that way- up to, and maintaining, 100%.  I am cutting back on coffee consumption, not out of any pressure, but because my body tells me that’s what it wants.  Less red meat is also finding its way onto my plate-and what there is, is certified grass-fed and organic.  A greater percentage of my diet being of vegetables, fruits and whole grains is on tap for this year, as well.  Yes, I will drink more water-that’s not an empty statement. Therapeutic Grade Essential Oils, including Lifelong Vitality Supplements, are a continual source of sustenance.

9. Study-  My mind is always looking to keep current with advances in health, trends in positive thought and expanding my awareness of subjects in which I have scant knowledge- as well as continual study of Baha’i texts and new correspondence. This will continue, as 2019 progresses.

This is a longer post than usual, but there you have my year’s plan.

 

 

 

Rainy Day Reflections

11

January 15, 2019-

Yesterday, I rushed about, in the morning, to get  an essential oil blend to a young friend suffering from a health ailment not normally associated with the young.  I hope the oil will help.  More potentially problematic was getting to my own appointment, halfway across the Salt River Valley.   I was twenty minutes late, but had been able to message the office, as to my predicament.  No worries and I emerged with a clean bill of dental health, for another four months.

On the way up to the cemetery where Penny is laid to rest, I was obliged to stop, as the funeral procession of another soul passed.  I could hear the proceedings of the person’s ceremony, as I communed with my beloved, some fifteen minutes later.  Each one of us ought to be able to expect a dignified send-off, and someone to keep us in loving memory.  Of course, what one gets in that regard, depends on what one has given.

I went up to Cave Creek, for lunch, with a trio of pleasant eateries on my short list:  Local Jonny’s, my favourite, was suitably packed; Big Earl’s, always offering a warm greeting, also offers food too heavy for my needs at that time; Divine Bakery was thus my choice, with no other customers when I walked in, but five people entering, as I left. In between, was the best quiche south of Rustic Pie Company (Prescott’s best) and a delectable cannoli.

Today the rain came down in buckets, as unusual as the snow that hit the central part of Arizona on Saturday night.  We can expect such moisture in July and August, but not so much in winter.  These are not “conventional” times, though.  Besides, there has been a lot of discussion about the fate of our larger reservoirs, with Lake Mead, which got a fair amount of rain today, also, being Ground Zero in the drought watch chronicles.

It mattered little to us, ensconced in the classroom and taking our post-lunch walk around the main building.  Our life today revolved around getting more familiar with talking electronic pads- giving voice to those without the  ability to speak, themselves.  I recognize the urgency of this, and am giving quick study to mastering the use of these devices.

My knee has been better, of late, with ongoing exercises and essential oil treatments. There are a few exercises in the adaptive P.E. class, to which we take our students, which will require more acclimating, but I am getting there.  Now it’s time to head over to Planet Fitness.

 

Seared into Community

4

January 8, 2019-

The local Sears may well be closing soon, along with most others of that company’s sites.  That fact has nothing to do with the title of this post, though.

Prescott has taught me how to be fully part of a community-actually a lesson that Saugus, and later, the Hopi Nation, tried to teach me, years ago, with varying degrees of success.  I guess that now, in my advanced middle age, and with a few knockabouts under my belt, people are more easily understood by me, and vice versa.

There is a move afoot for several of us to go to a National Park Service property (to be determined), and engage in a clean-up, this weekend.  This is just the latest of examples of why this community has a commitment from my heart to stay and work for the next 2-2.5 years, before family, and the curiosity about the wider world, take primacy in my life, once again.  My Faith community, the Red Cross, a local school gardens group, various individual friends-and my co-workers at Prescott High School have kept me well-occupied and quite happily so, especially these past two academic years.

This evening, I went to a fundraiser for our school’s Future Business Leaders of America.  Wildflower Bakery, a regional chain, has a new restaurant, within the shopping mall where it has been a fixture for several years.  It is visible from the road, and draws a fair crowd.  FBLA thus decided to hold its event here.  I support as many of these “club dinners” as I can, just out of love. Teens, in my view, deserve all the support they can get, in finding their way to a solid and sustainable future.
I guess this is the impetus to having all these other elements of community take root in my heart.

Sleight of Hand

2

January 6, 2019, Prescott-

From today, I will not write the name of the town in my dateline, unless it is somewhere other than Home Base.  Otherwise, the reader may assume I’m writing in Prescott.  I am moving away from redundancy.

Today’s post is so titled, as the weather pattern was a mix of the predicted snow and rain, courtesy of a west wind and clear sky, courtesy of the normal Sonoran Desert dry air flow.  The call had been for rain, heavy at times.  Cosmic legerdemain is the way of the Southwest-even when the forecast is “100% precipitation”.

I try to keep my own sleight of hand to a dull roar.  If I say I am going to do something, I usually get it done.  Only once, since 2011, have I not followed through and that was in 2013, when it was prudent for me to put off a photo-journey to Newfoundland, in favour of joining my brother on a Sail Blind excursion.  I can’t think of anyone, though, who was offended by that.  Prior to that, my pledges were those that meant being met, even if heaven and earth had to be moved. Such is the realm of the caretaker.

We go back to work tomorrow, entering the period of time when interruptions in the learning process are at a minimum:  There are no big holiday pageants; the weather-related interruptions are almost always limited to a two-hour delay, in the start of school, if they happen at all.  So, our attention is on the elements of the students’ individual education plans.  We refrain from sleight of hand.,

Impact

0

December 24, 2018, Phoenix-

One of the admittedly annoying aspects of e-mail is the constant barrage of “Double (Triple) Your Impact!” pitches for donations. So as not to be misunderstood, I like efficient use of funds and that which increases the likelihood that more people will be positively affected by the contribution is all the better.

A positive framework for the term is Impact Experience, a company that focuses on bridge building, in terms of a network between investors and communities at risk.  Founded by Jenna Nicholas, in 2015, this enterprise has worked in communities, regardless of local political culture-the main thrust being reworking the way people see local economies and potential for prosperity.  http://impact-experience-dev.squarespace.com/process/

The common attributes noted for a culture whose purpose is prosperity, rather than profit, are:

  • Distribution of wealth, by partnership, rather than by force.
  • Consultation as the primary communication model.
  • Employee development
  • Sustainability

This culture must undergo change, which occurs in the following stages:

  • Definition;
  • Communication;
  • Reinforcing education;
  • Integration;
  • Practice;
  • Reflection

Where things have fallen apart, in recent years, has been the lack of persistence, often from a skewed perception of the process of change.  One, or more, of the above steps have either been omitted or not properly completed.

As was said earlier, real change is messy.  People stumble, are embarrassed, get discouraged or cave in to pushback.  It helps to realize that few of those who question change are, in the real sense, reactionaries or “knuckle draggers”, just as few of those wanting drastic change are wild-eyed revolutionaries, or “bomb throwers”.

Change is messy, trust comes hard, but both are necessary, in order to bring about the economic justice, for which so many pine.  Listening, with both ears, and action, with all one’s attention and effort, are imperative.

Points Taken

11

October 15, 2018, Prescott-

Every day, there is a lesson to be drawn,

and most days, there are several,

for those who are awake,

even awake in spite of themselves.

I am far from being a saint,

and most definitely am not  a prophet.

So, the lessons I need to draw,

have sometimes been put off

or ignored.

Among the points I have taken,

from recent days,

are practical:

When meeting someone,

know the road the person is using,

and focus on it-

not on the nearby road

that I took.

When with a person,

who is speaking

with intensity,

even about seemingly

light matters,

give total attention.

Put the watch away,

and leave the cell phone

in the car.

Shut out everything

in the field of vision,

or the range of hearing,

except the person speaking.

For that matter,

DO NOT assess,

or base your response on,

the  level of gravity

of what someone is saying.

If it seems frivolous,

treat it with the same

degree of respect,

that you would

a discourse

on nuclear fusion.

We live in a very hard age.

We live in a fragmented society.

Each person I encounter,

each person

who pulls away

from me,

imparts a lesson.

Active listening

was  a huge part of my life,

from the 1980’s through the 2000’s.

I am sorry I let it go.

I am not sorry that I am

bringing it back.

Godpseed, and forever peace, to my teacher.

 

 

 

Aged-Out?

19

September 24, 2018, Prescott-

I have heard, from a well-meaning person, that a man my age cannot handle intense romantic relations, of a physical kind. I guess it depends on the man.  Unless I find another woman who makes her way into a marital situation, I will not know as that applies to me. So, there is one moot point.

I do, however, manage to complete even a lengthy, and vigourous, physical job, to its completion, as I did on Saturday, whilst helping on a school garden project.  There is a major faith-based project, next Saturday, in which I will take part, and another, the following weekend, at Arcosanti’s Convergence, which dovetails with a Baha’i event and a nearby Pancake Breakfast.  I feel good, after vigourous work, so I don’t anticipate issues there.

I get the sense, from my building supervisors, that maybe I am occupying shoes meant for a younger person.  My immediate supervisor may well resist that, and I think I just need to stay the course, for as long as my stamina remains as it is now.

In a nutshell, I intend to keep on working, as I have said before, for at least two more years.  December, 2020, would be a good time to bid adieu, but there would have to be a younger person ready to finish out the academic year, at that point.