The Hotel Project, Day 3

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September 27, 2020, Dallas-

Sundays in a hotel are fairly quiet-with many in their rooms watching Pro Football or some other sport-or in a house of worship, honouring the Creator. Some find time for both.

My sole concern, from 8 a.m.-8 p.m., is the well-being of our clients- especially of the children. They are certainly showing all signs of being mentally and physically healthy, so the families, which are mainly extended, are doing a fine job, in the midst of recovery from the set of storms.

People will begin to head back towards the storm-ravaged areas, during the course of this week, as the wheels of the Federal bureaucracy grind on, and assistance becomes available for home and property checks-as well as intial plans for moving forward.

A solar storm may upend things a bit, but right now, the weather trend is for continued dry weather, throughout the area-at least in tems of the oceanic patterns. I saw a bit of emotional charge, this evening, so we may yet have conflicts to help settle, over the course of the coming days.

I am hoping to arrange a day off, possibly next weekend, the goal being to at least connect with my family at least a bit. This sort of thing is always in need of careful choreography, so to speak. The week is bound to bring plenty of both forward movement and a few setbacks.

Fortnight of Transition, Day 14: Equinox, 2020

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September 22, 2020-

The day of equal amounts of light and darkness has come just a tad later, this year. It’s just as well-too many things have been dumped on us, without warning, the first three seasons of this earthshaking year.

For me, autumn has ever been my favourite season, being the time of my birth. Gradual cooling and the vividness of colours have energized my being, after the increasingly extreme heat of summer, as much fun as the season just past brings with it. Bracing for the season of earth’s rest, that is winter, and the eventual promise of spring, makes “Fall” a most purposeful time, as well.

A few sprinkles fell, in our area, yesterday afternoon, as I was returning from a dental appointment, in Phoenix. My time in the Salt River Valley is limited, by choice, especially when temperatures remain in triple digits. Here in Prescott, we may expect temps in the 80s, until about mid-October. It may or may not rain, on any given day, though the National Weather Service rather lazily just pushes the button that says Sunny, as a default, most days. I imagine budget cuts and executive fiat may have something to do with that-as with the Post Office and FDA.

We all make choices, and as Penny would say-“You get all that comes with those choices.” She always made her own decisions, though asked what I thought, matter-of-factly, before doing so. Conversely, she expected me to do the same, and, after a previous life of bullheadedness and unilateral decisions, many not very well-made, I learned the wisdom of consultation.

I think of the above, as the inevitable debate about the life of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and HER choices, ensues, this still being America. I disagreed, vehemently, with her take on abortion-though the role of men in that matter is largely one that ought to be performed LONG BEFORE any plug is pulled. Those men who raise their daughters, support their sisters and value their mothers, in the girls and women making their own INFORMED choices, are doing their jobs well. Those who downplay the intelligence and capabilities of the females among them, and pretend this is merely a man’s world, should not be surprised by anything at all that happens, as a result. Many, if not most, of the fetuses that have ended up aborted, (and whose souls no doubt greet those who aborted them, in the hereafter), would likely have either not been conceived in the first place, or would have been given an alternate path to life, had their mothers been raised in a place of love, empowerment and security.

The other real sticking point I had with RBG was her, take on “In God we trust”, which she saw as antiquated. I respectfully decline that observation. The Eternal cannot be so lightly dismissed, even in the name of free expression. In the end, though, “God hath no need of His creatures”; it’s very much the other way around.

Autumn plans? Well, I am spending today working with a Special Needs child. My Red Cross on-call status renews, tomorrow. During Fall Break, 10/12-16, I may go off on a sojourn, somewhere else in the West-and ditto for Veterans’ Day and Thanksgiving/ 70th birthday weekend. In any case, days and nights will remain productive and largely other-centered. (More on that topic, tomorrow).

Fortnight of Transition, Day 11: Hacked

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September 19, 2020, Sedona-

As I sat on a small couch, in Synergy Coffee and Tea House, on the west side of this fascinating, if rather insular, town, I learned that my Facebook account had been hacked. Someone whined, “This always happens to you!” (Actually, this it the first time it’s happened, since 2011.) Maybe the individual has me confused with someone else.

Hacking usually happens when someone who is bored or lonely gets a video on screen and “just has to share it with all their friends!” I found myself in an unguarded moment, not wanting to hurt Ms. Lonely Heart’s feelings, and clicked on something I normally would ignore. After changing my password, and answering about twenty-seven pings on Messenger, I have put the matter to rest-and will leave all the Lonely Hearts (male and female) to deal with their hackers in a similar manner.

Speaking of lonely hearts, I spent much of the late afternoon listening to a single mother unload her sorrow and anger at what she perceives as a community that dumps on single mothers-and parents of small children, in general. While she finds Flagstaff to be worse, in that regard, her disappointment in Sedona is palapable. When she left, I pondered this matter, whilst myself enjoying dinner at a Mexican restaurant, within walking distance of Synergy. I saw several families, out and about, along with a sizable crowd, of mostly people my age and older, conducting a vigil for the late Supreme Court Associate Justice, Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Moms and Dads were indulging their sons and daughters with cheeseburgers and fries, or with gelato treats. Families enjoying life together, as they do in any community.

The cry of the needy is very often not heard, in a society that styles itself “Busy, productive, acheivement-oriented”. I had a short, but spirited, conversation with a couple of 40-something developers, who were bemoaning how hard it was to make money building in this area. I pointed out that, without a guaranteed water supply, successful building is a chimera. They brushed that aside with the “Field of Dreams” mantra:
‘If we build it, they will come.’ Time will tell-though, as Groucho Marx once said, “You can get stucco! Oh, how you can get stuck-o.”

So, in the small hangout that features caffeinated drinks, hemp products and artisan chocolate/cacao treats, both sadness and testosterone-fueled hubris were in abundance, at different points during my visit. The overworked owner had broken free, for her own evening of relaxation, elsewhere. In her absence, a mostly male group of musicians gathered, and began playing around 10 p.m.

I’m all about balance, and peaceful energy, and so left the boisterous, insular group of men behind and prepared for a quiet, calm ride back to Prescott.

There was one other, curious aspect to this evening. An engaging forty-ish woman, in talking about circumstances, asked about my current status. I replied that I am old enough to be her father and that I am essentially just into establishing friendships with people. She honoured that, while saying that age means little-it’s the energy that matters.

I think that anyone can be as connected, or as lonely, as one chooses. It’s harder in some communities than in others, but time will tell.

Fortnight of Transition, Day 5: Whose Children Matter?

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September 13, 2020-

In some of my response to reports of abused and neglected children, it has come back at me that these particular campaigns are cherry-picked, Right-Wing trope activities. Maybe so, but I personally don’t cherry-pick, as to which children get attention and which go without.

Early in my counseling career, a severe sexual assault case was brought to me and the Response Team was in the midst of getting the victim to safety, when a call came about another child threatening suicide. I asked my senior partner to take that case and get back to me, once the child had been evaluated. This was unusual, for the particular community to have two victims at the same time, but there was no daylight, no distinction, between one child and the other.

One red flag, which discomfits many, is a child who gets too close, who hugs too tightly or even wants to sit on a non-related adult’s lap. I’ve dealt, gently, but firmly, with several such children, almost always girls-and who were either being totally ignored, shunned by their father or were being grommed by an adult either in, or known to, their immediate family. Getting the father to acknowledge, and spend quality time with, his daughter was relatively easy. The girls being taught sexual behaviours had, however, to be removed from the home and placed in group homes, where experienced professionals were able to give them the advanced therapy they needed.

I think of these children, a few of whom have kept in touch, as adults and are doing quite well, considering the ordeals that came their way. I think of them all the more, in light of the current Netflix film, “Cuties”, which uses exhibitionism as a vehicle to “combat sexual exploitation of children”. Counterintuitive, at best, and exploitative in itself, at worst, I see the showing of the film as a serious error in judgement. There was a period, from the mid-1990s to the late 2000s, when young European and South American girls were featured in some rather lurid websites-with the sites’ owners and photographers claiming their work was “art”. Fortunately, Interpol, the FBI, the government of Chancellor Angela Merkel, of Germany, and, wondrously, the Russian FSB, at the direction of Vladimir Putin, took these sites down and the long process of finding and rehabilitating the child victims was initiated. I would not want to see anything close to that horrific state of affairs be repeated.

That said, the vast majority of sexual and physical abuse of children takes place in situations familiar to them, at the hands of people whom they ought to be able to trust. This makes it both simple and complex, for the helping professional- Simple, in that the child is easy to locate and remove from the home; complex, in that there is often a culture of denial in place, largely based on fear of disruption and dislocation of the family unit.

Getting co-operation from the other family members is completely dependent on their degree of self-assurance and cohesiveness, independent of the perpetrator(s). In a close-knit community, even law enforcement officers. medical staff and social services workers, if they are related to the perpetrator, can be a hindrance to justice for the victim.

All these factors come into play with regard to obtaining justice, and if the matter involves a child, or multiple children, being groomed in sexual behaviour, there needs to be both a swift separation of perpetrator(s) and victim(s) and active therapeutic measures initiated as quickly as possible.

No child, anywhere, is less important than any other.

Fortnight of Transition, Day 4: Legalese

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September 12, 2020-

Good things happened today. My middle brother turned 65, surrounded by the Georgia branch of his family. It was good to speak with him and to hear the vibrant voices of nephew, SIL and the little ones.

I am reaching an understanding with someone who thought I could be the brains behind his operation. There are legal points, like “Conflict of Interest” and Federal tax laws that would present problems for my being the Great White Hope. I think he gets it now.

“Cuties”, the well-intentioned, but misguided, film has run into a buzz-saw of valid criticism, for its reported perseverating on the physiques of pre-adolescent girls. I haven’t seen the film, nor will I-since Creeper Status is not something with which I identify, as well as the fact that my primary role with young people, male or female, is to encourage them to avoid being objectified and to follow dreams of their own choosing. Hopefully, there will arise a sense of propriety and like misguided projects before it, “Cuties” will disappear from the media.

Our Baha’i group had its tri-monthly consultative meeting and planned out the overall course of activities, over the next three months.

That brings me to the Red Cross-and that I was already asked when I could resume Disaster Response activities. A look at the map shows why-Fire to the left of us, Storms to the right-and I will be stuck in the middle, for at least another week, as I have personal business on the last day of summer and will focus on other matters here at Home Base, in the interim.

The Farmers Market is a bustling place, with a new venue. I was happy to visit there this morning, seeing some of my better friends, locally. Next weekend will bring me to Dharma Farm, in advance of Equinox, and the Weekend of Peace will see some events, both on Zoom and in the park across the street from me.

With that, let’s all take a deep breath, to the extent possible, in a climate of widespread smoke.

The Summer of the Rising Tides, Day 81: No Dichotomy

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August 20, 2020-

I have written, on another medium, about both regarding the right of a human being to care for own body to be sacred and the right of a child to life as also being sacred. I see no contradiction between the two, but our society has allowed itself to view the two as somehow at variance, in certain cases.

I see this as one result of our movement away from the concept of the sacred. This does not specifically have to do with “unchurching” or movement away from long-established organized religions. It has more to do with the rising of uncertainty, of insecurity in people’s lives, in this time of massive, and sometimes instantaneous, transition. It opens the door for a relatively small number of people, with untoward views of how to attain population control, to seize control of a debate which did not even need to happen.

There will always be adults who are uncomfortable, even hostile, in the company of children. There will always be those who don’t understand the nurturance of infants and toddlers. They were either mistreated, or not treated at all, in their own infancy and childhood, or are of a temperament that doesn’t mesh well with the organic nature of child behaviour. They prize strict order and predictability in their world. These are the vanguard of the Abortion Lobby, and of the nascent Neo-Eugenics movement, which seeks to bring about social acceptance for the killing of newborns with certain disabilities.

That this segment of society should link arms with the political Left, that element who have, for so long been associated with inclusion, and who have been in the vanguard of genuine progress in the advancement of women, people of colour, sexual minorities and immigrants, is both cognitively dissonant and profoundly concerning. The linchpin here seems to be the right of a woman to decide what happens to her own body, a right that has always existed in the sight of God, but has, for so long a time, been slighted by patriarchal thinking.

A person who has been relegated to the back of the line, in self-determination, who has not been loved and nurtured by those around her, who feels totally alone and friendless, is easy prey for those who hold a skewed understanding of population control. Abortion of a pregnancy, which in cases of an unviable fetus may well be medically necessary, is now being promoted as a mere option, an elective procedure, one of many ways by which a person may exercise birth control. A subgroup of the Abortion Lobby has even hit upon the aborted fetus as a resource- a source of organs to be harvested, a source of Deoxyribonucleic Acid, a source of stem cells for research and for vaccines.

Women who are pregnant, regardless of circumstances, need and deserve to be completely enveloped in a culture of love. They neither need nor deserve judgement, from a standpoint of shallow morality, nor do they need or deserve to be the foils of those who, either consciously or unconsciously, detest infants and children, seeing the innocent and vulnerable as simply a means to an end. A loving culture feels the pain, sorrow and confusion of a woman or girl who is at wit’s end. A loving culture presents, and discusses with her, all the options available in this most personal and delicate of circumstances. It honours her informed and well-considered decision. It helps her heal.

Indeed, it is a shorter step than many in the Abortion Lobby realize, from the practice of their craft to the organized trafficking of children, a phenomenon from which the majority of abortionists would, no doubt, recoil in horror, but which nonetheless is a clear and present danger.

We, as a society, have one long-term choice-to return to a place in our hearts where all life is sacred.

The Summer of the Rising Tides, Day 78: Never Gone

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August 17, 2020-

My brother woke me from my midday nap. I haven’t seen him, physically, in 26 years. Yet, today, his voice called to me, and I sensed it was to get up and do something, with the rest of my afternoon.

It’s good to have family around, even though I am physically alone, when in the apartment. I can sense Penny, my father, grandparents, in-laws, close uncles and aunts-and dear baby brother.

The President, speaking of his departed younger brother, summed it up- “We’ll see each other again.” Yes, this will be our ultimate affirmation of family. In some cases, people will understand family members better, on the other side. There won’t be any way to have a mud-wrestling match, so they may as well.

I treasure each encounter, each reminder and each little sign- including the animals, flowers, clouds and shaped rocks that I can at least imagine are sent my way-by the beloveds. Then, I hear the neighbours and their evening guests, enjoying the night air-as Paul Simon once sang, “out on the stoop.” I see the kids savouring, seizing, the last few minutes of twilight, on their bikes and boards. I feel the gentle caress on the back of my neck or on the heel of my foot-reassuring me that there is much left for me to do, savour, experience.

I check my e-mails, and there is a deal, from a reputable company, to visit Bhutan-any time in 2022. I’ll give that one a bit of thought, but it does have an appeal to it. I’ll see what the spirit guides have to say.

The Summer of the Rising Tides, Day 61: What I Want In August, Part I

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July 31, 2020-

My parents were wed seventy-one years ago, today. They got to be together, in the flesh, for thirty-seven of those years. They left several good road maps for us, and Mom is still blazing the trail of how to live long and prosper. I was thinking, last night, that I will be honoured to live into my nineties, perhaps even hitting the Century Mark. I would, however, have to be of use, to have most, if not all, of my faculties.

Today, so far, has been quieter than the previous two. I received a message from an African friend, for whom I had written a project proposal, bemoaning that those to whom we had sent copies of the proposal had not responded as yet. It’s been a week, so my take is, check in with them weekly, until mid-August. He asked me to send each of them a montage of photos of the worksite. I can do that,around some other tasks that have arisen, since I turned fostering of the project back over to him. Life does not stand still.

I have thought about what I want to do, in my own sphere, as well. As hard as life is for many people, I cannot just put myself into one hundred percent abnegation, though some will no doubt find that odious of me to say. There actually isn’t all that much that I want for myself, though.


August is said to be a month of masculine energy, so the first thing I want to do is to bring some health supplies to a rendezvous point at Holbrook, close to the Navajo Nation, which is still itself off limits to outsiders, due to COVID. In Holbrook, I will meet the same friend who I met in Flagstaff, in the Spring, to transfer the items. That is Monday’s agenda.

Synergy, the health elixir cafe operated by friends in Sedona, reopens on August 8, so that will be my place of refuge and celebration, next weekend. “Double” days are most often special to me.

I also miss my farmer friends in Paulden, up north just a bit, so maybe the afternoon of the 16th will find me there. The following weekend, Friday- Sunday, will likely be a time to visit Bisbee, a vibrant and eclectic Southern Arizona cousin to Prescott

The month will climax with Farm-to-Table Dinner, on the 29th, and unless the COVID cops declare our most stringent safety precautions inadequate, I will be among the masked and gloved servers and busers, tending to a smaller, but no less fervent, group of patrons of our vibrant Farmers’ Market.

What I want is for life to go on, carefully of course, but not dancing to the tune of one group of tyrants or another.

The Summer of the Rising Tides, Day 46: Where To?

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July 16, 2020- Today is the birthday of one of my best friends, so I will be in her luxuriant garden, later this afternoon, honouring her with gifts and exchanging stories.

As is well known, I am choosing to stay around Prescott for most, if not all of the summer-and am not going outside of Arizona, barring an emergency, until at least mid-October.

Nonetheless, I think it perfectly fine, if people in places less affected by COVID than we are, get out and enjoy salubrious places in their home states. Travel further afield is, in most cases, best saved for less infested times.

So, in the interests of such travel, here are my own top two favourites for in-state jaunts. Many of them, I’ve visited; others are the favourites of friends.

Starting here and working outward:

Arizona- Thumb Butte; Texas Canyon

Southern California- Carbon Canyon; Julian

Northern California- Point Reyes; Lassen Volcanic NP

Nevada- Valley of Fire; Cathedral Gorge

Utah- Natural Bridges; Bryce Canyon

Colorado- El Dorado SP; Seven Falls

New Mexico- Taos; Sandia Crest

Oregon- Crater Lake; Bandon

Washington- Neah Bay; Leavenworth

Alaska- Sitka; Talkeetna

Hawaii- Volcanoes NP; Kauai

Idaho- Hell’s Canyon; Craters of the Moon

Montana- Glacier National Park; Bob Marshall Wilderness

Wyoming- Grand Teton NP; Spirit Tower (“Devils Tower”)

North Dakota- Peace Garden; Theodore Roosevelt NP

South Dakota- Black Elk Peak; Badlands NP

Nebraska- Scotts Bluff National Monument; Henry Doorly Zoo

Kansas- The Hollow Park,Sedan; Flint Hills

Oklahoma- Lakes of the Cherokees; Black Mesa

Texas- Falls of the Pedernales SP; Palo Duro Canyon

Louisiana- North Side of Lake Pontchartrain; Bayou La Batre

Arkansas- Crater of Diamonds; Petit Jean State Park

Missouri- Lake of the Ozarks; Sedalia

Iowa- Lewis & Clark SP; Ledges

Minnesota- Lake Superior shore; Pipestone NM

Wisconsin- Apostle Islands; Door Peninsula

Illinois- Baha’i Temple, Wilmette; Cahokia Mounds

Mississippi- Ocean Springs; Emerald Mound

Tennessee- Shiloh; Lookout Mountain

Kentucky- Land Between the Lakes; Mammoth Cave

Indiana- Indiana Dunes; Brown County

Michigan- Picture Rocks; Keweenaw

Ohio- Bass Islands; Serpent Mound

West Virginia- White Sulphur Springs; Harpers Ferry

Alabama- Tuskegee; Muscle Shoals

Florida- Everglades; Nature Coast

Georgia- Sea Islands; Amicalola Falls

South Carolina- Sea Islands; Travelers Rest

North Carolina- Tryon; Outer Banks Region

Virginia- Shenandoah National Park; Chincoteague

District of Columbia- Rock Creek Park; C & P Canals

Maryland- Eastern Shore; Antietam

Delaware- Cape Henlopen; Fort Christina

Pennsylvania- Valley Forge; Bushkill Falls

New Jersey- Pine Barrens; Ramapo Mts.

New York- Ausable Chasm; Niagara Falls

Connecticut- Taconic Hills; Mystic

Rhode Island- Block Island; Narragansett Beach

Massachusetts- Mt. Greylock; Cape Ann

Vermont- Green Mountains; Lake Champlain

New Hampshire- Presidential Range; Mt. Monadnock

Maine- Mount Desert Island; Moosehead Lake

For the most part, these are sites in nature. In another post, when we are further along in recovery, I will mention my favourite cities, large and small.

The Summer of the Rising Tides, Day 44: And Love Will Steer The Stars

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July 14, 2020-

Today was Bastille Day, commemorating the ultimate proof that, when rulers ignore the governed, there may be severe consequences-for all concerned. Today also was the final day of the weeklong Harmonic Convergence, an online celebration of our connections to the Universe as a whole.

Unity was the theme, as it was in the last such gathering, in 1987. I saw little evidence of the roiling mayhem that continues on, outside these serene sessions. Our focus was on understanding the connections that this planet has always had with the greater Creation.

Astrology points us to the planet, at long last, entering into the sign of Aquarius, come December. To some, Aquarius is the sign of love and harmony. To others, it is the sign of the ascendancy of technology. I naturally favour the former, finding the latter to be somewhat a harbinger of control, of externally-imposed agendas and of a cold, emotionally-distant society.

There are both positive and negative forces, throughout the Universe, so the dichotomy between which will control our destiny makes it all the more imperative that we rise to control it ourselves. I cannot, very happily, live in a world where there is little concern for anyone outside one’s own space.

Thus, this series of sessions has given a boost to what I have learned, over 38 years, from the Baha’i Teachings. It has given me a boost past the mercantile veneer of “Cosmic Wisdom” which is, at this stage of the game, a means to an end, though I have hope that those who ply the trade of Reiki, and other intuitive arts, will actually come to feel the sentiments they vocalize.

In the last meditation of the series, I closed my eyes and mouthed the mantra, as best as my lungs and diaphragm could muster, for 21minutes. I saw Penny, in a blue-tinted forest, my cousins who have gone on and, my youngest brother, Brian. My departed Godmother, Hazel, Uncle Jim and their rambunctious brother, Charles, were also present. All are in a good place. I felt feline energy, inside the apartment, though none of the ferals has ever been inside here. Lastly, a walk around the perimeter of the place was a marvel of stars and the planets Jupiter and Saturn.

Love is steering me, and the stars. More instructions are coming.