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.

Feet of Clay

6

December 1, 2018, Prescott-

You say that my dear friend,

someone I love very much,

is not measuring up,

not cutting the mustard.

I know differently.

I know just how hard,

how diligently,

how effectively,

my friend has pleaded your case.

I know the high regard in which

you have been held,

in my friend’s estimation.

Frankly,

I have always had my doubts.

No human being,

myself included,

even remotely

approaches the level,

of  Jesus the Christ,

of  Gautama Siddhartha ,

of Baha’u’llah.

You have made

some very high claims.

You have not exactly SAID

you are above it all,

but by your behaviour of late,

you act as if that is the case.

I love my friend,

and will stand by her,

throughout.

You, though,

will have to

be content,

hardening your feet of clay.

 

 

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.

Letting Go; Not Giving Up

4

November 26, 2018, Prescott-

This day is to honour  ‘Abdu’l-Baha, Who guided the Baha’i Faith, from the Ascension of Baha’u’llah, on May 29, 1892 to His own  passing, on November 28, 1921. It is called the Day of the Covenant, as ‘Abdu’l-Baha symbolized the agreement between Baha’u’llah and His followers.  He explained much of His Father’s Revelation to us.

‘Abdu’l-Baha suffered, physically, for much of His life on Earth.  He came to North America and Europe, from 1911-13, visiting many major cities, and maintained a schedule that would have been daunting for someone half His age.

He made this journey when He was between the ages of 67-69. As I will turn 68, in a few days, I have to admire His fortitude.  The example set was a strong one, and was derived from both detachment and commitment, in equal balance.

An example came when He was in San Francisco, and it was requested by some Baha’is in Los Angeles, that He visit their city. Bear in mind that this was in 1912, and there were costs involved that seemed insurmountable.  ‘Abdu’l-Baha did not impinge on anyone, in meeting His expenses.  He at first told the Los Angeles friends that He would not be able to make the journey, though it caused Him great sorrow.  A short time afterward, though, money was found. ‘Abdu’l-Baha and His entourage made the train trip south to Los Angeles and spent a day or so there, specifically visiting the grave of the first American to declare his faith in Baha’u’llah.  That man’s name was Thornton Chase.  ‘Abdu’l-Baha showed that, by letting go, a person gives the Divine, the Universe, room to muster its energy and bring things to fruition.

I have been in many situations, including this year, where it has been prudent to let go of plans and expectations, and to move with the flow of energy.  These situations have, in the long run, not hampered my well-being and have actually helped to purify my life.  There will be others, I’m certain, as this year winds down and subsequent years unfold.  I can rely on the example set by ‘Abdu’l-Baha, in pondering my reaction to the changes that are in store.

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.

Veterans, Donuts and Honouring Commitments

2

November 12, 2018, Prescott-

Today is an extension of Veterans Day, being the Monday after a Sunday holiday.  It is also the birthday of a friend, so there will be a small luncheon in her honour, just before Noon.  Before that, though, there is a donuts for vets event, at our local Veterans Center.

These two events will find me showing up, yet there is also the matter of tying up loose ends, by delivering the remaining items I had stored for the individual I mentioned yesterday.  That will begin the afternoon.  Then, I have several hours of “me-time”, and can enjoy the coolness of a crisp Fall day.  For the first time in a while, I will take my camera with me, and just walk-somewhere.

Commitments are huge, and one of the things I have had to work on-under my own terms, is presence.  I am making progress, despite occasional setbacks, and no amount of screaming and yelling on anyone’s part is going to deter me from meeting that goal.  My honour is intact.

I have found, once again, that the vast majority of people in the world are fine folks.  I am in a good place, in this community, and have been treated well on the road, also.  There was a brief period, last month, when I did not feel safe.  That came from giving too much power and importance to someone else-and that is behind me.  One must never hand control over to another, no matter how loud and manipulative that other person is.

Things are returning to good, once again.  Happy Veteran’s Day, Part II, to all who have served our nation.

 

Giving All

17

November 10, 2018, Prescott-

I woke up from a longer nap than usual, this afternoon.

Getting up this morning,

at my customary workday time of 4:30,

and going through my customary

workday morning routine,

I got going and made it

to Flagstaff,

in time to help a small crew

of firefighters and Red Cross workers,

in checking on homes,

for smoke detectors

and coaching residents

on fire safety and escape plans.

The proactivity in all this,

is not lost on the citizens

of that forested community.

We all watch our neighbour to the west,

and have friends or family,

in some cases in both north and south.

We see Paradise lost,  Malibu mangled

and the San Fernando , smoldering.

People are doing

what is necessary

to get out of harm’s way.

Teachers piled students

into their own vehicles,

and damning the torpedoes,

got their precious cargo

to safety.

This is what it looks like

to give all.

We watch, from Arizona,

and elsewhere,

and we remember.

North Carolina remembers,

the storm surge,

the rivers rising,

and people tending to one another.

Ohio, Maryland, Massachusetts remember,

much the same,

and people tending to one another.

Florida remembers,

priceless communities leveled,

and people tending to one another.

We remember, here in Yavapai County,

the gaping maws,

of one fire after another,

consuming subdivisions

and forest dream houses,

and threatening to devour

the centers of thriving towns.

This has been the lot,

of man up against nature,

worldwide,

and from time immemorial.

Now, we see it in Real Time,

in places some of us have been,

and in places we can only see in our minds.

I recall visiting Malibu,

a few years back,

and standing on a ridge,

with a troubled young woman,

sobbing and smoking a cigarette,

nearby.

She put out that cigarette,

when she no longer needed solitude,

and walked, with the extinguished butt,

back to her car,

her emotional state somewhat calmed,

by a few minutes in silence,

looking out over the glorious expanse,

called Mulholland.

She barely noticed me,

but I recognized her immediately,

a public figure,

whose privacy was  honoured that day.

I hope she, and her neighbours and friends,

escaped harm, as this most recent

burst of wrath scours the land.

I visited the Martin Theater,

in Panama City, Florida,

nearly four years ago.

I see that it did not make it

through Hurricane Michael,

just as much of the community

that greeted me so warmly,

did not make it through

the Monster, unscathed.

The Martin will return, though,

and Panama City will rise again.

on more solid footing.

Malibu will rise again,

and the Mulholland wilderness

will remain a refuge

for the disconsolate and the world-weary.

Paradise will be regained.

We who love,

will give our all,

again and again,

for as long as it takes.

Today started out

as an homage to my late mother-in-law,

whose memorial service,

I was unable to attend.

It turned into a statement,

that we will stand

with our family,

with our neighbours

and with all of our children,

to keep this divine trust

called humanity,

in a sacred place,

called home.

 

 

 

 

 

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?