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.

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.

Flights

6

January 8, 2018, Prescott-

He was like Gibraltar’s rock,

working day and night

to secure his future,

and those of countless others,

for he was a man of finance,

and a man of principle.

I’d have trusted him

with the account I am building.

He loved a sacred space,

not far from where he

and his beloved

had lived

for over two decades.

He worked the grounds

of that sacred space.

I had the honour

of working alongside him.

Now, he has taken his flight,

after a life lived powerfully.

She was in the worst  of pain,

the sort that only a flood of love

can even come close to healing.

Those closest to her,

not knowing her level

of suffering,

tended to other matters.

She tended to her matter,

and took her flight,

after a life lived tortuously.

We know not what

is in store for us.

We can only live

in as much of the Light

as we can absorb.

We can only absorb

as much of the Light,

as the size of our lens,

will let in.

Our lens is

only as big,

as the heart that

it mirrors,

and the lenses

off  which

it reflects.

So, I honour

a forthright,

valiant man.

So, I feel pain,

for a tortured

woman.

 

Signal Moments

11

January 4, 2018, Prescott-

I have returned to Home Base. Everything was as I left it, two weeks ago.  My ex-neighbour’s junk is still in the carport.  Since he’s dissed the landlord, I will start to haul it off myself, as after 30 days, property is regarded as abandoned.

Now, on to the prime purpose of this post.  Another blogger referred to life-changing moments.   Here are those that have cast my life, in the direction it’s taken and to the place where I am now.

June, 1954- The Lynnhurst woods, around my first real house, were a place of wonder.  I walked off by myself, towards Grama’s house.  Little did I suspect that dad would take the hairbrush to my backside, as soon as I got home.  That first walk alone, though, set me on the course of exploration that has been in my blood ever since.

July, 1959- I can’t say which rock fight led to my life-long inability to keep from flinching, when a baseball, or other such item, is making its way towards me.  Overcoming coordination issues has been a problem since that long-ago summer.

November 22, 1963- I began to get over an innate conservatism, the day that the powers that be decided to get rid of John F. Kennedy.  I will never buy the Single Bullet Theory.

April, 1969- I decided that six years of commitment to the US Army was too long, and opted to enlist for a three-year stint, instead of remaining in the Reserves.

November 23, 1969- One of my high school friends was killed in VietNam.  I was in Fort Myer, VA, at the time.  It took me a year of quiet anger, but that event was the impetus for my own going over to the war zone, in March, 1971.

November 28, 1975- I was let go from a part-time job, on my 25th birthday, because one of the other workers had a son who needed a job, and I was “too ambitious”.  The anger expressed by my co-workers, at this adverse action, was gratifying.   Yet, a young woman, for whom I had feelings, put it in perspective:  “Who has it worse, you, losing a crap job or me, just getting done with a divorce?”  That has led me to tread carefully, when facing what seems like a personal disaster.

December 6, 1980- I met Penny.  Enough said.

June 6, 1982- We were married, and though a fairy-tale wedding was not followed by an idyllic marriage, there were 29 years of love and mutual personal growth.  The proof is serving his country, in South Korea.

August 20, 1986- We arrived in South Korea, and began a 5.5 year love affair with a culture far different from all either of us had experienced, up to then.  I am still greatly drawn to the sensibilities of “the East”.

April 20, 2003- Penny’s second accident in two weeks set us to a commitment fiercer than any I have had, before or since.  I was her caretaker for nearly eight years afterward.

November, 2009- Several financial disasters under our belt, we decided to endure Chapter 11.  I have survived that, and by the grace of Dave Ramsey and Robert Kiyosaki, my attitude towards money has forever changed,

March 5, 2011- I was once again on my own, and the challenge was now to not go adrift.  The next five months did find the ropes fraying at the moorings, though.

August 4, 2011- Someone I love dearly threw down a heavy gauntlet.  I was accused of things which would not stick to any wall.  I see where his suspicions originated, but that was not me, and never will be.  His comments, though, served to make me determined to rely on no one.  I would long be maintaining that distance.

September, 2013- On the heels of an unsettled summer’s journey, I answered a call to help a single mother move.  That two-day effort of service led me to do Terra Essential Oils, a commitment to more active community service, and to one of the finest friendships I’ve ever known.

There are sure to be other life-changing events ahead.  I know that my spiritual bonds will see me through them all.  We never stop growing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

Year-End Reflections, Part 5: Setbacks

2

December 28, 2017, Spring Hill-

I have largely spent yesterday and today catching up on my fellow bloggers’ posts.  There are so many, that it took me until a few minutes ago.  Of course, that means there are other things going on- the life of my in-law family household, with Turner Classic Movies, a Rottweiler puppy, and the various people coming and going.

The other major thing occupying me is Digital Altitude.  I first heard about it, two years ago, at a doTerra Winter Summit.  Business training did not interest me at the time, because I looked only at my cash-poor state.  A fellow blogger got me interested, though, not long ago, and I have plowed through the first 6 steps of ASPIRE, with two more steps coming tomorrow.

I could move forward further-and before year’s end, but for one thing:  The residual effects of bankruptcy.  The government  released me from restrictions imposed by Chapter 11, in March of this year.  The financial world is not so forgiving.  The government restricts for seven years.  Many lenders restrict for ten years.  This keeps me from taking part in special deals offered by D.A.

Setbacks happen.  I will not starve, be cast out on the street, become a social pariah, or even cry bitter tears, because of this development.  The bankruptcy was due to the dire straits in which my late wife and I found ourselves, in 2010, after the high cost of her medical treatment and the subprime lending crisis found each other, and we made the questionable, but conventional, decision to seek lawful relief.

That’s where my TMI ends.  I am still here, recovering financially (and Digital Altitude will be part of this recovery, albeit in SloMo, as will a redoubled effort in do Terra), and I am enjoying an increase in the number of real time and online friends.  This year, now almost past, has seen my friendships with women deepen in quality and depth.  It has seen my relationship with money become more appreciative, and also deeper.  I have learned, anew, that setbacks are times to sit and learn lessons, in place, and without apprehension.  I have learned the true benefits of being a valued member of a strong professional team.

2017 has not been the horror show that I nearly expected, at this time last year.

Year-End Reflections, Part 4: Transitions and Conflicts

8

December 27, 2017, Spring Hill, Florida- 

I will be here, or thereabouts, for the next five days.  This week has usually been spent either in the cold of the Northeast or in sunny southern California.  Florida, specifically, the edge of the Tampa Bay area, where Spring Hill is located, is SoCal, but with a lot more moisture.  Last night’s rain has left the scent of the tropics, in its wake.

Back to my piece’s title:  2017 has taken me further out of my comfort zone than any year since 1981, when I first became half of a couple.  It’s damned hard to get over doing everything by and for oneself, yet not so hard to go back to that frame of mind, when a relationship ends/takes a non-physical form.  I can’t, however, just live for myself, anymore.  The world is in too much a state of travail. So, I write this blog, almost daily, I volunteer for the Red Cross, when I can, work with disabled students during the academic year, and work for the wider world, through the Baha’i Faith and its propagation efforts.

Relationship-wise, I am heartened by the large number of friends (and I do see you as such) with whom I converse on social media.  It is a leap for me, to converse with people I’ve never met, in a language other than English, but I am pushing myself to do this.  It is not hard for me to turn down “friendship requests” on social media, from random young women, or people claiming to be young women (usually bots), given my age and their friend pool, if there even is one, consisting entirely of people I don’t know.  For the record, I will befriend anyone who proves legitimate, and indeed have many friends and correspondents of both genders and of all ages.

Another transition I am starting to make is that of online entrepreneur.  I am taking this one step at a time, will interrupt this post to take part in a conference call, momentarily, and, despite the somewhat uncertain attitude of my sponsor towards me, I feel like this time, my coach and I can make some headway.

Good call, and I made a leap over one gap in my comfort zone:  Credit score, which is not as bad as I thought it might be.  Another leap over my comfort zone’s fence is thus more likely in the weeks ahead.  This is partly due to three changes that I have already engaged:  Increasing my waking hours by 30-45 minutes, in the morning; taken on a full-time job; and overcoming several lingering doubts about my self-worth.

So, Having looked at life, from several sides now, in the year that is coming to a close, I am ready to be far more proactive, in several areas of my life, than in the past.  There is more to sojourning, than travel, as much fun and as mind-expanding as that is.

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.