The Fast: Day 14- Diet


March 15, 2018, Prescott-

One of the challenges I used to face, when I first became a Baha’i and started fasting, was what sort of food and beverage intake would sustain me, through a normal day.  I did not want to be one of those who went through the workday, zombie-like, getting the shakes from not having my customary mid-morning coffee break, or small lunch.  I did not want to go home after work and slide into bed for the three hours that remained before dinner.

While my appetite has certainly gone down, especially in my sixties, here is what still works well:  Early morning  breakfast- Two proteins (Meat, cheese, yogurt or beans); two sources of complex carbohydrates (Organic bread, whole grain cereal); one serving of fruit; one serving of vegetable; two 8 oz. glasses of water, with a slice of lemon; coffee with milk or cream.  Post sunset dinner (One protein; one complex carb; a salad; a serving of fruit or frozen yogurt; a glass of water with lemon; coffee (black) or tea (herbal).

Sometimes, when I have been feeling that the fast, on a given day, seems too long, I will make room for tea made of puerh, or other digestive aid, which helps suppress the urge to turn to food as a distraction.

Baha’u’llah did not intend the Fast to be an endurance test, thus allowing those 70 years of age or above, to refrain from the dietary portion of the Fast.  Three years from now, I will still wake before sunrise and offer prayers and meditation, but not refrain from food and beverage.  There is a wisdom in this, allowing our bodies to be better equipped for the challenges that often come with advancing age.

I believe that diet is the best form of medical self-care.

The Fast: Day 13- Radiant Acquiescence


March 14, 2018, Prescott-

We each put up with a certain amount of nonsense, on any given day.  Whether it is following a ridiculous instruction, from someone who is in charge of us (parent, teacher, boss, police officer, or random Joe who has connections); waiting in a line, whilst the person at the head finishes a casual conversation or adjusts the money in his wallet; instinctively speeding up a bit, when the driver behind comes rushing towards your car’s rear end, or toots the horn or pumps his fist/shouts/point to her watch.

These are accommodations and we can either continue to put up with them, get our backs up and “fight back” or get creative, as in the person who responds to an impatient person behind him, by slowing down to the posted speed limit. (Oh, the HORROR!”)

The Divine, however, may test us with these scenarios, or with far more serious woes (disease, bankruptcy, divorce, ostracism- catastrophes of a Jobian magnitude).  Job was a model of radiant acquiescence.  He could see the eventual end of all his troubles, as horrific as they were.

Those who’ve been here a while know that I have been through several such troubles.  They’ve been balanced, of course, with good fortune: A stormy, but loving, marriage; a fine young man for a son; a stable, and basically loving, extended family;  a checkered, but honestly driven, career; a small, but stable, financial base;  a wealth of experiences, both at various Home Bases and on the road/trail.

Radiant acquiescence means enduring the downs of life, whilst knowing the silver lining defines the cloud.

The Fast: Day 7- Detachment


March 8, 2018, Prescott-

One of the main features of this period of time is the occurrence of mental and emotional tests.  Many of our tests come from the emotional baggage we carry with us.  A tool that the Fast provides us, in overcoming these tests, and jettisoning that baggage, is detachment.

Physically, those between 15-70, under the circumstances I described in Part 1, face detachment from food, drink and all the activities which feature them, during the daylight hours of Fast days.  This evening, whilst attending an American Legion Post monthly meeting, I purchased a light meal, as is customary prior to such meetings, and secured it  in a to-go box, for after sundown, and the meeting’s end.

There are, of course, far more basic and  deeper-seated matters which can be and are, brought to our consciousness during the Fast.  I am facing one, right now, which I will describe later, when the time is appropriate.  I am determined that, this time, I will cast the baggage aside.  It stems from events in my life, over 50 years ago, and had been buried these many years.  Now, it’s just time to put the demons to rest.  Good people, besides me, will be the better for this.


The Fast: Day 6- Steadfastness


March 7, 2018, Prescott- 

Today was a day of surprises.  Both of my co-workers called in sick.  The three peer tutors rose to the occasion, leaving their cell phones on silent, and devoting themselves entirely to their charges.  I was entrusted with the guidance of the two substitutes.    The day was, despite the unsettled beginning, remarkably smooth.

I was expecting a marathon evening meeting, with a full agenda and intense, prolonged discussion.  The chair of the meeting wisely moved everything along, and we actually ended an hour early.

There are rewards that come with steadfastness, staying the course, in time of the unexpected and knowing, deep inside, that this, too, shall pass and that the world just keeps on its path.

The Fast: Day 1


March 2, 2018, Prescott-

Every year, from March 2-20, until I reach the age of 70, my practice is to refrain from food and drink, between sunrise and sunset.  The purpose is both physical and mental cleansing, which is something that could benefit anyone.  Of course, if I am traveling long distances, engaged in strenuous work or become ill, the Fast gets modified somewhat.

Each of these nineteen days will feature a post that deals with spiritual matters- attributes and such, that help us meet challenges.

The first of these is trustworthiness.  I haven’t always been deserving of trust.  Last night, I dreamed of someone whose trust I broke, a few years back.  In the dream, my charge was to deliver some mail to this person’s office, whilst she was, ostensibly, not there.  I had a key to the office, which was to be returned to a third party, after the delivery.  When I made the delivery, I saw the top of the person’s head, over a divider.  I silently handed her one of the parcels, and left the others on a table in the front of the office.  No words or gestures were exchanged, and I went on my way, delivering the keys to the third party, as planned.

Quirks and perceived needs can, and do, impinge on trustworthiness; so do skewed perceptions.  Divided loyalties can enter into the matter, as well.  The fact is, however, that once trust is broken, it can seldom, if ever, be wholly restored.  There are those who have broken my trust, and those, like the aforementioned, whose trust i have broken.  With one forgiving exception, of them are in my life anymore.

Going forward, my choice is to pursue every single encounter with a person, or group, very carefully.  Trust is like glass.



February 20, 2018, Prescott-

The snow came down, fitfully,

more than our precipitation shadow

usually sees,

and somehow, the creek,

near a natural foods cafe

that I frequent,

was rushing,

just enough to generate excitement.

I’ve been in situations

like this, many times.

A handful of raindrops

wet the pavement

in a dust bowl town,

and the community


A fishing town,

in the Northwest,

has five straight

days of sunshine,

and the tanning booths

empty out.

Most clearly,

I remember January thaws,

when several of us were out

in t-shirts and shorts,

at the first 50-degree moment.

This is central Arizona,though,

and the sun had burned off

the clouds, by 3 P.M.

Business as usual

cannot be put off,

more than a few hours.


The Onion’s Wake


February 3, 2018, Prescott-

(This is a very short story, prompted by this past week’s back and forth between the Federal government and Wall Street, and the ongoing roiling about sexual harassment.)

Seth woke at his usual time, on Friday.  He had just been told of a huge gift, from his father.  In times past, he’d have been ecstatic.  Seth had always been a sucker, for what his parents and family deemed “good news”.  He was never one to look for the cloud, behind every silver lining.

This gift, however, seemed different.  He had been getting lots of presents, recently, but had done nothing to earn them.  It was starting to wear on his psyche.  You see, Seth had always been one to roll up his sleeves, use his own ingenuity and forge ahead, at a modest pace.  Usually, this meant intense periods of activity, followed by rest, which was most often understood by his family.

For the past year, Seth had been at it, full tilt.  He had enjoyed the adulation this brought and it propelled him to even more feats of energetic achievement.   On the sidelines, however, were stories of mistreatment of his sisters, his girl cousins and several of their friends.  Father devalued the women, several of his favourite uncles, and a few of the aunts, discounted their stories.  One of the loudest voices of disavowal came from an uncle who had himself been brawling with Father, all the while insisting that he, himself, was one of the best friends the women would ever have.  Yesterday, this uncle unleashed a broadside at one of the ladies” friends, calling her a liar, after she had said something derogatory about a grand-uncle, who was a well-known lecher.  To him, this grand-uncle had been a “paragon of virtue”, meek and mild, never ever causing harm.  The friend knew differently, and was deeply scarred by her encounters with grand-uncle.

All this led Seth to snap.  Having the women feel good about themselves was essential to the work that Seth had been doing.  After the morning’s gift arrived, Seth put it in a box of his own, and sent it, and several other gifts of the past year, back to their senders.  Father, incredulous, fumed that that none of his gifts were appreciated and that this ungrateful wretch of a son would be more closely supervised by his brothers.

Seth shrugged and, like Atlas before him, pondered whether he might shrug some more- and return still more gifts, while taking a good long rest.



January 31, 2018, Prescott-

Yesterday seemed to have been a bad energy day, for several people.  On the way in to work, I pulled into a convenience market and one of my tires blew.  I was able to get the Elantra to the shop I use and the problem was fixed, in short order.  I got into work, with 5 minutes to spare, before program started.

There was a silver lining:  Whilst in the shop waiting area,I got two activities done, which would otherwise have been problematic, had I tried to do them at work.  For much of the day, a student was fussing and fuming, later apologizing for the misbehaviour.  With our students, these apologies are meaningful, because they have to think long and hard about what they are doing.

The biggest headache for me, though, was the temporary loss of this blog site.  It would have been an extreme nuisance to me, to have lost all of my dear followers and to not be able to access the diversity of opinion, which makes the Reader such an enjoyable and informative part of my day.  Make no mistake, I may disagree with several of you, on certain points, but investigating truth for myself is an integral part of my belief system, and each of us, no matter how outlandish our claims, does have a kernel of truth on our side.

So, as I gaze at the blood red moon, with my blog site back in order, I look forward to this day of putting January to bed.

Larry Nassar


January 27, 2018, Prescott-

I dropped off my customary load of old newspapers, at a local charity for battered women and their children, as is routine for me, on Saturday mornings.  Next door to the thrift shop, there is a thriving donut shop, run by a young couple and their extended family.  I went in there, as is also routine, and was greeted warmly by the wife, who apologized for not having enough coffee to fill my order, but graciously gave me an extra 1/2 cup, when the brew was ready.  Shortly afterward, feeling the need for a  more substantial breakfast than a donut, I stopped in another young lady’s shop and got an open-faced bagel, with lox and cream cheese.

Both young women are gorgeous, brainy, hard-working, and very much in love with their mates.  I am there to support their dreams, and their families’ dreams, period.  In the face of the recent conviction of former sports medicine practitioner Larry Nassar, for the serial abuse of young female athletes, a few observations:

Many people have an intrinsic fear of certain among life’s features- Financial wealth, personal success, good physical health and the presence of good-looking members of the opposite gender.  I get all of this.  “I used to be among the crowd you’re in with”, to quote Bob Dylan (“Positively Fourth Street”).  Financial wealth eluded Penny and me, largely due to life happening, but also because of my own lack of financial intelligence.  I didn’t think I deserved personal success, and lo and behold- there were plenty of movers and shakers who were glad to oblige me, in that deprivation.  Physical health has been my strong suit, though the dental part of it had to be recovered, after putting my own needs on hold, during Penny’s long illness.  I was blessed with a beautiful wife, and stayed with her, long after both of us found our good looks fading- because in my family, a marriage is for life, and besides- I love her spirit, still.

Outside of my marriage, though, there was a time when I felt myself undeserving of the attentions of attractive women.  Some attribute such an attitude to misogyny.  Perhaps, but I think that criticism is way too simplistic.  No fear is about the thing that is feared.  It is about the lack of self-worth, in the beholder.  Beyond that, however, is this:  Women have always been complete human beings, with dreams and goals that are every bit as worthy as those of men.  That we men have often overlooked or discounted those dreams and goals is no fault of the dreamers.

I get that the condemned Mr. Nassar may have started off wanting to serve the population of teen women athletes.  He may even have had twinges of conscience, when he first gave in to his lower cravings.  Yet, it didn’t last.  Women who should have been able to pursue their athletic goals, without hindrance from a source that should have been trustworthy, found themselves being treated like toys.  Mr. Nassar’s reaction to their needs, and to their presence, became despicable.

I have worked with teens and young adults, pretty much continuously, since the late 1970’s.  The bottom line has ever been, honour and respect; build, not destroy.  If I inadvertently wronged anyone, to the “extent of a mustard seed”, that person got full amends.

I can only hope that the frightened, ravaged young gymnasts go on, to recover, to dream again and to live in fullness.

Beyond the Big “So What”


January 20, 2018, Prescott-

I began the day, hopefully about my own schedule, which mostly entailed going to the Farmer’s Market (very much appreciated by one of my surrogate daughters, who runs the place, in light of the rain and wind); and reading the plethora of posts which my peeps here on WP have produced, over a three-day period.  Shortly, I will head for Game Night at Wild Iris, and a few hours of “changing the channel”.

What a difference five days make, but you already knew that!  I have this thing about my love being unconditional, which causes one of my favourite gadflies on WP to roll his eyes and wonder what kind of idiot I am.  No matter; everyone’s experience is different, and as I said last time, I can’t be like everyone else- or anybody else.

My erstwhile best friend is still a friend, but has indicated, strongly, that she needs a hiatus.  No harm, no foul; my life is speeding in unexpected directions.  One of those could benefit her, and several other people, but things in that area are very fluid now, and it’s best I wait, before discussing them here.

I am also being given more responsibility within my Faith group.  This will compel me to do better at something I’ve never done well:  Think on my feet.  My middle brother is excellent in that area, and has taunted me about my slowness, on a few occasions.  I am primarily a pondering, methodical soul, but that should not prevent development of quick rejoinders.

So, here I am, ready to go out, on a possibly snowy night, to enjoy Board Games and cards with people I either have never met, or barely know.  Love is love, and lasts beyond many a throwing up of hands and yelling “So what?”