Full Power

7

April 4, 2020-

Today, the fourth day of the fourth month, is also seen by numerologists and astrologers  as Universal Year 4. This is figured by adding the digits of the year: 2+0+2+0= 4.  It is considered a year of feminine power, as multiples of two reflect feminine energy, whilst odd-numbered years reflect masculine energy.

I tend to have a balance of the two, having been raised by parents whose power was balanced.  Many, both male and female, who were raised in an imbalance-usually  patriarchic , have judged me as weak or even effeminate, as I  have leaned away from aggression-most of the time, in my earlier days, and always, of late.

Feminine energy, as most of my readers know, is far from weak.  I was raised by a lioness, who nonetheless knew how to nurture, as well how to exact obedience.  My father also showed a good balance of masculine and feminine, in his discipline. So, in my maturity, I chose a career that stressed being both supportive and showing my charges the value of boundaries.  The vast majority of “my kids” have grown to be mature, grounded and productive citizens, even those who have hard lives.

Now, in late middle age, I find myself cheering the arrival of a more balanced culture.  These Twenties are bound to be rough for many, who hang on to shopworn ways of looking at and doing things.  This year has already dragged many through the ringer, and the rest of us just taking one day at a time.  I am still ready to do what is needed to bring in the real sunshine, knowing that the love of the aging is going to be needed, as those of the Rising Generations:  Younger Gen X, Millennials, Generation Z and the Alpha Generation, will be doing the heavy lifting.

Each day is bringing with it, full power-the power each of us needs to effect transition- our own individual, that of the nations and of the planet.  Rise with the Sun, live your day fully and rest well at night.  We are all needed, in our way.

 

Flight

6

March 26, 2020-

The deathly ill man departed today,

leaving behind a world in chaos.

He’d done his share, though,

and it was high time for him

to move on.

There was nothing he was going to do,

to hinder Coronavirus Disease 2019.

He was ill,

long before the pandemic,

and it never got around to infecting him.

There wasn’t much more he could do,

to help his family.

Today was the day.

I’ve been around,

for another person’s departure.

Nine years and twenty-one days ago,

she was called home.

It’s been written,

that in the last days,

the living will envy the dead.

I don’t know as we’ve reached that point yet.

I know I haven’t.

Those who have transitioned,

have earned their flight.

I, like Robert Frost,

“have promises to keep

and miles to go,

before I sleep.”

 

The Visitor

2

March 25, 2020-

(This is a short story which came to me, this evening, as I was in a meditation group.)

Katrin was playing in her room, with Bradley Bear and Kimmy Koala. She had just sat her animals in the little chairs, and was preparing to play teacher, when she heard a bump in the family room next to hers.  She told the “children” to stay quiet, and went to check out what had happened.  Mommy was getting stressed, with new baby coming in three more months, and Kat did not want her mother to fall down and have an accident.

She saw the breeze rustling the curtain-an odd sight, given it was early April, and Mommy never opened the window much before the first of May.  Kat went towards the window and was startled to see a pair of shoes behind the curtain.  Although she was only four years old, Katrin Leigh Osterman was the epitome of boldness, as her grandmother put it.  She went slowly, but confidently, towards the curtain and pulled it back.

There, looking unusually fearful, was a big man.  He reminded Katrin of the main character in a show that she watched with Mommy, called “Reading Rainbow”.  She asked, “Mister, what are you doing, standing behind our curtain?  Are you okay?”  The man stared, still fearful, at the little girl.  Then, he spoke:  “I am very hungry.  I have not eaten as much as a crust of bread , in almost five days.  I have been hiding, since I got off a small plane.  I watched your family and saw they seem friendly-but I could not be certain.  So, I had to sneak into the house first.”

“What’s your name, Mister?”, Katrin whispered, feeling sad at his story.

“I am Adibe Junius.”, replied the man.  ” My family name comes first, then my given name, so please call me Junius.”

“I am glad to meet you, Junius. My name is Katrin”, said the girl, still whispering.  Kat knew that Mother would be a bit scared of this stranger in her house, but Junius seemed tired, weak and more than a bit scared, himself.  She asked him to sit in a chair and said she would get him something to drink.  Then, she went to the kitchen, where her mother was resting in a comfy chair.

“Mommy, I have something to show you, in the family room.”, Kat said, in her Big Girl voice.  She then stepped on a footstool and got a glass of water from the refrigerator spigot.  ” Pleas come with me.”

Brittany got up, in a world-weary manner, wondering what her bright and adventurous offspring was up to now, carrying a glass of water to the back of the house.  Was she going to “teach” the stuffed animals how to drink without spilling?

Junius looked up at the five-foot, five inch cinnamon-coloured woman, who gasped at seeing a nearly six-foot tall man, sitting in her rocking chair.  “KATRIN LEIGH !  What on Earth are you doing, letting a stranger into this house??”, the horrified woman scolded her daughter.

“Please, Madame”, the chastened man spoke up, “She did not let me in.  I came in, through the window, as I am desperate.”

“DESPERATE?  I’ll  show you desperate!  Since when do you just walk into someone’s home, without so much as a ‘By your leave? And who are you, anyway?”, Brittany snapped.

At this point, all of Junius’ hunger and thirst pangs left him, and he burst into tears.   “I knew this would be a mistake.  I left Congo in a flight of panic and have not eaten since I got off the plane, five days ago.  All the smugglers gave any of us was a bowl of rice, with peanut sauce.”

“Congo?  Smugglers? Peanut sauce?”, the flinty-eyed mother said, her eyes getting narrower by the second.  “If this story gets any weirder, I’m about set to call Santa Claus.”

“It’s true”, Junius said, collecting himself , just a bit.  “I fled the war back home, and a white man came up to me, in Kinshasa, and said he could get me to Cape Town, so long as I carried a crate of animals to a certain spot.  I delivered the animals to a wet market, in the Chinese neighbourhood, then I was chased out of there by a gang of teenaged boys.  They called me ‘dirtbag foreigner.’  Imagine that, I am an African, and they said I didn’t belong.  So, I wandered around, until I came to this neighbourhood.”

Brittany was drawn in by this story, and he certainly wasn’t dressed like anyone from around Cape Town.  “Give Mr. Junius the glass of water, Katrin”, she relented.
Junius sipped the water surprisingly carefully, and threw his head back, letting out a heavy sigh.  “Do you know where I might get a clean bed, Madame, and a plate of food?”

Tears started to well up in Brittany’s eyes.  “I can get you to our church.  The pastor will let you clean up, help you get some fresh attire and see that you are fed.  He can do this a lot easier than we can, and he will put you to dignified work.”

Ten minutes later, Brittany Osterman had spoken to Reverend Stenbeek, who readily agreed to take Junius in, provided he followed the church house rules.  Junius walked with the two ladies to the rector’s house, and was warmly greeted by the Dutch Reformed Church pastor and his wife.  “Junius, you stumbled upon the nicest people in this parish,”  Leonidas Stenbeek proclaimed, “and you couldn’t have been greeted by anyone kinder than our Lady Katrin!”

“Please put your bag in the first bedroom, then go and shower yourself. ” Leo said, and then to his smiling wife, ” Margrit, I shall grill some prawns, in our guest’s honour! Please prepare him some porridge, for when he gets showered and dressed.  Then, we shall all dine together.”  “Yes, that we must.  It’s a great day to welcome one of our brothers,” the sturdy pastor’s wife announced, “Brittany, do sit and rest. Katrin, please help me peel some carrots.”

The proud little girl carefully peeled and sliced seven carrots, one for her and two for each of the Big People, just as Grandmother had taught her. It was a great day to welcome an uncle.

Keeping It Together

0

March 17, 2020-

Hope all who wanted to have a festive St. Patrick’s Day, did so.  I was occupied with helping someone by giving him a safe space, for a day or so.  We ended up being among the relative few who enjoyed a meal at our local Texas Roadhouse.  That will be my last dine-in experience, for at least the next few months.  I will still use such take-out and delivery options as remain available,

There are lots of other changes.  My meetings with Baha’is, the Red Cross and Slow Food will be virtual.  My inchoate connection with Prescott College’s Sustainability Club will remain on hold, until some means are found to also connect online.  Work is suspended, though we may well be compensated, somehow.  Travel?  Only for family emergency, or to explore some of the Southwest’s wonders, in an unobtrusive manner.

I am approaching the end of my last physical Fast, ever.  Future Baha’i Fasts will find me praying for those who are abstaining, not eating or drinking in their presence and performing acts of service, as they present themselves.

I am finding that there are multiple requests for assistance, mostly emotional support, and that they come in clusters of two or three.  Thankfully, I have been able to meet the needs, with a minimum of difficulty.  My main job now is to keep myself together, physically and emotionally. With all that I’ve been given in this life, it has not been hard to do.

Stay focused, and be thankful for what is, and what will be again.

Certitude In A Time of Pestilence

10

March 16, 2020-

In the Turkish Netflix series, “The Protector”, the complex villain tells the title character how easy he made it for her to both subject the populace of Istanbul to an epidemic of plague and to subsequently present the people with a “cure”, which had consequences he couldn’t foresee.

The current reaction of many people to the menace of Coronavirus 19 is similar to that of the Turkish masses, in the SciFi drama.  Fear has led many to either abandon trust in the ability of government, medical professionals and humanitarian organizations or to cling even more tightly to shopworn ideologies and biases, vis-a-vis ANY intervention by those in authority, while confronting this pandemic.

Magical thinking, and trust in the platitudes of populists and demagogues, both in the TV series and in much of the American scene today, has replaced logic and fortitude.  See someone whose politics they dislike, and the bleats go up-and on.

I have to observe, and evaluate, the efforts being made by ALL responsible parties, and never mind their ideologies.  Any less, and the pandemic will not see its “curve flattened”; rather, it will continue to spike, again and again-like the Plagues of the Fourteenth and Sixteenth Centuries. The experience of Europeans, during the first plague, is instructive for us now.  Relying on the words of the ignorant will only reap horror.

Certitude, in this current time of pestilence, can only be found in placing trust in competent physicians and proactive government officials-regardless of one’s own ideology.

Top of the Hill

3

March 14, 2020, Sedona-

The gentle man entered Synergy, with his encased didgeridoo.  He instantly commanded the attention of the gathering, greeting us with “I’m feeling divine and want to give you some.”  After a short burst of spiritual rap, he concluded with “I’m not over the hill. I’m the captain of the top of the hill.” (He’s 69, like me.)  Then, each of us was treated to an individual blessing, using the didgeridoo aimed towards our hearts and heads.  It was exhilarating.

As I write this, I can hear his sonorous voice, chanting and alternating with a vocal impression of the didgeridoo chords.  He calls himself Astarius Miraculii.  I don’t get the feeling, though, that he’s being the least bit pretentious.  The man has lived through a great deal.

This all occurred after I had sat by myself for a while, as the regulars gathered in the back room.  The purpose of my visit had yet to reveal itself, so I laid low.  A.M.’s teaching, though, gave me a new perspective.  There is still, inside me, the small knot of wanting to stay out of everyone’s way.  Astarius begs to differ.

As is the case in Baha’i scripture, his focus is on the true nature of the soul, and who we really are.  Many “New Age” teachers have  a handle on the multiple journeys a soul makes, throughout its eternal path.  We are all in the process of discovery and whether we are sedentary or peripatetic, we are always on the move.  We are, in effect, always in a state of growth.  This may be masked, or interrupted, by addictions, maladaptive responses to life changes or climactic events-but the process is still there, even if it is operating in the background.

So, the affirmations I received tonight are three:  Shedding the knot of self-distrust is imperative; Listening to the deep callings of my spirit guides remains imperative. These could be to go somewhere, as I did tonight or to stay close to home, as one often must, in time of dire emergency; Do not, even to the slightest degree, allow others to define one’s worth.  They are too wrapped up in their own struggles.

I’ve heard all of this before, and the purpose of affirmations is ever to strengthen one’s perceptions.  I, too, am captain of the top of the hill.

 

 

Proximity

2

March 7, 2020, Chino Valley-

One of the things about my level of autism/Asperger’s is that one tends to keep a distance from others, both physically and emotionally.  I got attached to certain friends and to my family, once in high school, where a modicum of social grace was both necessary and fairly easy to develop.
Once I graduated, the relative anonymity of  university, the factory and even the Army set me back to some of my old distance-maintaining postures.  I got along, more or less, and did my jobs, with varying degrees of competence. I did not feel intimate with anyone, though, until Penny came along,

She helped me get over the tendency to distance myself-and to be comfortable with things like cuddling and the more intimate aspects of married life.  It lasted twenty-nine years.  When she passed, I promised myself and her spirit that I would not revert back to the aversion to proximity that I felt throughout my twenties.

That basically has held, yet only recently have I finally felt that sitting down among strangers, and not wanting to practically apologize for taking my place, is something that ought to happen as a routine.  I know this is all about self-acceptance, and it has been among the most refreshing elements of personal growth, in a very long time.

In several gatherings this week, I felt perfectly relaxed among people I either barely know or have never seen before.  This included tonight’s gathering of Slow Food-Prescott’s members, to hear a wealth of information about the apple, a fruit that has over 7,500 varieties, and to enjoy a sumptuous buffet of vegetarian and “pescatarian” (no meat other than fish and shellfish) pot-puck dishes.

It is just a pleasure to not feel like a nuisance or an interloper-both things that come more from negative self-talk than from any bad social vibes from other people.  I look forward to a very robust spring and summer.

Nine Years On

10

March 5, 2020-

As my dear love got ready to go on to her next spiritual journey, I was driving with our son to her hospice.  Random road construction set us back, about three minutes.  As we got to the door of the facility, a slight spiral of air brought leaves and dust upward, on an otherwise still morning. I knew she was not able to hang on, any longer.

It’s been nine years, since that hard March morning.  Each anniversary since, I’ve taken stock of where I am.  The bottom line is that I am able, in general, to do what she and my other spirit guides tell me is necessary.  I feel her presence, constantly.

There has been a fair amount of travel involved, to accomplish the goals that she and I had set for our later years.  There are both family (biological and extended) visits and journeys on behalf of our shared Baha’i Faith.  There are acts of service to the developmentally disabled, whose education was Penny’s life’s work.  There is embracing  a community, in its pursuit of sustainable culture.  There is facing down all the negative forces that threaten the lives, and livelihoods, of so many-from the capriciousness of politics and finance, to the mind games that play out in interpersonal relationships.

These things always concerned Penny and sometimes “drove her nuts”.  There was one thing that kept her steady, even in the darkest of days:  Her faith in God and a knowledge that Creation, in its many forms, was eternal.  No corrupt financier, feckless school administrator or greedy medical practitioner ever kept her from realizing her goals.

To this day, I hold all the lessons of her life, dear to my heart.

How Far?

4

March 2, 2020-

Chris Matthews retired as host of the news show, “Hardball”, with this evening’s broadcast. He’s not someone I have watched very much, if at all.  Talking over one’s guests isn’t something that would have gone over well, when I was growing up.

He comes to mind for a different reason, though. One of the things he is reported to have said this evening, is that he was sorry for constantly telling the women on his program that they were beautiful.

It took  many years, but a former student of mine pointed out, a bit sarcastically, that this is not the first thing a woman, or a girl for that matter, wants to hear about herself, first.  I began, at that point, to think more of the actual skills the person has, and of how to compliment those.  Beauty is not a skill, so however attractive I might find someone, the sensible thing is to focus on what can keep her in the loop, can help her grow.

We might think, in this month that celebrates Women’s History, of just how far we have come, as a species, in the area of gender relations.  My grandparents’ generation would have been mortified, had women gone out on the street in slacks, less-than-full length skirts or, God-forbid, shorts.  Women rarely drove cars.

My parents’ generation saw women exercising more options, when it came to dress, and certainly most women drove cars.  Working outside the home was one area on which progress was a bit lacking-other than teachers, secretaries, cashiers and nurses.

There was a lot of  “break-out”, both socially and vocationally, with my generation.  The Women’s Liberation Movement took me aback, when I got home from Vietnam, in 1971, though it might not have. Young Vietnamese girls were telling us that they heard “Mi “(American) girls were thinking more for themselves, and therefore they, the Vietnamese, expected to do the same. There was an incident where a girl told me I was not her type.  The other guys at the table about fell out of their seats.  I left her alone; then again, I did that routinely in the States, so it was nothing new, for me. For a girl in southeast Asia, though, it was a big step forward.

When women started opening doors for men, letting us board buses first and talking fiercely about not wanting to be on a pedestal, it began to sink in that this Movement was resulting in lasting change, however maudlin it appeared.  It was the beginning of the end for “Prince Charming”, who actually ended up being a villain in one of the more contemporary Disney films.

That has suited me just fine.  I was married to a woman who eclipsed me, intellectually, and, since her passing, have preferred the company of women friends who have clear goals, and make no excuses for their dreams and their drive-in fact, who make no excuses for anything in their lives.

While there is much to be done, as yet, I would answer the question, “How far have we come, in the area of gender relations?”, by saying how proud I am to be in the company of so many who are sure of themselves and can be persistent, with no fear of being pushed back into the corner.

 

Playing to Their Strengths

2

February 28, 2020-

Taking advantage of anyone is a sign of weakness.

Few have tried to take advantage of me, lately.

One, who did try, became furious with me,

for saying “No” to his pleas for money.

I do not see this as a loss, for me,

as putting all one’s eggs in a single basket,

is a recipe for disaster.

He’d have done better,

to ask for the help of a group.

I was not his only online friend.

Others in my life now,

are important,

in that my presence is solely

to  help them

build on their personal strengths.

Here, I see a steady progress.

This is always the key:

Help others make the most

of what is already inside them.