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.

The Little Sticker Bur

6

December 4, 2018, Prescott-

Life is going pretty much as it should be, right now.

There is still that little sticker bur,

though,

in my head,

or actually,

all through me,

my heart sinking for some reason.

When we were kids,

the sicker burs,

sometimes got onto our clothes,

or in our shoes.

It’s like that today,

and I’m not sure why

the free-floating anxiety

is hitting so hard.

Maybe the feeling,

that I have enraged someone.

I picked up on that,

from the person’s terse message,

yesterday.

I will find out,

soon enough,

next week.

Whatever happens,

I know it’ll be okay,

once the storm passes.

 

The Unbreakable Thread

2

December 3, 2018, Prescott-

This evening, I made arrangements to attend next week’s services for my mother-in-law.  It will be my second visit to that gravesite, in Arlington National Cemetery, and all the more important, because I will be representing my son, as well as myself.  I will be honouring the people who have gave me the love of my life and who have given me the seeds of financial security- seeds that I have to plant and start to make grow, a few weeks hence.

Real family is an unbreakable thread, even when someone doesn’t understand, and tries to snip it, out of fear, anger, frustration or whatever negative emotion is in the recesses of their heart.  I have been very fortunate, in that respect. Even those in my extended family, and circle of friends, who roll their eyes at some of the things that come out of my mouth or find their way onto the pages of my sites, have, with  few exceptions, stayed with me. I will, as I have said frequently, stay by them as well.

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.

 

Back to Light

22

November 3, 2018, Prescott-

It’s no secret that there was a fair amount of darkness in my life, a few weeks ago.  It wasn’t anyone’s fault, but I had to go through having my ego tested, to see whether I deserved to have the goodness that has been increasing, over the past four months, to continue.

The dark consisted of a number of anomalous situations, involving limited communication means and quickly changing circumstances.  This is how darkness works: Obfuscate, confuse and deflect.  Gaslighting is the name of its game.

Darkness, though, is the absence of light.   Once sunshine re-enters, the confusion gets dispersed, Hopefulness, never completely gone, reclaims its share of the heart.  The commonalities, between seemingly disparate anomalous situations, appear-even to my mind, that can be so slow on the uptake.

So, now, my left knee is functioning just fine again.  A serious impediment to my finishing this academic year has been removed.  A person, who had abruptly left my circle of friends, sent me a conciliatory note and I was reassured, by a mutual friend, that a small but important matter, involving said soul, had indeed been resolved.

My schedule can still be maddening, at times, and I realize I am the one who ultimately drives that bus.  Compromises and occasionally saying “No” are arising, as things get more intense, during this holiday season.  I have also figured out how to more effectively use the time I do have available.

There are only two non-negotiables, in that respect.  I will attend my mother-in-law’s interment, sometime in the next few months, and my son’s nuptials, in the early Spring.  Everything else is a matter of timing and of urgency.  There are good reasons for synchronicity in the Universe, and we do well to not be afraid to prioritize.

There is another aspect to Light, which I am glad to be seeing more often these days:  The importance of marriage and the family.  I will discuss that further, in the next post.

NanaBub

8

October 24, 2018, Prescott-

Penny’s mother passed away, last night, at the age of 92.  She was the last of her birth family and had fought bravely against cancer, among other diseases, actually beating it, whilst in her early seventies.  Other ailments took cancer’s place, and she spent her last year in a most uncharacteristically sedentary life.

I was fortunate to have seen Ruth Faust Fellman at her most active best, and to have offered her solace, twice, when she was in one of her most despondent states.  Through all of her suffering, her youngest daughter took the reins of caregiving and worked the ups and downs of dealing with a still adolescent senior care “industry”.  As with any person who steps into such a role, she deserves the finest of accolades.

My mother-in-law was the youngest of three children, and had to be far above her older siblings, just to get the recognition and respect she deserved from them.  Ruth became a registered nurse, and devoted her professional life to serve in the public schools of northern New Jersey, as a School Nurse.  She threw herself, full tilt, into everything she did.  This example led to Penny being the achiever she was, as well.

She could be challenging, mostly from a lifetime of having to stand up to powerful men.  The number of times she set me straight could fill a small volume, but she was right, more often than not.  Her voice was often the last one that my at times willful son heard, before he decided to follow directions.  When there was a cultural debate over whether she was to be addressed as “Bubba”, in the Ashkenazi Jewish tradition or as “Nana”, in the British style of her youngest daughter’s in-laws, she selected “NanaBub”.  That stuck for many years, until both of her grandchildren decided they liked just “Nana”.

I have had to project into a future without her voice, though there were several times, even recently, when I half-believed her saying that she would reach the century mark.  That, of course, was unlikely, but I learned early on, never to count either of my mother figures out of anything.

Ruth was, above all else, one to stay close to home.  She extended herself to visit east Asia, on the occasion of Aram’s birth, but after that journey to several countries, which she described as “excruciating”,  no one, including her husband, could get her to leave the contiguous United States.

Now she has passed into a realm that knows no bounds. There, she is with her husband, Norm, daughter Penny, her siblings and their parents.  I sense there will be peace among them, and that they will help us to recognize each other’s true worth.

 

The Thing of It Is

12

October 17, 2018, Prescott-

Through my life, I have learned things from friends, which have been very useful.  I have learned things from detractors and haters, which have also been very useful.  The most recent hater in my life has cut off all contact, but not before leaving these tips:

  1.  Presence is something in which I need to up my game, almost to the psychic level, if I want to live out the years I am intended to live.
  2.   Messages can be scrambled.  It is the duty of the reader or the hearer to unscramble them, if one’s true intent is to work for peace.
  3. Unintentionally, this person showed how to turn well-meaning people into adversaries, just by refusing to believe that any failure to provide assistance on demand, however small, was not subconsciously planned.

I could say that, in addition to Aspberger’s, I might have a touch of ADD.   I was raised, though, to not offer excuses.  I do need to make presence an up-game focus for the next 14.5 months, so that there are no more “G’s”, or if there are, that I will be less blameworthy, when things go sideways.

My priorities have been Faith, family and work, in that order.  Those who have none of the above, often cannot understand such logic, or to the extent they do understand it, they resent it.   There are more “hurting people” who hurt others, in spite of their original intent, than society wants to acknowledge.

These people on the margins are going to be part of a convergence, an in-gathering, that is coming, and sooner than we like to think.  Their perceptions will be skewed, their tempers will be frayed and many in the communities will want them to go back out on the fringes.  This will prove a serious mistake.   I already see this happening with people living in the national forests, around commercial structures- and in city parks.

Their anger is troublesome.  Their demands are highly vexing.  Their patience with the rest of us is shot.  I have spent a fair amount of time with homeless people, over the past four years.  In two significant cases, individuals looked at me as being very well off.  The two also saw my scattered attention as a severe sign of disrespect.   In a sense, they were right.  Communication between one who relies on a phone and a laptop, is mostly diurnal and holds down a job, with those who have spotty connectivity, are nocturnal and are unemployed or post-employed, is pretty much one-hand-tied-behind-the back.

It has to happen anyway.  Thinking out of the box,  seeing the skills of those on the edges and tapping in to those skills, from the get-go, is the only way the reluctant convergence will work.

Burning the Mask of Overactivity

4

October 142018, Prescott-

No, I did not mean hyperactivity.  My day is fairly well balanced and more focused than some of my recently-made friends have perceived.  I did not mean overextended, though there are days when I have to snip the cord on one activity or another.

Overactivity (my term) means having more options to which to be committed than some feel is healthy.  One person even got an insight that my current level of social involvement amounts to a safety net, a cocoon, if you will, through which I can escape confronting my pain.

In truth, each night and for a good part of my weekends, I am indeed alone with my state of being.  There was a period of time, about three years, when travel eased my pain at losing my wife of 29 years. The first year, 2011, saw me going about with clouded judgement, for about four months.  Some family members were angry with me, for not “getting it together and moving on”.  I believe these people have come to see things differently.  Now, largely being in one community, I am building a sense of personal power.  I am glad to share my energy with groups like the American Legion, Red Cross and Slow Food Prescott-and I do not find it overwhelming, nor do I find it a means of escaping pain.

Those in pain themselves will likely call “bullshit”, but that is their individual mirror.   I have not been shy about opting out of an event or an activity, when I feel the need to rest or when someone’s personal needs arise.   I know where I am inside, emotionally- and physically.

Spiritually, I believe in Baha’u’llah, as the Manifestation of God for this Day.  I believe in the Oneness of Mankind, as do many people of various Faiths-and many of no Faith.  I  believe in the continuity of spiritual revelation.  Some even think they know where mankind is going, after the completion of Baha’u’llah’s Revelation (at least 825 more years). Maybe they are right.  I can only say, it is time now to bring about the end to needless suffering, and if you have ideas that can help in that regard, bring them to the fore!  It is not overactive, hyperactive or even being overwrought, to have a passion that belongs on the table, that needs to be shared and enkindled.

Let us keep an open hand to one another, an open mind to the ideas of others and an even temper, when dealing with each other’s foibles, weaknesses and areas in which one needs to grow.  If that is difficult for someone, let he or she point the area out-preferably in a loving way, leaving the offending party to themselves, and,as Baha’u’llah wrote, “Beseech God to guide them”.  It’s time to burn the masks which limit us.

Burning the Mask of Self-Disdain

6

October 14, 2018, Prescott-

I have revealed much of myself, recently, to a person who, to the best of my intuition, wishes the best for me, albeit through instilling a very high standard of discipline in our interactions.  What this soul doesn’t know is that, for much of my life, the very same words, angry reactions to some deeply ingrained behaviours (which I, admittedly, need to, and have a specific plan to, root out) and putdowns which I hear now, have been used by far less well-meaning people, earlier in my life.

What I have been doing, and what I need to accelerate doing now, is to destroy the self-loathing that also was deeply ingrained on me, by the words and actions of certain people in my youth, and throughout my career in education.

Everyone has their share of bullies, and many turn around and bully others. “Hurting people hurt people”.  It gets us nowhere.  So, part of burning my mask of self-loathing will involve keeping a distance from those who view me as either a threat to their well-being (out of common courtesy) or as beneath their contempt (out of self-preservation). I have learned, through the period of caretaking for Penny and in the years since, that I am a far better person than ANY of my detractors, including those who have recently come into my life, can remotely imagine.  While I will strive to make specific changes in my living space, according to the better of the messages I have been getting, I will not abase myself again, ever.  Life and love go on.

NEXT:  The Mask of Overactivity