Knighthood and Benighthood

2

November 18, 2017, Prescott-

Depending on who you ask,

Charles Manson is dead,

or “not dead, it’s a liberal hoax”.

Depending on who you ask,

Bill Clinton was a good President,

or a ravenous cad,

or maybe both.

Depending on who you ask,

Woody Allen was a fine filmmaker,

or a disgusting rake,

or, again, one and the same.

Both, and.

How many of us,

have transgressed,

against someone,

or many someones,

in the days of adolescence,

in times of emotional stress,

or of moral drift.

Is it a matter of degree,

or a matter of having

overcome and transcended,

the lower nature.

We all have duality.

Some refer to that

as Original Sin.

Others brush it off,

as “his peccadilloes”.

The fact remains,

when one transgresses

the bounds of good behaviour,

of kindness,

of respect,

of dignity,

someone else is hurt,

and often, grievously.

There are no free passes,

no pats on the head,

or “It’s okay, I’ll get over it.”

I’ve felt shame before,

and made amends,

the best I could.

It made no difference,

that they were words,

or mild gestures.

Hurt is hurt,

and I was/am

deeply sorry.

What about the others?

Are they sorry?

Have they,

will they,

make amends?

Has so and so,

who trolled young girls,

in the 1970’s and ’80’s,

been a chaste and loyal husband,

these past 30 years?

Has a man who dabbled in porn,

when his “beloved”

was asleep,

faced and overcome

his afflictive addiction?

Has a woman who preached

Faith, by day,

and romped with men,

by night,

at last chosen her Lord

over her lust?

Many famous names

have been bandied about,

of late.

Fame sheds light

on darkness,

but where are

those of us,

who live

lives that are

not public?

Are we knighted,

or benighted?

 

Stirring

8

November 16, 2017, Prescott-

Today marks the fortieth anniversary of my first day as a full-time educator.  The two-year stint, in a rural area of central Maine, was far from my finest tour of duty, but it was a start.  People there would not remember me fondly, but they may as well know that most of my demons have been cast.

On another note, I have been in touch with my son, regarding the earthquake in P’ohang, South Korea, about two hours drive from his city of Busan.  He’s fine, as is his girlfriend.  I follow such things with alacrity, however, as any parent would.

I am feeling stirrings of outrage, at the ruling allowing imports of elephant parts from Zimbabwe and Zambia, by trophy hunters.  This is too obvious a ploy to let well-connected slaughter tourists have their way.  There should be no more pretense that this helps conserve species.

Then, there is the “accidental” spill of thousands of gallons of crude oil, from the Keystone Pipeline, in northeastern South Dakota.  Wow, who saw that coming?

Both parties, and all points on the political spectrum, have personages who have abused women;  no surprise here either.  Ego knows no ideology.  At least, a few people, Sen. Franken and Louis CK, are willing to take their lickings.  Many more, myself included, have had to undergo a considerable measure of emotional growth, in this regard.  In my case, it’s been a very lengthy process, though I have not, once, forced my attentions on anyone or sought to avoid responsibility for making anyone uncomfortable.  We have made some progress as a society, but not treating people as objects is an area of several segments and one in which each of us must take a measure of responsibility-whether it means changing our attitudes, or encouraging others to change theirs.

So, it’s been a full day, of wide-ranging stirrings in my psyche.

Dreams in a Ceramics Dome

2

November 13, 2017, Prescott-

(The idea behind last Saturday night’s Dream Gathering was to generate somnolent energy, in one small space.  It’s not certain just how much this happened, but here are some dream-thoughts, that came my way, in a quiet Ceramics Dome, a little ways from the disrupted gathering.)

Kathryn Heaton,

a child of eight,

somehow lost

on the way

to the home

in which you’d

lived,

since age three.

You had never

seen me before,

but took my hand.

My GPS memory

led us to

your grandmother’s house.

At the walkway,

a teen she-wolf

stood and told me

not to trust you.

The snarling girl

had issues with you,

who was half her age.

I turned towards

the front door,

and you were gone.

Having slipped past,

and gone- somewhere.

I followed the werepup,

down a gypsum trail.

My shoes had disappeared.

As I recalled,

where I had left them,

a fifteen year-old,

another girl I had been

helping,

confronted me,

saying that my advice

was bogus.

She was with her

new boyfriend,

who said he knew

which way she should

turn.

I told her,

“You will find your own right.”

Have you found right,

and peace,

Kathryn Heaton?

(All characters in this piece are fictional.)

 

Convergence, Days 1 and 2

13

November 10-11, 2017, Arcosanti-

The past two days have taken this loving wanderer far deeper into my past and how it has affected my subconscious, than any prior event in which I’ve been involved.

In between volunteer sets in the Cafe, I joined one of the workshops in the Healing segment of Convergence.  A session entitled Re-Patterning addressed the very issue that was weighing on me, yesterday afternoon.  My feeling that I was not trusted by people, very much, even in the context of the workshop participants, was allowed to be brought into focus.  After establishing that a few breaches of trust  on my part, mostly online, over the past few years, were still playing and replaying in the background, there was an exercise in which deep breathing and muscle resistance were used.  This brought to light that, when my family moved when I was four, I left someone behind, who I considered a good friend.  Somehow, in the fullness of  life in the new neighbourhood, this never entered into closure.

I have largely spent my energies in two divergent ways, since that time.  On the one hand, I am always open to new experiences, and visiting new places.  On the other hand, when off work, especially since Penny passed on,  my tendency is to occupy myself alone.  I have inherited the “comfortable in my own space” mindset of my mother and maternal grandfather.  Yet, there is more to it than that.  Yesterday’s session established the role of unresolved loss in the course my life has taken, all these years.

I feel like a great weight has been lifted, and am not as tense, in this large gathering, as I was yesterday, before the session.  I worked two long shifts in the Cafe, last night and early afternoon today.  I still find myself alone this evening, but that is more a function of having left Convergence this evening, to attend a Veteran’s Day dinner in Prescott, then returning here, after dark.

As indicated earlier, being at a large gathering, overnight, is new to me.  I won’t retreat into my own space and shut out the world.  This change is mainly for the sake of taking part in a group meditation and dreaming event, which will be more easily explained after the fact than now.  No, I will not be using psychotropic drugs.  Where I go will be where the universe naturally takes me, much like any other night..

Stay tuned.

 

, Conscience

8

October 28, 2017, Prescott-

Nobody gets out of here alive.

Nobody here can totally escape blame.

There has been a small tempest,

an outgrowth of the recent Weinstein firestorm,

over former President GHW Bush’s

randy behaviour towards women

young enough to be his granddaughters.

People patting others,on the backside,

without their permission,

or any other form of unwanted physical contact,

including leering,

is a behaviour that needs to head for

the human scrapheap.

My conscience tells me that there were

a few times that I overstepped my bounds,

though thankfully never touching

a person’s backside, breasts

or anyplace else that constitutes

prurience.

My conscience will not let me

claim a spot, astride a moral high horse.

I will say this, though:

I own my transgressions,

whether I was called out on them,

or not.

I have no apologists, spin doctors,

or coterie of on-line attack dogs,

who will savage someone

who does call me out,

nor would I want any.

If a person humiliates, betrays

or disrespects another,

he (or she) should own it,

make amends,

and grow past it.

 

 

One Never Knows

6

September 24, 2017, Prescott-

I began today, with five things on my agenda.

Two of them ended up not happening.

The middle of the day brought honours

to a man who has unselfishly worked hard

on behalf of our community’s veterans,

over the past twenty years.

The evening brought a lovely dinner.

Then a group of us studied some spiritual guidance.

I was mildly upbraided, in the middle of this,

for my own teaching style.

Maybe, I’ve made progress,

on the often lonely road.

It was not difficult to see the critic’s point.

She will get a chance to flesh out

what she wants, instead,

at a gathering in her own town,

tomorrow night.

I look at my admin page, here,

and see that one of my critics

from last week

liked two of my posts,

today.

Goes to show,

sometimes I get

overwrought,

about nothing.

 

Time Was…

2

September 8, 2017, Prescott-

Time was, when my friends mostly had blond hair, blue eyes and family names like Smith, Wolfe, Doyle, Burnham, Stocker, Hansen, Murphy, Hines. Italians and Greeks moved in, and my new friends had brown hair and eyes, and their families were the Belmontes, Chassis, Chrisoses, Serinos, Spinellis, Geotises and Statutos.

I still dearly love people who need sunblock, when outdoors, whose ethnic legends are based on the tales of the ancient Germans, Anglo-Saxons, Vikings, Celts, Romans, Greeks and Slavs.  It hardly bothers me, that their politics are often rooted in survival and preservation.  They will adapt, survive and grow.  They are ever my siblings.

Time came, when my young adult self met people whose first names were Lutrell, Antonio, Luis, Angel, Devar, Wadous and Jesus.  Their skin was different, but otherwise, they were not.  I was, for the first time in my life, the one who had to win people’s trust.

I have come to dearly love people who relish collards and hamhocks, posole, menudo, hip hop, rhythm and blues, Salsa and mambo.  It started with Dr. King, who grew in my little white boy consciousness and became a source of pain in my  heart, when he was taken from us.  It has continued with some of the most essential people in my life, and some of them are in this nation, without papers.  They are ever my siblings.

Time moved on, and there came people whose mannerisms, dress, world view were entirely different from all who had come into this one’s life, beforehand.  They had names like Thanh, Ty Lanh, Jin-ho, Sook-ja, Tadies, Suhayl, Sohrab, Amal, Javidukt and Mohammad. Some had almond-shaped eyes, which protected them from the incessant blowing dust.  Others had tight curly hair, which guarded their scalp, from the blazing sun.  Still others wore turbans or kaftas, which served the same purpose.

I saw their presence in my life as a capstone, as a completion of my introduction to the full range of humanity.  They are ever my siblings.

Time was, when people my age were consumed with the Red Sox and the Bruins; when gathering around an 12″ television was a major weekend experience; when family trips to Cape Cod, Kingston State Park or Lynn Beach were de rigeur; when my hair length vacillated between “moddish” shoulder-length and buzz cut brevity.  Our battles were fought in VietNam, and on the streets of American cities.  They are ever my siblings.

Time came, when the next generations were consumed with making money; when our vinyl records were replaced by 8-Track tapes, then by compact discs, then by i-Pods. Birthday parties became occasions for gifting guests, as well as honorees.  My hair was like something out of the Middle Ages, then thin, then thinner. The battles of these generations shifted, to the Balkan Peninsula, to Mesoamerica, to collapsing buildings in New York and Arlington, to Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya.  Equality of colour and gender was seen as largely won.   The right to sexual identity became the cause of the age.  They are ever my younger siblings, my children and, most recently, my grandchildren.

It is a comfort, this inclusion.  I am guarded from those who shut me out, because of all who open the doors of their hearts.

Time is, a most encouraging and gratifying, state of being.

Whither and Whether

2

September 4, 2017, Prescott-

The boy, in “The Alchemist”, is a lot like me.

Searching for his treasure,

in the course of realizing his Personal Legend,

he left home, went far afield,

at the behest of several spirit guides.

He found true love,

won and lost three fortunes,

saw a grandiose sight,

and was told,

by his last tormentor,

where to find his signal fortune.

I left home,

seeking some semblance of peace,

and if a fortune came,

in the process,

so much the better.

I found true love,

a continent away,

and we earned, then lost,

three fortunes.

Unlike the boy’s true love,

mine has passed on,

and become a spirit guide.

I listen carefully,

watch closely,

for the signs that I need.

I have no tormentors,

save my own self,

and then,

he’s not very persistent,

at the negativity game.

There are two kinds

of people in my life:

The friendly and

the indifferent.

The latter still outnumber

the former,

but the first far outweigh

the last.

This year has seen me

go off on a tangent,

as I did, four years ago.

The difference now,

is that I learned a lesson then.

Going towards someone,

with a light, loving spirit,

brings nothing in return,

if there is nothing to be given.

I am in one of my prime safe places,

and will make a brief visit,

in a few days,

to see if another such,

is actually still safe,

or has reverted

to a place of indifference.

 

 

Sometimes The Heart Has A Hole In It

6

August 20, 2017, Prescott- 

NOTE:  I am not shying away from posting about my visits to Harrisonburg and Lexington, VA.  That post will be up, tonight (dated July 22).  Considering one of the people in the post, though, brought to mind the topic below.

So, I have a hole in my heart, right now.

I, who pride myself on letting those I love fly away,

knowing that if they are really meant to be here,

they will return.

If not, they will light elsewhere.

There are, though, people

whose absence,

or lack of communication,

or estrangement,

hurt like Hell.

I guess that’s part of the physical realm,

and my mentors, ever steadfast,

will admonish me to let go.

I will, in short order,

but for now,

I am massaging the soreness.

People who run,

or are in hiding,

or are just silent,

I wish you every measure

of love, dignity and solace.

It will be nice,

if I am in your good graces,

again.

Fly where you will,

and know this roost is being kept fresh.

(This is for all my surrogate daughters,

who have disappeared and my friend,

who sped off, without a word.)

 

Tremors

11

July 9, 2017, Wilmette-

To reiterate, as I am drastically revamping the earlier version of this post:  I will recap the past several, enjoyable days, July 5-8, in my next several posts.

For now:

I was somewhat relieved, and gratified, to actually meet a person who had been rather skittish, with regard to such a handshake.  Turns out, she does seem overbooked.  It is either sink or swim, for most of us, so she is swimming, furiously.

I am still frightened by people who pretend to be friends, and exhort the rest of us, with intense, challenging inspirational rhetoric.  Someone posted online, about Mother Teresa.  I remember her as a rather somber, sad woman, not so comfortable with the adulation of an unskeptical public.  I mention this, because we do tend to move in on people who look shiny, on the surface.  Europeans look at Americans, and are stunned by the glad-handing and false promises that occupy many of us, who are out to get a leg up.  So, motivational speakers and preachers get caught with their pants down, some of them literally so.  That’s the thing that frightens me most:  Not traffic, not thugs, but the duplicitous.

I feel much better, this afternoon, having had an extended conversation with my online friend- far from duplicitous, and the epitome of real.  It could not have ended, any other way.  I look forward to continually learning from her, and other correspondents.  This is about purification, and strengthening- a process that lasts a lifetime.

Some tremors are necessary in life.