Upon going through my usual morning rituals, I found a message on my phone, informing me that I was expected to start up a Non-Governmental Organization, the purpose of which would be to “save the world’s destitute children.” I was to found the organization and become its president.
Just so we’re clear, this is the wish of an over-exuberant online contact, whom I’ve never met, but who regards me as a family member. What is also clear is that I will help this person with legitimate goals, but I am NOT going to undertake the founding of an NGO, and become its head.
I will always strive, in an unofficial and voluntary capacity, to help the children of this world and support those of normal working age, whose careers are still underway. I will be 70 years of age, in late November, and while I realize that the election just prior to my birthday will be between two septuagenarians, that is THEIR choice. After forty-four years of working, I will be finished with being at someone else’s beck and call. I will still be robust, but am not working 60 hours a week.
My inner being is getting attention, especially during this period of sequestering. I am, and will be, taking part in the Harmonic Convergence that is goiong on, from today until July 14. Spirit guides, who these days prefer to be called Soul, are still telling me to prepare for time on the road, later this year and early next, and to go abroad, for much of the next four years.
Jesus once alluded to the fruits of presumption as despair. I take each day as it comes.
In the end, the Fourth of July observance at Mt. Rushmore did not result in death, explosions or wildfire. I don’t share, in wholesale fashon, either the conservative or liberal vision of America’s future-but I see good points in both.
I believe in hard work, and I believe in equal pay for that hard work. I believe in preserving, and learning from, history; I also believe in not sugar-coating the hard aspects of that history. If a story is brutal, tell it anyway. If a story is uplifting, so much the better.
I believe in freedom to innovate, and I believe in following a fair and just set of laws-which do not fall victim to either the urge for vengeance or the urge for unbridled anarchy.
I see many good things that have come out of our hybrid culture. I also see much room for improvement. I see goodness in a pioneering spirit. I also see that it is only a good thing for this country to acknowledge and celebrate the foundation that was already here, with my First Nations ancestors, when that pioneering spirit took root on the periphery of this continent, and our neighbour to the south.
European-Americans have given much to our society, but they are far from the whole ball of yarn. We would be, and could still be, a lesser nation, were it not for the African-Americans who are yet rising from the ashes of enslavement; were it not for the First Nations, who already had a civilization when Europeans arrived; were it not for the Asians who built the transcontinental railroads, only to be kicked and beaten, literally and figuratively, by those who saw menace in what they did not understand; were it not for the Hispanics, who also predated English-speaking people, in much of the country.
Some, on both ideological ends of the spectrum, have given in to a subculture of fear-with its propensity for violence, for lies about the other side and for hubris about the “superiority” of their arguments. In both cases, there is much anger, rooted in pain. That is why, while cutting off and deleting messages and comments that I know are completely false, I will listen to those of any philosophical position, who come from a place of truth.
No group of people is lacking in value, in strength, in beauty, in worthiness.
It’s been hot and dry here, this month, as it usually is in Arizona, during the month of June, and often during the first half of July. There are high clouds, that keep the sun from becoming too blazing in intensity, and sometimes, we get the cooler air that’s left over from the storms that are hitting the Rockies and Great Basin. The monsoons, though, come from the south and southeast of us.
The very ground, though, doesn’t usually sizzle. I feel it starting to smoke, this year, though. Earth has a memory, of how her children, whose remains lie in her near crust, have been treated- often in the name of profit; sometimes in the name of convenience; most often in the name of ego gratification-which takes the other two along for the wild ride. She also has a memory of how she herself has been treated.
Reckonings have, historically, been very hard-and are resisted by those who are being asked to face the music. So it is now. There are events that have already happened and those yet to transpire, which have caused, and may cause, me to wince. Many of the great national heroes of our past are being lumped with those who challenged our country’s more enlightened social constructs.
The Confederates, even with the attempted revisionist history of the period 1985-2015, are still relatively easy to relegate to museums and scholarly study. I have visited Stonewall Jackson House, in Lexington, VA and learned that he taught his male slaves to read and write-using the Bible as text. I have learned that he was an organic gardener and herbalist. I recall thinking that, well, Hitler was a vegetarian. There is a difference between Thomas Jackson and der Fuehrer, in terms of degree of supremacism. Nonetheless, Stonewall OWNED people.
George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, Andrew Jackson, and John Tyler each owned people. They did great things for the Nation, but they OWNED people. The Presidents from the northern and midwestern states didn’t own human beings, but they supported the institution of slavery, to one extent or another, right past the Emancipation Proclamation (which only freed the enslaved people of the states which had seceded). New York City even had a plan to secede from the Union, in 1864, to guard Wall Street’s investments in cotton and tobacco.
All Presidents, with the possible exceptions of William Howard Taft and John F. Kennedy, had blindspots when it came to the First Nations-and, except for Lyndon Johnson, none had a true sense that African-Americans were the equals of European-Americans. There were limits to how much the country was willling to do, to set things right.
For purposes of this post, I will stop by saying that “Liberals” and “Progressives” do not have a sterling track record, when it comes to empowering and working WITH those for whom they claim to support. There are many paternalistic efforts being made, which only draw the condemnation of conservatives and their supporters among the African-American and First Nations communities. Doing things FOR people has only resulted in a lack of progress for these communities.
I remind those on the Right, though, of two things: The Democrats who actively engaged in segregationist policies, until 1970, or so, became Republicans, at the invitation of Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan, in the 1970’s and’80’s. Donald Trump is accelerating that effort, in the current era. Secondly, there is still a climate of fear being stoked, by the leaders of both parties, but the Republicans are in charge-and can fire up the machinery of pushback.
Personally, I see value in some aspects of both sides of the aisle. There remain these, however: African-Americans, for lack of a better collective, are not “Negroes”, “coloured people”, or even “people of colour”. There is no “Negro Problem”. Native Americans, asking for their land titles, are still not intent on destroying long-established communities with diverse populations. I was in Maine, duirng the Penobscot Land Settlement. The once and again owners of 2/3 of the state’s land did not evict anyone from that territory. The settlement was legal and financial, not socially disruptive. It was gratifying, as the Penobscot Nation includes some of my distant relatives.
Both sides would do well to get past hatred of the other and dispense with any air of superiority, especially when approaching the communities about whom they claim to care.
Here is a link to a very important, and challenging, presentation. It is worth a lot of thought, in my humble opinion. God bless America.
June 22, 2020-;Dad transitioned, 34 years ago, today, All of us, except Brian, who was 22, and in hospital at the time, were on our own and looked to our father mainly for guidance with adult issues. This memory enveloped my day.
I took part in an online discussion, of sorts, in which the moderator tried to conflate the deaths of African-American adults and teens with what he sees as an excessive number of Black fetuses being aborted. It was too large and broad a conflation, for most people, and seemed to have upset many.
One person analogized the abortions, though, with a person picking up coins from the street, which he characterized as a minor theft. (I’ve happened upon both coins and bills on pavement, and have either given them to destitute folks or used them for charitable causes.) I see it as more than a bit sad, though, that intellectuals, mostly men past the optimum age of child-rearing, view the life of an unborn child as no more than small change. It’s as if anyone with whom one can’t have a deep discussion is not worth one’s consideration.
The same blind spots occur in many situations- almost always among people who have a very narrow view of who is and isn’t as human as they are. Isn’t this the whole reason we are going through what we are enduring now? I’ve always been viewed as strange, for being holistic in my view of humanity. Somehow, though, we will need to broaden our collective view on this matter, if we are to know peace as a species.
This was a Father’s Day of my own making. My Uncle Walter told us boys, for years on end, to learn to make our own fun. So it has been, for nearly seven decades.
After hosting a heartfelt and meaningful devotional on Zoom, I hopped over to Ms. Natural’s and had a quick and healthful lunch, on the downstairs patio. Then, it was off to Sedona, for a relatively short hike, along a trail called Big Park Loop. It was hot, so I walked fairly slowly and drank a good amount of water. The scenes were of Courthouse Butte and Bell Rock from a southern angle.
The past two months have been very dry, as usual. The great rushing creeks and rivers of the “Monsoon” season are flowing only underground, right now, if they are flowing at all.
I stopped in, after the hike, at a normally favourite and welcoming coffee house, but found the mood a bit tense- largely over who got to use a device which soothes muscle pain and can heal skin disorders. A friend who works at the cafe managed to get some use from it. The device, it turns out, belongs to the cafe owner, is quite expensive, and was not to be used by anyone but the employees. The owner was not amused, when friend offered it to me for a session. Fortuitously, it operates off cell phones, and mine was not co-operating. I quietly left, after enjoying a refreshing and healthful cool drink.
Father’s Day dinner was at a barbecue place, called Colt Cafe, in Old Town Cottonwood. The tried and true brisket sandwich and Triple Crown potato salad restored my physical balance. It was a fairly easy drive back, after dinner.
My father taught us He showed us that strength is not brutish, not overbearing and is never selfish. Strength shows respect where it is due, but is not fawning or sycophantic, as no human being is worthy of such adulation.
At the same time, strength avoids excessive fault-finding. If a person is praiseworthy, on balance, clebrate that which is good about the individual, neither dwelling on, nor ignoring, the person’s frailties. I wonder what Dad would think of the current campaign to denigrate most, if not all, of our nation’s, nay our planet’s, people of renown? In an age when everyone from George Washington to Mother Theresa has detractors who have managed to find a ready audience, can we truly approach anyone’s legacy objectively?
Today, north and south reach their respective Mid-Year Solstices and either bask in the slowly fading long days or eagerly await the slowly approaching time of the Sun arcing towards its apogee. I will be among the former group.
In a gathering, this morning, it was noted that an old, and fading, tree is at the center of our world. It is the Tree of ‘Ism. Its branches include materialism, socialism, communism, nationalism, capitalism, racism-and the largest, but most decrepit of all, elitism. Each has had the twin effects of attracting human beings, with a once bright, shining allure and of dividing those same people from one another.
This tree has sustained humanity’s physical aspects, even while casting a shadow over another tree that has grown up alongside it. That is the Sacred Tree-the true Tree of Life, which has had its trials, facing down blights and molds, which have emanated from the Tree of ‘Ism. These blights and molds have included contentiousness, egoism, lust, greed, covetousness and recklessness. They have produced wars, genocide, economic depression, sectarian strife, divorce, rape, child abuse/neglect and human trafficking.its
The Sacred Tree, in its turn, has sent life-giving spores to its seemingly more powerful neighbour. These have included inspiration, scientific knowledge, faith, co-operation, diversity of life and awareness of natural resources. Those that the Sacred Tree have kept for itself have led mankind to a higher level, even if many have not recognized the Source. Those who haven’t, have instead been focused on the glitter and sparkle, of the Tree of ‘Ism-even when the Sacred Tree’s own Messengers have found Themselves attached, in one way or another, to a branch or even a cross, fashioned from the Tree of ‘Ism, as a means of punishment or sacrifice, devised by the beguiled, at the instigation of the elite.
This state of affairs is coming to an end, as the Tree of ‘Ism, rotted at its tap root, prepares to collapse. No one of its branches is any longer capable if sustaining the burdens placed upon them. Little shoots have migrated from that old tree, and are growing in the shade of the Tree of Life. These are the future Trees of Responsibility, and will for at least a Millennium offer prosperity and success, based in the solid ground of unity.
The planet is preparing itself, for their emergence.
I relaxed, this evening, with a group of African-American entertainers and public figures, presenting a Facebook Live performance called Black Wave 2020. There were a wide variety of musical styles and civil presentations by competing office seekers. There was no vitriol, no cussing, and no displays of rage.
There was a very up front, definite commitment to acting towards justice, towards the systemic changes that need to be brought to bear. There was also the understanding that there will be resistance to such changes, and a few racists did show up in the comments section, to spew their nonsense. All in all, though, we who were watching were genuinely interested and appreciative of the show.
Change has to be made, and it has to be deliberate and transparent. We cannot have the history of THIS day and age presented to the people of the Twenty-second Century, in a sanitized form. That will take fortitude, and commitment. There are those who don’t understand the Oneness of the Human Race. I heard from one such individual today-with regard to the rights of unborn children, in his view, not mattering to anyone other than religious zealots. There are others who, don’t understand that People of Colour don’t want to be regarded with special treatment-just regarded with dignity and respect.
Growing up in a lily-white town, albeit in suburban Boston, I had to learn the reality of People of Colour, piecemeal: The African-Americans in my childhood and adolescence were authority figures: The cafeteria monitors in our Junior High and the first police officer to give me a speeding ticket. I’d have been punished, very swiftly, once I got home, if I ever gave them any lip. That told me that real African-Americans were not any different, to my parents, than anyone else.
Indeed, watching Saturday morning cartoons, one day, when I was about eight, a character who was supposed to be Stepin Fetchit came out with “Everything I do is always wrong.” That cut through me like a switchblade. I asked my father why anyone would say such a thing. He told me that Black folks were conditioned to act that way, having been enslaved for over 200 years. He also told me to show all people kindness and treat them fairly. I often thought that if I ever met the actor who played Stepin Fetchit, that I would shake his hand and tell him he was a wonderful person.
There were, though, some tough conversations, awkwardness and hard lessons, that came my way, in young adulthood particularly, in learning the nuances and basic decencies of overcoming some very deep-seated social beliefs. I am glad for all of them.
The Baha’i Faith lends spiritual weight to the notion that all people are created equal-All ethnicities, male & female, all age groups, both neurotypical and disabled, all points of view-so long as they don’t preach exclusion of others. We view all life as sacred,from conception to death. Independent investigation of truth is the bottom line.
Juneteenth, with all this being considered, merits being made a National Holiday- a paid National Holiday. Let it continue to spark thoughts, words and action, to advance the cause of justice- and the increased equality of all people.
This morning, our city said adios, to one of its brightest lights. I only met Brooklyn, a few times, when I substituted in Mile High Middle School (2011 -12) and in Prescott High School (2013-16). There was no mistaking the bouncy, free-spirited, but respectful, studious and reverent presence, who seemed to ever be in the forefront of whatever was going on- whether it was a bit of dancing in the hallway or being one of the first to participate in a class discussion. She loved being a teenager, being part of a large and community-activist family, and being a Christian.
Brooklyn Ashley Mengarelli was equally at home leading a group at her parents’ summer camp, playing with her infant nephew or goofing around with her classmates (doing a puppy imitation, with downturned “paws” and pretending to pant, rings a bell). She had a serious side, though, attending to her school work-and to the mild, but persistent, epilepsy that shadowed her, from the time she was eight. The latter kept her from driving a car. It would eventually take her life. It did not stop her from living that life to the full.
I believe, no, I KNOW that it was her faith that kept Brooklyn going on. There was not a community event, especially Frontier Days, Acker Music Night, and the annual Rodeo, that went without her presence. So, it was also true, was her devotion to the vibrant congregation, of which she was a member. This morning, the city she loved returned that love.
She will shine down on this community that she so loved, and on the young women who took her into their hearts, at the University of Arizona, these past four years. That’s the silver lining to losing our cherished ones. They’re never really gone. See you again, Brookie.
I spent about two hours, this afternoon, with an online group,”Earth Rising’, in the last session of a class, entitled Gaia Calling. Gaia is an ancient Greek name for Earth. The concept of our planet, and all heavenly bodies, as a living entity, goes back to the earliest antiquity and has credence in modern science-particularly in the realms of seismology, geology and hydrology. This class focused on our relationships with both Earth as a whole and with the area in which each of us lives. My Home Base, as many know, is in the basin of three mountain ranges: Sierra Prieta (west), Bradshaw (south) and Mingus (east). It is also the watershed of the Verde River and its western tributaries.
I have been getting spiritual messages, through this group’s interactions, as well as through meditations guided by an Australian Cosmic Advisor, Elizabeth Peru. Guided meditations are similar, in that the meditant is asked to breathe deeply, whilst focusing on a specific area of the body, then expand downward, into the earth, upward into the heavens and outward, to connect with the spirits of others.
These meditations have brought messages, fairly consistently. They have, in earlier iterations, led me to travel where and when I have and to rearrange my homebound life, in the same way. I was guided, most recently, to offer the memorial hike in honour of my late uncle. That it ended up occurring on Penny’s and my thirty-eighth wedding anniversary was an added confirmation from the Universe- a sign from God.
I have signals for the 1 1/2 months ahead, after today’s session. The rest of June is to be focused on faith-based activities, on at least one community festival and a hike on Granite Mountain, my first since late summer, 2014.
The first week of July is to be focused on community events, followed by a week of faith-based observances. I then get a message to make a journey of advocacy, to Chaco Culture National Historical Park, and its environs. The area is under pressure for development of natural gas resources. My journey would last four or five days, and is contingent on both the health status of the people in the area and on whether the park itself is open. The last week, or so, of July is open-ended, but the indications are for a mix of community and faith-based activities.
These forecasts, as Elizabeth calls them, can, like weather forecasts, be changed-but so far, I have found them quite spot on. It’s when I have indulged my own whims, as in 2013, that I have found self off-track.
There has been, in the time of pandemic, a particularly acute explosion of awareness, of various acts of violence against people of colour, by both those in authority and private individuals; against indigenous or pastoral groups, by those seeking to exploit mineral or plant resources, without having done the requisite research into archaeological and anthropological remnants at the resource site; by those who are ust lashing out at whoever disagrees with them, on a given issue.
The philosopher, Eckhart Tolle, refers to the existence of a pain body, which stores physical and emotional memories of unhealed pain. This concept explains everything from the phantom limb, felt by amputees to the acting out, by dementia patients, recalling an abuse from many decades earlier.
Many are acting out their pain body memories right now. I know what they are feeling is real-I went through the purging of much buried emotional pain, some of it from my formative years, during the period 2008-14. Part of it surfaced, as I was still caring for my dying wife. The rest came out while I was rebuilding my life. It had to all be handled as quietly as possible, so I thought. None of it was Penny’s fault, or our son’s. Most of it, in truth, came from bad decisions I made, or from things happening around me that, for the most part, were no one’s actual fault.
I have reached the point of stasis, so I know that it is possible to overcome one’s buried pain. It involves communication. It involves trust. It involves commitment to self. It involves resolution. It involves reconciliation and forgiveness-especially towards self.
Those who have committed, and are still committing, crimes against humanity are also committing crimes against themselves-whether they tell themselves it’s for the greater good, for the stockholders or for the survival of the community. It is still an injurious act-with no real winners.
Let us all give some thought to healing our pain bodies.