My Ley Lines

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January 15, 2022- To further elaborate on the topic discussed yesterday, it is worth considering the concept of ley lines. These are energy-based, invisible lines considered to be drawn between major landmarks and historic buildings. Places tapped as having vortices, like Sedona and Carnac, are often the focus of studies done on ley lines.

I rather think that the spiritual nature of humans allows the establishment of ley lines, energy connections between an individual and various places, which s(he) has either visited or to which there are distinct energy connections. My own such lines are of three sources: Ancestral and familial; faith-based and social (both real time and media-based).

The lines are between Home Base (Prescott, AZ), as this is where I am presently rooted and a number of locations related to the above-mentioned sources. In terms of ancestral and familial places I have visited, or in which I’ve lived, the lines connect to Rouen, Normandy (France); Montreal; Old Town, Maine; Saugus and Lynn, Massachusetts (running through Ashland ); Plattsburgh, NY; Philadelphia and its southeastern suburbs; Newnan, GA; Spring Hill, Florida; St. Louis; and the northwestern suburbs of Dallas.

Faith-based lines link with Wilmette, Illinois; The Navajo Nation (Dinetah); Hopi; Flagstaff; Phoenix; Macy, Nebraska; Wanblee, South Dakota; Standoff, Alberta (Canada); San Francisco; Salt Lake City; Carson City; Glenwood Springs, Colorado; Bath, Guyana; Jeju and Seoul, Korea; Tsaotun, Taiwan; London and Canterbury, England; Frankfurt-am-Main, Hesse (Germany); Haifa and Akko’, Israel.

There are a great many lines running to locations of a friend-based nature, of which a few may be mentioned here: San Diego; Santa Fe; Amarillo and Austin; Enid, Oklahoma; Memphis and Crossville, Tennessee; Mishawaka, Indiana; Kansas City; Hilton Head and Aiken, South Carolina; Harrisonburg and Virginia Beach, VA; Baton Rouge; Portland, Oregon; Tacoma, Washington; southeast Alaska; Toronto; Vannes, Bretagne and Luxembourg-Ville.

Perhaps the most crucial thing to remember about such ley lines is that, as the number of places to which the lines connect increase, the strength of their energy also grows. This is so, because spiritual energy is infinite. I look forward to such increases.

The Tendrils Do Not Fade

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January 14, 2022- The gentlemen and lady came onto a Zoom session, this evening, to speak of the history of Baha’i in their land, as the centennial of its arrival there had just been celebrated. I have alluded to our time there as well, on several occasions.

The influence of South Korea on my life cannot be minimized-especially given Aram’s birth there and his lifelong ties to both Korean and Japanese culture-accented by his marriage to Yunhee. I last went there, in 2019, for the religious ceremony that helped cement that marriage. The country has done quite well, materially, and has had a considerable influence, as well, on the the burgeoning global culture.

Connections I made there, had for the most part, seemed to have faded over the years. It was almost symbolic, when the plaque that Penny and I had been given, at the end of our work in Jeju, in 1992, fell off its stand and irreparably shattered, in 2017. It was not long after that, though, that Aram and Yunhee met. A more formidable, enduring bond was created.

The tendrils that remain between the Korean people and me are thus not going to be broken-and if anything, are one of the strongest threads that are connecting this one’s world. From those threads came ties to Hawaii, Taiwan, all parts of the U.S, and now to Albania, of all places, where a friend from our Jeju days has settled.

There are ties that keep me here-and those that will serve as a safety net, in many places far afield. It all started with a chance move to Korea, thirty-six years ago.

The Pain at the Edge of Town

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January 4, 2021-

The phone call detailed things that I can only imagine: A roof leak, which nearly eight attempts to fix have failed, and made worse by the landlord “testing” sealant, by hosing it to see whether it leaked. (Voila! La deluge!!); damage to at least half of everything the tenants own, because of the ongoing roof leaks; water seeping into the electric grid of the house-thus putting the tenants (trailer-bound, outside the house, for now)- at risk of being burned to death, from having to run extension cords from the house.

All this, with a rental market that is non-existent for anyone in their situation, at least in this area. No one wants to let out a house, or even apartment, without a year’s lease, least of all to a dog owner. Yet, the bottom line is, it is the dead of winter, and only by Divine Grace is the weather moderating to dry, mild conditions, at least for the next two weeks. That could turn on a dime.

If I thought anyone reading this would know the people of whom I speak, I would never have written of the situation here. I will do what I can to help, though, through contacting friends of other friends-and being a constant listening ear, praying voice, until this whole thing is resolved. Somehow, the pain on the edge of town can be relieved.

Ringing In The New

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January 2, 2022- Like 5 p.m., it’s always New Year somewhere. Once the Gregorian New Year is dusty and worn out, it’s time for Lunar New Year-the start of a new calendar year for many people in eastern Asia-particularly China, Korea and VietNam. We Baha’is start our year with Naw-Ruz, which emanates from the ancient Zoroastrian Era festival in Iran, that coincides with the March Equinox, and is thus celebrated on March 21. Thais observe New Years Day (Songkran) in mid-April. People in India observe the day in either April or May, depending on the year. Similarly, Muslims begin their year in either July or August, with the first day of Muharram, the first month on the Islamic calendar. Many of us are familiar with the Jewish New Year, which comes in September or October, and lasts for ten days.

With that, it’s time to focus on what a new year really means for the individual. Each of us has a life plan, largely something we devise ourselves, with help from our personal inclinations, social circumstances and immune systems. Each of us has challenges to overcome and other people to consider, but in the end, it is what one really wants out of life that has to be the prime impetus for the changes made and practices continued, from year to year.

It was quite heartening to listen to two young ladies talk of their plans for the future, in a couple of situations today. A teenaged girl explained, to a much younger child, why she wanted to be a dental hygienist-and was giving the little one instructions on proper teeth-brushing and flossing. A server in a local restaurant, this evening, was expressing her pondering of careers in holistic health. Her co-worker, in turn, has landed a job in resort management.

No one need stand still, without reason. What are your plans for the future-especially if you are just starting out?

A Brief Look Backward

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December 31, 2021- Betty White chose an awkward time to leave, but it was her time. It was almost a fitting end to a year that took us up, down and sideways-and turned us every which way but loose. I don’t want to say that last one too loudly. We could use a few more years of Clint Eastwood being among us.

As it was, there were a number of people dear to my heart, some of renown and some not, who left this earthly plane in this year now itself winding down. My extended family whittled down, just a tad: My aunts-by-marriage-Sabina Kusch and Dorothy Madigan; Aunt Dorothy’s stepson, John-one of the cousins closest to me, over the years; Charlie Kusch, Jr., another cousin who made his friends and family laugh, much as his father did before him. Diane “Dee Dee” Bean- was the first girl I ever dated-not that it ever worked out. Richard “Dick” Dow, was a next door neighbour, from childhood, who kept his family home and his father’s business running, until he could scarcely move, himself. Two educators from my scholastic past, Anthony Struzziero and Eugene Hughes, both of whom I knew as fair-minded administrators. The bulk of the losses were fellows in Faith, Baha’i teachers, one and all: Val Latham, Jr., Gisela McCormick, John Eichenauer III, John Kolstoe, Joel Oron’a, Ethelene Crawford, Wilfred Smallwood, Donald Streets and Dwight Allen. I lost a car, and gained an SUV.

It was not a year defined by loss alone. A grand nephew, named Liam, came into our lives, early on. Strong new friendships emerged. I was able to return to California and Nevada, after a year’s hiatus. I made two long trips across country, both largely around the sale of our family home, and mother’s voluntary relocation. A week spent in Texas was a perfect springboard for my seventy-second year. I was able to pay respects to those fallen in the name of freedom, though not to the extent I might have. Still, time spent in north Tulsa and in Minneapolis was a step forward, for this one who preferred solitude, for so many years.

Our community has held its own against one or another viruses. As if to seem a strange return of normalcy-the flu is back. The nation resisted the temptation to default on democracy. Both major parties are learning that complacency is dying out among the masses-and a moribund attitude will not fly. We Baha’is paid homage to ‘Abdu’l-Baha, marking one hundred years since His passing-and renewing our commitments to live as He did. That renewed spark of Faith is finding its way to friends of other religious traditions as well-as witness the Baptism, on Christmas Eve, of a man who had found his fortunes sinking.

We did not master disaster, and there were far too many lives lost-in California, the Pacific Northwest, western Canada, Montana, Louisiana, Kentucky and Illinois. The latest conflagration, in Colorado, took no lives, but left another pair of communities with scenes out of a war movie. Two dozen other countries, from Mexico and Peru to Kenya and Indonesia, saw tragic losses in both infrastructure collapse and from the forces of nature. Then, there was/is Ethiopia, a country I only recently was hoping to visit in a year or two. Now, it is riven in pain, and we can only pray for sane attitudes to rise to the fore.

2021 will be history, in short order. How different the year that is thirteen minutes away will be, depends largely on how many of us have absorbed this year’s lessons-and to what degree.

His Fierce Love

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December 25, 2021-

The Carpenter did not skimp, on building His House of Love. Only the finest of materials, albeit obtained in an economical and judicious manner, were used in this endeavour. Those who demeaned His efforts were still welcome to enter, but they first had to wash themselves of the stains of doubtfulness and error.

The Fisherman did not refuse anyone who was hungry, offering His catch to all who showed up at His weir. Those who turned their noses up at His offering were free to change their minds and hearts, so long as they abluted their hands before partaking.

The Worshipper did not suffer those who turned the House of the Lord into a bazaar. He cast them out of the Temple, with the message that true Love is like a sword. It cleaves away the darkness of those sins which impair the soul and divide the people.

The Cross Bearer did not take umbrage at those who had been duped into believing He was a menace to the established order. He asked forgiveness for them, not out of weakness, but out of the strength that only comes with knowing of the true nature of Eternity.

The Messenger knew only compassion for the sick, the homeless, the destitute and the wayward. He cried for the errors of His followers, who conflated Faith in God with loyalty to the earthly powers. He appreciated the grand cathedrals, the sincere efforts to grow His flock and the devotion of even the most grievously ill among adherents to His Message. He also reminded one and all, that they must take stock of their thoughts and actions, day to day.

Such was the fierce love of the Son of the Creator.

The Cave and The Silo

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December 24, 2021-

In the season of accountability, circa 4 B.C., a Child infused with extraordinary spiritual power began moving down His mother’s birth canal, whilst His parents were seeking lodging, in a town where all comfortable rooms were long claimed by more well-healed travelers, most of whom were in town on taxpayer business.

By dint of necessity, the Child’s father secured a spot in a manger, with the land owner’s livestock as the family’s companions for the evening. The Child was born in the early morning hours, with the family huddled among the animals for warmth, the landowner having also given them a few hide blankets out of concern for mother and baby.

The veritable cave where Jesus, son of Joseph, was born has a superstructure built over it: The Church of the Nativity. Within that house of worship are three distinct chapels: One, Roman Catholic; one, Greek Orthodox and one, Armenian Apostolic. The territory of each is clearly demarked, and very closely guarded by the adherents of each denomination. It is now, however, a UNESCO World Heritage Site , requiring co-operation between the three, as well as between the State of Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

Prior to this status being conferred, in 2012, the three shrines were like silos, unto themselves, despite a 250-year-old agreement between three denominations’ leaders, for the preservation of the edifice. The point of agreement that made any co-operation possible was the recognition that the grotto, over which the church was built, was the site of the birthplace of Jesus the Christ. Like any agreement made in perpetuity between leaders of a given time, its meaning’s understanding has ebbed and flowed, fluctuating with successive generations, and newcomers to the area, adding their own interpretations.

Thus, the silos rise and contain the adherents to these philosophies, who eschew any fellowship with those of different viewpoints. Thus has even the most sacred of places become a focal point of human narcissism, whether individual or collective.

May the 2021st Celebration of Christ’s Birth be a day when such fellowship be given honour. We have seen the futility of its opposite number.

Beatitude-Inspired

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December 22, 2021-

Blessed is the father who willingly changes diapers, uncomplainingly paints his daughter’s nails and enjoys her “tea party”.

Blessed is the mother who takes a few minutes and tosses baseballs into her son’s waiting glove, teaches him to wash his own clothes and make his own lunch.

Blessed is the son who practices humility, learns to sew on buttons, willingly washes the dishes and his own clothes and keeps an orderly room.

Blessed is the daughter who stands up for herself, never regarding her position in the family as subservient, who pursues her own dreams and who can maintain her own vehicle.

Blessed is the neighbour who looks out for others in his apartment block, on her street, in their village.

Blessed is the citizen who considers all points of view, who is not tied to only the immediate needs of own community, own nation or own generation, but who has the well-being of the planet in mind as well.

Blessed is the generation which loves those who came before and those who come after, as well as its own members.

Blessed are the people who look out for all sentient beings and who are open to communicating with those heretofore not known to them.

Touching Bases

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December 18, 2021- I frequently refer to Prescott, AZ, where I live, as Home Base. There are several other “bases” that mean the world to me: Grapevine, TX, where my son and daughter-in-law live; Dineh Bikeya (Navajo land) and Hopi, where I came of age, spiritually; Flagstaff, where I was “birthed” (my term) as a Baha’i; Saugus, MA, where I learned basic life lessons; Arlington, VA, where I learned intermediate life lessons; Rouen, FR, from whence several of my paternal ancestors came and Jeju, Korea, where I learned patience, fortitude and the right way to face adversaries.

There are whole regions where I feel at home- virtually all of Arizona; northern New Mexico; southern and central Colorado; northwest Nevada; coastal California; the entirety of Oregon and Washington; southeast Alaska; the western and eastern areas of Canada; New England and the Appalachian Crest. Then, too, there is no place where I’ve been that seems truly foreign or hostile. In that sense, Mother Earth is a Base unto herself.

So, as this calendar year fades, slowly but surely, I feel a deeper connectedness with each of the elements that make life not only possible, but meaningful: Air, water, fire and mineral, on the physical side; Reverence, emotion, intellect, curiosity and proactivity, on the spiritual side. A great spiritual plan is in process, from the Universal House of Justice, and spanning nine years (2022-2031). With that, my own bases will become both deeper and more numerous.

May the coming Solstice, Christmas and Kwanzaa be fruitful and fulfilling to all who cherish them.

“We are the messengers now.”

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December 12, 2021- Those words were spoken by actor Jonathan Roumie, who plays the role of Jesus the Christ, in the ongoing series “The Chosen”, in his commentary on the series’ Christmas special. He spoke, of course, as to the responsibility of Christians to bear witness to their Faith, in word and deed.

I extend that further, to all people of Faith. We Baha’is recently commemorated the Centenary of the Passing of ‘Abdu’l-Baha, the only perfect exemplar we had, other than Baha’u’llah Himself-in terms of living our Faith, day to day. Every other person, in living memory, has their own struggles and challenges. That, however, can never be an excuse for lack of striving.

Like it or not, everything one does reflects on her/his professed creed. Even atheists, relying on Ethics as their credo, have a standard to uphold. I think of this each day, bringing myself to account-as to who I have helped and from whom I have turned aside. No one person can meet the needs of every outstretched hand, but there is the matter of at least showing them the Light.

If I am not growing, day by day, then what?