The Thing of It Is

9

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.

Points Taken

11

October 15, 2018, Prescott-

Every day, there is a lesson to be drawn,

and most days, there are several,

for those who are awake,

even awake in spite of themselves.

I am far from being a saint,

and most definitely am not  a prophet.

So, the lessons I need to draw,

have sometimes been put off

or ignored.

Among the points I have taken,

from recent days,

are practical:

When meeting someone,

know the road the person is using,

and focus on it-

not on the nearby road

that I took.

When with a person,

who is speaking

with intensity,

even about seemingly

light matters,

give total attention.

Put the watch away,

and leave the cell phone

in the car.

Shut out everything

in the field of vision,

or the range of hearing,

except the person speaking.

For that matter,

DO NOT assess,

or base your response on,

the  level of gravity

of what someone is saying.

If it seems frivolous,

treat it with the same

degree of respect,

that you would

a discourse

on nuclear fusion.

We live in a very hard age.

We live in a fragmented society.

Each person I encounter,

each person

who pulls away

from me,

imparts a lesson.

Active listening

was  a huge part of my life,

from the 1980’s through the 2000’s.

I am sorry I let it go.

I am not sorry that I am

bringing it back.

Godpseed, and forever peace, to my teacher.

 

 

 

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

 

Burning the Mask of Obligation

6

October 13, 2018, Prescott-

Obligations are things one takes on, in order to please other people.  They could become passions, which are those things one takes on out of sincere spirit and pure love.   Parenthood, spouseship and a sane and intelligent patriotism are examples of the latter.

In this life, however, there are obligations each of us take on, which raise the person to whom we feel obliged to the status of superior, or master.  Unless one feels passionate about the activity  in which s(he) or he is involved, the obligation becomes a false one.  Many holiday celebrations, for example, become empty rote activities- none of them memorable.  Going to the place of employment, for all too many people, is an empty obligation.  Even having a conversation, if there is no passion, involves putting on the mask of caring, almost a political and vapid exercise.  It fools no one, except, perhaps, oneself.

I have been in the process of shedding obligations, for the past seven years.  Marriage was an act of living love, and never felt like an empty obligation.  There were plenty of moments of misunderstanding, but the passion did not disappear.   Fatherhood is an act of living love, even when miscommunication and physical distance seem to create a sense of discord.  The passion does not disappear.

Working with children and youth is an act of living love, even when their behaviour seems to be enough to drive one to the edge of insanity.  The passion cannot disappear.

Growing as a spiritual being is the greatest of passions- otherwise I would likely dissipate as a person. This means two things:  Do not filter communication, no matter how seemingly drawn out it may be.  Presence is a burden, when viewed in the least obligatorily.  It can only be viewed, from a passionate viewpoint, by not filtering the subject presenting self, in any way.  This requires being totally non-judgmental, as to what is worthy of one’s attention and to what is trifling or frivolous.  How many wars have been started, and fought, because of a perceived or real slight?

So, as I look at obligations, great and small, and bring those that matter to the level of passion-I must chance the burning of the masks of obligation, that I may show the real face that comes with passion.

NEXT:  The Mask of Self-Disdain

 

So, What Does This Make Me?

29

October 2, 2018, Prescott-

As a teenager, and as a twenty-something, I touched a few women, without their prior consent, though not in a compromising area.  Something inside of me recoiled at my own behaviour, and each case lasted less than a minute.  I can only hope the people, none of whom I knew by name, or ever saw again, have had good lives and have been treated well, over all.

The Kavanaugh case has brought me to a place of circumspection. I know that no one is perfect, yet one of the two people with whom I have spoken, about one of the incidents, was almost apoplectic in lecturing me about what my twenty-something self should never have done.  He is an older man, who prides himself on his manners, yet regularly curses in the presence of women his age.  The other person, a woman slightly older than me, simply noted that this sort of behaviour is something I appear to have long outgrown.

None of us walks on on water, yet we each have the capacity, and therefore the duty, to grow emotionally.  I have never sexually assaulted, or coerced, anyone.  Indeed, I have only made love to two women in my life, the second of whom became my wife. I am hardly ashamed of that track record, as brief as it is.

The last thing I did, before writing this, was to remove myself from the readership of a man who laid all blame, for the issue that has dominated the national debate, on the woman who belatedly reported it.  Consensual sex is not rape, and rape is never good.  To conflate the two, even in an “intellectual” environment, is reprehensible.

Now, what do the incidents I mentioned above, make me?  If you wish to say I am a hypocrite, you may.  For any of us, especially men, our purity towards other people is one of degree.

Sponges and Rocks

10

October 2, 2018, Prescott-

Each of us has a wish list.

Each of us has a need list.

There are those who fancy themselves

as being totally ignored,

even if the people supposedly ignoring

have more than just the aggrieved party

on their plates.

I blame the ignored one’s parents,

in part, because mine considered it

their bounden duty to teach us

that there are two kinds of people

in the world:

Some are sponges,

who absorb all the hurt and pain

that comes their way,

until they can take no more.

Then, it all gets squeezed out,

flowing all over everything,

and everyone,

without any direction or purpose.

Some are rocks,

who absorb a measure of that pain and suffering,

but let the rest flow where it may,

usually downhill.

I have been a bit of both,

over the years.

The sponge will say:

“I am here for everyone else.

but no one is ever here for me”,

as the rock looks on,

and says to itself,

“Hello, I am not exactly

going anywhere.”

People tend to want

what they can’t necessarily have,

at the exact moment the want

comes into consciousness,

or on a schedule which

suits them,

but not the person or people

providing the service.

We are all islands in this big stream,

in need of bridges,

rather than the walls,

built of rock or sponge,

that the mind deludes itself

into thinking to be a solution.

Bridges require things like

deferred attention,

setting aside time,

and seeing oneself

as a builder,

not as a victim.

Walls are just fine

with victimhood

and adversary ties.

End of this series of digressions.

Mixed Blessings

15

September 29, 2018, Prescott-

I went to an annual event, this morning, with a full intention of serving, to the best of my ability.  The day started at Hope Fest with my joining the off-loading crew, that helped the vendors  of various merchandise transport their wares from vehicle to booth.  That part always goes fairly well, as there is a highly-motivated group, with no ego attachment to their work.

This year, I agreed to serve much of the day, as personal assistant to the headliner group, which, for propriety’s sake, I will not mention by name.  The group and their manager arrived, around 4:30 pm, and after introductions, I helped them settle in to the Green Room.  I took a seat,  in the meeting area, but far enough apart from the artists that they had no one looking over their shoulders, whilst they were practicing and discussing ideas about their music.

When it comes to  these sorts of things, I am like Las Vegas.  What happens in the room, stays in the room.  At this point in time, I could not and would not tell you the things that were discussed, though there was only honourable and uplifting dialogue.

For whatever reason, however, as soon as two security guards showed up, and announced themselves as the band’s detail, one of the teens who was volunteering with hospitality showed up and said the band manager, who was on the other side of the event grounds, wanted all three of us to get out of the Green Room.  We went outside, but were readmitted by the band members, five minutes later. They apologized to us and said they saw no reason for us to be out of the room.  I wondered, though, how did the manager think to get rid of us, at that particular moment?

The rest of the run-up to their performance went fine.  I got them to select a restaurant and had them write down their selections.  The manager was included, of course, via text.  The performance was lovely, and I introduced a Christian friend to the band members.  They seemed to hit it off well enough. I even got my friend, her sister and nephew prime seats near the stage.  Then, I went and got the group’s dinners and set the table in the Green Room, waiting there with another hospitality crew member. When the band returned, I prepared to go outside, whilst they ate.  That was co-opted, though, by what appeared to be a private meeting, to which I was not invited, among the crew on the sidewalk outside, followed by  a loud, angry message from the manager (still elsewhere) to our crew chief:  “Get that guy out of the Green Room!”  Well, certainly- people are normally given privacy whilst they eat. There was no need for such anger, especially when he was not at the site.  Again, I wonder, were the band members being passive-aggressive and messaging their manager, letting him be an unnecessary heavy?

Needless to say, I left the area and went to help with the breakdown of the stage and artist’s row, as I had promised the event’s founders.   That was accomplished with a much larger crew than in past years.

My takeaway, from the behaviours of both the band and my fellow crew members, is simply to take part in the set-up and breakdown of the next such event, and leave the day to the small, self-contained group, which doesn’t seem to like newcomers.  That is, if I am even invited to participate, next year.

Opposite, No Attraction

20

September 26, 2018, Prescott-

The opposite of love is indifference.

Hate brings energy that can,

in turn, bring changes that

generate genuine love.

That is, if the fire of hatred

does not completely immolate

the object of its wrath.

Indifference stifles all in its path,

not with fire,

but with mold,

black or green,

and rapacious.

 

 

Aged-Out?

19

September 24, 2018, Prescott-

I have heard, from a well-meaning person, that a man my age cannot handle intense romantic relations, of a physical kind. I guess it depends on the man.  Unless I find another woman who makes her way into a marital situation, I will not know as that applies to me. So, there is one moot point.

I do, however, manage to complete even a lengthy, and vigourous, physical job, to its completion, as I did on Saturday, whilst helping on a school garden project.  There is a major faith-based project, next Saturday, in which I will take part, and another, the following weekend, at Arcosanti’s Convergence, which dovetails with a Baha’i event and a nearby Pancake Breakfast.  I feel good, after vigourous work, so I don’t anticipate issues there.

I get the sense, from my building supervisors, that maybe I am occupying shoes meant for a younger person.  My immediate supervisor may well resist that, and I think I just need to stay the course, for as long as my stamina remains as it is now.

In a nutshell, I intend to keep on working, as I have said before, for at least two more years.  December, 2020, would be a good time to bid adieu, but there would have to be a younger person ready to finish out the academic year, at that point.

Embraces

9

September 22, 2018, Prescott-

This is probably the latest I’ve been up, in many weeks.  Yet, spending much of the day reading friends’ posts reminds me to get something of my own out.

I was not much for physical contact, when I was a child.  Teenage brought a sense that girls were to be touched, but only if they themselves wanted.  I was all over the place, in my twenties, but still rarely gave an unwanted hug- and backed way off when the person was resistant.  Years of a good marriage largely erased the discomfort with physical contact that was so much a part of living with Asperger’s.

With Penny gone, my tendency has been more to hug, when a person seems to need or want a hug.  That also comes naturally, working with children- and I have never adopted the “no contact” dictum that was the overreaction of the Politically Correct, to incidents of molestation.  It was up to the child, whether a hug was in order, and up to me, the adult, to honour reasonable rules of decorum- above all, that physical contact be in the presence of other adults, and that I never be alone with a child, with the door closed.

This is pretty much how it is between adults as well.  I have no significant other, yet have plenty of fine friends, of, as I have said several times, of all sorts.  What I embrace, above all, is the notion of dignity and worth, to be given all whose paths I cross.