The Thing of It Is

5

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.

 

 

 

Dream Baths and Real Soap

15

October 10, 2018, Prescott-

The most surreal, yet most affirming, aspect of last weekend’s Convergence at Arcosanti was Sunday night’s “Dream Bath”.  A couple from Tucson offered spoken word and salsa music, which evoked Carlos Castaneda and what probably transpires at a peyote ceremony. I actually did fall asleep for an hour, whilst listening with my fellow convergers.

When I awoke, the pair were offering their farewells, and more New Age musicians appeared, calling for the group to find one or two people, with whom to snuggle.  My eyes almost did a roll at that one, as I have heard of this being an occasion for unwanted groping and worse.  To the group’s credit, there was none of that.  I was welcomed by a few young folks to be part of their hugging and gentle back and foot massages.  A couple did seem to bond during this time, and it felt beautiful to see them connect.  There was no sexual intercourse, or any other inappropriate contact, though, anywhere in the room.

It was actually refreshing, to have that many people in a room, and to just feel an honest, loving energy pervade.

I did not sweat profusely or get filthy during the weekend, thus escaping the need to do much more than sponge bathe.  It did feel good, though, to get back to Home Base and encounter real hot water and soap, come Monday afternoon.

Convergence and Re-emergence

6

October 9, 2018, Prescott-

It was a consummate joy to have been in Arcosanti, for 2 1/2 incredible days.  The social climate felt different to me than last year’s- in an incredibly beautiful way.  I think that is a continuance of the greater self-confidence I have felt this year, both at work and at leisure.

In one sense, the trials that come along have sparked incidents that have actually augmented the lessons which the trials themselves are meant to impart.  The vandalism to my Elantra, in Montreal, was followed by an evening of healing and joy, at Auberge Bishop, a visit to my Grandma’s hometown and the incredible celebratory weekend in Philadelphia.  A solemn, but blessed, visit with my mother-in-law, was followed by an affirming day with an old Baha’i friend in North Carolina and two days in the sun, with two other friends, in eastern Tennessee.

I felt my rhythm come back, that Sunday night in Montreal, explode in Philadelphia and flow like heaven, this past weekend.  A powerful new friend helped greatly in that regard, and more than she may realize.  Then, too, the music we enjoyed and in which we reveled, was a huge part of this flow.  There were academic presentations as well,  plus I served in the kitchen and in the Monday morning transition to another workshop week.

Insightful, talented men and women brought us to our feet, engaging body and soul.

Most powerful of all was Daniel Hirtz, whose love of the drum, as a sacred instrument of healing, imparted several affirmations of my own growing love of this instrument.  While a few sad, misguided people tried to interrupt Daniel’s session with us, it continued, until the group felt fulfilled.  Drumming and breathing are keys to healing.

Returning to Prescott, I resumed work with another  friend of power, who needed help with getting a safe living situation. That work has partly been achieved, and will continue, albeit around my other endeavours, until it reaches a sense of permanence.

As for my trip to California, it has been delayed by two days, so that the above-mentioned work will see a few more steps achieved, and that a dental procedure can be completed. More details about the coming Thursday-Sunday, in the next post.

For now, I am grateful to Daniel, Pam, Eliana, Tom, Jess, Nick, Conor, Beth Ann, Dave, Ray and all the kids-of-all-ages who made Convergence 2018 such a surging beginning to Autumn.

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.

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.

Pain

19

September 18, 2018, Cave Creek-

A friend called me, a while back.  The message was that someone had been harassing her, leading to severe anxiety. We spoke for a time and I made the offer of a window of opportunity to put a good distance between her and the tormentor.   Tomorrow could be the first step in that direction.

I was raised to take action, when confronted with pain in my own life- be it physical or emotional.  Several times, I’ve had to pull myself together, and do the uncomfortable or the inconvenient, in resolving hard issues. Hey, we all have.  Life has never been mistaken, by anyone but the foolish, for a sweet bowl of cherries.

So, a week ago, yesterday, I had another tooth pulled, not because it was causing me pain, but because it was seriously infected and heart problems run in my family, on both sides. Dental issues are directly connected to heart issues. My own heart is physically in good shape, and I’d like to keep it that way.

Arrangements are being made for a replacement denture, which led me down to the office of my dentist of the past seventeen years, this evening, after work.  Then came the follow-up call to my above-mentioned friend.

Candice Bergen said, many years ago:  “Men are such jerks about beautiful women”.  To be sure, I have had a few periods of jerk-hood, and came to the conclusion that, if I didn’t have so many doubts about myself and my own worth, any obsession with beauty would not take hold. The physical frame is a fine gift of the Creator to mankind, but it is only part of the package.  Were that not so, then plain or homely people with exquisite spirit, personality and skill sets would never have a shot at much.  Were it not the case, ravishingly attractive people would never suffer pain, and we probably all know of at least one person who has suffered, either despite, or because of her/his comeliness.

My physically attractive, suffering friend (who, we both agree, is like a sibling, and no more than that) is enduring things that I, and many others in my circle, do not have to tolerate.  It happens that way, sometimes.  Life is an equal opportunity provider, of both good and ill.

I thought further of this, whilst in a small burger joint, Big Earl’s, in this, my favourite Phoenix-area town.  The very pretty teen girl who was serving me whacked her elbow, whilst loading a bucket of ice, and my paternal angst winced a bit.  She shook it off and kept on with her work.

So must we all.  I will do my darnedest to help sister-friend get through her current nightmare.  She will, eventually, find her own light.

 

Tangential, Part 2

17

September 13, 2018, Prescott-

There are two kinds of events that impact anyone’s life.  Scheduled and anticipated occasions tend to get most of my attention. My niece’s wedding, earlier this year, was the centerpiece of my scheduling the entire road trip, with a gathering at a friend’s house, two weeks later, being the climax of the journey.  My mother’s 90th birthday, this past Monday, entailed careful gifting and a pleasant early morning call.   Another family event, of which I will speak closer to its happening, will take place in mid-November.  There are numerous faith-based and community events here, between now and December, that will take on an urgency, either in the minds of their organizers and/or in terms of their real impact on our community.

The second kind of event, of course, is the random, serendipitous happening.  Spontaneity is common to our species. So, a late night message from a friend or loved one will also take on a certain urgency.  A chance encounter with a good-hearted soul, or with an opposite number, will do likewise.  Dealing with miscreants, in Montreal, during the above-mentioned road trip, was certainly an example of this last.  Connecting with U.S. Federal and Canadian provincial authorities was an example of dealing with good-hearted souls.  Then, there was the run down to Florida, out of concern fro my mother-in-law’s fragile health, especially after the losses of her last-surviving sibling and one of her cousins, earlier this year. Here at Home Base, numerous things happen, almost daily, that are either on a whim or the results of several prior events-but somehow are not anticipated.

I deal better with the random and sudden, than I used to.  People’s individual concerns and events seem to be hyper-urgent, these days, so I feel the need to keep myself sharp.  Even across the country, as dear friends and extended family prepare for yet another “Storm of a Lifetime”, or maybe four such storms, I keep ready for whatever might be needed.

Spontaneity is becoming routine.

They Come For A Reason…! — Giggles & Tales

13

I am sharing this post, from a friend who goes by Simple Dimple.  It expresses how I feel, very well.

 

People come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. When you know which one it is, you will know what to do with that person. When someone is in your life for a REASON it is usually to meet a need you have expressed.

via They Come For A Reason…! — Giggles & Tales

Tangential, Part 1

15

September 8, 2018, Prescott- 

This morning, on a visit to Prescott Farmers Market, I spent a few minutes sitting on a bench, near where the  guest musician was playing an acoustic version of Outkast’s “Hey Ya”, accenting the powerful words of the sometime party tune.

I began to get caught up in the presence of his delightful little family, noting his daughter’s interaction with a another little girl, about her age.  As I smiled at a nearby vendor’s waving and goofing around with the singer’s infant son, the mother looked at me quizzically and I gave her the  proper explanation, as to what was happening, before excusing myself and going off to finish my purchases for the day.

I was challenged, earlier this morning, as to having been short and to the point, in my communications of late.  Simply put, I felt a lot of pressure this week, especially at work, with hard things happening to my team members, and a difficult person inserting herself into the classroom mix.  I have no problems, in particular, with the person who sent the message this morning.  We each are highly intuitive, but intuition, on a human level, is not foolproof.  One’s own fears and challenges get mixed in, invariably.  I take my own intuition with several grains of salt, and end up doing the same with other people’s observations, regarding my life.

Prescott Farmers Market, and the local Planet Fitness franchise, are places I frequent.  I notice that, with one or two exceptions, the management team in each of these places tend to keep me (though not their favoured few) at arm’s length, most likely for good reason-but what that reason has to do with me, specifically, I’m not sure.   Conversely, having the managers of a given establishment be my well-wishers is not why I avail myself of its services.  The Market does have several stalls, where I am on good terms with the vendors and can chat for several minutes, without the emotional door slamming in my face. The gym provides me with a reliable set of full-body machines and the incomparable Hydrobed, a next-gen version of the Ceragem massage bed that we had, in the Phoenix house.  Besides, the manager’s front desk assistants are uniformly more personable, and actually seem happy to see people come in, who are less than buff.

This leads me, again, to the whole culture of anonymity that seems to pervade the urban American West.  This puzzles me.  No one really seems to enjoy living as if under siege, but each of us does it, to some degree.  I have made some headway, walking to and from downtown and Yavapai College, and joining in more group activities, especially in the past two years.

I am approaching a crossroads, of sorts, which I had hoped would not be imminent until at least Autumn, 2020.  Still very much hoping to complete this academic year in one piece, the difficult academic specialist aside, I go to work each day and give it my best.  Still hoping to be of value to my Baha’i and other communities, I am a regular at scheduled and spontaneous events.  Still hoping to keep my head above water, I listen, carefully, to the voices of both support and of criticism, to glean the necessary lessons.

Part 2:  Affirmations and expectations