The Fast: Day 14- Diet


March 15, 2018, Prescott-

One of the challenges I used to face, when I first became a Baha’i and started fasting, was what sort of food and beverage intake would sustain me, through a normal day.  I did not want to be one of those who went through the workday, zombie-like, getting the shakes from not having my customary mid-morning coffee break, or small lunch.  I did not want to go home after work and slide into bed for the three hours that remained before dinner.

While my appetite has certainly gone down, especially in my sixties, here is what still works well:  Early morning  breakfast- Two proteins (Meat, cheese, yogurt or beans); two sources of complex carbohydrates (Organic bread, whole grain cereal); one serving of fruit; one serving of vegetable; two 8 oz. glasses of water, with a slice of lemon; coffee with milk or cream.  Post sunset dinner (One protein; one complex carb; a salad; a serving of fruit or frozen yogurt; a glass of water with lemon; coffee (black) or tea (herbal).

Sometimes, when I have been feeling that the fast, on a given day, seems too long, I will make room for tea made of puerh, or other digestive aid, which helps suppress the urge to turn to food as a distraction.

Baha’u’llah did not intend the Fast to be an endurance test, thus allowing those 70 years of age or above, to refrain from the dietary portion of the Fast.  Three years from now, I will still wake before sunrise and offer prayers and meditation, but not refrain from food and beverage.  There is a wisdom in this, allowing our bodies to be better equipped for the challenges that often come with advancing age.

I believe that diet is the best form of medical self-care.

The Fast: Day 13- Radiant Acquiescence


March 14, 2018, Prescott-

We each put up with a certain amount of nonsense, on any given day.  Whether it is following a ridiculous instruction, from someone who is in charge of us (parent, teacher, boss, police officer, or random Joe who has connections); waiting in a line, whilst the person at the head finishes a casual conversation or adjusts the money in his wallet; instinctively speeding up a bit, when the driver behind comes rushing towards your car’s rear end, or toots the horn or pumps his fist/shouts/point to her watch.

These are accommodations and we can either continue to put up with them, get our backs up and “fight back” or get creative, as in the person who responds to an impatient person behind him, by slowing down to the posted speed limit. (Oh, the HORROR!”)

The Divine, however, may test us with these scenarios, or with far more serious woes (disease, bankruptcy, divorce, ostracism- catastrophes of a Jobian magnitude).  Job was a model of radiant acquiescence.  He could see the eventual end of all his troubles, as horrific as they were.

Those who’ve been here a while know that I have been through several such troubles.  They’ve been balanced, of course, with good fortune: A stormy, but loving, marriage; a fine young man for a son; a stable, and basically loving, extended family;  a checkered, but honestly driven, career; a small, but stable, financial base;  a wealth of experiences, both at various Home Bases and on the road/trail.

Radiant acquiescence means enduring the downs of life, whilst knowing the silver lining defines the cloud.

The Fast: Day 9, Contemplation


March 10, 2018, Prescott-

My second Fasting Saturday featured the usual early big breakfast, and later in the morning, a visit to Farmer’s Market- important, since I missed last weekend, due to my tax return preparation.  That gave me enough food for the next three fasting meals.  I went to Ms. Natural’s, in early evening, and bought the last of Claudia’s Hungarian mushroom soup, to take home of course.  Wild Iris did not have a paint night, this evening, but I did break the Fast there, then headed back to Home Base.

Living alone gives me a lot of time to spend in either contemplation or in fantasizing.  I much prefer the former.  There is simply too much to be done, and a lot of it is in specialized, precise activities.  I need to know how to meet each challenge, head-on.  Fantasy entertained me, in my loneliness, but never got me far.

So, with the aid of various fasting meditations and reading so much that is inspiring, here and elsewhere, I enjoy this time of looking at matters from several angles.

The Fast: Day 8- Fidelity


March 9, 2018, Prescott-

Yesterday was the official International Women’s Day.  I was in the company of my two beautiful co-workers, during the day.  Both have men in their lives, who are luckier than either woman might sometimes suppose.  As an aside, it occurs to me that every day should be Women’s Day.

My mind today, the last day before Spring Break, has been on fidelity.  Faithfulness is the mindset, and chastity the outcome, of a person who feels fidelity, loyalty, to another human being.

I was faithful to Penny, all those years.  There were times when other women would flirt with me, and she made it clear that we’d all get clobbered, if they kept it up.  She needn’t have ever worried.  I wasn’t going anywhere.  The proof of that became clear to her, when we circled the drain together, those eight years.  I stayed close; kept hope alive.  I guarded her from those whose sole concern was getting their hands on what little money we had.  I spoke up for her when an emotionally clumsy male nurse made her cry.

Since I’ve been back on my own, my fidelity has been to friends and to my charges.  Some get it; some don’t.  I have a friend, whom I have at times regarded as my best friend, who has adopted a distance, ostensibly for reasons of our differences in spirituality, which are in truth, basically semantic.  I respect that distance, and stay away.  Most of my friends, even the most emotionally needy, know  full well where my loyalties lie.

I spent this evening, with a few such people, in the comfort of devotional drumming.  We used Baha’i Scripture and prayers for this, but there are many traditions.  Here is the Indian drummer, Sivamani, accompanying a Hindu woman in song.

The Fast: Day 7- Detachment


March 8, 2018, Prescott-

One of the main features of this period of time is the occurrence of mental and emotional tests.  Many of our tests come from the emotional baggage we carry with us.  A tool that the Fast provides us, in overcoming these tests, and jettisoning that baggage, is detachment.

Physically, those between 15-70, under the circumstances I described in Part 1, face detachment from food, drink and all the activities which feature them, during the daylight hours of Fast days.  This evening, whilst attending an American Legion Post monthly meeting, I purchased a light meal, as is customary prior to such meetings, and secured it  in a to-go box, for after sundown, and the meeting’s end.

There are, of course, far more basic and  deeper-seated matters which can be and are, brought to our consciousness during the Fast.  I am facing one, right now, which I will describe later, when the time is appropriate.  I am determined that, this time, I will cast the baggage aside.  It stems from events in my life, over 50 years ago, and had been buried these many years.  Now, it’s just time to put the demons to rest.  Good people, besides me, will be the better for this.


The Fast: Day 6- Steadfastness


March 7, 2018, Prescott- 

Today was a day of surprises.  Both of my co-workers called in sick.  The three peer tutors rose to the occasion, leaving their cell phones on silent, and devoting themselves entirely to their charges.  I was entrusted with the guidance of the two substitutes.    The day was, despite the unsettled beginning, remarkably smooth.

I was expecting a marathon evening meeting, with a full agenda and intense, prolonged discussion.  The chair of the meeting wisely moved everything along, and we actually ended an hour early.

There are rewards that come with steadfastness, staying the course, in time of the unexpected and knowing, deep inside, that this, too, shall pass and that the world just keeps on its path.

The Fast: Day 4- Forbearance


March 5, 2018, Prescott- 

We give and receive a fair amount of unpleasantness in this life.  My usual response to scowling and irritable people is to get through the encounter, with a minimum of retort, if any and to minimize my contact with them in the future.

This may be a good survival tool, but it is not what will bring about unity.  I have thus made a fair effort to welcome such people, when they have crossed my path, over the last few months, and at least hear their story.

Some others have been forbearing with me, over the years, and I appreciate that, as it’s never been my object to discomfit or cause harm to anyone.  When I have managed to make a mess of things, reflection brings to mind this intense song.

DISCLAIMER:  I never hurt my late wife, unlike the character in the song.  I am merely referring to the concept of thoughtless behaviour, in general.

The Fast: Day 3- Nobility


March 4, 2018, Prescott-

“Noble I made thee, wherewith dost thou abase thyself?”-Baha’u’llah, The Hidden Words.

Many, the world over, believe in Original Sin, the notion that we were born with the sin of  Adam and Eve wrapped around our necks , like an albatross of legend.  I could get into that whole After the Fall thing, but I have much else to do today.

What I believe is this:  Christ took care of people’s guilt over the Fall from Grace, by sacrificing His earthly life.  His point was, and is, we are absolved.  We have always been absolved.  A poster from the ’70’s  says “I know I’m somebody, ’cause God didn’t make no junk.”

We are noble. We are made in the image and likeness of the Creator-in terms of attributes, in terms of spiritual qualities.

The Fast: Day 1


March 2, 2018, Prescott-

Every year, from March 2-20, until I reach the age of 70, my practice is to refrain from food and drink, between sunrise and sunset.  The purpose is both physical and mental cleansing, which is something that could benefit anyone.  Of course, if I am traveling long distances, engaged in strenuous work or become ill, the Fast gets modified somewhat.

Each of these nineteen days will feature a post that deals with spiritual matters- attributes and such, that help us meet challenges.

The first of these is trustworthiness.  I haven’t always been deserving of trust.  Last night, I dreamed of someone whose trust I broke, a few years back.  In the dream, my charge was to deliver some mail to this person’s office, whilst she was, ostensibly, not there.  I had a key to the office, which was to be returned to a third party, after the delivery.  When I made the delivery, I saw the top of the person’s head, over a divider.  I silently handed her one of the parcels, and left the others on a table in the front of the office.  No words or gestures were exchanged, and I went on my way, delivering the keys to the third party, as planned.

Quirks and perceived needs can, and do, impinge on trustworthiness; so do skewed perceptions.  Divided loyalties can enter into the matter, as well.  The fact is, however, that once trust is broken, it can seldom, if ever, be wholly restored.  There are those who have broken my trust, and those, like the aforementioned, whose trust i have broken.  With one forgiving exception, of them are in my life anymore.

Going forward, my choice is to pursue every single encounter with a person, or group, very carefully.  Trust is like glass.

It Goes Without Saying


February 26, 2018, Prescott-

I’ll say it, anyway-

Today was the first day of Ayyam-i-Ha, the Baha’i period of gift giving and gratitude for what we have.

I gifted an intentional community, north of here, with a stoneware baking dish, because they have been jerry-rigging their baking efforts.  Plus, I love those kids.

Actually, I love all kids, and have for years.  Even the ones that others call misfits and brats deserve love and encouragement, though not coddling.  Nonviolent discipline is a vital part of love.

This generation, which some call The Founders, will have its work cut out for it.  How much work, will depend on how much their parents’ and grandparents’ generations put up a fight against their efforts (see #CameraHogg and other noisome garbage that various “Old Guards” are spewing forth).

It will also depend on how seriously the children come to take their own pronouncements about inclusion.  Splitting into cliques and putting up walls will just be more of the same.

“Hallelujah” and “The Sound of Silence” are among the most beautiful songs in the English language.  They’ve been on my evening’s playlist. Then, there is this:

The Baha’i Nineteen-Day fast is coming up, starting Friday, and lasting until sundown on Tuesday, the twentieth of March.  I will refrain, to the best of my ability, from eating or drinking, between sunrise and sunset, for those nineteen days.

Guns don’t kill; hate kills.  Guns make killing easier, as do bombs and flammable liquids.  The bottom line is, though, it’s a hate thing.

I could not live, easily, in a world without women.  It started with Mom, and Grandma, in the early mists that I knew as Saugus, in the 1950’s.  That brings up this:

The harbour lights and the campground lights have meant the same thing to me, over all these years:  There is love and safety ahead.

Know this, my friends and family:  There is not as fine a world, if not for you.  Self-battery should never be an option.