Equinox Abundant

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September 22, 2022- Equinox always seems to coincide with heavy physical energy-especially in September. So, we see intense storms affecting an area from the Windward Islands to Newfoundland, the southern Caribbean (and onward, next week, to Florida and beyond), western Alaska to northern California, and Pakistan. Earthquakes hit Mexico (twice), Chile and Indonesia this past week, with minor quakes in several other spots , including California.

Anything that affects Earth also affects its inhabitants, so there appears to be an upswing in aggressive behaviour, as well as its opposite, passivity, with Learned Helplessness accompanying the latter. I saw plenty of both today, in my work assignment. Fortunately, the school where I worked has effective systems in place to address both extremes.

Mostly, though, I see Equinox as a celebrant of both fertility (in the southern hemisphere) and productivity (in the northern hemisphere). Whenever there is an uptick in constructive energy, it is met by converse forces that tear down that which no longer meets the needs of humanity. There is resistance to both, and when that resistance can no longer be justified by logic and the scientific method, conspiracy theories arise. Yet, because the Universe is about the generating of life, and follows several levels of order, those theories and the resistance that generated them, tend to fall by the wayside.

I believe, very strongly, that this is what will happen with the current resistance-all the authoritarianism, denial (of climate change on the Right and of fetal humanity, on the Left) and closed mindedness across the political spectrum. Chaos is not going to be the order of the day.

The Equinox is about abundance.

Looking Past the Shrillness

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September 21, 2022- The call came, with about fifteen minutes left in the class. The tone was furious, and decidedly personal. It was clear that the caller felt let down and that in her mind, the rest of the day was about damage control. The students carried on, and did a fairly good job at completing the assigned task.

It was actually all about process, procedure-and will have scant effect on the learning of those particular students. I know little about the caller, so maybe other parts of her life were not going well today. It doesn’t take much to trigger a tirade, these days.

It was, all in all, a nice day. I was working with a group of children who I particularly treasure. The classes accomplished a lot, with the second and third groups following the procedure that was reiterated to me, albeit in angry tones. I choose to look past a person’s rage, because when it’s all over, we will both be standing in the same spot. So long as there is no harm to children, or other innocents, I walk away.

There will, I know, come a time, maybe as early as next Thursday, when I will face that person again. I will not be swayed, one way or the other, by anything she has to say. At this stage of my life, it’s all about the children and teens, and their progress, their well-being.

Ambiguities

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September 20, 2022- The young man remembered me, from seven years ago, and launched into the playful antics for which I remember his eight-year-old self. He livened up the web-based class, for which I was the in-person monitor, maybe a little too much-but we got through the material offered by the online teacher. He showed up twice afterward, during the day, once to hang out during lunch and correct a prank he and his buddies had played on me and once, hoping to hear that his class was my favourite of the day. It wasn’t, and the shoulders slumped-but he’ll get over it. He did allow as to having been furious, when I was abruptly dismissed from that Third Grade teaching position, in favour of a dour local resident, who needed a job. Many of the students in that class felt the same way, and I’ve encountered three of them, elsewhere, since then.

I created a mild set of problems for myself, this morning, by overlooking the time for the onset of class, arriving a bit late and thus having to navigate the ambiguities and idiosyncrasies of the online Spanish class, on the fly. Things were a bit hectic, for the first two hours, but the learning curve was mastered by the start of Third Hour. The rest of the day went smoothly.

Ambiguities have never been my strong suit, yet I am having to master them more often, these days. Thus I will arrive early for tomorrow’s assignment, so as to read the instructional fine print more carefully. Even then, there are no guarantees of immediate success, as the connotations of words are different sometimes. Sometimes, sparks have to fly, in order for the communication to be made clear. Today, the teachers and admin were patient; not all teams are.

I also sense that there is a bit of tension in the air, as the seasons change. This evening, while at the gym, I found a bottle of energy milk on the floor, and asked a woman who was nearby, working out with her ten-year-old son, if it were hers. She said it was his, so I gave it to him and advised as to a safer place to put it, which he did-and then got self-conscious. The two left the area shortly afterward, so I wondered about the ambiguous situation again being an issue. In any case, I can’t ignore anything that compromises the safety and well-being of a child.

As I headed over to the massage chairs, a man was loudly complaining about what he regarded as an affront to his dignity and threat to his personal safety. He was gently guided outside by a gym employee, who continued to hear him out. I heard the same mother who had been in the whole body exercise area, telling the front desk clerk that if the man had gotten any closer to her son, she’d have called the police. Ambiguities, again, were exacerbated by the assumptions made by two different personalities.

It was, in the end, fitting that my own horoscope told me to not make assumptions about people. So I have learned, time and again.

Homage and Outrage

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September 19, 2022- The world’s longest serving Head of State received a well-deserved send-off, this morning, with all but the most pompous of politicians taking their prescribed places, either in an assigned seat at the funeral service or in the background at home, patiently waiting for their own countries’ memorial services.

That is how homage is done. There is no braying, “Hey, what about me?” It is the life of the deceased that gets honour and attention. In recent days, a paternal aunt, a second cousin and a revered Baha’i elder in Phoenix have gone on to their own places in the spiritual world. Each had people, myself included, who treasured them and focused on their positive attributes. Each had lessons they imparted to anyone who was willing to listen and pay attention.

There are, however, those who subsist on outrage. Their whole being reflects back on all the mistreatment, real and imagined, that occurred in their lives-sometimes clear back in childhood. Life is not guaranteed paradise for anyone. I’ve had my share of misfortune, some of it self-imposed, but in each case, I have been able to listen to voices of reason and overcome any lapse into self-pity. Outrage at my lot is no longer an option. It is a different matter when the well-being of children is at risk.

I spent the day, as it happened, making sure that Special Needs children, in a small class, were maintaining safe practices around self and others. These students, more than others, are also inclined to live in the moment and resist correction. Only a strong dose of encouragement and patience gradually makes a difference in their demeanour. There is the occasional need to stand up for them, against adults who persist in trying to knock down their sense of worth. Thankfully, the team with whom I worked today are just as vigilant in that regard.

I continue to work for the best of the community.

The Great Outdoor Soup Kitchen and A Pellet Gun Outburst

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September 18, 2022- The line at Courthouse Plaza snaked around to the south side of the Courthouse, and for nearly 3 1/2 hours, people came to purchase a fresh ceramic bowl, and fill it with one or two kinds of soup. The Empty Bowls Project is a worldwide effort to raise money for food security, at the local level. It began in 1990, with a ceramics teacher named John Hartom and his friend Lisa Blackburn, to provide a means to food security in their community in the Detroit area. The concept quickly spread across Michigan and Ohio, then spread across North America. It is now a yearly event in several countries. https://emptybowls.com/

I joined this year’s event, the first since 2019, as part of Slow Food-Prescott’s crew. About twenty people, including several Girl Scouts, prepared and served 10 gallons of piping hot Minestrone Soup, with potatoes instead of pasta. The crowd that attended seemed smaller than in 2018, when I last joined the effort, but there were more vendors this time, so maybe the line was just moving faster. I was one of three “ladlers”, along with a local naturalist and the chef herself. It was truly a joyful event, bringing all parts of the Prescott area community together.

We finished the cleanup, at the catering kitchen where the soup had been prepared and cooked, around 3 p.m. Chef was kind enough to give me a lift home, as I’d walked downtown to the event, but the kitchen was 2.5 miles from Home Base. As we approached the neighbourhood, we saw that my street was blocked off by several police cars. I got off at a parking lot near the neighbourhood and walked down the alley across from Home Base, passing four police cruisers, with several officers searching a connecting alley.

It turned out that they were seeking a disturbed individual who had been firing a pellet gun, at one point blowing the rear window out of a neighbour’s vehicle. He had taken off to the south end of the street, and it took the officers another hour or so to locate and subdue him. Fortunately, there were no human injuries.

It was surreal, to have found peace and camaraderie downtown, only to return to my normally sleepy neighbourhood and find such commotion. As I write this, the police and the perpetrator have left, with peace returning.

Empowering

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September 17, 2022- O checked out every empty chair in the laundromat lounge, and decided to sit in the seat next to me. From that point, he spoke of a variety of things, from the viewpoint of a 5-year-old. He began to examine my ragged laundry basket, and was not satisfied until the torn plastic was at least tentatively reconnected. He then looked at the small flyer for Kids’ National Geographic, commenting on the snow leopards whose photo was on the front of the flyer. He proudly told me that he was now in Kindergarten.

As I was reading my National Geographic, in between his making comments and my asking him guiding questions, O went to the laundromat’s book shelf and brought a Sesame Street book, which he thumbed through and made comments. He returned the book and brought back a story about a girl and her boots, again thumbing through and making comments about the expression on the girl’s face (“She sure looks mad!”) and remarking that her pulling her socks on from the top was a good way to tear them. I agreed, saying that socks have to be put on from the bottom up, gradually and making sure that the fabric was smooth, as one went along.

He watched how I was folding some items that had finished drying, until his mother said she was ready to leave. He bid me goodbye, and while she apologized for his chattiness, I said it was okay. Children’s curiosity and observations are most often priceless, and each of us who encounters them has a chance to be encouraging. Besides, I invariably find the observations of children delightful.

Somewhat later, a young woman who had been mildly injured was lugging a bulky amplifier from the room where her friend’s band had been playing. I held the door open, as I would for anyone in that circumstance. She said “Thaaannk you”, more in frustration at not being left to handle it herself, than out of any impoliteness. That struck me-How often are children and teens disempowered, or discouraged from doing things themselves, out of a genuine desire by adults to keep them from harm? How often are things done FOR people, in ways that do not prepare them for life’s vicissitudes?

Earlier in the afternoon, I was at an event called Stand Down for Veterans. At this event, homeless veterans are provided with bedding, clothing, camping gear and toiletries to help them prepare for winter. I was at a Red Cross table, this year, handing out comfort kits, which have become a common tool among service agencies, having been first offered by the ARC in the 1990s. The thrust of Stand Down is to provide a base for men and women to get themselves back on track. Haircuts, technical and legal advice are among the services that the event offers.

Society only benefits from efforts to empower people, regardless of their ages and circumstances.

Piscean

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September 16, 2022-

A planeload, or two, of migrants showed up, on the tight little island. A busload, or two, of refugees showed up, at the gate of an Observatory.

A pair of men, outwardly claiming to spread the pain caused by loose enforcement of law but inwardly looking to embarrass their perceived foes, arranged the journeys, telling the travelers that they would be soon living lives of prosperity and peace.

Imagine their surprise, when those hosting the unexpected guests responded with kindness, hospitality and plans for actually helping those guests move towards those lives.

Imagine the consternation of those men’s apologists, those who say “It’s high time the elite take in their share of the rough-edged and unruly”, when it is pointed out that the northern states, regardless of the dominant ideology of their residents, are a polyglot bunch, and are ready to become more so.

“Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”- Emma Lazarus, “The New Colossus”

The Piscean idea, of top-down decision-making, often misses the fact that the masses themselves are taking steps to solve their own problems.

Sept. Ides Notes

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September 15, 2022- The counter lady from the Window Glass repair shop called me, two hours after I had dropped KIA off, and deadpanned that the car was ready for pick-up. I walked over from downtown, and she gave me the keys, with a light smile and a neutral “Thanks for choosing us.” The place used to be a fun place with which to do business. Oh, well; at least the workmanship is still good. It’s nice to have a windshield that is whole again.

It was good that I decided to have breakfast at Raven Cafe, as my friend Melissa’s two daughters happened by, to get coffee. It’s always good to see them. Besides, the pancakes are great, and coffee excellent.

I made it to the Post 6 General Meeting, which I have not attended in some time. Nothing major was decided, but talking with a fellow Legionnaire about Baha’i was an unexpected pleasure. It affirmed what I said last night, during a Baha’i gathering, about not always making grandiose plans and expecting others to follow suit. The measure of Faith is in willingness to act, and in following the Will of the Divine.

I keep reading blurbs from mass media giants that tell us “You WILL vote ________________ in the coming election, because that’s how it’s always been.” Breaking news: I will vote the way I please, because THAT’S how I’ve always been.

I saw fit to shuffle a late October weekend event (Sedona) to early November, so as to attend a late October event somewhere else (Scottsdale). That, in turn, means Monument Valley/ Aneth (UT) shifts to mid-November. Thanksgiving plans are unaffected. I know you’re impressed, but that’s life.

Lastly, the huge file of keepsakes and old card/letters has been culled, and organized into more sensible sub-folders. The most important stuff remains here; the rest went to the Maxi-Shredder.

It’s been a fine day, all in all.

Depth of Purpose

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September 14, 2022- The clerk happily told me that the school had managed to fill their remaining vacancies in Special Needs, so any time I am asked to help them, henceforth, will be to cover for a specific person, rather than a nebulous “vacancy”. This represents progress in both creating a nurturing learning environment-and a stable working environment as well.

I spent the day covering for several teachers, over a six hour period, as each attended a ten-twenty minute meeting. Each time, the lesson was carried out, even when a select few students wanted to spend time on their personal business. My focus, anymore, is primarily on purposeful behaviour and what will benefit the children in both the long-run and the short. So, while taking what time was needed to address behaviour issues, my focus was otherwise on the children who were having trouble learning, and explaining concepts to them in ways they could understand.

The notion has also occurred to me, over the past several days, that it is all well and good to feel love for so many people, but that it’s time to take it up a notch-and conduct my visits to, say, coffee houses and restaurants in ways that truly provide both support and encouragement of those for whom I care most, and recognizing that it’s best if I minimize occupying a table for four, especially on what looks to be a busy time. More take-outs will be in order. Nuance is coming increasingly into my view, which is both progress in handling autism and deepening of my sense of purpose.

Love is best shown by recognizing what the loved one needs, and doing what one can to fill that need. Most often, the matter requires both keen observation and forethought. I’m getting better at both.

Watchful

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September 13, 2022- “Consider what eyes of bounty gaze upon you and what glances of mercy are cast upon you.”- ‘Abdu’l-Baha

As I gaze at the page of the calendar on my wall, I see a very clear image, looking at me through the black background. I know it is a spirit guide, and there is a small beam of light above the image. Even in the midst of seemingly impenetrable darkness, there is a benevolent being who is helping keep me on the right track. I am told that much of what happens is my own doing, while those who mean me harm have to deal with this spirit, who is acting with the blessing of the Creator. In sum, looking at the spirit’s image is a source of comfort and reassurance.

The image, though, is a bonus affirmation. That it appears in the illustration for the September calendar page, showing a month which was Penny’s birth month, as well the birth month of Mom and two siblings, is a distinction not lost on me. I’ve felt the presence of spirit guides, as many of you know, for quite some time. I haven’t been let down, as long as I have paid attention to their messages.

Responsibilities are quite clear, especially for self-care and service to others. As long as I live up to those, good things happen-such as the good report I got today from my dentist and dental technician. Rewards also follow, such as the delicious quesadilla at Local Jonny’s (Cave Creek), half of which will be lunch tomorrow, at my sub assignment.

Watchfulness, like marriage, is 100/100. I do my full share and my guides do theirs.