Nurturing the Basics

6

February 6, 2019-

The title pretty much sums up what I do, from day to day, on my job.  It also sums up what I have experienced, in so many areas of life, especially since 2011.  Things that are second nature, or are taken for granted, by many others, have been huge for me-as they have happened for seemingly the first time.  I will treasure my journeys, completed hiking routes, accomplished volunteer projects, and each event at which I have been warmly greeted.

Of course, there have been moments when I’ve stumbled, in Paris, in Gera and in Corpus Christi,  I learned from those relatively minor errors in judgement.  There have been times when I’ve faced hostility, and I’ve learned from those times, as well.  There have been times when I’ve looked in the face of indifference, and have realized that this is to be expected- across the range of human interactions.  Friendships often ebb and flow.

My greatest satisfaction, though, is in seeing people I love rise above their own apprehensions and overcome their setbacks.  Nurturing one’s basic skills is ever a source of comfort and strength, on which to fall back.  I will continue to work on mine, and realize things about myself that have not even occurred to me. I hope the same for my many friends and loved ones.

Bedrock

0

February 5, 2019-

The past couple of days have brought the kind of semi-wintry weather, not the least bit warm, but not cold enough for snow, for which our area is known, this time of year.

Prescott’s winter allows for business to be conducted as usual, for all but 3-4 days during the season- and then it is only interrupted in the morning.  Noon usually brings melting.

The whole reason for my continuing to work is based on the love that forms  the bedrock of my view of the world.  I have health that is good enough to keep me getting up, going in, paying attention to my charges and co-workers, and living the full life of a committed professional, until the day comes, most likely in May, 2021, that  it’s time for me to change direction.

I am finding that, with each passing day, my family, in the real sense of the word, is getting larger and stronger.  Being able to travel the length and breadth of the North American continent, and a good many places beyond, and never feel like a stranger, is a feeling that I would not have imagined for myself, even ten years ago.  Feeling that I am never really alone, even in the outwardly darkest of times, is a blessing that has only come with facing the tests and trials of what is never promised to be a charmed life.

I feel this, after an afternoon of learning more about handling job challenges in a different way and an evening of contemplating this bedrock of love that the Infinite, the Universe, has set for us.

Honouring

7

February 3, 2019, Paulden, AZ-

Whilst many of my fellow humans were watching what started out as a Stupour Bowl, I chose a different route for a fine Sunday afternoon:  Revisiting friends at Dharma Farm, an unassuming, but loving little settlement, on the west side of this unincorporated community in northern Yavapai County.

The family’s older child decided I was a fun companion, so we built, and dismantled, several mud villages. This child is a true Shiva, great at building and destroying  items of wood and mud, alike.  When the digging got old, and child decided it was “cold”, we went inside and she regaled the lot of us with a very expressive series of dances, in her best party dress.  Then it was time for me to make a blanket fort, which she occupied very happily, for forty-five minutes. Finally, I became a blanket-covered creature, called Swaug-as the only sound it makes is a low, guttural “Swaug!”   This went on for another hour or so.

Such is the world of a bright, imaginative three-year-old.  The family lives, and the children are being raised on, a system of honouring: Honour each other’s space; each other’s work; each other’s presence; each other’s dignity and worth.  If time were taken, by anyone, to practice this code, how much higher would the state of peace be?

Life at Dharma is not letter perfect- The above-mentioned child has her life lessons to learn and there were fatigue-caused meltdowns, from both children.  The honour system will help address these concerns, as will the violence-free regimen of their parents.  The couple’s commitment to Permaculture, a work in progress, will also contribute greatly to the little farm’s thriving.

A review of an astrological concept:  The north node, its notion of “past lives” aside, did explain to me the basis for some difficulties and conflicts I’ve had in my actual past.  It is, in many ways, a spot-on psychological analysis.  It basically notes, in a largely accurate manner, that the Infinite, as the author refers to the Universe, will unfold life as it is intended to unfold, and that how one reacts to both challenges and triumphs alike, determines the degree of one’s happiness and feeling of satisfaction, or the lack thereof.  This gave rise to a discussion of just what the nature of successive lives might be.  I do not believe in continuous rebirths as human beings, and it turns out, neither do my friends.  We concur that there are different beings, or levels of being, which follow this one.

It was an interesting day, capped by roasted vegetables and a green/beet salad. I learned, soon enough, that the Super Bowl was a low-key affair, with a predictable ending.  On our lives go, as, for the most part, intended.

Those Shadows Seen and Not Seen

4

February 2, 2019, Phoenix-

So the critters back East, in Punxsutawney and Staten Island, have assured us that it’ll be an early Spring.  No shadows were in view, and after that region went through yet another polar vortex, followed by a modicum of thaw, the comfort is probably just a tad cold.

Sitting here, in a lull, during a timely and productive update session regarding the progress of our Faith in central Arizona, I think of the other unseen shadows, with which many of us deal, on a daily, or long-term, basis.

I took care of the biggest shadow, that of my nest-egg, sometime back, and the proceeds from the sale of a house, back in 2014, are in trust, for when I need them, beginning a few years hence.

The shadow of aging has its match, in daily use of essential oils, CBD and hemp products and, at least for  a month or so, Thrive products- a gift from a grateful friend. Those and regular exercise keep me healthy and moving.

Any potential family shadows are best handled with proactivity:  Research, setting time aside and regular, clear communication.  This is true for all points along the family continuum.

The shadow of intellectual cramping is best countered by free dialogue.  Closing one’s mind to opposing points of view does not make one smarter.  I don’t see how not exposing young minds to either liberal or conservative opinions is going to improve their problem-solving ability.  As a youth, I read “Mein Kampf” and “The Communist Manifesto”, being captivated by neither, but at least understanding how the authors arrived at such illogic.  Closing off college campuses to Ben Shapiro, or Markos Moulitsas, will never save even the most infantilized freshman from following the primrose path of choice.

There are greater shadows-some real and some figments of vivid imaginations:  The Social Security/Medicare fizzle, or lack thereof, in the 2030’s;  the coinciding “end-of-the-world”, right about that same time; the potential change of our nation’s form of government (some have spoken of this, since Orwell published “1984”); the generations dropping the ball of civilized behaviour ( I seem to remember how “slovenly” and “unkempt” the Depression Parents and the  GI Generation regarded us Baby Boomers).

Shadows are dispelled by light.  The lights of  faith, understanding, clear communication, discourse and above, all, consistent, firm action, will work wonders at clearing the darkness which seems to pervade so many lives, at so many levels.

Happy Groundhog Day!

Holistic

9

February 1, 2019-

It is a true state of ecstasy,

to see each person

as s(he) ideally sees self.

It is most fulfilling,

to be free of baggage,

when looking upon

even the most attractive

of women.

This is how real progress

is made,

in solving the issues

that most need solving,

rather than constantly

rehashing issues

which mankind ought

to have resolved,

ages ago.

Let this month

of celebrating love,

be rooted

in celebrating the

whole person.

 

Dimensions, Part 3

6

January 31, 2019-

As there are so many languages and ethnic groups, among the entity that is the human race, and as there are so many species of plants and animals, living on Planet Earth, alone, we may reasonably surmise that there is an infinity of living creatures, composed of any of the several elements, found in the Periodic Table, or perhaps a combination thereof.  There could be as many, or more, silicon-based living creatures as/than carbon-based beings, across the Universe.

This leads to the fifth through tenth theoretical dimensions of the physical Universe.  They each deal with comparisons between this world and at least one other possible world.  The Fifth Dimension would be a world slightly different from ours, which we might compare and contrast with this one.  The Sixth Dimension would be a plane of all possible worlds which have the same start conditions as one another.  The Seventh Dimension  would be a plane of all possible worlds with start conditions that are different from one another.  This is the basis for the theory that there are several Universes (if “universe” actually means “one song”, that theory simply means there are several cosmic songs, in one Cosmos.  The Eighth Dimension would be a plane of all possible worlds, each with different start conditions and each branching out infinitely.  If Earth were to branch out, infinitely, then it is reasonable to expect that we humans would interact with those of other worlds, who are branching out infinitely, as well. The Ninth Dimension would be a plane of all possible worlds,  with all possible start conditions AND all possible Laws of Physics.  Remember, the Laws of Physics are atmosphere-based and gravity-based.  What “flies” on Earth, does not “fly” on Saturn, or, necessarily, on the fourth planet from Sirius.  The Tenth Dimension would be the plane of infinite possibilities.  There, it could be that we could escape from politics, or death and taxes. https://ultraculture.org/blog/2014/12/16/heres-visual-guide-10-dimensions-reality/

That is the view of Bosonic String theorists.  Some of them even posit a Cosmos of at least 26 dimensions, far beyond my level of understanding.  You are free to examine that matter. https://physics.stackexchange.com/questions/292919/why-are-there-specifically-10-11-or-26-dimensions-in-string-theory

However, let me take just a few minutes to ponder what the above means, in terms of  the dimensions of human wellness.  Man does seem to have an infinite capacity to rationalize.  Suppose this ability is actually rooted in a state of alternate realities, each of which could fit the needs of a given world that the Seventh or Eighth Dimensions.

Suppose, also, that the upper dimensions are peopled by those of any number, or combination, of structural elements.  How would we communicate with such beings?  This may prove a critical issue,  perhaps as soon as 200-300 years hence.

It could, finally, be that the Tenth Dimension represents the closest we can imagine to the Reality of God- a State of Being that is far, far beyond it, but which dimension can command the  human imagination at its zenith.

I like to think that the fifth-tenth dimensions are the source of all human progress, compelling us to seek, and find, knowledge that our forebears could imagine only dimly, at best.  Let us keep trying, and growing.

Dimensions, Part 2

2

January 30, 2019-

As I mentioned in the previous post, many people look at themselves, or at others, and see ONLY one, two or three aspects, or dimensions of the person.  If one sees one’s own worth,  solely in terms of work ethic, then the admirable work drive consumes the person, and most likely will leave the soul wanting affirmations, as to all that there is, untapped and atrophying, in its other dimensions.  If a person views members of the opposite gender, primarily in terms of physical attributes, then the beholder will be constantly bored, listless, looking for the next comely person to appear.  The person so objectified may pick up on this, in fairly short order, and understandably move on, feeling basically unappreciated.  The same is true for ANY single attribute:  Athletic prowess, financial acumen, generosity, being light on one’s feet, sense of humour, and so on.

We are far more than the sum of our observable parts, because so much of one’s whole is UNOBSERVABLE, to the naked eye- and to the naked psyche.  I could be dressed to the nines, should I attend a gala event, and perhaps attract a woman’s attention. If, when next she sees me, I am in a message teeshirt and old Dockers and am perhaps a bit unkempt, she will experience cognitive dissonance, to the extent she sees me as a one or two dimensional individual.

If a stand-up comic regales his audience, of a Saturday night, leaving most of those in attendance, in stitches, and a few days later, in a foul mood, encounters one of them and brushes off a request for an autograph, the same sort of dissonance may be the jilted fan’s experience.

Simply put, it takes time- and a fair amount of it, to really “get under the hood” of a human engine.  I experienced my late wife, in all of her moods, and vice versa, BEFORE we were married.  Being prepared to stick together, through whatever storms came our way, made all the difference, including readying me for the caretaker role I was to assume, in her final eight years on this plane.  It was NOT true, as one of my accusers put it, not long ago, that the only way Penny could get my attention was to get sick.  We lived for one another, day and night, for nearly thirty years.

The same is true of every other married couple I know, who have endured, or are enduring, similar storms.  The same is true of work partners, in many enterprises.  The same is true of the most intimate and enduring relationships, of any sort.

NEXT:  What are some of the dimensions, of which little is commonly known?

Dimensions-Part 1

9

January 29, 2019-

As I regarded one of our young helpers this morning, I saw a physically lovely, highly intelligent, athletic and fairly industrious person, quietly reading a quality book on a rather deep subject.  It came to me that THIS is why I have devoted forty-two years of my life to the well-being of young people:  The development of the whole.

In the next few posts, I want to look at the concept of dimensionality.   We all know that there are three dimensions, of any physical object:  Height, length and width.  There are also six dimensions of wellness: “The Six Dimensions of Wellness include physical, social, emotional, intellectual, occupational/financial, and spiritual wellness.” https://www.nwmissourinews.com/opinion/article_aac31352-d4bb-11e0-a3d4-0019bb30f31a.html

My concern here is with dimensions, in how we view ourselves and other people.  Let us consider the idea of  unidimensionality, or seeing oneself, or another, as being one-dimensional.  We do this, all the time.  For example, have you ever looked at a member of the opposite gender, or your own gender, and “seen” only the comeliness, or homeliness, of the person’s face or physique?  Have you ever listened to a person speak, and heard only the cogency, or ignorance, of their remarks?  Have you encountered a person who thinks, behaves or believes differently than you, and experienced only their statements or immediate actions?   Have you viewed anyone as “strictly” or “only” an “jock”, a “nerd”, an “empty suit”, a “hottie”.   Unidimensionality is rife, in today’s world.  If it weren’t, people would not be so quick to judge one another.

Other people see humans as two-dimensional-either one thing or another.  Someone who shows two sides is often called “bipolar” (in the days of my youth, such a person would be called “manic-depressive”).  I have found few, if any, people who can be so easily typecast, in terms of fact.  There are too many mitigating factors that affect people’s behaviours.

The truth is, most of us are three-dimensional beings, and then only when life circumstances suppress the development of the other three dimensions of wellness.  Everyone is, at minimum, a physical, spiritual and emotional being.  Everyone is, potentially, an intellectual, a social or an occupational/financial being.  In fact, in both the physical and spiritual realms, there are many more dimensions- which the discipline of Quantum Mechanics lists, simply, as “infinite”.

In the next post, I will look further at the results of seeing self or others as one-, two- or three-dimensional beings and consider some of the possibilities for our species and our planet, of seeing people in a hexidimensional (6-dimensional) model.

 

Starting at Home

8

January 27, 2019- 

One of  my mother’s favourite sayings, “Charity begins at home”, was made a basis for many of my actions, as a child and as a teen.  Nothing was made, or done, that wasn’t shared with family, on some level.

So it is, also, with conservation- as the late John McCain was also fond of saying.  A few weeks ago, during the height of the ill-fated shutdown, I went up to Sunset Crater National Monument, to see if I might help with a clean-up.  It turned out not to be necessary, though there was a mess, on Federal land, some twenty miles west.  Others took care of that clean-up.

With the shutdown over, however temporarily, I decided to take some time, after a study session this afternoon, and check a popular local trail, Lynx Lake, for residual clean-up that might be needed.  I was thanked by a few other hikers, especially accepting three pooper bags in my larger trash bag.  It was rather cute, that a lone duck followed me in the water, as I walked along the north shore, collecting a few plastic bottles.  It was almost as if it knew that the toxic items were being removed.  Long story short, I put a half-filled trash bag in the dumpster of the  south beach.

It was a minor effort, in the scheme of millions of acres of Federal land needing attention, after the lengthy hiatus.  I can only hope that there were thousands of others stepping up and doing their part, with there being way too much to be done, as it is, by those returning to work.  I think of the first National Historic Site I ever visited:  Saugus Ironworks, of the most extensive I’ve ever seen:  Grand Canyon and of the park I visited most recently for the first time:  Valley Forge.  Then, there is Arlington National Cemetery; today would have been the 95th birthday of my father-in-law, who is interred there, along with his wife.

I can only hope there are no more shutdowns of government, but if there are, I know to be ready to help, as a citizen.

Commitment

6

January 25, 2019-

We had, all in all, a good, productive meeting at work, today and prior to that, I felt a firmer commitment to us paraprofessionals, from our leadership.  These set the stage for a productive period, for the rest of the Winter and through the Spring.

It reminds me that my own commitment, to the well-being of humanity, branches off in many directions:  Our team and the students; the local Baha’i community, and the wider Prescott/Yavapai County community-through Red Cross, Slow Food, American Legion-and those who are just beloved friends ;  my friends who run the businesses around town, which I have come to love and appreciate- Frozen Frannie’s, Ms. Natural’s, Rustic Pie, Cupper’s, Chi’s Cuisine, Raven Cafe, Peregrine Books , Cornerstone Chiropractic, Planet Fitness and, most of all, Prescott Farmers Market; my family, most directly my son and daughter-in-law, mother and siblings-each of whom, are doing just fine.  When I’m needed, I will do what is necessary

I have always had a global take on things, though, even when that was considered odd.  So, I think, often and pray daily, for people in places which I might visit frequently- Phoenix, Flagstaff, the Verde Valley; not so frequently- Tucson, Superior, Carson City, Orange County, San Diego, Massachusetts,Missouri, Pennsylvania, the Great Lakes region, Virginia, Tennessee and Florida; once and again-the Pacific Northwest, western Europe, Alaska and east Asia- and those places which lie in my future, God willing-Africa, the rest of Europe, Central and South America, south Asia and the Middle East.

Yes, there is a commitment to travel, to visiting and to service where needed. Mainly, though, I am committed to living a full life, to doing the Will of God.   Thich  Nhat Hanh says commitment has nothing to do with convenience- so be it.