The Fast: Day 19- Clarity


March 20, 2018, Dewey, AZ-

I ended the Fast this evening, taking part in a community meal at Puerto Vallarta Mexican Restaurant, in this small town, east of Prescott Valley.  Whilst I chose to wait until exactly sunset, to eat,  others with different health conditions and needs started their meals earlier.  Catchy tunes got me up and leading a small group of people in dancing around the room.  This continued for about fifteen minutes, then a couple of children and their grandmother  did a mini-Conga, to Gloria Estefan’s “The Rhythm Is Gonna Get You”.

It was a lovely ending to a Fast that has provided quite a bit of clarity for my world.  I know that my short-term plans are going in the right direction and that I need to not be distracted by well-meaning, but at times overbearing, folks whose agendas clash with those plans..

So, Spring has sprung, around these parts, as Fall has fallen, Down Under.  My academic  work has 9 1/2 week to run, this year.  My Baha’i work, of one form or another, has the rest of my life to run.  Special events will be fairly frequent, especially on weekends, these next several weeks.  I hope many of you, my friends and family, will be along for the ride.

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.

One, Two, Three, Four- The Plans


January 22, 2018, Prescott-

Every so often, I come out with details of my plans for this or that.  One year (day, month) at a time, I have been advised.  That makes sense for anyone my age, on up.  So my plans for this year, 2018, ought to be a foundation for what comes next.

This year, I will work, diligently, both at my day job- which will see an uptick in the number of students we have, come August, and at my financial effort, which is, admittedly, still in its fledgling state ( I can hear the Boo Birds, now- “There he goes again!”), but is being pursued, carefully, with a lot of expert support.  This will bring me to San Diego, the fourth weekend in March, for a mentoring conference.  Prior to that, I will have had nearly 60 hours of training and mentoring calls.  I have detailed other travel plans, in a previous post, and those still stand for next month, and for May-June.  An uptick in income would also allow me to join other mentoring events.

That covers the number one.  “Two” takes in 2019.  Next year marks the Bicentenary of the Birth of al-Bab, the immediate predecessor of Baha’u’llah, and His Herald.  This event, marked in late October, will be the overarching event of the year, for me and for millions of others.  My summer travels will bring me back to the Pacific Northwest, and southeast Alaska.  My work and financial ventures will continue apace. Then, too, who knows what the Universe will add on to all that?

“Three” brings us to 2020.  As I turn 70, in November of that year, its March will see my final physical Fast, under Baha’i law.  The Fast will have spiritual import for me, the rest of my life, but abstaining from food and beverages will not apply, once I reach the age of seventy.   I hope to be at, or past, my financial goals by New Year’s Day of that year.  Travel wise, I am looking at a Trans-Canada (BC to Newfoundland) road trip, in June and July.

“Four” means 2021.  This year will mark the Centenary of the Passing of ‘Abdu’l-Baha, Baha’u’llah’s eldest son and His Successor, as Head of the Baha’i Faith.  My longtime readers may remember that, in 2012, we commemorated the centennial of ‘Abdu’l-Baha’s visit to North America.  2021 will, thus,also be a special year for us Baha’is.

For me, personally, it will bring the end of my full-time employment as an educator.  I have ambitious, but still tentative, plans for international travel.  Besides those, I will be more active on the volunteer front, in whatever community (ies) I may find myself, once “retired”.

So there are the substances of numbers one through four, as they pertain to my humble life.  Many of these could very well come to pass, though the Universe does throw a curve at each of us, every so often!

2018 and the Four F’s


January 5, 2018, Prescott-

I have addressed the new year, in terms of where I might go, and such.  In terms of the Now, however, any new year is best approached by looking at the Four F’s of one’s life: Family, Friends, Faith and Finances.

So, let’s do this.

Family-  I have to be at the ready, always, for any changes that happen in my large and cherished family.  As with anyone, I need to be ready for births, deaths and any dire emergency in between.  Right now, the radar screen shows my niece’s wedding, in June. May peace reign, in the interim.  My family goal this year, though, remains more regular communication with all.  Social media takes up much of that slack, and I am already engaged in writing a traditional letter to my mother, every 1-2 weeks.  A similar letter, to my eldest brother, goes out once a month, and he follows my online postings.  The same is true of my son.

Friends- There is someone who I consider my best friend, and to whom I would devote as much time as she needs.  She is a busy soul, though, so up to now, that time has not amounted to a whole lot.  There are many others, from my fellows in Faith, my co-workers and people, from three blocks away, to Zimbabwe and Siberia, for whom I would give my life. I have two caveats:  Please do not call or message me, randomly, and get offended when I don’t have time for a social call- deferred attention is always an option. Secondly, not buying a product you have for sale or endorsing a mass message you are promoting on Facebook Messenger does not mean I don’t care about you.  Conversely, if you don’t take up my cause, I will still regard you as a friend.  Visiting goes by the same rules.  I will always call or message, in advance, when headed your way.  Right now, a visit to a friend in Orange County, CA is in the works and there may be several more, between here and Philadelphia, come school year’s end.

Faith- My day starts with meditation, prayer and recitation of a sacred verse.  Faith, though, has to be reflected in everything one does, especially with regard to other people.  So, my work, my driving, my business transactions, even my leisure activities, are approached with Baha’i principles in mind.  I am no saint, but the Golden Rule is ever present.  I will have many activities brought to my calendar, faith-wise, this year, and as with concerns with family, so do I need to be ready and flexible on my schedule, to prioritize Baha’i activities, when they directly impact the spiritual well-being of the community.  This afternoon, and this coming Sunday, are examples of short-notice gatherings, for which I am able to be ready.  I anticipate many more.

Finances-  Given my temperament, this area has long been my weak spot.  I am giving it a lot more attention, and being coached financially is one reason why I am choosing to wake earlier each day. I fully intend to grow my estate, given looming events, for which one is normally expected to have a fair amount of cash on hand.  The main thing is that I have put a scarcity mentality behind me, and will persevere in the coming months, in building more short-term security.  I tended to possible elder care needs, at Penny’s behest, while she was still alive.  I am also very well-insured.

The Four F’s being much on my mind, this should be a fabulous year.

Year End Reflections, Part 3: Friendships


December 25, 2017, El Paso-

I had intended on writing this from Phoenix.  Ha!  The wheels of transport are blessedly efficient, today. We even got into this west Texas hub, fifteen minutes ahead of schedule.  We just keep movin’ and groovin’.

So it goes.  I want to thank my friends, all umpteen thousand of you, for what you have given me, this year and for several years past.

My childhood friends:  Many of you are still with me, on Facebook and in some cases, in real life, when I am back in Massachusetts.  Each of us has had our share of hard times, but life has been quite good, overall.  Back in the day, we never let one another down.,

My military and college friends:  I don’t see you anymore, and have no idea where any of you are.  You did teach me forbearance and to have a sense-of-humour-based camaraderie.  I think that, as much as anything, tempered the effects of my autism.

My friends in the educational community, at all levels:  Always, you inspire me to look inward and upward.  So many fine people are involved in raising children to their own higher levels.  Good teachers, as one of my first mentors said, work hard, without regret.

My Baha’i friends:  From the get-go, you have kept me focused and confirmed my outward, inclusive view of the world.  I no longer feel like a fish out of water, when my mind is as concerned with people far,as well as near.

My online friends:  In groups ranging from Archaeology for the Soul to Digital Altitude and the do Terra groups, you expand my mind and let me give my own voice to matters of health, spirituality and responsible financial planning.  My individual friends here are universally encouraging, even when you challenge me to think outside my own little box.

Friendships are organic and fluid.  My dearest friends bring that friendship upward and onward, as I do my level best to do for any of my friends.  In the end, as Jewel once sang, “only kindness matters.”



Year End Reflections,Part 1: Proud


December 23, 2017, Prescott-

Before heading down to Phoenix, to take part in a Baha’i conference, I want to take a few minutes and look back at those who have made me proud to know them.

My dear friend’s daughter has finished high school, a semester early, with honours and is embarking on two life efforts, dear to her heart.  L is a living, breathing miracle.

My second cousin, the only granddaughter of a paternal uncle, who passed away this year, has finished college, Magna Cum Laude, and will walk the stage, next May.  S is also a living, breathing miracle.

My son, Aram, has made rank, every year since he entered the Navy.  He has overcome many obstacles to get where he is, and will face down whatever gets in his way, because that’s what he knows.

Both of my living brothers are taking life by the horns, and building on already stellar careers, to see major projects through to completion.

My sister, a peacemaker, is ever working to keep her beautiful extended family on an even keel.  Every one of her children is a success, in his/her own way.

My blessed mother continues to show us the way forward, and to send any pre-conceived notions about aging, up the creek, where they belong.

My sister-in-law, in Florida, has taken on the often thankless task of caregiving, which I know, firsthand, means “putting your own life on hold”, while realizing that this is an integral part of everyone’s life.

My co-workers, standing with me, in helping our students face both their own disabilities and the possibilities that life still has to offer, have provided the most rewarding base of operations I have realized, in nearly 20 years.  I look forward to the rest of this amazing year, R and MF.

A Baha’i friend, here in Prescott, mostly singly and alone, is building a spiritual foundation for several children and youth, in her neighbourhood.  J is another living, breathing miracle.

Lastly, my dear friend, you have stood by me and are always encouraging me to go forward.  You are one of the greatest miracles of all, not willing to just survive, but to take leaps of faith, for the sake of your youngest child, to serve your Lord and to let Him carry you forward.  I will be in your corner, always, precious M.

This has been a year of depletion, of replenishing, of sustaining and of thriving.  It has been a year of loss and of gain, of discovery and of reminders.  Those mentioned above, and countless others, have helped make it an unexpectedly blessed one.


Loves of a Life


September 30, 2017, Flagstaff-

I told an old friend that Penny has been gone,

for six years.

He spends lots of time,

off the grid.

So, he missed all that’s happened to us,

since 1997.

Twenty years have come and gone,

and he is a loving husband and father.

I was the former, and am still the latter.

After leaving this generous man,

and his fine facility,

lent us for our Baha’i gathering,

I turned on my laptop.

I went to,

and selected

the most recent episode

of “Blue Bloods”.

In this one, it’s revealed

that a man has lost

his wife,

in a helicopter crash.

He wants to turn inward,

shut the world out.

He has two teenage sons,

to finish raising.

His family,

and the Universe,

conspire to keep him


Today would have been

her 63rd birthday.

I told an old friend.

Walking in Place


September 23, 2017,Prescott- 

Several readers have, over the years, expressed a preference for my travel posts.  While I greatly enjoy visiting places old and new, there has been an increase in responsibilities and commitments, hereabouts, since my return from the East Coast, at the end of July.  Not the least of these is my work with autistic teens, a veritable payback to all who have guided me, over the past several decades.  There are also two major public events here in town, in October:  Hope Fest (October 14), a celebration of faith, which I will be assisting for the third consecutive year and, a week later, the Festival of Light and Unity- commemorating the Two Hundredth Anniversary of the Birth of Baha’u’llah, on October 22.  As the Baha’i calendar is a lunar construct, the Birth of His Herald, al-Bab (The Gate), is observed the day prior to that of Baha’u’llah.  This year marks 198 years, since al-Bab was born and we will observe that event, as well, on October 21.

My friendships being wide-ranging these days, several events tend to converge on given days. So, today, largely devoted to Prescott Stand Down, an event dedicated to serving homeless veterans in our community, took up much of the day.  I was later able to make further progress on clearing my backyard and 3-4 more hours of concerted effort ought to get the job completed, for this year.  Tomorrow, two events at the American Legion, two Baha’i activities and an hour or two helping a good friend move, will keep me honest and productive.  This coming week, there is a gathering, of one sort or another, every night.  Looking ahead to October 14, that day will see me at two other events, in addition to Hope Fest.  Life is never dull.

With regard to travel, Fall Break will be here, in two weeks.  I am in between going to Joshua Tree and Lake Cachuma, California, or down to Superior, Globe and over to Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument, for 4-5 days (in which case, the California trip gets done over an extended Presidents’ Day weekend). My spirit guides will advise me, on this matter, as with so many others.

Yes, I do get 7-8 hours of sleep a night, as well as a 30-minute power nap, most afternoons.  Stay tuned.



August 13, 2017, Prescott-

It’s rather ironic, that my journey series has reached the point where my next few posts will be about Antietam, Harpers Ferry, Harrisonburg/Lexington and Olive Hill, KY.  I did not visit the seat of the University of Virginia, this time out.  It is my late wife’s alma mater and Charlottesville is the first place where Penny heard about the Baha’i Faith.  There is a strong Baha’i presence there, to this day.  Were my fellows in faith to be given charge of this weekend’s gatherings, they may well have had white and black extremists cordoned off in one area, as was done at a Baha’i gathering in Orlando, several years ago.  It taught more than a few of them the absurdity of their positions.

Fear has a lot to do with what went on, on both sides.  Fear makes people do prudent things, like staying aware of their surroundings, watching where they put their hands and feet, not picking fights with those who could seriously cause harm.  Fear also can make people do stupid things, like assume a person, who has certain physical features or styles  of dress/adornment, is dangerous or argue a point, that they know is ridiculous, “could possibly be right.”

I believe every life matters, too.  I believe it is right to learn from history and that it is wrong to try and erase history.  There was once an emperor of China, who tried to expunge the record of every ruler who came before him.  He wanted to rewrite history, in his own hand.  It’s said that history is written by the victor, but that didn’t turn out so well, for said Emperor.  Others kept records, then, and others will keep records, now.  Those who remove our statuary are not being honest with children.  They are no better than those who gave short shrift to the legacies of people of colour, over a nearly 200-year period.  History needs to be full and balanced, if we are to learn from our errors, as a nation and as a species.

I am very saddened by the needless and premature death of Heather Heyer.  This wanton act of murder had nothing to do with a certain number of Antifa members being mixed with the anti-Nazi protestors.  Ms. Heyer was not with Antifa, nor was she “bused in by George Soros.”  She was a Charlottesville resident, employed as a paralegal.  It had everything  to do with the killer’s being an impressionable young man, of questionable emotional stability, being influenced, to some degree, by the words and taunts of a good number of Ku Klux Klan and Nazi Party members.  The reactions of many of the alt-right protesters does indicate they were not out to kill those who confronted them.  The obscenity-laced comments filling the air- on You Tube videos- did, however, set some people off, including the errant driver.

It’s  long past time to start serious, but respectful and frank dialogue.  Let’s do it, anyway.  It’s long past time for the President to set a strong tone of domestic leadership, aimed at getting differing sides together, peacefully,  but nose-to-nose, if necessary.  The air needs to be cleared of the noxious.  Citizens, however, as was said this evening, at a candlelight vigil here,  also need to set the moral tone, at their level..  No far-off politician can do all the heavy-lifting, nor should a local demagogue be allowed to stir up the passions of one segment of the populace, as happened in Charlottesville.

I am not any kind of supremacist.  I am not any kind of ideologue.  I have lived long enough to know that we lose, mightily, by excluding any group, based on any physical characteristic, faith or creed.  So, on we go, without the vivacious young paralegal, who just wanted to love her community.



June 25, 2017, Bellemont, AZ-

We’ve undergone a wealth of name-changes, relative to how people see various groups, into which we classify ourselves, and others, since the early 1960’s.  It’s almost become so that many are almost paralyzed, when it come sot referencing people who “fall into categories of ‘the other’.”

I’ve spent the past 48 hours at a Baha’i camp, 1 1/2 miles west of this small village, itself 12 miles west of Flagstaff.  Several new friends, of different ages, were made, as is always the case.  One beautiful family of seven is “racially-blended”, if we are to believe the doctrine of political correctness.  The father of this family was one of the presenters at our Summer School.  He addressed racial identity and political correctness.  He is not a fan of P.C., insofar as it allows us to dance around the subject of racial relations.

When I was growing up, my parents told us never to use racial,  ethnic, or sexual epithets.  I was taught to address people by the name which they used to introduce themselves.  It was fine to call a person of colour a Negro, until people of colour themselves preferred Black, then African-American.  Using the pejorative form of Negro would have earned me an oral cleansing, and not with candy-flavoured mouth wash.

We Baha’is believe, as one of the central tenets of our Faith, that there is, as Baha’u’llah wrote. “but one race, the human race.”  Having said that, it is NOT WRONG, to stand firm against discrimination of any kind.  This runs the gamut- from denying people their basic human rights, based on pigmentation, height, gender, change of gender, economic status, or personal creed/religion.  It is also imperative to acknowledge someone’s basic goodness, in any area of endeavour or character feature.

“One race, the human race”, does not exclude people of colour, people of intense faith, people who hail from  desert wastes or from an urban wasteland, who eat mainly fast food or who eat raw food. It safeguards the human rights of people who adhere to our Faith, to previously-revealed Faiths or to no Faith at all.

So, political correctness has its limits.  These are tantamount to over-tightening a nut, on a wheel.  The nut becomes stripped, useless.  Not being able to describe a person, in terms perfectly acceptable to that individual and her peers, is a paralysis of denial.  My new African-American friend, his European-American wife, their four creative, lovely daughters and vibrant, disabled son should never have to endure the embarrassment of having to watch as someone, who claims to be their well-wisher, is tongue-tied, when it comes to describing any of them, to someone else.

This weekend was time well-spent.