Fortnight of Transition, Day 4: Legalese

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September 12, 2020-

Good things happened today. My middle brother turned 65, surrounded by the Georgia branch of his family. It was good to speak with him and to hear the vibrant voices of nephew, SIL and the little ones.

I am reaching an understanding with someone who thought I could be the brains behind his operation. There are legal points, like “Conflict of Interest” and Federal tax laws that would present problems for my being the Great White Hope. I think he gets it now.

“Cuties”, the well-intentioned, but misguided, film has run into a buzz-saw of valid criticism, for its reported perseverating on the physiques of pre-adolescent girls. I haven’t seen the film, nor will I-since Creeper Status is not something with which I identify, as well as the fact that my primary role with young people, male or female, is to encourage them to avoid being objectified and to follow dreams of their own choosing. Hopefully, there will arise a sense of propriety and like misguided projects before it, “Cuties” will disappear from the media.

Our Baha’i group had its tri-monthly consultative meeting and planned out the overall course of activities, over the next three months.

That brings me to the Red Cross-and that I was already asked when I could resume Disaster Response activities. A look at the map shows why-Fire to the left of us, Storms to the right-and I will be stuck in the middle, for at least another week, as I have personal business on the last day of summer and will focus on other matters here at Home Base, in the interim.

The Farmers Market is a bustling place, with a new venue. I was happy to visit there this morning, seeing some of my better friends, locally. Next weekend will bring me to Dharma Farm, in advance of Equinox, and the Weekend of Peace will see some events, both on Zoom and in the park across the street from me.

With that, let’s all take a deep breath, to the extent possible, in a climate of widespread smoke.

The Summer of the Rising Tides, Day 57: Uprising

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July 27, 2020-

I was mildly upbraided this morning, by one of the fiercest women I’ve ever met. Stating only what she saw, her caution was that I was heading into the realm of puritanism.

I am, at present, watching a series entitled “Cursed”, about the origins of Excalibur, the sword of Anglo-Saxon mythology. It follows the life of a young Wiccan, pursued by various members of the political and social establishment of that time. Although fictional, it carries several elements of what actually transpired, in the days of an oppressive Church.

It brought me back, to a feeling in my life that I’d long buried and nearly forgotten. It brought me back to the fact that, growing up, I hated the Church. I loved Jesus, with all my heart and soul, so I went to Mass and even served as a substitute altar boy, during the summer of my thirteenth year. Yet, I hated the suffocating power that dripped from the mouths and countenances of all but a few of the priests. I hated it, and had to keep that feeling buried. My parents and family would never have understood.

Only love of Christ kept me in the fold, until I saw the power of Baha’i, the Unity of all Mankind, of all Life and of all Truth. Still, I kept this anger buried. It came to the surface, as I was watching the second episode of this series and remembered the danger of which my much younger friend was speaking.

Puritanism, the control of minds through delusion, gaslighting and fear, has indeed come to grip a good part of our society anew. Margaret Atwood, in her two novels on the, as yet, fictional future country of Gilead, outlines just how easy it could be, for a relatively small group of people to obtain control of the United States, by tapping into the flowing subconscious stream of Puritanism.

It is feared, by some, that a future dictatorship would most likely come from the Left. That’s understandable, given that the primary remaining totalitarian states are all rooted in Communism. It is also rooted in the fear that a future American regime is already putting in place travel restrictions tied to acceptance of a vaccine and personal identification system which will, by force of technology, result in ironclad control of the populace.

I see this as reverse psychology. Fervent Christians have always feared humanism and atheism. There are those who may well be counting on this, and not for the purpose of protecting Christians and others of Faith, but for exploiting that fear, and taking control for their own nefarious ends.

So, regardless of who wishes to oppress, I am mentally preparing myself. Avoiding paranoia, just watching and listening carefully, day by day, in this little Home Base of mine, I look at both sociopolitical forces, and then focus my eyes forward-on what I WANT to see in the world.

I want safety and freedom for my family, friends and neighbours, for the children and youth, for those who suffer, both those in the middle and those on the margins. I want to see a world of equanimity. I want to see a world in which power is truly derived from love and light. We may well have to walk through several Valleys of the Shadow to get there. We will, I’m sure, have to overcome many who try to take power in an ad hoc manner, through deception, gaslighting and false assurance.

It is time for all people of the heart to set aside the dark thoughts imposed on them, by any and all whose only interest is in top-down control. It is time for uprising; a loving, just, but forthright uprising. We, the People, can truly rule ourselves.

The Summer of the Rising Tides, Day 44: And Love Will Steer The Stars

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July 14, 2020-

Today was Bastille Day, commemorating the ultimate proof that, when rulers ignore the governed, there may be severe consequences-for all concerned. Today also was the final day of the weeklong Harmonic Convergence, an online celebration of our connections to the Universe as a whole.

Unity was the theme, as it was in the last such gathering, in 1987. I saw little evidence of the roiling mayhem that continues on, outside these serene sessions. Our focus was on understanding the connections that this planet has always had with the greater Creation.

Astrology points us to the planet, at long last, entering into the sign of Aquarius, come December. To some, Aquarius is the sign of love and harmony. To others, it is the sign of the ascendancy of technology. I naturally favour the former, finding the latter to be somewhat a harbinger of control, of externally-imposed agendas and of a cold, emotionally-distant society.

There are both positive and negative forces, throughout the Universe, so the dichotomy between which will control our destiny makes it all the more imperative that we rise to control it ourselves. I cannot, very happily, live in a world where there is little concern for anyone outside one’s own space.

Thus, this series of sessions has given a boost to what I have learned, over 38 years, from the Baha’i Teachings. It has given me a boost past the mercantile veneer of “Cosmic Wisdom” which is, at this stage of the game, a means to an end, though I have hope that those who ply the trade of Reiki, and other intuitive arts, will actually come to feel the sentiments they vocalize.

In the last meditation of the series, I closed my eyes and mouthed the mantra, as best as my lungs and diaphragm could muster, for 21minutes. I saw Penny, in a blue-tinted forest, my cousins who have gone on and, my youngest brother, Brian. My departed Godmother, Hazel, Uncle Jim and their rambunctious brother, Charles, were also present. All are in a good place. I felt feline energy, inside the apartment, though none of the ferals has ever been inside here. Lastly, a walk around the perimeter of the place was a marvel of stars and the planets Jupiter and Saturn.

Love is steering me, and the stars. More instructions are coming.

When Darkness Descends

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May 31, 2020

I will say this, today was a balanced day, in terms of how I interacted with others. Breakfast was served by a nice young lady, and was well-prepared and delicious. I was taken aback, though, by the surliness of her boss-who took exception to the t-shirt I was wearing. Not sure whether the death stare was due to it being a t-shirt,or to the message it stated: “No Room in My Heart for Prejudice”. There is also the matter of my being a single man, sitting at a table meant for four, but I displaced no one. (Prescott restaurants, as I’ve mentioned before, are not always welcoming to parties of one.)

I went back to the house, and had a well-attended online devotional, though a couple of the participants got a bit testy, when I described my earlier experience. I am seen by some around here as being a bit too pushy, when it comes to talking about my beliefs. That is something I can abide, as I rarely even broach those beliefs, unless I sense a receptive audience.

I had good conversations with the others, though, thus balancing out the morning. In the afternoon, a very good friend and I discussed a couple of enterprises that she is considering. This is a most proactive response to the harrowing events that have hit our country, thus far this year.

The day came to a pleasant end, at least for me, with a two-hour instructional on bridging cultural differences. Lord knows, this applies as much to life within the United States, as it does further afield.

May has been a rough row to hoe, but we’re getting….somewhere.

My Four Tent Posts, and Center

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April 18, 2020-

Today would have been the start of Earth Week, commemorating the 50th anniversary of Earth Day One.  As it happened, I spent quality time (2 hours) watching and listening to young people talking about their concerns regarding Mother Earth.  Few are really blaming all of the mess on the human race, but each made the point that we are not blameless, nor are we powerless, in the face of the climate challenge. Youth groups and the Farmers’ Market are my anchors, in this Center that is my Home Base.

There are also four spiritual posts, one in each direction, that help me stay centered, and which have connections to one another, and to the Center.

East– The Baha’i Faith originated in Iran, spread gradually in all directions, and is now found in nearly every nation on Earth, with its World Centre being in Haifa, Israel. The Teachings of Baha’u’llah have confirmed my lifelong conviction that there is only one Race,the Human Race, and that all religious teachings emanate from One Creator.   This eastern spiritual post has led me to the others.  http://www.bahai.org

South– Elizabeth Peru is based in Adelaide, South Australia.  I was drawn to her website, was introduced to her daily guided meditations and insights into the interaction between Earth and all other elements of the Cosmos.  These meditations and observations both affirm and enrich my own.  The southern spiritual post affirms my connectedness with all living beings.  http://www.elizabethperu.com

West– Earth Rising, based in San Francisco, also focuses on the connectedness of all beings on the planet and in the innate spirituality of mankind.  I was drawn to this site, through other Baha’i friends on social media.  It’s a private group on Facebook, yet I feel abundantly welcome, and affirmed here.  I join in regular digital conferencing of this group and its affiliate, Gaia Calling.  New members are welcomed, through Earth Rising’s Facebook page.  https://www.facebook.com/groups/1039631319395983/

North– Chief Phil Lane is a longtime Baha’i friend and well-deepened Lakota spiritual guide.  His Four Worlds International Institute, in the Vancouver area of British Columbia, is in many ways a North Star.  I have deep genetic memory of being connected to First Nations people, especially those of the eastern woodlands.  Four Worlds has graciously welcomed me into its fold, with regular digital conferencing, for the time being. http://www.fwii.net

In the midst of the current turmoil, I have increasingly felt the need for these four posts, and for my center.  There is, I feel, a new society rising out of all that is happening, and all that remains to happen, in the foreseeable future.  Those who live their truth have little cause for alarm.

Membership in Groups

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March 24, 2020-

I’ve historically had it tough, when being part of a group.  That hasn’t stopped me from trying.  I showed up every day, as a child, to take part the best way I could, in what ever game was being played.  In high school, I had friends with whom I could sit in the library and at lunch, and hang out on weekends.  Many are still connected-at least online.

I didn’t fare so well in the Army, or in college, but my purpose during those years was much different-and so, the work became most important.  The same was true of my first four years of teaching-never an insider, but connected with my students.  So it continued, over the next four decades, but family was my bedrock, and the kids were always the foundation.

I say this, in thinking about the groups with which I’ve been involved over the past nine years.  My Faith community is the strongest connection, followed by the mostly senior crowd at the American Legion, and my younger friends at Prescott College, both groups now in abeyance, until the virus runs its course.  Permaculture groups, like Slow Food and the Farmers Market have warmed to me, over the years.

I have personally committed to helping the Red Cross in the present crisis, only to find there is an “age-ism” rising.  The mentality seems to be that those of us over 65 are “at risk” and therefore ought to keep our distance, even beyond the current social distancing.  It may be that this is an attitude meant to keep us safe, but I find it patronizing-and more than a little cliquish.  I know my limits and would relegate myself to the background, if at all feeling ill.  I also am very tuned into the dynamics of small groups, and having seldom been an insider, can see when a situation is being manipulated to exclude all but the favoured few.

In the event there is a much larger calamity, I have become certified in FEMA’s Points of Distribution.  I am committed to helping my community, whether being welcomed by the elite, or not.  May it all just turn out to be unnecessary.

 

Again, The Rising

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March 19, 2020- 

I crossed a personal watershed this evening, with the quiet conclusion of my last obligatory 19- Day Fast.  Spring and Autumn have taken their places, in North and South, respectively.  The Persian, and by extension, Baha’i, holiday of Naw-Ruz began at sunset and I will joyfully observe the occasion, tomorrow, in a way not yet determined.  I will not have to get up at 5 a.m., but may anyway, just to greet the New Year properly.  Yes, Naw-Ruz is Persian for another trip around the Sun.

I have joined a social group called Earth Rising, and sat in on a Zoom call, for the first time, doing a guided meditation along with dozens of others.  I was asked, by the moderator, what led me to this choice.  It goes back to my childhood.  I have felt a sense of unity with everyone, and with all Creation, since I was three.  That hasn’t always been easily understood by those around me, but it’s easier these days.

People, regardless of their political beliefs or personal Faith, tend to at least see some aspects of a Bigger Picture.  There are limits, though, to what each of us can understand. There are several in Earth Rising, to whom my grasp of the reality of the Universe seems sophomoric and pedestrian.  There are many others, whose understanding is limited to their immediate present, who see an extended view as living in a dream world.  I wish only for a bridge between the two.

There will be a revitalization, after COVID-19, which will likely incorporate a much greater sense of the Oneness of Humanity, a concept that figures prominently in Baha’i teachings and in the modern day focus of thinkers from traditions as old as Hindu to the newest of New Age.  It will be, again, mankind’s Rising.

Top of the Hill

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March 14, 2020, Sedona-

The gentle man entered Synergy, with his encased didgeridoo.  He instantly commanded the attention of the gathering, greeting us with “I’m feeling divine and want to give you some.”  After a short burst of spiritual rap, he concluded with “I’m not over the hill. I’m the captain of the top of the hill.” (He’s 69, like me.)  Then, each of us was treated to an individual blessing, using the didgeridoo aimed towards our hearts and heads.  It was exhilarating.

As I write this, I can hear his sonorous voice, chanting and alternating with a vocal impression of the didgeridoo chords.  He calls himself Astarius Miraculii.  I don’t get the feeling, though, that he’s being the least bit pretentious.  The man has lived through a great deal.

This all occurred after I had sat by myself for a while, as the regulars gathered in the back room.  The purpose of my visit had yet to reveal itself, so I laid low.  A.M.’s teaching, though, gave me a new perspective.  There is still, inside me, the small knot of wanting to stay out of everyone’s way.  Astarius begs to differ.

As is the case in Baha’i scripture, his focus is on the true nature of the soul, and who we really are.  Many “New Age” teachers have  a handle on the multiple journeys a soul makes, throughout its eternal path.  We are all in the process of discovery and whether we are sedentary or peripatetic, we are always on the move.  We are, in effect, always in a state of growth.  This may be masked, or interrupted, by addictions, maladaptive responses to life changes or climactic events-but the process is still there, even if it is operating in the background.

So, the affirmations I received tonight are three:  Shedding the knot of self-distrust is imperative; Listening to the deep callings of my spirit guides remains imperative. These could be to go somewhere, as I did tonight or to stay close to home, as one often must, in time of dire emergency; Do not, even to the slightest degree, allow others to define one’s worth.  They are too wrapped up in their own struggles.

I’ve heard all of this before, and the purpose of affirmations is ever to strengthen one’s perceptions.  I, too, am captain of the top of the hill.

 

 

By What Measure?

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March 1, 2020-

This month has not come in like a lion, at least not in Arizona.  Our forecast had called for rain, but bright and sunny, it was.  It may, or may not, rain/snow tomorrow, and that’s the celestial version of Arizona’s independent spirit.

Today was the first day of the Nineteen-Day Fast, during which every Baha’i between the ages of 15-70, who is in good health, is not traveling and not doing heavy manual labour, abstains from food and drink, from sunrise to sunset, for a period of nineteen days.

With my 70th birthday coming in November, this is my last time of such abstaining.  My work schedule is truncated, this spring, for reasons of my own keeping a mission to help a disabled teen.  Thus, the sacrifice appears, at first blush, to be minimal-but we’ll see what transpires.

I spent a couple of hours, this evening, with a small group of college students, whose own mission is to work at building a sustainable society.  This is another passion of mine, one which does not depend on ideological divides or limiting one’s circle of friends, unnecessarily.  The group is led by a confident and forthright young woman, who is close to her family, and by a very independent young man, who lives in his car-by choice.  The two could not be more opposite, yet both represent the commitment to facing the issues being inherited by the three rising generations.

The six of us who gathered at Sustainability Lounge watched the film, “Princess Mononoke”, an anime story about the seemingly inherent conflict between industry and nature.  In it, a minor Japanese noble is wounded by a demonic creature which is attacking villages in a hateful rage.  The nobleman kills the demon, but not without cost to himself.  He embarks on a journey, to find the source of the demon’s rage, fighting and killing samurai and meeting a cryptic “monk”, along the way.

Eventually, the nobleman finds himself in the home area of the Spirit of the Forest, as well as being brought to its opposite, a dingy industrial fortress, where iron is smelted by a mix of lepers and rescued prostitutes.  It is run by a warrior woman, who reminded me obliquely, of Tina Turner’s Auntie Entity, from “Mad Max:  Beyond Thunderdome”.

The predictable ultimate battle takes place, with sub-battles occurring between competing groups of animals and humans alike.  The nobleman meets a young woman who has been raised by wolves, and the two form a tentative, problematic friendship. There are severe losses, and new beginnings, for all the major characters in the story.

This all begs the question:  By what measure do we determine what is beneficial and what is detrimental?

 

 

Connectedness

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January 7, 2020-

Having my little family here

is a perfect occasion

for cementing my own ties

and building a sense of extended family

between son and daughter-in-law

with the Baha’i friends whom he knew

as a youth,

and with other dear friends,

whom he met for the first time,

and she for the second time, today.

It reminds me, that I have

at least one indelible tie here,

regardless of where life takes me.

It reminds me, too, that  there are those

who will ever have my back,

and I, theirs,

for as long as we draw breath,

and beyond.