Luck

2

May 13, 2022, Blythe- This morning, I joined a Baha’i study circle which is concerned with the thirteenth book, in a series published by Ruhi Insititute, a social-centric academy in Colombia. Since 1985, R.I. has published study books, in text and workbook form, focusing on topics from “The Life of the Spirit” to “Marriage and the Family”. This particular session, in which I am now involved, is studying the Baha’i approach to Social Action. As it happens, we began with Section 13 of this Book 13 ( Unit 1), on Friday the Thirteenth.

I will have more to say about the Baha’i approach to Social Action later. Suffice it to say, we take all points of view into account, distilling the most useful of ideas into programs that benefit everyone.

Cosmic advisor Elizabeth Peru notes that today is the only Friday the 13th of this calendar year. Some will breathe a sigh of relief, as a common superstition in medieval Europe, that 13 is an unlucky number, has carried over into contemporary life. There is still no 13th floor, in many public buildings. Friday the Thirteenth is often the stuff of anxiety, and even has its own horror movie series.

My day was quite one of good fortune. Besides the rich and informative study circle, a package I was expecting arrived right at Noon; packing for a brief trip to southern California took less time than expected; the smooth drive itself showed good gas mileage and I settled into a remodeled Relax Inn, my go-to stop in this desert town, on the Arizona border. My needs are fairly simple, and truth be known, Friday the 13th has never been unlucky, in my experience.

It’s a tough world, I know, and my work will continue, to ease as much pain as possible, for those who suffer. Removing superstitions from our lives is one way to help.

Lines of Guidance

0

March 11, 2022- The focal points of my day were two: The beginning of a weekly study on the Baha’i principles regarding social action, which entail both ground-up and engagement of all elements, and a review of Astro Cartography, as it pertains to how planetary forces were aligned at the time of my birth and how that has effected my life, ever since.

I will have more to say on the former, as weeks go by, and we get more deeply into the transformation of our planet from a hotbed of contention to a home for all. That, of course, is a process that will far outlast the earthly life of anyone alive today, but begin we have.

Regarding Astro Cartography and how it affects my life now, there are places where my life draws more challenges and responsibilities and places where life draws relaxation and comfort. I seem to have chosen to live in more challenging environments, over the years, including my present Home Base, according to the chart. I can’t say I have all that many regrets, and Prescott will remain my base for some time to come.

The chart says there are places where I can be more relaxed and other places where I have to watch my back. This is based on lines of planetary bodies’ ascent and descent, in the skies above, and in terms of their energy. I don’t claim to really understand it all yet, but I can say that in certain places, the energy has seemed more heavy and elsewhere it has been light as a feather. There are places to which I have been drawn that have a festive atmosphere, others that are more instructive and still others that are both.

This tool is one of the things I ought to consult, going forward, as is my daily meditations and, in the final analysis, conditions on the ground on a particular day. The latter particularly pertains to places to which I feel drawn, on the spur of the moment, but for which travel arrangements need to be made months in advance-Phantom Ranch, in the Grand Canyon, for example, or the Dry Tortugas, at the southwest end of Florida. (The most remote areas attract crowds, which is understandable, given our species’ need to push all manner of personal frontiers.)

In the end, being peaceful and content, where one happens to be, is the best springboard for any journey.

Every Town Matters

2

January 30, 2022, Douglas, AZ- The little boy, in the room next to mine, tried to open the door separating us. Of course, after a minute or so, his parents took him away from the door and there was no further attempt at a surprise visit. I would not have minded, if he had poked his head through the door, as long as Mom and Dad were close by.

I have also had a couple of “surprise visits” on the phone, from adult friends who thought they knew best how I might be spending my time. There is the usual “You’re out of town, so you must be on vacation” mindset and the “You’re in this area, so therefore you must go to….” prescription. Prescott is not a place I regard as a 24/7 work environment and while I appreciate suggestions or networking connections, when I am on the road, my schedule is basically set, most often with a good deal of forethought and inspiration.

I came to Douglas, and spent two days here, because I felt the urge to devote spiritual energy to this area and to the border. I had also wanted to connect with a Baha’i friend in Bisbee, not far away, but the person was not available. That much more time was thus spent on the former.

Douglas was founded as a railroad town, mainly as a place to load and haul copper and gold to points east and west. The rail depot is now the Police Station.

I walked from there to the border station, being careful to not enter any area that was within the actual processing district, to dissuade the few grifters and beggars who tried to make their case for “sharing” and to show kindness to those who were obviously leery of being accosted by anyone, so soon after having crossed the frontier.

Just before I got to the bench near the crossing, I spotted a white dove, resting on the branch of a tree, in Douglas’ west side park.

Douglas matters, for more than just its border crossing. A vibrant Mexican culture transcends the border here, as it does in many places, from Brownsville to San Ysidro. There is also a core group of regenerators, people who are either willing to invest in the infrastructure or are, as a small family of siblings and cousins at an innovative bakery and restaurant called Mana’, putting in serious hours to draw people TO Douglas, not to have them just pass THROUGH the town. Mana’ has an electronic menu, accessible only by phone or computer and it is one of the more extensive I’ve seen, for an establishment of its size, with over a dozen unusual omelet and Mexican scramble items. If the town can draw a music and arts scene, the way nearby Bisbee has, Douglas can again make its mark. In fact, I had three meals at Mexican restaurants here-and all were great. That can also be a draw- a culinary mecca!

Getting Past Exhaustion

2

January 18, 2022- A good deal of energy has seen its way to the Universal Pool, over the past two days. That’s okay, as I have tomorrow essentially off-and others can step up and handle any school emergencies. Today was altogether full: High School Agricultural Studies, followed by two Baha’i Zoom calls. Fortunately, the last one was spent with people whose own day was rather exhausting-so when they asked to stop early, I was more than delighted.

I am a very intense sleeper, so the seven hours or so, once I finish this post, will be heaven sent. Then, I will wake very briefly-and after seeing 5 a.m., and darkness still lingering, an hour or so more of sleep will ensue. The big thing is getting rest and rejuvenation. Dick Van Dyke’s admonition to “Keep Moving” is important, but so is not getting run down.

The last thing I want to mention about today is with regard to giving a listen to a gentleman who says he fears too much centralization. He was speaking about the Voting Rights legislation-and he was cherry picking. Some of his points can be incorporated into a Voting Rights Act, without taking away the rights of ANY group of citizens. The greater point I wish to make is-It’s past time to acknowledge all those who are……sick and tired of being sick and tired.

July Road Notes, Day 1

2

July 5, 2021, Moriarty- I am in a more relaxed frame of mind, this time around-as compared to the “get there and get it done” mindset of May’s out and back. Departure out of Home Base was fairly early: 7 a.m., and I did have one Baha’i Zoom meeting this afternoon, but my flow was fairly even-between 65 and 80, most of the way (A few construction zones called for 45-55, but no workers were on the highways today, as it was a Monday Make-up, for Sunday’s Independence Day.)

I made a coffee stop at a Maverik, in Dewey, AZ, about 40 minutes into the drive. This is of note only because a poor soul, just trying to get a cup of joe, found the lid on his cup didn’t quite fit-the third time in a row, he told me, that this has happened. We agreed that he probably was not the only one to whom it occurred. I wished him a better day, and was glad that the lid on my cup was sealed.

I kept an eye on the roadsides, in an area between Camp Verde and Winslow where wildfire had wreaked havoc, in late June. There was a burn scar on the ground cover, in several spots, but no tree singeing. The road between there and Gallup was serene and, as mentioned earlier, no construction work. Going through Albuquerque was also no big deal-save that, when a Jeepster decided he wanted to “tandem race” me, on the Duke City’s east side along I-40, a state patrolman in an unmarked car flashed him to move over one lane-then looked over at me and told me to get behind his car-no pull-over, no citation, no warning-just “get out of the passing lane”. As I was essentially minding my own business, when the Jeepster became Jerkster, the officer’s command was easy enough to follow. They both left the freeway, at the next exit, and I continued over the mountain, to this eastern suburb.

I had stayed at Sunrise Motel, once before, under a previous owner. The current management is on a strict pandemic protocol: Phoned check-in, outdoor document reading and signing-with a six foot distance-though masks are not required outside, and key to be left in the room at check-out. The room is the same as before, complete with a rubber duck by the bathtub-as well as a plug that fits the drain (less common than one might think, in the days of drought and cutting costs).

Tomorrow, I head over through Texas-to my family in Grapevine.

The Second Half

2

July 1, 2021- The first six months of this year have produced some rather significant changes in my world. Chief among them was Mother’s changing her residence-thankfully of her own accord-after 66 years in the same house. With all of us pitching in, the gargantuan task was broken into a hundred fairly manageable pieces. Now, Mom is happily ensconced in a small, comfortable apartment, with her basic security set.

The other changes are more internal. I have jettisoned a few personal demons that, while not interfering in my life very much, did cause a certain tension to arise, unnecessarily, between me and certain people in the wider community. I have already noticed how much more relaxed things are, when I am in my favourite places around town.

There were, as always, journeys during the period January-June. One was not planned-but going to Massachusetts in May was never in question. Going to Carson City was a year overdue- one of my best friends, and her blessed children and grandchildren are like family to me.

The second half of 2021 will be similar, with most of July being on the road-again largely making up for the lost contacts of the pandemic year. I’m not worried about a variant-the masks and hand sanitizer will be with me, and I have been fully vaccinated. Variants will be around for decades to come, as they are with Ebola-and influenza. Life cannot and should not stop. August and September will mostly find me here in Prescott, save for a memorial hike on the Navajo Nation, on August 16 and a four-day visit to southern California, September 17-21.

In mid-August, I will determine the prudence of going to Europe, for four weeks in October, and plan accordingly, Much depends on any lingering quarantines at that time. November and December will again be Southwest-centric, with my serving as host, around Thanksgiving, hopefully attending a resumed Grand Canyon Baha’i Conference, around Christmas, and making a journey to southern New Mexico for a few days thereafter.

There will also be visits, at least once a month, to the Baha’i friends living along the Colorado River, in western Arizona, and always an eye towards getting up to Navajo and Hopi, as those areas open back up. The Red Cross is also opening its programs and services to in-person situations and meetings, starting within a few weeks, and I will remain open to helping in the schools, for special substituting activities.

Thus, the second half of this year will mirror, and expand upon, the first.

Breaking A Small Logjam

2

June 13, 2021- Every so often, I find myself with nothing to say, at a given moment. On a quiet routine day, such as today, rest takes priority, especially with one very active, at times frenetic week gone and a slightly quieter one ahead. Indeed, a Christian friend, at breakfast this morning, extolled the virtues of not working on the Sabbath of one’s Faith. We Baha’is are, unofficially, given Friday as a day of rest, yet statutes and the present course of the wider society make that sometimes problematic. Still, when I am tired, I take the time to rest.

Nonetheless, life goes on and commentary with it. A small fire broke out today in Cornville, about an hour northeast of here. I may pull a shift, or two, this week, at any shelter that opens in consequence to that fire. There are other matters to which I must attend-some maintenance on the Elantra, a few meetings to host and to attend, and the long overdue resolution of a personal health issue. Fires, and other social emergencies are never convenient, nor are most personal matters. Somehow, action is required on each one-and so on I go, along with anyone else who can make the time.

As for an ongoing flow of conversation, as to why the Federal and state governments move so slowly, if at all, on matters of concern to Joe Citizen, I give you the fact that each person in said governments has to deal with the same logjams of overwork and scheduling rest. There is a conflict in perception, between those who ARE rested and ready for action and those who are running on fumes. Some of us are just slow moving, overly meticulous (Obsessive Compulsive) and prone to overthinking. Others, myself included, take action on matters that present themselves, in as expeditious a manner as possible-giving deferred attention to things that are synchronous to what has our attention at the moment. (For example, a barrage of Instant Messages coming at a time when I am engaged in helping feed two dozen people.)

Each of us is important. None of us is as important as we sometimes want the world to think.

Reflections on A Day Taken Off

2

June 6, 2021- Thirty-nine years ago, today, Penny and I formalized our commitment to one another-and the marriage would last, through thick and thin, for twenty-nine years. I was hoping for at least forty, but we take what we are given. Some people are married for fifty years plus, and are inwardly miserable. We were not either. Speaking of which, as an aside, an indie artist, at a gathering on Saturday night, played a clip of his, on which a local philosopher opined: “”One who claims to be miserable, and at the same time insists he is right, is stating the impossible. It can never happen.”

Processing the loss of one of my closest cousins, I received word that a fellow member of the American Legion Post to which I belong had suffered a heart attack and is in hospital, facing the now de rigeur bypass surgery. He is one of the regulars, at our Sunday morning breakfasts, holding court and waxing eloquent about everything under the sun, in the style of an English aristocrat. That he is of Sicilian descent matters not. T’s heart and soul are rooted in the Merry Old Isle.

My day was otherwise occupied with the mundane-getting laundry done, gluing the front right quarter panel of my Hyundai, with the same substance that’s kept the back left in place, for nearly three years and watching episodes of “The Underground Railroad” and “Peaky Blinders”. Five of us pondered another set of quotes from the Universal House of Justice’s (Baha’i Governing Body) compilation on Social Action. I got in another workout.

In all this, I am looking at what is going on in the wider world, and just shaking my head, keeping up with it all, yet feeling as if it’s all a dream. The most important things in my life are all revolving around family, friends and the children-always, the children.

One of the traits that my cousin, John, had was presence, centering on who was in front of him, for as long as the person needed. That has not been my strong suit, though I am getting better at it. I am still not great at the perfunctory- greetings or conversation for their own sakes, especially online or long-distance. Birthdays and anniversaries are different; they draw my attention, because they matter so much. The rest of it-well, maybe my agenda is too broad and the next thing is always on my horizon. Still, I am making progress at being present, with someone who is in front of me, at any given time.

Twenty-nine years did teach me something.

Ruling Myself

2

April 20,2021- Today was essentially a good day-for my own self-control, in accepting the reality of a friendship’s nature. It was a good day for widening the scope of justice in our struggling nation. It was a good day for the Baha’i community, as we observed the First Day of Ridvan, the twelve-day period that celebrates Baha’u’llah’s declaration of His mission.

It was also a challenging day, in which someone on the edges of my circle told me, very bluntly, that he regarded himself and his children as my personal responsibility. To some extent, I have my own efforts to help him contact aid agencies to blame. I also recognize that he is an orphan, and as such cannot help but latch onto anyone who shows him kindness-demanding more and more, until the cord ends up being cut. I am playing out my endgame here, with a GoFundMe campaign and a continuing effort to match him with financial entities that are far better equipped to help, than is any lone individual.

I have waited a long time to be the ‘captain of my soul”. My actions will remain rooted in service to humanity-but NOT to anyone who barges into my space and expects fealty. I am involved in a far more global long game. Perhaps this is just another case of my holding someone, who wants to get close to me, at arm’s length-as another such individual told me, just before I blocked and deleted her from my life, nearly three years ago. More likely, I am figuring out how to handle someone who MAY be a grifter (most people who hound others for money ARE grifters). More likely, I am standing up and saying that my primary duty is to the Lord God; that my secondary duty is to my (biological) family and not to any interloper, no matter how many years he/she has been seeking my help.

As I said, today was a mixed bag-and this month, or next, may well end with some very emotional volleys being made.

So Many Questions

2

January 26, 2021-

Being the curious sort, I tend to raise matters of “What if?” and “Why?” in my head, while also seeking answers from my heart. The queries I have, regarding this life and its priorities, are largely answered in Baha’i Scripture.

Where I get more querulous, though, is with regard to flashes of images, and feelings that arise, that suggest events that happened long ago and places I’ve never been, both elsewhere on Earth and way beyond this planet. The best explanation I can summon, that is in keeping with my beliefs, is that as an energy being, I am tapping into the energy waves of people long departed, both my ancestors and those of like mind who were not directly related to me, but who had similar personalities to mine. Energy communication, and genetic memory, are like Chinese boxes-writ innumerable. We have no concept of from how far back they have been transmitted-and Quantum Physics devises at least thirteen dimensions, many curled up on themselves, from which energy can conceivably be drawn.

For now, though, I wonder as to the messages that these images and feelings are trying to convey. I am not quite on board with the whole Past Lives theory, but can make sense of the notion that energy, from those who lived in past ages and centuries, and from other parts of the Universe, is transmitted to those of us who are open to it, on a regular basis-and without channeling or summoning, which can be too easily faked.