The Struggles of Good Men

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April 25, 2022- A co-worker spoke of her husband’s having to wrestle with the uptick in rental rates, and the pressure it puts on those who, like himself, have genuine compassion for their clients who risk being put out on the street. Large scale rental agencies try to do their tasks efficiently, yet are more susceptible to macroeconomics than are individual, or small-scale, landlords, who can choose to cut their own costs or at least negotiate trade-offs with their tenants.

Masculinity matters, just as much as femininity. It hardly needs to come across as ungainly or overbearing, any more than femininity need appear as flighty or sappy. Both forms of energy are needed, in their time and from the same persons, both male and female. My father was tough when he had to be, and the epitome of gentleness and kindness, when those were in order. The same is so with my mother.

Pairings of males and females are essential to society, and even gay couples take their essential relationship cues from their heterosexual fellows. Everyone has a forceful element and a nurturing element. To ignore either one is to hobble in imbalance. Although I am doing well on my own, a keen interest in the well-being of both male and female friends and family is a very basic core of my being.

Long may good men overcome their challenges.

Unstuck

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August 31, 2021- I was given to a bit of a rant, yesterday, none of which I regret. I still stand for the betterment of the lives of people, through networking, consistent effort, perseverance. I will never subscribe to the quick fixes of begging, unilateral solving of other peoples’ problems, exclusion of certain groups for the benefit of the relative few.

A student asked today, whether it was to be the norm for people to be expected to hate being White. It should never be, that anyone be made to hate who he or she is. I stand, foursquare, for inclusion-of everyone, regardless of their falling into any category. It is violence, deluded thinking, taking advantage of others and actively working to deprive others of their God-given rights, which I oppose. The student in question should certainly, always, love who he is.

Many around the world are, simply put, “stuck in second gear”, to quote the theme song of the old TV show, “Friends”. I have gone through periods of such a state of mind and body. The Baha’i Faith helped me get unstuck, but I had to make the consistent, persevering effort to overcome that state of mind completely. Only then could the balance between conservative and progressive, rational and emotional, decisive and contemplative be established.

Being unstuck brings greater responsibility, as well as greater reward, and I look forward to being, more and more, part of the solution, not part of the problem.

The Tenth Anniversary Torrent

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August 11, 2021- The nimble little girl danced in the rain, barefoot, to the music inside her head, carefully prancing and pirouetting, along a fairly narrow wall between her alley and the parking lot of a nearby restaurant. S captured my heart several years ago, as a shy, grinning toddler, who proudly showed me how well she could ride her tricycle. She and her family are essential to our neighbourhood, alternately taking a leading role in keeping a sense of balance between an “Over 55” mentality and a street overrun with kids, and being, for a short period, the only child-centered family on the block. I don’t mind the street full of kids part at all, as that was the way it was in my childhood-we children were everywhere. I watched S dance, from my living room window, lest she had slipped and fallen-in which case, I’d have been across the street like a shot. Every child who lives in this block has my heart. As it is, they also have my admiration, especially when living out their dreams.

The afternoon had brought a torrent of rain, on top of yesterday’s deluge. As I watched the sheets of precipitation pour down, I was reminded that it was ten years ago, today, that I wrote my first post on Word Press, after my previous blogsite, Xanga, became monetized. There are people I miss from Xanga, that I have not heard from since 2011. There are also those who turned on me, some for good reason, and others in fits of pique. For the most part, I am still in contact, either here or via other social media, with the Xanga friends who have stuck by me.

Many other changes have enveloped me, in this past ten years. Rage stemming form personal affronts now seems cheap and a waste of energy. I no longer harbour thoughts of long-distance thru-hikes of the Appalachian or Pacific Crest Trails, at least for the time being. There is simply too much to be done, with other people around, both here in Home Base and further afield. I am more contemplative, before speaking or acting. A Basal cell has been removed and my immune system has been largely built up.

is There are other ways in which life is the same. My best friends, locally, are for the most part almost a decade or more, younger than me. My contemporaries don’t understand me any better than they ever did. That’s fine; being someone who is humoured and sent on his way has been my lot, among my age-mates, for a very long time. The “kids”, from Gen X to the Alpha Generation, have come to know me better, as I worked with them day-to-day. I can talk with many of them for a long time, without their passing judgement or getting their socks in a knot over some real or imagined slight. There are exceptions, among the Baby Boomers-like my hiking buddy, but it is with those my junior that I am most in my element.

Ten year into Word Press, self-assuredness and recognition that I am a person of worth have grown-and all the journeys of mind and body have only gotten richer.

Full Power

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April 4, 2020-

Today, the fourth day of the fourth month, is also seen by numerologists and astrologers  as Universal Year 4. This is figured by adding the digits of the year: 2+0+2+0= 4.  It is considered a year of feminine power, as multiples of two reflect feminine energy, whilst odd-numbered years reflect masculine energy.

I tend to have a balance of the two, having been raised by parents whose power was balanced.  Many, both male and female, who were raised in an imbalance-usually  patriarchic , have judged me as weak or even effeminate, as I  have leaned away from aggression-most of the time, in my earlier days, and always, of late.

Feminine energy, as most of my readers know, is far from weak.  I was raised by a lioness, who nonetheless knew how to nurture, as well how to exact obedience.  My father also showed a good balance of masculine and feminine, in his discipline. So, in my maturity, I chose a career that stressed being both supportive and showing my charges the value of boundaries.  The vast majority of “my kids” have grown to be mature, grounded and productive citizens, even those who have hard lives.

Now, in late middle age, I find myself cheering the arrival of a more balanced culture.  These Twenties are bound to be rough for many, who hang on to shopworn ways of looking at and doing things.  This year has already dragged many through the ringer, and the rest of us just taking one day at a time.  I am still ready to do what is needed to bring in the real sunshine, knowing that the love of the aging is going to be needed, as those of the Rising Generations:  Younger Gen X, Millennials, Generation Z and the Alpha Generation, will be doing the heavy lifting.

Each day is bringing with it, full power-the power each of us needs to effect transition- our own individual, that of the nations and of the planet.  Rise with the Sun, live your day fully and rest well at night.  We are all needed, in our way.

 

As We Grow

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March 21, 2020-

Is it crucial,

to know who is to blame?

Is it a matter of life and death,

whether one’s opinion

is correct?

Is it reckless,

to take time and

look at a dire situation,

with clear eyes,

and do the right thing

the first time around?

Is it selfish,

to balance one’s

private time,

money,

energy,

with the needs

of the disenfranchised,

the destitute,

the abandoned?

The well, after all,

needs to collect

the rain,

the snow-melt,

the run-off.

The soul

is an energy field,

and thus must

every so often,

regroup from

stasis

and

surge forward,

with renewed vigor.

The sentient being

is always learning,

sometimes from mistakes

and other times,

from immersion

in what is.

We are always

growing.

 

Righting the Ship

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February 23, 2020-

So, I got back to Home Base around 4 a.m., doing what is customary, under such circumstances: Sleeping for three hours.  It was then time to shower and do devotions, as always, and head off to the American Legion, for the last breakfast I will have with the mates, for a month or so-as my final physical Fast is approaching (March 1-19, this year).  A devotional meeting followed, in Prescott Valley, for which I was actually quite mentally present.

More sleep took up early afternoon, thus righting my physical/mental ship.  Among other things, the illness that lingered, for nearly two weeks, is finally gone.  Maybe the exercise, of pushing myself to do the long round trip to/from Indio, was exactly what was needed to push the remnants out.  Sometimes, counter-intuitive is the way to go.

At last night’s concert, Sheryl took a few minutes to engage the audience, as to who in the crowd was in their thirties, forties and fifties, the last being her own age group.  She asked how many were still having fun, in their fifties-as she certainly is.  A goodly number gave a rousing response.   That’s gratifying; people ought to enjoy life, at any age.  She didn’t ask US-those in our sixties and beyond, but I am, my row mates (also in their sixties) and the seventy-somethings, who were seated across the aisle, seemed to be having a great time of it, as well.

So, on we go. This coming week brings Mardi Gras, Ash Wednesday/Lent and, for us Baha’is, Ayyam-i-Ha (the Intercalary Days of feasting and gift-giving, before our Fast begins, a week from today).

May it be a great run-up to Leap Day!

 

Each One, Let The Other One Live

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November 22, 2019-

I am reading the updated version of a young adult novel, “Abbie Wize: AWAKE”.   It is the story of a misunderstood, isolated and battered young girl, who experiences a unique spiritual awakening.  Her main nemesis is her own mother, who appears at this point in the novel as a brutal and controlling menace.

Jordan Peterson’s Rule 10 is ” Don’t Knock A Teenager Off A Skateboard”.  Basically, our task as members of society is to not be so up in other people’s business, that we quash their legitimate joys, experiences and efforts.     This is even true, to an extent, of parents, so long as a child is not harming self or others.

I tend to concur with that sentiment.  My own parents were not brutes and I can count on one hand the number of times I was physically chastised, as a child and teen.  I was not too different, as a father, in that respect.

As adults, many tend to think it is within their boundaries to prescribe to others, exactly how they should be handling their business.  There is a story about an old man, a young boy and a donkey.  As they went on their journey to a town that was ten kilometers away, the old man walked, while the boy rode the donkey.  Some objected, saying the robust boy should let his elder ride.  They switched places and kept going.  Others appeared, berating the old man for making such a small child walk.  The boy joined the old man, riding the donkey.  Animal rights activists chided the pair, for putting the poor donkey under such a strain.  The man and boy decided the activists were right, and began carrying the donkey!  A group of rowdy men gathered, and began mocking the two, for being so stupid as to carry an animal.  The old man and the boy decided to take turns riding the donkey, and so they went the rest of the way in peace.

Dr. Peterson’s point here is not that we should be apathetic towards our fellows, but that we should adopt a posture of seeing each other as they see themselves, and taking steps to encourage right behaviour-rather than aiming our arrows solely at what is being done wrong.

This, combined with his earlier point about listening to one’s critics, calls for a balance in our interactions with one another.  I have learned to measure my criticism carefully, as well as to sift my own naysayers’ words, with a view towards continuous self-improvement.

 

Bosons and Fermions

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September 18, 2019-

Each Boson, in a Supersymmetric String,

has a companion Fermion.

One is positive,

the other, negative.

This makes these minute building blocks

of the Universe,

the same, in terms of relationship,

as protons and electrons;

as light and dark;

as energy and entrophy;

as warm and cold;

as strong and weak.

One trades off the other.

In a sense, each depends on the other,

for its existence.

Even at the most inscrutably minute level,

there is a balance to be maintained.

The Seesaw

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August 10, 2019-

The seesaw was built for balance.

Gradually, that balance wore away,

as the bigger kids always favoured,

the right-hand side.

Getting to the seesaw first,

they managed to decide

how high, how fast,

it went up and down.

One day, a clever one,

from among the littles,

figured out how to restore

the balance.

He made some progress,

but was beaten

and chased off,

by those from both groups,

who were used to

things as they  were.

Try as they might, though,

the big kids couldn’t

restore the imbalance.

After several tries,

a series of little kids

began to enjoy the left side

being equally balanced

with the right.

There was an equal chance

for either to be above.

The bigger kids,

and some of the littles,

began to wail,

to cry UNFAIR!

One of the biggest

then got on the seesaw,

landing on it hard.

He knocked the device

out of balance again,

so much so,

that neither most of the littles

nor many of the bigs,

were happy.

Those who were happy,

were very loud about it,

and outshouted the unhappies.

This went on for some time,

until the more thoughtful

on both sides,

took a good, hard look

at the seesaw.

In the dead of night,

they restored the balance.

No one had to be hurt or maimed,

it was just that the right thing happened.

 

DISCLAIMER:  The “left” and “right”, in this poem refer only to the sides of an actual seesaw, and not to the political right or left.

 

Gratitude Week, Day 3: Health

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November 20, 2018, Prescott-

The last day of work before Thanksgiving came and went, with barely a hitch.  The students are surrounded by people who want to be working with them.  That has not always been the case, and the kids know when it isn’t.

Health, both physical and mental, depends not only on one’s genes and personal habits, but on how connected one is to those around us. I have been in good health for over ten years now, even counting the infections contracted whilst I was Penny’s caretaker and the recent knee strain.  It has been being surrounded by a largely independent, but genuinely loving, network of friends, to whom I paid homage two days ago, and to extended family, to whom I will pay similar tribute on Thanksgiving Day, which has brought me home, in terms of radiance and stamina.

A good daily balance of work and play, rest and activity, socialization and solitude has kept me in recovery from whatever ailments are brought on by aging and occasional stress.  I am grateful to do Terra essential oils, Planet Fitness and our systems of forests and parks, at all levels of government and of private landowners (Nature Conservancy, various local trusts) who allow access to their treasured sites.  I am indebted to those who provide healthful food and beverages, often but not always, free of Genetically-Modified Organisms and sometimes meatless.

I have much towards which to work, both gainfully and as a volunteer, over the next several years.  My health community is a key component of the process.

Tomorrow, I will offer a shout-out to those who have kept our communities, states and country safe and to those who work towards a safer world.