The Red Bear


November 4, 2022- A small red ceramic bear, with a salmon wrapped around its neck, stands on my computer table. It’s kept me company for eleven years, along with a small praying angel figurine. Overlooking us, from the vantage point of the work desk, left me by my late father-in-law, are a red-haired cloth doll, in a full-length, felt Christmas green gown with white ruffle and a red cape in back. It bears a resemblance to Penny. To its left is a hand-made Nutcracker soldier, bearing a staff and given me by a beloved child, in 2015. Next left is a ceramic Buddha, which Norm got in Paris, in 1945, and is a family heirloom. The figurines are flanked by a framed photo of ‘Abdu’l-Baha, on the right and one of Aram, in Navy seaman garb, on the left.

My parents are in a framed photo, atop a white book shelf to the right of the desk. A small wedding photo of Aram and Yunhee sits next to that photo, and in between them is a paving stone from Boston’s Scollay Square renovation project, of the 1950s, given me by my late Uncle George. The U.S. flag is mounted on the left of that bookshelf. On the shelves underneath are a couple of gourds, a green decorative plate, with a Nine-pointed star in the middle, photos of Aram and his male cousins, and of my brother, Dave, his wife, Deb and their adult children. On the lower shelves are a painted rock, a dreamcatcher, a photo of Aram with Yunhee, in a lighter moment on their wedding day and another of the Shrine of al-Bab. A picture of a lotus flower and a hanging Peace flag round out the second shelf. Finally, a wooden water buffalo, from my VietNam days stands to the left of a small photo of Lori Ann Piestewa, a soldier killed in Iraq, who I knew as a child on the Hopi Reservation. A small piece of basalt sits on the far right corner of that third shelf.

Directly across from where I sit, on the surface of the desk, are a pair of silver dolphins, which I painted for Penny, when she was in hospital, in 2010; an incense bowl; a singing bowl and pestle; and a small metal baleen whale next to a miniature Hopi ceramic bowl.

These are what keep me company, when I choose to sit at Home Base, conserving energy and money for the activities that lie ahead, over the next three weeks.



October 26, 2022- Buddha’s smiling countenance greets all who walk into the sanctuary. The door to the large and welcoming home is open. I quietly enter and take the most obvious seat, as the reader of a sacred verse intones his selection. Other readers of sacred verses follow. Then we have a discourse, on the life and legacy of al-Bab. A delectable repast does not interrupt the flow of this discussion. Ice cream and cake guide us out of the session, though, as they remind us that this is a birthday celebration, albeit in honour of a Being Who left this Earth 172 years ago. The event is a testimony to the centeredness of the hosts.

The delighted twelve-year-old shows her increasingly organized and comfortable new home. It is probably the best residence she has ever known. It is, above all else, proof of the diligence and fortitude of her grandmother, who will never give up on her, or on her brother. Only the centeredness of that indomitable woman, and her own mother, both of whom I have known for over thirty-five years, makes things like this happen.

The tall, well-groomed gentleman takes his place as a senior non-commissioned officer, in the reserves of his branch of service. His wife of nearly four years stands proudly at his side. His father, far off in a different state, nonetheless reflects on the success of his only child. It is the centeredness of the family, especially of the young man’s grandparents,that transferred to him, and saw him through one of the toughest challenges he has had to face, in a good many years.

The little girl, in a far-off theater of combat, asks her father if all will be well for them. He stifles tears, and assures her that no harm will come her way, as long as he draws breath. The occupying soldiers look at the two of them, and are somehow reminded of their own children, in a more peaceful place. They let the two of them pass, and the father remains centered on the safety of the most important person in his life.

Centeredness, presence are far more basic gifts to any one of us, than we sometimes recognize. They are what truly connect us to the rest of the Universe. They are the true manifestations of this thing called love.



April 24, 2022- The imposing figure sat comfortably in his folding chair, and detailed the struggles which led him to his current career as a metaphysical healer. Metaphysics, essentially, is the process of first having an idea, then bringing it into fruition. It is conception, followed by manifestation. The healer described his once decrepit health, and the long process of meditation, natural supplement-taking and overall lifestyle changes that have restored him to a modicum of good health. While he is still exhausted at the end of a day and has to make choices as to activities, his countenance is robust and youthful, his intellect sharp and his demeanor energizing to all who are around him.

The notion of a spirit being able to manifest what is desired is an ancient one- Gautama Siddhartha, the Founder of Buddhism, said “When you truly want something and go after it, without limiting yourself with disbelief, the Universe will make it happen.” He also said ” All that we are is the result of what we have thought.” This sentiment would be repeated by Jesus the Christ: “Ask and it shall be given to you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you.”– Gospel according to Matthew 7:7 and by ‘Abdu’l-Baha, “The reality of man is his thought, not his material body. The thought force and the animal force are partners. Although man is part of the animal creation, he possesses a power of thought superior to all other created beings. “– Abdu’l-BahaParis Talks, pp. 17-18. Native American and African tribal traditions say the same thing.

The concept of transcendence, then, is an essential one. We must remember, also, as the healer above acknowledged, that the last step of any thought process is action. The Universe will present a soul with what is requested. It is up to the soul, to the spirit, to accept what is offered. Thus, it is a person’s duty to self to take what has been asked to have manifested and to use it in a manner conducive to the elevation of the soul.

I have a sense that he will long continue in healing himself and others. As for me, I look forward to similarly continuing to manifest what is beneficial both to myself and to all around me.

Little Stuff


May 16, 2020-

As I have thrown some very lengthy “shares” on my other social medium, I will keep this brief and just mention a few things that come to mind, as the night progresses.

I haven’t seen the Moon, in its waning phase, this month.  Turns out, it rises at 2 a.m. and sets when it’s mid-afternoon.  I do, however, go outside and meditate under the stars, before calling it a night.

My computer desk is something of an altar.  Penny appears in three photos. My singing bowl is right in front of me.  A family heirloom Buddha, which my father-in-law brought back from Paris, in 1945, sits atop the mantle, next to a hand-carved wooden soldier, modeled after the ones in Nutcracker Suite.   A photo of ‘Abdu’l-Baha and one of our son bookend the mantle.

I planted my four vegetables, this afternoon, adding  granulated organic food scraps to the soil and spraying animal repellent around the area.  Javelina tend to come in the yard, during the night, so I want to get them accustomed to not liking the scent of the yard.

Now, it’s time to change course and say goodnight to the laptop.  Books have their turn, in my wind-down.


Siddhartha’s Goal


May 7,2020-

Leaving home and family,

He glimpsed a glorious goal,

from embracing-nothingness.

Leaving behind wealth and status,

He chose to sit under a banyan,

and encounter His deepest inner self.

Walking with a small bag and walking staff,

He encountered the mountains,

at the roof of the world.

The goal he saw, was a peaceful heart,

completely detached from gold and mire, alike.

He knew there would be suffering,

and He knew there would be solace.

Gautama’s birth, celebrated by His followers,

on this day,

was the start of a glorious journey,

away from bondage and shopworn doctrine.

The cycle has ever been thus.

The Road to 65, Mile 42: Denouement


January 9, 2015, Prescott-   The people of France exercised their collective fury this morning, through the offices of their gendarmerie.  There was collateral damage, as happens in any conflict, but the three terror-mongers met their earthly end.  There will be no reward in the afterlife, for their acts of horror. There were reports that the woman who was with the Bakery Killer was on her way to ISIL Land.  I can’t imagine she is in for a warm reception there, but it would be equally uninviting for her in Europe, after this morning’s bloodbath.

There is a price for not considering the human race, in the course of pursuing one’s own twisted game plan.  John Donne warned us about this, centuries ago; Christ and Buddha, long before that.  Every single tyrant who has spat upon the needs of the common folk has met a sad end.  The same will happen to IS, to Boko Haram, Taliban, Al Shabab, the Rakhine Mabatha and the various drug cartels.

It is not a First World problem, and the current populace of Europe, or of North America, does not deserve to be forcibly driven back to a Medieval way of life, nor do the people of any other part of the world deserve to remain under such a yoke.  This is the Age of Responsibility, and every person on Earth is deserving of the pursuit of true happiness, which does not, and never will, come form kowtowing to the warped interpretations of  Scripture, being spewed forth by unhappy souls.

The last act in the tragedy of the past few days, may just have taken place, in the fire of this morning.  It may still be in the works, depending upon the subsequent actions of Hayat Boumedienne and whoever she draws into this conflict.  The end game, however, will not fall play out according to their plan.