The Queue

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January 6, 2020-

I have long been tagged as “an individual”, mostly in an admiring way.  The practice of setting one’s own course is often seen with adoring eyes, from a distance.  It is at the same time true, of many of those who look favourably upon the people who chart their own course, that there is a compelling need to follow the herd.

I have actually, in these later years, especially, found a fair amount of satisfaction in fitting in with society’s reasonable expectations.  I derive pleasure from honouring the queue, the sense that everyone else is just as entitled to respect, kindness and regard for their time, their hopes and dreams as I am.  Being a Bull in The China Shop stopped working for me, even before I met Penny.  Patience, indeed, has provided me with a keen sense of observing what is going on around me-things I’d have missed, in my late teens and twenties.

These thoughts came to mind, as I read Jordan Peterson’s notions on conformity.   It is true that the majority of things that society at large does, in a day, and the way in which these are done, is composed of what works.

Generations, though, will have their own take on matters, and the practice of the quotidian will change, with time.  I have found some of the methods put forth by the rising generations, in facing our day -to- day problems, actually make perfect sense-and so, I have adapted some of these in my own daily life.  I do so, knowing that I am not a Baby Boomer trying to be a copy cat, but a sentient being, gratefully adapting to a rather promising time.  My use of paper and plastics is down, for example, and I am maintaining a keen interest in the more organic foods and medicines that have emerged, over the past decade.

I do not sense the queue will disappear, nor will its underlying sense of order- but it will be accompanied by a stronger sense of inclusivity-not willy-nilly, but sensible, as we recognize a more unified order.

Starting at Home

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January 27, 2019- 

One of  my mother’s favourite sayings, “Charity begins at home”, was made a basis for many of my actions, as a child and as a teen.  Nothing was made, or done, that wasn’t shared with family, on some level.

So it is, also, with conservation- as the late John McCain was also fond of saying.  A few weeks ago, during the height of the ill-fated shutdown, I went up to Sunset Crater National Monument, to see if I might help with a clean-up.  It turned out not to be necessary, though there was a mess, on Federal land, some twenty miles west.  Others took care of that clean-up.

With the shutdown over, however temporarily, I decided to take some time, after a study session this afternoon, and check a popular local trail, Lynx Lake, for residual clean-up that might be needed.  I was thanked by a few other hikers, especially accepting three pooper bags in my larger trash bag.  It was rather cute, that a lone duck followed me in the water, as I walked along the north shore, collecting a few plastic bottles.  It was almost as if it knew that the toxic items were being removed.  Long story short, I put a half-filled trash bag in the dumpster of the  south beach.

It was a minor effort, in the scheme of millions of acres of Federal land needing attention, after the lengthy hiatus.  I can only hope that there were thousands of others stepping up and doing their part, with there being way too much to be done, as it is, by those returning to work.  I think of the first National Historic Site I ever visited:  Saugus Ironworks, of the most extensive I’ve ever seen:  Grand Canyon and of the park I visited most recently for the first time:  Valley Forge.  Then, there is Arlington National Cemetery; today would have been the 95th birthday of my father-in-law, who is interred there, along with his wife.

I can only hope there are no more shutdowns of government, but if there are, I know to be ready to help, as a citizen.

The Heart of Wealth

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December 22,2018, Phoenix-

I’m down here, during the day at least, for three days.  It is the 34th annual Grand Canyon Baha’i Conference. This year’s theme is  “Advancing Human Welfare and Prosperity:  What is Your Role?”

I’ve long had a view of money, wherein it is to be invested, and used, in a heartfelt manner.  Time was, when that led me to spend on my friends and family, though often in a haphazard way, which led some in the family to actually think I didn’t care about THEM.

Marriage and an extended family changed my practices. The needs of the home, then of our child, became paramount.  We still traveled a lot, as a family, and once we returned to live in Arizona, after 5 + years in South Korea, there were eight years of living in scant rent, (but not decrepit), houses.

Phoenix changed that and, after five years of relative prosperity and of meeting our bills-came the trifecta- Penny’s health got worse, Madoff came and made off with certain of the extended family’s investments and the housing crunch killed our heretofore carefully planned mortgage.  The microphone dropped, in a very bad way.

Fast forward to 2018, and the next bad national scene.  This time, however, I am in a better place, financially and in many other respects.  My sole task is to make sure that I don’t become anyone else’s burden- so the resources are to be nurtured, not to be handed out to any and all comers.  Enough said about that.

I am in good hands, in terms of advisement and here is the greater deal:  Like water, soil and any other resource, money does not dissipate for eternity.  It goes places, and needs to be tracked and nurtured.    If water is not conserved and stored, in a loving manner, it will flow back into the soil, or evaporate into the cloud cover, or get polluted and be rendered useless.   If money is not conserved, and invested, in a loving manner, then it will go willy-nilly, into the pockets of the unwise, who will always want more, or into the hands of the unseemly, who will sneer at one’s foolishness.

Wealth that endures, comes from the heart.  I am being nurtured, financially, because I tended to the extended family’s needs, four years ago, and orchestrated the sale of property that needed to be sold, in a prudent manner.  The other factor, which some may find hard to understand, is that careful giving, in the years since I recovered financially, has stoked the energy of prosperity.  That, and being detached from  the day-to-day ups and downs, have made life a whole lot easier and more productive, thus-increasing potential wealth.

Finally, as the speakers in the first day of this conference noted, wealth is intended to generate the OVERALL prosperity of the human race. There is no point, in the long run, of having a small coterie pile up wealth that they cannot possibly use, whilst there are others in such destitution as to bring any caring observer to the knees.  This does not mean random, forced confiscation of “excess” wealth.  It does mean, however,that there be a drastic, and widespread change of heart, especially among the wealthiest .1 % of the world’s populace.