On They Go

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January 9, 2020-

My son, Aram, and daughter-in-law, Yunhee, have arrived, by now, in Boston.  They left here, early this morning, on the second leg of their family visits, after three days at Home Base.  We visited long-time family friends.  I was able to introduce Aram to several friends, whom Yunhee had met over the Christmas season:  The owner-proprietor at Ms. Natural’s; the cacao products maker, and her tea-crafter associate, at Synergy (Sedona natural coffee and tea shop); a local cosmetics distributor, and her sister, my dearest friend, of whom I can truthfully say that I am as close or as distant, as she wants  me to be.

We enjoyed fine dining and casual meals- and improvised meals at home.  We hiked a bit, in Sedona.  Mostly though, they had the safe space they needed, to process their respective paperwork and to make their calls, in a warm and comfortable house.  They left in good position, for the life that awaits them, when the family visits are over and establishing a household takes center stage.

The rising generations are doing just fine, from where I sit.   Their world view is measured, their choices informed and their dreams are grounded.  I have watched my little family work together, to solve serious matters and routine tasks which would be vexing for one person to do alone.  I see others who are struggling,  and keep them in prayer, daily, that they may get past their anger and resentment.  Learning to trust is probably one of the strongest skills I was able to impart to my son-especially learning to trust himself.

I know “the kids” will serve the world, and humanity, just fine.  They go on, with the vision and drive that will not ignore, or sweep aside, the major concerns which some currently in power find too complex for resolution.

Plan A, 2020

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January 3, 2020-

I spent several hours, with my daughter-in-law, waiting for Aram’s flight to arrive from Seattle.  We went to Phoenix in the evening, but not late enough to avoid  a stretch of sitting around at the Airport. I need to work on my downtime skills, especially when it involves a “captive audience.”

This is obliquely related to what lies ahead, during what is likely to be an extraordinary year.  Consultation needs to be consistently carried out, in matters great and small.  Towards that end, my best friend recently reminded me of the importance of a yearly plan-mindful that life can upend the best laid plans, at a moment’s notice, but attracting divine support for the plan, anyway.

So, here is what 2020 looks like, as of today.

Commitments and Givens:   Be mindful, yet stay creative. Work whenever possible,  from January-May and September-December.  Keep regular volunteer activities, during the above time frames.  Stay present, and communicate regularly, with all members of my Tribe, especially those closest.  Honour all life, including my own. Celebrate brother’s special birthday, as he sees fit. Celebrate my own special birthday.  Retire in December.

Journeys:  January– Valley of Fire State Park, east of Las Vegas;  February– Indio (Concert) and Colorado River Valley, from Parker to Yuma; April– San Diego and Orange County; June, July & August– North Rim of Grand Canyon, Carson City, Portland, Olympic Peninsula, Vancouver Island, Prince Rupert, Southeast Alaska, Trans-Canada Highway, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Atlantic Canada, New England,  Philadelphia,eastern Midwest and Southeast, Florida (maybe even South FL and a bit of the Bahamas), across the South to Dallas and then back to Prescott;  October– Petrified Forest, Painted Desert and Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park.

Of course, this is what I am getting from my meditations, NOW.  Much is left to conditions on the ground, at the time things are about to happen.  In any event, this is what I get as my plan, at the start of the year.

Why We Fight

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June 5, 2019-

I came back down to Prescott, to support a gathering of friends, being one of the few occasions I am allowing myself to be here, the next two months.  There is, simply put, much I feel I have to do elsewhere-starting with the Junior Youth (Middle-school age) gathering, this weekend, in which I will assist.  Understand that I am taking full ownership of my choices.

The title of the post came about largely in reaction to this week’s slow news item about an ongoing “high level” feud, which I will not dignify by mentioning its specifics.  I am not much of a fighter, for fighting’s sake.  Threats to children and other vulnerable beings are another matter.

I see, though, that there is fair amount of quarreling that takes place.  Fear seems to be the main driver- the old “fight or flight” choice is usually offered. Some fear not being taken seriously.  Others fear the loss of their position or dignity.  Still others fear even the loss of all they value.  I am not cowed by those who act out of fear; neither will I necessarily accede to their demands.  There are ways, through consultation, to remove fear-based decision making.

Ego is another impetus.  If one is given to think of self as some sort of master, then scolding, berating or being otherwise forceful with those around self is the order of the day.  I know of one person,no longer in my life, who has nonetheless recently tried to re-enter, with psychic threats of  otherwise making my life in Prescott so miserable, that I will flee.  None of it will work.  Baha’u’llah once is said to have written that, unless one is so firm in faith, that not even the presence of all one’s enemies, with drawn swords, would cause vacillation, then the soul can not truly call self a true believer.  I accept that, even without knowing the exact source.  Besides, Penny and the other angels in my life are around to see me safely along.

I also accept that my friends and family will only value me, as much as I value them.  The Universe operates on this principle.  Were it not so, the human race would be even more hamstrung by imbalance than we already are.

I want, by patience and remaining present, to eliminate as many of the conflicts in my life as is humanly possible.  Be back when I can, over the next few limited-Internet days.

 

Impact

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December 24, 2018, Phoenix-

One of the admittedly annoying aspects of e-mail is the constant barrage of “Double (Triple) Your Impact!” pitches for donations. So as not to be misunderstood, I like efficient use of funds and that which increases the likelihood that more people will be positively affected by the contribution is all the better.

A positive framework for the term is Impact Experience, a company that focuses on bridge building, in terms of a network between investors and communities at risk.  Founded by Jenna Nicholas, in 2015, this enterprise has worked in communities, regardless of local political culture-the main thrust being reworking the way people see local economies and potential for prosperity.  http://impact-experience-dev.squarespace.com/process/

The common attributes noted for a culture whose purpose is prosperity, rather than profit, are:

  • Distribution of wealth, by partnership, rather than by force.
  • Consultation as the primary communication model.
  • Employee development
  • Sustainability

This culture must undergo change, which occurs in the following stages:

  • Definition;
  • Communication;
  • Reinforcing education;
  • Integration;
  • Practice;
  • Reflection

Where things have fallen apart, in recent years, has been the lack of persistence, often from a skewed perception of the process of change.  One, or more, of the above steps have either been omitted or not properly completed.

As was said earlier, real change is messy.  People stumble, are embarrassed, get discouraged or cave in to pushback.  It helps to realize that few of those who question change are, in the real sense, reactionaries or “knuckle draggers”, just as few of those wanting drastic change are wild-eyed revolutionaries, or “bomb throwers”.

Change is messy, trust comes hard, but both are necessary, in order to bring about the economic justice, for which so many pine.  Listening, with both ears, and action, with all one’s attention and effort, are imperative.

The 2018 Road, Days 2-3: Pre-conceived notions, Heart Pancakes and A Warrior Princess

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May 27-28, 2018, Carson City- I got into Carson City, and a long-time friend’s house, around 10:15, on Sunday night.  I’ve been here, each year since 2012, on either Memorial Day or Independence Day. The members of Family S have been like biological family to me, for far longer-since the early 1990’s.

So, a stop up here has been a precursor to my summer time excursions, whether I’m headed northwestward or am eastbound.  I’ve known some family members since they were tweens and now am honoured by the presence of Princess B.  She will remain off-screen here, per my own policy when it comes to children, but B. is a highly intelligent and imaginative young lady and nobody will lay a hand on her, by my lights- or those of her grandmother, let alone on her parents’ watch.

Monday was spent in study of a Baha’i text that deals with consultation.  This is a practice that is sorely needed, not just in this country, but across the globe.  How many times have I found friends, even from other parts of the world, not opening their minds and hearts to other points of view?    The text I studied yesterday reminds us that no one person has all the answers, nor does any one group.  We watched a PBS documentary on the many aspects of warfare, after the study session.  Failure to view people outside one’s group, community or nation as human, or worthy of respect, has been the single greatest underlying cause of warfare, throughout history.  This is true, regardless of the cause of record.

All day today, Tuesday, I have thought of the world being left to B and her contemporaries, and to my grandchildren, yet unconceived, unborn.  She, her grandmother and I enjoyed a lovely Chinese buffet, shopped for things we needed at Target and Best Buy and came back for a “group project”, involving a streaming device and antennas.  Then, we enjoyed pancakes, including  two heart-shaped gems.

Those of you who have followed me , for the past several years, know that I have regularly come across heart-shaped items, both in natural and urban settings.  Here is a view of one heart-shaped pancake, before it was claimed by its rightful owner, our indomitable warrior princess.

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This visit was way too short, we all agreed, before B left with her father.  Tomorrow, I may connect for a bit with another WP reader, not far from here, before heading across Nevada and Utah.  Hopefully, I will also connect with extended family in Colorado and friends along the eastward route.   The centerpiece of this trip, my youngest niece’s wedding, looms three short week from now.

Interdependence Day

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July 4, 2017, Carson City- 

We went, together, to a robust carnival

with Funnel Cake and kettle corn.

Little girl got her face painted,

lost and found her favourite stuffed bear,

and got to dance to a song by a local cover band.

She is guarded, carefully,

by all, whose hearts she has captured.

Group got a prime seat,

to view the fireworks,

on the high school field.

We, an eclectic family,

hang together.

Teams fought fires,

across northwest Nevada,

around Arizona,

and probably

in California, too.

Tight were those teams,

which made progress on their fights.

Families, nationwide,

had picnics and barbecues.

Some were simple;

some, elaborate.

Not much gets done,

anymore,

without prior consultation.

A friend in the Midwest

concurred with me,

that our species is evolving,

rapidly,

towards a tighter interdependence.

It is that,

which I celebrated today.

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Guiding Spirits

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June 4-5, 2016, Burntwater, AZ-  There are, as I have indicated various times, several places in the world where I feel like family, and not just a passing acquaintance who is forgotten as soon as I leave.  Reno/Carson City is one such place, the Prescott area, where I live most of the time,  Metro San Diego (where my son lives) – and this small corner of the country’s largest Indian Nation, are among the others.  Burntwater used to have a trading post.  Now, it has the Native American Baha’i Institute of Learning.  That may sound redundant, but educating people of all ages has been the core purpose of this facility, since it was founded, in 1981.  I always feel like the Guiding Spirits are with me here.  When I arrived here, on Friday night, it was late, so I rolled out the sleeping bag and slept under the stars, as we all had, that first weekend on the property- when there were no buildings.

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Native American Baha’i Institute’s 35th Anniversary

Thus, about thirty of us gathered here, these past two days-  to recount the past thirty-five years and to plan, with a group of service-oriented youth, for its immediate and short-term future.  NABIL has come far, since 10-15 of us gathered here, in June, 1981, and sat with a group of Dine’ (Navajo) elders, asking them what they wanted to see here.  I remember the first thing on their list was reliable water.  So, a dowser came to visit, a well was dug, and the long drive to a pump, of spotty reliability, was over, within three months.  That well has been replaced, by an even more reliable water source, in the past ten years.  Local residents can get a portion of water that they all agreed upon, in council, with everyone’s opinion heard and considered, by the community. This is how Dine’, and most Native Americans across the country, are used to doing things.  A weekly community dinner is offered on Thursday evenings, and this is also a chance for residents to freely air their concerns.

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The Library is the central meeting place, for consultation and mindfulness.

Financial literacy classes, the trades and some college preparatory classes are among the services that the current staff are hoping to see offered here, in the next several years.  The Institute has come a long way.  I stayed in a comfortable lodge, for the second night I was there.

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As with any place that people gather, the dining hall is also a key place for consultation and camaraderie.

I was asked, upon getting ready to leave on Sunday morning, to remember that I must not be a stranger here.  The permanent staff have been like family to me, for a long time, so I will bear that in mind.  Driving across Hopi, also a place that is home, I found the place quiet, though I later learned that there was a social dance, which I apparently missed.  No worries, as there were two fires, along the route  back to Prescott, and I had to focus on getting back in one piece.  It looked as if the fires were under control, though.

I was back, and had my house cooled off, by 6 PM.  Now, let’s see what a week in one place will look like.