Elasticity, Drums and A Nerf Torpedo


March 8, 2020, Phoenix- 

I drove down here, this afternoon, to take in the last day of a the three-day McDowell Mountain Music Festival (M3F), held in my former home base’s spacious Hance Park.  This is a time when I touch base, however briefly, with a hyper-energetic artist friend, Pam Mayer, who dances, with and without hoops, encourages young women to do the same and rivets the attention of many, with her irrepressible mien.  Today was more of the same- I may not be Pam’s favourite pest, but  do get in enough quips, and pitches for the Drum Circle that is M3F’s spiritual centerpiece, to get at least a few eye rolls out of the Valley’s most mature “teenage girl” (my term, not hers).  I don’t go looking for her, mind you, but if I turn around at the right moment, there she is, hoops and all.  So it was, this afternoon, at two of the five locations to which I wandered.  Good hoop dancing requires elasticity, which God knows I fairly lack and of which Pam has an abundance.  She’s a treasure.

The other riveting thing about this festival, besides the music, is the mass of humanity.  There was no climate of fear in this gathering- with people of every age, generation and ethnicity-in abundance.  I spent a fair amount of time bouncing along to both reggae and country rock bands, as well as taking in a show by a techno-pop DJ.  He calls himself Bardz.



At the country rock set, Los Colognes, a band out of Nashville, kept us leaning in and bouncing along. They have not been back to their own homes, to assess any damage from the recent deadly tornado, so the poignant musical tribute to Music City was one of the auditory high points of the day.  I wish the guys safe passage home.


In between the reggae set  by The Green, not pictured, as I was too busy bouncing up and down, and practicing my shaka (easier with the right hand, than with the left, for some reason), and LC’s performance, I took a brief rest, along the black mesh fence at the park’s northern edge.  There, I was captivated by two adorable children, who were tossing a Nerf torpedo back and forth, sometimes getting in the personal spaces of other concert goers.  Everyone played along though, and when the toy ended up in The  Green’s buffer zone, event security people gleefully came over and gave the torpedo back to one of the kids.

That brings me to the Drum Circle.  This time, I sat in on both of the sessions.  Hand drumming, besides bouncing along to the music, is one of my favourite sound-centered pastimes.  Today was no exception, and as I kept up with the drum master’s rhythms, it was enjoyable to also encourage a variety of people to join in.  A couple of  families were led by one or two of the children to sit in and a couple of elders joined the festivities.

The festival’s energy and vibrations were perhaps best summed up by a group of five friends, who clasped their right hands together, towards the end of Los Colognes’ set.  Even in this challenging month and season, with Coronavirus and the accompanying economic setbacks, we are together in this joyous thing called life.






The Indissoluble Bond


February 8, 2019, Chino Valley-

Every second and fourth Friday evening, God willing, a group of us gathers at the home of two dear friends, here in this town, 15 miles north of Prescott.  We share a meal, then indulge in drumming and chanting, with a flautist accompanying much of the music.

There is, of course, conversation before, after and in between the musical selections.  One of the members of the group shared the traditions and teachings of the Cherokee of North Carolina, explaining that there has been some divergence within the tribe, with regard to dialect and certain customs, as a result of the Trail of Tears and its resulting geographic isolation, of one group from another.

He performed a traditional Cherokee blessing, prior to the meeting’s end.  This is shared below, as performed by another vocal group.  I see similarities with other cultures, from Keltic Irish to Zulu, in terms of blessings wished upon visitors and loved ones.  We each noted that there is an essential tie between humans, both regardless of physical distance and regardless of separation by time.

I can feel an almost palpable connection, with my maternal grandfather, who I never met and with paternal ancestors, who I have been assured are watching over me constantly, from the distance of several hundred years.  Likewise, among those who live hundreds, or thousands, of miles away, I feel an unbreakable bond-though we may see one another once, or not at all, in the course of this earthly life.  Whether through genetic memory or a spiritual envelope, the ties have been, and continue to be, unbreakable.

The bonds that some try to break, out of fear, narcissism or ignorance, can never really be broken.  We are at a stage, in our human evolution, when connections are, or are about to be, seen for their true nature:  Indissoluble.

Not Superfluous


December 28, 2018, Prescott-

It’s bitter cold, by local standards, today, and will be into tomorrow. So, our Drum Circle was canceled, illnesses are raging, here and elsewhere across the country (I’m feeling fine, but many friends are in a shaky condition), and my focus today is largely on catching up with journaling and cataloguing my photos from summer, on Flickr (No, still not done with that task; other things have taken precedence.)

I have taken stock of my feelings, attitudes and views of people, and shed a fair amount of remaining baggage from long ago.  It collectively had as much use to me as my appendix (which is fine, by the way), so packing it up and shipping it to the ether, after last night’s conversation, was a great relief, actually.

What is useful to me, what is not superfluous, are my ties to people, my inherent love and wanting to do what can actually help them do better for themselves.   Just living, caring, accomplishing, experiencing and belonging-those are really what matters.  Judging, fearing, projecting-those are meaningless, in the long run.

So, there  isn’t much “new”, on this menseversary  of turning  68, but as I go off for a seafood dinner and an hour of exercise afterwards, I feel renewed by letting go of the lead ballast.


Answers to “Getting to Know Me” Query


April 20, 2018, Prescott-

The day begins with the news that there will be a teacher walkout, across Arizona, next Thursday.  What that means for us, at Prescott High School, remains to be seen.

In the meantime, here are some answers to questions posed by gaillovesgod.

  • What are my strengths?
    • Faith in God
    • Steadfastness
    • Love for humanity
    • Being proactive
    • Adaptability
  • What are my short term goals?
    • Serving my school and community, for at least the rest of the academic year
    • Visiting friends and family, across the continent, between Memorial Day and July 4
  • What are my long term goals?
    • Remain faithful to the Lord God
    • Finish my work in Prescott
    • Itinerant service, through Workaway, or a like organization
  • Who matters the most to me?
    • God
  • What am I ashamed of?
    • Not treating others as I wish to be treated
  • What do I like to do for fun?
    • Hikes
    • Writing
    • Game Night with friends
    • Drum Circle
  • What new activities am I willing to try?
    • Anything that elevates the human race
  • What am I worried about?
    • Being careless
  • What are my values?                                                                                                                       Honouring human dignity                                                                                                         Developing my strengths                                                                                                             Good stewardship
  • If I had one wish, it would be…?
    • To do what God expects of me, without fail
  • Where do I feel the safest?
    • Anywhere in His Light
  • What or who gives me comfort?
    • God’s Love
  • If I was afraid, I would…?
    • Pray, and get myself into a safe place
  • What is my proudest accomplishment?
    • Having helped raise my son
  • Am I a night owl or early bird?
    • Early Bird
  • What does my inner critic tell me?
    • Bring self to account each day
  • What do I do to show my self, self-care?
    • Bathe and groom
    • Start day with devotions
    • Take natural supplements, each evening
  • Am I an introvert or extrovert?
    • Ambivert
  • What am I passionate about?
    • Life
  • What do my dreams tell me?
    • My spirit guides are with me
    • My life will unfold in a good way
  • What is my favourite movie?                                                                                                         The Fisher King
  • What is my favourite band?
    • Arcade Fire
  • What is my favourite food?
    • Fiery chili
  • What is my favourite colour?
    • Navy blue
  • What am I grateful for?
    • God’s Revelation is continuous
    • I have many good friends
    • Large extended family
    • My good health
  • When I am down, I like to:                                                                                                                 Breathe deeply
  • I know I am stressed when
  •          I start making odd mistakes
  •           I get tongue-tied

Coming Attractions/Distractions


November 2, 2016, Prescott-

Today, I was to report to jury duty- until I wasn’t.

I went by HR and dutifully reported that fact,

and took the day as a religious Holy Day,

which it was.

Baha’u’llah’s birth was commemorated,

having occurred on this day, 199 years ago.

As it’s marked, according to the Lunar Calendar,

next year’s bicentenary will fall in mid-October.

What the nation needs, in this time of turmoil,

is a champion.

So, as rain falls in Cleveland, and the two best teams

in baseball are tied, at the end of the 9th inning,

the nation will wait for its champion.

There are no champions visible,

in the political realm,

but who’s keeping tabs on that?

Kirk Douglas, God willing,

will turn 100, soon.

I wish him the best.

Now, I look forward

to two hard-worked days,

and a refreshing drum circle,

to end this long week.



Nature’s Terror


May 7. 2016, Prescott- Today is a rare kick-back day.  I did saunter down to our Saturday market, which is now back in my neighbourhood, until October.  The fresh produce will go into a Spring soup, once I pick up some organic meat at Trader Joe’s.  I also met some of the market’s other regulars, from last year.  It’s a lot more relaxed around here, than it was then.

Thinking of taking a short hike, I encountered rain that was serious enough to send me back inside.  Studying maps and reading took up the time, instead.  I have an inkling to go down to Prescott Valley, this evening, and join a group of friends who are attending a spiritual rock concert.

Our little Drum Circle thumped and chanted, last night, for, among other things, relief for Fort McMurray, Alberta.  It is a city of about 85,000 people, now mostly evacuated, due to the worst forest fire in North America, since our own Indian Fire, of 2002.  The fact that people were evacuated northward, then they ran out of food, is especially frightening.  Now, they have to somehow be brought out of harm’s way, and there was no safe route, as of this morning.  With all the tar sands nearby, the place may be extra incendiary.

I know that Canada, as a nation, is up to the horrific challenge- and as a North American, I will offer any support that the people request.  This is why we do best not to quibble about the inconsequential.

I Learned…


April 3, 2016, Prescott-  This has been a good weekend.  I hiked Segment 4, of Prescott Circle Trail, in two segments, owing to two separate events, that occurred in the middle of each day.  Unfortunately, the photo loading feature on my laptop has stopped working, so I will post about my hikes, once that issue is resolved.  Maybe after work tomorrow, I can get some answers.

The middle of the afternoon, yesterday, featured a nice performance by some friends from Chino Valley.  These are long-time friends, who host a Drum Circle on the second Friday of every month, aHnd an Interfaith Devotional, on the fourth Friday.  They were gracious enough to come to Prescott and present on “Peace and Love”, for an hour or so, making the brightness outside enter a spacious apartment clubhouse.  The Brehmers always light up a room.

Conversing with friends always makes any meal better-so discourse on matters of the spirit lifted my spirit, whether over angle food cake with berry sauce, on Thursday night, Hawaiian bento, on Saturday night, a casserole breakfast this morning, or Brunch items, this afternoon, before my second hike.  One man, near our group, regaled us with his experiences in a Plains sweat lodge.  Such experiences are all the more reason for each of us to get out of our comfort zones, in whatever way works best for an individual.

Now, to get to the title topic.  For each of the years of this present decade, thus far, I learned:

2010- Six years ago,  spent each of my days with my blessed soul mate, in her hospital room, then in our bedroom, when not working to earn my own keep. I learned that most of  those in our lives were on our side.

2011- Five years ago,  said goodbye to the earthly form of my beloved, saw our son off to his adulthood, and the U.S. Navy, and learned that there was plenty of life ahead for me, on my own.

2012-Four years ago, went many places in honour of Abdu’l-Baha’s visit to North America, in 1912 and found that my heart could be at home in any number of locations.

2013-Three years ago, learned that there are subconscious attitudes and feelings that need to be brought to the surface, rooted out and swept away.  No simple statement of “spiritual quest” can exorcise these.  They must be acknowledged, and then sent away.  Lastly, one atones.

2014-Two years ago, learned that it is not so difficult to get around on my own, even in unfamiliar places, far from here.  Learned also, that amazing experiences happen daily, and that one can make gaffes, learn  good lessons on one’s feet, and go on to more amazing experiences.

2015- One year ago, learned that intense connections exist between people who live a continent away, and am able to share in those connections.

2016- My roots are sinking deeper, in terms of spiritual ties to people both here, and throughout the nation and world.  It is a joy to learn deeper meditation, and to trust myself to live closer to the land, both at home and while traveling.  Above all, I am trusting myself more, also thanks to the meditation techniques being learned.

The Road to 65, Mile 7: Peace Flows Outward


December 5, 2014, Prescott-  I’m a bit late with this one, but yesterday was full, and exhausting.  I actually slept until 8, this morning.

Anyway, after getting my car’s tires rotated and balanced, Friday morning, I headed to work, on a half-day assignment.  It was an afternoon with two sections of kindergarten:  30 five-year-olds.  There was little core academics, it being Friday afternoon, and all, but teaching social skills is still a large part of Kinder.   The big item of the day was cleaning up, after thirty minutes of play with manipulatives.  I basically had two rules for that playtime:  Share items and space; No running around in the classroom.  At clean-up time,  I called “High Five” and held up my hand.  There was complete silence, so I simply said, “See this mess; clean it up”.  Within five minutes, all items had been put away and the room was spotless.  Yes, there were thirty five-year-olds, and 16 of them were boys.  We will be in good hands, when I reach my nineties.

There are two ways of handling groups, as I noted yesterday.  Inner peace, reflected from the person facilitating a group, is essential. It touches all, even the most troubled and self-loathing person in the group.  Of course, such a person needs extra assistance and attention, and may need to be removed from the group, in extreme cases.  That was not necessary yesterday.

In the evening, there were two gatherings:  A Christmas dinner, in business attire, and a drum circle, to which I went, in my vest, shirt and tie.  The Christmas dinner found me listening, with rapt attention, to a person slightly older than I, who has led an amazing life- from studying Psychology,under the late Gen. Norman Schwartzkopf, when he was an Army captain and teaching at USC, to leading Search and Rescue teams in the high desert and Rocky Mountains, alike.  The peace that comes from a wealth of experiences is indeed exemplary. The Drum Circle, held monthly, is always a soothing and centering occasion.

So, December, a rather expensive month, financially, is also a time of rich and peace-imparting events.  I will discuss another of these in the very next post.