(In)tractible-Part I

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February 12, 2021-

So much of what remains to be resolved, in our world, seems insoluble. People speak of being depressed, mired in anger or even bored by “same old” requests and demands from others, day-to-day. Many of the same headlines get pushed, in the news cycle.

Allow me to post an observation: In reading just two friends’ posts on another social media site, this afternoon, I saw people about whom I care deeply, with one foot in the a land of compassion and justice, and the other in a place of suspicion and the denial of humanity towards people of a different point of view.

It is, simply put, this dichotomy, this lack of inward and outward unity, that keeps the individual, and thus the community, from addressing what truly matters. Unless and until we can truly, of our own choosing, put our eggs in the basket of the Oneness of Mankind, the same problems WILL continue to pop up, and put a damper on our days.

I am keeping this post, and its companion post on Sunday, short and succinct. In that post, the focus will be on two continually vexing issues, of which some of my fellows in Faith are aware, but about which they choose to complain, wishing the matters would just disappear. As my late wife said, “Standing at the foot of the mountain doesn’t put you at the top.”

The Summer of the Rising Tides, Day 14: By Definition

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June 14,2020-

Today is Flag Day, when Americans pay respect to our national symbol of unity. It is Race Unity Day, when we, around the world, can honour and commit to following the practical aspects of achieving unity. It is, finally, the birthday of U.S.President Donald Trump. I give him that, and hope he has had a peaceful day of reflection and family time.

Having had a meaningful devotional and discussion, earlier this morning, on the Oneness of Mankind, and having watched a lovely two-hour presentation on Race Unity, I wish to consider how we might determine: What defines a person?

Does colour of skin define? It has certainly brought into being a unique culture, in a good many cases, over time. Is that not, however, largely because of segregation, as well the particulars of the place where people have found themselves? There are, however, people of every skin tone who do not adhere to the popular perception of the characteristics of their “racial ” group. Are they less than those who do fit that perception?

Does one’s sex define? There has been a dichotomy of roles, since the human race’s hunter-gatherer cultures. Men hunted,and women tended the home. There have, throughout history, been women who hunted and men who tended the hearth. Are either of these less than those who fit the mould?

Does one’s job define him/her? What about refinement/coarseness of speech? Is where someone lives a determinant? How about his/her philosophy of life/voting record? Is the chosen Faith, or lack thereof, a factor? Is openness, or secrecy, a defining moment?

The truth is, it is all of these, taken together, and none of them, taken alone or in a piecemeal group. Skin tone, in and of itself, means nothing. Every shade of melanin is beautiful. Cultural background is a baseline for expressing personality, in a good many cases. For others, it is a baseline of struggle for self-acceptance. Sex, and its legal offshoot, gender, are not a defining factor, in terms of what a person is capable of achieving. One’s job determines several things-financial status, time spent working/at leisure, and sometimes,neighbourhood. Philosophy and political stance may affect how one sees the roles of government and social institutions in personal and community life.

There are plenty of White progressives and conservative People of Colour. There are open-minded people, in every point on the political spectrum and there are, similarly, dogmatic people alongside them. There are loving souls in every religion and creed, and there are their doctrinaire fellows in faith. There are both loving and hard-nosed men and women, alike.

What defines me, is my totality-and that is always subject to change. What defines you, is likewise. None of us can control the other. It is the illusion of control that has allowed stereotyping, fear and the sense of “other” to take such deep root and to wreak such havoc.

A blessed Race Unity Day and Flag Day to all.

I

So He Loved and Has Now Flown

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May 13, 2017, Prescott-

Another long-suffering soul has gone home.

His first comment to me,

thirty-six years ago,

was to not soak a tub of beans overnight,

unless the plan was

to stay up and watch them.

This, as we saw that someone had

done the opposite.

The ground was littered

with soft pintos.

Ants were emerging,

to savour the feast.

His last remarks

to his family, were

that he wanted to go home.

Yesterday afternoon,

he did just that.

In seventy-five years,

Moses Manybeads Nakai

had been a steadfast believer

in the Oneness of Mankind.

He married a young nurse,

who had come to the Navajo Nation,

to serve both the Dineh and Hopi.

They raised two daughters,

both of whom are

college-educated professionals.

Moses went many places,

in his life,

from Samoa to Alaska.

He always came back,

though,

to his beloved Dinnebito.

It was there that his father

practiced traditional healing.

It was there that his mother

made the best mutton stew

in the universe.

It is there that his sister

still lives,

with her husband and family,

living the traditional herding life.

Moses left us,

while in the comforting environs

of Montezuma Well.

It gave him solace

to know that

there is a deep connectedness there.

Only days ago,

a rare red snapping turtle

emerged from the well.

It had navigated the channels,

of which we seem to know little.

Moses knew,

and the Navajo people know,

quite a bit about such things.

One more bit of connectedness

has now gone through the veil.

I trust

that I will hear from you,

again soon,

my friend.

Embrace the Light.

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Rubicon

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August 14, 2016, Prescott- I remarked to some collaborators-in-faith, this morning, that I have scrapped plans for most travel outside North America, until at least 2021. (South Korea, where my son is to be stationed, next year, being an exception.)  There were crickets in the room, so our discourse went on to things of more common interest.

Later today, I attended a gathering that was sponsored by Team Rubicon, the disaster recovery organization that is mostly made up of military veterans.  The very allusion to making a decisive and irreversible choice defines this group, whose impact is as great, if not greater than that of the Red Cross.  These are the people who remain behind, once the news cycle is over and the long-term work begins.  They choose to walk the celestial path, with practical feet. (‘Abdu’l-Baha admonished us Baha’is to do just that, in several speeches, when he visited North America, in 1912.)

I have plenty to do around here, during the academic year, and with regard to both my Faith and the needs of the larger community.  At 65 years, 8 months, it’s important to consider at least the seeds of legacy.  I’m in fine health, and I do want to continue with a full, contributive life.  Five years of gainful employment remain.  I will insist on actively taking part in the well-being of the Prescott area, both inside and outside my worksite.  Summers will still find me visiting friends and family, in various parts of this continent, starting with a second journey northwestward, next June. Christmas and New Year’s will still be marked by the presence of loved ones and good friends, both here and on the East Coast.  June, 2021 will still be the beginning of an extended journey to many parts of the globe, the only caveats being the needs of my son, any family he might have by then, and our larger family.

I will remain working to educate people on the Oneness of Mankind, on the need for an inquiring mind, and on the healing properties of Certified, Therapeutic Grade Essential Oils, and the imperative of wellness.  My Rubicon was crossed, years ago, when Penny pointed me towards the mountain with a shimmering star above it.

 

The Road to 65, Mile 152: Declaration

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April 29,2015, Prescott- I took the day off from work again today, this time in honour of the day on which Baha’u’llah declared His Mission to His followers, at a garden just north of Baghdad.  Of course, I did go to the VA Hospital and receive a check-up, which was all good news.  The main thrust of the day, though, was in attending two gatherings of local Baha’is and a few close friends of our Faith.  The widower of our friend, M, was there, and we discussed several matters other than his loss.  Easing him back into a routine life seems appropriate right now.  I was glad that no one hung the noose of sorrow around my neck, four years ago, and he was glad to engage in more neutral discourse today.  The ebb and flow of mourning is something with which I am prepared to help him, though, as time goes on.

Baha’u’llah has outlined many steps by which mankind can attain lasting peace.  His Declaration, on or about April 29, 1863, called for a few basic universalities, upon which He later expounded, prior to His Ascension, in 1892.  These include a democratically-elected world parliament, a common universal currency and system of weights and measures, a universal auxiliary language and equality between men and women.  Many of these have been proposed, in other forms, by people of influence.  Some, like the oneness of mankind and male/female parity, are gingerly approached, then avoided, by those whose minds are in a state of flux.

Yet, we see the same crises and issues arise, in a continuous loop, in one part of the world or another.  Nowhere is this more pronounced than in Israel/ Palestine, other parts of Southwest Asia and North Africa, and in American cities.  The areas where outmoded ways of dealing with problems are most fastidiously gripped by their proponents, are bound to be the areas where the least progress seems to be achieved.

Baha’u’llah’s Revelation is very deep and takes very close, detailed study, as befits a System which will guide the whole of mankind, especially given our enduring free will.  I’m glad I get the gist of it, and can move slowly past my own frailties.