Breathing Room

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January 17, 2023- Fifteen people graced the Founders Room, in Prescott Public Library’s main building, this evening, as Prescott Peace Builders presented a documentary on the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The film reviewed what each of us present have lived, with regard to Civil Rights era and Dr. King’s role in the attainment of Civil Rights for African- Americans. What those rights boil down to is space for a physically, economically and politically hobbled people to breathe, to live full lives.

No one has said that anyone is entitled to a perfect life; no one IS. There is, though, plenty of space for freedom from being the target of assumptions from those in power and those who enforce that power. I was raised to not cross the street, when approached by a person of colour, or a person dressed in tattered clothing, or any given individual who was not acting in an obviously menacing manner. I was taught that when anyone asked for directions, they were to be given clear directions, in the most polite language possible. Essentially, every human being who crossed my path was to be treated fairly.

Those teachings became part of my being- and made getting over the subliminal messages, from the wider community, a whole lot easier. I have made my share of mistakes and have had to root out many microaggressions, but the foundation I got from my parents has eased the recognition of the Oneness of Mankind. It also made incorporating the admonition about never ASS-uming anything, about another person or group, a whole lot easier.

The day as a whole was marvelous: Safe drive to Phoenix and back; excellent dental check-up; three great meals-breakfast at Wildflower Bakery, lunch at Local Jonny’s and a bowl of soup for dinner, at Mob Burger-each served by a congenial soul. Then, there was the above-mentioned gathering, the second of three such meetings, honouring Dr. King and his legacy.

There is much breathing room, for yours truly, so far this winter.

The First Snow

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November 3, 2022- It mostly danced in the air, before fluttering to its melting place, on the still warm dirt and asphalt. A crew is working diligently, to put in a sidewalk, along the south side of Goodwin Street, between the American Legion Post and Prescott Public Library. Snow was just a minor distraction, for them and for those of us who were going about minor business. I chose a rather salty, but bracing, bowl of chili from Olde World Bakery, for lunch. It was hot, though not spicy-and that was okay. It was a good counter to the unseasonable cold outside.

I awoke this morning to a wintry feeling inside myself, tapping into the strange energy that has been afoot since last week’s attack on the Speaker of the House’s husband. Violence should never be the butt of jokes, but then, neither should a disability, a debilitating disease or even a person’s physical attributes. Such humour only delineates the teller’s, and audience’s, lack of maturity. A while later, after getting myself together, doing devotions and checking the news, I got an e-mail asking that I serve as a Poll Chaplain, in the city of El Mirage, west of Phoenix, on Tuesday afternoon and evening.

Tuesday, November 8, is also the day of a full moon and of a total lunar eclipse. Cosmic guides say that this year’s eclipses have the energy of those which took place in 2004, and thus unresolved matters from that year may arise again this year, for resolution by way of the growth one has undergone since that time. 2004 was part of the time when I was starting to see Penny decline, and starting to deal with a few personal demons. Those have been defeated and expunged, over the past eight years. I will, though, be more cognizant of any residue that needs to be removed and let flow out. The same will be true of each year going forward: Eclipses may bring out old issues from eighteen years prior, and any spiritual learning I have acquired in the interim may be put to use, in dispersing the old energy.

Tonight, the snow has ended, and more seasonal weather lies ahead-with perhaps rain on Election Day. I’ve already voted, but will be there for those, in El Mirage, who are experiencing anxiety or distress.

Calm and Bright

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January 2, 2016, Prescott- The sense of calmness was all around me, this blessed morning, as I walked downtown, to deposit my rent in the landlord’s account.  There were few outside, other than tourists headed to a taxi stand, baggage in tow.  In Wild Iris Coffee House, I took a hearty breakfast of oatmeal and coffee, surrounded by a dozen or so awakening souls, under the steampunk ceiling.  Calmness and brightness, then, are not confined to the ancient German skies that are illustrated in the most tranquil of all Christmas carols.

This year has started out as a benign counterpoint to the tumult of the last two years.  I’m certain it will not entirely remain so, with a turgid election facing our nation and the onward march of a world in transition.  It is, however, largely what we the people make it.

In my own space, I have determined to make small forward steps- like downsizing my possessions and their accompanying junk.  I no longer feel the need to keep every receipt from the last 7-10 years, what with the banks keeping electronic records.  I don’t have to hang on to all manner of keepsakes from every classroom I’ve covered since Penny passed on.  Books that I’ve read will be passed on to the Friends of Prescott Public Library.  My wardrobe will, gradually, be updated, with the oldies but goodies passed on to the clothing bins- a process I started this past year.

Exercise will be more consistent. I will show up in the gym more often. Travel will be more on foot, meaning I walk more, locally, and when away from this area, park in one spot and walk from there.  My visits to friends and family will be shorter in duration, and certainly less intrusive.  Indeed, as I look back, the best times I’ve had visiting with people are those in which I did not overstay.

These are commitments, not “resolutions”.  My resolve, though, has not changed, from years gone by.  I enjoy work, exercise, service, learning and being there for my loved ones.  The course will remain the same.