Then and Now-The May Version

4

May 19, 2020-

Change is a constant, even if some hectoring voice uses that bromide as his mantra.  It occurs to me that there was a different me, sometime ago, which is either fading or has disappeared.

Time was, when I was concerned with how people thought of me, how they looked at me, whether I’d be accepted.  Now, I see others as fellow travelers, even if they go on a path that’s different from mine.  We will all end up at the same place; we’ll just be asked different questions, by the Gatekeeper.  I accept myself, and how I look, so it doesn’t matter how others find my appearance. Besides, more and more people are far younger than I am, so they will most likely just see an old man.  As for acceptance-that starts with self-and that horse came back into the barn, a long time ago.

Then, I tended to patronize people-kids, women, old folks.  I thought it the best road to being regarded as “just folks”.  A rough old soldier called me out on the matter, and I began the long road to seeing humans as eyeball-to-eyeball.  I had made a lot of progress, in terms of being genuine, by 2005. Then, my beloved began to really go into decline and I put my self-care, and development, on hold.  After she left, it took three solid years of struggle, some travel and a fair number of mistakes, whilst on the road, to reach my equilibrium again.

Now, it’s 2020-and getting closer to mid-year.  How am I doing?  I’m good, in place, and once the curtain gets lifted, and I am cleared to be on the road again, I probably will hang on around here- to see how the school situation is shaking out, and if I am needed there.  I will also be even more focused, whether at home or on the road, than I was even last year.  There is a five-dimension sense that has taken over my consciousness.  It’ll be a most astonishing seven months ahead, and even more astonishing afterward.

Proximity

2

March 7, 2020, Chino Valley-

One of the things about my level of autism/Asperger’s is that one tends to keep a distance from others, both physically and emotionally.  I got attached to certain friends and to my family, once in high school, where a modicum of social grace was both necessary and fairly easy to develop.
Once I graduated, the relative anonymity of  university, the factory and even the Army set me back to some of my old distance-maintaining postures.  I got along, more or less, and did my jobs, with varying degrees of competence. I did not feel intimate with anyone, though, until Penny came along,

She helped me get over the tendency to distance myself-and to be comfortable with things like cuddling and the more intimate aspects of married life.  It lasted twenty-nine years.  When she passed, I promised myself and her spirit that I would not revert back to the aversion to proximity that I felt throughout my twenties.

That basically has held, yet only recently have I finally felt that sitting down among strangers, and not wanting to practically apologize for taking my place, is something that ought to happen as a routine.  I know this is all about self-acceptance, and it has been among the most refreshing elements of personal growth, in a very long time.

In several gatherings this week, I felt perfectly relaxed among people I either barely know or have never seen before.  This included tonight’s gathering of Slow Food-Prescott’s members, to hear a wealth of information about the apple, a fruit that has over 7,500 varieties, and to enjoy a sumptuous buffet of vegetarian and “pescatarian” (no meat other than fish and shellfish) pot-puck dishes.

It is just a pleasure to not feel like a nuisance or an interloper-both things that come more from negative self-talk than from any bad social vibes from other people.  I look forward to a very robust spring and summer.

Desiderata- Part II

6

April 12, 2019-

In the last post, I looked at the first half of Max Ehrmann’s 1927 prose- poem, which attained wide popularity in the 1960’s, due to a mass, unattributed distribution of the verses, the result of the author’s having not copyrighted the work.

In this post, the second five lines are the focus.

“Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment, it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.

Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.

And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be. And whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.”

By Max Ehrmann © 1927
Original text

I have yet to pretend to like someone, much less to love them.  I have had friendships which turned sour, because one or both of us failed to meet pre-conceived expectations.  I have learned, in very ingrained fashion, to approach friendships more carefully. Cynicism about love, though, is out of the question.  It is as perennial as the grass.

As one in late middle age, I do not act like, or pretend to act like, the youth I once projected.  I still have energy and drive, and I also get arthritic aches, if I sit for too long.  I make regular use  of essential oil supplements, hydromassage and therapeutic exercise, as those are the counsels of age.

I have, with help from skilled financial planners, shielded myself from later distress.  Strength of spirit is there, to help keep distress, and any external threats, at bay.

Being gentle with myself, and recognizing my right to life, has come hard.  I went through a long period of self-loathing, which was mitigated, but not extinguished, by my late, beloved wife.  Only standing up to critics and challengers, including the most recent bunch, has given me the sense that gentleness with self is my due.

I know, finally, that all that is happening, for short-term good or ill, will result in what’s best for the Universe and for mankind.  I have, even recently, seen sham and broken dreams.  Those who jive others, or try to fool themselves, will learn the hard truth sooner or later.

Yes, it is still a beautiful world, and I intend to experience more of it.