The Sunny Picnic and A Crazy Squirrel Song

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August 20, 2022-The joyful minstrel, at Rafter Eleven, made songs up as she went along, including one about “There’s sticky glue, on my mailbox, where your name used to be”. She prefaced it all with Ray Stevens’ “The Mississippi Squirrel Revival”. Having been to Pascagoula, I can see every bit of such things as are described in the song-not happening. The city is a bustling shipbuilding center, or was, when I visited-but why quibble? Ray’s songs were a staple of my teen years, as counterpoints to all the heaviness in the music of the late 60s.

It was a lovely musical set, with romantic ballads and country-tinged novelty tunes, well juxtaposed. From there, I drove through a short, but intense, thunderstorm, and sat talking with some friends at Synergy-mostly listening, though, as they inveighed against designer drugs and pondered what benefit, if any, there was to psychotropic substances. Personally, I will pass on all of those things. My mind is active enough, without external help.

These activities were preceded by the annual American Legion Post 6 picnic, at Goldwater Lake. Fortunately, the day was sunny and mild, until well after the picnic was finished. So, during the time under the ramada, a few lingering conflicts between some embers were resolved, awards were given out to long-standing servants in the Post and I won a nice prize. The food was well-prepared and the mood, overall, was very pleasant. The lake itself is slowly rising, though still a long way from being in what I would consider a healthy state.

It’s been a fine day, and night, as I drove back under partly cloudy skies, with the rain being done for the day.

Belated Thoughts On A Blood Red Full Moon

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May 22, 2022- It’s been a week since the cosmic event that had some people focused on the night sky. In my case, the influence was felt at the time, but not seen-as San Diego was under the May Gray phenomenon, of dense cloud cover. The pull of the full moon was there, though.

A young lady, homeless, was screaming at the top of her lungs-at no one and at everyone, outside the walls of the hostel where I was staying. Inside the hostel, two roommates in the room next to ours were fighting over keeping the window open. (“You really want the homeless people to climb in?”, said the one to the other.) Reality check: A few homeless people had already managed to follow paying guests into the building, but were simply staying under the stair wells and keeping to themselves. Climbing through windows was certainly possible, but unlikely. The conflict was settled, at least until morning, when little old me traded rooms with the person who wanted the window open. The baying at the moon subsided and we all went to sleep.

Last night, at Synergy Cafe, the manager related his difficulty in sleeping, over the three nights subsequent to Blood Red. My own dreams were certainly vivid during the same period, and I was in several strange worlds, each night. How much that had to do with the eclipse, or the moon phase itself, is up for discussion. We are all creatures of speculation and interpretation, so it could have been, as one of my brothers is fond of saying, a matter of what was eaten for dinner those nights. Unresolved conflicts, the vortex, or the unseen hovering of sketchy spirits could also “explain” things.

I was probably better off having been under the cloud buffer, but it would have been interesting to have seen the events in the heavens. Today, here at Home Base, contenting myself with tidying up and organizing three kitchen drawers of assorted items, and buying a new set of bedsheets, I’m grateful for the ebb and flow of excitement and mundaneness.

Two Inverse Triangles

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March 12, 2022- During this afternoon’s Web of Light meditation, (part of a monthly Zoom call), I saw an inverse triangle covering North America, and got a message that the three focal points were to be the purpose of my journeys this year. One is Florida-with Miami having more of a role in the itinerary than I had previously thought, and a clockwise traverse of the peninsula being in order. Orlando, and the theme parks, didn’t even register, but then again, I am not a huge theme park aficionado, unless children are involved. This works out well, considering that I had long been drawn to go to the peninsula after visiting with family in the Atlanta area.

The other two points of the triangle are Atlantic Canada and Alaska. These will be clearer in a couple of months. Mid-June to mid-July look to be the first and mid-September to mid-October, for the second. As the meditation also showed robust activity around Home Base, in northern New Mexico and in southern California, from mid-April to mid-June, I will be engaged in measured activity, a good part of the time. I didn’t get any insight on fire or hurricane response, unlike the warning I got two years ago about Alexandria, Louisiana, but it’s early in the season yet.

My conscious self asked, “So, Europe is obviously off the table this year?” The insight gave the meditative version of “Well, duh!”, and brought my thoughts back to healing and peaceful resolution of the conflict. Another inverted triangle appeared, with Africa at the bottom, Europe on top left and the Asia-Pacific region on the top right. These areas seem to be more in a long-term sequence, which will be more clear towards the end of this year. Five years seem to be involved.

Today, the most important time period in front of me, saw a goodly amount of planning for the next few weeks, with accommodations mostly set. I put in an hour on a school garden project, at a nearby campus. Visits to Rafter Eleven and Synergy capped off the day, with the latter being a mini-jam, my drum accompanying a guitar and a harmonium. Three others in the group were suitably forceful in their singing.

Despite all that the above seems to signal, I feel very much at peace and in charge of my life.

A Small Fix

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December 20, 2021, Sedona- The bright-faced young people remembered me, though it’s been a while since I stopped in at Synergy Cafe. A minor tiff with one of the other workers led to extended absence, but as with all minor tiffs, it’s over.

Hiking Buddy is gradually on the mend, so we came to Sedona today, for a brief spiritual and aesthetic fix, First stop was Airport Mesa, with a sumptuous lunch at Mesa Grill, Once a brief whiff of jet fuel had passed through the dining area (swiftly addressed by the floor manager’s closing a random slightly-opened vent), we were in good form and enjoyed ample and well-cooked Aviation Classic Burgers, with an appetizer of Eggplant Meatballs. Sorry, I don’t do “food porn”- besides, some of my minders think even mentioning what I eat is a bit much.

After a brief walk around the grounds of the Grill , the overlook and a small botanical garden, we drove down to Tlaquepaque. This is still outdoor mask country, for about half of the visitors. We checked out several courtyards, my personal favourite being the terra cotta area (Patio Azul). HB was not quite up to clambering up and down the stairs, as yet, so we contented ourselves with the still considerable surface area of the arts and entertainment village.

Next up was a brief stop in Uptown Sedona, so she could photograph a few sculptures by James Muir, an allegorical sculptor active in Sedona. Most prominent of these is “Caduceus”, which features Iris carrying the legendary medical staff. Here is the piece, with the artist himself next to it, in a stock photo.

It was after this, that we stopped in at Synergy, for a brief refreshment break. Drumming and casual visits here will resume for me, soon, and it’s likely that Hiking Buddy will join in some of those excursions, at least.

In the meantime, I hope you enjoy this short video on Tlaquepaque of Sedona.

Release and Surrender

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October 2, 2021, Sedona- Sometimes, home isn’t where you think it is. Other times, the path to home involves going back, very deeply, into a past that has been long buried in layers of detritus. Both points were brought to me, quite clearly, this afternoon.

I made an appointment to sit in an exploratory session with Anastasia Martynova, a licensed therapist in the Sedona area, to see what revelations might arise, with regard to the impact of my early childhood on my present state. Before that, I stopped at Synergy Cafe, a place which I had, until this afternoon, come to feel as a homelike environment.

Strangely, upon entering the cafe, with the intent of enjoying a cup of coffee and reading a meditation book, until Anastasia had returned to her professional space, I found a hostile reception. I retreated to an area in the back space of the cafe and, though I was served and allowed to remain, it was made clear that my presence was to be brief and any interaction with others limited.

Fortunately, I got a message from Ana, that she had arrived at her space early. I found the place fairly easily and my exploration began, after decompressing a bit from the earlier experience. Ana guided me through the customary process of foot-to-crown relaxation, then I found myself remembering the very process of my birth. The gist was that I was turned, almost against my initial impulse, and was able to enter this world head first. My first recalled memory after that was of wanting to comfort my mother.

There was then the recollection of a flower-filled meadow, below the home where my maternal grandmother lived, and where Mom had grown up. I recalled it as a favourite peaceful place., surrounded by forest, where we were not supposed to go alone.

As the session progressed, I was visited by Penny, my brother Brian, and my father, all offering encouragement and giving the message that they were each in a good place. It was not a seance, though, and the messages were conveyed to me while I was in a dreamlike state. I also saw a vision of a former student, who has been missing for over a year now. I found myself guiding, and at times carrying, him through a narrow canyon, eventually into a place of light, where his family members were there to welcome him.

The final vision was again of me as a child, walking hand in hand with a girl, climbing up a mountain that had stairs. No meaning of this scene came to me, other than that, during this time, we were both being watched by two angels, one masculine and one feminine.

During all the scenes, the colours of peace were gold, light yellow, light blue, pink and purple. The colours of challenge were red and green. Ana’s voice was soothing and guiding, throughout the process. The other helpful aspect of the session was that magnets were laid out, under various pressure points. This added a massage element to the session, and served to greatly relieve residual stiffness, from last week’s accident.

I left the space with a greater understanding of how I have come to focus so much of my life on nurturance and trying to be helpful to others, especially to children and youth. For those interested in Anastasia’s work, here is a link to her practice. https://portalofrebirth.com/

Little Ado, Almost Nothing

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September 18, 2021- The call, for which I waited all day, never came. There was a flurry of phone activity on Thursday, with Red Cross dispatchers asking me, first to go to Louisiana to work as a computer operator, then deciding I might be better at supervising a shelter. Since I couldn’t go there immediately, owing to faith-based commitments, it was agreed I would go on Sunday-with documents to be handed me today.

Today has come, and is almost gone. With no word from RC, (and yes, the ball is in their court), I have concluded, from checking the weather forecast for Baton Rouge, that the need is fading. Bright sunshine lies ahead, after Monday, and good on the folks of Louisiana, who have been much put upon, again this summer.

We had a final monsoon storm here, this evening, as the major faith-based activity of the weekend was playing out. The rain was welcome, and did not interrupt our Zoom activity. Afterward, I felt the need to go across the mountain to Synergy Cafe, so off to Sedona it was. A two-hour visit with a mostly male troupe of musicians and a lengthy conversation with a spiritually-awakened lady made the evening worth the drive, as it usually is. The lady came here from Russia, as an adolescent, some twenty years ago, still retaining the more global view that many from that part of the world seem to embody.

Remembering that a meeting for tomorrow still had not been set up on my laptop, I made exit earlier than planned, but not before our little drum, guitar(electric and acoustic) and didgeridoo set of tunes had inspired the lady and her husband to dance in slow embrace. Romantic couples always make me smile.

I did learn one thing from today- don’t speak of service online, before boots are on the ground.

Blue Moon Spirit

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August 21, 2021- I sat in my portable chair, facing the almost-full moon and its attendant-the planet Jupiter, in a quiet spot atop Sedona’s Airport Mesa. The airport itself was closed, as was Synergy Cafe (apparently a Delta thing)-and thus, the Mesa’s Vista Point, with its vortex energy, was a good place to draw in that bounty and to reflect on all that has been given me.

So, I wish to offer shout outs to all those who emanate those blessings: My son and daughter, Aram and Yunhee; my siblings, Dave, Glenn and Cheryl and their spouses Deb, Barbie and Steven; my heart siblings John Glaze, Judy Russell, Linda and Randy Smith, JoEllen Coney, Wes Hardin, Valerie and Mark Schroeder, Corina Luna Dea, Janet Waters, Lal Fernando, John and Tammy Lambert (brother and sister), Laureen McBradeigh and her husband Chuck, Akuura Kulak, Dawn Wasowicz, Carl and Marcia Brehmer, Molly Beverly, Michele Smith and Melissa Monahan; countless friends and well-wishers around the country and the world; my nieces and nephews, Matt, Nick, Marcy, Melanie, Kim, Curtis, Chris, Jeff, Rebecca, their spouses and their children; my sisters-in-law Wynne and Mindy. Then, there are my star family: Souls like Sierra, Kathleen, Christina, Pam, Joy, Elizabeth, Wendy, Ebbie, Haylee, Annie and Holly, whose presence radiates power and affirmation at a higher level. Each of you has made my life fuller, in just the conduct of your daily lives and I am honoured to know you.

My drive back from Sedona, this evening, was done in the glow of the vortical energy. I am supremely at peace right now.

Coralie

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August 14, 2021- The slender young woman accepted my offer to check out my deer hide drum, and began gently beating it, while her exquisitely melodic voice sent forth a Plains Indian chant. The offering electrified the room and set several others to join in, singing in Spanish and Portuguese as well as using their own drums, several rattles, and a flute.

The day had begun with my being greeted by another young woman, across the country, whom I regard vey much like my own daughter. C told me that she had had a hard day at work, yesterday. I assured her this was quite common these days, that she could only do her best and that this should be enough for anyone. I know that she is up to whatever challenge she has to face. I love her for that, and for all that she does in this life.

The more people, especially the young, whom I meet, day by day, the more loving I feel towards them. God knows I have felt so, towards my own son, from the day he was born, and my nephews and nieces, students and those I encounter along the way. With this feeling, my main role is that of advocate and encourager.

Days like this seem to come more frequently now, and the darker it gets in the wider world, the more ferocious become my own determination to love and stand by those who will inherit this world of turmoil and hope; the stronger comes the resolve to give encouragement to all, even those who don’t quite understand me. It’s more readily accepted by women and children, though the number of men who recognize the need for sensitivity and a supportive approach to life is growing.

Coralee, an angel from France, by way of Florida, won just about everyone’s heart this evening, in Synergy Cafe, and made a particular friend of a fine young man, with whom she will attend other events during the rest of her stay here. Such turns of events warm my heart. There was a night, in December, 1980, when such happened to me, in equally unanticipated fashion.

As for Synergy itself, the owner, one of a half dozen, or so, women to whom I am particularly drawn in close friendship, stopped by a couple of times during the evening. I hadn’t seen Sierra in about eight months, so it was especially joyful to visit, just a bit, with this effervescent, irrepressible soul. She promised that the venue’s weekend hours will increase, which suits me just fine. Any time with such friends lifts my soul.

The key to all this is apparent: “O COMPANION OF MY THRONE! Hear no evil, and see no evil, abase not thyself, neither sigh and weep. Speak no evil, that thou mayest not hear it spoken unto thee, and magnify not the faults of others that thine own faults may not appear great; and wish not the abasement of anyone, that thine own abasement be not exposed. Live then the days of thy life, that are less than a fleeting moment, with thy mind stainless, thy heart unsullied, thy thoughts pure, and thy nature sanctified, so that, free and content, thou mayest put away this mortal frame, and repair unto the mystic paradise and abide in the eternal kingdom for evermore.”- Baha’u’llah, “The Hidden Words”

I have no inkling as to when my own mortal frame will be put away, so for the time being, I will see all I meet as friends, not strangers-and be glad for my dearest friends, that they may only grow in number.

A Natural Pace

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February 15, 2021-

It took a while, and a few messages back and forth, before I connected with a friend who recently moved out here, from the East Coast. Once we did finally meet up, a delightful two hours of conversation and The Raven’s usual fine lunch ensued. Friend got an introduction to downtown Prescott, Courthouse Square and one of the town’s many antique shops.

It will be a process of acclimation to higher elevation for my friend, but it will be nice to have at least an occasional hiking buddy and someone to tag along for other outings, like Synergy Music Nights. The key to this is that my life is resuming a natural pace. Work will wind down, after this week, and after Spring Break, I will cut back to three days a week of availability. It is time to focus on the avocational.

There is much to be done for my Faith and so much of my stamina to be rebuilt, with more time on the trails and a greater devotion to overall exercise. I have come a long way, towards letting life unfold at a natural pace, not so much focused on making things happen according to my schedule. The organic unfoldment of this day taught me a lot, in that regard, and it felt refreshing.

Working Towards The Inside

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January 2, 2021, Sedona-

I brought my Bear Drum to Synergy, once more, this evening. This time, there were no men my age and older to complain about the noise. That’s good, because in addition to my hand drum, there were two tube didgeridoos, one coiled didgeridoo, a French horn, three shakers, two acoustic guitars and a violin. There were people playing chess, but they were not the least bit bothered by the cacophony.

I don’t go over here often enough to be widely viewed as an insider, but I am starting to think that means little. I am one of the few people over the age of forty who sits in, but that doesn’t seem to matter much, either. No one is coming here to troll for a significant other. We are just making a space to relax and engage in some meaningful conversations, every so often.

When I spoke bit about plans for later in the year, there were the expected cautions about the chance that the pandemic will still keep us locked away. There was also the caution that some countries don’t allow people my age to stay in hostels. I will need to look into that, of course, but I see that more as the travel industry trying to squeeze money out of people who are seen as well-to-do. I have not had any trouble staying in hostles or pensions, in the past ten years of being a sixty-something.

One of the young men here this evening put it best: “Don’t act like an outsider, and you won’t be treated like one.” That was one of the biggest lessons I had to learn, all the way up into my fifties. It is comforting to take a place on the inside, every so often.