September 4, 2015

  • The Road to 65, Mile 280: Driving in Reverse

    September 3, 2015, Chino Valley- I have thought a fair amount about the whole Kim Davis episode.  For those who have been living their bliss to the full, lately, she is the County Clerk, in Morehead, KY, who refuses to grant marriage licenses to gay couples, citing her Christian Faith.  For this defiance of Federal law, she has been jailed.

    Thinking people have responded dispassionately to the matter.  I have friends, both gay and straight, who have said that Ms. Davis is getting what she deserves, period, without pontificating on what has been leaked to the public about her private life. I have read other commentary that disparages Kim Davis as a person- going far beyond what seems necessary to support the rule of law.  A commentary I heard on the radio, this morning, goes so far as to raise the matter of the human environment of eastern Kentucky, being somehow a factor in her thought processes.

    I have been to eastern Kentucky, to Morehead, Ashland and Maysville, specifically.  I am not especially fond of Hillbilly jokes, any more than I am of disparaging “humour” directed at any particular group.  A professor at Berea College, interviewed this morning, pointed out that people in the mountains and rolling plains of Appalachia are as complex and diverse as people are anywhere else.  I have found that to be so.  There are informed and ignorant folk in any given community, from Uptown Manhattan and Beverly Hills, to the most downtrodden communities in Appalachia or the Mississippi Delta.

    Ms. Davis’ issues seem to spring more from stubbornness and fear that her world is being turned upside down (which it is, in many respects), than from a lack of intelligence, or cultural stuntedness.  In that sense, she has plenty of company, all along the political and social spectra.  Attacking members of a given group, for the behaviour of some in the group, is akin to driving in reverse.  Maybe your points will stick, but the likelihood of unforeseen problems is greater.

September 3, 2015

  • The Road to 65, Mile 279: The Sky Is No Longer The Limit

    September 2, 2015, Prescott- Wayne W. Dyer passed to the Spirit Realm on Saturday.  In my early, and some fitful, attempts to make sense of my then-tortuous life, I read two  books recommended me by a paternal uncle:  Thomas Harris’s “I’m Okay, You’re Okay”, and Wayne Dyer’s “Your Erroneous Zones”.  I might have done well to re-read the latter, during the decade 2000-2009.  It would have saved a lot of erroneous behaviour.

    Dr. Dyer never gave up on humanity, or on himself, purging his body of leukemia, via natural toxin-flushing diet and exercise, and a regular meditation and self-accounting, leading to needed changes in his daily routine.  It didn’t hurt that he lived for many years on Maui, but no place is perfect, and everyone needs to take responsibility for him/herself.  Wayne Dyer did so, with a most intense elan.

    I choose to remember him with a particular quote: 2. “If you believe it will work out, you’ll see opportunities. If you believe it won’t you will see obstacles.”  This has been the driving force of my life, over the past four years, starting with the moment that I was seemingly left with next to nothing, in September, 2011.  He was right; it worked out, and will continue so.

    Wayne W. Dyer approached his impending death, early last month, by saying he was looking forward to the journey.  May he shower us all with waves of opportunity-recognizing energy.

September 2, 2015

  • The Road to 65, Mile 278: Not Outworn

    September 1, 2015, Prescott-  I walked to work, this morning, and will hopefully do so again tomorrow, though I will need to get to bed soon, if I indeed am serious about that.  I spent a couple of hours with a friend, this evening, talking about the relative need for a renewal of Faith, to the extent of another independent religion.  Basically, I believe Revelation is progressive.  I also believe each individual is responsible for investigating spiritual truth for him/herself.

    It therefore follows that there is no outmoded spiritual truth.  Revelation can only expand on the base of teachings revealed beforehand. Traditions and practices, adopted by Man, over time, however, can prove to have outlived their usefulness.  It then falls, to the discerning person of Faith, to adapt to the needs of the times, without falling to the whims of the times.  Thus, it is unlikely that a Faith community will, for example, become the Holy Congregation of Cocaine, or the Sacred Temple of LSD.

    I will become more well-versed in the actual Scripture that spells out the case for Progressive Revelation.  Regardless, I fully stand behind everyone’s right to seek truth for themselves.  Now, it’s time to sleep.

September 1, 2015

  • The Road to 65, Mile 277: Every New Beginning....

    August 31, 2015, Prescott- I almost used the byline, The Universe.  I have begun reading “Way of the Peaceful Warrior”, Dan Millman’s 1980 book which loosely describes his inner journey to a higher functioning self, using the anthropomorphoses of  Agape and Eros, a spirit guide named Socrates and a whimsical, attractive spirit named Joy.

    Like Dan, I have spent a lot of my life following the Prescribed Path- following, first, a maudlin, alcohol-and-marijuana-fueled series of efforts at fitting my square peg into society’s round hole.  When I was 25,  I encountered an eleven-year-old boy named Mickey, who got me to quit smoking dope; in exchange for which, he gave up smoking tobacco.  Five years later, I met Penny, my own spiritual guide, who became my wife, and alcohol was cast aside.  At age 58, after a roiling series of life setbacks, I gave up credit cards- and the habit I had developed of blaming others for our family’s ill fortune.  At age 60,  I saw my wife, my Heaven-on-Earth, transition into the spirit who guides me, day by day, no longer kept prisoner in a body that had been failing.

    I have experienced beings, and phenomena, that are not easily explained in human terms:  My maternal grandmother’s spirit visiting me, early one morning, when I was ten; my father’s angry spirit pushing my head into a tile wall, in response to a wayward thought I had, about a year after his passing; Penny’s spirit filling our bedroom, as her body lay dying in a hospice, ten miles away; a bright, multi-coloured light flashing frenetically, at a spot called Sipapu (Emergence Place), on the floor of Palo Duro Canyon, as I sat on a nearby bench; my maternal grandfather’s spirit, regarding me with a stern eye, when I stopped shy of climbing to the top ledge of Cathedral Rock, in Sedona.  These are experiences that many would regard as hallucinations, but they all occurred during daylight, when I was awake, and I haven’t used mind-altering substances since 1981.

    “Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end”.  So goes a line from the song, “Closing Time”, by SemiSonic.  I see this, in terms of each day, week, month and year.  I have seen my own transition from married caretaker to wandering widower.  Now I am becoming a solitary seedsower, concentrating on helping to build a community. There will be other transitions ahead; other tides, rolling in, rolling out.

August 31, 2015

  • The Road to 65, Miles 275-6: Pledge Time

    August 29-30, 2015, Prescott- As I told myself on Friday, this weekend was quiet and not overly ambitious, though I did attend a planning meeting for Hope Fest, 2015, on Saturday and did complete two online Red Cross classes, this evening.

    Life is good, even with all the friends, and friends and relatives of friends, who have gone on to the spirit realm, this year.  Work was good last week, and I am sure I will get the work I am supposed to get, as the weeks and months roll out.

    It’s always worthwhile, to me, to at least give sincere critics a hearing, though being true to oneself is a pre-requisite for living a good life.  As it stands, I am my own harshest critic, and choose to look towards areas in which I might obviate that criticism, by making improvements.

    So, here are five pledges:

    1.  I will continue to stand alongside my friends, as they face their struggles.
    2. I will continue to improve on not crowding people.
    3. I will maintain a sense of ownership of my life and of my choices.
    4. I will support, financially, only what I can support without placing a burden on others.
    5. I will refrain from guilt over what I didn’t do for someone else, so long as I have done my level best.

August 29, 2015

  • The Road to 65, Mile 274: I Wonder.......

    August 28, 2015, Prescott- Two things didn’t happen today:  Work, for me, and letting myself get pushed around by a self-appointed overseer of this blog.

    K says I’m lazy, for not putting forth “fresh material” on this site, day by day.

    I wonder if he blogs.

    I wonder how many hairs he will pull out, day by day, as I continue to write my blog, my way. Oh, wait, I blocked and deleted him.

    I wonder how many peas can fit in a pod.

    “I wonder, wonder  who wrote the Book of Love.”

    “I wonder where she will stay-ay, my little runaway.”

    I wonder about people I love dearly, who have stopped responding to my occasional messages.

    I wonder who were Adam’s parents, since He sent his sons to another country to get married.

    I wonder how the Earth cooled enough, for life to get started here in the first place.

    I wonder what the songbirds are saying to one another, as their calls vary, in tone and in pitch.

    I wonder how much more crap the common people of Syria will take, from those who variously want to use them as fodder, or as bait.

    I wonder what’s REALLY in “Nuggets”, now that “chicken” is seldom used in advertising them.

    I wonder what my beloved does, when she is not busy helping me extricate myself from mischief.

August 28, 2015

  • The Road to 65, Mile 272: Solitude

    August 27, 2015, Prescott- I am a work in progress.  A lot of baggage has been tossed aside, over the past three decades, and, more intensively, over the past six years.  Blaming others, capriciousness, confusing silence, and sloppiness in my affairs have largely gone away.  I find taking responsibility, being actively engaged with others and carefully planning things are far more satisfying.

     After finishing a four-day stint as a substitute teacher, in Chino Valley, this afternoon, came home and had a twenty-minute power nap.  Two things happened this evening:  I enjoyed a fairly good Beef Stroganoff dinner, at the Legion Post and I got an upgrade to Windows 10, on my PC.  The meal was a fund-raiser, to expand our deck, so as to make it more of a place to relax.  The upgrade was free, and I’m told that will be for a year, then the hand will be outstretched.  I will see how well Windows 10 performs.

    I am in more of a solitary mood right now, finding my own space to be a source of solace.  There have been a few buzzsaws of hostility, all over social media sites, though not directed at me, per se, but towards my Faith, and towards other entities and people towards whom I feel close.  Such is life, and those whose hearts are dark will always try to squash the truth, obfuscate and confuse.  I need a break, of sorts, so as to figure out how to rationally and effectively stand up to such as those.

    It will be a quiet weekend, with a fair degree of solitude.  Then, I need to get back to work, at whatever place to which I’m called, and the cycle will continue.  I feel more at peace, having stated my concerns.

August 27, 2015

  • The Road to 65, Mile 271: Hostels

    August 26, 2015, Prescott- Our city has a small youth hostel, located on a quiet west side street.  I’ve not had reason to go by there, but as I had positive experiences  with youth, and other, hostels, this past June, I would help anyone wanting to visit here, who also enjoys the hostel life, to get reservations.

    The hostels in which I stayed, in southeast Alaska, were varied in terms of gender separation vs. “coed” floors.  Juneau had a very strict separation of sleeping facilities.  Sitka gave the adult hostelers a choice.  Ketchikan’s hostelers were all men, so the matter didn’t come up, when I was there. I usually opt for a “coed” bay, when it is permitted, as I don’t have any hidden agenda, and being with mature women, or a strong couple, just seems more normal to me.

    The common rooms were in varied states of decor.  Juneau had a spacious area in which to relax, and a sizable adjoining kitchen.  Sitka had two small kitchens, and a very pleasant enclosed veranda, which offered a view of an eagle’s nest, in a spruce tree nearby.  Ketchikan had a small kitchenette, and a TV room, which was modest but comfortable.

    Going back to the hostels, for the first time since I stayed in one in San Diego, in 1980, gave me a good chance to make a number of new friends.  I hope that anyone traveling either alone, or with a best friend, will consider this option.  It’s not as “rough” as it sometimes sounds.

August 26, 2015

  • The Road to 65, Mile 270: Esperanza

    August 25, 2015, Chino Valley- This part of August has often hung heavy on me, both weather-wise and emotionally.  This year, things are a tad different.  I have taken sage advice, from three of the people I trust the most in this world, and have set aside my own apprehension about one of the two most important people in my life.  She will be fine.

    Today was the second of four days, working with a varied and somewhat troubled group of youth.  Time was, when I thought I had NO IDEA how to reach out to adolescents, and hung back, accordingly.  The time I spent as a counselor, on the Navajo and Hopi Nations, helped mightily in that regard.  Both the bonds I developed, and the criticism I got from others, worked to help my sense of proactivity, in helping all young folks.  Then, too, raising a child through turbulence smoothed many of my own rough edges.

    The past two days have gone well enough, for me, and a fair amount of meaningful work has been accomplished.  Towards the end of the day, a student came in, sat down, and wept, in as private a manner as possible.  This is the human face of the whole immigration imbroglio.  It is too easy for those who “have theirs” to demand:  The Fence; the Military Force; No Dream; No Daylight.  There are those who are struggling, among the people who were born and raised among a long line of “True Americans”.  They are, quite often, being duped by the puppetmasters, who call for whatever it is they sense the public wants.  Demagogues have done this, across the globe and down the centuries, and so it goes.

    The Fence will not end the struggles of those who look like me.  The young person who was surrounded by love in our classroom, this afternoon, has more than just immigration with which to contend.  There are the normal day-to-day matters of adolescence, which know no frontiers.  There are the hopes, the trust, and, yes, the dreams, which short-sighted people would squash.  Make no mistake:  This nation is not alone, in keeping up and “Us vs. Them” mentality.  The very nations, from which many new arrivals come, are themselves keepers of a draconian mindset, when it comes to “The Other”.  It is wrong, no matter where it is promulgated.

    The young person left class today with some hope, esperanza.  I wish the same for any child or teen, anywhere.  There is so much to be done.

August 25, 2015

  • The Road to 65, Mile 269: Honour

    August 24, 2015, Chino Valley- I will be working here, in a small Middle School class, from now to Thursday.  Today, a school-wide assembly focused on self-worth and standing up to bullying and intimidation.

    I spent some time, in each class, aside from the assembly, getting kids to talk about their individual talents.  Some have “none”- a sublime fallacy.  I must say, though, that when I was their age, I would have said the same thing.  Honouring oneself is a long-term process, but need it be so?

    I have a soft place in my heart for teens who feel downtrodden, or beaten down.  This is the time of life when people need special encouragement to stand up for themselves, albeit in a way that is not embarrassing or ostentatious.  There are no uglies in this forest.

    The Assembly did a good job of explaining this to the students- and further making the point that a person who follows his or her finer passions, can never be bowled over by the vicissitudes of life.  Several proactive and hard-working teens were shown as examples of how to rise above some very challenging life situations, none of which were of their own making.

    One young lady became an archer; another overcame a “lack of talent” in running, and has mastered that skill; a young man, who is very short, became a fine golfer; another young man established several community efforts to help homeless teens.

    The students who watched all this, can each overcome their own challenges.  This, as much as anything else, keeps me working in the schools, rather than in retail or in an office, somewhere.  I have a drive, to build honour in yet another rising generation.

    UPDATE:  My place, for the foreseeable future, is here in the West.  I spoke with a family member who has his finger on the pulse of things back in Massachusetts.  He reassured me that visiting Mom is a good thing; but it is not necessary for me to move back there, on her behalf.  So, in the interests of being helpful, in the real sense of the word, I stay the course.  I appreciate all the support that various friends and family have offered.  I’ll still visit there, over the holidays, but then it will be right back here to AZ.