Monday, January 20, 2020

How To Be Good

Waning Crescent Moon


Today is one of those days in America set aside for us to reflect on the life of a national hero. So here goes.

I think the young man in this photograph has it just right: "Dr. King was good." This kid is good, too. How did they get this way?

You may have heard the idea expressed in one form or another that children were not born hating other people, or something to that effect. They have to be taught to hate or to reject other people on the basis of a superficial difference. Kids will goof around with each other and have fun for hours as long as they don't get too banged up or bloody and even then, after a good cry and a band aid, they act like it never happened. That's because they are good. Inside, where their hearts are, they are good.

Somewhere along the line, kids get fed info, however well-intended (or not), like look, Junior, those other kids are not like you - they are bad, they will hurt you, you don't want to get hurt, do you? Keep away from those kids, keep away from kids who look like those kids, keep away from the kids who don't go to your school, keep away from the kids who don't go to our church, keep away from the kids who don't eat what you eat, keep away from the kids who don't talk like us, on and on and on. 

So some kids become less good, because they are taught to be less good. They are taught to ignore the place inside, where their hearts are, and to confuse being good with separating themselves from other kids. It's a slippery slope from there to hate.

Nobody is perfect. Dr. King wasn't. I sure am not. But the good kid in the picture is right. Dr. King was good. And I am sure, with all that he went through in standing up for the rights of all people, Dr. King had to work at it. There were probably many trying moments in his short life (39 years) when he despaired and wanted to give in to all the hate. But he was good. He knew he was good. All the way until the minute that hate drilled a bullet through him, he knew he was good and he believed that we are, too.

So how can we tell? How can we tell we are good? How can we believe we are good?

I can do it. I can set aside a little time every morning and sit where it is quiet. I can listen to my breath, listen to my heartbeat, listen to the stillness, and feel something stirring inside me, feel something glowing. It's the real me, untouched after all these years, coached by my loved ones, nourished by my heroes, but alive and beating before I met any of them. I am good. Hate can't touch this. I am good. 

I raise my  hands and I stretch my fingers to the sky. I feel that goodness shine. I send it out to everyone and everything. Rays for all. Oh my goodness, thank you, Martin, and thank you to all the children everywhere. 

Peace, Love, and Shine On,
Jim

Thursday, January 16, 2020

2020 in 2020 Challenge

Third Quarter Moon

In the spirit of self-improvement and capricious, willy-nilly New Year's decision making, I have decided to hike 2,020 miles in the year of Why Hast Thou Forsaken Us 2020. I am calling it my #2020in2020Challenge and inviting anyone who wants to join in to join in. There are no rules other than it has to be something healthy and you have to do it 2,020 times between now and the end of 2020. It could be hiking, in which case you have to average ~ 5.6 miles per day, or bicycling, or pushups, or handstands (be careful), etc. I assume no liability for your decisions. If problems arise, contact my crack legal team at Dewey, Cheatham, and Howe.



I believe my incredibly positive and very good friends Lisa and Nancy at Big Blend Radio (see side bar) intend to incorporate something similar into their new, burgeoning web creations, so if you need further inspiration, bookmark The Big Blend Community, sign up, and await their much more creative/ambitious version of this project.

Meanwhile, hiking everyday here on the Central Coast of Californ-eye-ay is pretty fun and will keep me out of trouble. I have been doing daily 5-6 mile hikes on the De Anza Trail, at Brigantino Park in Hollister, in and around San Juan Bautista, and at the beach since the first of the month - nothing extreme, just consistent and mildly challenging.


I highly recommend fueling day hikes with the Palomino snack of champions, the humble and cheap Peanut Butter and Banana Sammie. Power food. Con agua, por favor.


I have become somewhat obsessed with trees and clouds lately, but you are free to choose your own fixations, haha.



I realize that not everyone can go to the beach on a regular basis, so I will take the liberty of posting gorgeous scenes from Monterey Bay once in a while. You can always splash around in the bathtub or play in puddles.


Across the road from my camp there are farm roads that lead in all four directions. Most of the time, I can goof around and find a barn or an animal to go full on nature-boy-wahoo with. I am at my zenith point of happiness when I can do that. Your mileage may vary.




It's okay if you choose not to play in my #2020in2020Challenge thing, but whatever you do, enjoy yourself. You are not forsaken.

Peace, Love, and Happy Feet,
Jim

Friday, January 10, 2020

This Bleepin' Week

Full Moon

My head nearly exploded this week trying to understand exactly why Americans are putting up with what passes for leadership in this amateur hour White House. Lie after lie after lie. These people are living examples of the exact opposite values my parents, and probably yours, too, taught and modeled. Not to mention the engravings on those simple stone tablets described in the Book of Exodus. Please let this end soon.

Fort Ord Dunes State Park in Seaside, CA is a forty minute drive from my camp. I spent sacred time there the other day clearing my head and praying for peace. I don't know if it will do any good for the rest of the world, but for those precious minutes, I was closer to Creation and calmer in my heart.







Peace, Love, and Return to Sanity Soon,
Jim

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

2020 Visions

Waxing Crescent Moon

I'm not a big party person. I believe that people who stay up late on New Year's Eve making loud noises and killing brain cells are nuts. Lunatics crying for help. That said, I really enjoy getting up early on January 1 feeling obnoxiously happy and refreshed. So do your thing. I'll do mine.


I guess if you put stock in the notion that cosmic psychological revolutions occur when the wall calendar that your favorite non-profit mailed to you two Novembers ago runs out of wilderness photos or sad-eyed rescue dog portraits, you could make a resolution or two to escape entropy. Avocados, push ups, and planks just might trick the Universe that eats itself into sparing you. It's worth a try. Conversely, you could just suspend all that desperate positive thinking and accept what is. You might find that it's rather beautiful, being right where you are supposed to be. I have no idea. Personally, I'm just farting around.


Meanwhile, funny cartoonists continue to entertain us. I love self-deprecating humor. It has the power to unite humans and to expand our appreciation of the moment that embraces us all.










Peace, Love, and Happy New Year,
Jim


Thursday, December 19, 2019

Greta the Great

Waning Crescent Moon


It's the climate, stupid.

In 2019, everybody has a gripe. Everybody is a victim. Everybody has a conspiracy theory. Mostly, these things are rooted in unwitting needs planted by suggestive advertising. It is rare when you meet someone who stops and takes responsibility, who examines their own actions, who places the blame where it belongs - on the face in the mirror - and corrects their course.

All the little things people fuss about pale in comparison to taking control of the messes we all create. The fundamental solution is as simple as complying with your parents' long ago annoying insistence that you clean up your room, brush your teeth, turn out the lights on your way out the door, or do your share of the household chores: stop creating messes for others to clean up.

You, yeah you (me, us, face in the mirror), grow up. If you still don't get it, learn from this kid.

Watch this Greta the Great video.

I love this girl, this Greta Thunberg, this ray of hope. Long live Greta.

Click here to read her story.

Peace, Love, and Priorities,
Jim

Thursday, December 5, 2019

All Great Men (and Women, Too)

Waxing Gibbous Moon

I guess I should be tired, but I'm not. This morning, at 7:51 a.m. Pacific Standard Time, I successfully completed my 68th lap around El Sol, thus exceeding all reasonable expectations by a couple of decades. I feel good, though somewhat balding and rickety, and not in the least bit "old." Earth, as we know, has been around for ~ 4.6 billion years. No human is, was, or ever has been "old" in comparison, i.e., in reality. I will in all probability become balder and ricketier, but I will happily move on to whatever is next before I ever get "old."


I learned today, thanks to reading my favorite news and travel magazine, that gold was first discovered in Tuolumne County, California on December 5, 1948 in or around what today is coincidentally known as Jamestown, California. That's JAMEStown, in case you missed it.

I feel obligated to point out publicly that, given the above data, I should be awarded a fist-sized gold nugget, preferably today.

I could really use a fist-sized gold nugget today because unfortunately, Spugly the Spectacularly Ugly Palomino Transporter, required a new set of front brakes yesterday, to the tune of $598 U.S. That amount is precisely the same as my food budget for December. Without said nugget, I will be reduced to foraging in the woodsy woods woodsy for berries, nuts, mushrooms, and the occasional small game animal, assuming I can catch one, until at least the year 2020.

I find it ironic that Spugly vroomed across half of America without a problem, only to spit out a couple of brake calipers and shoes as soon as it got home. Clearly, Spugly did not want to stop.

Today the rain that has blessed the central coast for several days is taking a day off, perhaps in my honor (hard to disprove) and perhaps to facilitate the smooth transition of a biggo hunk of shiny gold from a vault in Jamestown to my trailer in San Juan Bautista (just a guess). I think this makes just as much sense as somebody on TV saying there is a river somewhere in Earth's atmosphere.

As soon as I finish this pot of Peets Major Dickason, I am going to march across the road to see if I can pilfer some early artichokes from the farmer's field or bean a squirrel with a well-rounded, fist-sized, actual river rock from San Juan Creek. Stew is on the menu.

Peace, Love, and Possible Tommy John Elbow Surgery,
Jim

P.S. As my esteemed and much loved Dad (December 1, 1917 - July 20, 1963) liked to say, "All great men were born in December." This, of course, goes for women, too.


Sunday, December 1, 2019