Life in a small town, The Inner Struggle

Meekness, Sincerity and Happiness … What’s the Connection?

” ゆりかごの歌”, William W. Spearman IV and Tomoko Okada, from the album “Beautiful Japanese Songs”, (2006)

What’s the connection between sincerity and happiness, or meekness and happiness?

About twenty-five hundred years ago, in the Himalayan foothills of present-day Nepal, there lived in a great palace a king who was going to have a son. For this son the king had a particularly grand idea: he would make the child’s life perfect. The child would never know a moment of suffering—every need, every desire, would be accounted for at all times.” Mark Manson.

About thirty years ago I would have described my first wife and I (which wife, BTW, I am still happily married to after 40 years) as WTDINKS (World Traveling Double Income No Kids). This supposedly was the apex of existence in the circles in which we circulated. We were “Livin’ the dream”.

Air Nepal Boeing 737

Air Nepal Boeing 737

We flew in from Hong Kong and spent some weeks in Nepal in the late 80’s before flying on to spend several weeks in Thailand. We landed in Kathmandu (काठमाडौं/काठमाण्डौ (Nepali) in the middle of the night, flying in an Air Nepal Boeing 737.

I remember the approach was … frightening … not rough. Everything appeared to be working right, cabin lights dimmed, power down, some flaps dialed in, wheels down and locked with a bit of rumble and turbulence now, cabin air smelled different, but descending peacefully.

The sudden sharp bank followed by full flap deployment and the powerfully increased whine of the turbines increasing thrust …HEY! What the heck are we doing on finale in utter complete darkness, not a light in view anywhere, … we are coming down in the Himalaya Mountain range (हिमालय, “Abode of Snow”).

These suckers are like …  23,000 feet high, impossible to miss ya know! Maybe too much knowledge and a vivid imagination are not helpful during these sort of experiences … maybe …

Langtang Range, Nepal

We are supposed to be flying into a large city of over a million people and not a single damned light anywhere!!! Is this the feeling you get just before you smack into a mountain side at 150 knots??? One line below the fold “Nepal Air Boeing crashes in Himalaya, no survivors”!

Airport and Himalaya, Nepal

Then suddenly, in seconds, runway lights, touchdown on tarmac, reverse thrust full power, brakes, and a short taxi to a dimly lit terminal building.

RELIEF! Things one remembers being grateful for even before finding God. I didn’t notice Him, but he was there all the time. Thank You God for looking after me even when I was ignoring You.

“早春賦”, William W. Spearman IV and Tomoko Okada, from the album “Beautiful Japanese Songs”, (2006)

So what about the Prince … well Dad was the King and very rich and could do whatever he wanted so he pretty much completely spoiled the Prince, lavishing him with food and gifts, surrounding him with servants who catered to his every whim. And just as planned, the child grew up ignorant of the routine cruelties of normal human existence.

Mark Manson, 2016

Mark Manson, 2016

All of the prince’s childhood went on like this. But despite the endless luxury and opulence, the prince became kind of a pissed-off young man. Soon, every experience felt empty and valueless.”

So, being a young man, and being rebellious, not meek, not humble, are any young men meek or humble? – I don’t remember that part, hmmm … ,

“… late one night, the prince snuck out of the palace to see what was beyond its walls. He had a servant drive him through the local village, and what he saw horrified him.

For the first time in his life, the Prince saw human suffering. He saw sick people, old people, homeless people, people in pain, even people dying. The Prince returned to the palace and found himself in a sort of existential crisis. Not knowing how to process what he’d seen, he got all emo about everything and complained a lot. And, as is so typical of young men, the Prince ended up blaming his father for the very things his father had tried to do for him.

It was the riches, the prince thought, that had made him so miserable, that had made life seem so meaningless. He decided to run away. But the prince was more like his father than he knew. He had grand ideas too. He wouldn’t just run away; he would give up his royalty, his family, and all of his possessions and live in the streets, sleeping in dirt like an animal. There he would starve himself, torture himself, and beg for scraps of food from strangers for the rest of his life.” Manson, Mark.

Lockheed Electra l-188A

Lockheed Electra l-188A

The Prince wanted to suffer, and He would suffer … a lot … and there is a point to this. Really, there is a point.

We “deplaned” – I remember one time a taciturn pilot coming on the cabin speaker, after a particularly violent landing somewhere in the Canadian Arctic, traveling in an old Lockheed Electra L-188A 4 engine turboprop and announcing “Survivors may deplane”. Nothing else, no welcome, no weather, no cheery cheery cheery …

Kathmandu Tuk-Tuk

Kathmandu Tuk-Tuk

Anyway, we deplaned, and paid a little brown man in some sort of uniform $10 U.S. to stamp our passport, skipping the loooooong lineup of people with visas and walked out into the cool Nepalese night.

Traveling in Asia with no visas, no itinerary, no schedule and no reservations is an adventure in living not talked about in any guidebooks. Flagged a Tuk-Tuk and rode to the Kathmandu Guesthouse in 5 horsepower luxury. Modern tourist sites describe this old old old hotel in the heart of the Thamel neighbourhood thusly:

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Kathmandu, Nepal

Travelers know that the frenetic pace of a crowded city like Kathmandu needs an escape. The Kathmandu Guest House, a converted Rana dynasty mansion with fragrant gardens and airy corridors, has provided the peaceful refuge of choice since 1967.

Since the days of being the first and only hotel in Thamel, the packed tourist district of Kathmandu, it’s become something of an institution. It’s close to everywhere and its gate is the meeting point that nobody can mistake. As a guidebook put it, “Kathmandu Guest House acts as a magnet for mountaineers, pop stars, actors and eccentric characters.” Even the Beatles stayed here in 1968.

Kathmandu Guest House prides itself on being affordable to all budgets, from those looking to treat themselves to total comfort in elegantly modern suites, to volunteers and scholars who take the famous no-frills rooms.

Whether you’re returning from the mountains or arriving from the airport, come and relax at the courtyard restaurant, order a cup of fine Italian coffee or a chilled Gorkha Beer, and escape for a moment in the historic surroundings of Kathmandu’s most loved guesthouse.”

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Looking at today’s online images of the Kathmandu Guesthouse low end rooms, basically 10 by 12 with bath but no AC, I am immediately impressed by the apparent luxury of the finish and appointments, must have been some incredible renovations since the late 80’s.

All I remember is damp bare cement and tile and surgical tubing for plumbing, and surface mount handyman special electrical wiring, and an old “Geezer” water heater in the loo which exploded one night while we were sleeping there … things are certainly looking up in Nepal, at least in the tourist adverts.

By Leofleck at English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3686630

Elephant back safari, Chitwan, by Leo Fleck at English Wikipedia

And so the next day we began to circulate in Kathmandu and over the next few weeks we explored further into the valley and the south of Nepal and everywhere we went what struck me was the extreme poverty of most of the inhabitants of the mountain kingdom, and the joyousness of the population in general.

Basking Mugger Croc, Chitwan, Chris Hartford from London, UK

Basking Mugger Croc, Chitwan, Chris Hartford from London, UK

Poverty and suffering everywhere, and Sincere Joy everywhere … openness, honesty, friendliness, trust, in a city of over a million souls, without streetlights, or all the fancy modern amenities which we all take for granted here, I found a centre of unexpected Joy and Peace and peacefulness. And what set this place apart was the people who showed sincerity, meekness, and happiness.

I found a place in this primitive Asian capital in 1989, where I felt safer, in the midst of poverty and suffering, at any hour of the day or night, in darkness or in sunlight, than I had felt anywhere else I had traveled up to then. I think at the root of it all, looking back with an understanding I didn’t have then, that what made this place special in the whole world of my experience was “SincerityandMeekness” and “Happiness“.

Sincerity and meekness, and acceptance of people and existence as it really was, generated a sense of profound Joy and Peace – in a word, “Happiness”. I think my Kathmandu experience was the first ray of light shining on my realization that happiness was not something one pursued and found but rather was a result of approaching life with meekness and sincerity.

Shakuhachi Flute Music”, from the album “Chinese & Japanese Koto Harp & Shakuhachi Flute Music”, {2008)

I couldn’t have explained this feeling, this understanding, at that time because I lacked the spiritual and cultural tools to understand. Mark Manson touched upon this insight when he wrote:

Travel is a fantastic self-development tool, because it extricates you from the values of your culture and shows you that another society can live with entirely different values and still function and not hate themselves. This exposure to different cultural values and metrics then forces you to reexamine what seems obvious in your own life and to consider that perhaps it’s not necessarily the best way to live.” Manson, Mark. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life (pp. 166-170). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.

So what about that Prince from Mark’s story? Well … “The next night, the prince snuck out of the palace again, this time never to return. For years he lived as a bum, a discarded and forgotten remnant of society, the dog shit caked to the bottom of the social totem pole. And as planned, the prince suffered greatly.

He suffered through disease, hunger, pain, loneliness, and decay. He confronted the brink of death itself, often limited to eating a single nut each day. A few years went by. Then a few more. And then . . . nothing happened.

The prince began to notice that this life of suffering wasn’t all that it was cracked up to be. It wasn’t bringing him the insight he had desired. It wasn’t revealing any deeper mystery of the world or its ultimate purpose.

In fact, the prince came to know what the rest of us have always kind of known: that suffering totally sucks. And it’s not necessarily that meaningful either. As with being rich, there is no value in suffering when it’s done without purpose.

And the prince came to the conclusion that his grand idea, like his father’s, was in fact a fucking terrible idea and he should probably go do something else instead. Totally confused, the prince cleaned himself up and went and found a big tree near a river.

He decided that he would sit under that tree and not get up until he came up with another grand idea. As the legend goes, the confused prince sat under that tree for forty-nine days.

We won’t delve into the biological viability of sitting in the same spot for forty-nine days, but let’s just say that in that time the prince came to a number of profound realizations.

One of those realizations was this: that life itself is a form of suffering. The rich suffer because of their riches. The poor suffer because of their poverty. People without a family suffer because they have no family. People with a family suffer because of their family. People who pursue worldly pleasures suffer because of their worldly pleasures. People who abstain from worldly pleasures suffer because of their abstention.

This isn’t to say that all suffering is equal. Some suffering is certainly more painful than other suffering. But we all must suffer nonetheless.”

Manson, Mark. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life (pp. 25-26). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.

So, as I have remarked in other places, this thing called “Life” is a fatal STD. Or as an old CPO once remarked to his men, “Shake out of it ladies! Life’s a suicide mission, none of us are coming back alive!” Yea, whatever, I can hear it now as clear as yesterday.

And the punchline of all this is that I now believe that Happiness is indeed a problem, as Mark says, but not because there is anything inherently wrong with happiness, rather because we confuse happiness with something which we can find, like $100 dollar bill that we stuck in our jacket pocket last spring and we are now finding it this fall. Whoohoo!

And happiness isn’t a “something”. Happiness is really a natural byproduct of living our life right, of practicing virtues like sincerity, and meekness, and fortitude and just getting on with the daily trials of normal life with patience and charity and, dare I say, compassion for all the others with whom we are sharing this little lifeboat of suffering in an uncaring perfectly impartial world.

More on Sincerity, and Happiness, and stages of understanding, maybe in my next post or maybe the one after that, gotta think some more.

Cheers

Joe

Kananaskis, right here in Alberta

 

Don’t have to go half way round the world to find world class mountains

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The Inner Struggle

Doing the Right Thing … with anger and resentment? … or peaceful humility?

ゆりかごの歌”  William W. Spearman IV, from the album “Beautiful Japanese Songs” (2006)

“Beautiful Japanese Songs” (2006)

“Beautiful Japanese Songs” (2006)

For the last little while, I have been thinking about stress and disposition, over hot coffee, and amongst friends and allies, all the while acknowledging that  congeniality and a relative absence of turmoil and emotive stress are required to consider honestly any life situation involving said turmoil and stress.

I have been considering the difference between doing, or not doing the required “right thing” which you are handed by circumstances and the exigencies of daily life. Between saying and not saying whatever comes to mind as one finds oneself yet again troubled by the unrest resulting from the ill considered actions and sayings of others.

As Bill the Bard famously wrote: “Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, Or to take Arms against a Sea of troubles, And by opposing end them”. I rather suspect folks have thinking these thoughts for a long long time.

I think the question of doing or not doing is pretty much settled, at least for me. Of course we “do the right thing” regardless of how we feel about it personally, sometimes we even manage to do it to the extent that we choose to make major personal sacrifices to do the right thing. All well and good. Doing “the right thing” is the important thing. 

But my personal jury is still out deliberating over “saying” or “not saying”.  Adapting ourselves to the mentalities, preferences and needs of others proves to be a real obstacle to doing the right thing with good will. We give ourselves a free pass to say whatever comes to mind because “the other” is wrong, rude, ungrateful, malicious, stupid, they don’t understand, they never learn … the excuses we use to heal our self image and justify our bad behaviour are endless.

Captain James T. Kirk

We choose to insist upon our personal feelings, our point of view, our own tastes, instead of resolving to overlook  all the differences of temperament, mentality, education, experience, tastes and so on.

Putting ourselves as the service of the other with a genuine and sincere spirit of humility in all things would short circuit the hard wired reactions of resentment, anger, judgement, and general dissatisfaction with the “moronic” conduct of others which lack of consideration and foresight leads to all the problems and crisis of daily life, our “Calvary”.

So how can one reasonably transition from anger, resentment, thirst for personal justice and fairness, wake up and smell the coffee, people, the all encompassing general irritation with the idiosyncrasies and idiocy of those around us who are continually screwing with our otherwise peaceful pleasant lives by their self-centered, narcissistic, ill-considered, defecation on the carpet of life?

How can one transition from pride and arrogance to humility and peace?

“早春賦”, William W. Spearman IV, from the album “Beautiful Japanese Songs” (2006)

Mark Manson, 2016

Mark Manson, 2016

It strikes me today that that place of transition, that no-man’s land between anger and arrogance and peaceful humility, may well be entered into by Mark Manson’s “Subtle art of not giving a F***”. As he says in his book (swapping the F-bomb for “damn”):

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Look, this is how it works. You’re going to die one day. I know that’s kind of obvious, but I just wanted to remind you in case you’d forgotten. You and everyone you know are going to be dead soon.

And in the short amount of time between here and there, you have a limited amount of damns to give. Very few, in fact. And if you go around giving a damn about everything and everyone without conscious thought or choice—well, then you’re going to get damned.

There is a subtle art to not giving a damn. And though the concept may sound ridiculous and I may sound like an idiot, what I’m talking about here is essentially learning how to focus and prioritize your thoughts effectively—how to pick and choose what matters to you and what does not matter to you based on finely honed personal values.

This is incredibly difficult. It takes a lifetime of practice and discipline to achieve. And you will regularly fail. But it is perhaps the most worthy struggle one can undertake in one’s life. It is perhaps the only struggle in one’s life.

Because when you give too many damns—when you give a damn about everyone and everything—you will feel that you’re perpetually entitled to be comfortable and happy at all times, that everything is supposed to be just exactly the damned way you want it to be.

***

Manson, Mark. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck”: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life (pp. 13-14). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.

The fault zone, the rift valley, between the tectonic plate of self-righteous anger and resentment and the neighboring undiscovered country of peaceful meekness and humility in all things is so huge as to be difficult to apprehend and consider crossing without some kind of mountain pass or transition zone.

I am thinking that perhaps that philosophical mountain pass is in fact exactly what Mark is talking about: “pick and choose what matters to you and what does not matter to you based on finely honed personal values”.

Not only “what matters to me” but leap to “What Matters”! In this metaphorical mountain pass we can pick off daily bites of climbing which our limited abilities make doable.

Considering the entire fault zone as one huge challenge to “leap at a single bound!” puts us in the position of having to be Tony Stark in our Iron Man flying power armor. We are going to fail, come up short, confirm just what a screw-up we really are, in short turn our struggle into a self fulfilling prophecy of failure and misery.

Then, as a newly realized, miserable failure, we are tempted to indulge in : … F***ing  things up in at least one of two ways: 1.   “Denial”.  Some people deny that their problems exist in the first place. And because they deny reality, they must constantly delude or distract themselves from reality. This may make them feel good in the short term, but it leads to a life of insecurity, neuroticism, and emotional repression.

And 2.  (a real biggy) Victim Mentality”.  Some choose to believe that there is nothing they can do to solve their problems, even when they in fact could. Victims seek to blame others for their problems or blame outside circumstances. This may make them feel better in the short term, but it leads to a life of anger, helplessness, and despair.

People deny and blame others for their problems for the simple reason that it’s easy and feels good, while solving (personal behaviour) problems is hard and often feels bad.

So, these days I am strongly leaning towards “daily bites of climbing” which are doable with our limited resources and God’s help. The other part of this challenge is the understanding that we are unlikely to be successful in attaining peaceful, humble, meekness in any degree of perfection. This is a daily ongoing battle – failing and getting up again and trying again.

No matter how much we may seem to have failed, the climb is all about never giving up and always starting again with renewed commitment. This is all that matters, it is an effort of the will, it is not emotional, and there are precious few consolations along the way. The emotional danger of feeling that all our time and effort is wasted is what tempts us to give up in our effort.

Our ordinary notion of progress does not serve us well in this climb, for it will often appear that we spend more time failing than succeeding, and in that we lose site of the fact that the climb is all about trying and never giving up.

At least that is how it seems to me these days.

Cheers

Joe

Never Give Up, Never Give Up, Never Give Up …

 

 

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The Inner Struggle

The Motive for Fraternal Charity …

“ゆりかごの歌”, William W. Spearman IV, from the album “Beautiful Japanese Songs” (2006)

*****

Presence of God — O Lord, teach me how to love You in my neighbor and to love my neighbor in You and for You.

There  are not two virtues of charity, one the love of God and the other love of neighbor; for the charity by which we love God and the neighbor is one and the same. We love God because he is infinitely lovable, and we love the neighbor because faith teaches us to recognize in him a reflection of the lovableness of God. The motive for fraternal charity is the same as the motive for loving God, as we must always love God either directly in Himself or indirectly in the neighbor. Because fraternal charity has God for its ultimate object and last end, it is identical with the theological virtue by which we love God. …

… If I love my neighbor because he is congenial, renders me service, or sympathizes with me, or because I enjoy his friendship, if I love him because of his fine qualities and pleasing manners, my love is merely human and is not the love of charity. If I am good to my neighbor and help him because I am sorry for him or feel bound to him by human ties, my love may be called sympathy or philanthropy, but it cannot yet be called charity. …

… The more my love is based on human motives alone — like congeniality, natural gifts, ties of blood — the more it is simply human love which has nothing of the merit and value of charity. “Love of neighbor is not meritorious if the neighbor is not loved because of God”. (St. Thomas) …

fromDivine Intimacy“, by Fr. Gabriel of Saint Mary Magdalene, O.C.D. , Copyright 1953 Monastero S. Guiseppe – Carmelitane Scalze, (Discalced Carmelite Monastery in Rome), 2014 edition. day 258, The Motive For Fraternal Charity, pp 751 -753.

As mentioned previously, I can’t say enough good aboutDivine Intimacy“,  it is available at Baronius Press https://www.baroniuspress.com/book.php?wid=56&bid=48#tab=tab-1. Read it daily. Save your soul.

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So it seems to me that we need, very much need, the unlovable in our lives in order to facilitate the practice of fraternal charity. It seems to me that it is much too easy to fall into the trap of human love all un-noticed unless the loved one is of the unlovable category of folks – the difficult one, the malicious one, the unpleasant one, the narcissistic one, in other words, one can be fairly sure of the practice of charity only when the object of that charity is thoroughly unlovable.

What a drag!

Cheers

Joe

Shikamaru’s expression “What a drag.” was “めんどくさい (mendokusai)” in the original Japanese Naruto manga and anime.

Today’s quick Japanese phrase is めんどくさい (mendokusai) – “troublesome” or “bothersome”. This is a very common phrase to use when you don’t want to do something. The phrase is translated in the dubbed anime as “What a Drag”.

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Life in a small town, The Inner Struggle

Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow …

“And all our yesterdays have lighted fools … ”

ゆりかごの歌”  William W. Spearman IV, from the album “Beautiful Japanese Songs” (2006)

Obedience is an essential aspect, a virtue, a character trait intimately associated with Christ’s life on earth. It is essential in any attempt to follow Him and to conform one’s will to God’s.

Fasting and praying are both difficult when distracted by the daily vicissitudes of illness. Having had the most vicious cold with accompanying lung ripping cough it has been difficult to continue my fast with dedication.

As Jason Fung has mentioned in his blog, just take a few days off from fasting to get well, don’t add unnecessary stress when you are fully engaged in getting well.

Being obedient to the mission goals – restrained eating – 1 meal a day, pushing fluids, water, broth, is problematic and requires real effort of will.

Obedience … the voluntary surrender of one’s free will to accomplishment of the goal. Who would have thought that obedience would be even more difficult to embrace than humility.

I feel that we are on a mission against great powers to push through (the mud and the blood) to the green fields beyond (my grandfather would have recognized the reference).

The goal of health, weight loss, low insulin levels, low blood pressure and on top of that “spiritual peace and tranquility” seem far away and unattainable at times, especially when the trials of this world intrude upon one’s determination to persist.

Hobbes’ Leviathan – life as “nasty, brutish, and short” mid nineteenth century.

It does seem passing strange that ill-health, disease, obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, muddy thinking and fuzziness, lack of energy, lack of conviction and certainty, all seem to directly benefit the higher authorities who have assumed nominal responsibility for looking after our well-being.

Just think for a minute, if we all actually got healthy they would all be out of work. The legions of health related government service silos and the big pharma and big food multinational agri-conglomerates, the whole GMO crowd, would all be in dire financial straights, wouldn’t they?  Who was it who said “follow the money”?

In the real world of every day …  blood sugar hovering around 7.0 – best since I was diagnosed 8 years ago, weight down to 238 lbs. best in 8 years. BP down to 115/65 also good, and off all my medications for blood pressure and diabetes. This is all good, right? Why do I feel so down then?

St. Paul’s letter to the Ephesians seems to speak to this experience – this whole struggle is much larger than just dieting … Ephesians 6 … Douay-Rheims Bible … attempting to return to an earlier order that was not about breaking down people into resources to be used and used up …

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Children and Parents

1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is just. 2 Honour thy father and thy mother, which is the first commandment with a promise: 3 That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest be long lived upon earth. 4 And you, fathers, provoke not your children to anger; but bring them up in the discipline and correction of the Lord.

“The Wind Of Liudao”, Jia Peng Fang, from the album “Faraway”, (2002)

Slaves and Masters

5 Servants, be obedient to them that are your lords according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in the simplicity of your heart, as to Christ: 6 Not serving to the eye, as it were pleasing men, but, as the servants of Christ doing the will of God from the heart, 7 With a good will serving, as to the Lord, and not to men.

8 Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man shall do, the same shall he receive from the Lord, whether he be bond, or free. 9 And you, masters, do the same things to them, forbearing threatenings, knowing that the Lord both of them and you is in heaven; and there is no respect of persons with him.

The Full Armor of God

10 Finally, brethren, be strengthened in the Lord, and in the might of his power. 11 Put you on the armour of God, that you may be able to stand against the deceits of the devil. 12 For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood; but against principalities and power, against the rulers of the world of this darkness, against the spirits of wickedness in the high places.

13 Therefore take unto you the armour of God, that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and to stand in all things perfect. 14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of justice, 15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace: 16  In all things taking the shield of faith, wherewith you may be able to extinguish all the fiery darts of the most wicked one. 17 And take unto you the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit (which is the word of God).

Pray Continually

18 By all prayer and supplication praying at all times in the spirit; and in the same watching with all instance and supplication for all the saints: 19 And for me, that speech may be given me, that I may open my mouth with confidence, to make known the mystery of the gospel. 20 For which I am an ambassador in a chain, so that therein I may be bold to speak according as I ought.

Final Greetings

21 But that you also may know the things that concern me, and what I am doing, Tychicus, my dearest brother and faithful minister in the Lord, will make known to you all things: 22 Whom I have sent to you for this same purpose, that you may know the things concerning us, and that he may comfort your hearts. 23 Peace be to the brethren and charity with faith, from God the Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ. 24 Grace be with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in incorruption. Amen.

*****

Dieting as an exercise in scriptural meditation … “the spirits of wickedness in the high places” is that just too pretentious? I actually don’t think so … wickedness in high places … affecting every aspect of every day in every way …

Meanwhile, in the real world of every day …  blood sugar hovering around 7.0 – best since I was diagnosed 8 years ago. Weight down to 238 lbs. best in 8 years. BP down to 115/65 also good. Off all my meds, just taking vitamins, really, except for the cold we are struggling with we are feeling the best we have in years. Things are actually looking pretty good when we stay focused on the minutiae of the day.

Cheers

Joe

and never take yourself too seriously …

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