About Mark

Technical report writing was the only type of writing I used during the early years of my career. After completing an undergraduate degree in aeronautical engineering my first job was at an aircraft manufacturing corporation. The presentations I prepared and reports that I wrote were filled with science, math, fact, test results, proofs, and truth. The hard sciences do not provide nor require the author to express a personality and emotions.

A few years later my career took me into a different roll where communication required more human interaction. Shortly after completing my graduate degree in mathematics, my work was more educational focussed. I was leading the supplier development team at a large automobile manufacturing corporation. Though the core focus of effort still required engineering and mathematics, the face to face communication and correspondence with the company’s suppliers required me to learn people skills.

The last twenty-five years of my career I worked in the advertising industry. I was surrounded by very creative coworkers with degrees in the arts. Their backgrounds and interests were very different than mine and it helped me to learn how to more comfortably move from my right brain to my left brain. I was in senior and executive leadership roles in advertising agencies creating and developing cutting edge techniques for using analytics and data management in advertising. The research, reports, and presentations required very creative style while at the same time they had to convey the scientific truths and proofs.

Today, after retiring from a 42 year career, I’m writing for my own personal blog. Most of the topics featured on my blog are familiar to me. Those topics are a mix of using technology to help make retirement more fun and enjoyable and staying focused on people using the technology not the technology itself. The section I call, “The Balance”, is where I will focus my personal buddhist based philosophy points of view.

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About Mark

Technical report writing was the only type of writing I used during the early years of my career. After completing an undergraduate degree in aeronautical engineering my first job was at an aircraft manufacturing corporation. The presentations I prepared and reports that I wrote were filled with science, math, fact, test results, proofs, and truth. The hard sciences do not provide nor require the author to express a personality and emotions. A few years later my career took me into a different roll where communication required more human interaction. Shortly after completing my graduate degree in mathematics, my work was more educational focussed. I was leading the supplier development team at a large automobile manufacturing corporation. Though the core focus of effort still required engineering and mathematics, the face to face communication and correspondence with the company’s suppliers required me to learn people skills. The last twenty-five years of my career I worked in the advertising industry. I was surrounded by very creative coworkers with degrees in the arts. Their backgrounds and interests were very different than mine and it helped me to learn how to more comfortably move from my right brain to my left brain. I was in senior and executive leadership roles in advertising agencies creating and developing cutting edge techniques for using analytics and data management in advertising. The research, reports, and presentations required very creative style while at the same time they had to convey the scientific truths and proofs. Today, after retiring from a 42 year career, I’m writing for my own personal blog. Most of the topics featured on my blog are familiar to me. Those topics are a mix of using technology to help make retirement more fun and enjoyable and staying focused on people using the technology not the technology itself. The section I call, “The Balance”, is where I will focus my personal buddhist based philosophy points of view.

Now and Then

Standing on the balcony of our highrise apartment looking out across the Mediterranean Sea, as I often do these days, struggling with thoughts for now and then. Words are powerful and can convey so much but only when the words are grouped in perfect sequence. I always have a lot that I would like to share, but I seldom have the confidence that I know that perfect sequence. It helps  that I’m inspired by this view, by this country I now call home, and always by the idea of ideas. The high bar for me is that when I write I truly desire to share thoughts that are as beautiful as the sunrise. Often however, my thoughts are more like war torn battle fields illuminated in the sunrise. There is a tangible inspiration from these illuminated awakenings that sometimes spur me on despite my lack of confidence. A sunrise metaphor is my goto for a starting point and philosophically speaking, it is my preference. The dawning of a new day and the hope it represents is that today will be better than the day or days that came before it. The sunset, by contrast, represents the termination, the end of all that once was. The sunsets on everything that is now and forever gone. Though I’m certain all the conservatives will agree nothing good comes from the future. Conservative mids know all the best days are long gone, there’s, they will tell you, was the best generation. The world is going to hell in a handbasket, they often say. The best of days have all been sunset. While the future in the eyes of the conservative holds nothing but the doom and end of life, certain death. I’m going to disagree with all of those conservatives and present the dawning of the day. The hope each morning brings about a better day. The past — which has proven to be ugly, full of hate, violence war, separation, bigotry, religiosity, and which is filled with death, war, murder, killing — is gone. This new day comes with the possibility of a future better than the icky old days and those nasty old ways. A collective phewy on tradition. 

Sunrise December 19, 2019 Now and Then
Winter Solstice Sunrise Over The Sea. December 2019

Can you see that battle ground now? The war torn fields fully illuminated by the beautiful sunrise? If you can please accept my humble bows and read on. 

In the late 1980’s I had just ended a six year contract with the United States Navy and I was busy rediscovering civilian life. I’m reminded of those days, especially the last six months of service in the Navy, today as we are now day 17 of the chinese pandemic lockdown. It’s the mental difficulty for being confined for long periods of time in a small area and a lot of unusal stress just as it was when onboard Navy ships. One morning on the ship, I had just finished reading Alan Watts book, The Book: On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are, the night before. In this book, Watts works with the following Hindu concepts: that all is ultimately Brahman or God; that our lack of understanding this is because of the magic of maya (Mara in Buddhism); and that figuring it out is lila, a playful game. He likens the game to Hide and Seek in which God, who is all, hides by pretending to be all the various things in the world including each one of us. However, Watts says, “when the game has gone on long enough, all of us will wake up, stop pretending, and remember that we are all one single Self, the God who is all that there is and who lives for ever and ever.” Anyway, I was standing on the 4th deck balcony of the tower looking out at the Indian Ocean. I recall the beauty of the water, the sky, and the clouds. I had just stepped out of the final preflight briefing that had been very intense. Today the strategy and the flight missions were especially more dangerous: aircraft fully armed, and we were going into day 9 of the war with Libya. The view made me stop and recall the game, “lila.” For a moment as I stood there I thought, “wake up. Game over.” I love this concept of the future being so much better and a lot more fun. It makes each and everyday into a notable, perfect and obvious illusion.

Sunrise February 2020. Now and Then.
Sunrise Almost Over Land in Early February 2020

Most of the USA baby-boomer generation embraced a lot of those far-east cultures such as Hindu religions, Buddhism and Taoism. Too many wars, and a history of too many egomaniacal, narcissistic men turning country after country into populations where men are used as war-tools for killing and as objects to be slaughtered, tortured, and forgotten on the battlefields. Even though those eastern cultures had treated life and men just the same as the modern day Saudi Muslims and Italian Christian religions, we sort of loved the Hindu and Buddhist messages better. A Buddhist sunrise came for me one morning while I was taking out the garbage. Standing at the trash bin, I was looking at the city of Dallas in the distance. I could clearly see the skyscraper high rise office buildings as if they had majestically sprouted up out of the ground into the glorious blue sky. It was two years later from that morning when I was standing on the ship’s tower balcony. I could still recall the sensation of fear for being killed and the dread for the lives I would be destroying that day. As I stood there looking at the city so far away, with a memory that still seemed so close by, In my hand I held a framed picture intended for the garbage. It was actually a framed letter. I had the letter matted and framed and had kept it hanging above my rack on the ship, and in my living room when I wasn’t on ship. This morning it was time to embrace the future and let go of that past. The letter was from my mother’s minister. The minister of a christian church had written to me because he wanted to let me know that he and my mother had decided to kick me out of their church. Apparently I was no longer worthy of their love, nor of their Jesus’. As I tossed the framed letter into the bin, that mental battlefield was vivid in the sunrise. It was ugly and disturbing. And as I write this today I can tell you this was the third time since the day I physically tossed it into the garbage that  I’ve thrown that letter away, and hope this will be the last time.

Sunrise 2 months after winter solstice. Now and Then
Late February 2020 Sunrise Moves Inland.

Now is a difficult concept in some ways. The aggregate adds to the difficulty for the majority of us. Aggregates are one of the tools Mara uses to keep us blind to reality. When I think of aggregate as a bad thing I use the word car as a tool. When we think about a car we imagine the thing we use to go places. That’s the aggregate concept of — car. The reality of — car is it is metal mined from the ground but hundreds of people, rubber from trees cultivated by hundreds of people, plastics processed from oil pumped from the ground by hundreds more people, copper, aluminum, sand, cotton, etc. We seldom imagine how everything we use in our every day from the food we eat, house we live in, clothes we wear, car we drive, etc. are the result of everyone and everything on this planet. When we think of — now many times we aggregate the awareness of the current political scenes, the global economy, the various wars, day of the week, time of the day, etc. This isn’t what now is. Now is not an aggregate like –car. It’s much more than that. Now isn’t a bunch of stuff all at once combined as an aggregate. What now is? You cannot define it. As soon as you apply a word or a thought to define or describe it, you’re already wrong. Maybe this will place your mind on the correct path; It’s the sound of one hand clapping. 

Now and Then
April 5 2020. Two weeks after Spring Solstice. Sunrise reaching second mountain range.

Then, is also an interesting aggregate. We can often use — then to refer to what has already happened. And we can often use — then to refer to what is yet to happen in the future. Whichever way it [then] gets used, the narrative of the future and the past is where it is critical for understanding now. If there’s a means to nudge a person onto the path of discovering the illusion of — now and — then it’s eastern philosophy which has often discovered the way. The idea for guiding each person to discover the illusion and awaken to the understanding of reality is wholesome and sound. When someone tells us the answer to a complex question we will often reject the answer and question it. But, when you discover an answer on your own the awakening is an epiphany and will change you forever. One path that I find amazing is the concept of — then when referring to the past. The past isn’t something that doesn’t exist anymore. It cannot not exist anymore. It’s impossible to be both present and nonexistent. So we cannot think or say there was a past but instead we have to realize there is a past. The same must be understood with the future. We cannot think or say there will be a future or that the future is not yet. Clearly and quite obviously there is a future. The correct narrative, or the reality if you please, is that — everything is now. Enjoy this journey.

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Delicacy Gone Past + Dhamma Lessons In Facebook

Seems like an unusual topic, doesn’t it? Of all the places on the Internet to think of lessons in the law, Facebook would probably be at the top of most people’s list of least likely sources. The journey there (to the lesson) will set the stage for the soundness and perhaps a touch of good humor. Let’s hope for the best. But first let’s get to the delicacy gone past.

We live in some exciting days. To say the least! With the latest disease spreading virus brought to us -once again- from the land of too many, Covarian Virus, or SARS part 2. You and I know the trilogy (SARS part 3) will require a global effort if we have any hope to avoid it. But, I’m sticking to the current release of the killer threat from our overpopulated and heavily polluting sisters and brothers from China.

WARNING — This post is not my usual lighthearted and full of fun material.

Meanwhile in the land of greed and prolific bomb development it’s another media frenzy election year. There is no other sensation that can come close to the elite controlled media’s game of deception and diversion than the presidential election. Not even Hollywood’s grammies can compare to the total lustfest the U.S. elite wallows in during the presidential election years. An overabundance of totally exposed money thrusting and gyrating about is too-to-much for them to resist.

Designer Killer Germs

It was 1968 when China first made me sick and tried to kill me with their pandemic called “The Chinese Flu.” I was 10 years old and I can recall my mother on the phone with her mother discussing my 104 degree fever. How can I forget this near death experience and the opportunity to lay in the bathtub of cold water trying to break the fever? When Pink Floyd later wrote lyrics for their song, Comfortably Numb, “When I was a child I had a fever. My hands felt like two balloons.” The Chinese Flu was that experience. I recall the hands feeling just that [balloons]. The cough was horrible too. I remember mom calling to me from down the hallway at 2 or 3 am. “Rollover,” she called out, “You can’t stop coughing laying on your back. Try sleeping on your side.” They tried to kill me with SARS too. These Chinese designer germs tried to take me out with SARS 1 and I’m sure I’ll be in bed for a week with their current attempt soon. The next time you are in a public restroom and see someone of Chinese descent please show them the soap and demonstrate for them how to wash up. We can be proactive and share some knowledge across cultures.

Killer bugs in Spain
Poison Caterpillar of Spain

Perhaps rather than just tariffs, and name calling the U.S.A. should require the Chinese government provide soap to their population. They should adopt an aggressive effort to teach and enforce the washing of hands, regular bathing, and their shops, markets, and restaurants should be continuously cleaned and regularly inspected for cleanliness. It wouldn’t hurt anything to instruct their population on healthy eating habits and unhealthy eating habits. Let’s take a proactive approach and start to include a case of soap and hand sanitizer with every shipping container we send them– free. When you look at the cost to the world for the sickness and deaths they spread globally, providing these free of charge won’t actually cost us at all. 

A bit harsh? I don’t think it is. When someone hits you in the face and it takes a month or two before your eye swelling goes down and your vision returns,and then they hit you in the face again. Now, you see them coming at you a third time again, the time for delicacy has past.

An Activist Anarchist

Exciting days indeed. As an activist and a humanity first advocate myself, I can’t remember a time when so many causes were out begging for donations at one time. The combination of Covarian, the need for more bombs, and election season have seen a ten times increase in the number of, now daily requests. Each of which ask for me to send them money a few times every year. The Free Tibet society, Future of Life society also ask for money a few times every year. Two years ago I started supporting Andrew Yang for President when he announced his candidacy for the Democratic Party. Without too many details for why I would support the Yang presidency I’ll just add in a high level bulleted list:

Andrew Yang for President of U.S.A.
  • Universal Basic Income
  • Wealth Cap
  • Humanity Centered Capitalism
  • End of GDP and Economic Growth Financial Measures

Fast forward to the election year where Yang has several millions of dollars in donations per month regularly coming his way, and a huge number of individual contributors. He’s refused PAC money and has succeeded in qualifying for 4 of the first 5 Democratic debates. Wow? Yes, wow! However, after failing to win the first two state primary elections he immediately resigns from the race. He says it was a party unifying intention.

Okay, so let me try to pull all these strings together and start to put a bow on the Dharam lessons in Facebook.  

Presidential candidate, Yang, has a support group in Facebook where there were, at the peak, 315,000 (plus) members. That’s a solid fanbase. Keyword, fanbase. While the logical approach to all government elected individuals should be policy driven, most of the U.S.A. treat politics like a sporting event or a Hollywood movie. I cringe every time a post mentions someone’s “love for Yang.” It’s nothing short of absolutely wrong. It’s a direct result of the Ronald Reagan, 1980’s policies to dumb-down America. There were, however some members who tried to reign in the passionate and stick to the policies that were the platform. When Andrew Yang suspended his run for the presidency the heartaches flooded the Facebook wall. Angry posts were prominent, and many were saying they would never follow another candidate again. 

For The Love of Another

UBI. Save The Middle Class; Save Democracy

It got worse. Because Yang had qualified for the primaries his name is on all of the state ballots despite his dropping out of the race.  With every primary going forward many of the Facebook fans would post a picture of their primary ballot clearly showing Yang’s name on the ballot with the box checked indicating their vote. Logic clearly fails in these cases because the “love affair” continues beyond reason. 

It got worse when Yang later publicly announced his support for Joe Biden. I responded to the Facebook group’s post that announced the endorsement:

Mark Bertrand Excellent. Best thing he's done since dropping out. Very reasonable and sensible. Excellent!

I’m in agreement with Yang and five other once presidential candidates who have since suspended their candidacy and also endorsed Biden. The Democratic National Committee has, perhaps, learned that a policy of diversity that lost to both Bush and Trump is perhaps not a good policy. The DNC is now pushing hard to ratify a party to endorse a single candidate and early in the elite-media-frenzied-lustfest election year. I had a reply to my post, as follows:

Randolph Kramer Mark Bertrand hahahhahhahahhahahahahaha
Reasonable
Too funny
And sensible
The fuck you smoking besides bidens delusional dick

Wow, yes the reply is rude. I took a few minutes to consider the opportunity to address someone who is obviously not a supporter of Biden’s policy. This could also be someone who is at the emotional “love Yang, Hate all others.” So I wrote back:

Mark Bertrand Randolph Kramer first we have to get the orangutan kleptomaniac out of the white house. We can't do it with a two party Democrat ticket. We have to unite with one candidate. Then, you need to get your state to go blue. Then replace all state judges, all lower court judges get removed by voting in your local elections. BUT - First, remove the orange kleptomaniac! Then guys like Yang who support humanity first can have a chance.

The next reply back was the start of the Dharma lesson I got from Facebook.

Randolph Kramer Mark BertrandThe name calling and not listing specific issues and solutions by a any canidate, i will not be a party to
Thanks for your insight

A Monk Ripe For Arhat

Arhat Ready Monks
Arhat Ready Buddhists

The last reply made me think and I recalled a lesson that I had learned from the Dhammapada. In my mid-twenties I first read the Dhammapada. For those who don’t know what Dhammapada is, think of it as the law for Buddhism. It consists of many stories that took place when the Buddha was alive. I recalled a story that was about a monk and the granddaughter of a prominent supporter of the Buddha. I’ll paraphrase the story here.

The prominent supporter had established a residence where the monks could come to find shelter in the rainy seasons, good food when they were hungry, healthcare when they were ill, etc. On this particular day the granddaughter was taking care of the monks while her grandmother was out taking care of the fields and the livestock. The young girl had served this particular monk his rice, and as she picked up the water pitcher to fill his cup saw her own reflection in the water. She laughed at her reflection. The monk noticing her laugh also looked in the litcher and laughed at his reflection also. The grand daughter said, “A cut head laughing.” The monk sprung to his feet and chastised the girl; “How do you criticise and mock a monk? Calling him a cuthead! Have you learned nothing from your mother?” The young girl ran to the kitchen crying. When her grandmother came in finding her granddaughter crying asked her why. The granddaughter told her the whole story.

The grandmother approached the monk and asked him why he would chastise the granddaughter. The monk said, “You know it is our tradition to shave our heads and to wear the robes of our traditions also cut short. Our rich heritage is followed strictly and with necessary discipline for all to benefit.” At that time, the Buddha was taking his seat at the table and had overheard the monk. Buddha said, “There is no place in the world for heedlessness.” The woman was grateful for the Dhamma lesson.

Heedful always
Alert, Conscious, Aware, Heedful

It was the name calling comment from the last post that made me remember the lesson. And I have to admit that I have a sarcastic wit. Many times I think it is fun to be sarcastic and to add in euphemism to make the sarcasm sting and a bit more funny. In this case I called Donald Trump an orangutan and also accused him of being a kleptomaniac. Truly heedless. A world of holy human beings does not have a place for name calling. It’s not at all funny, ever.

I’m now aged 62 years and still have so much to learn and master. Always, stay alert and watchful; lessons come from all directions.

Soap and Hot Water
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I love Cuban cigars

I love Cuban cigars

Malaga city for new years eve was a lot of fun even without the fireworks. The adventure was almost uneventful and methodical. Usually when Kimber and I go on a trip or have an event there are so many unexpected and unplanned activities around that we rarely just have the actual event itself. This time though, neither of us was sick, we got on the right bus, got off the bus at the right stop, remembered our luggage, no traffic jams, no interesting encounters with people or animals, no history making weather, and well, rather a simple holiday really. OK so that’s it. Thanks for reading. Take care, and all our best to you and the family.

We lucked out with the hotel at Don Curro. The desk man said to Kimber, “If you aren’t in a rush for a room and you can wait about 15 minutes I have a really great room almost ready.” Kimber tells him we are in no rush. The hotel is amazing architecture and located in the old town section of Malaga. Pronounced; Mul-Ah-Gaw if you’re English and Mal-a-ga (a is silent in all 3 syllables) if you’re Spanish. The check-in desk area is decked out with marble floor, travertine walls, mirrors, and perfectly polished, glossy finished, spanish cypress check in counter. Just inside the front door is a staircase to the right. The steps are coco travertine, and the risers are carmel marble, with a handrail of brass. To the left is the check-in counter and marble path to the elevators.

Don Curro Hotel

The wait was well worth it. The room is on the top floor with a view over the old town and the massive cathedral just two blocks away. The scenery captured my attention several times during our three day stay. As I stood in the open window gazing out at the ancient city, mountains, trees, and sky I thought of all my friends, and most of my family. I can hear the people below, on the streets of the town. I’m impressed with the surroundings and the experience. It’s New Year’s Eve, the last day of 2019, the last day of the second decade of the second millenia. I wonder if I can come back here in 2221 for New Years Eve. No, no I didn’t wonder that. Just kidding, really. I’d be too old to stand in the window by then.

It’s the sound of people that makes us most excited and anxious to get settled in the room so we can head out to explore the streets. We truly enjoy people and humanity. We humans are an amazing miracle of the universe. While you may think the formation of a sun, or a supernova is an incredible manifestation of the universe’s power, humans are, every one of us, holy and all powerful. The chance to walk with, mingle with, bump into, speak with, listen to, and just the opportunity to be here with so many holy beings all at once, is truly a miracle. Kimber and I are unpacking the backpacks and getting ready for the explorations of the Malaga pueblo. Meanwhile we are discussing the four highest qualities of humanity. It’s not the equanimity, not the mindfulness, not even the loving kindness of those four treasures that has caught my attention here but the rare case, the first of the four highest qualities of humans: Sympathetic  joy. 

German culture shares the wisdom that says bad news shared with friends and loved ones is only half as bad and good news not shared is only half as good. The more I think about that sage, old wisdom the more I realize it’s a perfect definition of Sympathetic Joy. 

Just a Drunken Sailor

When I first arrived in Spain, I was overwhelmed with a mixture of emotions and senses. Selling everything we owned, throwing away everything we couldn’t sell, giving away a few of our loved treasures to the few people we cared enough to burden with our junk, and coming to a country brand new to us with just five suitcases (and a load of cash didn’t hurt) was like a supernova event. I snapped photos on my phone like a drunken sailor in a nudist camp. I shared thoughts, ideas, pictures and happiness with everyone in my contacts and across the internet. At times I felt like all of my friends and family were sitting back rolling their eyes and murmuring, “oh gawd here he goes again!” I wasn’t bragging nor trying to do anything except share the joy I was experiencing. That’s just Sympathetic Joy.

Finally, we are out of the room, out of the hotel and into the streets of the city. We’re after the Indian food or maybe Mexican food. There are supposed to be three “authentic” Mexican restaurants in the old town (old pueblo) area. Google maps is guiding us through the bario, the maze of narrow streets and tall buildings. We’re strolling through holiday crowds where half the people are going in the same direction as we are. Some faster, some slower and occasionally, without warning, some people stop to have a more intense conversation for a few minutes before they continue on. The other half of the people are going in the other direction than what we are. Then there’s the half that is going across to the right and the half that are crossing to the left. Finally, the last half are the people who are window shopping from one side of the narrow street to the other side, back and forth they come and go. Stopping in the middle to express their excitement for what they saw over there, and over there while their friends are telling them the same thing about their experience over there and over there. Everyone is talking, a few are listening, and we’re all enjoying being here together — just this.

Oh, and then there is the occasional car, what!, yes-in-deed sometimes a car drives along these narrow pueblo streets filled and lined with hundreds of holiday festive joyful holy beings. We are loving the whole scene.

Mexican or Indian it’s all the same

We did locate all three of the Mexican restaurants in the area. We’ve walked for nearly an hour and a half criss-crossed the myriad of streets only to discover they are all three closed for the holiday. We are so happy they took time off to be with their friends and share some holiday time with family. We did see a combination, Indian and Mexican restaurant on our trek and Kimber spoke with the waitress. They were having a New Years Eve special for just 80 euros a piece. The selection was all they had for the evening. We moved on, and eventually we chose a nice Indian restaurant a block off of the main street. 

I could see the people on the main street from our sidewalk table. Can you even imagine how much information is streaming through the fiber optic tubes around the planet on New Years Eve? I’m seeing everyone snapping photos with their phones, shooting videos, and many with those selfie-sticks capturing themselves while enjoying the night’s event. They post these across Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, and hundreds of other apps to share their joy. That’s more examples of Sympathetic Joy. Absolute planned happiness, I say to my wife. She barely looks up because she has become all-too-familiar with my suddenly saying something totally off the wall. Finally, after a moment or two she replies, yes it certainly is. 

collage of malaga on new years 2020

If you want to invite happiness & joy, into your life you have to plan it in. It doesn’t very often just show up all by itself. Life isn’t a natural fit for love and all of the elements that are included in the aggregate of love. Life is, instead a natural state of fear, greed, lust, anger, and delusion. Being here as the holy and perfect being that you are is an effort for you have to learn how to overcome these five karmas. You overcome them with love. I can almost hear all those eyeball rolls now. Using the four highest qualities of a human, you can overcome all the bad karma in your life. Start today. Right now. Plan it out. Invite happiness in by simply doing something you typically never do. Share the good news and the bad news with everyone in your family, all of your friends, and even with people you don’t personally know. Who cares what they think or say. This is about you not them.

Planning for happiness

Kimber pretending to ignore me

Sure you might feel a little embarrassed at first. What if nobody cares, what if they laugh, what if they ignore my silly sharing of personal thoughts, ideas, experiences? Yes, you might feel like it’s too beneath you to share your cleverness and your perfect intellect that provided you with this personal experience of misery or deep happiness.  Or maybe you feel it opens you to a sense of vulnerability that someone, somewhere, may someday exploit to get an upper advantage over you. Just trust yourself and share your bad and good as often as you can it’s the Sympathetic Joy that can spark a revolution in your life and countless others too. Stop keeping everything to yourself and being so selfish and aloof! Open up and reach out to the planet of miraculous and marvelous holy beings around you. 

Okay, stop the eye rolling or at least grab the selfie stick and your phone to capture and share.

Second day in Malaga we walked the pier and envied the yachts. Then we argued and stressed about taking a city buss across the city and to a distant pueblo of Benalmadena. I know… I know. It’s ben-al-ma-deeeena if you’re english, and ben-ala-ma-dayna if you’re spanish. It means, children of the mines. We typically get cross with each other when we’re about to do something stressful. When we’re not exactly sure how or what to do or not sure what the consequence may be, we get a tad testy with each other. Kimber more so than I, for sure! (wink wink) But, there is a monument in Benalmadena we have wanted to visit and we’ve talked about visiting long before we moved here. The time was right and off to the adventure we went. 

Buddhist Stupa in Benalmadena

We had a few bus changes to get to the destination and back again, but we made it to the Stupa. These stupas are supposed to have some actual relic from the Buddha, Shakyamuni, underneath the golden dome. It maybe a hair, a finger nail, a bone, or a tooth. Not that this makes the Stupa some sort of magical place or a place where great miracles happen. That’s ridiculous. You have to build your own karma and karmic powers before that can happen. Though Kimber did read on the internet that if you walk around the stupa in a clockwise (always clockwise in everything you do) direction, three times then your dreams will come true. That’s just utter nonsense; everyone’s dreams come true — just not right now, today, in this lifetime, on this planet, but certainly with all your karma accumulated they do/will.

Buddhists Holy Beings it’s all the same

Everyone of us feels ashamed of our feelings, man. It sucks to be so encompassed by our thinking minds. Do you know how many memes you can find on facebook that stress the self ridicule, self deprecating, and the number of memes posted that express contempt for people? It’s out of control how casual people find it to share a ready made image with a snappy caption that either communicates self hate or hate for humankind. Stop it! Yes, some of you do this and it’s alarming. Post something amazing about your day, not your spouse, pets, scenery. Something fantastic about you. “I cleaned my toilet today. Under the rim, behind the back on the floor, under the bolt covers that hold the seat in place, inside the bowl where the water is stored between flushes, and the underneath side of the tank lid. I’m feeling accomplished for the day,and like I deserve this hot buttered rum that I just made from scratch.” Now there’s some sympathetic joy that can raise cheerful smiles and laughter across the planet. Embody that karma!

Some of us feel like we are missing out on life or that there is only so much happiness to go around and everyone is using it up. Sure you might not have everything you want and maybe you feel envy when you see or read about someone else’s happiness. Kimber and I see this when we’re out walking around. I remember a time when I was shopping at the Friday open market which are always packed with too many people and not enough room between vendors. People going in all directions, just like New Years Eve in Malaga. And every now and again there’s that one person with anger, rage, and condemning judgement coming through the crowd. Elbowing people, pushing and snarling as they thrust in disgust, pass the shoppers. I hear them and many people say it, “I hate people.” My step-father was frequently proud to announce his hate for mankind too. It shocked me as a child and still does as a senior citizen today.

Have a great year, everyday

All you need to do to stop hating is to stop judging. Stop comparing what others are doing to your strict guidelines to what they should be doing. Stop judging, stop thinking the world is wrong because of everyone else or that the troubles in life are because of others. In its place, share your sadness, share your happiness, share your accomplishments, share your failures. Fix yourself and you’ll quickly realize how holy you and everyone is.

My messy table

Kimber scored a new pair of walking shoes on our last day, shopping in Malaga. They were made in Brazil and they look pretty sweet. She told me they make her want to walk. I’m very sad by this because we are already walking 40 to 50 kilometers a week (25 to 30 miles), and my feet hurt. I have drop foot and my left leg always fights with me as we walk. It makes me happy too because we need to stay active as we age and do not go quietly into the night. I scored some Cuban cigars that are priced something like 99.9% less than you can get them in the USA. That makes me happy because I enjoy cigars with my whisky and Kimber doesn’t give me grief about the costs. OK I’ve beaten this theme of Sympathetic Joy to the edge of examples and reasoning, but before you take an oath to never go online again just to avoid having to read anything else I’ve written — that’s called self deprecation or what the Canadian’s have perfected called ‘passive aggressive’ — remember that you are always in my thoughts and I wish you every happiness!

Sarva
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