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!

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