Friday, June 21, 2013

A Warrior Monk in the City of St. Francis - Part 2: A Journey to the Sunset

I need to start this blog post with a thanks to my friends... Francis for letting me stay at his flat, Steve for helping me keep track of my place in Sac, and Johnny for giving me comic relief and "my daily dose of start-ass." So with the thanks said, I'm off in the Sunset district, at a small cafe called Park Chow on 9th Ave., having a glass of OJ and a coffee. It's interesting to listen to the conversations that people have while your around and they don't know you're listening. A middle-aged couple were sitting next to me as I was starting up my laptop and discussing the way that companies and workers relate. There was this constant theme that 'I hope what goes around comes around.' in the conversation.... and I couldn't help thinking that it just seemed a bit too sunny an outlook on the human condition. It's been my experience that history teaches us that equity and equality only come after a great deal of strife (usually with those in power winning again) and the poor being killed outright if not just oppressed more than previously done. The powerful have a vested interest in the status quo because they have learned how to work the 'game' they are in.... they don't want the rules to change. And we, we ordinary, everyday, working Joe's just trying to get by are beneath them and not worthy of consideration except where we intersect their own, narrow, self-interests. Depressing... well, I'm note trying to be. I've come thru the interregnum in my life to write just as plainly and straight forwardly as I can without throwing smoke out my ass.

The present circumstances doesn't mean that you give up. Rather, face your situation with a sense of realistic dignity that you know the limitations of your present moment and that you'll do what you can in your own space to make what surounds you a better place as much or as gradually as you can. After mom's passing the quote I keep in my pocket from Napoleon became even more pressing for me... he wrote, "There is no immortality but the memories that are left in the minds of men." OK, I can accept that since I am staring my end in the face ever more clearly with every day that I advance through the Universe and my place in it. "But isn't that rather  nihilistic?" No, not in fact. It is an imperative instead... You have only this life and the time that goes with it. Do what you can, but don't waste it. I remember Tony Curtis being interviewed shortly before his death and he had a quote that has just stuck in my little brain, "Service to humanity is the rent we pay for the time we get to spend on this earth." This has helped me to know why I walk the Earth the way I do and why I teach. I am just doing what I can to make the world a little better place when I leave it than when I came into it.

"Be the change you wish to see in the world."
   -Mahatma Ghandi

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