A Little Learning Goes a Long Way

What we thought we knew . . .

Evolution of our planet seems to be happening at warp speed, and in a sense, it very likely is.

I was thinking back on my own life and the values people held vs. the values we hold today. People, families especially, seemed to be one of the most important values any of us had. We had just come out of one war, and would soon enter another one, and then still another one through my own lifetime.

I have been mourning the loss of what once seemed it would last forever. Those long summer nights when we children could play safely out in the neighborhood streets and parents never had to worry about where we were, or whether we might perhaps become victims of human trafficking. The thing we played with first and foremost was using our minds to create fantasies such pretend forts or capture of the enemies, or “Red Rover.” Then we had boxes, which played a multitude of roles. Bicycles and skates and going swimming in the summer were big thrilling activities. And at Christmas, we got such simple but yet such beloved gifts – a B B gun for boys, or perhaps a new collectible doll for a girl.

TV was new and it was a thing that was already changing the family sitting down together for dinnertime. Instead, people sat around with TV trays, ate TV dinners, and no one was sharing the events of the day. I remember the family sitting around the TV, entranced by the amazing wonder of the Test Pattern. Families had only black and white, and I think it was later in my life when color TV came into being.- It was the age of “things.”

Young people called Marijuana “Mary Jane,” and in our youth we avoided those people as bad people. Getting high meant taking an aspirin and swallowing it with Coca Cola, and then spinning around until we fell down. We went to school and had really healthy lunches, and no one had to be shamed if they did not have one. They just got in line with everyone else and got a filling lunch. Teachers could make us write something on the board 100 times if we were bad, or have us sit in the corner with a Dunce Hat, or chewing gum on our noses. And they could even hit our hands if we did something wrong (or use paddles on our bums). And if we did something unthinkable like throwing spitballs, we might get sent to the dreaded office. That meant our parents would be notified, and we might even get “grounded.”

But things were changing. Parents didn’t talk about marital problems such as domestic violence or abuse of children. No one went to a psychologist; it was the psychiatrists who dealt with problems based on strange theories that not many understood. Only society’s very well-to-do went to them. Women really did not talk to each other about things that were private to their families. Perhaps some families went to their priests or their pastors, but we never heard or read about those things.

Suddenly, people were going to Space, and just as suddenly, we were frightened of nuclear power. Families everywhere were building bomb shelters, and we endlessly practiced in school how to duck under our desks in the event of a bomb. Suddenly your next door neighbors you had known for years were suspicious of you and not open to having you see the insides of their bomb shelters. There were these people called Communists, and we did not exactly know who they were, but they were people to be feared. More and more people were identified as those horrible Communists, and then they had to face having hearings on TV, that place we had once thought something so simple and so fun. Now it was full of things no one really understood, and they spoke of those people in whispers within a family, but not shared outside. We really did not know WHO to trust anymore.

And today, here we sit, almost with the same amount of fear of things not seen, but believed. Things we cannot understand, so we fear those things. And suddenly we are grasping to hold onto things that make about as much sense as ducking under our desks or building bomb shelters.

Life is moving way too fast with way too many things going on all at once, bombarding our senses as they did before, but now with warp speed unseen in our lifetimes. One day we hear a scary word that none of us understand and the next day it is killing people all over the world. Should we hide under our desks, fear everyone anywhere near us, or perhaps even kill them because they have more of something they believe will save them than we do?

Will we ever see life as it once was again, or was it simply that we we never really learned anything of lasting value in the time we have been here? How far will a little learning take us?

Empowerment

Courtesy of Quotefancy

I was thinking this past week that I have always felt powerless in the presence of people who seem to have more power than I do. I know, this may sound silly, but when you grow up with people who have absolute control of your everyday life and not in healthy ways, it is easy to lose a sense of your own power.

In my case, Richard and I live in a senior mobile home park owned and run by the most evil people I have known for a long time, though I must admit they are not the first ones. In fact, every senior mobile home park I have lived in has been a senior’s worst nightmares. And yet, for many seniors it represents a place that may be affordable on a limited income, as well as having neighbors in your social and economic position. It may represent safety and well-being where there are people close all around you who will surely know if you are in danger or you are perhaps ill. And there is usually a “clubhouse,” where there are monthly activities – perhaps coffee and donuts on the day you pay your space rent, and potlucks at different times of the month. And with things such as we are going through now throughout the world, it can represent a kind of sanity when all else is failing us.

So how could anything like this not be a senior’s dream? But let’s take a good look at what happens with a great many parks, for sure the ones in my own town of Yucaipa, CA (in San Bernardino County within the Inland Empire of Southern California). Looking at the history of the parks here (and this is true in many places in the U.S.), one of the things we have here are people who come into the area, knowing very little if anything about the needs of seniors. It is a cheap investment by the standards of those who buy the parks. They skirt any rent control that might exist in an area, coming in intending to raise the rent “for improvements they are making or going to make.” The reality is that the City itself has very little control (and does not want the involvement with having to be saddled with making sure things are working right). They have other more important needs. The park owners are bringing money into their communities, and they don’t want to stop that development. They spend their energy creating more sophisticated and luxurious communities that bring more money into the community and they cannot be really blamed for that. All communities want to keep improving their communities; it is all about good business.

The first issue that mobile home residents have no say-so in is the hiring of park managers. There is no background check required, no real experience necessary (they are trained for a very short time).

Basically there are no requirements by the HCD (Housing and Community Development) which is part of the state government, supposedly charged with protecting the rights of mobile home residents including making sure that that those who purchase their homes and pay them off get their titles when that process is done. The reality is that this HCD has never been given proper legal authorization to make sure things go smoothly for the residents, and as a results, landlords such as the ones I have will wait until the home owners die while they still are trying to get their titles. And most seniors don’t know fully their rights or the way things work.

Most seniors are unwilling to do what they need to because of fear that the owners will take revenge on them or they are too ill or perhaps disabled to try to do anything. My home was sold to three other seniors before me, and all of them died without ever getting their titles. Of course I could not have known this when I purchased it, and the landlord did not tell me. Yet he had worked for this park for some 20+ years, so he fully was aware of the nature of the owners. But like many park managers or landlords, he does what they want him to do; it doesn’t matter if it is illegal or unethical. He wants to keep his cozy regular home in the park and get paid for doing nothing except collecting the rent each month and telling the people who are renting to clean up their own properties (which the park is supposed to do unless you own your place).

There are so many other areas of elder abuse I have seen and experienced with my own eyes in these parks, and I am one of them also now since I too have been unable to get my title for my home despite my many attempts to get it from the owners, and also having gone through every local level – the HCD, the City of Yucaipa, Legal Aid, Elder Abuse, Code Enforcement, and many others, all to no avail for some 1-1/2 years (or close to that). Two of my neighbors also have similar problems: one who has not had his for nine years, and the other one who is being expected to pay back taxes on the land to get his title when it has not been in his name at all. And that is the HCD saying he has to do that.

I became extremely depressed these last months. I want to get my significant other, Richard and myself out of this park and into a small home in Arizona with its own land. California is not a good place to live anymore. Frustration with feeling once again that I had absolutely no power was a truly a biggie for me.

Then one day when I was looking at many of the criminal justice publications I receive on the Internet, I came across a National Elder Fraud Number. Without waiting a second, I dialed the number, and for once, I began to get answers at a higher level of State and Federal places that can help. Also, the people who run this organization are mandated reporters, and this time the reports are not going under the shelves. I have been given the numbers of a lot of agencies at a much higher level from which I will be able to help. Also, the people at the National Elder Fraud are coming from another part of California to visit me and to make sure that everything is followed up.

For once, I felt empowered with my newly found knowledge. We can never have too much of that regardless of our training or our needs. And we should never give up just because someone says so. I trusted that landlord, and I gave him $4,000 up front down and paid the other $4,000 over the years $100 a month along with my monthly space rent and utilities. I never missed a payment, and I had to pay the insurance too for the home, not realizing I would not get much at all without that title. That might not be much for a lot of people, but for me, it was my last savings I had since I had to stop working because of the cancer and the PTSD.

Right now our country is in probably the worst situation we have had since WWII politically, health-wise, and education-wise. People are panicking and acting totally irrational and it is because they don’t know what to believe. They think they have no power to do anything about it. This is NEVER true. There is always a higher resource, and in this case, it might take us awhile to find it, but I think we can all empower ourselves by at least trying to find something else that can help this situation.

I know that I have read several articles by Steve Tanham, Sue Vincent, as well as Stuart France, founders of The Silent Eye Mystery School, and I have learned a lot of things I could not otherwise find on the Internet such as the very nature of viruses like that of the Corona Virus and bacteria since the beginning of time, and many really good articles related to the values we hold in this life.

I also want to acknowledge Patty Fletcher and Claire Plaisted for keeping things going for all of us bloggers and authors during this challenging time. Thank you one and all by giving us higher resources we can learn from and take back the care and maintenance of our own lives. Just as that money for my home is the last thing I own that can help me and my hubster move forward, so are your bodies, minds and souls the most critical things you have in this life. Take good care of them and treasure each and every moment with your loved ones that you can enjoy now.

I still think of my friend Sue Vincent and her amazing son, who was wounded severely enough to kill someone, but he has recovered slowly over the years, and there they were out planting flowers by their little pond, and Nick, her son, insisted on carrying some mulch for the garden for him mum. Take back your power; it is waiting for you.

Cycle of Life II

Milkweed plants one week after being devoured by Monarch Caterpillars

I could not believe my eyes when a week after the Monarch Caterpillars totally ate every single leave of the two plants that have also propagated themselves in several other places in the yard, and within one week, they have all come back, bigger and fatter leaves than before.

Sometimes we just need to believe that this old world will continue as it has been doing for thousands of years. Yes, I am not so naive as to believe that we do not have things like climate and environmental changes that are affecting the world. I am sure that some of the things have been happening since the beginning. I believe most sincerely that many changes in cultures have taken place because of the inability of human beings to adjust to the changes successfully. Some of the changes I am not certain humans could have adapted to very successfully such as the ice ages that took place, or perhaps the plagues. But at the same time, mankind DID in fact exist before AND after those things, so perhaps it was an accident that they survived, and perhaps they adapted more than we think they did.

Today a lot of psychology is used to convince us of this potential thing or the other thing, much as the whole world was set to collapse with the coming of the year 2000, is about to happen to us and there are more books and talks, etc. by all kinds of people telling us what we need to do to survive. And of course it IS fully possible that this thing or that thing could cause total destruction of our world at any given time, but the truth is if that happens, I don’t think we need to worry about it anymore.

If, like the cycle of life that I witnessed in my Milkweed plants, this old world goes on, why not just continue to do what makes sense and stop worrying about destruction or the rest of the “what if’s”. When and if they happen, we will deal with them as we need to then, and we will hopefully learn from our mistakes. There is really no guarantee either way.

Enjoy the moment. Appreciate the air we breathe. Look for the beauty all around us. Find miracles in the everyday events. Remember not to always worry about tomorrow because the reality is that when tomorrow comes, it will also be today. Tomorrow is just a way to avoid being fully alive today. Trust, because trust really is something that can benefit us all. I am glad I trusted those caterpillars eating the Milkweed plants and gave the world a chance to do what it does best. Someday I know those Monarch butterflies will show up, and when they do I will be glad that I gave the world and myself this gift.

Ingredients for Peace

Make Peace, Not War by Anne Copeland

It really isn’t a difficult recipe. In fact, it is probably easier than a recipe for making bread.

Ingredients: Respect, Dignity, Peace of Mind, Liberty for ALL, and throw in Cooperation, Understanding, Open-mindedness, Oneness, and perhaps Sharing. Can you think of any others? Why should these things be so difficult? How could we make them easier for everyone everywhere?

I would love to hear your ideas on how we could bring peace throughout the world while retaining who we all are. Is it possible or a dream that can never happen?

Something’s Gotta Give . . .

Fiber art piece by Anne Copeland.

Ah, that first bloom of love, when everyone is on their best and each of us seems like the perfect person that we have been looking for. They are, at this point in fact, exactly how we have imagined a lover.

That bloom can last a day, a week, a month, and sometimes even a year or so. But it seems that all of a sudden we are looking at them with different ways. We could not have seen that the male perhaps needed a mother and caregiver more than he needed a girlfriend, or that the female was such a horrible person to deal with – never giving a fellow a break, and expecting too much of him related to sharing responsibilities around the house, and in bringing in money to help with shared expenses.

Relationships are seldom equal on both sides 100% of the time. The scales are often unbalanced for one side or the other part of the time, but it works out fine if the unbalance seems to equal out.

And sometimes unforeseen things happen to all of us – an illness, a heart attack, an accident or some sort of disaster. It can happen to both people at the same time, or one can suddenly have the issue, and the other one has to make a choice to become a caregiver or be in charge of one.

There are people who give the rest of their lives gladly to their mate, taking are of them and helping to advocate for and to protect them from others who might take advantage of them during that time.

Others, the minute the mate becomes ill or has some sort of catastrophic event that is going to require being a caregiver, find it necessary to withdraw their support for whatever reason. Many women who have been dealt the cancer card encounter this situation, but I am sure as many men also have similar experiences with other physical or mental issues.

Those of us who try to follow through and take care of our significant others often run into problems. Sometimes the other person doesn’t really want to get better. For whatever reasons, that person may keep trying to remain an invalid even when in reality he or she could get better with a little effort. Perhaps that person had to take responsibility for others most of his or her life; or perhaps the person just wants to have a form of control over his or her mate. At any rate, this is when one of the other person has to make a decision whether to stay or to walk away. It is never en easy decision in either event; the longer the two have been together the more difficult it can become.

How long should a person stay and try to work things out before walking away? At some point in our lives, many of us will encounter a similar situation. There is no easy answer. But we have to respect and honor our own selves first and foremost. If we allow ourselves to keep doing something that provides no nourishment of any kind for our souls, pretty soon we will not have any soul nor any energy left to support our own selves. And the other person will not be benefiting from this either. Something’s gotta give . . .

Talking to Rocks

A rock is a rock, but is it?

Today after a doctor’s visit, I was sitting out on a little circular border surrounding a large tree. It was just about the right height for a bench so I sat on the concrete flat area that seemed made to sit on. Inside that was a ring of rocks. To look at them at first, they were all about the same size and most were round and there was a bit of change in color. I picked up one and began to study it carefully. This one seemed to have one end cut or broken off, and it revealed a much darker and varied , somewhat smooth surface, as if I were looking into it. Down one side of that top area, extended a crack that seemed as if another part of it might split off. And crossing that seemed to be attempts to cut it with a sharp object diagonally.

Something drew me to pick up other rocks in that circle and to look at them. I guess sometimes it seems that, for example, perhaps all grains or sand, or in this case, all rocks in a group are similar in size, shape, color and texture. But in this case, the more I examined the rocks, I saw how distinctly different each one was. And I began to think about how each rock might have formed and what must have transpired to make it so different from all the rest. In my mind were so many questions coming forth, seemingly spilling out like a dam that was overflowing. How could it be that stones that likely all came from the same source/location could all be so different in texture, colors, shapes and sizes. Where was this magical place and what other surprises did it hold?

As I was pondering all these wonderful mysteries, my Lyft showed up and honked for me. I grabbed the one rock with the top seemingly cut from it and put it carefully into my pocket. I wanted to look at it once again at home and I wanted to ask it questions. One thing I learned today was that we should never even take a tiny grain of sand for granted. There is mystery and magic everywhere in this world.

Days Like This

Anne’s contribution for Wounded Warriors Recovery Home

It is just a little thing. I think it was 12″ w x 17″ l. It took very little time even with some hand-stitching. But that was not important at all. The whole idea was to try to bring a moment of happiness into someone’s life, especially when they have had a hard time and need some support.

These men were serving their country when they were wounded, and we need to go beyond our personal beliefs about war and whether we should have been there or not and try to help those men. My own brother came home 100% disabled from Vietnam. My brother knew nothing of Vietnam or its people and he knew even less about the politics involved. He went to serve his country as many of my relatives in the past have done; he was just 18, still a teenager. He is alive today after these many years, and it has given me the heart to help anyone who was or is suffering a physical/developmental/emotional or other challenge for the remainder of my life.

If we believe in something we are doing, we must do it and not forsake it just because there are challenges in trying to do it. The challenges of life are there to help us. Without them, we would never learn to have compassion for others, or to act when we see a need. And life’s journey would not be meaningful without them. Walking through a barren desert will never be comparable with walking through a life of valleys and mountains. And we could never learn personal strength in our beliefs -religious/spiritual without them.