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Japan Chronicles: The Great Buddha May 28, 2016

Filed under: EDITORIAL,EN ROUTE,GOD,JAPAN CHRONICLES — gozarks @ 2:57 pm
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I took over a hundred pics of the gardens, statuary and structures that are the Hasedera Temple and the Great Buddha Kotoku-in Temple, both of which are in the port town of Kamakura, population 175,000, which is about 6 miles (as the crow flies) north west of Yokosuka, where we stayed with my youngest son.

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Kamakura, home to many Buddhist temples and gardens, is (as best I remember) about an hour’s commuter train-ride from Yokosuka.

Our day touring the temples started with a walk along Blue Street to the train station, about which I must say that Japan’s public transportation system is highly efficient, clean, modern and provided my introduction to ‘heated toilet seats’…!!!

It also provided very easy access to all the places we visited, fairly inexpensively.

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One of the few times on public transport that we were able to sit together… and as you can see, we were all elated with the experience <lol>!!!

The down side, however, is that the physical capacity (ie: available seating) on trains and busses is routinely filled beyond the max, thus making for (shoulder-to-shoulder) standing room only… which is especially challenging when ‘trying’ to stay together as a group –and/or- carrying several bags of groceries or luggage.

Thus to a Michigan girl like me, born and raised in the land of FoMoCo, there will never be anything quite as comfortable and convenient as my own private automobile… Unless <ahem> it is my own private RV… <smile>… but I digress.

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The Great Buddha is nearly 40 ft. tall and weighs roughly 121 tons.

The courtyard surrounding The Great Buddha – a national treasure cast in copper by priestly fundraising efforts and anonymous artisan hands back in 1252 – is open for visitors to stroll at their leisure. Formally known as ‘The Seated Buddha Amida Noyorai’ and also by the familiar name Daibutusu, The Great Buddha is the principle deity of the Kotoku-in Temple.

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The child standing at the base of The Great Buddha gives you some idea of the grand scale of this magnificent work of art.

As much now (if not more?) a cultural (tourist) attraction as a pilgrimage and worship site, visitors of various denominations bask in the sublime poise of ancient arte-factual antiquity, dappled like a stone-hewn canvas with colorful bursts of fragrant blossoms and lush greenery.

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Beauty, simplicity, endurance hewn of stone.

When first built, The Great Buddha was enshrined in a hall, but over the course of a few hundred years the building was damaged and ultimately destroyed by two typhoons and an earthquake. Since 1498 The Great Buddha sits in the open-air Kotoku-in Temple, visited by vast numbers of Buddhists of all sects from around the world and all over Japan who come to pay their respects and invoke the wisdom taught by the Jodo Sect of the Kotoku-in Temple: “To liberate all beings.”

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The courtyard is awash with glorious blossoms.

According to Jodo teaching, one only needs to chant the phrase “Namu Amida Butsu” (I take refuge in Amitabha Buddha) to be liberated from the karmic wheel of ‘good vs evil’ and reborn in the ‘pure’ land, aka: Nirvana. Aka: Happiness.

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Tucked back in a side-pocket of the courtyard: this old well with a bamboo cover, strung together (I imagine) much as such would have been ‘way back when.’

All of which (and the following several photos) I’ll leave you with this time around, noting that of the hundred pics initially mentioned, today I managed to go through about a third of them, selected those that I wanted to use, set-up and photographed the last image you’ll see below, then cropped, resized, color- and contrast-corrected, resolution-optimized, uploaded and published the batch…

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Have you ever seen a tree-crutch quite like this…???

Also noting that, obviously, I have yet to travelogue the photos from Hasedera Temple (which shall be forthcoming next time around) and all the while reflecting on the ‘sacred truth’ of Buddhism as nicely articulated by Debra Maxwell in a comment posted to this Youtube of the Buddhist “Heart Sutra” Chant

“To know the truth of life, to make your life a meditation, you don’t need to shave your head, go to a cave or chant.”

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Many who entered the temple washed their hands with water dipped from a ceremonial cleansing station.

As I would say, just think of every breath, thought and action of your life as ‘sacred’ <smile>… Mainly because you are and thus it is… (((hugs))) ~Christine

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The ornate dragon cast in the stately work of art speaks to the Mystic Law and Celestial Magic of Enlightened Devas in Nirvana.

 

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The pronounced circle in the center of The Great Buddha’s forehead is representative of an enlightened being’s ‘third eye’ which sees through the superficiality of matter to the heart of the invisible from which pure love, sublime peace and blissful pleasure emanate.

 

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I got this key-chain with the tiny bell on it (symbol of Buddha’s voice which sustains the order of the universe by powers that come from within the devotee’s own life) at the gift shop on the grounds of The Great Buddha Kotoku-in Temple. Also got the ‘smudge stick’ there and, of course, the admission ticket. The sweet elephant change-purse came from a shop along the way from one temple to another in Kamakura.

 

 

Homefront May 16, 2016

I have to digress from my Japan Chronicles… but just for a moment <smile>… to share a nifty new way I organized things in ‘Louise’ (’02 GWV 20′). The pics below show the way I’ve had things in the ‘mid-cabin’ set up ever since I started equipping for extended travel.

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Mid-cabin storage, as it has been since I first started road-tripping in my Class B RV.

Same area, below, from another angle…

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Mid-cabin area, utilitarian but otherwise not very functional.

This mid-cabin area, as I had been using it, held an ice-chest (used mainly for ‘dry storage’ but also very handy for refrigeration on short runs when or other times when it makes no sense to use the 3-way fridge), a couple of ‘pantry boxes’ (with sugar, seasonings, pasta and canned goods), a set of drawers (with office supplies, tools, and misc.), some ’emergency water’ (in the pink crate), a stool, a trash can, and a place (behind the pink crate) to keep all essential vehicle documentation (owners manual, maintenance records, registration, etc.)

This arrangement worked very well. Everything was readily accessible and yet sufficiently ‘out of the way’ so I could still  had room to move around the cabin. However, one feature that I had really wanted in an RV — that I didn’t get with this one — was a ‘dinette booth’ where I could sit at a table to eat a meal, watch some TV, or do some computering. And, even though I have tried several arrangements to give myself these little luxuries in the aft portion of the cabin, with the way the couch/bed is situated (which is otherwise very comfortable), it just doesn’t work.

And I was thinking about this quite a lot on the last excursion I made with ‘Louise’, before I went to Japan, and was struck with an idea that seemed so brilliant I couldn’t wait to try it out… but wait I had to, until we got home and after I got unpacked, which is now 99% true <grin>.

So the other day I played with a ‘new grouping’ of the stuff in the mid-cabin:

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Mid-cabin reorganized.

This is ALL the same stuff, just arranged differently.

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Mid-cabin storage now also functions as a dinette.

And I absolutely LOVE this new arrangement…!!! Not only do I have exactly the same amount of convenient storage space as before (and in fact, I actually have better access to the ice chest and a better location for vehicle documents which are now in the pink crate that is under the table-top, behind the stack of drawers), with the addition of a ‘table top’ I now have the benefit of a ‘private booth’ where I can sit to eat a meal, do my computering and watch a bit of TV…!!!

What a hoot…!!!

Gee… how I love it when a plan comes together. And the best part, to me, is that 99% of everything needed to make the conversion was right there… ready and waiting for me to create (from thin air <smile>) exactly what I had wanted all along.

Somehow, I think there is a life-lesson in this… but I’ll leave it to you to contemplate this moral to the story <grin>.

Looking forward to next time and more of my travelogue from Japan…!!! (((hugs))) ~Christine

PS: Had to share the following pic of the key-chain for ‘Louise’… which is now sporting a shiny medallion that the kids got for me when they visited Tokyo Tower. The custom-crafted inscription reads: “BEST MOM EVER” 2016-04-27, (heart) A (heart) S (heart) J (heart) S (heart)… which are Adam’s, Shalom’s, Josh’s, and Shawna’s initials wrapped in a whole bunch of love…!!!

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Key-chain token from the Tokyo Tower.

 

 

 

Japan Chronicles: Homecoming May 2, 2016

Some of the best advice I ever got was “Start with the End in Mind.” It came, as I recall, from a management training program I attended back in the 1970’s. And, truth be told, to fully appreciate the reality of my present moment, we would have to go back that far and stroll through what all I’ve experienced since (and even prior to) then… and you would also have to be sitting next to me right now, in my bedroom, ensconced through big-window glory by a lush variegation of sun-dappled forest green with the lighthearted hymn of my tiny brook babbling in the background.

ASIDE: Did you know that, as new historians (an oxymoron?) now tell it, the first published author and also the first known person to utilize the phrase “I am” in print – which was a total linguistic anomaly at that time – was a woman. A high priestess, to be exact, who wielded more political clout in her day than did Karl Rove during GW’s administration. But don’t take my word for it… have a gander at “The Ascent of Woman” the next time you Netflix.

Back to the moment, at least for me (as I write), this space/time of here-in-now is pretty-damn perfect: I sit in my grandmother’s old rocking chair (that I reupholstered a few months back), tiny laptop (atop an old – 1930’s? – folding table) at my fingertips, immersed in the stunning beauty of nature, surrounded by an array of (what to me are) interesting, comfortable and somewhat unique accouterments of daily life, sipping fresh coffee (laced with just a touch of Irish Cream <smile>), fresh off a two week sojourn in Japan.

RANDOM NOTE: Add imaginary echo here, in a child-like girlish voice to replicate the lilt of my youngest daughter, Shawna, who is nearing 23, repeating the word as a cadenced mantra — “Japan… Japan, Japan, Japan… J-a-p-a-n” – which grew with daily intensity as we packed and prepared for the trip.

Adam (29), Josh (24), Shalom (27) and Shawna (22), siblings together in our 'trip of a lifetime' family vacation in Japan.

Adam (29), Josh (24), Shalom (27) and Shawna (22), siblings together on our family vacation in Japan.

And the two glorious weeks that we were together there, on a family-outing ‘trip of a lifetime’ were by even my most self-indulgent standards, saturated with decadent luxuries that gave great gobs of simple-pleasures to all involved. Truly amazing on so many levels, rippling through every dimension of life, and for which I am deeply thankful and tremendously appreciative of the good will and generosity of my children, without whom I would not have been able to make this trip… and who (for the most part <smile>) treated me like a queen and endured my persnickety ways with loving good grace and aplomb…

Thank you Adam, Shalom, Josh and Shawna for everything that each of you did to make our time together in Japan so phenomenally enjoyable. And thank you Patty (my eldest)… though you could not join us in Japan, we know you were with us in spirit…

Breakfast, prepared by my darling daughters and served al fresco to me on the back porch of my youngest son's apartment.

Breakfast — scrambled eggs with two kinds of tiny mushrooms and cheese and garnished with fresh (celery-like) greens, accompanied by pan-fried potatoes and onions and a warm buttered roll — prepared by my darling daughters and served al fresco to me on the back porch of my youngest son’s apartment as I did my morning computering.

Tales about all of which – from the nightmare of our flight getting there, to our day touring Buddhist temples and including the gastronomical and shopping delights we encountered along our way, I shall relate in dazzling detail  with more splendid photos in coming weeks… <grin>.

Posters are everywhere in the city. These were in a 9-story shopping and food mall on in Yokosuka.

Posters are everywhere in the city. These were just a few of those that bedecked the hallways of a 9-story shopping and food mall in Yokosuka.

Right now, however, carrying forward the present moment and having elucidated the background harmony which carries the happy tune of my life, perhaps and hopefully you have sensed a glimmer of the awes and wonders that resonate in my little universe… the place where I live… the space where I make my home. And the profound joy that I feel just sitting here, absorbing the moment… super-saturated with the activity of simply being alive. Feeling so tremendously gratified to have — oh, so many years ago — started raising my family with the their successful adulthood clearly in mind.

Anyway, in the scope of my continuing present moments, I see some yard-work in my immediate future.

NOTE: It is phenomenally good to be home.

My youngest son, Josh, with some of his shipmates and friends, who assembled in Josh's honor at a local park (in the background is the retired Japanese battleship Mikasa, now a tourist attraction) for his Honorable Discharge and Reenlistment Ceremony, which he was totally secretive about and came as a complete surprise to the rest of us...!!! More about this as my Japan Chronicles unfold...!!! His superiors were VERY complimentary of Josh and also very appreciative that we (his family members) were present for the ceremony because it is such a rarity to have a sailor's kin present for such events. We each were given an official Certificate of Appreciation from the Navy, signed by the Captain of his ship, to thank us for our support of Josh's service to the Navy. And the officers, senior enlisted crew members and his peers were all HUGELY complimentary of Josh... saying to me personally what an outstanding person he is, how great he is to work with and how appreciative they are of having him around.

My youngest son, Josh (front row, 4th from the right), with some of his shipmates and friends, who assembled in Josh’s honor at a local park (in the background is the retired Japanese battleship Mikasa, now a tourist attraction) for his Honorable Discharge and Reenlistment Ceremony, which he was totally secretive about and came as a complete surprise to the rest of us…!!! More about this and lots more good news next time, as my Japan Chronicles unfold…!!!

(((hugs))) ~Christine

 

By request… December 12, 2015

I’ve been asked to elaborate on the process and products used to refurbish the countertop edge round the sink and stove-lid in my galley, so here goes:

The stainless steel sink in my galley is installed below the countertop, which is made of some sort of highly compressed particle board. This exposed edge of the countertop had been coated with (probably) white latex paint and (possibly) some sort of white caulk, which had deteriorated and whenever I used the sink and water splashed onto the edge, the particle board would get just moist enough to swell and open several long lateral cracks.

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In the photo above, taken after all the loose paint and caulk had been scraped from the countertop edge, the lateral cracks are clearly visible.

I knew that if I did not resolve this issue, over time the cracks would widen and the particle board would start to seriously degrade.

 

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Tools used, left to right: sponge sanding block (medium-coarse grit), cheap china-bristle paint brush (noticeably used), utility knife and small putty-knife scraper.

 

Thus an ounce of prevention being would be worth a pound of cure, based on lots of experience with various types of caulks and paints, I decided to use an oil-based paint because this kind of paint ‘soaks in’ to porous surfaces, whereas water-based paints tend to form a skin ‘on top’ of whatever they are applied to.

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I used oil-based Gloss White to touch-up the countertop around the stove and oil-based Aluminum for the edge of the countertop around the sink and for the metal lid that closes over the burners of the propane stove

 

I used the putty knife, utility knife and block sander pretty much in that order to remove all of the previous coating material that could be removed without damaging the edge. On the stove lid, which has a slight texture, I gave it a good scrub with the sponge sanding block, brushed away all the dust and then wiped everything down with a paper towel dampened with rubbing alcohol.

And I decided that when I applied the paint to the edge around the sink, I would bring it up onto the surface of the countertop, mocking-up the effect of having the sink edged with a stainless steel rim.

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I used blue tape (the kind made for painting) to mask-off the faux edge I created for the sink.

With all of this prep work done, I started applying the Aluminum paint. The first coat, around the skin edge, was diluted with some mineral spirits to help it soak deeper into the particle board and aid in waterproofing.

 

The first coat on the stove-lid went on full strength, however when working with Aluminum paint on metal I find that with the first coat I need to be very persistent in painting it out and re-brushing to get uniform coverage.

All in all, the stove lid and the countertop edge got four coats of Aluminum paint. Each coat of paint was allowed to cure for at least 24 hours (above 60-degrees with good ventilation) before the surface was (gently) scrubbed with the block sander, wiped with a clean dry cotton rag and  another coat of paint was applied.

Then, about 48 hours after the final coat of Aluminum paint — and after I used the utility knife to (gently) score along the edge of the blue tape (so I wouldn’t inadvertently pull the edge of the paint I had just worked very hard to lay in place) — I removed the blue tape and touched up the white countertop here and there with  oil-based Gloss White.

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End result is that I am quite happy <smile> and hope this info is useful to those who wanted to know… (((hugs))) ~Christine

 

cosmic burp May 10, 2012

Be careful what you ask for; you may will get it.

The concept of measured time is a human device. The universe has no need for time measurement: The ‘here and now’ simply “is.”

Still, we humans are taught — conditioned by immersion — to percieve nearly all that we do as time-dependent. Work, family, vacation… Daily duties, weekly routines, special occassions. All are calendared and clock-related. Even the beat of our hearts and breathing in and out are measured with ‘per second’ or ‘per minute’ units of time.

However, to the creative intelligence (aka: God) that runs the universe, time simply does not exist except through the lens of the material realm (aka: our Solar Universe), thus it is a stretch for us (being immersed in time) to wrap our thinking around various concepts about ‘how life works’ because, at the essential core, such precepts ‘flow forth from’ a ”timeless’ (eternal) dimension of space.

To glimmer understanding and glimpse how things work in an ‘unknown’ realm we have to ‘imagine’.  And to imagine (anything) we must (first) willfully suspend our own disbelief, which is really rather easy but can feel quite challenging because we it requires close scrutiny of what we ‘do’ believe in, first. ur own predispositions… which in turn necessitates us ‘measuring’ the value of our (inculcated) ‘predispositions’ as standards for enhancing our overall quality of and capacity for living life.

In this spirit, consider the Akashic Record — aka: God’s Book of Life; aka: the memetic morphogenetic un-sub-conscious resonance delineated by Freud, Jung, and Sheldrake —  wherein every jot and tittle of humankind’s thought, word and deed is permanently preserved forevermore in minute holographic detail… kind of like a huge ‘digital video vault’ encoded in the aggregate electro-magnetic ‘aura’ of all living beings… much the same way that data is electro-magnetically encoded to the hard-drive of a computer.

Now imagine that on (what we humans would think of as) ‘a daily basis’, the creative (divine) intelligence that spawned us and this whole universal scheme of things scrolls through this imutable archive much the same way that any of us watch a high-def video with surround sound.

Remember that time means nothing in this (divine) dimension of life. Also remember that, because ‘free will’ is absolute, this divine power does not ‘decide’ (the good or the bad) of any ‘request’, does not judge the merit of any ‘need’, and does not contemplate the virtue (or evil) of any ‘want’… but simply making sure that all the (material) connections are made to ‘make it so’… No matter what the ‘it’ is.  

And the only real challenge to grasping just how wonderfully well things work this way is coming to grips with the comprehension that all the *shit* that seems to rule their life has been done to themselves, by themselves, and totally at their own request… even (and most especially) when they didn’t know they were asking for having it (whatever it is) done unto them.

In part, it is our culturally indentured servitude to ‘the experts” — be they teachers, physicians, politicians, pastors or parents — which gaits our eons-long lock-step with pain and misery. All around us we see how much easier (because it is ‘socially acceptable’) to blame and bully than to take ownership of our (self-inflicted) misery; simpler to cite ‘the devil’ (the ‘mean’ neighbor, the ‘terrorist’, the ‘enemy’) for malevolently dumping garbage on us and credit benificient divine intervention for the ‘blessings’.

Much less work to feel sorry for ‘poor-victim-me’ and moan about (aka” ‘protest’) the (alleged) injustice that to pull one’s self up by one’s own bootstraps and do what it takes to make things right….

But it only ‘feels’ like ‘the right way’ because we have not THOUGHT about it. We have not examined these pervasively disingenious permutations of culturally induced social dynamics from the ‘meta-level’ where time does not exist and from which the material realm flows.

Karma: A cosmic burp of synchronicity between cause and effect.

Live long and prosper…

 

enemies February 23, 2012

 The following came to my Inbox compliments of Simon Black, author of Soverign Man, who (if you take what he says at face value) makes a good living out of telling people what’s wrong with government, the economy, health care, the media, banking and finance, foreign policy, etc., etc., and so on… and then selling them his version of ‘the answer’.

Please, do observe:

The war you won’t hear about in the media

There’s a war going on that you’ll never hear about on the nightly news.

This war poses, by far, the largest immediate threat to you, your family and your future well-being.

And provided you take no action to protect yourself, this war could very well alter the quality of your life forever.

But this war is not being fought against some unseen enemy on the far side of the globe.

This war, dear reader, is being fought against you.

You are the enemy.

Your way of life is the enemy. And your belief in your freedom to live that life as you see fit is in the cross hairs of a government desperate to maintain the status quo.

Your freedom is being destroyed. But it’s happening slowly so as not to stir the masses hypnotized by their TV and video game lifestyle.

During the collapse of an empire, freedom doesn’t disappear in a blink. As we can all see by the events around us, it disappears very slowly. Little by little, laws are enacted that remove it.

One day, there’s nothing left.

That’s the point at which people will wake up and start to freak out.

The goal of this message is to make sure YOU are not one of those people.

[sales pitch removed]

To your sovereign freedom,

Simon Black

Word-crafted rhetoric, homed to an invisibly transparent purpose, parsed with precision pronouncements all pitching to do one job: Sell a product.

Simon has something he wants you (anybody, somebody) to purchase. He wants to trade something he has for something you’ve got. 

His singularity is motivating you to ‘buy’ and he is using every manner of logic and persuasive (gravitational) cunning to pull you across his event horizon, punctuating each participle to stress every adverb that will help close the deal. 

Such is the distilled essence of all that we call ‘capitolism’, which — some would say — is the backbone of healthy free-market economies and the bedrock of global prosperity and peace. So, we wonder, why does Simon chronically tell us ‘how bad things are’ and blast us with info about why things are not working, and then offer to ‘sell’ us his ready-made solution for precluding such woes lest they befall us, ‘the enemy’, ourselves. 

That is, if Simon really does have a solution — a better way of doing things than free-market exchange — why isn’t he giving (yes giving) all of us a free lesson in the subject-matter. Why isn’t he — having (supposedly) found ‘the way to a better life’ — explaining this passage, step-by-step; handing out ‘maps’ out of the goodness of his heart? 

Does it matter…???

What do you think… Lemme know. 

“America: Love it or fix it…”

(((hugs)))

 

consequences January 28, 2012

Tthe men in my life — from youngest son to eldest chum and everyone in-between — are entertaining.

So much, it seems to me (as I have supposedly ‘matured’), of the strife and discontent we (and especially the male of the specie) endure is the cataclysmic consequence of (what a long-ago lover called) ‘old cows in the ditch’.

Ghosts of memories of experiences invisibly forgotten, yet emotionally resonant throughout every nano-second of life, provoking life-quaking vibrations which ‘autonomically’ compell self-destructive, reactionary ‘out of control’ 4-F behavioral mechanisms.

And that the only way out of this ‘feedback loop’ is by self-inflicted epiphany, involving a total, soul-searching and brutally honest assessment of personal accountability as the major contributing factor to the immediate circumstances of one’s own life.

Yet this, it seems, is the bridge to the other side of the looking glass that folks are ‘afraid’ to cross, because even in their ‘unknowing’ they still somehow intuit that once they start living life through this new lens, things will never be the same….

Things will change…

And they have so little reason to ‘trust’ in themselves and so much shored-up ‘distrust’ of others that the only change they are capable to envision is (always and redundantly) for the worst, and so they cleave unto the ‘known’, self-imposing abstinance from making any change at all and, in so doing, self-perpetuate all the ‘problems’ which have forever and persistently plagued them.

And there is no ‘magic pill’ to cure his dis-ease, just the trusim that “to get what we’ve never had, we must do what we’ve never done.”