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A log of my journey inward and outward… during the year of COVID-19 pandemic

B y T o m C a n t w e l l

April 13, 2020

It’s a very windy…. 19mph….day here in deep southwestern Arizona, twelve miles from Sierra Vista, and about 20 miles north of the Mexico border.

Almost noon, I’m nearing the end of my inspirational morning “mental window” fueled by coffee with half & half, a tsp each of cocoa powder and blue agave.

My mornings- even before the current stay at home orders- start out with some oblique crunches on either side and then some ab crunches with elbows to knees. It gets my congestion unblocked and stimulates my abdominal organs. Crossing the cold concrete floor to my efficiency kitchen; I fill the kettle with water; grind the coffee beans; and pour them into the cone filter over the Melitta carafe. While the water is boiling, the hot plate is quite slow, I proceed to my desk/ dining nook that is my self built work, eat and play station. It’s comprised of two benches facing each other with a table between and extra food storage under the slide out seat of one of the benches.

It took me about a year to build I’m not proud to say…but it’s nearing completion…and quite functional in the meantime.

It is from this vantage point that I go on line and find a podcast dharma talk that looks appealing to accompany my morning knitting meditation. Once the speaker begins his or her discussion I sit down with my coffee and knitting and have an inspirational hour or hour and a half depending on the talk. I could describe these dharma talks but instead it’s part of my mission here to expose these Buddhist teachings to those whom I think would be receptive or at least express interest. Being a secular society… in theory…these teachings don’t really see the light of day in schools in the U.S. because there is a popular mis-conception that the Buddha’s teachings are religious in nature. I think this is a case of “Contempt prior to investigation”. I have found them to be more of a map for navigating all sorts of potential choices in life.

In any case my mission here is simple. Provide some resources, both spoken and written, that will provide those who are either interested or whom I’ve conned into at least sampling. At best I would hope this blog could provide access to awareness of an alternate world to the one that we are conditioned to see as vital to keep the world turning according to the demands of “our” capitalistic driven society.

Well this is a work in progress, and I want to get it up and running today as a very humble gift to one hella nice niece in Berkley, CA who is celebrating both her entry into her forth decade of this walk about life and also the acceptance of her Master’s thesis, yesterday, at U of C, Berkley.

So this is a talk given by Oren Jay Sofer…at a virtual retreat online sponsored by The Insight Meditation Society, headquartered in North America in Barre, Massachusetts.

Happy Birthday Brenna Cantwell! May this be of some use to you and all others who listen.


And in a different vein, this is a talk given by Mark Nunberg on LONELINESS. Being an introvert by nature (and possibly as a result of “nurture”) this talk brings up some subtle nuances of friendship, relationships and alienation.