San Jose, Costa Rica–Spiders on Acid

I hope you are happy and healthy.      

It is the beginning of the full blown “monsoon” or cloudy/rainy season here in Nepal. I like rain as much as the next guy but this is ridiculous!      

Costa Rica certainly has its own severe rainy season, but I remember a lot of sunny days there. From the new book in progress, here is a report on the capitol city.               

Thanks very much for reading, and for clicking the backlinks.
                                           Stay well. Love, Tenzin

***p.s. As always, if you find these weekly bits bothersome, let me know and I’ll stop sending them to you. If you find the reading at all enjoyable, please—it literally takes only seconds—click one or more or all of the highlighted backlinks following this paragraph. This simple process is completely without risk, cost, or difficulty. All it does is bring you to the site that is highlighted. Each click is a big help in pushing Fearless Puppy up in the Google rankings. Whether you browse the sites or close the windows immediately, your help has been delivered when you click. Thank you!
FEARLESS PUPPY WEBSITE BLOG 

FEARLESS PUPPY ON AMERICAN ROAD/AMAZON PAGE

REINCARNATION THROUGH COMMON SENSE/AMAZON PAGE

FEARLESS WEBSITE

                                                    San Jose, Costa Rica—Spiders on Acid     
          

Did you ever see that National Geographic episode about the effects of drugs on wildlife? One very impressive experiment featured a lone spider. Researchers gave the unsuspecting little arachnid a bit of LSD and waited to observe behavioral changes. They got their show. The web spun from this wedding of spider and hallucinogen resembled an Escher staircase after a visit from a psychotic bulldozer.       

Welcome to San Jose, Costa Rica—the city that appears to have been built by spiders on Acid! It is home to a bizarre architectural schizophrenia unparalleled anywhere in the known universe. An average downtown street can house a white stately-columned mansion next to a dilapidated red, yellow, and black Rastafarian restaurant next to a rococo masterpiece of a building in powder blue that neighbors an orange grocery store that shares a wall with a soot-charred auto repair shop that borders a massive post-modern glass-front high-rise office building adjoining a cemetery that is fenced in protectively by shiny barbed wire while the ornate church on the same grounds sits with doors wide open and its gold crosses unguarded against possible thievery.       

A fellow traveler from America struck up a conversation with me while we waited in the immigration line at the airport a few days ago. He was making his fifth trip to Costa Rica. I asked him for the most important fact he would tell a first time visitor who had nine months to spend in the Land of Pura Vida (Pure Life). He replied, “Stay out of San Jose. It’s the asshole of Costa Rica. The rest of the country is beautiful.”        

Of course, he didn’t know that I was death-deep into a fun-loving withdrawal and reincarnation experience, making San Jose the perfect place for me to be. There are plenty of great opportunities to die here, and just as many wonderful opportunities to be reincarnated. (***This is explained in last week’s chapter post. If you missed it, it is available at the Fearless Puppy website blog section.)       

There is discomfort in this withdrawal experience, but no major problem! I’ve certainly had more severe withdrawal experiences in much less hospitable places.  Quitting a half dozen mildly addictive substances in a cozy apartment will be a lot easier than quitting heroin as a homeless person was thirty years ago.         

Things felt pretty bleak upon entry to San Jose but by the third day, the Tico (that’s what Costa Ricans call themselves) hospitality has me feeling good. The Passion Flower/Saint John’s Wort herbs and stepped-up meditation time has helped as well. The assorted withdrawals are already starting to lighten up a bit as they run their course.        

The landlord couple seem, for the most part, like very nice people. He works for the Costa Rican government’s foreign service. She comes from a rich family of successful clothing manufacturers. This couple adopted a pregnant street dog whose back legs were destroyed by a car. They built the crippled dog a set of strap-on rear training wheels. The couple take the dog, Bonita, for regular wheel-walks. They kept one of Bonita’s pups and got the rest farmed out to good homes. Knowing that these people do things like that makes it hard to think ill of them for owning (what should be) a criminally excessive number of cars. I still don’t like the lord-of-the-hacienda tone they use with their laborers or the way they flaunt their privilege and entitlement. The gap between the social and economic classes is more severe here than it is in America. It seems that even the nicest of rich folks treat the help like shit. I’d rather not get used to seeing that, so I hang out with the help. That slows down the damaging overdose of self-esteem that too often directs Mr. and Mrs. Bossypants. They are more polite to my friends when I am present.         

Looking around San Jose for a few days reinforces my first impressions. It seems an odd mix of hip, pretty, small-city bits thrown into a blender with what the less inviting neighborhoods of post-apocalyptic Cleveland will probably look like. Some sections of San Jose seem like a lovely little country town at first glance—but not for long. Watching the bizarre traffic flow that is responsible for the barely breathable air makes it hard to think of any part of this city as a country village.           

But the East End of San Jose comes close. It rocks! There are Japanese, Argentine, Italian, and Caribbean restaurants within two blocks of my apartment on Fifteenth Avenue. The Caribbean place has live Calypso music on Thursday and Friday nights. There is a community Cultural Center featuring a large theater nearby. The neighborhood also houses an architectural university, a language school, a Brahmin meditation center, a kindergarten school, a bowling alley with pool tables, a public elementary school, several eateries serving local cuisine, and a vegetarian tea house/restaurant featuring freshly squeezed fruit juices. The latter has a yoga and massage school attached to it.          

It is likely that I will be less clever than usual for a few weeks while the initial withdrawal poisons move out and adaptation to new environments take place. Today is no exception. I try to give the juice-bar lady 20,000 Colones (@$40 US) for a juice. She insists on only 2,000 Colones (@ $4) and takes fifteen minutes to explain the monetary system to me in Spanish with sign language. The same friendly honesty may not be available throughout the city, but the folks in this neighborhood are wonderful. My relatively high rent is just as much a payment for being in this area as it is a payment for the apartment itself.          

San Jose’s “asshole of Costa Rica” reputation is only relative to the extreme beauty of the rest of the country. It is no worse than any other big city in any other nation. Much of it is pleasant, some of it is culturally wealthy, and certain parts are beautiful–but the the core downtown area known as El Centro defines hell as a street corner. It has all the nasty dilapidated buildings, broken glass, garbage in the streets, rats, and fractured sidewalks of the worst neighborhoods anywhere. It also has a large assortment of dangerous looking characters that keep tourists and residents alike a little nervous.          

The city has many monuments of historical interest as well as several great little parks featuring pretty flowers, an assortment of trees, and some interesting people to watch. I saw one of these interesting people reciting a poem to a dog and another attacking a tree with its own dead branch.         

The National Museum on Second Avenue houses one of the most amazing pre-Columbian artifact collections anywhere. Housed in a restructured military fort, the building itself says a lot about Costa Rica’s peaceful temperament. Jade, carved stone, very well-preserved wooden and gold pottery, jewelry, rare antique musical instruments, and other cultural treasures trace the Tico people’s history back through time into an era long before European conquest began in the West.            

The Plaza de Cultura in the museum area can be the most entertaining spot in town. Street musicians, artists, and other assorted characters including soap box preachers and prophets entertain the public with 1960s Greenwich Village style free expression. Coincidentally, the main action is on Fourth Street—as much of it was in 1960s Greenwich Village. One animated man on Fourth Street worked very hard to convince me of something. I told him that my Spanish language skills were not at all good enough to follow his monologue. This preaching prophet or Amway salesman or political candidate or whatever he was refused to believe that. He kept rambling on. His other-worldly eyes, possessed tone of voice, tattered formal dress, and a body odor that would scare rats out of a dumpster were all wasted on me. I thought better of my instinct to remind him that cleanliness is next to godliness and left quickly. It guess I will never get to find out what he was so excited about.                      

Several casinos are available to the gambler. These are usually in the same buildings as the whorehouses, for those interested in that type of gambling.           

Costa Rica is a consistently religious and sometimes spiritual country. Catholicism is the main religion and cathedrals are spread throughout the capitol city, as they are in most of Latin America. But Costa Rica also has the highest concentration of Buddhist activities in all of Central America, noticeable Brahmin and Jewish presences, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and several other factions of Christian. Herbal spiritualism akin to the Wicca tradition is strongly present. There is also a good deal of New Age activity here. Yoga centers, Pilates, and various other forms of spiritually related exercise systems are very popular. Legitimate massage and acupuncture are available. There are even tiny smatterings of Goth and Satanism.             

San Jose’s central market takes up a few full city blocks and offers every type of meat, fruit, vegetable, clothing, and medicinal herb available in the country. There is a much smaller organic market on Saturdays at Collegio Mexico.             

The National Theatre is the architectural pride and joy of San Jose, and the nation. It is definitely worth a visit. Belgian architects did the structural designing and Italian decorators put the flourish into this masterpiece of a building. It seats a thousand people and still hosts live performances. There are Renaissance style paintings on high ceilings above large open interior spaces, cut crystal chandeliers, indoor fountains, museum quality sculpture, and furnishings fit for royalty. The whole building, both inside and out, looks more like a royal palace than a theater.              

There is no end to the number of day-trips a person can take from the city. Within striking distance are hot springs, volcanoes, jungle canopy zip-line rides, beaches, and a beautiful, unique array of flowers and wildlife.             

 In spite of its problems and being referred to as “the asshole of Costa Rica,” San Jose can be a wonderful city that has as much to offer as any major city in the world. If you can stand to be in any place that has too many people living in it, you would enjoy parts of this one. If you are hallucinating and a bit dizzy from a metaphysical, metaphorical death and reincarnation of your own manufacture, I highly recommend adding San Jose to your cartoon for a week.                                         
                                         next week back to Nepal

     Many thanks to our wonderful friends at Pema Boutique Hotel for their help and support. ***The books Fearless Puppy On American Road and Reincarnation Through Common Sense by this same author are also available through Amazon or the Fearless Puppy website, where there are sample chapters from those books. Entertaining TV/radio interviews with and newspaper articles about the author are also available there. There is no charge for anything but the complete books! All author profits from book sales will be donated to help sponsor an increase in the number of wisdom professionals on Earth, beginning with but certainly not limited to Buddhist monks and nuns.        
***If you missed the Introduction to the new book that will be titled Temple Dog Soldier, or would like to see several chapters of it that are available for free online, go to the Puppy website Blog section. This is a book in progress. You will be reading it as it is being created! Just like you, I don’t know what the next chapter is going to be about until it is written. As the Intro will tell you, this is a totally true story—and probably the only book ever written by and about a corpse journeying completely around the world!

The Bizarre Costa Rican Pura Vida Metaphysical, Metaphorical Death and Reincarnation of the Fearless Puppy

How is life going where you are? I hope you are happy, healthy, enjoying yourself, and enjoying the company you keep.                  

From the Costa Rica section of the new-book-in-progress, here is the very beginning of what might be the absolute strangest “vacation” ever taken by a human being! This short section will be in the beginning of the book. It actually happened15 years ago, but is an essential premise to the current around-the-world-after-diagnosed-death trip that will make up most of the new book.          

The current trip and the book about it are both being seriously stretched out by virus related tragedy and the accompanying politically manipulated mandates. At times it feels like someone else is pulling this story’s strings.
        

At other times it feels like someone else is pulling everyone’s strings.        
                               

Thank you for reading, and thank you for clicking on the back links.                                                                    

Be well. Love, Tenzin

***p.s. As always, if you find these weekly bits bothersome, let me know and I’ll stop sending them to you. If you find the reading at all enjoyable, please—it literally takes only seconds—click one or more or all of the highlighted backlinks following this paragraph. This simple process is completely without risk, cost, or difficulty. All it does is bring you to the site that is highlighted. Each click is a big help in pushing Fearless Puppy up in the Google rankings. Whether you browse the sites or close the windows immediately, your help has been delivered when you click. Thank you!
FEARLESS PUPPY WEBSITE BLOG 

FEARLESS PUPPY ON AMERICAN ROAD/AMAZON PAGE

REINCARNATION THROUGH COMMON SENSE/AMAZON PAGE

FEARLESS WEBSITE

The Bizarre Costa Rican Pura Vida Metaphysical, Metaphorical Death and Reincarnation of the Fearless Puppy
        

There is an important definition of reincarnation that does not involve physical death. It is described well in Reincarnation through Common Sense, the book between Fearless Puppy on American Road and this one. The very short version of it says that the concept of reincarnation can be seen from an angle that has nothing to do with migrating souls entering new physical bodies. We are each constantly being reborn within this very life. Each time a person changes his or her mind and acts on it, the change is added to that person’s makeup. He or she becomes, to a certain extent, a new person. Just how new we become is up to the person doing the becoming. It can be a slight and temporary change or a bigger and much longer lasting one. The change can have a minimal effect on one singular person or affect the entire world and change history.        

Every slightly new person has the option to turn their recent revelations into solid habits and convictions. That can take time and consistent reinforcement. It involves both instant recognition and continuing process.        

This definition of ongoing reincarnation is the root system of evolution. As we change the thoughts that produce our actions, we influence our development not only as individuals but also as cultures and as a species. The evidence suggests that evolution can happen a lot more quickly, pleasantly, and efficiently when it is  consciously directed.       

I need to start practicing my own personal reincarnation and consciously direct it pretty damn quickly. This “calling” I feel is not a spiritual direction. It is time to shape up or die in the more literal sense. Like so many folks my age, I have been indulging excessively on several fronts for decades. This pleasant stupidity cannot last  much longer before the physical degeneration invites death to pay its visit. Death will, of course, happen to us all anyway—but the evidence says that with a little bit of conscious effort and change, it can be delayed.        

So it seems that in order to put off physical death, I have to achieve a more spiritual and psychological death—a slaying of many old, destructive habits and a dismantling of the attitudes responsible for them.        

This job calls for the “Nothing to it but to do it” approach. This approach starts with the immediate understanding and ongoing recognition that all destructive habits, attachments, and restrictive relationships with anything or anyone are, and have always been, self-manufactured. That’s right. I built these habits with my own thoughts and actions. Of course there have been bad influences and societal coercions, but no one ever tied me down and forced me to take part in unhealthy activity. I carry the responsibility of having orchestrated my own physical decay, so it only makes sense that I can orchestrate attitude adjustments that will produce the right changes in habit to allow an increase the number of years I get to stay on the planet.         

As with everything else my generation has accomplished or failed at, I’ll do this orchestrating in an excessive way. Several near-lifelong habits are now being instantly evicted including: cigarettes, fried food, coffee, sugar, forty years of daily ganja, and near-daily alcohol consumption.          

Just to make things interesting, I will also quit a decades-long mission that included raising funds for worthy well-established ecological groups as well as inventing and then implementing independent charity projects of my own to help  various causes. Joining these on the temporary chopping block are my significant other, friends, country, and a few other things that I can’t remember right now due to dizziness from the withdrawal symptoms that are already starting to kick in. I don’t want to permanently quit doing the charity projects, having friends, intimate relations, or ganja. Those changes will be temporary. But an iron logic dictates that cigarettes, fried foods, alcohol, sugar, and a few other health liabilities need to be drastically reduced immediately, and should probably be eliminated altogether in the long run.          It all begins right here and now, writing this while sitting on a plane to Costa Rica. No doubt several other changes are waiting to accompany the withdrawal symptoms that the initial full-bore cold turkey onslaught is already producing. Life on Earth, and in the sky, is starting to look and feel like a cartoon.           

There are usually nine months between conception and birth. Since this is a rebirth of sorts, it seems fitting that I stay in Costa Rica for that length of time. The total experience should be a lot more fun than the withdrawal symptoms that bring me to it. There are good reasons to spend time in Costa Rica besides reincarnation. Most reports about this country are positive. All the shining reports seem to stem from and revolve around one major factor.         

Costa Rica may be the only country in the world that has been without a standing army for the past fifty years. They haven’t dealt with any deadly combat, threatening enemies, or the highly dramatized media-induced paranoia that usually accompanies even the emptiest of military threats. Fear-based, defensive tendencies are not part of the national psyche. This lack of fear (admittedly made possible by a major US military presence) fosters a practical, humane, working consideration for all living things. Costa Rica puts its resources into more intelligent processes than the ones most countries allow to occupy their policies and suck up their budgets.        

The country has a ninety seven percent literacy rate, an unparalleled respect for nature, and a thriving ecotourism industry that financially and functionally supports that respect. While CR has only one-quarter of one percent of the world’s total landmass, it contains a full five percent of the biodiversity on Earth. Habitats range from rainforests and volcanos to beaches and mangrove swamps. Strong environmental laws protect twenty five percent of the country.The enlightened national conservation system is considered an international role model.This, in combination with the lack of military concerns, makes Costa Rica perhaps the most comfortable and securely protected nation on the planet.          

Looking at nature as something to cherish rather than conquer has been a benefit to the Costa Rican humans as well as to the environment that contains and sustains them. The people here are as beautiful as the natural surroundings. This is understandable. The war consciousness embraced by most of the world has been replaced by ease, security, and self-respect as well as the ever-present fondness for nature. This shiny cultural package produces more smiles than fear. If a culture doesn’t focus on fear, the odds drastically increase that the citizens within will stay happy. Happiness shows up on people. It keeps them from aging quickly. There are relatively mild drug and crime problems here, especially in the capitol city—but for the most part Costa Rica is a happy, democratic, prosperous, and politically stable nation in the midst of a very unstable region.          

Some of Costa Rica’s autonomy comes from the fact that at the time Columbus landed there in 1502, and for centuries after, Guatemala City was the main base station of Spain’s​​​​​    empire in the Western Hemisphere. Spain didn’t want to bother much with anyplace as far away and as sparsely populated as Costa Rica. Colonizing folk never liked to work their own land–especially in the torrid heat and humidity of Central America. Costa Rica didn’t have enough natives for the conquerers to enslave, so it was mostly left alone. Lack of colonial socialization allowed the native people to maintain and develop their own unique and very pleasant way of life. That pleasant way of life included a democratic nature. Freedom has almost always been a big part of living in the Land of Pura Vida (Pure Life).                                     

more from both Costa Rica and Nepal soon

Many thanks to our wonderful friends at Pema Boutique Hotel for their help and support. ***The books Fearless Puppy On American Road and Reincarnation Through Common Sense by this same author are also available through Amazon or the Fearless Puppy website, where there are sample chapters from those books. Entertaining TV/radio interviews with and newspaper articles about the author are also available there. There is no charge for anything but the complete books! All author profits from book sales will be donated to help sponsor an increase in the number of wisdom professionals on Earth, beginning with but certainly not limited to Buddhist monks and nuns.        
***If you missed the Introduction to the new book that will be titled Temple Dog Soldier, or would like to see several chapters of it that are available for free online, go to the Puppy website Blog section. This is a book in progress. You will be reading it as it is being created! Just like you, I don’t know what the next chapter is going to be about until it is written. As the Intro will tell you, this is a totally true story—and probably the only book ever written by and about a corpse journeying completely around the world!

Defeating The Bait & Switch

How’s it going there? All is as good as it can be here in Nepal—considering that we are still locked down. The lake and mountains are still very beautiful, most folks still have food, and the police seem to be very understanding. But there’s not much happening and so not much to report.        

The latest in a long series of delays puts the end of lockdown at June 14. Hopefully that really happens. More live-from-Nepal chapters will appear shortly after. Meanwhile, here is an oldie but goodie from the Fearless Puppy On American Road book. Most folks that have read it tell me it’s funny. If this is your first read, I hope you get a good laugh from it too.        

It is offered now with a different intent than in years past. This time it is not only the true story of dealing with a troublesome person at work, but is also posted in the spirit of remembering that individual humans are not the only ones baiting and switching us. Institutions, industries, and systems—whether they are informative, corporate, political, educational, cultural, religious, entertaining, or medical—are just as good or better at it than any singular human.                          

Thanks very much for reading, and for clicking the backlinks.                                             

Please stay well and happy. Love, Tenzin

***p.s. As always, if you find these weekly bits bothersome, let me know and I’ll stop sending them to you. If you find the reading at all enjoyable, please—it literally takes only seconds—click one or more or all of the highlighted backlinks following this paragraph. This simple process is completely without risk, cost, or difficulty. All it does is bring you to the site that is highlighted. Each click is a big help in pushing Fearless Puppy up in the Google rankings. Whether you browse the sites or close the windows immediately, your help has been delivered when you click. Thank you!

FEARLESS PUPPY WEBSITE BLOG 

FEARLESS PUPPY ON AMERICAN ROAD/AMAZON PAGE

REINCARNATION THROUGH COMMON SENSE/AMAZON PAGE

FEARLESS WEBSITE

                                       Defeating the Bait-and-Switch          
       We’re having a little trouble at my workplace. There is a mean-spirited person dragging my co-workers down to her level. She’s an expert at the bait-and-switch move. I smile, refuse her bait, and stay undistracted—but several members of our crew have fallen victim.      

What is the bait-and-switch move? Several different psychological maneuvers call themselves by that same name. The one I’m specifically referring to is the oldest trick in the book. It is most often done without the perpetrator’s conscious awareness. That’s right! More often than not, the folks who do this aren’t even in touch with themselves enough to realize that they are doing it. (It is occasionally more intentional and malicious.)     

  Let’s say that you are Party B. Your boss, a co-worker who wants to climb the ladder of success over your dead body, a new customer, an old acquaintance, an ex, or whoever else you want to think of is Party A. (If you are already saying, “Hey I’m the A. Let that other pain-in-the-ass be Party B,” that’s great! Your chances of avoiding the pitfalls of the psychological bait-and-switch move are very good!)       

You are a nice, friendly, kind, and cooperative person.        

Party A and others like him are nasty, sarcastic, wired-up people who live to annoy and manipulate. They love to pull on your chain and wouldn’t climb off your back if you bought them a diamond-studded rope ladder to do the climbing with. These people may suffer big and truly heart-rending problems in life but behave so badly that they regularly earn more rejection than compassion. Many chronically dissatisfied folks act as if it is their job to insure that everyone else becomes as miserable as they are. Again, this is often not a product of conscious evil intent as much as an unconscious bit of emotional lava spilling out of an abused volcano that has never been hugged enough. But if you’re getting burned to the core by flowing lava, the historical origins of the volcano’s problems cannot be your primary concern.       

As usual, you try to be nice to everyone. You speak to Party A as you would to anyone else—intent on a happy and harmonious relationship. But Party A doesn’t know how to handle this. The painful rip in the fabric of this person’s reality tells him or her that it’s a dog-eat-dog, me-or-you, take-advantage-before-being-taken-advantage-of world where an aggressive defense is the highest priority. This attitude often results in behavior that is nastier than a pickled egg fart collection in a tightly sealed chamber.      

You step up your efforts to make peace. Day after day you are kind and polite to this person, hoping your good attitude will prove contagious. Mr./Ms. A stays deaf to your most cordial approaches and continues to dump bucket loads of emotional garbage and irritating drama into your life.     

It may take a few days, weeks, months, or years but sooner or later it happens. You lose it. After what seems like countless eons of dealing with this situation in a civilized manner, you just can’t take it anymore. You give Party A a rebate on the ration of bullshit that he or she has been shoveling in your direction. After five or ten minutes of yelling and snarling, you stomp away with your blood pressure raised and your day ruined. You are now as stressed, aggravated, soured, angry, and miserable as Party A has always been.      

This is you now! The painful attack on your peace of mind is no longer singularly directed from an external, defensible source. It now grows from an internal base that is a lot more dangerous to you. The nastiness of A, formerly a minor influence outside of your psyche, has eaten away slowly but steadily at your patience and compassion. It has succeeded in boring a hole right through your previously harmonious state of mind. The result is a weakened mental structural integrity, now being further eaten away by your psychologically triggered, newly acquired chemical imbalances. Physical problems arise from the chemical problems. Your stomach may hurt, your head may ache, and your happiness is in pain.       

As this happens to folks like us, Party A people will likely be laughing their asses off!  As the old saying goes, “Misery loves company.” Misery now has the company it loves. As mentioned before, they may have had a conscious plan to do some damage —but it is more likely that they are just blindly lashing out and unaware of the real cause or result of their actions. They are happy anyway!            

 A subconscious mind can be a dangerous thing. That’s why so many of Earth’s wise folk have spent so much of their time very busily moving their subconscious depths to the conscious surface.       

So now, anyone walking into the place where both A and B are present would be fooled. It would appear that Party A was a B, and that Party B was an A—and in fact, until B regains basic composure and simple sanity, that has become the sad truth of the situation. B has now effectively taken over the job that A was doing and is now getting on his or her own nerves! Party A doesn’t even have to be around. B will still have a nervous concern about what A might do or say next. B will now suffer from self-engendered attitude attacks as well as any external attacks that A might still be generating. B may also be burdened with a self-loathing caused by embracing an inferior mindset as well as the embarrassment of losing composure in public.                                       

The bait-and-switch is complete.     

 But believe it or not, there is an even worse scenario! Some folks are just too kind-hearted or timid to explode upon their aggressor. In most of these cases, a B person completely internalizes the stress of dealing with the A person. The resulting internal malfunctions can range from a nervous condition and assorted mental problems to migraines, stomach ulcers, and in the long run even heart problems or cancer.                                       

I refuse to get involved with any of this.It seems best to stay happy and realize that what I want me to be is more important than what any negative external influence wants me to be.                                    

I don’t rent out space in my head to bullshit.       

Disengagement, a simple non-cooperation with the game, seems to work well. I find that chronically toxic human irritants either vanish quickly or start adding some respect to their communication once they realize that you are someone who will not take the bait.        

When you run into someone that wants more than it is possible to give; when challenged by an insatiable black hole of negativity that cannot be filled; when you feel the vacuum from that hole starting to suck you into it, perhaps the best way to win the game is to not play.                                                                        

Many thanks to our wonderful friends at Pema Boutique Hotel for their help and support. ***The books Fearless Puppy On American Road and Reincarnation Through Common Sense by this same author are also available through Amazon or the Fearless Puppy website, where there are sample chapters from those books. Entertaining TV/radio interviews with and newspaper articles about the author are also available there. There is no charge for anything but the complete books! All author profits from book sales will be donated to help sponsor an increase in the number of wisdom professionals on Earth, beginning with but certainly not limited to Buddhist monks and nuns.        
***If you missed the Introduction to the new book that will be titled Temple Dog Soldier, or would like to see several chapters of it that are available for free online, go to the Puppy website Blog section. This is a book in progress. You will be reading it as it is being created! Just like you, I don’t know what the next chapter is going to be about until it is written. As the Intro will tell you, this is a totally true story—and probably the only book ever written by and about a corpse journeying completely around the world!

My Family Of Crows

What’s going on where you are? I hope you are happy and healthy. Lockdown is still going strong here in Nepal. We are legally allowed out from 6 to 9 a.m. for shopping at the few food stores that are open. With nowhere legal to go, most local people are more compliant about spending the rest of their time in the house than they might otherwise be. Some people including myself go out for walks at other times when there is nothing legally open but pharmacies.        

Even during sanctioned shopping hours, it is rare to see more than two dozen people during an entire one mile walk down Lakeside. Nineteen of them are likely to be white people! The locals have close families that are used to spending a lot of time together. Most expats and trekkers have just a few friends here, no kitchen, and no family within several thousand miles. We also seem to have a respect for but less dramatic fear of the virus than the locals do. Expats and trekkers believe smaller percentages of what the media tells us than the locals believe. We are more used to and therefore a little less influenced by the manipulative dramatic nuance in media. We are much more likely to take it all with a grain of salt when served our institutional sources of information.        

Most folks keep their masks on when outdoors. This often has more to do with cooperation or compliance with legality, and compassion for the fears of others, than it has to do with an actual fear of the virus. There are so few people on the street that one rarely finds him or her self inside the recommended six-foot social distance from another person! So in many cases the masks are a polite decoration.                

The Nepali folk come out unmasked in the early evening and play badminton without a net on the side streets, kick a soccer ball around, or play other games in their back yards. A few families that live on the same block may cluster a bit, but they don’t stray far.       

The concept of family is different here than in the USA. American crows, however, are very similar to the Asian variety. Families and crows are both looked at below. I hope you enjoy this little bit from the new book-in-progress.                       Thanks very much for reading and thank you for clicking the back links.                                                                 Be well, Tenzin

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                                               My Family Of Crows
                                                          FAMILY        

Family means something different in Asia than it does in America. They take the concept more seriously here. The difference seems beneficial most often but it can be restrictive and detrimental at times. When I grew up in Brooklyn, most families including my own resembled a badly managed zoo where lions, rhinos, jackals, mongoose, and the occasional cobra were all thrown together willy-nilly in the same cage. Independent thought and a rebellious spirit were at war with tradition and conformity throughout most of American life during the 1960s. This struggle was perhaps most evident within our individual families. Many thirty to fifty-year-old parents would regularly beat and scream at their ten to twenty-year-old children, whose goal in life was to get as far away from their parents as quickly as possible.          

Many teenagers considered at least one or two of their family members to be negative examples. A lot of parents showed us how not to be. Most adults of that time had a prejudicial, narrow minded attitude toward black people, gay folks, and most other subdivisions of humanity that they were not personally members of. Beside the racial bigotry and a second-class-citizen attitude toward women that was woven into almost every aspect of life, there was a general lack of happiness displayed to many urban children of that era.            

Our parents’ compulsive striving for material possessions and status often happened at the expense of love and sanity. This caused many to suffer ill moods, ill health, and obsessive behavior. It made some parents appear to their children as embarrassing housemates related only through a biological accident and a temporary financial necessity. This lack of any admired in-house role models to emulate drove a lot of young folks into new lifestyles.         

What has been publicized as “America’s greatest generation” was no kinder to its parents than it was to its children. This was the generation that invented putting grandma in an old-age home almost as soon as grandpa died. Farming out the old folks was unheard of during previous generations. There are still very few old folks homes in Asia. Grandparents live with their children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren until they die.             Married Nepali couples may move into a house of their own but many continue to live with their families in the same house where they grew up. Others build a house close by. This can do some wonderful things for the stability of everyone in the family. Old folks are more comfortable with the idea of being old when they are constantly loved, cared for, and respected by the family. Children often feel more secure among a whole tribe of loving relatives. Neighboring and cohabiting aunts, uncles, grandparents, and even cousins often act as second mothers and fathers, giving the child a broader range of practice in relating to adults. Mother and father enjoy a little more alone time and some help with the strenuous job of parenting.          

On the down side of all this togetherness is the problem of obedience often bypassing freedom and creativity. There are many instances where the future profession, spouse, and living arrangement of a child are very heavily influenced if not altogether decided by the parents. Within such a culture of obedience it is rare that a young adult will tell his or her parents, “I’m going to work and live where I want to and marry whoever I fall in love with! This is my life, not yours!”            

As is true of so many aspects of life in Asia, an impending American-style 1950s/60s shift is in the air regarding family structure. The violent separation between generations hasn’t shown itself very much—yet. But there are signs. Youngsters live on the Internet as much as they live in their homes. They are becoming entrained to some ideas that are very different from the ideas that have been dominant within Asian families for millennia. Some of these notions are an improvement. Many are not. It is wonderful to have access to an unending stream of good information about nutrition, hygiene, spiritual awareness, and so many other aspects of a constructive education—but graphic violence and some very unloving varieties of sexual conduct as well as a lot of flat-out bullshit and harmful misinformation on almost every subject are just as easy for a youngster to find. Children tend to make exploratory choices. The past few decades of Internet access have offered more things outside of home and family to explore than had been available in the previous two hundred thousand years of human history combined. Information acquired from some of these explorations will be acted upon by many children. Some of these actions will put many young adults at odds with status quo.            

I guess there is no valid objective generalization to be made when it comes to whether a tighter or looser family structure is the better method. Neither is always better or all ways worse. Like most other things happening on human Earth, the success of a family depends upon the individuals that form it and the cultural variables that influence it.            

All our family members, like all other humans, make us happy—sometimes because we are able to stay with them and sometimes because we are able to get away from them.                                                    

Crows Like Brown Bread                 

I am looking at the lake from the balcony while having breakfast at noon when Heckle and Jekyll land on the railing. I don’t actually know what their names are in Crow language. Technically, the Hekyll and Jekyll that my new ebony-winged friends are named after weren’t even real beings, much less crows. They were TV and movie cartoon Magpie birds that made their first appearance in 1946 and their last in 1981. But resemblance between the two sets of birds is so strong that those cartoon names seem to fit these recently arrived friends.                  

The crows look over at me with desire and hope in their eyes, then let out a series of loud caws that were easily translatable to English as, “Can a brother get some of that nice brown bread you have there?”                 

I break off a piece for my boys (perhaps girls?) and put it on the railing about a yard away from the birds. Jekyll is afraid and flies off quickly but then circles back around to sit behind his partner. Hekyll, the obvious Alpha, takes a hop backward on the rail without ever turning head or body around to stick the landing. He sticks it anyway. If it was an Olympic event, the judges would give him a score of 9.9. Within two seconds he becomes a speeding blur that lunges forward and snaps up the bread. He gives me a cautious look. Seeing that I have no problem with him or his hunt, Hekyll sits right where he is and eats his breakfast while I eat mine—and while Jekyll looks jealously on.                 

I try to get Jekyll even but Hekyll is too quick! I put another piece of bread on the far side of the railing behind the two birds and close behind Jekyll. With the speed of lightning Hekyll flies around Jekyll and snatches up the bread. He eats with a complete lack of concern or respect for his sky mate. It makes me wonder if all crows are like that or if some share.                

After a few more pieces of bread that give Hekyll a full belly and Jekyll a contact high, the guys are pretty comfortable with me. I duck into the room for a minute. When I get back to the balcony, they have cleaned up the scraps that were left on my plate and flown off. But I can see them both. They are hanging out with three adult cows that are blocking most of both lanes on Lakeside Road right in front of my hotel. Lockdown traffic is close to nonexistent and the people around here love cows at least as much as they love people, so the cows are in no danger. And of course, neither are Hekyll and Jekyll.                  

From this second-floor balcony it looks like Jekyll is telling the patiently listening cows the brown bread story while Hekyll picks his teeth. 

Many thanks to our wonderful friends at Pema Boutique Hotel for their help and support. ***The books Fearless Puppy On American Road and Reincarnation Through Common Sense by this same author are also available through Amazon or the Fearless Puppy website, where there are sample chapters from those books. Entertaining TV/radio interviews with and newspaper articles about the author are also available there. There is no charge for anything but the complete books! All author profits from book sales will be donated to help sponsor an increase in the number of wisdom professionals on Earth, beginning with but certainly not limited to Buddhist monks and nuns.        
***If you missed the Introduction to the new book that will be titled Temple Dog Soldier, or would like to see several chapters of it that are available for free online, go to the Puppy website Blog section. This is a book in progress. You will be reading it as it is being created! Just like you, I don’t know what the next chapter is going to be about until it is written. As the Intro will tell you, this is a totally true story—and probably the only book ever written by and about a corpse journeying completely around the world!