* The healing powers of a drug store cashier

(From an April 2010 e-mail to my family:)

Dad was still in good health back in ’83-85, when I became so deeply interested in spiritual healing.  He maintained a pragmatic skepticism about it throughout; in essence, “What’s the use?  We’re all going to die anyway.”

I recalled that Monday night 12/07/09 on my way home from Rite Aid, where I’d had to go buy a few things.  I was having pretty severe pain in lower left abdomen, after having had several “difficult” eliminations earlier in the day.  I took the pain for infection-inflamed ureter; later concluded I was passing a stone.  Long time since I’d passed a stone. Long time by my standards, that is.

The state I was in at that hour, I was inclined to cancel all appointments and errands for the next day, and plan to spend all day Tuesday flat on my back in bed.  With pain like this, you can’t do much more than just stare into space and feel miserable.

I would recall one author’s answer to Dad’s argument; Lawrence Althouse is the guy’s name.  He said the sheer alleviation of pain — without opiates — is justification enough for the practice of spiritual healing.  Pain occasions loss of productivity, as just described.  It also stresses relationships; with any less self-control as to these things than I’ve learned in the past few years, had anyone crossed my path the wrong way on that trip home, I might well have snapped at the person.

That’s not something you want to do in the ghetto.  Especially at night

There are other was to effect spiritual healing, besides prayer.

Just being nice to people, as opposed to choosing, say, to inject needless pain (“static”) into their world — that’s one.

Crystal happened to wait on me at the Rite Aid; she’s my favorite clerk, and I’d not seen her in months.  Damn if she didn’t smile at me and give me a cheery greeting as soon as I came in the door.

Damn if my pain didn’t go away — completely — for some time, later after I got home, as I recalled that encounter.  “Spiritual” — healing — indeed.

Every word can work good or ill.  My choice; your choice.

on air talent, radio talk show, talk show host, the homeless blogger

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* How to Wire Your Brain for Happiness

A follower sent me the below link; I don’t think I need to comment on the article, but just highly recommend it.

How To Wire Your Brain For Happiness

Well, I will say this much. In “Chaos Overwhelms the Poor” and elsewhere I stress the effects on the brain itself, of chosen spiritual disciplines. This article reinforces that concept, with much good advice.

talk radio, talk show host, on air talent, the homeless blogger

* Light Inside: A Hallowe’en Message

(Below appears a tract I passed out with the Hallowe’en candy in 2007. “Chaos overwhelms the poor” describes that neighborhood.)

Light Inside

Hallowe’en is the night before a Christian holiday.  The name of the holiday is “All Saints’ Day.”  Years ago, they called it “All Hallows’ Day,” and the night before, “All Hallows’ Evening.”

Trick or treat, jack o’ lanterns and all the stuff with ghosts, come instead from a pagan holiday called Samhein.  These customs became attached to Hallowe’en, but are not really part of it.  Hallowe’en comes on October 31 every year.  Samhein comes on the first full moon after September 21, which can be any day between September 22 and October 19.

A jack o’ lantern is a pumpkin with the insides carved out, and a candle or other light inside.  What about the light inside of you?
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Marketing strategies, part 4: Jillions of details

I’ll begin by quoting the e-mail that started all this. Brian said:

Bill – You have some very good points in this article.  I wonder how we can increase readership of your blog?

Two ideas come to mind:

  1. Consider changing the name of your blog to something like “The Homeless Blogger”
  2. There are a number of newspapers that are by homeless people for the broader community.  We have one here in Columbus called Street Speech.  You could submit a weekly blog there.  Here is a partial list:  http://www.homeless.org.au/directory/news.htm

Some background: WordPress gives me very detailed stats about who visits my blog: where they are; what posts or pages they read; where they clicked on a link, if they did, to get here; what search engine terms they used, if any; and more.

The quickest way to increase my readership is for my readers to link to and quote from the blog early and often throughout the day. Incorporate links into your e-mail signatures. Regard any Facebook post or Tweet as incomplete until it includes a link. Do the same with comments on other blogs or news articles …

I have the conviction that the right eyes will find the blog at the right time. That doesn’t mean I should do nothing.
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* I really have nothing better to do

(Transcribed from a letter to my mother dated 25 September 2007.)

This conversation yesterday with a co-worker astonished me.

“Peaches” is a 42-year old, very short woman, certainly a grandmother and very likely great-grandmother, who has about half her teeth. She works principally as a cashier, and is a really good worker and co-worker. She constantly teases me by pretending to flirt with me.

I was stocking the trash bags shelves, and became aware that she was in quite a pickle. Her shift was over, and she had appointments she had to keep at a certain time across town; but she also had assembled this bag full of items she needed to buy at once and before leaving the store. And the line at the cash register was quite long. (Long lines at cash register are a constant, intractable problem at this store.)

I told her facetiously, “Just go down there and push ’em all out.” She said, “No, that would be unmannerly, and that’s not like me.” (Conduct that can be called “unmannerly” is a big, big issue in this community, and a big issue for me personally since I see so much of it and find it offensive.) She went on: “Now, I like your manners. You speak to the customers …”
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* Sneak peek

Thanks to the reader who sent me this link:

Poor people aren’t stupid; bad decisions are from being overwhelmed, study finds

I am preparing a substantial response and should have it ready to publish a few weeks from now.  In the meantime, I thought others might be interested in the original article.

* The Parable of the Talents

Matthew 25:

14 “For it is as if a man, going on a journey, summoned his slaves and entrusted his property to them; 15to one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. 16The one who had received the five talents went off at once and traded with them, and made five more talents. 17In the same way, the one who had the two talents made two more talents. 18But the one who had received the one talent went off and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.

19 “After a long time the master of those slaves came and settled accounts with them. 20Then the one who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five more talents, saying, ‘Master, you handed over to me five talents; see, I have made five more talents.’ 21His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and trustworthy slave; you have been trustworthy in a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’ 22And the one with the two talents also came forward, saying, ‘Master, you handed over to me two talents; see, I have made two more talents.’ 23His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and trustworthy slave; you have been trustworthy in a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’

24 “Then the one who had received the one talent also came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew that you were a harsh man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you did not scatter seed; 25so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.’

26 “But his master replied, ‘You wicked and lazy slave! You knew, did you, that I reap where I did not sow, and gather where I did not scatter? 27Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and on my return I would have received what was my own with interest. 28So take the talent from him, and give it to the one with the ten talents. 29For to all those who have, more will be given, and they will have an abundance; but from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away. 30As for this worthless slave, throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’[”]

On the one hand, I don’t believe Jesus ever said these words. (Link) On the other hand, I firmly believe in the principles expressed, and will have occasion to refer to this text many times.