Monday, November 10, 2008


I haven’t written a word all summer - have been in BOAT MODE the whole time and it’s been great. The previous summer was all repair and trauma in preparation of going offshore. This last summer it was playing catch-up, just sailing, relaxing, sailing, reading, sailing, doing nothing. We were away from our home dock thirty-one nights. A very good season. Great for my head and spirit.
But now it’s fall. The SWAN OF TUONELA is on the winter dock. With shore power as there’s not enough solar power now for us. But more than the season has changed. Compared to six months ago it is a new time. And a new world. Ask anyone. We all know it. There has been no lack of issues for talk shows. The elections here and in the U.S. have even taken back seat to the basic changes in the economic systems of the world and the implications to all on the planet. We simply do not know what is happening and where we are going. Many are fearful. I’m not. In fact, I’m optomistic and pleased.
Why? Because what we are hopefully leaving is decades of abuse of the earth and the rule of rampant materialism. What the world has seen in the recent past is the unquestioned right of the wealthy to exploit. The rule of GREED had to be checked, and finally it did it to itself. Now, even in the hurt and fear that this change brings, we have the chance to look at the whole picture and make some choices. Most of us only change when we are hit with a good sized hammer. This is one of those times. If we fear, it is proof of our limited thinking, proof that we value monetary wealth over all else for what we fear is the possibility that we might not be able to accumulate that which we have come to believe was our right. We are fearful of losing money.
Are you fearful of losing money? I’m sorry for you. And hope that you can find something more important than money in your life.
As individuals, as groups and as humanigy we have the ability to see a larger and more real reality, to find good and life-revealing truths in this forced transformation. I have no doubt that this is one of the rare, world-wide events that is an ocassion and possibility for renewal, even for a true renaissance. After all, we DO have literally the knowledge and the abiltiy to deal with simply all and every problem the world faces. Only greed stands in the way. Wanting to live beyond our means (greed) has done us in and we have needed to be reined in for some time now. Now that it’s happened let’s have the wisdom and nerve to give thanks that it’s finally happened and in a way which won’t really be all that bad. Now it’s up to each and all of us to take the time to see our part in the old and dead WAY and to chose once more, but this time for LIFE.
I have fears. They are that we won’t chose for a new way but that we’ll try once more to flog the dead horse, truly, one or more of the horses of the apocolypse. If we continue to judge our lives by how much money we control, then the world and our grandchildren is doomed. Then the coming winter will be truly one of discontent and death. If we see things as they are and decide to take our parts in the world, and this time as an opportunity for new life, then we and the world will truly be blessed and the spring to come will be amazing in its gifts.
I’m more excited about the future than I’ve been for some time. If we do our parts, this time of crisis will be remembered as the advent of true hope and justice for all.

Think I’ll go sailing this weekend and enjoy the last of the great fall colours along the shore.

Have a good day. Anthony, as usual, sailing upwind


My finances are better than some of us; I have investments in the very low six digits to augment my C.C.P. and old age pension. I live on a boat which translates into pretty low rental costs. There is only room enough in my share of the hanging closet for six pair of pants at any one time and there isn’t room on board to store much stuff so we buy mostly needs and few wants. We don’t pay for any power costs for half the year because of our solar and wind set-up. But on the other hand we certainly aren’t in the top half. No real estate. Only some mutual funds.
And we too have lost about 30% of the value of the paper in the last few months. We also are bewildered at how the Canadian dollar can be valued so much below our huge but bankrupt and irresponsible neighbour to the south. Is anything in the financial world based on reality? The answer of course is, not much. The whole monetary system is a head trip, a matter of confidence. It rarely has to do with anything tangible. The only facts that count are the numbers placed in the system that are themselves the products of guesses, fear and greed.
At one time finances were tied to products of worth. The gold standard. Remember those days? They disappeared some time ago. Many of us didn’t realize it. So now we’re stuck with numbers that are relatively meaningless. What do we do? As seniors it would be so very easy to despair, for we’ve spent the last few decades looking forward (positively or fearfully) toward retirement and the accumulation of money was the beginning and the end of that preparation. Now it turns out that money is very questionable in itself.
If the amount of money we have in retirement remains the core value of how we retire, we are truly in deep dog duey. Get out the sack cloth, cover yourselves in ashes, hang your heads and cry a lament. Or we can get smart, and realize that in our lives money has never been the basis for happiness at any other stage of our lives, so why should we despair now, even though we may have one third less (pick any number here) as much as we had figured. How did we derive happiness before? What were the GOOD TIMES?
Chances are the best of our times were when we were sharing with others, trusting others, making do with what there was in common, caring and being cared for out of love and not for hire.
Why need we be so stupid as to think that these lessons of life do not apply to us now, merely because we are seniors? Were these lessons only for the young, for the unworldly, the ignorant? Or have we forgotten the important lessons of life and have been so caught up in the deadly materialism of our culture that we’ve painted ourselves into a no-win corner?
Is there any joy better than the joy of sharing and caring? Is there any confidence deeper than knowing that others will hold you and share with you what they have, in sickness and in health, whether richer or poorer? I’m not talking about marriage here, but life.
I have many friends, singled or partnered, who are wringing their hands about all the money they have lost. And they live in their debt free houses, moaning about the taxes and upkeep and being alone (lonely) most of the time. Were they raised this way? Of course not! That same house once sheltered six people or more. Aunt Gert came and spent her last twelve years with them before she died. And there were foster children in the sixties. And his father moved in with them after grandma died. But they (or she/he) are now all alone and complaining about so much, when they really do have so much. But only if it IS shared. If that house is not shared it remains a prison/reminder/handicap/worry.
Remember how we used to know how to share? Even today some people still do. (But they’re probably new Canadians trying to save money until they can get enough ahead to get their own huge houses so they also can grow old alone and worried). How easy it would be for senior centres to become agents/connectors for those with empty rooms and those who needed room? When some of us, especially in places like Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary and Edmonton can simply not afford to rent even a one bedroom apartment, and many more of us are rattling around in a now too big house, it is simply stupid of us to not see some answers here. Sharing your home with one person would pay for the taxes. The second would pay for the upkeep. What would be the risk if the senior centre acted as contact and helper? Couldn’t it be a Win-Win? Why not give it a thought?
If we put our trust in the financial markets, we have gotten what we deserve. It is what every ancient teacher has said, from Jesus to Budha. It’s true. If we don’t re- learn to trust each other enough to give us a chance our lives truly have been lived in vain. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want that written on my tomb stone. So sure, I hate to see my savings and pension getting smaller. I guess I’ll have to just make sure my friendships get stronger. I do know that as unreliable as people are, my average neighbour is a hell of a lot more dependable and more sharing than the stock market. And a lot more fun.
Think about it. Do something about it. I doubt that you’ll lose 30% and you just might find that your life is a lot more fun and meaningful in the doing.

Anthony, as usual, sailing upwind



In writing some strong stuff to you of my generation, I hope you realize that I’m challenging myself as well. We’re in this together. Stay with me here for a bit and see if this makes any sense to you.
I’m tired of hearing many of us playing the old age card: “We’ve done our part. Now it’s time we took it easy. It’s someone else's turn now. I deserve a discount. I’ve put stuff in for all my life and now I should be able to just take it out.” There’s justification and even some justice in all of this and we each feel it. But we and even the whole world is paying a high price for this reasoning.
It sounds much like whining. And no one respects a whiner. One aspect of our culture is that as a group, seniors are not respected. In most of the earth’s cultures, the elders were the keepers of knowledge, of values, of wisdom, of the truths. The elders were the leaders. Not in our society. There are no doubt many reasons for this, but one cause for certain is the fact that most of us plan and hope and do, give up responsibility and leadership as we age. Success to us is reaching a state where all we have to do is spend money and become isolated from the rest of the world. And complain when we don’t get our way. I know I am overstating the case, but to most of the rest of society, when they think of the elderly, they certainly do not think of leadership, involvement and wisdom. And yet we wonder why we are not respected. As a generation, what is there about us to respect?
Isn’t the earth much worse off now than it was when we were young? Isn’t there a far greater disparity now between the few rich and the many poor? Can we say that humanity is any wiser because of us or because of what we have done? Are there fewer cases of genocide? Is the world better educated in the things that count? My grandfather was an avid gardener whose standard for success was by evaluating the soil; did it get better each year? The crops would vary with the weather but the soil, the basics should improve. A smart gardener will always improve the soil. You can’t take out more than you put in if you care for the future. Any wise person would use this rule to judge all portions of life. With this in mind, what do we zoomers/boomers/seniors deserve? Certainly not much respect as a whole. We can’t be surprised if our requests are given lip service only.
But wait! Why does it have to end like this? Look at us as a group. There has never before in history been a group that has had such a background of education, experience and wealth. And now we have some free time. There are alternatives to just taking it easy and worrying about losing our money. Imagine what a difference we could make, not only here, but to all the world, if we would actually recover some wisdom and begin to lead instead of retreat! At one time we were known as the generation with the ideals, not afraid to take on the world, who dared to dream and try new things. Along the way we bought into the stuff that was offered in the TV commercials, but deep inside of each of us there is still the spark of knowledge that there is a better way.
Now the world is in dire need of leadership to find that better way that will help us all to change direction. Now, finally, after all these years is the time to recover our wisdom and lead, to not retire but to retry. Just imagine what a difference it could make if most of us changed our wills to give even ten percent to meet the needs of the world, as opposed to giving it all to our descendents who will use it to buy more wants. I don’t mean just giving donations to local do-good stuff like churches and food banks. They want money but it rarely goes for more than wants. How about a real transfer of funds (power) to meet real needs, where people are literally dying or existing without the basics? Imagine if many of us would start voting for people and policies that were good for our grandchildren and not for our pension funds! Far too many of us now vote with our pocket books instead of our brains and hearts. Most Canadians under 22 voted GREEN. Tell me again why we aren’t? Imagine if our senior centres had some real stuff going on, were places of debate and action, not only bingo! Imagine if we began once more to earn some respect! If we can imagine it, we can do it.
As a generation we have the time, the money, the knowledge and the opportunity to do anything we want. We have no cause to gripe or to ask for more. We’ve really blown the first two thirds of our lives. We certainly don’t have to keep repeating the mistakes in our final third.
We can only make a difference if we start to work together, so talk about it in your groups. Start doing. Start listening. And let me know what happens. Use the many avenues of communication you have to share and start rumors. We’ll find that life is much more fun if we’re back in the conspiracy business to make a difference.

Peace. Anthony, as usual, sailing upwind