I live opposite a monument that has fascinated me since I moved here, the dedication is in Maltese so its been kinda difficult to find out what or who the monument is for. The light shines bright throughout the night and I’m sure it can be seen from miles around. My investigation shed light on what to me was a mystery. Bryan Portelli someone here really loves and misses you.
The monument I have discovered was built with the support of his mother Rita Portelli (its amazing what you can find out on Facebook). I feel it best to leave any further commentary to those who know more about Bryan in the meantime these are just a few random photos I’ve taken of this magnificent view.
So there you have it, a sad story no doubt perhaps Bryan’s mother can explain?
In a favourite movie of mine Meet Joe Black, Brad Pit as death said “there are two things that are guaranteed in life Death and Taxes”.
So is the IRS more concerned with death or taxes?
I have been in a constant battle with the IRS since January 2019 the IRS is impossible to deal with, they ignore communications and instead continue to issue meaningless false notices, here’s the whole skinny: –
Until January this year I paid no tax on my small pension from the TRS (Teachers Retirement System). I pay my taxes in Malta and under the double taxation treaty this has always been the case. However, for the first time they suddenly started deducting tax at 30%, now this may not be a whole lot of money as far as most people are concerned but to me was a big slice of my US pension. Fortunately, most of my pensions come from the UK and they remain untaxed as they should be.
IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig recently said it was cheaper and easier for them to audit the poor as auditing the rich cost more in money and expertise, he asked the US government to give them more money to commence audits for the rich but for some reason the government don’t want to do that. Conflict of interest maybe? The whole scam of tax and the cost of recovering it could be settled easily with a more transparent and fair way of taxing people. Tax on what we consume, VAT, Power, etc. What is the point of trying to find hidden money, its like searching for a needle in a haystack?
Death and Taxes indeed, well my problems will not be the death of me, in fact perhaps I should send a copy of this deliberately short post to Charles Rettig (long words seem to be difficult for him.
Well I suppose this is the one common factor all my readers will experience, we all live and we all die but both experiences can be looked forward to with a new fresh look at our alternatives. So I guess the obvious starting point is:- LIFE
From the day we are born we experience all kinds of traumas, being born itself can be quite distressing leaving the safety of our mother’s womb to enter a world where we are no longer protected and nurtured, we are on our own and it’s up to each and every one of us to cope the best we can.
I will take my own life’s experience as an example.
I was born on 10th February 1951, I was born in my mother and fathers house shortly after the war and I was born with the umbilical cord wrapped around my neck. If it hadn’t been for the retired midwife up the top of our street I wouldn’t be here today she pulled me through.
Fast forward to 2016, I arrived at my new home in Gozo and immediately had problems with my legs. My legs felt like two balloons extremely painful and I could hardly walk. So here I was new to the island and hadn’t a clue what to do (I didn’t even have my residency at this stage). So I went to the local pharmacy Ta Pinu pharmacy and spoke to the lovely Marica (Married). She arranged for me to come back at 2pm later that day to see the lovely Dr Josette Rapa (Married). Now I have had treatment in different parts of the world predominantly the USA and UK and I’ve written about this before. The appointment I had with Dr. Rapa was without a doubt the best I’d ever had in my then 65 years. She arranged for me to go into hospital and I stayed for a few days and was treated very well there.
On leaving my doctor in the hospital (not Dr Rapa) prescribed me medication which I was asked to take over the next few months and was likely to resolve my problem. The service and attention I was given was second to none.
Now as it happens one of the first places I visited and joined was The Lotus Ta Qalb in Gharb, there I learned to meditate (amongst other things). One day during instruction with Lorraine Casey Orlandie I met a lady called Helena. Helena had written a book about the natural plants and remedies on the island and she agreed to treat me with amongst other things her tea made from local plants. WOW! Did that help it was supposed to clear the water from my body and worked so well I was reluctant to leave home. As it happens Helena was due to return to her home in Hungary and suggested (insisted) I visit a Doctor in Malta. Malta! I said why? I have a perfectly good doctor her on Gozo. Helena eventually flew home but later she sent me an email asking if I had seen her doctor yet? NO I said but she insisted that I went.
As it happens one particular day I was meeting a friend at Malta airport Lupie Lou so though OK I’ll call this doctor and see if she can see me. That was when the course of my LIFE changed.
I arrived at the YUE centre with plenty of time to spare, I was expecting a Russian shot putter to arrive and order me around but what I found was a revolutionary approach to my issues (let’s face it the Ruskie’s were the first to get a man into space). Dr Lidia Babenko was not a bulky Russian shot putter she actually reminded me of Meryl Streep. I had an awkward conversation with Lidia she being Russian and me a Brit, but we managed and I had what is called a Bio-Resonance test. It takes an hour and involved some fairly complicated equipment from Russia (from Russia with Love. Hey how could 007 pass this opportunity by). After what turned out to be a 2 hour consultation Dr Lidia sent me a 4 page report and accompanying diets and instructions of what I needed to do. Now then the story gets extremely complicated but I’ll keep to the point, I decided (wrongly as it happens) to take the easier route and go down the traditional route as prescribed by the hospital “just pop a few pills over the next few month a hey presto you’re done”.
But Dr Lidia had different ideas when she found out what I had decided she worked alongside my traditional medicine and within no time at all I was cured. This was amazing to me and since then I’ve introduced Lidia (not sure if she’s married or not hmm) to several other people including my friend Geraldine Ann Ford. Geraldine is regarded as one of the best mediums in Gozo and believe me she can certainly do her stuff. But Geraldine had a heart attack, her blood cholesterol level was over 8 points. I took her to tea one day and we met Lidia who in passing asked Gel how she was doing? Gel went on to explain about her cholesterol issue. “Oh maybe I can make a suggestion Geraldine” Lidia said, just do this and this and see how it goes. Such an off the top of the head suggestion with no ‘formal’ consultation may have saved Gel’s life (well certainly helped her cholesterol). Within weeks Geraldine’s blood cholesterol level fell from over 8 points to under 3. Her cardiologist was stunned he asked Gel what she’d been doing, when she told him he said he would get all of his patients to do that.
Naturally I became intrigued with this completely different way of living my life and over time Lidia introduced me to many new things such as Angka Meditation and eventually my brother, teacher & Guru Prabhu DarmaYasa.
At 65 years old this was a new beginning, I eventually met Prabhu here in Malta and spent many hours with him. He called me Mr John (I’m a bit older than him) but he is far wiser. So move on to 2017 and at 66 I visited his ashram the ParamDarma in Bali. Unfortunately while I was there for my 3 weeks Prabhu was here in Malta Spreading Spiritual Peals, so I didn’t get to see him in the ashram which was the reason I went. But wow how everyone there welcomed me. I stayed in my own bamboo hut, was given food every day and joined in many of the activities etc. Bali, the people at the ashram, Lidia and Prabhu have changed my life. I see new hope, new beginning’s and something to live for after my meltdown in the USA.
I will return to the ashram maybe next February 2018 (but this time will make sure my brother, teacher and Guru is there so I can ‘pick his brains). Inevitably like us all I will face death, but I do so now with a new resolve, in peace and with a smile on my face. I’m not ready to go just yet so I follow Lidia’s rather strict but healthy guidelines but when the inevitable does happen I’ve now planned for that..
WHAT IS CAPSULA MUNDI?
Capsula Mundi is a cultural and broad-based project, which envisions a different approach to the way we think about death. It’s an egg-shaped pod, an ancient and perfect form, made of biodegradable material, where our departed loved ones ashes are placed for burial. The ashes will be held in small egg-shaped urn the Capsula will then be buried as a seed in the earth. A tree, chosen in life by the deceased, will be planted on top of it and serve as a memorial for the departed and as a legacy for posterity and the future of our planet. Family and friends will continue to care for the tree as it grows. Cemeteries will acquire a new look and, instead of the cold grey landscape we see today, they will grow into vibrant woodlands, sacred forests.
HOW CAPSULA MUNDI CAME ABOUT
The Capsula Mundi project roses from a deep examination of the role of designers in our society.
In a culture far removed from nature, overloaded with objects for the needs of daily life and focused on youth, death is often dealt with as a taboo.
They believe that this unavoidable passage, so meaningful, is not the end, but the beginning of a way back to nature.
Inspired by these reflections, they decided to redesign the coffin – an object entirely left out of the design world – using ecological materials, and universal life symbols, such as the egg and the tree.
A UNIVERSAL MESSAGE
The biological cycle of transformation is the same for all living beings. It is time for humans to realize our integrated part in nature. Capsula Mundi wants to emphasize that we are a part of Nature’s cycle of transformation. This universal concept goes beyond cultural and religious traditions. Only a tree, a symbol of the connection between the sky and the earth, will mark the resting place of the deceased. As tree after tree is planted, the cemetery will become a forest, free of the architectural motifs that mark today’s memorial grounds. The cemetery will be transformed into a place of nature, one where families can stroll and learn about the natural world, where communities will come together to tend and care for trees. In short, it will become a sacred forest.
LIMITING ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT
Presently, to make a coffin, a tree must be cut down. The coffin has a short life cycle and strong environmental impact. A tree takes between 10 and 40 years to reach maturity and the coffin is of use for just three days! We want to plant trees instead of cutting them down! Furthermore, Capsula Mundi urns are made from 100% biodegradable material and come from seasonal plants.
Finally the difficult bit, I live in Gozo (Malta) and here despite the need for more space and more trees cremations are not allowed so I’ve taken up the challenge and am looking for a funeral home who can arrange transport to Italy for cremation and the pop me into an egg. So now all this stuff is done and dusted I can continue to live for the day rather than thinking what’s going to happen in the future.