Here I am back in my office on Sunday morning. The forecast was for rain overnight last night, but it looks like the little cold front that was bringing in the weather won’t be coming through Miami until late this afternoon.
I have not written much about financial matters in a long time. Warren Buffett is still my most favorite luminary in the investment world. He has been saying and doing the same thing for about forty years and it never fails as investment advice. Of course, it does not make any money for traders or professionals in an industry that is largely designed to strip wealth from clients in fancy shell games. The basic advice is to invest in stocks based on the intrinsic value and then hold the stock for a long time while the underlying company earns money on your investment and shares it through capital appreciation and dividends. The most basic question in this type of investing is how much do I have to pay for the underlying revenue stream that the investment will yield.
I wrote before, when Bitcoin was at about $60,000 and all the Meme’s and Covid darlings were enjoying huge price rallies as new traders swapped them like baseball cards. Of course, some reckoning has come as these assets have deflated. None of them ever had any real value as an investment, but that does not mean some trader won’t pay you a lot for them if they think they can sell them to a greater fool for more.
But on the intrinsic value side, I finally broke on Thursday and sold some Bonds with a two year term and invested the money in PNC Stock. The price of PNC has been creamed with the collapse of SVB and Signature Bank. PNC stock was trading at about 8 times earnings and a price of $121.9 when I purchased it last Thursday. The dividend yield at the time was 4.8% or so, which was higher than the short term bond fund, plus I think the upside is about 50%. I think the market is going to take a couple swings before everything shakes out, but let’s see what happens with this investment. PNC on March 16 at 10:00 or so in the morning for 121.9.
Lots of people talk about the stock market and what they would have or should have done, but it is important to look back and see what we actually do. Are you trading or investing? I invested in that PNC stock because it’s paying a sweet dividend yield and the price of the stock was too cheap to pass up. Let’s see where it goes.
I did not have many plans yesterday except to rest. I did manage to make it over to my Mom’s house with Stephanie and Tata and the puppies for tea and a visit. I was walking through her kitchen and I saw the little cross, pictured above, in her kitchen. This is the Santo Daime cross that I had placed in her hospital room while she was going through her passage in the Surgical ICU after her heart attack.
The Santo Daime is a difficult religion for American mothers to embrace. It is a doctrine that originated in the “poorest” communities on the earth, from the depths of the Brazilian rain forest were communities of escaped slaves joined with previously uncontacted Indigenous. The humble and loving “Caboclos” as they are called made their way in agriculture and as rubber tappers along the banks of the Amazon’s many water ways. They did not have alcohol, but they did know how to mix together plants, and two in particular make a powerful brew that is now known as Ayahuasca.
They would brew this tea and then sing together, and they would sing about the beauty of nature and healing and God and faith. Now this doctrine is growing like a vine, and a tendril of this vine has enwrapped me in its embrace. I am not the only one, for sure. But we American practitioners bring a new dimension to the doctrine. So anyway, we placed this “cruzeiro” at the end of my Mom’s bed when she was going through her passage, and she did receive a miraculous healing. Only 1% of the people that have the “widow maker” blockage of the primary Coronary Artery survive, and yet there she is watering her orchids. When I went to collect the cross as she was leaving the hospital, she asked if she could keep it. And there it is in the kitchen by the dog biscuits. A spot of honor in my Mom’s household. I was happy to see it there, and so I snapped this picture.
I went later with Stephanie over to the Church to organize some of the hymn books for the big event that is coming next weekend. We have a busy week this week, and so we wanted to take care of some of these last minute preparations yesterday. The first visitors will be arriving Wednesday or Thursday, and we want to have everything ready. We got home later than we expected, and I walked the dogs while Stephanie made dinner. Tata did not join us, but she was pleasantly present throughout the evening.
I was talking with Stephanie the other day about the process of writing and opening our channel so that the words can flow through us and onto the page. Self doubt is the largest impediment to this process. Sometimes when I write this way, it seems to me that the information is not really that new or original. It seems like kind of a patchwork of spiritual ideas that I have picked up over the years and then regurgitated onto the page. This often stops me from wanting to write at all.
But then I am reminded that the words that we channel are not lessons for other people, but lessons for ourselves. And that sometimes when we share these nuggets of wisdom that we receive to help ourselves, they help other people too. As I was pondering this, it occurred to me that we share a common human experience that makes this sharing possible. We all have the same sorts of struggles in relationships and in life, and we all have a pretty similar set of tools for dealing with these struggles, and we all have personality defects and challenges to our abilities. How we put all these pieces together is unique for each individual, but at the same time, they are made from common elements.
This is how we are so adept at experiencing understanding and empathy for others. Because we share a common human experience, we can imagine ourselves in the shoes of another. We can see ourselves in another person. And so sometimes, a little bit of wisdom that we receive for ourselves can be useful for someone else too.
I remember something one of my spiritual teachers said when asked about the messages he channeled during guided meditations. “It always sounds like you are talking directly to me personally. How is this possible.” “Oh not at all” he said “I am talking to myself!” The common human experience makes it seem like all of the shared wisdom is for us personally, and so it is. That’s why we love each other and that’s why we want to be together. We share a common experience.
It is therefore not really surprising that we hear the same themes from so many sources. Another teacher said one time that the lessons are very simple, it is the students who are complicated. This is very true. So many of the challenges of our lives have simple solutions. Love, Humility, Integrity, Meditation, Compassion. These are the answers to all the questions, but the questions themselves can seem very complicated.
Today is the last day of rest for a while. Tomorrow things start to happen. It’s going to be quite an adventure. But not today. Today is just about the gathering of energy for the upcoming journey. It will be fun to write as the story unfolds.