Living through an American Recession

Dealing with never ending life changes. Who says making lemonade is the best thing to do with those lemons life throws at you?

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Has Reality TV gone too far?

This year I did a bit of traveling abroad. While I was excited to meet some foreign co-workers, they were not so excited to meet me. They seemed to figure that I liked country and rap music, drove a fancy car and was wild and crazy.


Our satellite TV picked up American channels, hearing "Fucking Americans" scoffed from more people than I would like to admit while scrolling through shows. I laughed and said, "Surely you don't think Americans are like that?" To my dismay, they do!

I soon got over the anger and defensiveness of being categorized by some over-acted, stupidity of a TV show as "America". Hell, last time I wasted my time on reality TV was the first season of Survivor (which was fantastic). I've got my own reality to deal with let alone watch some wealthy housewife deal with her problems. Her lip surgery and my rent payment don't compare, nothing to learn there.

"NO, we are NOT like Snooki, crazy rich housewives or this Honey Boo Boo everyone has made a joke of. Once I stepped off American soil I realized how tarnished we are with this crap. Being in America we just change the channel and choose not to engage in such stupidity, but what happens when we leave? Our choice becomes hard work to prove we are not all stupid, wealthy or drunk.

Every culture on the planet has it's "village idiot" who has been made a mockery of for entertainment purposes for centuries, nothing new. But in our technological era, the planet is now watching our village idiot. Throw in a few commercials for pharmaceuticals, weight loss, lawyers and shopping and we've become inbred, ill, overweight, pharmaceutical Guinea pigs and consumers ready to sue the shit out of you.

In the mean time our real hero's who work hard everyday saving lives, raising children with two jobs, caring for elderly, feeding the homeless and just being an America we seem to be so proud of never gets a minute of time. What are we proud of? That idiots like Snooki and Honey Boo Boo become millionaires on TV for being morons while we work our butts off?

Most of Oprah Winfrey's success was showing the reality of human survival. She gave millions of people hope that we can make it, dreams do come true and hard work does pay off! She motivated and connected millions worldwide. Good positive TV DOES work, she proved it.

TLC was once "The Learning Channel". There is NOTHING to learn from idiotic shows like Honey Boo Boo. When we look backwards watching such primitive behavior it sidetracks us from thinking forward watching intelligent people that can inspire us to do new and amazing things. Role models were named to keep us looking forward and striving for a better world. 

Next time you travel abroad, be warned. These people have seen shit you may have never given the time of day to turn on. Last time I checked Americans were pretty great people, at least the ones I know and we should be able to travel without being scoffed at or feel in danger because of stupid crap on TV.

Take the time to offer your feedback to the networks airing these ridiculous shows ruining our reputation and show a real America. We are quick to tweet and facebook every opinion we have, make one opinion count.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

The truth about change

The truth about change? You wanna know the truth about change? Well, it sucks sometimes. No, most of the time. it's in the ashtray of the car, under the couch cushions, rattling the the car cup holders, laying on the street or weighing down my purse. I find it in the bottom of grocery bags, on the floor, mixed with my jewelry, in pockets of my clothes. The shit is everywhere. And no mater how hard we try, the cash register always rings up $3.89! WTH! "No, I don't feel like rummaging through the bottom of my purse for 89 cents just to piss off the people behind me. But if I don't, I GET MORE CHANGE!

Change just needs to go away....

Change is everywhere. In every country, every social class, I've even seen my dog eat pennies. There is no escaping change. So how can we make change work for us?

I started with a change jar. Ok, a big'ol beer pitcher...shut up, it works...This was my way of acknowledging change existed and was not going to go away. I put all my change in it. I cleaned out my car, my cup holders, my jewelry boxes, the sofa, my purse and anywhere else the shit was hiding. I then gave it all a ride to the change booth. A magical place that transforms it all into usable paper for which I buy stuff. Stuff I need, and a maybe some stuff I don't. The point is, the change is gone. For the moment...

1. Change exists
2. Change will never go away.
3. The sooner you understand #2 and #1 the sooner you will recognize the it and know where to put it.
4. Change will always exchange for something. Good. Bad. It's up to you.

I refuse to be a victim of change, it will not piss me off anymore. When I see change I know where to put it. Use it now or save it for another day when I will know what to do with it. I've even learned to see it coming and prepare for it.

Change....You little bugger...

Saturday, October 27, 2012

A sense of Entitlement

Legality aside in general, the word entitlement refers to a notion or belief that one (or oneself) is deserving of some particular reward or benefit. A "sense of entitlement" as it is commonly used.

As I watch the restaurant I work in close, a select few seem to exude this sense of entitlement, rationalizing and satisfying it by stealing. I have become a babysitter slapping hands as they try to fill their pockets with money, booze, equipment, and food, countered with resentment and lost friendships.

I'm not sure why this generation is so jaded and shocked by my lack of a sense of entitlement.  Perhaps it was that the previous generation was so graciously rewarded with company paid college, retirement, paid vacations and a sense of job security, travel and comforts?

As a  Gen Xer I certainly understand this feeling. My father was a WW11 veteran of the Air Force, received and engineering degree from UC Berkley paid for by a company that he retired from. As a senior he collected disability from the military, retirement and interest on savings. He never understood my struggle to attain loans for college, work entry level jobs with no sense of job security.

"Hard work, loyalty and commitment pays off." He said
"When? We are expendable." I replied.
Perhaps the sense of entitlement was always there, they just got what they wanted.They fought for equal pay, unions, safe work environments and labor laws.

So where does that rational to steal come into this picture?

If Mr. Jones across the street says

"Hey kid, I'll give you $20 if you mow my lawn every week."

You agree and continue to mow for 6 years. One day  Mr. Jones puts up a sign in his yard  advertising the house for sale. The house sells. Are you then entitled to go into Mr. Jones' garage and take his things because you feel a sense of entitlement? His things are still his personal property on his private property. There is no entitlement. You may be entitled to unemployment, earned sick time or unpaid vacation if that was part of your contract for employment but you are certainly NOT entitle to steal Mr. Jones' belongings.

Rebel without a cause

What is a rebel without a cause? Wouldn't the thing that caused the person to rebel be the cause? Perhaps this person is just doing his thing.

It always bothered me when people called me a rebel. Looking up the words actual meaning to see if I actually qualify as a rebel, it states:

A rebel is a person who participates in a rebellion.
A rebellion is a refusal of obedience in order aimed at replacing or destroying an established authority.

I would never consider myself to be a rebel according to social description. I have been labeled this only for the fact that I question things in life that I don't understand to be relevant to the situation. In no means have I ever wanted to destroy or replace authority or refuse to follow rules or laws.

Laws and rules are in place to provide consistency, flow and fairness for everyone. It eliminates favoritism and confusion allowing maximum function. Take stop signs for example. On a small road with minimal people converging at the same time, a stop sign is appropriate. Without one, people would decide that they should go first judging their situation to be more important than the other person going left. Putting up a stop sign and establishing rules that go with that sign are in place to stop possible bad situations from happening so everyone has an equal shot at going next.

But what happens when there is now too much traffic for everyone to stop? It now becomes a  problem interfering with the flow and creating traffic jams hence no longer serving it's purpose. The city must now listen to the complaints of the people, reassess the situation and create a new solution to the problem if one is needed and act. A traffic light is born.

When I was a kid I did't understand why I had to use a yellow #2 pencil vs. my .05 mechanical pencil or a green #2 that consisted of the same graphite?

Why do my red tennis shoes bother you? This isn't Catholic school. You're wearing blue.

Why does it matter that a man's hair can't touch his collar in a business office? I can clearly see how that would totally interfere with his accounting abilities. Or why woman had to wear skirts and blouses in a business office. How the hell can you be a good secretary wearing pants?

My response is always the same when I hear someone comment about being a rebel.
"Oh yeah, I can see how that's completely relevant to the situation. Where's the rebellion that they are leading?"

Perhaps any situation that causes an uprising should be assessed of the relevancy of it's laws and/or rules that govern it given current circumstances. People by nature are not mean nor rebellious. Our very nature is to just live and exist. People want fairness and equality not conflict and hardship.

When people complain about something it usually means it isn't working for them. Whether we live in small towns and huge cities, work for small businesses or large corporations, these "rebels" are everywhere. A simple woman like me sees a dysfunction in the flow and instantly becomes a rebel. Is an engineer a "rebel", a politician, a lobbyist, a priest?

Maybe we are all rebels at one point or another all seeking a better world.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Managing restaurant employees through a closure

I was recently promoted to supervisor in a restaurant 4 weeks before it announced it was closing it's doors in 4 days. The first day of the announcement was more rant than it was rest. Emotions were flying high. The original close date would have given everyone almost 3 weeks to find new employment, but considering business was almost at a stand still, another supervisor had "leaked" information of an impending closure causing people to quit, panic and start stealing, the company needed to pull the plug sooner...

A little over a month had past after the new GM arrived bringing with him a new supervisor, new ideas and plans of getting our restaurant back on track and making money when I was promoted. I was proud to supervise such a great group of people, even though a few of them had me worried. Not sure how they would take the news of someone who had only been with the company 3 months would go over with more seasoned veterans. Low and behold, they were all supportive and happy.

Our new kitchen supervisor had been on my "watch" list suspected of stealing money from the office and missing alcohol. As soon as he realized I was watching him, he immediately quit. Since then, nothing missing. Go figure...

It never ceases to amaze me the differences between the way people handle stress. Some just go with the flow, do their jobs while others act out. As a supervisor having never been in this particular situation before I'm learning quickly to roll with the different reactions.

On one hand I have those who are trying to help, empathizing and informing the customers smiling and keeping calm. Their tips are HUGE since the customers are now empathizing with the impending doom of them being out of work in 4 days. While others are stomping around threatening to quit, complaining about "fairness" and others just doing a half assed job. By the end of the night their tips reflected the attitude.

At this point we are on a skeleton crew in the kitchen and dealing with a dwindling supply of food, the 86 list is rising. So how do you as a supervisor handle the stomping, complaining few?

1. Know that getting them to understand or empathize with the companies loss or delema is pointless. Panic has set in and all they can see is rent, bills and food. Their basic survival needs are number one, not yours.

2. Praise, thank, listen and offer to do anything to help everyone through this. Suggest places to find employment, pick up slack where people have quit, etc. The decision has been made by corporate and there's nothing that can be done but to finish working to earn as much as possible and look for another job.

3. If you have enough staff, send them home. This is a prime example of a few bad apples will RUIN the whole by causing more stress, angry customers and a possible expedited closure on an expedited closure. If they threaten to quit, clock them out and accept their resignation.

4. If you don't have enough staff, damage control & communication with your customer is essential as soon as possible. Especially if you run the possibility of reopening another store or location. You must protect the name of the company for future business. Inform the customer of your closure, apologize for any inconvenience, for being short staffed or low on supply. They will understand.

5. Refer to number 2.

Loosing  a job is a major stress like moving or death. The ones that have been there the longest will hurt the most. Not only are they loosing a job but friends that have become family. They will act out angry or distant, the outward/inward projection of energy. Some will want an apology letter from the company and/or to be recognized for their years of appreciated service, some look for something tangible like "what are you going to do with the tv's", or the quiet ones who may be crying on the inside that need reassuring everything will be ok.

Either way, as a supervisor offering to talk anytime about anything is important at this point. Some of these people may have no one to talk to about what's going on and feel alone. Fear stimulates people into making bad decisions, especially when they are quick like this. Panic causes fear, fear causes stealing, anger, and depression. Everyone goes through the cycle of emotions either internally or externally. Being empathetic and offering a real open door policy is number one.

Everyone needs help in life to move through these natural cycles. Some get stuck in the anger phase, some in the depressed phase and some die and bloom regularly. As coworkers and friends just being empathetic and not judging people no mater what phase they are in is huge.

Judgement shows ignorance and ignorance is easily cured with knowledge. 
Non-judgement without knowledge shows curiosity and curiosity leads to knowledge. 
Judgement is the disease of knowledge. 

Sunday, October 14, 2012

half the sky documentary
Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide

This week PBS started airing a documentary based on a book written by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn called Half the Sky. You can follow the link for more information and to watch the series. It follows ten celebrity women to ten countries world wide confronting oppression of women with real solutions. These issues are barbaric, sexist, racist, extremely dangerous and take away the human right to live happily and free. Although centered around women, it's oppression spreads much deeper and wider affecting everyone involved with that woman, her children, siblings, friends and relatives of all genders. These women are controlled not only by gender, but by status, tradition and religion.

It's shocking to see that things like this still exist in our century. Many ancient traditions are held so deeply, refusing to let go or change and are mistaken for something that once held function hundreds or even thousands of years ago. They are not relevant to our current situation. Change and progress is global, awareness through mass communication is global, consciousness is universal.

The government has changed, the climate has changed, modern conveniences have filtered in, new discoveries in medicine, technology & communication. The oppressors have adapted to living in buildings vs. tents and huts, have cell phones, drive cars and utilize all the modern conveniences of our ear but hold on with a death grip to barbaric religious practices like cirucumcising & cutting women so they will ever enjoy sex once in their lives by controlling their assumed "promiscuous behavior". A practice that averages between the ages of 7-9 usually with no anesthetic causing massive scaring and a lifetime of pain. The WHO estimates 135 million women & girls worldwide are victims of female genital mutilation, all against their will. This is not only cruel, controlling and permanent but finding fault in your gods creation who gave women the right to enjoy sex, not just a man. You are literally altering your gods creation to suite your needs. If he instructed you to do such a thing then why did he not create us that way!

Women are not allowed to study past 6th grade, sold into prostitution by family members forced to entertain 20-30 men a day! Can you imagine the scar tissue built up inside the woman? They are not allowed to work, drive, show their faces, socialize with boys or even go into the market without a male escort.

It is not that women are rising up and rebelling against society or trying to take over the world. It's our planet as a whole that is changing. Technology, education, commerce, awareness of human rights. Old ideas have new information, science has new discoveries, psychology knows of the contribution a woman makes to society. There are literally more women on earth than men. The dark needs the light to exist, the seasons need each other to feed each others function, the universe is constantly moving. Our spirituality has grown, our consciousness has grown  evolving to an "awakening" awareness. There is no way to put this back to sleep. Men are going through their changes too, this is not just a female issue.

I want to thank PBS for it's continued airing of such wonderful eye opening stories contributing to the awareness and education of our planet. I am more grateful everyday that I live in such a country that truly is plentiful giving me way more than I need to live comfortably. It is humbling knowing that I am a whole woman, sleep without fear, have food, clean water and can go to school anytime I want.

Thank you to the compassionate warriors in the trenches who risk their lives everyday to bring a little peace, education and awareness to those in need. Although a world away, you are in our thoughts.

If you have clean water,modern conveniences, and food, you really don't know how lucky you are! After viewing shows like this, it's no wonder why people want to come to more developed countries. Humans have the right to live in peace.

"Creativity is global, opportunity is not".
                                               -a quote from the documentary

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Non-Religious persecution

What is it about the human mind that naturally seems to want to categorize and compartmentalize everything. It seems we must associate ourselves with religious & political organizations, feminist, race or humanitarian groups, clubs & cliques and when we don't we become wanderers, vagabonds and pretty much scowled at by the general population as "lost". I am by no means "lost."

In my experience, people who are part of any group that believe in a single god, creation from this god, a great spiritual war and a punishment/reward system seem to be the most dangerous forces. Since I associate myself with no group, organization or club it appalls me that these groups seem to know what is best for the rest of us.

Every human, animal and plant has been granted the right to exist in the universe. Life itself needs many elements to flourish; food, water, gasses, sunlight, shelter, social interactions, love. Our nature is to be curious about our universe, to explore and discover. We do it from the moment we are born. We feel love and fear, it's natural. But so many people seem to wonder into churches met with a promise that "this is what you were searching for".

The feeling of love happens when we let go of fear. When you turn  on the light, the darkness goes away. It did not cease to exist, the light is now on. When we are in fear we can't feel love. Our minds are focused on our bills, car issues, health issues or whatever. When we go to church our focus is now on a something else, a promise that everything will be ok letting "Jesus take the wheel".. That feels good, comforting and that's wonderful just like your mother hugging you after a bad day at school listening to your experience and telling you everything will be ok.

There are the rest of us who feel our existence to be something different. We focus our thoughts on art, science, children or dancing; we feel love and peace just like you.

I am not looking for anything, I am discovering everything. 

Too many times we get so focused on the end destination we forget to see the things in between. Being a painter taught me it the process of painting that creates the painting itself. One of the most bitter/sweet experiences I've had was when my car broke down and had to rely on public transportation, bikes and walking until it was repaired. My perspective of the world completely changed. I never realized how many cigarette butts there were on the road. My perspective of people changed, assumptions and judgments dissolved, found money, got a glimpse into people's lives listening to conversations on the bus, and felt a sense of convergence of beings all going to the same place coming from different experiences. It was quite eye opening.

It was then that I realized how different beliefs in the afterlife, ghosts or gods was completely irrelevant to life itself and how these beliefs manifested into judgments, hatred, pity or bad behaviors. When science makes a new discovery they advertise it making everyone aware of it's existence. This discovery may be completely irrelevant to one quarter of the population and no one forces you to change your life base on it. Religion reels people in with promises of virgins, gold, health and eternal life in love and peace. SOLD, who wouldn't want that? But it's the fine print one must read...

A hierarchy reward system listing all it's "side effects" of following a god or belief system. Hell, fire, persecution, a being that is watching you 24/7 creating "god fearing people" hiding in closets, under covers and in dark ally's. People manipulated into tithing (which oddly means tax), going on missions of recruitment, although they call it "educating", making people repent and feel guilty so they can make you feel better. Sounds very controlling to me. Create a problem, bring a solution and people will love and follow you. Classic model.

So after being manipulated into seeing the horrible sin in the world they are driven to go out and make the world a better place. Well who doesn't want that? We all do.  In their hearts they want to save people from hell and eternal suffering, it's natural to want to help someone you know may get hurt. Doesn't it make you angry when someone insists on doing it their way knowing they are going to get hurt and having an "I told you so " moment? Well when it comes to the afterlife, there is no way to have an "I told you so" moment. We are all guessing, and to claim to know a god, heaven or hell exists is just being hopeful.

Once your mind attaches itself to a belief, that belief then stops your mind from continuing to explore new possibilities. Science holds to a system of understanding that says "At this moment, given all the information available, we believe x,y,z to be true" As soon as there is more information available, the belief changes. Religion feeds off this phrase as their "I told you so" moment referring back to a god for answers.

The kindness and love taught throughout religion has been poisoned with greed, control and politics filtering it's agendas into the general population by passing laws that persecute those who don't believe or care that no such god exists taking away human rights. You have the right to believe, I have the right not to believe.  Morality is not owned by religion.

I have heard many people say "god will take care of him". ONLY perhaps if he does not ask for forgiveness. According to religion, if Hitler asked for forgiveness before he died he's going to be walking those streets of gold with you for eternity along with all the other murderers, molesters and bombers. If we're all here to learn and experience life, what's the point of a hell? Seems a pointless game of souls the gods play on us.

My point being is that if you want to educate people about your belief system, forcing laws on them, calling the names, excluding them from your circles, killing the infidels, scaring the shit out of them with hell is not the way to do it.Everyone has the right to believe what they want. Christian people would not like Muslim laws implied on them nor do it's citizens want any religious laws implied on them. It contradicts the right to practice statement in the Constitution. Which basically means "We don't practice religion, but if want to, you have the right to."  And no one is taking away anyone's right to practice in America, so why is it allowed to flow into our government? Who's being persecuted here?

I have been called horrible names by the same Christian people I once prayed with. Pitied by believers and reminded of my place amongst the fire, seen lesbian friends denied rights others have and loose property to the government because they were not married and become homeless, women bringing children into the world abusing them because their church frowned on abortion then condemned them for being single parents and having premarital sex. How is this positive for peace in the world?.

Until I began to entertain all possibilities on the existence of a god and excommunicate myself from the church did I realize how nasty the people were that I spent the first 15 years of my life with claiming to be so loving. I once heard in Sunday school that "believing in Jesus was going to be hard because the devil is everywhere and trying to win the war by tempting you into sin. The world is full of sin." Making me see the world as a horrible, scary place. Church control IS the scary place, the world has been nothing but beautiful to me. When I started flowing with nature, life became easy and smooth.

One does not need religion  to feel love, to smile and show compassion towards our world. To see someone struggle should not come with persecution and judgment. Put away phrases such as "god will help them", perhaps your god is working through you to do just that. You were granted the universal gift of awareness and it is YOU who can choose to help or not. Humans make mistakes, education helps them to avoid future mistakes, not threats and fear......  

The Non-Protesting Protester

How can you protest something without protesting? You can't. Once you become aware of something your actions, or lack of action becomes your protest.

"The biggest protest one can make against anything is simply not  do it."

People like me exist out in the badlands, vagabonds of society milling amongst you as assumed non caring oafs. Just because we don't join forces with one particular group, organization or club doesn't mean we are not on board with their agendas. A close friend once asked me to come along to protest a business known for its' bad practices.

"People like me don't hold signs or chant mantras around buildings, we write letters, talk to our friends and/or stop visiting such businesses." I told her.

Education and awareness are the two largest forces behind anything. When information becomes available we become aware, awareness becomes action. Whether holding a sign, recognizing abuse and saying something or making a different choice when buying chicken, it all makes a difference.

In a conversation with my son one time, I said "I am like a bee in a field of flowers. We are very powerful, spreaders of information quietly from flower to flower. Never assume we are not part of the swarm."

Any and all Information may be true, false, mixed up or confusing. It is up to us to determine whether to believe it or not. In the age of mass communication knowledge is no longer a 6 month sail away, it's a click away. It's a wonderful right to be able to speak your mind, educate people or bring into existence knowledge that may not be unknown.. People like me are turned off by anyone who threatens us for not conforming.

Never assume that those of us not holding a sign are not protesting....We are still part of the whole.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Is social media hurting us?

Is social media hurting us as a society or helping?

That's like asking if medications help or harm; benefits vs. side effects.

When sites like Facebook popped up on the internet, millions of people jumped aboard showing the world a glimpse into their private lives. There are millions of reason why we chose to join social media sites from sharing with family & friends, clubs/groups announcements, advertising & marketing, political agendas, self promotion or those who just want to be heard, we all have a voice. But what happens when an employer wants to part of our "social" connection? Bad idea, period.

Since these sites have privacy options, employers have no business demanding or even asking to be part of your personal space and although there is something to be said about posting things on the internet that could potentially harm the employer, it will harm the poster someday too. If you can easily find potentially damaging information about your employee then you can worry, if you can't then realize none else can either.

As I par-ooze my own social media sites I've realized that I have many different groups;  friends, aquaintences, clients/customers, all globally. It is irrelevant to my friend in Brazil that I am offer a special at work or my clients know about my doctor visit. Keeping all these people separate is important.

One girl argued with me the other day saying,
"Social media is mainly for entertainment. I'm tired of reading everyone's bitching.".
My comment,
"How is posting or bitching about your parking tickets, noisy & annoying neighbors, rude roommate or people that annoy you on the L entertaining? Ditto...."
Needless to say, she unfriended me. PHfffft.....Mirrors scare people. LOL

Anyway- We should all be careful of what we post and who reads it. Some people post and tweet all day about where they are, who they are with and how they feel about it. Some post nothing but religious posts, promote their business, complain, upload the random picture of their kids, etc. Always remember who may be watching.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

What is the source of anything?

Studying the etiology of disease in pathology class my mind began to wonder into areas so far away from the microscopic germs I was looking at and into the wild blue yonder.

"What is the actual source of this little bugger"?
"What is the source of anything"? I started to ask myself.

Tracing my origin and things like lightening in the sky, the desk I was sitting at and even the light behind the screen illuminating these characters that are magically transformed into conscious thought I realized that in fact there is no origin to anything. Perhaps everything is just a  accumulation and transformation of particles that become something else.

One person yells "Hey, I like cheese"! and before you know it a bunch of people gather around who all agree and like cheese too. Now you have an accumulation of people joined together by an idea, creating a "mob".
Was this new "mob" magically created by an external force or did existing pieces come together?
Did the yelling of "Hey, I like cheese" create a vibration into the universe that was picked up by others drawing them towards each other?
Why was the thought of liking cheese expressed outwardly by the yeller in the first place?

As I drove by a huge billboard along side the road protesting abortion it said, "Don't ask when life begins, ask when love begins." Huh........ (Who says sex or procreation has anything to do with love?) This is strictly a belief issue. Any scientific POV will agree that male sperm and female eggs are just another example of accumulation of cells, DNA and other stuff that came together to form the egg or sperm cell itself. So when does life actually begin? It never did, you existed before the two cells came together just in a different form that became your parents. One reason science is trying to go back to human origin. The bible even states that "god always was and always will be". Even Adam was created or "accumulated" by the elements of the earth. If you take that to have any connection with the universe it's obvious that the description of god may be consciousness itself. Perhaps this consciousness is just an accumulation of energy that is self propelling gathering more energy expanding farther out the more it accumulates, just as the rest of the universe does.  Consciousness is just another form of energy like electricity, nuclear reactions, heat, etc. Our brains interpret consciousness energy, your computer interprets electrical energy and metal interprets heat energy.   Perhaps the word "god" is better expressed as "consciousness" vs. an actual being. Consciousness, filtered and interpreted by the brain which is decoded into thought manifested into expression; all forms of energy.

So in essence there is no origin of anything, just accumulation of existing matter for a plethora of reasons science is still answering. Sometimes just as the cheese lovers, they gather just because, no purpose in mind. Just as law of the land runs on things like "circumstance" of why things happened, events in the universe are also accumulated out of circumstance. Even plastic, particles that do not occur in nature may be artificially put together to give the illusion of "creation", they are still existing particles.

Simple little games like Alchemy show us how putting two elements together make a third, and mix that one with another and you get something else, and so on and so on and so on. The possibilities are endless. To believe that this "always was and always will be" is an actual being that is orchestrating this massive alchemical universe down to the tiniest nano-particle is actually pointless. NOTHING in the universe changes because one group believes one thing or the other, life and consciousness still go on. Humans by nature our curious beings just as every other creature. 

Saturday, March 3, 2012

"Old sea captains"

Par oozing the forums on a sea faring site I stumbled upon a thread, quite lengthy I might add, talking about age in the maritime industry.

"When is a captain too old to be navigating a commercial boat?"

The opinions rolled in. While no one listed a specific age, the consensus was that technology drove the evolution of the sea captains longevity. As I imagined seniors behind the wheel of a car, the irrelevance to attempt to connect the two fizzled. Technology has taken over on the bridge of a ship forcing most senior captains overboard. The younger generations popping into their chairs controlling the lights, bells and whistles of the room.

Bitching complaints appeared on the page from those who held firm to their "old" way of doing things refusing to be forced into working all these "gadgets". Our world changes everyday with or without our consent. If our ego chooses to hang tight, then there it shall hang. One never has to let go of the "old" ways of doing anything. The key is always adding to our existing knowledge. It feels great to stand next to a younger generation that never got to learn what we experienced. The teacher must always be wiser than his student. Knowing the old ways and the new make you invaluable! Someone has to teach the newbies the old ways. If they don't want to learn, then they are no different than those who don't want to learn the new ways. A real stand-off of ego...

It's important to understand life constantly changes. Technology will move in. If there is anything we should realize as we've gotten older is to look back and see how much has changed since we've been alive. How much will change from now on? How far out of touch do you want to be? It sucks to find yourself 90 having no clue of the future you live in.

We get stuck in our comfort zones. Remember how good it felt as a kid to have finally figured something out? It feels good to learn things, to get our questions answered about life. One day we fall into this comfort zone where we are satisfied with things around us and feel stressed when we have to learn a new system. Most of the time we're just tired and don't have time to figure out a damn iPod. Scientifically it is proven that keeping an active mind and learning keeps us young and lowers our chances of getting Alzheimer's.

The easiest way to avoid the stress change can result in is to change step by step along with it. Go with the flow has many meanings. Just because college ends doesn't mean we stop adding to our knowledge. Even though you may not understand what your grandchild is saying about her iPod doesn't mean your brain is not collecting information that will "click" later on.

Perhaps both sides of the sea captains need to let their ego's go and learn from each other. We have to keep up on new things in life to connect and teach the generation that is being born into what we are struggling to learn. We are all learning at the same time! The senior driver is learning to drive with 10,000 cars on the road while the teen is learning to drive. We CAN'T not learn and adapt to these things. There is no end all be all to anything. Even gravity is now a "theory". Keeping an open mind to ALL possibilities keeps learning fun and interesting, not a daunting chore. It stirs the discover process in our hearts and feeds the soul.

Ways to keep up with the flow:
1. Let your kids or younger generations show you how things work. We all love teaching. Do you remember how good it felt to show your mom how to do something?
2. Take a trip to a major electronics store. Like a museum day of new technology, ask questions.
3. Google it! The CMOS of information, modern day library of endless knowledge.
4. SOMEONE has made and actual video on YouTube about whatever you want to know.
5. Put your ego aside and ask questions. NEVER stop asking questions. If you've stopped asking questions then technology is not your problem. lol!
6. Take a class.
7. Familiarize yourself with things. There's no need to know exactly how everything works, that would be impossible, but knowing something exists is all ya need sometimes.
8. Par ooze the magazine racks at the local book store. Current things are always on the covers.
9. Trade with someone who knows what you want to learn. Guaranteed you know something they want to know.
10. The good 'ol library.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

We're WiFi man!

A farmer wakes one morning and prays "Oh lord, please let it rain today. My crops are dry and without rain I won't be able to feed my family"
At the same time another man wakes and prays, "Oh lord, please don't let it rain today. I've got to go to work and finish building the roof or I won't get paid to feed my family."

Which prayer gets answered? One is amazed by the miracle that happened; the other is shamed and believes some external force was against him today. I was listening to a minister on television this morning teaching people to "pray effectively". As he went on and on about protocols, submissiveness and a "if it be thy will" stuff I couldn't help wonder while looking at my dog if he knew how to pray effectively?

As an animal species on earth I wondered why religious people were not all wealthy, healthy and wise, while all non-believers were not all poor, sick and stupid. Prayer seems to know no color, intelligence level, nor belief system. So why do we insist that a miracle happened when Aunt Josey got healed from cancer but Uncle Steve died? If all dogs go to heaven, do they believe?

Statistically, there is no difference between financial wealth, health or longevity in people that believe in a god or not. They have however shown increased intelligence in non-believers.

I do believe in consciousness and energy, however I do not believe someone/thing is listening or watching. Viruses, bacteria, rust, oxygen, lead, chickens, we're all just pieces to the whole; the symbiotic system. Everything on this planet has it's dis-ease that can kill it and plant that can heal it. No animal on this planet believes in gods or prayer except for humans. Not one species is immune to disease, suffering or prosperity.

Perhaps it was the invention of chemotherapy that saved Aunt Josey and the depression that killed Uncle Steve, who knows. I remember sitting in church feeling the energy in the room when people prayed, sang or danced. It's that same energy that exists everywhere. I hear believers say the just "know" god exists because they feel it. Well everyone feels it, it's just what you interpret "it" to be. Today I believe that energy is what we use to heal ourselves, to feel love or anger. What if the universe is just one huge energetic battery that charges us along with everything around us that keeps us going, the ghost in the machine? We're WiFi man! LOL!!!

We feel so amazing when we're "connected" and sad when we're not. People that claim out of body experiences say they never want to return because of the amazing love and light they feel. Believers or not, they all feel and experience the same thing. They just come back either saying it was "heaven or god" or an "afterlife". Depends on how your brain wants to interpret it here. Either way, meditating or praying for positive things fuels positive energy in our bodies. It makes us feel good and hopefully spreads to others around us.

Surviving Loss

Getting past loosing anything is never easy. It really irritates me when people categorize your loss. Who came up with the "Loss rating system" anyhow? The loss of a job may be no big deal to you while devastating someone else. I know they're just trying to sympathize and perhaps don't know how or what to say to you but would you pat a widow on her back during her husbands funeral and say "Hang in there girl, you'll find another one. Just forget him and move on, you're better off without that asshole anyway." Would you send flowers to someone who just got their car stolen?

Our minds and bodies all respond the same way to any stress or trauma whether it's loosing a job, the loss of a loved one, a family pet or even retirement. Stress & trauma is still, stress & trauma! The changes to our daily routines are interrupted which makes it harder to move on. Every time we sit down to eat, they're not there. Every morning we wake up, we realize we have no job to go to. The wound is constantly broken open. It's opened a gap in time we must fill with something else, it's the law of the universe. Something will always fill in an empty space, it's physics.

But how do we move on?

In my own times of loss I remember the feeling of being on your hands and knees, feeling your way around in the dark, scared, alone and feeling like you can't find the door to get out. The mind remembers that there was sunshine somewhere; it's why we want out of suffering. Subconsciously we know love and happiness exist, we just can't find our way back to it. But we can, and do. As I've gotten older and having been through my share of pain and trauma I've realized that life is a repeating pattern just like the seasons, the days and cycles of everything. Happiness and suffering are like the seasons. One may love winter by playing in the snow, another is freezing to death and digging out to stay alive, then the sun comes and saves the dying one but now burns the one that was playing in the snow.

 I've run into people who are still playing the same record over and over again in their minds their entire lives, struggling to sort through the shrapnel of an incident that happened 20 years ago constantly picking at an old wound and refusing to let go of a trauma spending the rest of their lives repeating things like "just my luck" or "Murphy's law". It's as though they've accepted some victim fate of never ending suffering.

 Every body reacts the same way chemically to a traumatic situation, but the difference is how the mind chooses to react to the body's reaction.  

Man is sitting quietly enjoying camp.
Dinosaur invades camp, chases man.
Man reacts either by running or fighting.
Danger is over and dinosaur is gone but camp is destroyed by dinosaur.
Man gets sad at loss of camp.
Man gets angry, then sad, then confused as to why and where the dinosaur came from.
Man gets angry at himself, then others, looking for a "why".
Man gets frustrated and tired of rebuilding camp.
Man rebuilds camp better than before and enforces surroundings.

 OK, so that's a corny analogy of humans, but its life. Loss happens to EVERYONE. No one is immune to loss of some sort, it's part of the function of the entire universe. Every living and non-living thing gains and looses something. Sometimes this analogy passes so quickly we barely notice it and sometimes it drags on for years.

 What is your interpretation of an incident? What is your explanation of why something happened? Does faith have an effect on how we get past things? I don't believe there is a right way or a wrong way to get past anything as long as you come out the other side wiser, not be bitter or angry at others around you and let it go and live, not just exist.

 Some faiths teach us to look inward, find our peace within ourselves. Understand that life just is and we have little control over anything external. A perpetually changing pendulum that never stops. Our blood keeps circulating, our cells keep dying and regenerating themselves, the universe keeps moving, nothing dies, it just changes form. No single creator involved, life creates itself from itself.

 Some faiths teach us to look outward questioning why this happened to us over and over again. The will of an external force, a punishment, bad karma, a curse or a devil chasing us. It's a shame on us for doing bad. Blaming someone or something else for what happens to us while alive or after we're gone. The human brain constantly seeks answers to things, it's natural. Being told to just have faith or convincing us that this external force has it's reasons, is not an answer we like to hear. It's like telling a child "Don't do that" The child is going to always ask "Why not?" and you answer "Because I said so" is hard to swallow if you believe in an external force.

 Either way you look at it, life happens and keeps going. Some things we will never have answers too no matter how hard we keep looking or asking. When it involves people we will never know what went through their minds, why they did what they did. Everyone is on his own path through life, learning his own lessons, dealing with his own issues. We HAVE to move on. You have things to do and work out too.

Filling the time gap:
  • Flip your mattress and move into the center of the bed, the hump will go away quickly.
  • Find something to occupy your mind from obsessing. Reading, painting, running.
  • Learn something new. Focus your mind on new things.
  • Socialize with others. Be mindful not to dump & complain to your friends constantly. They understand your pain but let them keep the conversation on other things. It helps ease stress by changing your focus and move on. Good energy is what you need, avoid others that feed the "misery loves company" mentality. Turn on daytime tv or watch the news if you need a confirmation that you're not the only one who's lost.
  • Remember your faith. Meditate, understand it WILL pass.
  • Journal writing. It helps us focus and slows down a chattering mind.
  • Exercise! Burn up those damaging stress hormones; get rid of anxiety and depression.
  • Get rid of the pain triggers of the loss. I'm gonna get shit for this one but the wound gets reopened every time you are reminded of that loss. Pictures, clothing, smells, dishes, foods, anything that reminds you of the loss. Putting these things in a box gets them out of site so you can heal. You can always give them away later when you are ready to move on, happily. Throwing them away triggers even more loss, it shows the brain the loss is in the garbage. (Unless you want it there)  
Don't do's:
  • Don't get stuck in the time gap. Make a plan to fill the time gap left by the loss, a new schedule. This is why they say "keep busy". By filling that time gap it results in, "keeping busy".
  • Don't cry "you just don't understand". YES, we do. YOU have to get through this in your own heart and mind.
  • Don't get caught in the perpetual "why me" mode. Refocus on anything and stop the thought if you start feeling stressed, address it another day.
  • Don't create negative anniversaries: "16 years ago today....." Celebrate and remember life, not loss. One issue I have with certain holidays and remembrances, they open old wounds reliving loss by reenacting negative situations. Guilt teaches us to not forget. Focus on the positive outcome, not the misery that fueled it. If you focus on the path while on it, then on the destination when you get there, you're always living in the present moment.






Saturday, February 11, 2012

Life is good

A man sat on his porch one day with a smile from ear to ear. He patted his dog on the head and enjoyed a juicy green apple. Everyone that walked by saw this mans happiness. Day after day the passer byres wondered what made this man so seemingly happy.

One afternoon a kid walked past and said, "Look here mister, I've got a dog just like yours".

"That's a mighty fine dog" he said with a big smile.

A day or two later a woman stopped and said "Well I've got a dog and a house like yours."

"That's wonderful missy" he said.

A few months later the woman and the kid stopped and chatted with the man.
"I' don't understand" she said. "I got a house like yours, we got a dog like yours and our apples are just as sweet as yours but we are not happy like you. I don't understand where we went wrong. What is your secret?" She said with confusion.

"Well" The man said as he turned to them and smiled. "I don't rightly know. I'm just sittin' here waiting from the bus on my friends' porch pettin' this here stray dog that comes by everyday enjoying my lunch."

Life is good.

Social Media Sunshine

Lessons I'm learning from social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest never seem to escape my wondering of how this affects us as a culture. I find it fascinating those times in history between the spurts of growth and change from one era into another. The 50's expressed conformity with perfectly coiffed hair, clean lined clothing, happy music and finishing schools for girls. But as the 60's rolled in nothing could be farther from that image. I can only imagine what their grandparents thought when they saw girls in pants, natural hair, and not shaving. The butterflies first burst from his cocoon.

As we move into a new millenium I see how we are in the middle of another burst of change. Our social lives now consist of tweeting and vlogging, blogging and posting, texting and pinning. We seem to know what's going on with everyone, even though we've may not even know everyone. At first this annoyed the hell out of me because I come from the generation of "hanging out" with people in parks, coffee shops and malls. But as I got used to reading the posts and blogs I started to connect with people I barely know off line. It’s the same effect as watching a tv show. We connect with the actors, or in all reality we're connecting with the character played by the actor, not the actor him/herself. So in essence these people you've never met before are all actors playing a roll on a screen. We connect with their kids, vacation photos, listen to their music links, watch their video's etc. We are very influenced by their posts.

A girl I met only a few times in real life posted regularly to Facebook, and I mean daily. She actually kind of annoyed me in the beginning because she reminded me of Reese Witherspoons character Elle Woods from Legally Blonde. Every post was of her smiling, running a marathon, adorable pictures of her daughter and "Awesome super day!" posts. I noticed one day her posts were gone and that she no longer was on my friend list. Minutes after I inquired with a friend of hers, she immediately sent me a message apologizing for removing me along with a sough of others from her page. She didn't think "anyone would notice". Well hell, I noticed. Behind the smiley faces online was a conflict in real life we didn't know about. I realized that I had gotten used to seeing her daughter enjoy a sandwich in the park, trying on goofy glasses at the mall and most of all her "Awesome" posts. It reminded me that I was not in an "awesome" spirit where I should be and that is why her posts annoyed me.

I told her that I read all her posts and look forward to seeing her "It's a great day" words of encouragement and that we do notice when she is not there. "A little bit of sunshine goes a long way" I said.

This inspired me to share this with you. Our words, even as trivial as they seen on a screen are very powerful. They hold a sense of magic that can stir love, hate, fear and a myriad of emotions in our hearts. People are drawn to the light, the positive, and the happy ones. They inspire us, drive us, and keep us in a state of thought reminding us to keep moving forward.

Be mindful of your words, I'm reminded of this daily. I look at my own wall to see patterns. What am I posting? Are they mostly positive, motivating and encouraging? Are they complaining, criticizing or spreading fear? This is a good indicator of where your heart is. Believe me, people notice. Spread a little word of peace, you never know whose life you will change with a kind word.

Thank you Facebook friend for reminding me to "Have a happy Monday!"

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Making your time energy efficient.

"Some people just have too much time on their hands."

Can I start by saying how much I really dislike the sarcasm I hear in the voices of people who utter this phrase about creative or ingenious people who do amazing and sometimes seemingly silly things? How does one have "Too much time on their hands?" What would you do with more time? Perhaps we are just doing things that demand or are unknowingly sucking our valuable minutes away.

As I analyzed my days I found all kinds of time I was wasting on things that were not important to me like standing in long lines at the grocery store or trying to find parking. A change in the time I do some things made a huge difference. I started logging my minutes in a little flip book just to see where my time was being wasted. We make our homes energy efficient, why not our time?

Here are 10 ways I "found" more time:

Current Activity:                            Changed Activity:    Time gained per day:
1. Hair - 30 of drying & styling.             5 minutes               25 minutes
2. Make-up 12 min.                              3 minutes                9 minutes
3. Closer job - 30 min. commute           7 minutes               23 minutes
4. TV (news) 60 min.                           15 minutes              45 minutes
5. TV (movies) 120 min.                        90 min.                 30 minutes                                       
6. Facebook -9 min.                             6 minutes                3 minutes
7. Email - 15 min.                                  7 minutes               8 minutes
8. Cleaning 13 min.                                8 minutes               5 minutes
9. Dishes - 6 minutes                                 0                         6 minutes
10. Exercise                                                wash for me                     
295 min.=4.91 Hours               141 min.=2.35 Hours   154=2.56 Hours

3 hours a day = 21 hours a week(that's a part time JOB) =  91 days a year that magically appeared to do whatever I want with.  

1. Cutting my hair and just letting it go curly vs. trying to straighten it. This is something I let go of as I got older. Not important anymore.
2. Found my skin looked much younger and healthier when I minimized all the make-up.
3. This is a tough one especially if you can't move closer to your job or find closer employment. The extra gas & maintenance I was spending on commuting didn't make up for the extra wage.
4.  1 entire hour of tv just to get the weather and major news events I was seeking. 50 minutes of that hour wasted on fashion trends, celebrity drama, or the latest way to cook healthy BBQ and commercials. Log on to your favorite sites and read exactly what you're looking for, log off.
5. Some tv shows I just love but hate commercials. Renting movies or watching them on the network site cuts down advertising time.
6. Social networking. Logging on can zap your time if you have numerous accounts to check. Smart phones allow you to add all your accounts with one click you can view Facebook, Twitter and e-mail accounts in minutes vs. signing in and out of each account on-line.
7. Ditto #6
8. Cleaning. This is an interesting one. Staying organized by putting things away after using them, laudry while dinner is cooking, etc. Then come "cleaning day" everybody has one, it's faster to vacuum, mop and wipe things down not having to put everything away and reorganize.
9. I do dishes while I cook so this is not a stand alone task. For me, it takes more time to rinse, run and put away a dishwasher full of dishes. (provided you have a small family)
10. I'm not a gym person. I dislike driving there, waiting for a machine and taking an hour or so to work out, given my living area and traffic. I do sit ups and stretching while I watch tv, squats and leg lifts etc. while cooking. They are finally releasing information that little bits here and there are hugely beneficial, yup, I stay trim doing just that.

Women do seem to have less time per week than men. We spend more time with make-up, hair, wardrobe, shaving, cleaning, organizing, chasing kids, cooking, etc. Not to say some men do these things too. Some times in our lives we find ourselves in situations that just demand all of our time and can't be trimmed down, and that's ok. We get through it and our schedules eventually change, then you can utilize those important minutes.

Now after saving myself almost 3 hours a day just by making those changes, I now have learned to paint and make healthier choices at the grocery store.  I get accused frequently of living under a rock and asked how the hell I know the ingredients of many foods. My health is more important to me than politics, celebrity drama or the weather in Honduras. Not that I don't care. What's important to one may be a waste of time to another.

So if your one of those people who says "Some people just have too much time on their hands", maybe it's time for an efficiency check of your time.  Some of our lifestyles are just habit, ours or someone else's, or maybe we live on someone else's schedule. Little shifts make huge differences in the long run. All we have is time.             

Thursday, February 2, 2012

A missed lesson in Compassion & Patience?

Today as I scrolled my Facebook page I noticed a girl who made the following post:

"Craving ice cream so I went to the grocery store for some.. Only one lane open and I get stuck behind some old lady with a stocked up cart. I go to put my ice cream on the belt and all I see beside my ice cream is her diaper pads...Yup, craving is gone!! Bleck!! I dont wanna get old :(( I put my ice cream back and left.. Thats Gods sign for bc I didnt run today!!" - Anonymous

As I scroll back in the history of my life I see too that once upon a time I thought like that. It's easy to "see" only what we want. Fact is, we're ALL going to get old, end of discussion. I guess my life changing POV came when I worked in assited living with seniors. It was an amazing eye opening experience. My eyes would scan the walls of degrees, old photo's of them that looked like a previous lifetimes and some sad smiles feeling sad they can't scuba dive anymore. Seniors are amazing human beings with stories Hollywood could use to make epic movies from.

Never fight aging, embrace it. Aging is wisdom, fine tuning our thoughts, changing our reactions to life with the ever changing POV. I know someday she will see that and let it go.

As I made my rebuttal to her post: "Perhaps it was compassion & patience that was missed here. Respect should be given to seniors who built this country and gave us opportunites they created."  I figured she would respond with a "screw you" type post but instead I got:

Her: "I know that will be me someday.. That's why I said I don't want to get old... My biggest fear in life..."

Me: "Aging people are wise and happy, old people are angry and withdrawn from life...Be joyfull and keep a sence of humor and you will age into something beautiful beyond your imagination."

Her: " :) "

My lesson here. Be a possitive light to other people. If you are angry and I am happy, it's my duty as a compassionate human to remind you that life is good and all darkness passes. When I am angry, I hope I find other compassionate people to remind me of the same thing. No one is immune to suffering, we all need to help each other even if it's just a kind word to make someone smile just for a minute. Suffering is perpetuated when others turn away from us.

Fighting or Flowing?

After watching this video it immediately hit a note for me. Listening to wealthy people repeat "focus, focus, focus!" and others say "just go with the flow". How do you find the balance between the two? How do you stay focused on a goal but just go with it? I now think that staying focused on what you want should be easy, if difficulties arise then perhaps it's not what you're supposed to be doing. The Taoists and Buddhists say life should be "easy" not difficult. But how much struggle is too much?

I read story after story of people who against all odds do what they set out to do. (We never actually see the whole picture or get the whole story) "Keep their noses to the grindstone", and do it. Is there a formula for all this? A right time, right place situation, devine intervention, greed, or stubborness?
I've made many plans to do things I've wanted to do. Some were so easy it was shocking. Like life just said, "here ya go". Some never made it no matter how hard I tried to followed "Jack's formula for success" to a tee. Some things I worked my fingers to the bloody bone for, just to find out it wasn't really worth all that suffering to get.  I've met people that are so attached to their "path" in life, so focused on a task that other directions life was guiding them got lost in the weeds. If your heart is happy, your soul sings and you feel love, what else is there? Isn't it what we all stive for?
I don't think there is an external formula! It's an internal formula. We can all see when people believe in themselves, they radiate happiness. People are drawn to them like moths to the light. Be a light. We get so attached to the outcome we forget about the journey. The destination is death, everything in between birth and death is the journey.
Always do your personal best with joy and intention. If it works, it works. If it doesn't, do something else. Let go of the need to compete with others.The greatest regret anyone on their death beds say is they wish they had done more things they wanted to do. Better to have tried and never to have tried at all. An "oh well" is better that a "I wonder what would have happened if I had" in my book.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

"Stupid athiest!"

That wasn't a nice thing to say. Athiest! I'm not an athiest. Gotta be careful when discussing religion by asking the other person to clarify why they believe in what they do. They tend to get very defensive, probably because they can't explain why. Why are they Christian, Muslim, Jewish or (insert religion here)? Did you grow up that way? Stumble into a church or talk with a co-worker? I find it fascinating how people come to believe in something that may or may not even exist and get so angry and defensive over it.

I always have to clarify that I am not an athiest, agnostic or thiest believer of any kind. Athiests want to disprove that a single creator or god exists. Agnostic is just a misinterpretation of a word, a contradicition and thiests believe in mulitple dieties and gods. I further don't believe science can possibly explain everything either. It's way beyond our current knowledge and technology to understand such things.

Do I believe something is there? I don't know. I know I "connect" with something, a higher self, the universe, consciousness, god, multiple universes or simply my body picking up on an alien frequency pulsating from deep space. Who the hell knows. No one does and to claim to "know" is possibly a stretch of the ego?

One day I just asked myself why I believed in Christianity? The only thing I ever came up with was it was how I was raised, totally cultural. It bothered me that they expressed such superiority over others and claimed a spot in a firey hell for anyone who didn't follow them. Then I learned that the others felt the same way about them. A real Hatfield and McCoy situation lasting for thousands of years. Then seeing how this battle controls so many of our laws. I don't find it fair for the rest of us to have to live under a Hatfield or McCoy law, it's irrelevant to me not following their beliefs. So much for freedom to practice a religion or not. At the end of the day, I'm the one getting shit for not being part of their army over a very personal, spiritual belief in something that may or may not even exist in the first place. Why am I the only one that thinks this is nuts?

Like I told my dad when I was 12. "Who cares what the two gay guys are doing down the street in their own house."

Check yourself, uhhem...Check myself!

I was scrolling through comments people left on YouTube videos, yeah I know the perfect way to get caught up in drama, when I couldn't help repeating the same thing to myself. Why are people so negative and mean? So critical? And as always I stepped back and took a look at myself. Do I do that? We all do that. Not as far as actually posting it, but some silly thoughts like "What in the world is up with her hair" do pass our minds.

Someone once told me to be careful what you criticise, assume or judge about others. That issue that you unconsciously see in someone else is a direct reflextion about yourself. Your unconscious mind recognizes something in others that is in you. An attitude, a fear, a want. Lots of assumptions or judgements are based on your direct experience with something or perhaps hearing or reading someone elses experience. This took a while to grasp let along recognize while I was doing it, but I'm finding it to be very true.

A friend of mine is going through therapy with a psychiatrist and I am a little shocked by some of the advise she gives. As I listen week after week I've drawn a pretty good picture of the therapist herself, her beliefs, likes and dislikes. Much of her "counseling" is not very neutral. Her advise if very opinionated. Again based on her or someone elses experience.

A guy on YouTube made a comment to a young girl who was sailing alone, blogged and made videos of her jouney. He said how impressed he was until he read she was selling her boat, then he was unimpressed. She laughed and replied with a long "Who's trying to impress you?"

People may take the same action but the reason they are doing it, no one knows but the doer. "But she wrote about it, surely she must be trying to impress someone or she'd just do it and not tell the world."  It's kind of like watching a talk show. Is Oprah just doing shows because of her ego, perhaps she wants to be rich, for fame, to help people who may be going through the same thing, educational, sexual turn-on? Your answer is probably the one that is the reason you are watching her. Who knows, only Oprah knows truly why she does what she does. Very different reason that Jerry, Phil, Geraldo or Rachel Ray do their shows. Then you can ask the same thing about the guests. Why are they there?

For this reason I find it interesting to go back through things I've writen. Sometimes it's easy to see where my head was that day or to laugh and think "Did I actually think or feel that way? I certainly don't today."  I've seen authors make corrections and amendments to prior books clarifying or changing their ideas, opinions or comments about something. I love writing but my visions of the world around me change so quickly that I would be a walking contradiction because I'm constantly reading, studying and learning. So don't hate me for saying something stupid today, next week I'll probably laugh about it myself. That's the whole point of this blog, to show that the mind is always changing, learning, and thinking. (Or at least we hope so)

We can all "check ourselves" before prejudging others.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Ends of the ham

One of my favorite stories.

One day, a mother spent the afternoon cooking Christmas dinner with her daughter in the kitchen. They cut up potatoes, snapped beans, rolled dough and laughed about old stories. As the mother prepared the Christmas ham she showed her daughter how to cut the ends off before putting it in the oven.

"Why do you cut off the ends?" Asked the daughter.

"I don't really know, it's just how my mother did it." She replied. "Go ask her."

As the daughter went into the living room, she asked her grandmother the same question.

"I don't know honey." She said. "It's just the way my mother did it."

Later that evening the great grandmother showed up for dinner. At the table the daughter asked the great grandmother the same question.

"Why do we cut the ends of the ham off before putting it in the oven?"

"Oh my." The great grandmother laughed. "How did you know about that?"

"Because mom and grandma do the same thing." She spouted

"Well" Great grandmother said. "Our oven was too small, so we had to cut off the ends."

Some things are just pointless and irrelevant to present circumstance.

Religious messages of manipulation

I had a good chuckle the other day when a good client of mine made a comment to me.

She said with a sence of sadness and pitty, "You know the only difference between you and I? I believe in Jesus and he is going to save me."

"Uh huh..." I said with a big smile and a splash of you think you've figured it out sarcasm. Yeah ok, I just go with the flow, hell she's 68 years old and still under the influence of Jesus. I just wanted to have a good ol' talk with her about anything non religious based. But over the years, conversation after conversation about kids, recipes and everything else, I knew contemplating the universe with her was beyond her comprehension or willingness to expand her mind since every decision was from the Jesus point of view. To her I was just a messenger of satan trying to stear her away from Christ. *big sigh*

Another client of mine asked me one day where I think I will go when I die. I told her I had no clue and really didn't care. You should have seen the look on her face as she jumped back in her chair 10 feet.

"Certainly I hope I just don't cease to exist when I die" She said in shock.

"Why not?" I said curiously. "Where do you think your consciousness or soul goes, if there is one? Where can it go? Into nothing? A dog? An alien being? Or an image of a young healthy you in a heaven?"

Seriously, who cares. As Deepak Chopra said so wonderfully. "Don't live in the future, you'll never be present when it gets here."

Why do we as humans live everywhere but here? I remember one day a friend of mine told me that I didn't know how to live in the now. My mind was always in the past or the future, she was right. But how do you live in the now? I'm still working on this but am figuring out it has alot to do with letting go. Letting go of the past, realizing it's over and there is nothing you can do to change it. PERIOD. It's the hardest thing to do. It's easy to stay mad about something, sad about experiences or hold on to resentments towards others or yourself. Know that you may never have answers to what happend and waste valuable time in creating new experiences trying to figure it out.

Living in the future goes beyond the "what if" mode. A brief thought of a consequence like touching something that may be hot is not living in the future. My father was a master of residing there. Everything he did had an entire lifetime of possible events attached to it, a story of  future events foretelling what would happen if  he lent me $20 bucks. Somehow the storyline in my mind was totally different and didn't see my future heading that direction. I wonder why he never capitalized on his great power? Because it was his reality.

As I sat clicking through channels of nothing on tv I was intrigued by the Christians on a particular channel. Now remember, I spent 20 years in that mindset. I just couldn't help hearing the underlying messages behind the loving stories.

1. "You'll never get to heaven unless you believe in Jesus."
First, you believe in a heaven that may or may not even exist. Second, that a man that has been dead for over 1900 years is the only way to this heaven. No one today was there during the time he walked on the earth. All we have are writtings of accounts of what possibly happened and supposedly what he said. Think like a movie writter. Think of ALL the possibilites of munipulation, control and fear that could have led to Jesus being viewed by the world the way he was and is today. Munipulation by his mother, control of  people, or just an ordinary good guy that saw people being persecuted giving hope to enslaved people leading them to freedom. People believed illusions then and saw science as work of the Gods. Until Christianity changed it into witchery and devil work. Then we slaughtered them like animals in the name of this loving God. The Catholic church has seen to the destruction of massive documentation and books around the world especially pertaining to that time period. What is left is hidden away from the rest of us under the Vatican that no one can view. But I'm supposed to just go with it...

2. The pitty they see in people that question the universe becuase they have the end all, be all answer; God.
Anytime the human stops thinking we stop our evolution. I'm not talking about monkey evolution I'm talking about intelligence, awareness, discoveries leading us forward in health, science and spiritual consciousness. Religion stumps this process, it hinders the mind to keep thinking. People that "search" for the meaning to their lives and not lost, possibly they are following someone elses life not their own. Expectations from parents, friends, co-workers, feeling guilty of not being sucessful or looking for recognition thinking they will be happy if they are popular, famous or wealthy. Everyday you help someone at McDonalds, finish answering phones at work, or smile at the lady in the checkout line behind you, you make a diffence in our existance. A kind word, letting someone merge in traffic, telling someone to have a nice day are profound, simple things that contribute to us all. No God needed...Love is all things. There is no need to "search" for anything, you've already got it. Look in the mirror! :)

3. Fear God, be submissive and serve.
Why? This is a human condition of the mind. He is sold to us as all knowing, all loving, all forgiving but tells us in the bible about sacrifice and killing. Oh yeah, that was the old testament. Guess he changed his mind half way through? That he is revengeful, jealous, only answers prayers to some but has his reasons for not answering the rest, obviously created cancer, plagues, viruses, satan, and allowed my friends father to be brutally murdered. Oh, and let's not forget about all the "holy land" wars of these loving followers that rape and kill millions of people in his name but abortion is wrong...?#(*&%$)@

4. Live for the afterlife.
Again why? I remember my mother telling me as I was growing up to be kind and help people in need. I never understood why I needed a God to be nice to other people. Especially when they are only nice to certain groups, not everyone. So, God is a prejudice score keeper, good deeds and kindness gets our name written in the lambs book of life to get into heaven. So if I live my whole life as a good person, I'm saved and screw up and not ask for forgivness before I die am I screwed? It's like fine print at the bank, too many conditions! Depends on who you ask. So how do you know your group is right?  We should always be kind to everyone all the time, you may never see that person again.

5. God is watching and judgeing you.
This one just bothers me. It's hard enjoying life thinking someone or something is watching everything you do. How do we feel comfortable knowing we have zero private time? Feel guilt and shame for scratching your butt or being sexually active. I thought it said somewhere in the bible that we weren't given the right to judge others yet that seems to be all they do. There is no unconditional giving or love towards others, only to whom they deem worthy. Sounds like many of our laws. You can fart but only on Monday, Wednesday and Friday between the hours of 6pm and 9pm, upwind, wearing boxers, holding a flower and standing on one leg, amen. All other conditions not permitted.

Once I decided to educate myself on science, explore other philosophical ideas, sit quietly and think the more I realized on a universal scale how closed minded, insignificant and pointless religion is. It separates humans into groups that are driven by ego claiming right to knowledge that can't be known at our present state of consciousness. We are not fortune tellers, shape shifting beings hovering above the ground with telekinetic powers, our brains are not that evolved yet. I suppose somewhere in the universe there are cultures that have evolved to that point but until then, religion is useless.

It evokes wars, arguing, judgement, isolation of outsiders, mass suicides, bombings, laws that take away human rights and feul the "club" mentality. When I turned my back on religion my life changed. I no longer lived in fear of some hell or guilt that someone is watching me. I felt a sense of peace in my heart that I was free. With that new found freedom came a little fear, knowing now that I, and only I am responsible for my actions. I don't need to ask forgiveness from a God, only from myself that I have acted irresponsibly. Knowing that everything you do is because you did it changes your prospective on life. You can't blame others for something you could have done differently. Don't send me hate mail, I'm not talking about being broadsided in an intersection, mugged, raped or broke your leg tripping on the rug. Life is full of "accidents". There is no "the devil made me do" or " I was weak to some external force" or "I'm being punished", I DID IT. I am a better person knowing I need to watch my own actions, words and thoughts. I help people, just becuase it's the humane thing to do.

Time and time again I hear religious and non-religious people talk of personal experiences they have; visions, voices, signs, dreams that seem real. There are endless possibilites of explanations to these experiences, I've had them myself. I am not capable of knowing what they are and am not comfortable with a group or person assuming he knows and has all the answers. Can you deny the peace and love they feel when praying to God? Absolutely not. Any person on this earth that chooses to connect with whatever the regional label may be, can expereince it. It urks me to no extent when religious people assume that non-religious people never get to feel the love they feel from Jesus or a God. I now know how ignorant they are. Most religious people know nothing about other religions, beliefs or cultures and little about their own religion but boy can they judge and come up with some doozies!

I laugh when I see "In God we trust" on a federal note. Why even put that on money in the first place, it's completely irrelevant! "One nation under God" Everyone has the right in the US to practice whatever they want. I find it pretty prejudice assuming all Americans follow a God. The constitution was not religious, there is no need. It's nauseating to see politicians fighting in congress over religious based laws that have no place in government in the first place. My father was a die hard Republican that voted for every Christian that ran for office. "We gotta get the Christians in office" he muttered every election. "But that's a belief" I said knowing I was gonna get a ear full. Religion and politics are like apples and sourkraut, they just don't need to in the same bowl. But when you're dealing with someone under the spell of religion, it's useless to even try and reason with them. It's like two people standing on opposite sides of the wall trying despirately to convince the other what their side of the wall looks like. Ya just gotta see it.