Tuesday, October 18, 2005

After The Storm

Fantastic storm blew in yesterday afternoon, hung out all night with rumblings of thunder, and all through today. It broke up by this evening, and when I caught the pink glow out of the corner of my eye through the window, I had to grab the camera and take a few shots...it was too beautiful to pass up.

First storm since the monsoon that actually felt cleansing, and also much much cooler. Had the windows open and just felt the breeze all day... sigh...

Peeking between the trees and homes

From the back porch

I ran upstairs to take this from the bedroom window

This one as well.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Your mind can be your greatest friend

If your mind becomes firm like a rock
And no longer shakes
In a world where everything is shaking,
Your mind will be your greatest friend
And suffering will not come your way.


A musical tale

C, E-flat, and G go into a bar.

The bartender says, "Sorry, but we don't serve minors." So, the E-flat leaves, and the C and the G have an open fifth between them.

After a few drinks, the fifth is diminished; the G is out flat.

An F comes in and tries to augment the situation, but is not sharp enough.

A D comes into the bar and heads straight for the bathroom saying, "Excuse me. I'll just be a second."

An A comes into the bar, but the bartender is not convinced that this relative of C is not a minor.

Then the bartender notices a B-flat hiding at the end of the bar and exclaims, "Get out now! You're the seventh minor I've found in this bar tonight."

The E-flat, not easily deflated, comes back to the bar the next night in a 3-piece suit with nicely shined shoes. The bartender says: "You're looking sharp tonight, come on in! This could be a major development." This proves to be the case, as the E-flat takes off the suit, and everything else, and stands there au naturel.

Eventually, the C sobers up, and realizes in horror that he's under a rest. The C is brought to trial, is found guilty of contributing to the diminution of a minor, and is sentenced to 10 years of DS without Coda at an upscale correctional facility.

On appeal, however, the C is found innocent of any wrongdoing, even accidental, and that all accusations to the contrary are bassless.

The bartender decides he needs a rest - and closes the bar.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Listen to the chimes of our heart and soul

From an email list I am on...

I Will Connect With You

I like my ability to be able to connect with people. It is like reaching out to humanity and proclaiming “"I am here for you"”. I am not here to judge you. Others will certainly step into that position gladly. I am not here to reject you; too many people have already done that. I am not here to change you. My quest is simply to change myself. I am hoping that the beauty of you will change me.

Every soul is beautiful. Every soul has something to offer. By getting to know you, you will indeed impart some of that beauty onto me. I am not here to impose society norms upon you. You know what they are already. You know what is expected of you and if you can deal with them or not. I am not here to listen to what the world has to say, but to hear what is in your heart.

So long we have buried our true feelings to please others. We have listened to family, friends, employers, and society in general. Many times these influences were well intended and at other times they were not. It is not to say that we did not grow and learn from our lifeƂ’s experiences. We would not be the wonderful people we are today if it were not so. But sometimes we cared so much about what other people thought of us or what we thought about others that we forgot the most basic truth. We forgot to nurture who are as well. We gave all to others and forgot about ourselves.

Now we must begin the journey to heal from past hurts and move forward. We must grow like a flower; re-learn who we are and what we want from life. Like that beautiful flower we must bloom to perfection, in the image of our creator. We must listen to the chimes of our own heart and soul.

Your journey is not my journey. My journey is not your journey but our journey has a common goal and a common function. We strive to be the best that we can be. We strive for happiness and the ability to express our true hearts. When we are happy with ourselves, happiness in turn radiates from us. We become a beacon of love spread throughout the universe. Each single slice of joy, laughter, love and kindness we share with the world causes a ripple effect upon the sea of humankind. Soon other people will emulate the beacons of love that we have become and they too will join our love fest. The ripples will become tidal waves of love and understanding throughout the world and the world will truly become a better place.

My journey is not your journey. Your journey is not mine. However, I take comfort in the belief that all paths do lead to the one. Your path will take you down the road of love and understanding and my path will lead me to the same.

We may be at very different points in our path. One of us may be at the beginning, the other closer towards the end. We both will face obstacles, sometimes feeling the pressure and wanting to turn back, other times wanting to take the fork in the road that leads to the easy way out. But together we will make it as we continue along the path.

If I stumble you will pick me up. If I am ahead of you I will come back for you. We will meet each other half way as our souls connect. I promise I will hold your hand along the way if you promise you will hold my heart.

~~It reminds me of a favorite quote of mine:

You are me and I am you.
It is obvious that we are inter-are.
You cultivate the flower in
yourself so that I will be beautiful.
I transform the garbage in myself so
that you do not have to suffer.
I support you you support me.
I am here to bring you peace
you are here to bring me joy.

~Thich Nhat Hahn

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Overload! Overload!

I am drained. I faced some big issues with myself this week. Yours truly may actually step foot inside a church because of one of these issues. I wish I could let my cynicism of religion go and not cloud my vision, because I feel like a hypocrite, and that disgusts me more than anything. This weekend is being spent with considerable downtime, and NOT religiously focused. And sleep, lots of sleep.

Last night on Bill Maher they went into the religion discussion talking about the new Supreme Court nominee. It was EXACTLY, almost word for word, the argument I had been having. Maher took my position, and Andrew Sullivan and Ben Affleck got very offended by the things he was saying. Which was everything I have said in the previous posts here.

What really got me was my reaction while watching. Sullivan and Affleck got very offended by his words, and said so. Said that people in religions would also be very offended by what he was assuming. (This was said to me too.) That religions ultimately did good, and the few extremists made it look bad for everyone, and that was not the case... etc. etc.. The thing of it was, I was listening to Maher defend his position, and thinking that he wasn't listening to what the other two were saying. It was extremely different to be an outsider looking in at the same exact argument. Perspective is everything.

Then I started giggling at my mini-revelation. I swear, if there weren't a four hour time difference and a country separating us, I would have made a phone call. I should tape it and send it to him.

I've emailed the church about taking some of their classes. It feels the safest to me right now, rather than going to a service. I can pick and choose, and not have to deal with whatever their ritual is for their services.

For now. Until I'm comfortable. They answered, and it was sweet. The receptionist said she understood about rocky spiritual journies, heh. I copied two people on that email, my husband and of course my friend I had been banging heads with.

My husband said he was shocked that I did it. My friend said I was his hero, to take such a step. I don't feel very heroic, however.

I still have to set foot in the place.

Here's a great song that has been on my mind lately, they have an excellent acoustic version:

"Crawling In The Dark"- Hoobastank

I will dedicate
And sacrifice my everything for just a second's worth
Of how my story's ending
And I wish I could know if the directions that I take
And all the choices that I make won't end up all for nothing
Show me what it's for
Make me understand it
I've been crawling in the dark looking for the answer
Is there something more than what i've been handed?
I've been crawling in the dark looking for the answer
Help me carry on
Assure me it's ok to use my heart and not my eyes
To navigate the darkness
Will the ending be ever coming suddenly?
Will I ever get to see the ending to my story?
Show me what it's for
Make me understand it
I've been crawling in the dark looking for the answer
Is there something more than what i've been handed?
I've been crawling in the dark looking for the answer
So when and how will I know?
How much further do I have to go?
How much longer until I finally know?
Because I'm looking and I just can't see what's in front of me
In front of me
Show me what it's for
Make me understand it
I've been crawling in the dark looking for the answer
Is there something more than what i've been handed?
I've been crawling in the dark looking for the answer

Monday, October 03, 2005

Faith and Religion Part 2

I've been obsessing over religion all weekend, especially having some differing viewpoints with a friend of mine that was very disheartening. Today I took the dog to the vet, and went across the street to grab a coffee while I waited for all her tests to be completed. It was actually pleasant enough to sit outside, so I pulled out my little notebook out of my purse, and started this brainstorm.





People need a sense of community and belonging. That is just a basic human need. However, do you need to belong to a specific religion in order to achieve this? My answer would be ‘no.

Am I narrow-minded for thinking you do not need to have religion?

Do you need religion to know God? No.

You need FAITH. Faith is what matters, not what religion you belong to.

When you are part of a religion, you are adhering to one core set of beliefs. Of course there are exceptions. For instance, you can be Catholic and believe in birth control. But if someone tells me they are Catholic, or Buddhist, or Mormon, or a Scientologist, they are in fact telling me generally what they believe. Otherwise they would not be practicing that religion in the first place. It'’s sort of like being called a Liberal. If I tell someone I am Liberal, they know generally what I believe, and they are correct in assuming so. To know more about specific things regarding my beliefs, they would of course need to get to know me better.

Am I narrow-minded for thinking you do not need to have religion? I was told recently that I was prejudice and stereotyping based on my opinions. I don't think that is fair to say in the least. I am speaking about religion in general, not a race of people or any individual. I'm not even claiming to be an atheist. But if you adhere to one single religion, you are stereotyping yourself as to believing in a certain set of rules.

Do people see religion as openly as they see faith? I don't think they do. Can it be proven? I would love to see that. A person can acknowledge that there are other religions. That doesn't mean that person accepts other religions. Of course, I'm again being general. There are plenty of people who are of one religion who do accept others. I just don't think it is the general consensus.

Do you have to attend church to experience and know about different religions? No, I don't think you do. Church is not religion. I have read about religions, and have had my own experiences being around different religions while growing up. People of different religions are all around us, you do not have to attend church to experience it. I think too many people confuse Religion, Faith, and Church. They are three very different things, yet can be used to complement each other in different ways.

Is the process of Religion a way to make a better world? Not when one religious process includes converting everyone to their way of thinking. Some religions think that is the sole purpose of their religion. If you start attending services for the Church of Scientology, please don'’t tell me they are not going to assume you want to become a Scientologist, and try to convert you to their way of thinking. And the Mormons- why do you think they have people going around trying to talk to others about the religion? My old boss'’s wife sent missionaries to my door. Though of course I wasn't interested, we ended up having a great conversation about faith.

My friend made a wonderful comment that I absolutely agree with:

"The Mystery is going where you're afraid to go.. because there's something there you need to learn to get rid of the fear.
It's too easy to just turn away and say there's nothing there.. but the mystery is to explore that which frightens as much as entices."

Is he so convinced that there HAS to be religion that he cannot look at the possibility of NO religion? My fear used to be that I had to end up with a religion. I'’ve discovered in the past 5 years or so that you do not have to end up with a religion to be happy. I also am open to the thought that maybe I could possibly find a religion that suits me. But more likely than that I would end up at a church that resembles the one he attends, a Unity church of some sort that covers all types of religions, and even non-religions.

I've really got to finally stop at that church across the street from my daughter's school. At least to see what it's all about. Because I do know that sitting and wondering what the answers are is not nearly as effective as getting out there and possibly FINDING some answers.

First Faith and Religion Post