I’m Sorry – An Apology to the Truly Religious

To all of the people that experience religion as an enriching, comforting, and positive component of their life: I am very sorry and ashamed for how I have treated you in my past. I apologize for my arrogant hypocrisy. In my impotent anger and frustration toward the horrible acts people have commit in the name of religion, I lashed out in (at best) unhelpful and misdirected, and (at worst) hurtful and damaging rhetoric. These frustrated outbursts should have been directed at only a small segment of people who I realize are improperly, and disingenuously compared with loving, kind, and generous followers of religion. The violence and oppression I witnessed blinded me from acknowledging my own prejudices. I too was seeing the world inaccurately through damaging generalizations of entire sections of humanity while ridiculing that “other” side for doing just what I was. I acknowledge now that there is no “other”. We are us. We are human beings. We believe differently and see differently and our differences should be celebrated. Rather than trying to “win” others to share our view, we should expose them to the opportunity of EVERY possible view. None better or worse, just different. When we stop living to try to force others into agreement and start offering the option of the experience of coming or not coming to that conclusion (and leaving that up to each individual to decide) think of the new ideas and the new ways of seeing and of being will present themselves if we’re only allowed to go out looking for them unfettered by group-think and standards and expectations. Just being, and allowing others to be. Again, I sincerely apologize for having been so critical and mean-spirited towards genuine belief of religious people. I know that I have pushed a lot of wonderful people away with negativity and my insensitivity. I no longer want to be a divisive force when so many forces already plow through our cultural landscape. Instead of worrying what others think and what others are doing, I should concentrate on what I believe, and what I am doing to make the world a more positive and loving place.

Live Love, Show Love, Be Love.

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Leaving the 4th Self and Embracing my 5th

I’ve been self-medicating myself for the better part of the last decade. I think I went overboard though ’cause the lethargy, and complacence with my unhappiness, and lack of motivation were keeping me tethered to the same routine. (I started to feel like I was seeing the future, but it was only ’cause I repeated the routine so often) The paranoia didn’t help either. lol It made me feel very isolated and not wanting to go out and do things and I became happy just staying in my room for long stretches of time surfing the internet, playing videogames, jerking off, and LOTS of sleeping. Far far too much sleeping. I realized that rather than being recreational it had become habitual and that I was content doing the same things again and again. I still really love marijuana, but I use it as a treat to myself when I need it. Ritalin has given me energy and focus and motivation and I no longer feel confined to the inside of my head. I realized that I’m almost 30 and that the last 7 years have been repeating a kind of loop of denial and escapism. My problems were always there when I came down and it made me feel worse and more guilty for trying to avoid my life so I’d wanna get high again. Anything can be abused, be it alcohol, food, emotional relationships, if you aren’t mindful of the way one uses it. (as an aside, I really think that all drugs should be decriminalized and that drug addiction or substance abuse should be treated as a public health problem and not a criminal problem. Just my thoughts, not going to expand on it more, just thought I’d insert a point into this long rant) I guess, the purpose of my fourth self (the last 7 years) has been about that search for meaning and purpose I thought I needed. I was looking outwardly, and inwardly, and experimenting with a lot of different things in my search. Although, now being 28 (at the start of my 5th self that will continue for the next 7 years) I want this 5th me to find purpose in just being and in experiencing life, in being mindful, and being accepting of the way things are and not trying to change others to agree with my point of view, but to assist others in becoming their best selves, whatever that looks like. I was mad at others for trying to shape me into who they wanted me to be, but (at the time) I didn’t see that I was doing that very same thing to others. I understand now that they held a different (not wrong, but different) perception of reality than my own. Instead of trying to change people, I want to accept people, and entertain their ideas as ideas. Try to be empathetic. Try to be kind and understanding. But most of all I need to stop feeling judging and to acknowledge that others will think differently and that it’s those differences that allow us that opportunity for profound awareness of things others may miss because they’re viewing existence through a prism too similar to those around them. Basically if we’re all wearing red tinted glasses why would anyone think that the sky is anything but light purple? We need those people who aren’t wearing glasses to assist us in a greater awareness of objective reality. …… okay, I’m done. That’s my long stream of consciousness rant. Thanks for listening.

Re-Purposed Puzzle Pieces

I feel like I’m not allowed to be. I think of all the others not allowed to be:
the artists, the philosophers, the scientists, the healers, all dismissively abandoned.
Imprisoned in our corporate purgatory, waiting for the coveted big break we are
so regularly promised. Pacified. Encouraged. Enticed. Maybe the lottery. Maybe the internet. If you fail it’s only because you didn’t try hard enough. That flaccid promise of
happiness slaps us in the face. Just keep your head down. Keep doing what you’re doing. Don’t rock the boat. Someday your big break will come. Saturday morning cartoons told you how special and important you are. Television wouldn’t lie to you. You will all be rich. You will all be famous. Just be patient. And buy this product. Not that one! No, really. If you buy that one they’ll know you’re poor. Know you’re inferior. Can’t afford it? Hmmm. We have something for you. If you can’t buy this piece of hard plastic will work. Great! Now that you’ve purchased that superior product, from that superior corporation, you’re now on this rung of the ladder. (Almost there!) You don’t wanna go back down the ladder, right? So you’ll need this product! No NO!! Not that one. Jesus. That sends the totally wrong message that you want other to see!! Do you want people to see just how inferior you actually are? No one will love you. No one will accept you. You need this!! From THIS company! Have we taught you nothing? God, you’re stupid! Hmmm, still can’t pay? Oh, you only have a part-time job ’cause your employer discovered that if you have lots of part-time workers instead of fewer full-time workers it works out better for the people at the top? Hmmm, well, you still have that card right? Good. Oh, rent … utilities …. oh yah, food. Well, hey, that card works for all those places. And they have lots of places you can just drive up to and they just give you a full meal. You don’t even have to learn how to cook! How convenient is that! AND most of them are open 24 hours! Hmmm, unhappy? … let’s see …. take two of these in the morning. One of these at lunch. Oh, and don’t mix this with this. Drink this! We like when you drink it. You like when you drink it. It’s the way everyone relaxes on the weekend after a hard week of 9-5. (Oh, wait, yah, you’re part-time) well, whatever, more time for you to drink. Oh, but don’t smoke that. We’ll arrest you if you do! We don’t make any money when you smoke that. So drink this! This is better anyway. And people will have sex with you and you’ll have more friends and do amazing fun and adventurous things. You should know this already? I thought you watch TV? Speaking of which you’re missing your favourite show! You like that one? How about this one? This one is like the one you like! And this one too. It really keeps your attention (and keeps you watching which products you need to buy if you want to be accepted) Oh, you’re sick … hmmm, well, try a little harder. You’re almost at the top rung. Happiness is right there. Don’t quit while you’re so close!! Oh, um, by the way, you haven’t been making minimum payments on that card. The balance is getting pretty high… what? Um, well then you shouldn’t have bought so many things if you didn’t have the money. That’s your fault for being so bad with managing your money. You loser. Jeez, you’re the reason the economy is in such bad shape. You’re ruining it for the rest of us. God! Still sick? Hmmm, yah, I’m sorry but that not really my problem. You’re gonna have to sort that out yourself. Okay, this is too much you pathetic loser. We’re coming to take back the stuff you can’t afford. Why did you get it if you couldn’t afford it. Man, you’re just the worst kind of person. Wanna have a drink? We have light now so that you don’t become fat. Fat AND poor and unemployed? Wow, dude, you’re useless to me now. Fuck off.

Think of all the works of art, all the profound thoughts, all the scientific breakthroughs, all the connectedness, and love, and growth that we are missing out on. They are deprived of flowering into being by the choking tendrils of poorly constructed, disjointed and unfairly balanced machine who incongruous parts are mashed into place like mismatched puzzle pieces, stolen from many vastly different images that cheat the other from experiencing their own completeness.

But how do we construct a complete image with incompatible parts? The void of dissonance could be filled but is instead being improperly repurposed in a malformed mosaic erected by self-interested architects who short-sightedly beat the misfit pieces into place. Afterward, they pull a tight tarp of propaganda over the jagged and porous surface of the puzzle to deny the awareness of the mosaic’s truth; jagged and discordant. The new image, the one that benefits the architects, lavishes upon itself a narrative of ego masturbation. Through architect approved media, through required acceptance of specific philosophy, they continue to tug, re-shape, and re-tighten their degenerating tarp across the fragmented puzzle pieces. We are all the same! They say. Just keep doing what you’re doing and we’ll all be okay. There’s a new car that the girls are getting wet for! Why not go buy it! You’ll feel better. I promise. The fabricated image stretched out along the skin of the tarp furiously tries to obscure the individual puzzle pieces beneath from seeing their true image. It lures them into believing that they are contributing to an image with an entirely different meaning than the one that exists. Our re-purposed puzzle pieces bend and crack together into an image that benefits only the architects. It leaves the pieces impoverished, waiting for their big break.

Joan Sterling – (an excerpt from the novel Twelve)

He wasn’t home. Why isn’t he home? The white gloves are hot but she knows not to take them off. She remembers. That she remembers. The house is dark and it looks like he’s standing in the living room. Paul!  She turned on the light and she shrieked. It took her far too long to comprehend that was not her husband. It was a mirror with a dusty quilt over it. It was her father’s old full-length mirror. The one they’d brought over from England during the war. Her hands were shaking. She noticed it more and more. She looked at the gloves. She looked at the mirror. Her hands were sweating and they felt somehow smaller and more loose or something like that. She couldn’t really explain it any better than that. It made her feel afraid-something about the covered mirror, something about her clammy white gloves-she flicked the light off quickly. Matthew? Where’s Matthew? She hobbled sorely to her youngest son’s room but he wasn’t there. The room was empty. Someone had taken him. Where were the others? Paul? Why wasn’t he home yet? The square patches of slightly more lustrous paint on Matt’s walls shouted to her an awareness of their existence and the proof that they had once been protected from fading by posters of Matt’s favorite athletes and rock music band. She looked at one of the now vacant patches of Matt’s wall and in her mind she saw a medieval knight with armor so black it sucked in the light that floated around it. The light swirled in what seemed to be half-time as it was funneled into a dark metal pentagram emblazoned demonically on the knights helm, flanked between two gnarled horns. In the service of evil! Where’s Matt? The dark anxiety returned and she slammed the door. She stood there a moment, feeling only faintly protected by the solitary pocket of light that marked the divide between herself and the blackness that enclosed the living room with its ominous aura. She felt her hair stand on end. Her hands were still sweaty but her skin felt tighter somehow and that taught feeling made them feel even smaller. She stared again at the gloves but now she no longer remembered their original purpose. Or maybe she didn’t have hands. Maybe the gloves are to keep the pieces of her hands from crumbling apart into a disconnected mound of frail and yellowing bones, the weight of which were not even enough to press aside the dusty and often crusty fibers of the brown, white, and orange shag carpet. Paul himself had wanted that carpet. She always thought it was ugly. He did it anyway. She looked down at the space by her feet where the imagined pile of her brittle, dismantled hands lay and her gaze slid over to her shoes. She hadn’t always worn shoes in the house. She would get after the kids for doing it but she knew there was some reason she always wore shoes. Only bones? She realized that her shoes, like her gloves, might be what maintains the form, the illusion of having feet. What she thought were feet would collapse into disordered bits beside their companions from the white gloves. She was wearing a modest, long sleeved blouse that was tucked into the white gloves. Her long dress hid the rest as the trim of the dress almost kissed the thick tubes of shag carpeting underneath. I’m a skeleton! She needed to see herself. It couldn’t be true. No! There was no mirror in the bathroom in the hallway, although there was the telltale patch of uniquely vibrant color that expressed its presence in some past time before it had been taken. By who? She went to their bedroom and was frustrated by the effort that it took to move about the house. She felt frail and unbalanced and for a reason the letter r. That thought made her stop for a long white at the threshold of her bedroom, blinking silently into the darkness. She moved past their bed and flicked on the bathroom light. It stung her eyes and she shut them tightly. The space on the wall above the sink where she knew the mirror was supposed to be mocked her instead with that same section of brightness surrounded on all sides by a dull, more aged, and yellowed shade of itself. She went to the living room again and tried to call Paul at work. He should have been home for hours. Where are the children? Did Paul have the children? Maybe they were all over at Marjorie’s house. Yes! Maybe that was it. Maybe they had some kind of dinner plans and she was late. It wasn’t like her to be late. Or to forget. Although, things were disappearing and things were changing . . .  But she always hosted the best parties. She was always on top of her social graces. Whenever she had guests over she would always send them a card of gratitude in the mail. It was proper etiquette. She was always proper and a proper English woman is expected to be on top of such things as her memory. When she called Marjorie’s number a woman who claimed to be Beth answered. Something was wrong. Something was terribly terribly wrong! She knew that Beth was only fifteen, the same age as Matt. The imposter who claimed to be Beth sounded far more mature than that. The liar who called herself Beth began to fake tears when she asked to speak with Marjorie. The liar tried to convince her that Marjorie had been dead for years. She immediately hung up. She was about to try to dial Paul again when her whole body shuddered, jerkily as a faint light from outside began to slide across the carpet toward her. A pillar of distant light let her know that the monsters were back. She realized her blinds were open. She usually kept them closed. Why are they open? The blinds usually kept the monsters outside. She could hear them growling with their mechanically vibrating voices. They made what sounded to her like a collection of various noises superimposed over one another; part vibration, part hum, and the third she could never really pin down but it sounded like someone with a handful of dirt was sliding their hands across one another, back and forth. She didn’t think they had vocal chords. She often wondered how it was these monsters were able to communicate. This time there was only one lone monster. She could hear it getting louder as it neared. At night, bright pillars of white light signaled the presence of the monsters that followed behind it. Inside the light were demons. They forced their way into their home through the casement windows of the living room. The light allowed the shadow beings to enter their house. They jerked and flickered around maliciously from one side of the room to the other until she was once again standing in the darkness of the living room. Aside from the constant twitching of her hands, or maybe just her bones, inside the white gloves, the paralysis held her even after the demons had faded back into the dimming pillars of light they had bled out from. As the paralysis drained, she still remained standing mutely holding the telephone as it beeped at her. She was fixed on the dimming red lights that glowed behind the monster as it passed and eventually disappeared completely in the darkness of the night.

 

Taking Stock: an awareness of the path I could take, and deciding which path I want to follow

As I approach the end of the first year of my fifth self, I strive to be a more loving, kind, patient, and understanding person. I want to be aware of my strengths and my weaknesses that I’ve acquired through my last four selves. I want to work at the things I need to improve on and nurture the traits that are my strengths. I want to be the change I wish for the world instead of wallowing in my cynicism and negativity. I want to listen more than speak. I want to understand instead of alter. I want to love instead of judge. I want to be myself. And I want others to be free to be themselves. Looking back on my journey over the past 28 years, I see clearly my own past hypocrisy. I openly mocked others for their narrow-minded, judgmental, stubborn faith in their ideals and now see that we are oscillating back and forth between extremes and I was only on the other end when I should’ve been working at equilibrium. Rather than homogenize thought where it becomes a firm consensus as to what is and what isn’t, we should freely embrace (albeit critically) all possible views as being equally valid and important in expanding the possible ways of experiencing what is ultimately unknowable as we journey through the 100 or so years of conscious awareness we are afforded in the Universe. In my past, I also see my own lack of ownership over the consequences of choices and rather than growing and learning I had felt victimized by the world. I would blame others when the responsibility is with me and expect that the world owed me. I will not demand that the world change to fit me. I will let my choices reflect my desires and allows others that same courtesy. I apologize to those who have felt attacked by the things I have posted in the past or by things I have said. I still want to try and make people think of concepts outside of their comfort zone, but I will go about it in a much less aggressive and more respectful manner. The ideas of others should be expressed and entertained but ultimately only you, the individual, should have a say in what you personally believe, what choices you make for yourself. I won’t speak for anyone else, but my focus is to be a positive force. *thank you for listening to my rant. You don’t have to agree with me, but I’m really glad you listened.