I’m not sure if it’s truth or just sometimes true, but I’ve heard the saying, It’s always darkest before the dawn. When I was younger, my favorite time of the day was right before the sunrise. Especially when you can see Venus rising. It always seemed unique like I’m the only one awake. Private showing for me. I love the night sky, and the sunrise is even better.
September marks a very strange time for me.
It’s my birthday month, but beyond that, it was a spiritually dark month for me in 2001. Not because of the Twin Towers destruction on 9/11, although that hit all of us in America pretty hard. But, I had a major depressive episode or nervous breakdown the week of Labor Day in 2001, the week before THE Bad Day of Sept 11. Tuesday, September 4th I sat on my bedroom floor in the middle of a panic attack. My body and mind shut down almost entirely. My husband was out of town, my kids were playing, and our church pastor had left. I finally reached a friend by phone. I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t know what was wrong. My spiritual life didn’t prepare me for this. I felt as if I were Sampson standing between the two pillars, without the strength that I was used to. Before this, I knew what God wanted. I knew the answers. And suddenly I couldn’t even pray.
It took years to climb out.
There’s no easy answer or 10 step program when you meet the devil at the crossroads, and he runs over you with a Mack truck. The formula that ensured success didn’t work. It worked before, but nope, not this time. When your illusions are shattered, there’s nothing you can do but sit. Sit and let it all fall down. Wait for the pillars to fall. Wait for the dust to settle.
A lot of people say it happens for a reason. Well, everything does. Sometimes the reason is as simple as tripping over your own idealism. It’s not a master plan. There’s no design for our lives. We’re born, we live, and we learn. We could pretend. Name a cause just to make everything seem predictable and safe, but I don’t want to do that. I know why it happened. What I thought was a reliable formula for success was only plaster and paint.
If you imagine the growth of divine consciousness as being like the growth of a rose, then a cutting from the original rose would have to be placed in the earth. It has to be watered by prayer and by devotion and by meditation. It comes up out of the ground, it has to be protected. Then it grows thorns — the thorns of discrimination and wisdom. An Interview With Andrew Harvey – Colleen O’Connor
If you’ve recently been hit by a Mack truck and your world is falling apart, just let it happen. Get help. Talk to friends. You can make it through. It may not be part of a master plan of divine origins, but it happened. This is life in all of its beauty and horror. Clean up time will come. I know because I made it through and I’m rebuilding. And the sun is rising in the east.
Life is only incomplete and unfinished business. Your life is unfinished. My life is unfinished. Everyone’s life is incomplete. I was thinking this because I was mentally checking my list of things I wanted to do. But it will never be finished. I can take this as frustrating or I can think of it as liberating.
Every day we’re assaulted with facts, pseudofacts, news feeds and jibber-jabber, coming from all directions. According to a 2011 study, on a typical day, we take in the equivalent of about 174 newspapers’ worth of information, five times as much as we did in 1986. As the world’s 21,274 television stations produce some 85,000 hours of original programming every day (by 2003 figures), we watch an average of five hours of television per day. For every hour of YouTube video you watch, there are 5,999 hours of new video just posted! – Hit the Reset Button in Your Life
To keep myself from panic, I made a list of things I wanted to keep or add to my life and things I wanted to remove or keep away from my life. After reviewing this list I realized the keepers were already there. I have family, job, love, health, books, and all the other goodies that I’d listed. So for now, this minute, my life is good. But the next time I feel anxiety over my unfinished stuff, I want to remember that all of our lives are under construction. That’s the nature of the game of life. It’s messy and incomplete.
…no answer is a complete or final one. And I think that there’s so many times when we thought we understood something and then we realized we were totally wrong. I think that it’s chutzpah to think that we know all the answers or that we’ve understood something perfectly. – Adele Diamond
We live the life of an unfinished novel, still waiting to be written. Depending on how we live, the longer the chapters. Depending on how interesting we are, the more we appeal to others. We’re often judged by our covers. Sometimes, some people decide to just quit reading us. We’re just forgotten until someone finds us. Our characters can develop throughout the novel, but our chapters can never be edited.
The flip side of survival and the fear of failure is thriving. Thriving shouldn’t be difficult. How is it so difficult to win? To succeed? Well, the difficulty is when you have achieved, what’s next? You’ve met your goal. Do you coast or do you keep pedaling?
Keep pedaling. This is why slow growth is better than the lottery winning. If you’ve slowly grown a business you got there and grew into your success. Lucky breaks give you false hope.
We are good at striving. Making changes, adjusting, sacrificing, but actual thriving seems so dull sometimes. Oh, yeah we all have the fantasy of buying an island and not having to work for a living, but how long would it be before we would want more? A month? Six months? A year maybe? Somewhere in that time, you start feeling the itchy feet. The need to contribute is too great. Building something even if it’s only a garden is a rewarding experience.
I hate being negative. I hate being judgmental and I hate being on a rant, BUT, I’m going to rant anyway. You are free to skip over this one. No hard feelings. Or join me if you’d like.
I’m tired of the fighting and the political posturing. If the people in our government can’t do their jobs, maybe they need to step down. Can we sue the congress or the senate? And they’ll say anything almost. The most ridiculous things just to stir up the people.
And when do Guns, Flags, Bibles, and Republicans go together? In Oklahoma they do. Is it possible to think independently these days? I have family members who post pictures of Flags and Bibles. You’d think Jehovah was an American. Or is it Jesus-only now? Do they still include Jehovah as god. I’m not sure.
If Christians’ preach about love and believe in love so much, why are they not concerned about loving the orphaned children that came across the border? Yes, I realize some of the parents sent them here, but it’s not the child’s fault.
…37“Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? 38‘And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? 39 ‘When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You? 40“The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’
In the Old Testament
Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the LORD, and he will reward them for what they have done.
I angered a SUV driving lady with a fish symbol on her car. She was upset because I let another vehicle into traffic. How dare I take up her time by being nice. What happened to just being kind?
My rant’s over for now. You may return to your regularly scheduled program. Thank you for your mercy and kindness.
A baby is born into a family and immediately there are expectations. There are rules imposed upon him. Only he has no idea. If he’s born in the United States, he’ll likely be in a hospital and there’ll be immunizations and tests. Since he’s a boy, we’ll wrap him in blue. And if he is born in a religious environment he might be circumcised. These are rules and processes that we rarely think about but will follow religiously.
When we’re born we inherit a set of rules. They’re your parents’ rules, but they are also your culture’s rules. Your friends and associates. The church and local bar. The store, the coffee shop, the park, and even the mall have policies and rules. The unfortunate part is that no one thinks about them. They aren’t always written and if you walked up to someone they’d probably deny having rules. We don’t see the rules, the rules sometimes change, and no one talks about them. What kind of crazy game are we playing?
Can you imagine a playing a game and you’re not told the rules. They throw you a ball and you don’t know if you can kick it or toss it or run with it. Which direction? Then they yell when you are wrong? We are sometimes left guessing. Madness. That’s our world. Here are a few examples:
- Don’t brag about your accomplishments
- Be friendly and extroverted
- Don’t be too friendly
- Never mention bodily functions
- Never be too needy
- Don’t be pushy
- Don’t cut in line
- Wear black or boring colors to work and funerals
- Bright colors are for summer or islands
- Don’t tug on Superman’s cape
- Don’t spit into the wind
- Don’t pull the mask of the ol’ Lone Ranger
- Don’t mess around with Jim.
Here’s an article with an interesting list, Unwritten Rules Everyone Needs To Follow
Don’t pretend your argument is perfect. You show me your perfect solution and we’ll show you our pet unicorn. Think Like a Freak
I listen to a lot of podcasts and debates and sometimes I tire of the same arguments over and over. I’m sure the debaters do also. People rarely change their minds even with the proof staring them in the face. One question asked a lot is, “What would change your mind?” A common response is, “Nothing.” It reminds me of the police officer being called in on a domestic dispute. He stands between the abusive husband and his bruised wife. While she stands there crying she will side with that abusive husband more times than not. He didn’t mean to hurt her. He doesn’t know his own strength. I shouldn’t have said what I said. Where will they be next week? Right back at fighting. Familiarity trumps truth.
Is it hopeless to show proof? Not hopeless, but not usually effective. Also, someone else listening might benefit. The tide of time and the redirection of society’s habits are usually what changes most of us. Look how far we’ve come on human rights. There was a day that it was thought that women had no souls or as in the Aztec society, those of the lower class were considered soulless. So it’s not hopeless. It’s the continual drip. The constant pressure. So we keep arguing and keep proving, not because it will change anyone’s mind today, but because it could change society.
For instance, Clair Patterson,
Clair Patterson, a geochemist who pinpointed Earth’s age for the first time and also uncovered a secret: Lead contamination is a major and potentially deadly problem…After much time and effort, Patterson’s scientific work with lead paid off, leading to a ban on lead in products like gasoline, canned goods and paint in the United States. – Space.com
I like the story of the wind and the sun from Aesops Fables
THE WIND and the Sun were disputing which was the stronger. Suddenly they saw a traveller coming down the road, and the Sun said: “I see a way to decide our dispute. Whichever of us can cause that traveller to take off his cloak shall be regarded as the stronger You begin.” So the Sun retired behind a cloud, and the Wind began to blow as hard as it could upon the traveller. But the harder he blew the more closely did the traveller wrap his cloak round him, till at last the Wind had to give up in despair. Then the Sun came out and shone in all his glory upon the traveller, who soon found it too hot to walk with his cloak on.
I can’t change your mind, but I might change your future. Or you may change mine.
Which is better, momentary happiness or long-term fulfillment? Do I eat the cookie or imagine losing 10 pounds? It’s easy to diet when there’s no ice cream melting in the bowl in front of me, but it’s not easy late at night and the craving for something sweet starts. There has to be a way for me to stay with my goals.
Plan All the Way to the End
The ending is everything. Plan all the way to it, taking into account all the possible consequences, obstacles, and twists of fortune that might reverse your hard work and give the glory to others. By planning to the end you will not be overwhelmed by circumstances and you will know when to stop. Gently guide fortune and help determine the future by thinking far ahead. – Robert Greene 48 Laws of Power
I’m wondering if it’s possible to have a goal, plan a way towards it, and create road markers or breadcrumbs to keep myself motivated. I can sometimes get so caught up in a goal that I forget the short-term pleasures. I’ve got the nose to the darn grindstone and it hurts. Getting up and resting can feel quitting. So I’m thinking that if I mark my path with simple reminders, I can take up where I left off and not feel lost along the way.
Let me tell you, I’m a bit obsessed with the show Doctor Who. In the The Parting of the Ways (2005) episode, Rose, by cracking open the power core, absorbed all the energy from the time machine, Tardis. Why? She was separated from The Doctor and had to save him. Oh the craziness of love. With eyes full of burning Tardis light, she tells The Doctor how she made her way back and found him. Of course it’s not her talking, it’s the possessing force of the time machine that’s glowing through her.
Rose Tyler: I am the Bad Wolf. I create myself. I take the words (“BAD WOLF”)
[Rose lifts her hand and takes the words from the Bad Wolf Corporation sign]
Rose Tyler: …I scatter them, in time and space.
[the words float off away from them]
When I go for a run I make a point to find one moment of thrill. Whether it’s the grass or the trees or the view of the city, something along the way should make me smile. What do you think? Any ideas?
Here’s a video of Robert Greene at TEDxBrixton – The key to transforming yourself
48 Laws of Power
We say we miss the good old days when times were simple. Snapping green beans on the front porch or eating homemade ice cream comes to mind. Maybe I just miss the innocence of youth.
I feel bad about the struggles on the other side of the world, but I’m limited to what I can do. I can listen to Beatles music. Maybe say a few lines of Rumi. It’s not by any means stopping the skirmishes of fighting tribes. I don’t really wish for the old days, not really. They had their own issues. Days were devoted to food preparation and lives cut short by disease. What I want is simplicity. Living with this moment. Making the most of what I have now. I don’t want to be always thinking about the fun of tomorrow or worrying about the issues that are not in my control.
This We Have Now
This we have now
is not imagination.
This is not
grief or joy.
Not a judging state,
or an elation,
Those come and go.
This is the presence that doesn’t.
From Essential Rumi
by Coleman Barks
The next time you’re watching the news and paying your bills while trying to phone your mom and pet your cat, stop. Do one thing. Only one. Choose your activity wisely and give it your full attention.
Save your sanity and realize your own limitations. It’s okay if you can’t fix everything. It’s okay if you can’t save the world. Now, let’s put on our tie dyed shirts and chant OM.
Recommendation: The No Impact Man by Colin Beavan
Myth: The founding fathers of the Americas were Christian. They are also believed by many to have put the ten commandments in the courthouses and instituted the words “under God” and the pledge of allegiance.
Historian Richard B. Morris in 1973 identified the following seven figures as the key Founding Fathers: John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, John Jay,Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and George Washington.
- John Adams
- Benjamin Franklin – Deist
- Alexander Hamilton
- John Jay
- Thomas Jefferson – Deist
- James Madison
- George Washington – Pantheist
Fact: Even if we insist they were religious, these men were not Fundamentalists. They believed in no religion dominating their daily life. They believed so strongly in separating religion and government that they wrote this need down. This was a priority for them for establishing their government. The church of England left a very bitter taste in their mouths.
The First Amendment begins, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof . . . . ”
Myth: The constitution of the United States of America was based upon the moral principles of the Bible.
Fact: The pursuit of happiness is no where in the Bible. It’s the opposite. Seeking God and obeying him is in the Bible. There is nothing in the constitution about the Bible, religion, or God’s authority. Why is that?
The 1796 Treaty with Tripoli states that the United States was “not in any sense founded on the Christian religion.” This was not an idle statement meant to satisfy muslims– they believed it and meant it. This treaty was written under the presidency of George Washington and signed under the presidency of John Adams. – Our Founding Fathers, Freethought
The Bible is based upon the final authority, the chain of command from God down to slaves. It establishes a form of government styled as a dictatorship, kingship, or theistic. The one thing the founding fathers had in common and strongly emphasized was their rebellion to the crown and church of England. Freedom from established religion’s choke hold on people and the government.
Being Secular is not the opposite of Christianity. Most secular proponents want a separation of church and state. Does that sound familiar?
(Philosophy) Philosophy a doctrine that rejects religion, esp in ethics
the attitude that religion should have no place in civil affairs
the state of being secular
A secularist does not burn crosses, whether upside down or right side up. They don’t hate crosses. They don’t care if you have crosses in your home. Just don’t make their children pledge to your god or your cross. As I’ve heard many of them say, I state now also, “What you do with religion or crosses in your own house is your business. Keep it there.”