Monday, November 29, 2010

I've changed

It's the holiday season, and in keeping with tradition, it was time to put up the decorations on my blog, so here it is!

I like the overall look of it, and with the exception of the ornaments at the top, I could be so inclined as to keep this layout the entire year, it just feels right lol. 

Things have been horribly busy at work this past week, which isn't surprising of course considering it was Black Friday. I got 10 hours of overtime out of it though, so I'm going to be enjoying the paycheck I get next week, that's for sure. I've also been able to do some work with the stock crew, the pet department in particular, I'm hoping soon that means I'll be put in a permanent position as a stocker. I spent Thanksgiving with my daughters, which was a lot of fun, a lot of food, and the only down side was that I had to sleep for the last few hours before I had to drive back here to go to work, so I didn't get to spend as much time with them as I would have liked. All in all it was a pleasant trip, and I felt welcome. 

In my last post I talked a lot about my opinions and beliefs about spirituality, and since then I have begun to write an outline for a book I intend to write about it. In order to do that, I will have to do a lot of research too, which I am looking forward to doing, learning something new always appeals to me. I've already found that there have been numerous others throughout history that have had ideas similar to my own, although they still were in what I call the Christian "box". Their ideas always go back to the Christian way of viewing spirituality. But, if that's all you've ever known, then there isn't really a frame of reference to make the mental leap into other possibilities. Still, I'm sure I will find many different ideas on the reality of the "spirit world" happens to be, and if I find any of particular interest, then I will make mention of them here, as well as include them in my book.

It's a new week, the holiday season, and I hope everyone is having a great time finding gifts and decorating and visiting with relatives. See you again soon, thanks for stopping by :)

Monday, November 22, 2010

Spirituality, from a different view

Hi folks, how's everything? I'm doing fine, thanks for stopping by!

Before I begin this post, I want to mention that there are things I am going to discuss here that I have talked about in previous posts, but this time I want to show a different view of what I believe, let me assure you, should your eyes become glazed over with reading the same thing you read before, there IS in fact a method to my ramblings.

There's a topic of conversation that everyone at some point in their lives has had with family, or friends, and that's the concept of spirituality. Some may call it religion, but at its core the subject itself has everything to do with what we "believe", because no matter the culture or continent, it seems all humans universally believe that there is something that comes after this life, and in many cases, before it.

Whether you are a Christian or a Pagan, there is a common belief that there is some sort of a "God", or "god", and with many pagans, there is also a "goddess" that is at the very core of their beliefs. But who or what exactly IS this god or goddess? And why do we believe that they should be worshipped?

Most of us, well, at least from what I've seen, grew up learning about spiritual things in a Christian based environment, and therefore learned at a very early age that there was a "God", and that he created everything, including us, and that he loved us, but he could also punish us if we did wrong. There's a lot to be said for this "God" person, he must be quite a vaulted spirit, to be so powerful, and yet love us, we little humans. But one thing that's never taught to us, something that's never really explained, is WHAT exactly "God" is, because the Bible is the only book that the Christian religion refers to for information, and it is severely lacking in information of that regard. Take this with a grain of salt, my dear readers, these are only my opinions, but as a child I was taught nothing but the Bible, it was the ONLY way, everything else was WRONG, and I was more or less forced to memorize much of it, so I can tell you from experience that it doesn't say very much at all about the nature of what "God" is, much less explain what the heck "made in his image" was supposed to mean.

Since I became a pagan, I've done some research, and by that I mean I observed, I read, and I talked to other pagans. What I found is that even though most believe in a god and a goddess, the basic concept of spirituality is still the same. We, the human, are "lesser" beings, and while many pagans would tell you that they don't "worship" their god or goddess, I believe that there are quite a few that see them about the same way they saw the Christian God, at least those who were taught religious concepts in that system. They (the god and/or goddess) are spiritual beings, larger, more powerful, elevated, so much more than we lowly humans. Something akin to worship then really DOES occur. There is a line that is drawn, we are the peon, they are the lord and commander of the universe. Like I said folks, these are only my opinions on observations I've made, not actual facts, no offense or attack on anyone's personal beliefs is intended here. My point here is to try to convey a different approach, a different way of seeing the spiritual, to look at the entire concept from a different viewpoint.

There are literally thousands of books, articles, magazines, and blogs that talk about how to get in touch with your inner god and goddess, words of wisdom on how to commune with and treat them, but what I've noticed is that there is not very many mentions of what these spiritual beings really are, and what our relationship to them is in reality. In other words, there are no explanations of what type of existence these beings have, and what by proxy that makes us as humans. The reasons for this of course are obvious. None of us have been there, or rather, none of us has actually seen first hand where and how these beings live, I mean think about it, what do they do when they aren't here helping us with the troubles of our lives? And do we ever really think about that, or should we?

I think we should.

The first thing I think we should consider is WHAT exactly they are, because that would tell us a great many things about what WE are, when we are not inhabiting these physical flesh and bone bodies. It is a common belief among many pagans that this life we are living right now is not our first, and will not be our last, and it is one that I too subscribe to. The question is then, what are we when we are between lifetimes, and why can't we remember when we become human again? I believe that the answer lies in the accounts of many who HAVE in fact spoken directly with a spiritual entity. I myself have spoken to one such being, as I've chronicled in an earlier post, so I won't go into great detail here on that experience, but suffice it to say that I gained a different perspective on what our "connection" to them really is. I didn't take only MY experience and then form this opinion however, I've read about many similar incidents, and I've read about and talked to many people about their opinions on the matter, and collated the information into this:

They, like us, are made of the energy that is in this universe, they are just as much a part of it as everything you see, and everything you can't see. What is different is how they EXIST in the universe, and that, my friends, is where we lose our minds. You see, from what I understand, the human mind is literally incapable of comprehending their type of existence, which explains why we go through life struggling with the knowledge that there MUST be something more, but we can't explain it, or even find it. Now without going into excruciating detail, and writing what is becoming an increasingly long winded post, I'll just say this. Remember I said "They, like us.." at the beginning of this paragraph? I believe that we are in essence the same type of beings as they are, only, and here's the opinion part, we are their actual offspring, like children, the same, but not "grown up" yet. We are energy beings, but we use this physical existence to grow and mature into more than we could as energy alone. Having said that, the argument can be made then that if we were to know of the energy aspect of our existence in its true form, then we could not "be" human, we would feel as though we were wearing a costume only, and there would be little growth. So, by design, in a human body we cannot comprehend nor have intimate knowledge of our life in that state. Further, when we are between lifetimes, and again are energy beings, or spirits, we review the life we just lived alongside of our "parents", and determine what we learned and did not learn, and then plan the next life, and incorporate methods to learn new lessons, or devise new methods to learn what we did not learn in the previous one. But what does that mean for our relationship to our "gods" here and now? What does that mean for how we interact with them on a daily basis, here, in this life?

I'll tell you what it means to me. It means that the gods are not only my parents, or guardians, then they are also my friends, watching, observing, but not necessarily interfering. They are not "here" with me, because to them there is literally no "here", they live outside of the limits of our perceptions of location, and of linear time, they see everything before, during and after any and all things of a physical nature, and they can see it all at the same "time". (Just try wrapping your mind around THAT one, trust me, I've tried, and it makes no sense, but remember, we're designed that way for a reason.) They know me, in both aspects, human, and spirit, and they know what I am here to do. It's a little like working with a mentor, or a teacher, an expert in their field, they have been in my position before, so they know best how to facilitate the process of learning what I chose to learn in this life. So I see them as I've seen all the teachers I've had, I look up to them, I listen to what they have to say, but at the same time I see them not as someone to put on a pedestal, but rather as someone who has my best interests at heart, and who will always show me the right path to take. I don't ask them to do things FOR me, because they can't, it's not THEIR life to live. So many times I hear and read prayers people offer to the gods, asking them to do things, to take care of problems, when in fact the whole point of our lives here are to solve our own problems, to learn. If we use our gods as a crutch, and expect them to do it for us, then we defeat the purpose of living altogether.

I can't tell you everything about what I believe here in one post, but what I can say is that as I've traveled along this path, I've gained a new understanding of who I am, and what spirituality really is, and it's nothing like what I was taught as a child. No longer are my gods untouchable, way up above me, out in space, with a bolt of lighting ready to strike me down if I go astray, they are a lot like me, they've just been around the block a few more times.

Spirituality for me isn't about rituals, keeping up with the festivals or holidays, or having a daily devotional time to pray to the gods. It's about living, being the human I was meant to be, keeping in mind that everything I do and everything that happens has a purpose, there are lessons to be learned, there is growth to accomplish. The gods are with me all the time, they are my family, they offer advice, and nudge me in the right direction, but they don't expect me to bow down and grovel at their feet. I don't fear them, or feel that they will be angry if I don't give offerings at the proper intervals, no, I talk to them, just as I would a mentor or teacher, because I know they have a "big picture" perspective, and they know more than I where one path will lead as opposed to another. It's really amazing to think about, there are so many possibilities, and yet, before I was born, any and all possible outcomes were taken into account and concessions were made for each. We worked together at that time to lay out this life I am living, so why not continue with that same collaboration now?

To sum it all up, religion, spirituality, and being human are all one and the same, the way I see it. Live this life, be a spirit being human, learn, and grow. That's a 24 hour a day, 7 days a week, 365 day a year job. There aren't any policies to adhere to with this job, you make it what you want it to be. The gods will provide their help when you asked them to do so (before you got here), but they will not help you with something you have to do for yourself, which, for the most part, is everything you do.

I want to be clear in saying that I don't believe that they do not have "powers" or abilities that are not available to us in our human state; as energy beings they CAN affect things in the physical world, and often do so, but I believe they do so only with our best interests at heart and with the "big picture" in mind. So asking for their blessing for something or asking for their guidance is something that they not only welcome, but expect, some things require their direct intervention to see through to fruition. When I considered writing this post I consulted with them to guide the words I wrote, but not as a supplicant, rather as a student. I had to write this on my own. Each time I write I learn something new about myself, I see my thoughts in a permanent form, and in a lot of ways it helps me to process them much better than just having them rattle about in my head with no place to go.

This is the part where I usually finish with a big dramatic bang, or at least most of the time I try to. I think this time I will just say thank you, for reading these thoughts, and for keeping in mind that because they ARE just my thoughts and opinions, you can take them as such and dismiss them or think on them, but either way I appreciate you taking the time to listen.

Have a great night everyone, talk to you again soon!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

My "boxes"

Good evening everyone, I hope you're having a good day. :)

As I travel along my path, this path called life, there are many times when I stop and contemplate what's going on around me. It may have something to do with the way I perceive things, the way my mind groups things into "boxes". I observe, I analyze, and I usually bundle a long step by step process into one big lump sum and then catalogue it in my memory that way, seeing all the steps turned into one large object, rather than many small ones. This works in all aspects of what I observe, whether it be the life cycle of a tree, the repair of a car engine, or even something more complicated; like what has been foremost on my mind as of late, and that is the nuances of human interaction, or rather, how we as humans live our lives, how they unfold.

We have a way to grow, to learn, to change, and even metamorphasize into something else, that differs from all the other creatures on this planet. You take the tree example. Or let's say something more complex, like a butterfly. Never do you hear about a butterfly changing its life cycle, it's born, it grows, it becomes an adult, reproduces, and then dies. That's it. That's the way it works in the animal kingdom. Birds do the bird thing, dogs do the dog thing, etc, etc. On occasion, they are forced to attempt to adapt to different living conditions. In many cases, they are uncapable of adapting, and do not survive. Entire species are lost from this planet because of this inability to adapt, to grow, to change with the environment.

And maybe that's the difference, we humans do so much more than just "survive". We strive to better ourselves, to be more than what we were yesterday. We have a real purpose to our existence. We come here ready to learn, I mean just look at how we arrive, we're completely helpless, and would surely die without the intervention of our parents. We learn from the minute we get here, but we start each new lifetime with a clean slate so to speak. I guess it works better to start that way. I've mentioned in earlier posts how I feel we are spiritual beings having a human experience, so I won't go into that particular topic here, but I will say that now that I think about it, having a clean slate every time we start DOES seem like a prudent way to do things.

There is no doubt in my mind that our lives happen as they do by design. Take your life, and condense it into a box, and see how the step by step process of living becomes a calculated series of events to change you from what you started out as, to what you will ultimately be when this life is done. It's surprisingly simple.

You start out with an idea. First, you determine what it is you wish to learn. For this example I'll use my own life. I decided that this life would be about conquering fears and controlling emotions. So, I started out by giving myself a birthday that would make me one of the most emotional and emotionally driven people out there. I mean I "feel" everything, all things create some sort of emotional response. I believe the ideas that astrology brings us, that our time and place of birth directly affects the person we become, and so it makes sense that I was born when I was. I was born in July, a Cancer, with the moon in Scorpio at that moment, and the time of day I was born my rising sign was Pisces. If I wanted to make myself emotional to the maximum amount, I'd say that was the best way to go. See, it makes sense to me that if we are in fact energy or spiritual life forms, and, if we ARE directly affected by the forces that exist in this vast universe, then to begin a life of emotional education one would need to ensure that the emotions were in fact THERE at the outset. If I had been born in the month of December for instance, then it would not be the same life at all, as a fiery Sagittarius handles emotions in a completely different way than does a water sign like a Cancer.

But I digress. I chose to learn certain lessons in this life, and then I set out to create the life that would ultimately bring about the situations and circumstances to accomplish that learning. I gave myself a childhood that would make me "feel" the emotions of loneliness, despair, fear, and detachment, as well as a very skewed sense of what "love" is, so that as time passed in this life, I could learn to control them, to process them, and to become more than what I was. From beginning to end, my life can be seen as an exercise in processing and controlling emotions. I am more than I was, I am a more complete person, I am more whole. But there is still more yet to be learned, more to experience, which is also something I believe some lives are all about. Sometimes it's just about having the experience, and not so much learning anything from it. Well, besides learning what that experience is like I suppose.

Anyway to get back to my main point, I feel. I say that a lot, but it's because I do. I FEEL everything. Every single day has it's own feeling. I wake up "feeling", some days even feeling different emotions than my current situation should invoke. It's very odd. Now don't get me wrong, I am more than capable of THINKING as well, but by and large, if someone were to describe me, it would be using words that convey emotions rather than logic. It's an interesting twist that I was born with an above average IQ. In fact, I am a VERY good thinker, the logic is there, in abundance, but most often in my life, my emotions have overridden that logic and caused some very "bad" choices to be made, which set the tone for how my life has unfolded.

But guess what? It was supposed to happen exactly like that. Having only emotion would be, well, problematic, because then there would be only feeling, but no logic to be able to process those feelings. Furthermore, if some of those choices had not been made, then the path my life has taken would have been much different, and the lessons I've learned so far may not have been learned. Every person I've come in contact with, every experience, everything, for a purpose. Nothing happens by accident.

Take your life, and look at how it's unfolded, and trust me, you'll see a common theme. Maybe you're here to experience the loss of everyone you held dear as a child, so you can learn to cope with being alone. Maybe you started out with a lot of material wealth, and took it for granted, and then at some point you lost it, and you now are learning to appreciate not having much at all. Maybe you started out with no spiritual training or exposure to religion, and now you are learning to find those things in yourself. Whatever the life, I guarantee there is something you can find as the major lesson to be learned.

Every life is precious because this is what we are here to do. We should not be so selfish however, to assume that ours is the only special one. Everyone may not even belong to the same pantheon of belief, maybe you are Jewish, or Christian, or Hindu, or Buddhist. Doesn't matter. Your life, what you are here for, serves some kind of purpose. You and me, all of us, are spirits inhabiting these physical bodies. Whether you believe this is your only trip around the cosmos, or you believe you've had hundreds of lives, this one you're living right now is special, because it's unique. It will never happen again. No one has ever been who you are, right now, and no one ever will be again. I feel a tremendous sense of both pride and humility knowing that. Proud to be here, doing what I was meant to do, and humbled by the fact that this is the only time I will get to live this particular life. It makes living this life so much more important to me than it once was. I want to learn the lessons I'm here to learn, I want to know that I accomplished what I came here to do, and that I did it to the best of my ability.

So do yourself a favor. Love life, do more, learn more. Remember that everyone in your life is there to help you learn or experience, and that they too are learning and experiencing things from you. So do a good job of it. Take what you feel, and what you think, and put it in a mental box, keep it with as you go through each day, so that when you look back on it at the end, you can say you did the best you could with the life you had. In other words, take your experiences seriously, look back on what has happened so far in your life with a sense of reverence, because no matter how "good" or "bad" the situations appeared, they made you who you are today, and that, my friends, is a truly special thing. Take what happens today and add it to the box, link it with what happened yesterday, or last week, or 10 years ago, and be happy knowing that you learned something. You grew, you changed, you are more than you once were.

Because that's what it means to live.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Some good news...and the urge becomes action

Hi folks, how are you this afternoon? Allllrighty then.....

I got some good news last night at work, it looks like I may be officially put on full time status soon!

After having worked 12 straight weeks of full time hours, I asked the manager on duty about being made full time a few days ago, and she said she'd check the status report and get back to me.

I asked her about it last night, and she told me that I was in fact on the list, and that she'd talked to the store manager about me getting full time, and she also said that it would be a minimum of 90 days before I would be eligible for benefits, which makes me think this is really going to happen. She seemed to want to get on with what she was working on, so I didn't get to ask her any more about it, but the fact that at least the ball is finally rolling on this has made me very pleased.

The other thing I did over the weekend was that I got out and went over to a co-worker's house to watch one of the NFL games, and now I can't get the feeling out of my head that I want to go out and do other things. It's amazing that just by going and hanging out at a friend's house that it would do that, but I guess it just put me over the edge of the precipice that my mind was hanging off, halfway wanting to go, halfway wanting to stay.

With all my talk about wanting to go out and do things, I really didn't have the motivation to actually do it. Those closest to me know that it's been an issue of mine for a long time, I talk and I talk and I talk about doing something, or accomplishing some goal, but then it takes an act of congress to get me off of my butt and actually get me started doing something about it.

I thought long and hard about why, and I have to say that it goes back to my feelings of doing what others want, or what I think they want. Somehow in my mind it paralyzes me into inaction, as it is a constant battle in my head as to what I think I want, compared to what I think someone else wants, it doesn't make sense, I know, but I'm pretty sure that's what it is. If I only act on what *I* want to do, or want for myself, it's a lot easier to get going. When I start to second guess myself, and think "What will happen if I do (X thing), will so and so get mad or be upset because of (X thing) changing the schedule, we're spending more money, making things harder all around, etc, etc, etc?", that's when I get all tangled up in my mind and just don't do anything. The thought process there being that as long as things stay the way they are, when "so and so" is not upset or mad at me, then they will *stay* not mad or upset, and everything is fine. Until of course a certain period of time goes by, and then "so and so" is upset that I haven't done anything, so how I take that frame of mind is a mystery in and of itself. Now that I don't have a "so and so" to answer to you'd think I would be running rampant getting things going, and I really don't have a reason, when I think about it, as to why I haven't. So, as it's been overdue, I got something going. A small step for sure, but a step nonetheless, I got out.

Anyway, to sum up, things are moving along, for once, and I hope to keep it going, so stay tuned, good things are going to happen.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Fate grabs me by the arm, and yanks....

Hi folks, I hope you're having a good day so far!

Well it seems that fate has intervened again, and things in my life are changing as they always do.

I've been working my third shift job now for almost 8 months, and it's been almost 9 months since I moved out, but overall my life hasn't changed all that much from what it had been before. What I mean by that is what my life was like while I'm not at work, what I do with my time, as well as what plans I had for the future, what goals I set for myself.

I've been here doing pretty much a whole lot of nothing except being on the computer, more or less hiding out from the world. Since I do have a third shift job, some of the time during the day of course I spend sleeping. I've gone from sleeping from the time I get home from work (at 730 AM) till about 3 in the afternoon, to waiting till 3 or 4 in the afternoon to go to bed, and then getting up right before I have to go to work. Now I've decided that neither of these is working for me, so I'm going to try sleeping from about 11 or 12 till about 6, so I have a few hours on either end of my sleep to get things done and get ready for my "day".

The reasons for this are twofold. First, my roommates have been waking me up at night when it's time, because I asked them to, and while they haven't said it, I know they are getting tired of doing it. So I want to change my schedule to make it where they no longer need to do it. I have always had a problem with oversleeping, mostly due to the fact that I don't go to bed with enough time to get the amount of sleep I require, so a change is in order. That's the second thing. I've gotten up late several times now, even with them coming to wake me, and I have been late for work, and I don't want that to happen anymore. And last night, my roommates were already outside moving their cars out so I could leave (the driveway is only one car wide and so we park our vehicles in a line) and I was running late, and a comment was made that I needed to start getting up when they wake me, or something to that effect. My response was simply "I've got a plan for that", to which my roommate said "You don't have to have an attitude". I guess she thought I was upset or something about her and her boyfriend waking me, but I was referring to the fact that I had decided to change my sleep schedule. Now of course since I was running late we could not continue the conversation, but suffice it to say that I will not have them waking me up anymore. Having that happen was a literal "wake up call" to me that making the decision to sleep at a different time was the right thing to do.

Things have changed on the computer front as well. I've not been interested as much as I used to be in playing on Facebook, the games are not as appealing as they once were. I chat a lot with my best friend, and things have changed with her schedule as well which will make sleeping at this new time make even more sense.

I feel like that since I left my wife, I've had these 9 months to adjust, to get comfortable with being alone, but now fate is pushing me to get out and do something with this new life, to get on with living. I've alluded to this in earlier posts, how my mindset is changing, about how my internal thought processes have really taken a turn, so I won't go into any of that here.

What I will say is that recently I've found I have more questions than answers. What am I supposed to be doing? Where should I go? I can't stay here, my friends would love to have their house back all to themselves. Besides, I can't even cook here, the lady of the house is very particular about her kitchen staying the way she wants it to be, so she'd rather I didn't go in there and cook anything. I've been eating mostly ready made food and sandwiches and so forth ever since I've been here, and I'm tired of eating like that. I'm tired of only having one room to be in, having access to a bathroom with no shower, only a tub. Sure I have the internet, there's never a shortage of things to do or see or read, but like I said earlier it's lost it's appeal. But therein lies my next problem. I want to be more communicative, talk with some of my pagan friends I've met online, chat with them, connect with people. But how do I do that if I'm not on the computer? I know there is so much ahead of me, so much opportunity to grow, to expand my knowledge, and to make great friends, so what's stopping me? I wish I had an answer to that one.

I had a dream a few nights ago, and in it there was a person I hardly know, someone at work. I don't know why I feel this way, but I got the feeling from that dream that this person was someone I needed to or will make more contact with in the future, she seems to be someone of some importance for my life. At least that's the feeling I got. She doesn't work third shift even, which is why I hardly know her, but if the dream means anything, then I suppose at some point I will know her very intimately. It could have been just a dream, and mean nothing. But, I've noticed lately that there are not many times that I remember my dreams when I wake up. When I do, it seems that they deal with something important going on in my life, or even future events, I have many deja vu moments stemming from dreams I've had. So right now I'm not sure what to make of it. I'll just have to see how events unfold.

There is something else that has made a mad dash to the front of my mind, and that's related to doing things as well. That's the reason I've written this post, I've had this itch, this feeling of "I need to go, and do, so so bad". I've found myself looking at things to do, like hunting for instance, the possibilities of living off the land, as opposed to always going to the local Walmart or grocery store to find everything to make life possible. There was a time not long ago even when you could not have paid me to go hunting, there was just not a thought in my head to even entertain the thought, let alone thinking of buying the gear and going and doing it. Other things are coming to mind as well, like the thought of having my own place, living freely and truly ALONE, by myself. I've never done that, and now I want it so bad I can almost taste it. The absolute freedom to do and go and be what I want to, the allure is overpowering. I want to cook my own food, own my own gun(s), so I can go out and hunt for that food if I choose to, I want to make things, build things, I want a chicken coop. I want to plow my own land, I want my own house with acres of property to grow things, I want to eat my own home grown vegetables. I want to work with my hands, I want to be active, I want to create things, I don't want to be a couch potato anymore. Well, I guess I'm not exactly a "couch potato", maybe I'm just a "computer chair cucumber" or something, but either way I want more out of life, I want to be independent, and I want to be able to go to bed at night, or during the day as it happens for me, knowing that I'm tired and worn out from doing good things for my life, for the environment, and for the earth. Work, do, and keep doing, that's what I want. I want to feel the thrill of accomplishment when I harvest my first crop, collect my first eggs, and with it feel my connection with Mother Earth in the way it was intended to be felt, with me as part of her, not just living "on" her.

May she grant me this wish soon, the goddess of fate, I'm ready to get started.