Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Today's Noun - Atheists

a⋅the⋅ist [ey-thee-ist)

–noun
a person who denies or disbelieves the existence of a supreme being or beings.
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I do not resent the atheist position, I am glad it's there. Humans will always need the questioners. They are simply looking for the evidence that helps them be sure. I only wish they would soften their requirements just a tad.

I feel the same way about those believers who are overly thumping - not only their sacred books, but peoples ears, as if they are doing "sinners" a favor by being donkeys. It's ludicrous. If they too would soften, just a tad. . then both schools of thought might be able to come together, and eventually find out the final truth. Whatever that truth may turn out to be. . I am absolutely convinced this is what must take place before humans can move on to the next level.

If I am right, and there is a G-d, then surely that kind of love for one another is what G-d must be waiting for us to learn. If we actually pulled it off, who knows how the world would change, and how G-d would then be able to reveal himself with evidence offered and understood more readily because minds and hearts are open. One cannot love with a closed heart, or a closed mind.

If atheists are right, then I dare anyone to think of a better way to live than with that kind of love for one another. Humans have never lived in such a manner, and we have a hard time even picturing what it would be like. But every one of us wants it, no matter how fervently they want to tell themselves otherwise. It is one thing we all have in common, this desire for love, and even the animals and nature of this realm desire it.

Can evidence exist in the lives of believers, for the atheists to see? Can evidence exist in the heart of a non-believer, for beievers to see? The bottom line is, we don't know until we are brave enough to LOOK. If everyone is so stiff necked and certain of their own thoughts, no one will overcome that fear of looking.

It would be the greatest failure of mankind if we just were too scared to look. .Wimpy, wimpy, wimpy. Right now atheists and theists are so busy acting like an old married couple arguing about who's right, they can't even hear one another. We're going to have to call some kind of truce and start over.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Today's Noun - Presence

pres⋅ence   /ˈprɛzəns/ [prez-uhns]

-noun
1. the state or fact of being present, as with others or in a place.
2. attendance or company: Your presence is requested.
3. immediate vicinity; proximity: in the presence of witnesses.
4. the military or economic power of a country as reflected abroad by the stationing of its troops, sale of its goods, etc.: the American military presence in Europe; the Japanese presence in the U.S. consumer market.
5. Chiefly British. the immediate personal vicinity of a great personage giving audience or reception: summoned to her presence.
6. the ability to project a sense of ease, poise, or self-assurance, esp. the quality or manner of a person's bearing before an audience: The speaker had a good deal of stage presence.
7. personal appearance or bearing, esp. of a dignified or imposing kind: a man of fine presence.
8. a person, esp. of noteworthy appearance or compelling personality: He is a real presence, even at a private party.
9. a divine or supernatural spirit felt to be present: He felt a presence with him in the room.

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What a wonderful word. Presence. I am so feeling it right now.

It's been over a year since I've had a presence on this blog. I did not abandon it. I never will. But, I could not have a presence here for that time due to, simply put, life.

I find it so amazing that my last blog entry was about purpose. I just re-read it for the first time since it was posted.

Here is the last paragraph of that post . . .

So, the choice before me is, fulfill my purpose or not be alone. This is black and white. The grey has already been explored, and there are no answers there. It's one way, or the other, apparently. The nuances of that choice boil down to the rhetorical . . . do I please G-d, or do I please people. . . Do I continue to accept my purpose and continue to fulfill it, or do I listen to others and give in to what they say I should do, which would make them very happy.

Decisions, decisions.


It was right after this very post that I made my choice, and seemingly, lost my presence. From before that time until about two months ago I was in a limbo, of sorts. It was as if my perspective was not at all important to the work of some *other* presence within the depths of what I called my life. I sometimes felt as if I was hanging on a coat hook, attempting to get down - flailing my arms and legs wildly, but with conviction. Then, fall exhausted against the wall and feel that hook becoming a part of my very being. There was absolutely no way out of the circumstances . . . I had to live them. I had no presence of my own - none was necessary. That other presence was in control, and I and my coat hook were not. It was scary as hell.

My decision was to continue to follow my purpose in this life, and not follow other people. It is much more important to me to know I am following G-d's will for my life than the will of another. What I really need to think through is . . . why? I don't know why that's more important to me, but it is.

That choice totally changed my entire life. I am a different person now. A different presence. Better. Stronger. Kinder. Tougher. More spiritually aware.

I've had a lot of losses through all of this, but I don't care about that because my mind works again. I find that to be so phenomenal, and boy, is it great to be back to being me. For several years my mind had been clouded by. . . by a presence. It began to take over, and postulated it's right and intelligence to do so consistently. At the most foundational part of the whole situation, there really was no choice. So I put into action what I knew was required of me. My clarity of mind has returned because it is no longer overshadowed.

It's amazing what divorcing an abuser will do for you.

Let me share something with you. Do not be afraid of losing your presence as it is right now. When your mind returns to you, you will see that you are truly a glowing new creation with the same essence, but an entirely new presence.

“The person who, being really on the Way, falls upon hard times in the world, will not, as a consequence, turn to that friend or thing that offers him refuge and comfort and encourages their old self to survive. Rather, he will seek out someone who will faithfully and inexorably help him to risk himself, so that he may endure the difficulty and pass courageously through it. Only to the extent that a person exposes himself over and over again to annihilation, can that which is indestructible be found within them. In this daring lies dignity and the spirit of true awakening.” – Zen teacher Kalfried von Durkheim

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Today's Noun - Purpose

pur·pose /ˈpɜrpəs/
–noun
1. the reason for which something exists or is done, made, used, etc.
2. an intended or desired result; end; aim; goal.
3. determination; resoluteness.
4. the subject in hand; the point at issue.
5. practical result, effect, or advantage: to act to good purpose.

[Origin: 1250–1300; (n.) ME purpos < OF, deriv. of purposer, var. of proposer to propose; (v.) ME purposen < AF, OF purposer]

—Synonyms 1. object, point, rationale. See intention. 7. mean, contemplate, plan.

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We all have purpose in life. Purpose varies from person to person. And, we all have more than one purpose, I dare say.

Today, I'm going to concentrate on just one of mine. The most obvious.

There are many times in my daily life that I have the unshakeable feeling and understanding that the purpose for which I was put on this earth was to call attention to all the lumps under the carpet that people trip over and do nothing about.

Since I was a very young child I've always been the one pointing at the 500 pound gorilla in the room, saying, . . . "Don't you think we ought to get him outta here? He's making us miserable, and no one seems to notice." . . . while everyone else was shhhhh-ushing me, or ignoring me too, and then pulling the proverbial carpet over the gorilla, turning, and saying in response - "What gorilla? There's no gorilla!"

My entire childhood just about the only time I was in trouble was when I spoke openly about things. My poor mother had a real job on her hands trying to teach me about being socially appropriate. Some of it got through my stubborn head. But it's still like I'm *required* to say the things other people won't say. I just have to say, "Ummm. . . that gorilla is just hiding under the carpet. . . hello?"

It amazes me that most of the time, people do choose the lumpy zoo over facing the gorilla head on.

With those who are not in my immediate circle it's pretty easy to let them choose to live there. It's really no skin off my nose, and if they can live with it I can live beside it. With those IN my immedate circle, it's much much harder. When they choose to live with lumps to trip over, and gorilla poop left to smell - or for me to clean up - it's much much harder to deal with. Apparently those who ignore the smell don't understand (or don't care) that I can still smell it, and they are not at all happy about my complaining and holding my nose. I'm not exactly clear on what that does to them in full, but I have a pretty good idea because whether they realize it or not, I *have* heard them.

This "requirement" of purpose causes others to "see" me as arrogant, think I think I know it all, think I think I'm better, smarter, or wiser than them. I don't, but that's how they see it, regardless. Eventually they put me out of their lives. I can understand why. This aspect of my purpose makes me very hard to live with. I can fully understand that. It's GOT to be tough, really tough, to be around someone who is pointing out things they'd rather avoid. I can only imagine what it must have been like for my older children, and now my seven year old, with me as a parent. And, it's one of the main reasons I'm getting divorced - my soon-to-be-ex spouse can not deal any longer with my need to NOT have any lumps to trip over or poop to clean up. I can't blame him. I want him to go and be happy in the way that he is comfortable, and that's obviously better for him.

The people who can handle me and my given purpose are few and far between. The few I've found are those who are sick of walking on lumps and cleaning up gorilla poop themselves. They do support me in my purpose as much as they can. I'm grateful.

It's also painfully obvious to me that they are people who don't have to deal with me on a day to day basis. Is the inevitable saying that I am destined to be alone? That I SHOULD be alone? That if I am to fulfill the purpose I feel G-d has given me, I have to do it without support from someone with skin beside me every day?

I have to analyze everything down to the atomic level(Gawd, I know that must be so annoying to others) as that is an element of this "purpose" I have been given. But how does one fulfill their purpose in life, do what they feel is their G-d given purpose in life, and not rub other people the wrong way? My only conclusion is, I can't. I've tried every way possible time and time again.

So, the choice before me is, fulfill my purpose or not be alone. This is black and white. The grey has already been explored, and there are no answers there. It's one way, or the other, apparently. The nuances of that choice boil down to the rhetorical . . . do I please G-d, or do I please people. . . Do I continue to accept my purpose and continue to fulfill it, or do I listen to others and give in to what they say I should do, which would make them very happy.

Decisions, decisions.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Today's Noun - Lesson

les·son /ˈlɛsən/
–noun
1. a section into which a course of study is divided, esp. a single, continuous session of formal instruction in a subject:
2. a part of a book, an exercise, etc., that is assigned to a student for study:
3. something to be learned or studied: the lessons of the past.
4. a useful piece of practical wisdom acquired by experience or study:
5. something from which a person learns or should learn; an instructive example:
6. a reproof or punishment intended to teach one better ways.
7. a portion of Scripture or other sacred writing read or appointed to be read at a divine service; lection; pericope.

[Origin: 1175–1225; ME lesso(u)n < OF leçon < L léctiōn- (s. of léctiō)

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When I was about seven years old my father came home from work around 6:00 PM on a Friday night and announced that we were moving to Wyoming, and we needed to be there by Monday morning. This was nothing new. Dad was in the mining and tunnel construction business, so we moved about every 6-18 months. My mother was the queen of picking up our entire household, moving it across country, and putting it all back together in a weekend.

All of us kids knew the drill. None of us even spoke. We all just stood up, went to our rooms, pulled the boxes and suitcases out from underneath our beds, and began packing our personal things. Mother began packing the kitchen, and after my sister and I were finished with our items we went to our parent's room and began packing their things. My three brothers were in charge of gathering and packing things like tools and the garden hose, then were commissioned to start packing the trunk of our huge car as my sister and I carried boxes to them. Everyone was well aware of their jobs, and it worked like a well oiled machine every time. This particular time, our house was totally packed up by midnight. We all slept in sleeping bags, which, in the morning were put on top of the car (on the bed frames and mattresses) and all seven of us piled into the car once again - this time for a two day drive from Alabama to Wyoming.

This particular trip was memorable to me because I was in charge of reading speed limit signs. This was the first time I'd been given a job DURING the actual road trip - just like my four older siblings. I felt as if I was, at last, important to the family. In my mind, I was very grown up. In addition to that important duty, I was also told that it was my job to watch for billboards that advertised gas stations. This part of my "job" was excruciating! I remember asking time after time . . . "Do we need gas yet, Dad?" Eventually, after what seemed like an eternity to me, we did need gasoline and I was to find us a place to purchase it.

I diligently started reading every billboard. For miles I was disappointed. I began to fear I had missed one. I worried we would run out of gas. I was a perfectionist even then, and was so worried I began to get nauseated. But I did not want to appear unworthy to my family, and sweated it out silently. Finally, I spyed a sign for Stuckey's!! (Remember Stuckey's? =) As was our custom, my family literally applauded when I loudly announced we had two miles to go before reaching the gas station. (My father was not one to stop often, and the seven of us had been packed in the car for a solid four hours.)

We all piled out of the car and everyone but me and Dad headed for the restrooms. I was quiet as Dad instructed the gas station attendant to "Fill 'er up with Ethel!" The attendant set the nozzle in the tank, turned on the pump with a crank, and began to clean the windshield while making small talk with my Dad. I watched as Dad pulled a wad of bills out of his pocket that was about four inches in diameter to pay the attendant. I was mezmerized!! How much money could that be? Dad broke my gaze as I stared at it by telling me to go inside and "Do what you need to do."

I obeyed immediately. On my way to the back of Stuckey's where the restrooms were, a beautiful horse figurine caught my eye. It called to me! I looked around cautiously for any of my family members, realized that they were using the restrooms and I would have to wait anyway, then decided it wouldn't hurt to go have a closer look at the beautiful figurine. I dared not pick it up, for fear of dropping it, but I gently ran my fingers over the mane and tail, and the muscular features of it - marveling at the detail of it.

Instead of going on back to the restrooms, I went back outside and approached my dad. "Dad? Do you think I did a good job with my road duties?"

"Yes, you did. But you have to keep doing it. I need your help." He said flatly.

"I will." I promised. I took a deep breath and asked, "Daddy? Can I please have some money to buy a horse I saw inside? It would be great for my collection."

"I don't know. CAN you?"

"MAY I?"

"No, you may not. I don't have the money right now."

I was crushed. I felt betrayed. I just knew had been LIED to!! I had *just* seen that wad of bills my Dad had in his pocket. I knew he had money!!! But I never said a word, went inside and used the restroom, then piled back into the car when everyone else did.

For years I continued to think my father betrayed and lied to me. That is, until I was a teenager. I got my first job, and my first car - complete with car payments, insurance, and gasoline to pay for - when I was sixteen. One day, after cashing my paycheck, I realized I would not have enough money to pay my car payment, pay the insurance, buy gasoline, buy my lunch all week, AND go to the football game on Friday night.

My niece, Sharon, was with me at the time. After we had gone to the bank she asked, "Aunt Beth? Can we go to McDonalds for lunch?"

"No, Sharon, we can't go this time. I don't have the money."

"But . . ." whined my six year old niece ". . . You just went to the bank!! They gave you money!!"

Boy. It hit me like a lead balloon.

I dropped my niece off at her house, went home, and promptly apologized to my Dad.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Today's Noun - Direction

di·rec·tion /dɪˈrɛkʃən, ˈdaɪ-/ [di-rek-shuhn, dahy-]
–noun
1. the act or an instance of directing.
2. the line along which anything lies, faces, moves, etc., with reference to the point or region toward which it is directed: The storm moved in a northerly direction.
3. the point or region itself: The direction is north.
4. a position on a line extending from a specific point toward a point of the compass or toward the nadir or the zenith.
5. a line of thought or action or a tendency or inclination: the direction of contemporary thought.
6. Usually, directions. instruction or guidance for making, using, etc.: directions for baking a cake.
7. order; command.
8. management; control; guidance; supervision: a company under good direction.

[Origin: 1375–1425; late ME direccioun (< MF) < L dīréctiōn- (s. of dīréctiō) arranging in line, straightening.

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I remember being lost in Washington DC. My father pulled to the curb and asked a stranger for directions. The man gave elaborate guidance . . . "Go to the light, make a left, go three more lights, take another left, ... " ETC. My mother took short-hand like notes, feverishly trying to keep up. The man spoke for almost two minutes, which is a pretty long time. Finally he took a breath and said quite matter of factly . . . "When you get to that point, you just have to FOLLOW THE YELLOW BRICK ROAD!". . . and literally ran away laughing as hard as he could and holding his stomach.

Sometimes, like today, I feel like God has done the same thing to me. Sent me on a wild goose chase, and convinced me He was sincere, but in the end it's like some big cosmic joke.

The directions I'm receiving right now are not making sense. (Not that they ever really did, mind you, but I have faith.) I'm at the point now where God is more like the brainless scarecrow - telling me that all directions are "nice." I am confused by it all. For years I have been doing exactly what I felt God would have me do. Following the directions to the utmost detail. And yet, here I am, between Munchkin Land and Oz.

It's not like I've never questioned the directions - I uaually do ask . . . "Are you SURE that's the way I should go? It sounds like you're taking me the long way around." I was always assured that's the direction I was supposed to take. So, that's the way I went. More often than not, I found that I was supposed to go that way because of others, but sometimes it was so I could learn something for myself. But I'll tell you, sometimes it's just not worth the trip.

If I ever get to the Emerald City, and God is nothing more than a manipulative control freak, I'm going to be spending eternity in the wicked witch's dungeon with the flying monkeys, because I'm going to be PISSED - and the whole of the cosmos will know it!!

It's not like I want to go back to Kansas. Things weren't all that great in Kansas. I mean - there was that tornado, and the bitchy spinster, let's not forget the pig pen, and everything there is so . . . colorless. No. Kansas is not where I want to be. I've been to Kansas and it's no promised land. I'll take my chances with the flying monkeys, thanks.

So, what choice do I have but to keep following the yellow brick road in my ruby slippers that certainly don't match my blue gingham dress? And....do I *HAVE* to take the Cowardly Lion with me? He's driving me to the brink of insanity.

I tried the three clicks thing already - it doesn't work.

I just want to go home.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Today's Noun - Confusion

con·fu·sion /kənˈfyuʒən/ [kuhn-fyoo-zhuhn]
–noun
1. the act of confusing.
2. the state of being confused.
3. disorder; upheaval; tumult; chaos:
4. lack of clearness or distinctness:
5. perplexity; bewilderment:
6. embarrassment or abashment: He blushed in confusion.
7. Psychiatry. a disturbed mental state; disorientation.
8. Archaic. defeat, overthrow, or ruin.

[Origin: 1300–50; ME (< AF) < L confūsiōn- (s. of confūsiō).

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Today, it's #2, #3, #4, and #5.

'Nuff said??

Yeah. I think so. I don't want to say anything stupid.