Monday, September 21, 2009

All You Need Is Love...?

Love. The mere sound of the word evokes warmth. Spoken slowly, it endears itself to the speaker and to whom it is spoken. I honestly believe that Love can figuratively  make the world go 'round. (For a few minutes anyway.) People do crazy and logical things for love. Technically, you can't live on it. At some point, you will get hungry or need new clothes, shoes, or sleep.

Love has levels. There's sweet love, pure love, friendly love, patient love... There's the more stressful love like unrequited love, lustful love, jealous/envious love. There's obligated love. It's the only emotion that has extremes. Yes, I know! We may 'believe' that love should ALWAYS be pure, but let's face it, that's not true. Passion is love at it's heights, yet it's still adoration of a sort. All love is adoration. If you lack the adoration (even warped, angry adoration)  only then is it not love. If there is a want, a desperate need, even if it's a selfish, at the cost of all-those-who-breath kind of feeling, it's still Love. Hate, doesn't have this kind of maturity of form. Hate is all about, well, hate. Bliss, as pretty as that word sounds, doesn't cover the range that Love covers.

When we Love someone, something, we pour time into it; (and Love doing so) we give of ourselves in ways we'd never give, if we didn't Love the someone or something. We remember it always and disloyalty isn't an option. We sometimes run away from Love, because we think we're protecting ourselves, when the truth of the matter is that we often run, because we are frightened by the possibility of being consumed by Love, even a little tiny bit of Love.

And there in lies a gigantic problem. Running from love is something we may do with anyone or anything. We run from love with a partner and sometimes we run from love of ourselves. Sometimes, we get so angry that other people love other things or people, that we become bitter because we don't love something that much, however, the thoughts of loving something that much is too traumatizing to imagine for ourselves! This is why it's always, always bothered me when I hear people say something like, "To find the right people (wife, husband, friends, job, boyfriend, girlfriend, house, dog) you HAVE TO LOVE YOURSELF!"

I find this nonsensical because we never tell people how to do this! We insist on it, but we act like this feat is simple, in a world where people run or race for Love that may or way not be.

Love, at all it's levels, isn't simple to endure when it comes to other people. Sometimes people 'test' our Love for them, by doing things (intentionally or not) that will cause us to rethink our connection with such a person. There are plenty of people who separate or divorce people they still love madly, because of an indiscretion. They may separate out of practicality, over a promise of broken vows. But, once the separation happens, Love does NOT go away. It lingers.

Sometimes people Love us, who we don't Love back. We think to ourselves, "Why do they want me? I don't want them..." We can't make ourselves Love someone at random, even if they are the nicest, kindest, most worthy being imaginable. If loving anyone were that simple, everyone would be a couple, end of story.

If it's sometimes difficult to Love others that we have made a vow to love, and difficult to Love someone who we haven't made a vow to, then how in the world can we Love ourselves to the fullest degree? How can we endure someone who loves themselves if we can't deal with the examples of Love in our lives?

Now, I KNOW there are people who love themselves fully. They lead happy productive lives, surrounded by other people who love them, and love themselves as well. But, there is the crooks.  You have to be surrounded by people who are CAPABLE of Loving themselves. You have to be in an environment that allows you to be perfectly fine with the way Love feels. If you find yourself feeling sad or not special before your friends eyes, if you feel less of person around your friends,  if you find yourself walking way form them feeling like who you are isn't good enough, then you aren't going to be able to love yourself. DON'T ignore those feelings! What those feelings are telling you is that you are currently immersing yourself in an environment that won't be conducive to loving yourself.

The way to LOVE yourself is to FIND PEOPLE WHO ALSO LOVE THEMSELVES! You'll know who these people are, because they will find nothing but love in you! They will give you their time; they will find ways to encourage you toward positive goals even without your mentioning them; they will listen to what you have to say; they will give you critical feedback that doesn't hurt, but is honest; you won't need to constantly prove yourself to people who already love themselves, because they would have already seen the little sparks in you that prove to them that you are worthy of love; and they will find ways to make you feel special every time you're with them... When you leave their presence, the only sadness you'll feel is that your time with them has ended.  People who love themselves, will shower you with Love, because the love they feel for themselves will be in such abundance that they want to give it away and never fear running out of it!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Bad Karma or Bad Decision Making?

I've given some thought lately to the whole karma deal and I have come to a few realizations. I'm an atheist/ spiritualist. (a belief I define as not putting faith in god, gods, goddesses, or higher powers, however, I have seriously strong belief in Universe, a highly concentrated glob of kinetic energy that binds us all together. This Universe of Kinetic Energy does not have a definition for good, evil, indifferent or other. The Universe simply sees things 'as is'. It's humans who assert the additives of good and or evil...but I digress....) In my belief system, the thoughts of bad people being punished and good people being rewarded has become nonsensical. 
There is no such thing as an all good, all bad person. People react to a situation by way of character development. This can be a responsible character or an irrational character or a dependent character...etc. It's created by childhood, mostly, and by the way others treat us early in life. If a person spends the better part of their childhood being spoiled or not being asked to work for things, chances are going to be quite high that this person won't actually grow into a person who believes that they need to work for survival,  people's love and trust or to make a statement in life. If a person grows up constantly having to protect themselves from being emotionally damaged, then chances are that this person will grow up to believe that they will need to avoid people to keep from being damaged again or they will grow up believing that they need need to work very hard for people's love and trust.
Situations that call for us to make decisions based on honesty, integrity or ethics tend to have a two fold out come. The blending of emotionality and logical thought can bring about a confusing outcome. For example: Suppose I was left $10 on my desk at work. Suppose someone I did not know, came by and causally took the money. Is this person 'bad' for taking the money. I say not. Taking the money is a result of other things happening in this persons mind. Maybe they had no money and couldn't pass up the chance, maybe they took the money with the thoughts of returning it later, and maybe they took the money because they thought luck has shone upon them and they saw it as a gift. My take is that the person leaving the money should have been a little more aware that the possiblity of the money could be taken. Does leaving the money exposed make someone naive? Maybe the person leaving the money expected to return sooner rather than later, maybe the person leaving the money left it out because they were distracted and meant to relocate the money, and maybe the money was left because the person couldn't fathom something being stolen from their work place. I'm saying that both sides could have put more thought into their actions.
This brings me back to the situation of karma. In my scenario, the person losing the money could be experiencing karma. The person taking the money might then lose it. Is this karma? What if the person taking the money, tripped and broke their arm after taking the money. Is this 'karma' as well? Some even say that if something horrible happens to someone after they do a 'bad' thing, it's called instant karma. I have to wonder if this instant karma, reaping what you sow, getting your comeuppance has more to do with humans assigning emotionality to something that logically has no weight or basis in reality!
Instead of assigning situations as karmic, maybe we can be more aware of how bad a decision it is to leave $10 on your desk. Guilt often keeps us participating in situations that we know are wrong but it 's still a bad decision to take something from someone knowing that it's not yours. In the end, if you are found out, people will think badly of it, no matter what the excuse. The idea that karma is going to 'get' someone keeps us from realizing that people do things that are unbecoming, but they also do things that are wonderful. Depending on karma keeps us from growing, because if we expect someone to pay for their sins, and we aren't able to 'see' the person getting theirs can often cause mental stress. Learning how to see that logic and reason are the writers of your destiny and not karma will keep the ideas of waiting for things to happen at bay.

Friday, September 11, 2009

What is the ture definition of 'human being'?

human being

1. any individual of the genus Homo, esp. a member of the species Homo sapiens.
2. a person, esp. as distinguished from other animals or as representing the human species: living conditions not fit for human beings; a very generous human being.

(Definition provided by )

I cut and paste the above definition from . (I love that place!) The definition is accurate as far as
physically explaining what humans are and as far as what space human beings occupy in this life. However, being human as a species isn't all we're made up of, or is it? Is 'being' human good enough when it comes to fulfilling the role of living on this planet? Are these the only requirements and responsibilities of being human? Is everything else we think about, achieve or strive for (or avoid doing) just mere bonus, par for the course? Or, because we've been given the ability to feel and hurt and enjoy, are we supposed to be 'nice' or share or hate or love?

There are people out there who live a lifetime not knowing who they are or searching for who they are. Some don't care who they are. They are just fine with 'being'. They spend their years on emotional autopilot doing what other people tell them to do, or doing what they think they are supposed to do or they do nothing at all and let others take care of them. On the other end of scale, there are people who strive to become 'more' spiritually, intellectually, or monetarily, as if just 'being human' and fulfilling the physicality of it, is less. There are people who run into walls trying to achieve something they think they are supposed to achieve, never realizing that maybe there was no point in trying to achieve such a thing at all! Most of us battle with each other, or with our ourselves over what it's meant to be a human being.

This means there are two separate issue to contend with. Our physical and our mental being. Are we meant to explore both or is the mental stuff just a bonus?

We are all endowed (supposedly) with the ability to know what's right and what's wrong. But, that trait isn't physical. It's emotional. As human beings we are all supposedly given the ability to express emotions, which is what sets us apart from our pets. If that's true, then why are there criminals? Why are there murders? Why are there people who do wrong and bad things who may or may not regret it? Why are there people who are actually born with mental imbalances that impair their judgment and ability to know what is majority rules wrong?

Most people agree that Hilter was pretty dern awful. Idi Amin, Saddam Hessian, Osama Bin Laden, the list is pretty massive, were all terrible people and if anyone believes in a place of damnation, most people will agree that all of them should be there. However, from each of these people's twisted, backward, selfish view point, they felt they were doing the world a gigantic favor by being alive and doing the awfulness they wrought. But, then you have Mother Teresa, Ghandi, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. another long list of people who thought that altruism and extension of self through others was the way the world should exist. They spent their lives giving all of themselves to a world in hopes that it would be better for everyone. All of these people bad and good, are human like the rest of us, yet a more diverse group you couldn't create! But, why is that? Both groups thought themselves correct. Can we all be right?

I have realized something. There is no perspective when it comes to being human. It just is. We are at will to contend with our factor specs. For example: My computer came with a monitor, key board, mouse and tower containing hard drive. If I had wanted speakers, a printer, a desk to put it all on or a mouse pad, I would need to go out and 'add' those on to the list.

You are flesh and blood, that's pretty much it. Anything else you 'add' to yourself, is simply a bonus.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

What is your faith worth?

I'm an atheist. I don't believe in god, gods, goddesses, or Big Ghostly Higher Powers. I don't believe we are punished for what we think. I believe we are judged by our actions, not by a higher power, but by each other. There is nothing wrong with judging people if you have been given evidence to make a judgment. Prejudice is not right, because you are choosing to judge someone or thing or idea from pre-consieved ideas. We hirer people we believe to be accurate with this ability. They are called judges.

Most people aren't able to judge. They either feel guilty about it or they don't wait to get enough info before judging. Sometimes people don't like to hear the truth, so they avoid judging. I believe in self judgment. I also believe in the Universe. I believe that what you think, can and will 'become' a reality. I see this as spirituality.

I enjoy it when someone asks me why I am atheist. I like explaining how I came to this conclusion through logical thought, reading and spiritual experience. I do not enjoy it when an atheist tells me that the reason they are atheist is because someone they loved died and now they blame God.

Don't get me wrong. Everyone is free to believe what they want, for whatever reason they want. However, my personal opinion is that faith isn't about emotion. It's about logic.

Life can be difficult, messy, mean, crude, disheartening and painful. It can also be fun, fulfilling, rewarding, fruitful and fascinating. But, this all depends on how we interact with it. Are you the type of person that makes things happen? Does sitting around waiting for things to happen make you cringe? Or, are you the type that needs direction from an outside source to get things going? Do you need a reason to live?

I don't believe life is guided by anything. I think life is pointless, but in a good, Do It Yourself way. Life is like a big empty drawing book. It's your job to go get the crayons or pens or colored chalk you need to create the pictures. If you don't bother going out and getting the crayons, pens or chalk, because you think someone else should bring them to you, then you are going to be rudely awaken one day. That wake up call WILL be painful. If someone dies, you lose your job, the love of your life runs off, your friends treat you like crap...etc; and you have no way to handle it, then you will be traumatized, emotionally by what 'life' hasn't seemed to offer.

Aren't the times where we have been so lost, and in so much pain the times where we should all feel closer to our god, or our faith? Apparently this isn't true for some people. For some people, faith is all about some Janet Jackson song, "What have you done for me lately?" Faith is nothing more than a reason to ask for things or to ask for a good life. By basing our faith in the basis of logic, we are better able to understand why our life might not be ideal. We, even more, understand WHY we believe instead of simply coming up with the buzz word, "Because. It just feels right."

Remember, just because it feels good, doesn't make it reliable. If you have the back up of logic and thought to support you, then in those times when life is most emotional, you will have foundation on which to land .

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Are Tech Savvy People More Prone to Thoughtlessness?

The idea that people are very thoughtless these days shouldn't be a shock. I believe technology allows us to avoid general intimacies. By general intimacies, I mean the social interaction between humans in the service industry. For example: Many of the grocery stores in my area have added 'automated' teller checkout stations to the front of their stores. This ensures that you don't need to 'deal' with a live human to ring up your things, thus eliminating the possibility of the smallest amount of human interaction. The only reason a human needs to interact with you, is if you need to authorize your age OR something went wrong with your transaction.

Some appeal for me with the machines is that: 1) The machine doesn't ask you how your day was, 2) the machine doesn't chat it up with the customer ahead of you, 3) the machine doesn't verbally kidnap you and tell you about their day even if you appear to be in a hurry, and 4) the machine doesn't give you 'attitude' for using a check. The machine generally ends your transaction with a "Thank you for shopping at (insert store name)"

I enjoy these machines! Not because I am antisocial to the extent that I don't need human interaction. I prefer this method of check out, because I don't need to deal with the above noted comments on what these machines DON'T do. And just to clarify, I don't mind people asking me about my day or on the other way around. Sometimes, I actually care and want to know how a person's day went . It is very polite to ask, but it should be viewed as a nicety. In other words, it shouldn't be my chance (or someone elses chance) to unload my (their) emotional baggage of the day on someone who was being polite. Also, I don't mind people chatting up other people. But don't do it if I'm the one behind you and we're in a service, customer situation!

Automated machines are just one example of how society is inadvertently cutting out interactions between humans. Because of this, people don't know how to communicate with each other. We don't know how to 'read' or track other people's attitudes.

There was a time when great customer service was something you simply expected. There wasn't ever a question about how your call would be handled, how your complaint would be addressed. Even getting gas used to be full service. Someone would come out, ask you what kind of gas you wanted and you'd tell them. (There are still a few east coast states that still do things that way.) Now, you have to have something physically wrong with you to get an attendant to pump your gas.

And what about the days where you'd walk into a store and if you seemed confused, someone would ask you if you need help. Try that at Best Buy or Staples these days. You WILL wait till the sky turns red and still be waiting to be 'helped'. And what about food service? Remember the days where if you didn't eat ALL the food on your plate, wait staff would take the time to ask why? What was once common, is now something we think never really was....

The advancement of the cell phone has allowed us as humans to cut off that part of ourselves that used to like writing letters. It's cut off that part of us that used to be in tuned to how a customer, how each of us is thinking. It's cut off part of our humanity.

Remember you have a voice and a heart. Remember that intuition inside of you that recognizes other people's pain. You were born of a human, of this earth. We are all linked. Once you lose that part of you that senses outside itself, it is almost impossible to regain.


Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Be a good friend to yourself before you expect others to be a good friend to you

It's not easy being green.

It was of course Kermit The Frog who sang those sad little lyrics lamenting the unfortunate ways being green can make you feel invisible. He sang of how ordinary you are being green by blending in with things that are common, like leaves. Most telling of all, he sang of how people tend to pass you by as ordinary. He sings of how maybe it would be better being red, yellow or gold, flashy, stand out colors that pop! He sang of being twinkly like a star or flashy sparks in the water.

Just like Kermit, most of us tend to believe we have an image not worthy of facing the world. Most of us tend to think that adequate is our limit. The ones who are motivated tend to be that way because they are surrounded by family or friends that root them on. After all, it's much easier to storm the castle if you have a squadron of guys with bows and arrows behind you. You can attempt it alone, but your chances of survival are seriously reduced!

But what if you don't have a tribe backing you up? What if you grew up in a house where your parents found you to be 'green' and didn't offer the kind of cushion and support it takes to be red, yellow or gold?

I want to mention Dr. Phil for a moment... I watched Dr. Phil once. (Okay, maybe twice!) The thing about Dr. Phil is that you have to sort of take what he says and put it through a strainer. For example. I hate celery. Celery is one of those foods people don't notice in their salads. I notice. I just don't like the taste. When I got to Souper Salad or Sweet Tomatoes and I want one of their potato or pasta salads, I eventually end up picking out the celery with my fork when I get back to the table. I mean, I love their potato and pasta salads, but I can do without the celery. Some of what Dr. Phil says is like the celery. The dish is good, but parts of it have to be filtered out.

Anyway, Dr. Phil said that it takes a bunch of 'Atta Girls!' to fix one negative comment. In other words, the positive stuff we hear about ourselves has to be pretty much tripled, quadrupled to fix the one negative comment someone tosses at us. I believe the reason behind this is because when you are happy, you don't notice how good it feels. Well, you may notice, but you take it for granted. When something negative happens, you remember it, because you notice how it feels. We also 'feel' like the happy stuff ends too fast, whereas the negative drags on. (A good example is when you are waiting for the weekend to come. Then BOOM it's Sunday! Time really didn't actually fly. It's just that if you enjoyed yourself it 'felt' shortened. The same goes for Monday mornings. You look up at the wall clock to find that it's only 10 AM, yet you could have sworn it was 12.)

Positive affirmations are like happy 'moments'. If you don't remember them or if you put them way in the back of your mind, the negative will come charging forward. Negative is very assertive.

The way you begin or retain the process of feeling good about you, is to make sure you are surrounded by people who give you reason to LOVE yourself. Of course, be realistic about your abilities! If I didn't go to school to be a brain surgeon, then chances are no matter how much I psyche myself up into believing I can be a brilliant surgeon, I will kill someone attempting to operate!

Finding supportive, realistic friends isn't easy! You have to know who you are and what you want so that you don't draw people who are subconsciously non supportive. (All of us have had a friend who we thought was supportive when it turns out that they really weren't that impressed with us...) To do that you first have to LOVE yourself. It's confusing how it works, because the process is almost simultaneous.

The simplest way to figure out if someone finds you a joy and a privilege to know, is they seriously listen to what they say. If every comment you make seems to be backed up with a negative comment, then you know that maybe this person isn't the best person to go to when you need support. You have to use your intuition. Tune into how you 'feel' when you are talking to your friends. Friends make time for you and you make time for them. If you find yourself dragging and dreading whenever you need to see someone, maybe it's time to seek out new companions. You don't need to befriend everyone you meet! Believe me, tha can do more harm than good!

Now, back to Kermit... He doesn't just leave us thinking that being green sucks! Half way through the song he let's us know that green is the color of spring, which happens to be most people's favorite season. He compares green to a mountain (big) and to a river (important). He reminds us that trees are green and tall.

He ends the song letting us know that he isn't going to wonder why he is green. He realized long ago that green may be ordinary, but it's also beautiful and versatile. Find that versatility inside yourself and choose friends who seem to have that same internal signature.

It's a lot easier being green when you stop wondering why and just accept it as beautiful.

(Reference: IT'S NOT EASY BEING GREEN - Sung by Kermit from the MUPPETS)

Monday, August 3, 2009

By the Way, Life on Auto Pilot Isn't Living...

So, I'm sitting at the light on 19th Ave and Glendale. There are two cars in front of me. The light has turned green and the first guy is waiting traffic from the other direction to die down, before he finds his opening to make the left turn. The car in front of me pulls forward. The way is clear for him to go. There are no cars coming from the other direction. I'm waiting...he's waiting... cars behind us are waiting... I honk my horn and he pulls forward, slowly. Angered by this lack of initiative, I pull into the lane next to him and pull over into his lane some 30 feet in front of him. I make my right perfectly, no squealing tires or brake slamming. He is behind me, because he apparently is needing to visit the grocery store too.

This is just one example of what I call Auto Piloting through life!

My anger cooled minutes later. But, I am aware I could have handled it all better. I could have been in better control of the way I reacted to this situation, instead of letting it 'get' me. But this is the thing... this is not the first of one incident where I've noticed people just kind of emotionally surfing through life! It's not the first time I've noticed people paying so little attention to what they are doing. When the lane is clear, you go. You go because you are wasting other people's time by sitting there waiting at the light. If your heads not in the game, then you need to stay home!

People who don't find situations (Life) to be a priority are a problem for me. These types of people should be a problem for everyone! Another example: You and your friend are meeting for dinner. You have arrived at the place of meeting, 10 minutes early. You don't mind the ten minute wait. As a matter of fact, you don't mind the cushion of and extra ten minutes waiting for you friend. Traffic lights take a while sometimes, getting home late from another event can make a person late, etc.

Now, suppose it's 45 minutes after the time you are supposed to meet and your friend comes bounding in, happy to see you. Is there cause to be upset here? You arrived on time... a little early even! The 45 minutes you waited for that friend could have been spent doing something else, like eating. Making someone wait is rude and unaware. Making someone wait, sends the signal that that person is not priority! You can address this with your friend who may say, "Oh, I didn't notice. I'm sorry!"

Everyday, we look at situations like this as just fluff. We see them that way, because no one got 'hurt'. But what if someone did get hurt?

For example: Suppose your child is premature and needs a medication that is very specific. This medications name is very similar to another rare medication's name. As a matter of fact, the medications are different only by one letter in their name, but they do drastically different things.

Suppose a nurse, who is assigned to your baby, gives your child the wrong medication. They give the child the other medication, that is a letter off. Your child nearly dies because of this oversight! This is a true story. And it happens in hospitals, not on a regular basis, but it happens.

Something as delicate as a life deserves top priority when it comes to detail. In this instance, we wouldn't question that this nurse wasn't paying the strictest attention. But, shouldn't the strictest attention be paid across the board? Obviously, someone waiting in traffic for someone asleep at the wheel or arriving late to dinner, in no way compares to a child being wrongly medicated and nearly dying, but the premise is the same.

Would you want the air traffic controller of an airport to be text messaging his wife, while your plane is trying to land? Would you feel comfort knowing that the men who constructed your house were in fact daydreaming and discussing lunch time or other personal matters while they were putting your house together? Would you want the head of security for your building to be reading a book at work while a steady traffic of people enter the building unnoticed?

But, is paying attention to life, taking life too seriously? Should paying attention be relegated to only the dangerous parts of life? I say no! All of a life is important. From the first time you stub your toe, to the last traffic accident you had. Every incident in life leads to the next. Don't just pay attention to the dangerous parts of life! Pay attention to all of it. The only time you should feel comfortable letting your guard down and paying no attention is when you are asleep. Be awake for the other part of the day and night.

Stay safe!


Sunday, August 2, 2009

What To Expect

Understand that I am not a person who is going to tell you about how to achieve peace. As a spiritualist, it is hard for me to believe that people reach peace while living as humans. Human living is blood, guts, love, compassion, passion, hate, rage, fear....etc. I think peace is achieved in death. I believe you will always have some kind of adversity to expeierence. See me as the mentor and guide through the stuff I've lived though, you can relate to.