Perhaps God Doesn’t Work In Mysterious Ways

As a child I would often wonder with my limited view of the world, why bad things seemed to happen to really good people. My mom would often respond with the famous phrase “God works in mysterious ways” and then she would go about her business like nothing happened. This actually worked for me until I got older and learned to identify that as the biggest excuse ever for not saying “I don’t know, it seems kind of fucked up doesn’t it?” I mean it would make perfect sense that if there was a God, then he’d step in like a giant super hero and save us all. Organized religions have capitalized on this though, so if bad things are happening to you, it must mean you’re a sinner and have angered God. In some faiths, bad things happen to you because you did something bad to someone else and so you’re paying back spiritual debt or as it’s commonly referred to, karma. But what if God has nothing to do it and there’s a reason why these things happen… what if it’s you?

Now before you get ready to burn me at the steak (not the first time I’m sure), I need to preface this by saying I don’t know all the answers. I think I’ve said this before, but let me say it again… the only thing I know for sure is that I don’t know. With that out of the way, let me just think out loud for a few moments and attempt to explain where I’m coming from. I’m not trying to convince you about anything, religion and spirituality is a very personal journey and I’m not going to attempt to change you mind. Not that anyone can. If there’s anything we should have learned by now with thousands of years of religious based war and conflict, it’s that you can’t change people’s mind about religion. You can sometimes scare people into believing, which isn’t true faith since it’s just fear masked as spirituality (which is how much organized religion operate), but you can’t change their minds. You can try sharing your own perspective and if it resonates with them, perhaps they’ll explore it. And that’s what I’m doing here, just sharing my view.

There was an episode of Star Trek Voyager called “Death Wish” where a member of the “Q Continuum” asked to die because he was literally bored shitless. If you’re not familiar with Star Trek let me know after reading this and I’ll unfriend you, but to briefly explain it, the “Q” are a race of omnipotent beings, able to instantly manifest anything they desire. They can go to a new planet at the blink of an eye or even create one. They know everything since they’re been everywhere and they don’t die. Well turns out life isn’t all peachy for these folks because there’s no fun in being all powerful when there’s no challenges. They just sit around doing nothing since they’ve done it all… in other words, they are bored shitless. So this particular Q asks to have his powers stripped and to be allowed to die, permanently.

From the Star Trek Voyager episode “Death Wish,” life as Q was described as living in this sleepy town in the middle of nowhere.

Many people believe in an afterlife, and in that afterlife, or heaven as it were, you can having anything you desire or want. There’s no tears in heaven, no strife, no pain or suffering, just lots of really good times. Every question that you’ve ever had in heaven is answered, and you’ll live an eternity worshiping your God, eating grapes, having sex, or whatever your version of heaven is like. On the surface heaven sounds like a pretty awesome thing, but don’t you think after a while it would get pretty boring? I mean if nothing bad was ever to happen and you didn’t have to worry about anything, wouldn’t that just make you almost a Q?   Wouldn’t you want to discover new ideas and new concepts… go on an adventure perhaps? As humans we often pay to be “scared” or “challenged” whether it being climbing a mountain or going on a roller coaster. If money isn’t an issue for you, and you can literally manifest anything you want in your life with a swipe of your credit card, perhaps you take on something bigger than what your money can do… like vaccinate the world Bill and Melinda Gates style. So being challenged and avoiding boredom actually seems pretty damn important for us. Just ask anyone that’s ever jumped out of a plane over and over again…. while many of us might just ask “why would you do that?” Why would you think this desire goes away after you die?

Imagine now that you’re a being made of pure consciousness and you want the thrill of being alive and being able to actually feel.  You want the opportunity to live and to make mistakes and to learn, you want to know what it’s like to feel unconditional love and to have someone risk everything for you. You want to know what it’s like to have someone take care of you in your time of need, even if it was back breaking, and to have that someone give anything just for one more day to do it again. You might want to experience a sunset knowing it may be your last. You want to feel the most deepest of emotions because where you’re from, some of them don’t exist. Perhaps your state of pure consciousness is an adrenaline junky and wants it all in a single lifetime, or perhaps they’ll take it slow and enjoy it little by little. And what if you could do it all again under different circumstances and learn new things and have new adventures? What if what we are learning is the art of feeling itself?

” If a perfectly wonderful and amazing being created me for the sole purpose of worshiping him and telling him how great thou art, he’s an ego manic and not that great. “

You might surmise I’m thinking we’re all in some sort of giant simulator but I don’t think that’s accurate. This is bigger and much more important… I would dare say there’s a crucial mission to for us to accomplish individually and collectively. The human race advances not only technologically but emotionally and spiritually with every day that passes. What was considered acceptable behavior thousands of years ago, is now looked at as barbaric in some cases. We have setbacks, but we also have giant leaps forward. While we think of new ways to kill each other more efficiently, others are figuring out how to save lives and make us live longer. Why would anyone just want to leave and never come back? Don’t you want to see how the story ends? It would be kind of like reading your first Harry Potter book and enjoying it thoroughly but not finishing the last chapter because 10 PM came along.

I know I’m opening myself up to some criticisms, there’s lots of philosophical questions to ponder… but the nature of one’s existence has never been solved. I know some people will make the assumption that crime and things like murder must be okay then, because if this is all just a giant learning experience why not just do what we want? I would answer that question in two parts, the first being that I believe what we do here actually matters and secondly, a blog post wouldn’t be sufficient in any way to completely answer that question. I don’t know if a book would even do it. There are also complexities here that a human mind operating in three dimensions can’t completely understand. But I’m tired of thinking that somehow God is working in mysterious ways… because it doesn’t make any sense. If a perfectly wonderful and amazing being created me for the sole purpose of worshiping him and telling him how great thou art, he’s an ego manic and not that great. There’s a reason so much bigger and better than that… and if we knew, what would even be the point?

So I don’t think God works in mysterious ways, I think we signed up for much of what we experience with the freedom to change our minds at any time. Why? I’m not really sure. I’m also wondering how many people have completely turned their back on spirituality and or religion because of that stupid phrase. We love to assign blame as humans, so why not blame the creator? This could either rule you by fear, or cause you to hate the entire concept and decide the most supernatural thing in our existence is carbon. And yes, even that is a personal part of your journey and should be respected. Or you could come to the conclusion that we’re here for something beautiful, important and overall unknown. Although I greatly suspect we’re trying to advance the physical world and make it more like heaven… for everyone. But for that you’ll have to read my newest book, available in-stores now or an Amazon. It will dramatically change your life and make you successful.

Your Book of Gratitude

There are many days when life just seems too much to bare, when everything seems like it’s working against you and you’re barely making it.   It’s during these trying times when observing the things in your life that are actually working is most important.   You might be thinking “nothing is working right in my life right now, that’s exactly the problem!”   However truth be told, if you’re reading this then your eye sight is still functioning and you have access to an electronic device, whether it be a computer or hand held, and that’s something that’s working.   Turns out,  if you take the time to take inventory all the good things, however small, you’ll discover there’s much to be thankful for.    And that’s what’s called “A Book of Gratitude.”

Your book of gratitude is a way of expressing your creativity and bringing the good things in your life into your awareness.

Like many things on my spiritual journey, I didn’t realize a book of gratitude was actually a thing until I started to make one.    I called it my “book of light” and it was a way of cheering myself up when things in my life weren’t going so great.    It gave me permission to express my wishes and desires, but also provided a place to document everything that was actually going great for me.    I sat by myself and really thought hard about everything… the smallest detail…that was “working.”    I could see, hear, taste and touch, I could feel emotion, I had some food in the fridge, I had some way cool gel pens, I slept on a pillow last night, I had shelter… I wasn’t going to pass up anything.    I figured it was more than fair since when we’re upset about things, we tend to make mountains out of molehills.    So I did the same, but in the opposite direction and this was actually real… and tangible.

I started out by getting a decent sketch pad from Target and getting a box of 100 gel pens from Amazon for like $15.   I figured spending a little money was a way of me committing to actually doing this, and it gave the project some importance, however small it might have been.    I ended up using an old flower pot to hold all these pens since I didn’t realize what a hundred of them looked like until I received them in the mail.    This was a very cool process in itself because by giving myself permission to be creative, and to stop thinking of all the bad shit going on, I opened my temporarily distracted mind to infinite possibilities and solutions.   Plus who can say no to coloring?

100 Gel Pens! Holy Shit!

I began drawing in outrageous colors and designs… I’m not an artist by any means but I draw a pretty mean flower, like the kind from 70’s shower curtains.    I had this!   I just began drawing pictures of things that made me happy, dedicating an entire page at times to things that were going right.    For example, I dedicated a page to my mom, who has taught me so many valuable lessons in my life, and documented all the wonderful aspects of her that I could think of.    I dedicated a page to my partner Eric and everything that we’ve accomplished and experienced together, and I even drew a page of wishes… manifestations of things yet to come.    All in a positive light and outlook.     

“…by giving myself permission to be creative, and to stop thinking of all the bad shit going on, I opened my temporarily distracted mind to infinite possibilities and solutions. “

Making colorful lists in my book also became a thing, as I started giving each written word or item a different color, making sure once again that I paid great attention to not leaving anything out.    By the end of my first session, not only had I enjoyed a much needed break from all the chaos, but I felt uplifted, inspired and most importantly, I had hope.   Hope for the future and the kick ass list of things in my life that were actually working. This totally began taking on almost a scrap booky kind of feel, but even better because I was documenting my soul so to speak.

So on this Thanksgiving, when we’re supposed to be thinking of what we have to be thankful for, why not start your own book of gratitude and enjoy the process of realizing that things are never as bad as they seem, and there’s always room for hope, light and love.  

Wishing you all a joyous holiday season!

My book of light title page. Giving myself permission to draw about anything.

Invalidating Affection

Cooking for someone is probably one of the most spritual and fundamental things you can do in a relationship.   That warm and fuzzy feeling you get when enjoying a meal together prepared at home probably has some serious anthropological roots.   Thousands of years ago ,when we existed as hunters and gatherers, we brought back our kill to the family or tribe and took pleasure in the consumption of an animal which would sustain us nutritionally and even possibly clothe us.   Every part of the animal was utilized for our sustained existence and so it’s no wonder that sharing a meal with someone you care for, references some pretty ancient behaviors  and feels pretty darn good.

However this same connection to food and meal time can also bring great discomfort in relationships.  Fights during mealtime seem especially painful, especially when someone walks away from the setting.  Most people aren’t expecting to fight during a meal, so your defenses and guard are down.  Ever sit at a restaurant in anticipation of someone arriving for a date?   The level of sheer embarrassment and emotional pain is arguably much worse than that same individual not showing up at a theater or other venue.    Now imagine the pain associated with someone that uses meals as a way to completely invalidate your affection?

One of my favorite meals to make for myself…because I’m worth it.

I’ve experienced this first hand and I have to say it’s pretty painful.   I love cooking for those I love and I’ve been in the situation more than once where it’s been brought to my attention during an argument that “I never asked you to cook for me.”   Ouch.  Holy shit that hurts.   Not only are those words showing a great lack of manners and gratitude, but it’s a hurtful and often successful attempt to undermine the love and emotion you put into a meal.    Anyone’s who’s ever enjoyed cooking knows that a part of you and your energy is expressed in these culinary creations whether it be a simple hot dog or a four course dinner.   To have that turned around and mutated into something of an emotional weapon is tortuous.  It’s completely invalidating your affection and something you created from a magical place… your heart.

So how do we prevent such painful experiences from occurring?   You don’t.   I know that may sound crappy but in the almost 50 years I’ve been alive I’ve noticed humans will almost always take advantage of a week spot when it’s to their advantage and they’re trying to defend themselves physically or emotionally.  Unfortunately it’s just human nature.   Even more unfortunate is when you’re predisposed to suffering from this kind of wound because you make yourself vulnerable to it.  If you put your heart and soul into everything, then expect your heart and soul to feel the brunt of criticism, verbal insults and unjustified attacks on expressions of affection.  It’s part of being who you are.  It’s part of having a passion for something others can’t grasp or understand.

“It’s okay to want to do things for people and make them feel good, but not to the point where you make yourself so vulnerable and allow them to hurt you needlessly.”

You might also try changing your perspective and realizing you’re not responsible for anyone else’s happiness except your own.    The next time you make a wonderful dinner, do it for yourself and be willing to share it with others.   They will most certainly enjoy your efforts, but you will enjoy it so much more knowing you did it for yourself…. they simply have your permission to participate.   Yeah! And while your at it, make something special for yourself and hide it from them or better yet, eat it in the kitchen while you’re slaving away, completely unbeknownst to them you’re actually savoring freedom.

I hope you can see and appreciate my humor here.  There are no easy answers, but the middle ground is a good place to start.   It’s okay to want to do things for people and make them feel good, but not to the point where you make yourself so vulnerable and allow them to hurt you needlessly –  always create from the appropriate place.  Everyone needs to realize that when you’re wounded emotionally, part of the blame lies with the afflicted.   In some way or another,  we allowed it to happen… we gave  someone the power to enter our psyche and deliver the offending blow.    Doing things for yourself and allowing others to join in the fun makes it much easier when… and it will be a when,  someone tries to flip the tables and make it seem your efforts were unsolicited.   Not only would they be right, but they can use this little self esteem boost to help carry themselves out the front door and out of your awareness.   

Don’t Tell Me I’m Wrong

Astrology is the practice of observing the movements and positions of celestial bodies and making predictions based on this information.   For example, a new king will be born and a new era will begin when this star appears in the East.   Sound familiar?  Heaven forbid you actually practice the very art form that foretold the coming of Christ.   They just needed astrologers for the story and then they were all stoned to death I’m sure.

The level of hypocrisy I’m seeing with organized religion is astounding and it’s only getting worse.  Common decency and morals are thrown out the window when convenient, sexual predators are adored with a cult like following and serious crimes are dealt with internally and not referred to law enforcement.

Within its own construct, religion itself can’t even come to a conclusion.  There are over 800 versions of the Christian bible in English alone!  Does anyone remember the violence and discrimination in Ireland between Catholics and Protestants?  Seriously?   Their small differences in beliefs, although for the same God, were enough to justify murder.  Once again, all morals go out the window when it’s convenient.

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You Either Have Freedom, Or You Don’t.

Last weekend I made myself a really nice grass fed steak dinner and then sat down with a bottle of wine to watch a movie.   I would normally do this with my partner Eric, but since he was working on Saturday I resorted back to a ritual coined in HBO’s Sex and The City as “secret single behavior.”    This is a practice you perform over and over again when no one is around, and cooking myself a really nice dinner is one of those things I love doing… even when alone.    I was really in the mood for the something British, as I often am, and while scrolling through NetFlix I discovered a film called “The Duchess.”   Starring Keira Knightly, this movie chronicles the marriage of Georgiana Cavendish, Duchess of Devonshire, to her husband William Cavendish, the 5th Duke of Devonshire.   Early in the film, the Duchess states during a dinner party “One is either free or one is not, the concept of freedom is an absolute.”  This in response to a statement made by one of the Duke’s guests.  It got me thinking… and it’s still working its magic on me days later. 

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The Lesson iPhones Teach Us

If you find yourself with nothing to do one day, take a little fiber optic field to trip over to ebay and do a search for Commodore 64 computers.   Some of you might not even know what a Commodore is, because by the time you were able to suck your thumb, they were stashed away in your family’s garage or attic, like some heirloom, sharing space with wedding dresses and photo albums.    It’s also quite possible that your parents don’t even know what a Commodore 64 is, since it’s been 35 years when they first appeared on store shelves, being one of the first affordable home computers of their time at around $600.    The 64 doesn’t stand for bit or gigs by the way,  it stands for kilobyte.   To put that in perspective for all the Glee kids out there, it would take over 120 of them to have enough RAM to store an average song from iTunes, or 256,000 of them to have the same memory as a pathetic 16GB iPhone.   Like OMG WTF?  Like, who buys a 16GB iPhone anymore, like whatever.     Yet the most interesting fact about these 35 year old machines with lots of moving buttons and springs on their keyboards, is they still work as good as the day your family brought one home.     Which is why you can still buy one and they’re pretty popular as collectibles.

photo credit – gabtavian1, ebay user

Around the end of the millennia (holy fuck I’m old), I was attending a training class in Melbourne, a racist part of Florida otherwise known as the Space Coast, for a new content management solution we were deploying at work.   During my initial visit I learned that many people there were connected with the aerospace industry in some way or another, which made perfect sense considering their proximity to Kennedy Space Center.    After all, that’s where most of the Space Shuttle missions were launched.   I also learned that Taco Bell in Melbourne closed at 9 PM on a Saturday night and that yes, I do look Latino, so much so that the very smiley and very nice lady at the Deli counter in Winn-Dixie stopped being so nice when she turned and looked at me, angrily asking “can I help you?”   When I took my purchases prepared by racist white lady to the young cashier, I was told in a creepy horror movie sort of way “you’re not from around here are you?”  Okay so I’m losing myself here… where was I before this took a Stephen King turn… oh yes… I also learned that NASA was buying old IBM PC computers on our friend ebay, because they needed the chips for the fleet of aging Space Shuttles.  Yup, they needed spare parts and turns out, computer chips last a pretty darn long time.  

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When Mom Gets Old

I’m getting to be that age, you hear it often around the office almost on a weekly basis, someone’s parent is ill or has suddenly passed away.   I’m very blessed because my mom is still around, about to have her 81st birthday.    My mom isn’t in the best of health, and I often worry about her and how’s she feeling.     It’s difficult for her to catch her breath and she’s constantly connected to a variety of oxygen machines, concentrators they call them, and they sustain her life.    When she walks out the door, the gentle hum of the machine she’s carrying can be heard underneath her words.   She’s a talker like me, that’s where I get it from, and I often have to stop her and say “breathe through your nose” so she can get some O2.   You can probably guess I love my mom very much and I don’t know what I’d do without her.

Mother’s Day With My Mom
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Instant Pot Whatever You Have Geek Stew

The first time I made this delicious and hardy beef stew recipe, I barely had any vegetables on hand.   I decided to go for it anyways, inspired by one of my favorite childhood stories Nail Broth.  So this recipe will vary slightly depending on what you have.    The basics are the same though… kind of like making vanilla ice cream.    Using organic veggies increasing the flavor exponentially.

Thanking the cow for its service to you is also and awesome thing to do.  🙂

Geek Stew!

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We Are More Than A Party

When I first realized I was gay I was 17 years old and terrified.   Although I was sexually attracted to other men, I was frightened to become a part of the stereotype I saw on television and magazines.    Of course times were different and what you saw on television was exactly that, a stereotype.    As I began to meet other gay people I realized we were a diverse crowd of Blacks, Whites, Asians, Hispanics and any other ethnic category you could find on a college application.   We celebrated our diversity because we needed to, our sites were set on fighting the AIDS epidemic, acceptance and equal rights.    I quickly realized the scary images I saw in my youth were no where near the Gays and Lesbians I had come to know.

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Good Nutrition Is An Uphill Climb

Each day, consumers are offered more and more ways to make better choices and eat healthier, which will hopefully lead to a longer life with less visits to the doctor. Organic versions of our favorite foods are increasingly popular and available, even foods that you didn’t even think could be organic are showing up on supermarket shelves.   While walking through the beautiful pristine isles of Target recently, I spotted an organic version of Capri Sun fruit drink.  Yes, the sugar and chemical mix of yesteryear is now organic.  But is it any better for you?  Healthy labels may sound great, but more choices actually means more research for the person trying to do the right thing.   As it’s often noted, food has a story and you should know the characters involved and the journey its made, before it ends up in your stomach.

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