Going Solo With Spirituality

There’s a wonderful phrase in the Neopagan / Wiccan text The Charge of The Goddess, that states “If that which you seek, you do not find within yourself, you will never find it without. For I have been with you from the beginning, and I am that which is attained at the end of all desire.” Most recently I have come to identify with this sentiment more and more, and it caused me to put much thought into my spiritual path and where I am headed with it. Earlier this month, my partner Eric and I cruised to the ABC Islands in the Southern Caribbean, and it was in Bonaire, where we visited a desert and explored caves, that I realized I needed to go completely solo on my spiritual journey. Being surrounded by such natural beauty, feeling this deep connection to nature, made me feel that I was spending too much time seeking the unseen, when there was lots around me that I could already see, hear, taste and touch. And it just felt right that after all this time seeking advice from others, in a wide range of different faiths and practices, that I have a go at it…. alone. This meant saying goodbye to an online spiritual community lead by amazing individuals, with equally amazing members, whom I had come to love and enjoy. So a difficult decision was made.

I’ve learned many things since I was a young child and started making my own spiritual choices. My mother and father weren’t big on organized religion, and although they were Greek Orthodox and Catholic respectively, the furthest they pushed their views on us was in the form of saying the Lord’s prayer and a Hail Mary before bed. I think this had lots to do with my Serbian Grandfather, who died a year before I was born, that witnessed so much devastation due to religious conflict between Muslims and Christians. He never went to Church, as he said it was full of hypocrites and that Church was indeed inside his own heart. He followed his faith, basically on a solo path as well, something I’m just now realizing I have in common with him. This didn’t fly very well with a local priest that refused to say his name at mass unless my grandmother paid him off. Thus my mom felt very comfortable in letting me make my own choices, even when it involved a group of Mormons visiting me when I was 10. I wasn’t baptized until I was 14 and the choice to accept Christ and become a Southern Baptist was entirely my own.

Petroglyphs written by the natives in Bonaire are found throughout the system of caves .

I think one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned in the almost 40 years of choices I’ve made, is that your spiritual path is unique and relative to your existence. Which in very simple terms means it’s perfect for you and no one else. I think that’s largely where so much of the conflict arises with religion, as you want to share the amazing experience you’ve had with others which most definitely has to feel better than their own. Sometimes this is actually true, but mostly it’s not and it leaves both parties feeling angry and hurt. Many times the teachings of an entire faith seek to be dismissed, no matter how accurate or helpful they may be. As you can tell by my opening reference within this post, this is not the way I live my life. Of course, fear and religion are often mixed together in order to control the masses, and sadly this happens even to this day. But the part of a spiritual path being so specific to a single individual is all too often overlooked. Even in the most liberal of communities and belief systems, there will always be someone present that will attempt to invalidate your experience because they are an expert, through no fault of their own. And that’s when I have a huge problem accepting and fitting in.

“…a spiritual journey requires… staying humble and not being afraid to admit you don’t know all the answers.”

Spiritual guidance is of course extremely important to many, and I wouldn’t want to discourage anyone from seeking as it were, to try and find a group of loving people that share your beliefs. However, I think it’s immensely important to always remember who you are in these communities, and not to take anything as fact just because someone says it. Take what resonates and walk away from everything else. Spirituality should be a lot like a good therapist… it should guide you to find your own answers, not spoon feed them to you. This point continues to be made clear to me by a statement made by his Holiness, The Dalai Lama, whom I’m had the honor of seeing speak at Florida International University in 1999. In his opening statement he said with much laughter from the audience, “I don’t know what the meaning of life is… if you do, please let me know because I’m still searching for it.” Indeed an enlightened individual stating the obvious… no one is an expert when it comes to such things. These words seem to pop into my head whenever I feel utterly confused about anything, and I’m extremely grateful for it. Perhaps his response is the greatest indicator of what a spiritual journey requires… staying humble and not being afraid to admit you don’t know all the answers.

While the mysteries of the “unseen” are still waiting to be solved, I’m spending more time with what is already here and staying present.

So that’s about it. I’ve packed up most of my angel cards and I’ve tucked them away in a safe place. I’m spending more time with the physical beauty that surrounds us all, and noticing it where it was previously overlooked. I still enjoy the connection of reading for myself, but only because it puts me in touch with my inner being and who I am. I don’t have to worry about the advice I give because it’s my own. My answers, my questions, my situations, my life… my journey. I’m still exploring the Universe, although with a very open mind and even a deeper connection to what some call God, Source or (insert your deity here). I’m still asking questions, seeking and sharing… and the experience is completely perfect in every way.

Just for me.

The Power Of You

Just this morning I experienced a huge epiphany and I had to share. I was having a conversation among fellow spiritualists and one of them, David Hanzel, a psychic medium, made the comment that we are special and magical no matter who we are. David went on to say that it didn’t matter if you were a galactic princess or a plumber, that everyone had the power to change the world. While we’ve all heard this type of grounding motivation before, today these words brought a new awareness to me. I’ve always believed them in theory, but this morning I actually saw and felt the potential behind them. It’s difficult to describe but I’ll give it my best shot.

Human beings are interconnected much in the same way trees and plants are in a forest. Simply by being your true self, you can affect the existence of those around you and even further.

For starters, power, as we know it, is basically an illusion. As humans we like authority figures because it comforts us and provides a sense of security. Since the beginning of our hominid existence we have looked to healers, wise men, village chiefs, tribal leaders and political figures for guidance and authority. While those figures help shape our society and we need them, the actual power they possess is no different than anyone else alive because in reality, they are a part of the same bigger plan as all of us. They are playing a role, just as important as yours, to get our collective species / consciousness to a certain place in time and space. Yes, this is waaaay metaphysical and philosophical but at the same time, perfect in its design.

This was a huge relief for me because if you watch the news right now you’d think the planet was a pretty fucked up place… one of the reasons I try my best to stay away from it. However, what you’re seeing is just a macro view of what’s really going on…. seriously… think about it. There are about twenty people right now that share most of the news stories you see on TV, the same twenty people over and over. Can you name them all? If you think it’s way too low of a number, let’s raise it to one hundred or even one thousand. Folks there are 7.7 billion people on the planet… that means you could fit all the news makers onto a single cruise ship. Do you see what a small representation of the real comings and goings they are? So imagine this planet with all 7.7 billion people, doing things which the news can’t even begin to report on… things like creating, loving, helping each other… wow. The amount of wrong or “evil” as it were, is absolutely minuscule compared to the amount of good we do while existing day to day.

“Bob the plumber might have an interaction with someone one day, a simple smile when they needed it the most, and that person might go forward setting off a chain of events leading eventually to the end of world hunger… or the beginning of world peace. “

Here’s the best part… your role is vital to this amazing collective, because the interconnectedness we all share is more complex and amazing than anyone could ever imagine. We communicate in ways that science hasn’t dared to explain, ways that can’t be quantified with current technology. Even better you don’t need to shout or scream or sign a petition to get your point across, you just need to be you and be good with that. You’ve heard it before folks… simply being the change you want to see. A point driven home when I saw the Dalai Lama speaking in person and every answer to every global crisis was the same… “be nice to each other.”   Abraham Hicks takes this a step further and often states “The greatest gift you can give someone is your own happiness.”

So there you have it. Bob the plumber might have an interaction with someone one day, a simple smile when they needed it the most, and that person might go forward setting off a chain of events leading eventually to the end of world hunger… or the beginning of world peace. Something the most powerful people on the planet, or so it would seem, couldn’t do in thousands of years. If you’d like try your hand at it, just practice being happy and being kind, just practice using the power of you. Realizing how important you truly are, is a step in the right direction. For everyone…and for the planet.

Hello 2019 – Cleaning Out My Vibrational Closet

It’s been a while since I last cleaned out my vibrational closet, let’s see… what could possibly be in there? Oh yes, how could I’ve forgotten… that FaceBook post I wrote in August, I’m sure it’s still pissing off at least three or four people a day. Oh wow and look at that, a Yelp! review that will forever tarnish the reputation of a server I had at that new restaurant in town. Perhaps they were having a really bad day, but now the internet makes it easier than ever to reproduce that horrible experience like a karmic photo copier… over and over. Thinking about this might make you smile with satisfaction and rub your hands together like an evil villain in the original Batman TV series, or it just might make you realize that your actions are putting out bad vibrations over and over… that far outweigh any inconvenience or bitter cappuccino. Are you really making the world a better place? Or are you polluting the Universe with negative energy that will eventually find its way back to you? My bet is on the latter, which is why I’ve decided to clean out my vibrational closet as part of my New Years resolutions.

Just about a week ago, Yelp! lost a pretty cool user. My profile and combined reviews would be viewed thousands of times a month. I would often receive notifications about fellow Yelpers complimenting me on my reviews and even the occasional “you look hot” in my inbox. Leave it to my fellow gay men to turn Yelp into another hookup site. On my last visit though, I got sort of this bad sensation in my gut, a sort of “this is doing more harm than good feeling.”     I decided right then and there that the world would be a better place, however small a difference, if there was one less complainer in this world. Now before all you Elite Yelpers (yes that’s a thing) jump down my throat, it’s a marketing law of physics that humans are more likely to tell people about a bad experience than a good one, and while they’re at it, tell a lot of people about that experience. So as I’ve said before, Yelp! is an inherently negative platform. Well it now has one less bitch in its user database.

Find the positive, it’s there if you look for it.

Deleting my Yelp! account felt pretty amazing. In spiritual circles the importance of “letting it go” is mentioned over and over and over. It makes sense since holding onto a grudge is pretty low vibe, just ask your favorite priest, rabbi, cleric, pastor, shaman, daily pot smoker… it’s just not a good thing to do. So why do it electronically? If it wasn’t bad enough that you could ruin someone’s day by telling them off in person, why would you do it in perpetuity? Holy shit think about what you’re doing to yourself energetically! This ability wasn’t present until social media came into being, so it’s pretty recent… are we already noticing the long term effects? You tell me.

I wasn’t going to stop with Yelp! after it felt so good releasing that negativity. Next stop, Twitter. That place is like a huge neighborhood of people in a bad mood. If you ever thought I was a nice person just take a look at my former Twitter feed and you’ll see someone you didn’t think existed. Twitter is the worlds best place to quickly and efficiently spread bad news and horrible events. Not only can you retweet a person’s views, you can retweet a comment about the views and so on and so on. You have the ability to create endless chains of dark information designed for the most part, to move people into anger or emotional distress. And on the off chance you’ve found a nice tweet, there will be someone that wants to fuck up your day in the thread and reply with something downright toxic. So Twitter  had to go as well… all my tweets and re-tweets… poof! Once again the Universe reacted with a “thank you Mike for cleaning up your shit” and I felt great.

With two platforms down and one to go, FaceBook would be a problem. When I was a kid my Sunday school teachers would tell me that the devil was dangerous because he would mix the truth and lies together. Later I would come to realize that Satan owns most of the major news networks (except PBS, don’t fuck with PBS, I’m a member and I love them), newspapers and oh yes, FaceBook. The problem is there’s a lot of good on FaceBook, a lot of wonderful people (not to mention friends and family) trying to accomplish a lot of wonderful things. Except when you realize that wonderful person supports an ideology, be it political or otherwise, that turns your stomach. But wait, you saw the light in them and you love them, so there’s a lot of good there… it’s only what you discovered that made you change your mind. Yeah, totally like Janet Jackson in her Rhythm Nation 1814 Album, it’s only “the knowledge” that sets us apart and defines differences where we wouldn’t have known otherwise.

“It’s hard to be right all the time but every now and then you have to forgive people that are dumb.”

So here’s how I approached FaceBook. First off I did a detox for two weeks and it felt pretty darn awesome. I felt so distanced from the all the “share if you care” posts (seriously if I did that for every one of them I wouldn’t have time to use the bathroom, never mind post anything of my own) and all the people that were just wrong in their personal beliefs. You know the ones we’re talking about, they pick a platform that most of the known Universe doesn’t agree with but they’re suddenly an expert and the internet allows them to find three million of their closest crazy friends and they now think they’re right. Which is actually another bad thing about FaceBook, you can find anyone to agree with you. There is always someone available to say you’re right and it’s okay, no matter how fucked up you are. Detoxing from all this felt amazing and I was able to re-watch Downton Abbey a second time and practice more knitting.

Secondly I forgave everyone that was dumb. It’s hard to be right all the time but every now and then you have to forgive people that are dumb. Okay I’m just kidding, I’m not really like that, but you have to stop hating people that believe differently than you do. Suddenly that’s become so acceptable and it’s super unhealthy. Enough of this “us versus them” crap already, it’s incredibly toxic. And you can help make a difference by not posting the “us versus them” crap in the first place. Yeah it’s tough when you’re an activist like me but you have to realize that you’re not going to change anyone’s mind on social media. It’s like trying to convince someone in the car that just blew the stop sign that they were wrong. You know how angry people get in a car even when God and Mother Mary knows they almost killed five people. Remember that social media is new and people used to get their point across by example and good conversation over coffee… what ever happened to that? Stop being a part of the problem.

Lastly I’ve limited my time online thus minimizing exposure to the radioactive crap that’s out there. It’s bad enough people look at their phones all the time. Put your mobile device in your pocket and notice the trees and the sky around you. Listen to the sounds and observe the colors that make up the physical world. I love going to the beach with my partner Eric, but it seems after we’re done taking our share of selfies, most people around are buried in their devices. You make this trip to enjoy the sun, the surf and the sand and then you don’t look at it. What’s the point of even going?

So take a deep breath and start cleaning up your vibrational closet and get rid of the low vibe crap that will eventually come back in your direction. Change your perspective about all those posts and realize what it is they’re really doing. If you’re pissed off about service, let a manager know and let it go. Don’t set out to ruin a business or someone’s job just because you’ve let life make you bitter. Start with just one platform and notice how it feels not being part of the problem. If you have something to say or something you’re angry about, take real action. Go join a group, volunteer, or do something that will actually count. The Universe will thank you and in turn, you’ll feel great.

Just let it go Elsa.

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.

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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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