Thursday, June 22, 2017

Lessons from House Cleaning

I haven't blogged in a while and have been tracking my dreams without typing them up which bothers me but I'll get around to it eventually. 

In the meantime I've been taking notes on life lessons learned from cleaning a variety of houses. 

I realized that I was being led into this line of work for the humility, the adventure and freedom I feel traveling around and exploring new areas, the exercise which I've been lacking for a while now, the need for income, getting to visit with different pets and animals, and the ability of this line of work to provide great insights into the lives of others. 

There's so much our homes say about us without us even being present. So here are some things I've picked up on that distinguish the wealthier homes and lifestyles from those who tend to make and have less: 

Wealthy Homes: 
I was surprised how consistently clean a lot of wealthier homesteads are -especially since they're bigger. These homes and families tend to be less cluttered in general and clean-up after themselves regularly. They only have house cleaners come once a month. 

Their homes are usually very well organized and although they have less in terms of clutter what they do have tends to be worth more. Their homes also seem like they're open for show. Even the kids rooms are usually pretty well put together and "themed" throughout with matching bed spreads, curtains, and bathroom accessories. Their whole home seems to be on display. 

These homes also feature a lot of artwork and artifacts and items from various cultures. Being educated and cultured and having decent amount of books around seems to go along with this way of life. 

These individuals themselves will also paint, do artwork, or play an instrument of some kind. 

As for religion ALL of the wealthier homes I've seen have some kind of religion around. A lot of the time it's actually Buddhism. I've seen many statues of Buddha and books on Buddhism and "being mindful". The second religious item I come across is The Cross. A lot of the wealthier families aren't exactly agnostic and tend to have signs of Christianity in their home -especially a cross in their children's rooms. 

In General:
Among all the families I've also noticed a lot of interracial couples. I've been to over 20 houses now and I'd say at least 25% of them were all inter-racial couples. Most in general were couples with young kids. 

Other common themes included Star Wars and Harry Potter books pretty consistently. Also items and music pertaining to classic rock. 

Less-Wealthy Homes:
They tended to be cluttered, unclean, and have tons of stuff everywhere -including clothes on the floor. There were still items from various cultures and again Buddhism came up a lot, but in general there was just a lot of everything. They did not clean up after themselves and although their homes were filled with more, they seemed to have less in general. They were amidst chaos and disorder in every room. 

I think the other important lessons I've learned from this -other than learning from some of the people themselves and feeling inspired by what they love or the way they live - is NEVER to hire painters that come in and spray-paint the walls. Paint splatter on counters, floors, and items has been a consistent theme: even in wealthier houses. It's next to impossible to remove every speck and splatter of paint you find. It ruins mirrors and counter tops the most. 

I like this line of work. I get to go places I otherwise would have never traveled to or known existed. I get to learned cool tips on how to clean and maintain a clean house. I love the people I work with and my physical stamina is building up which is good. 

I've also glimpsed into some pretty profound things. I came into one home that seemed to have issues. There was something a little off the second I walked in. It was fairly spacious and had high-ceilings, but also seemed kind of cluttered. A 15 year old boy walked by but wouldn't make eye contact with us or really acknowledge us. Is that really how teenagers are these days? I hate stereotypes but when you hear what people are complaining about with this disengagement in person and then see it being enacted in a teen boy... 

The dad was asleep in the back room and to me that said it all. I knew there was some issue in the family -some kind of tragedy or struggle they'd been hit with, but I didn't know what. Their houses was pretty messy and I kept noticing pictures of the husband and wife in pictures from the 80s, but didn't know where the wife was. 

Then the dad woke up and greeted us at one point. We went into his bedroom and turned into the bathroom and that's when I saw ALL of the medical equipment for the shower, the toilet, and the stuff on the sink. Someone was handicapped. It wasn't until later when I passed by the backyard that I saw the wife. There must have been a huge accident -she was entirely paraplegic. 

My first thought was, "How sad, how do they cover all the medical bills?" Which was a weird thought, but not so weird given the current healthcare climate we're in -especially politically. It's sick that we've come to a place as a people when the concern for paying medical bills outranks in instinct to the fact someone is paralyzed for life. 

But the way the husband tended to the wife was something I know I was meant to see. I had feared and wondered in the past if I was ever disabled or stuck in a wheelchair at some point would the person I was with romantically stay with me. My new friend Monique said she once met a guy who was actively trying to cheat on his wife because she got diagnosed with cancer and he didn't want to be "burdened" by her. It's not too hard to fathom the transience of some people. 

But this man was different. I'd say his wife needed him, but all I could see was the opposite. He catered to her, was attentive to her, and came alive in her presence. He was completely devoted to her and it moved me. That people think that what we need in this life is a body and a companion to fill the space and what we have the ability to be granted instead by God's grace is this love that fills all spaces not with a body or a person -but with a soul. 

I prayed for them, for their sorrows to be healed because life certainly isn't easy for them. But I already know they're doing well in the ways that matter most. 

There have been these sorts of insights brought through and I always make a note to snap photos of the cool, unique items I come across from time to time as well. I want to have a place that's inviting to visitors in every room -to be open in that way and to put my life on display for others to see. It's like window shopping through the greatest hits of unique things people have collected on their journeys -or the objects that hold the most meaning. The view from different places has also been amazing:


This last one got me thinking because I got the sense that this resident was sort of an atheist/agnostic -which is true of at least 2 houses I've been to that had sort of mocking images of Christianity around the house or no signs of religion whatsoever. This bike's sort of a gray area -which is what I spent my morning contemplating as I cleaned the house. 

The phrase "Non-judgment day is near" registered with me as a Relief. Like, "Finally a day when people get off each other's backs and live and let live. Allowing people to Be freely." I get that an atheist might interpret it as making fun of "Judgement Day" like saying "A very merry un-birthday to you" -as in something that isn't or doesn't exist. 

But at the same time it occurred to me if The Final Coming was to happen a good indication of that or what you might expect on that days IS to have no judgement and instead an embrace of ALL into Heaven. To have Heaven merge with Earth with Earth being just as non-judgmental as Heaven. 

Which is where we run into issue with Christian doctrine. there are some that still see God in "old testament" understandings as being spiteful, wrathful, and unmerciful (even though wrath in particular is also called a "sin"). Meanwhile more highly evolved Christians acknowledge Christ teachings of "Do not judge" and the fact that Jesus never condemned anyone only tried to help everyone indiscriminately. 

-So some people think Judgement Day = People Burn and are Cast into Hell.

-Where others think Final Coming = Jesus Return to Earth and All are Embraced as They Rise into Heaven. 

-And Atheists think Christians = crazy. 

Life is amusing. 

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Evade Divide

I've said it a couple times -every time you have 2 conflicting sides you have a deeper, fundamental issue (usually one that revolves around not listening and genuinely seeing/understanding). 

But today I want to exemplify the example of Christ. Even for those who believe Jesus was a just a character in a fairy-tale I would advise them to remember the ending of Harry Potter itself wouldn't have happened the way it did had the example not been made first by Christ. 

Let me tell you of the remarkable wonder of Christ's allegiance to divinity over "propriety" and divide. 

At the time a leper was someone who suffered from a contagious skin disease that who everyone then avoided to not catch the same affliction. If you stood beside a leper it was assumed you had caught the disease and were then deemed to be a leper yourself. 

So when Jesus told His friends that He was going to heal a leper, they warned Him out of fear that He would then be ostracized and possibly catch the disease. 

But Jesus made it clear: I am going to touch the hands of this person and instead of catching a disease from their hands they will receive healing from Mine. He directly pitted Himself against the world and its pains and its finite limitations. 

Then came Peter. Peter hated followers of Christ and burned men and women alive. He committed atrocities against many and went to kill Jesus himself. Jesus then took him in and he came to love Christ so much that when he saw Him wandering on the water he jumped from the boat he was in and ran to Him over the waves. Peter constantly stated in his writings that he was the least worthy of God's love and graces and had received surmounting blessings in spite of turning his back on Jesus Himself. He was always led to being embraced back in. 

Then came the Samarian woman. Samarians were deemed to be loathsome and evil and talking to a woman was borderline forbidden because it was considered degrading and women were considered the property of men -not people. So they were deeply confused when Jesus struck up a conversation with this woman and acted like she was of equal relevance to others. Then he shared the story of the Good Samarian that His followers might come to understand WHY. 

Luke 10:27-35
"27 He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’[a]; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b]
28 “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”
29 But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
30 In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two denarii[c] and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’"

Lately the story of "The Least of These" has been coming up as well. Mostly because politicians that only seem concerned with gaining power and profiting off of corruption ignore the fact they also identify as being Christian and act against the interest of the people they claim to serve. But let's throw that example in there as well. 

All around us our examples -if not from Jesus Himself- to seek unity and to be there for one another compassionately. 

I think that message is being lived out these days in the word known as Solidarity. We've shifted in the right direction. But this world constantly distracts us and gives us every excuse to abandon that path, so it's up to us to do as Christ did and choose to stay in alignment with the divine rather than let the ego divide and destroy as it always does.  

No man is an island. We are not intended to live for only ourselves. I hope people learn to extended peace to those around them and find peace within themselves. 

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Artwork Teaching Lessons

Well my artwork is flourishing again. Yay! It's helped so much to not just distract from the uncertainty and financial pressures but also by filling my day with something meaningful that I genuinely enjoy. 

It makes me feel like I've accomplished something where otherwise I'd just feel like I was failing at life. 

I also have been learning some spiritual lessons from it as strange as that sounds. 

The first piece I did was "The Soul of a Saint". Saints are always represented by flowers in full bloom -usually roses -and this one in particular reminded me of those old "monk", religious books with artwork in them back many hundreds of years ago from Europe. 


The lesson learned from this piece was mostly Time. The first drawing of it was completed in 2015 or 2016. It took me this long to even begin coloring it in because originally I wanted to just keep it a sketch. Then I went for it. Then it was about another month before the next chunk of it was completed. It felt weighted and like work and I kept avoiding it. Then as I got more into it the faster the project went. Within days it was done. 

Then I went straight into the next piece. 


Not sure what lesson I learned from this one other than everything worked out when I mistakenly thought colors would conflict and ruin things and it's pretty amazing to look at. Took me a couple days to draw and color in completely. 

The next drawing I learned the most from and was a shift from just depicting flowers and designs as normal. I specifically wanted to do something spiritual in an overt way so I went with an Angel since that image has been popping up lately. 


I love the rainbow effect. The only thing that bothered me about it was the top of the gown around the chest was Green. Initially it was intended to be like leaves blossoming into a flower, but then the flower ended up looking more like a fire and the intricate design in the green top was lost. 

But it reminded me of the heart chakra and the fact that's that green -another spiritual issue I couldn't understand. Normally heart is affiliated with pink/red, but chakras depict that soul-center with green. Then it dawned on me last night, Green = Healing. Love = Healing. DUH! 

This fed into some chakra art I started a couple weeks ago doing graphic computer art instead of drawings. I wanted to show what each chakra represented in terms of Connection to Self + Divinity. 





I depicted the heart chakra as green and it ended up looking like a 4-leaf clover representing "Luck" -not just "Love" -and I kind of liked that. That expressing love and connecting to it would bleed into your fortune. 

Anyway, then my Grandma called me asking me to do an Eye artwork for her. When I was 14 or 15 years old I created a watercolor image of an eye crying that ended up going to my grandma's friend who is also like a grandma to me. I was able to do that piece because I was doing watercolor at the time and I was very, very depressed and contemplating suicide. The eye isn't subtle and is very sad/depressed -which was the state I was in. But to people not knowing that, the watercolor effect just seems to lend itself well to this crying eye image -and my grandma wants me to do that exact image again. 

And I tried to explain to her that I don't do watercolors anymore and haven't for over 10 years now, I don't have watercolor paint, and I've moved on to using mostly sharpie pen right now. But she still wants an eye -and since she likes Native American themed artwork (which is all over her house) I'm going to depict one in the style I've been doing -like the Angel -and create a "Native American Eye". 


It features an eagle, sun/moon, horse, feathers, wolves -and I wanted to elude to a dream catcher so the "eye lashes" on the top consist of the spiral designs found in most dream catchers. 

Monday, May 29, 2017

Memorial Day Reflections

Was thinking about this yesterday and thought, "What does this day mean to me personally?" I have some distant relatives currently serving or who recently served in Air Force and in the medical service of those in battle. 

But when I try to think about who has been closest to me that's been the most effected by the military it's my grandpa and my friend Andy. 

My Grandpa was a stern man. He meant well, but expressed little. He had served in World War 2, was wounded in his leg and got a metal plate put in, and received a purple heart. 

It's hard for me to fathom him being in the midst of a war with bombs going off and guns firing all around. It would scare me to death to be in that place -my hair would turn white overnight. 


And yet he alongside many brave men fought and returned home to raise a family and carry on. 

The other person I know is Andy. I met Andy back in 2011. He's a 50-something year old who's usually pretty funny. But he gave a speech once about his dad who served in the Vietnam War and died. From Andy I learned that the American Flag is sacred to some. It's not just a symbol for a nation -it has come to represent far more. The only thing you're left to cling to when you're father's life has passed. 

So I ask myself what is really "sacrificed" by those in the military.

From what I've seem some lose their lives, but others lose themselves. They are lost to a hardened, rigid mindset that has trouble letting go of the past and tapping back into the peace within the soul. They lose sleep over haunting visions of terrors. They lose time genuinely connecting and reconnecting with those around them. They lose mental stability and sense of place. 

It's hard for someone who's come to the brink of death knowingly -with the willingness to let go of this life entirely -to return back to civilian life and take up a job in a cubicle. That readjustment has been named as the greatest struggle by many. 

So much is given. 

And at the end of the day the worst that is taken is what is given to soldiers when they are ordered to kill and forced to take human life that's innocent. To kill a child. To bomb a hospital. To destroy the lives of families because they were told and those making the calls "got it wrong this time..." To place blood and the slaughter of civilians on the hands of those pledging their lives to fight an enemy -not families -is one of the gravest pieces of the soul taken by those who serve. 

Wars weren't intended to be that caviler and careless. They can lead to the lives of soldiers and those who serve being taken, buy they can also lead to the lives of the innocent being ripped from this world as well. 

So celebrate and honor the honorable. But never defend the deplorable. Treat the flag with respect -whatever it represents to you remember that for some it has become a sacred symbol that represents the lives of loved ones lost. 

And if you genuinely seek to support the troops -donate to nonprofits and causes that take them in when they return home and seek to make them whole again. The wounds within are the hardest to heal and they harden souls that were intended to breath freely in this life. 

And never support regimes and governments and systems and leaders and advocates and individuals who treat human life -both the lives of soldiers and the civilians of foreign countries - as if they had no value in this life and were entirely expendable without thought or consequence. 

Friday, May 19, 2017

Angels

If an angel were appearing to you, but physically you couldn't perceive it, how would God get that message to you that it was happened? 

Apparently through spiritual images made with that line of sight rather than spiritual sight alone: 


by Julie Dillon

Balance: Living Out Christianity

It's hard being a Christian sometimes. It's hard being religious/spiritual in general sometimes where the external world is concerned. 

But as someone who's Christian you come across these issues no one ever talks about. I don't mean the delusion of being persecuted by a Starbucks cup. I mean other things. 

#1 Going to a new church you've never been to before. 
How do you know it's no like Westboro Baptist? 
How do you know it's not "Though shalt burn!!!" in its rhetoric? 
What if you show up there and everyone has torches and pitch forks and you're empty handed? 

#2 Christian Groups + Jobs
When someone invites you to a Christian group or you seek out a potential job at Christian non-profit you feel like you want to know ahead of time concerns for Issue#1, but also whether they speak of religion more or live out spirituality more. Or whether there's a balance. 

#3 Too Christiany or Not Christiany Enough 

I get this one the most actually. Around people who either aren't Christian or "not very Christian", sometimes I seem too Christian. People either look at you like you're a potential bigot/Westboro-goer or they think you're going to try to convert them. Or they just think it's weird your that spiritual or believe in Jesus. 

Then there's opposite that happens when you're around devout Christians who start referring to the people who are either atheist, agnostic, not that spiritual, or of a different faith as "Non-Christians" -as if you're only one of 2 options: Christian or Not. And they start talking about them as if they were some sub-human set of people like, "Do you ever hangout with non-Christians?" And immediately I think 2 things: 

1. "You mean other human beings? Yah I hangout with them?" 
2. "Am I only supposed to hangout with devout Christians?... Yah that's not happening..." 

And I feel lost. 

#4 Feeling lost 

I'm too Christiany for some people, 

not Christiany enough for others, 

I take other beliefs into consideration outside of Christianity -does that disqualify me?, 

I don't know the Bible backwards forwards and upside down but some of the people I've met that do have utterly and completely missed the main points which I seem to understand somehow, 

I believe God is vast and complex and amazing and in everything and cannot be confined to a singular book or doctrine, 

I know I have been led to understand what I do and one of those understandings is that organized religion is a blessing because of those who bless others with wisdom and compassion and a curse by those who curse others with hatred and inflicted pains, 
and I'm too spiritual and too religious and not enough of both. 

I just want Peace. 
But God also brings me Joy and leads me to Love. 
And I come to Understand. 

And that's about it. 

My Own Flag


May 17th was a day set aside for recognizing abuses against LGBT members the world over. And for the first time ever, somebody posted the Bisexual flag and I'd never seen ti before -and neither had they:


And as a color-oriented artist, this got me thinking: Why those colors? What does it mean? 

And the Asexual flag is:


Especially since I'm A+Bi-Sexual (working my way through the alphabet apparently), I kind of decided to make a flag of my own. 

So I started with the color white -which for me is the absence of lust/sexual desire/sexual attraction which represents my asexuality. 

Then I went to put the color pink and blue in there to represent my attraction to men and women and decided -that's not really what it is. You're never really straight AND gay -you're always simultaneously both. When you're attracted to a man the ability to be attracted to women doesn't exactly go away and stop existing. It's never men or women -it's always both. It's an attraction to both. So I combined the colors pink/purple and blue and got Indigo -which is neither blue nor purple and Always both. A hybrid. 

I then put in symbols for man and woman and the upside down pyramid and spade which are affiliated with asexuality. 

Voila: 


I don't know why more flags don't incorporate symbols instead of just colors. 

Anyways, I feel better having my own flag -I think everyone should feel free to make their own. Even straight people. Your attraction and orientation are unique to you. It's not some generic template, there are inevitably going to be things you;re drawn to that others aren't. 

For me, attraction all comes down to soul. I don't care about the packaging, I'm drawn to qualities both men and women carry within them -like caring, honesty, empathy, and divinity.