Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Live In Peace

Last night I had a dream that I died. I went to heaven and was led into a small golden room with three “women” standing before me. I could not make out their faces, but the one who spoke to me had the voice of a soft, patient female. She said she would ask me one question (which would determine if I belonged in heaven and could remain there). 

“What was it that you found on earth that instilled peace in you during your time there?”
The first thing I thought was, Music. But then I thought it was stupid to talk about something so “trivial”. But with nothing better to say and the risk of seeming like I knew nothing I used it as a starting point for the conversation anyway. 

“Music has helped me connect with my feelings which can be buried and forgotten when most people are trying to hide them. Music let me let go of things I was dealing with internally and open up more as a person. 

Buddhism also helped me find peace by introducing me to the concept of “letting go”. Christ of course has also brought me peace –just in the knowing that He is always there.”
I felt like I had given all I could. But it still wasn’t enough. I was grasping at straws looking for the answer in my mind. Then it came to me. 

“But if I’d never read about Buddha. Or I’d never learned of Christ. Or I’d never heard a note of music, the one thing that would still bring me peace throughout it all from the beginning is Faith. I’ve always had faith. I’ve always known things would be alright. I never had any reason to suspect it, but I’ve always had it. The way an infant doesn’t know that it will be fed another meal. Or that it will be placed somewhere warm and safe to sleep at night. But it knows it will. It knows when it’s taken care of. It doesn’t need to worry. Like the burden of fear and doubt is removed from off its shoulders. Faith has brought me peace. It has lifted the burden of worry from my soul.” 

I have a friend named Jos. Jos is planning her first event (2 Day event to promote women entrepreneurs in business). For 6 months I helped her concrete ideas and stay organized. Initially her doubts and fears didn’t bother me because I had enough faith to know the event would work out just fine. That’s the beauty of faith. But this past month my patience has worn thin. She worries from topic to topic, aspect to aspect with no breathes in between. I can’t assure her. 

So I dragged in my sister. Now she can assure Jos –a 21 year old assuring a 30 something year old that all will be well. You can’t live faith for someone else. Peace is something you live with –not something you die with. It’s not a mole that grows on your body and dies when it does –it’s in your soul. You carry peace within you. 

So when the event comes and the 2 days run as smoothly as they will with only a few hick-ups as they inevitably will and her goal that she has striven to achieve for the past 8 months is realized –will she even give herself a moment to enjoy it before she starts worrying about how to follow-up after the event and make sure everyone stays in touch and starts planning for the next promotional event and booking the hotel and getting everyone involved… 

Monday, December 3, 2012

Arguing Against Atheism

“An Atheist believes that a hospital should be built instead of a church. An atheist believes that deed must be done instead of prayer said. An atheist strives for involvement in life and not escape into death. He wants disease conquered, poverty vanished, war eliminated.”

~ Madalyn Murray O'Hair (an American social Activist, atheist (opposed prayer in school), 1919-1995)

I feel like arguing with this. My soul is not pleased with her vindictive tone towards those who believe in God. And then I wondered, How do you make God seem relevant to someone who doesn’t believe in Him? And then my brain told me, Well stupid just find the ways He’s added to your life and argue why you can’t do without Him.

“An atheist will build a hospital instead of a church”. Yes. Hospitals are practical. They are needed. In fact there are many Christian hospitals like St. Jude’s for example. Where do “hospitals” come from anyway? Where were they founded? It seems that the notion of taking in the dying, the weak, the ill is a heavily founded in Christianity. For example in Rome before “God” was introduced babies who were either female or showed any birth defects were immediately killed. The weak and the destitute were cast aside. The concept of the “Good Samaritan” was in fact founded by Christ’s teachings. One could invariably argue that although man has found herbal remedies and treatments through medicine; most people only sought to heal or care for their own wounds -not the wounds of others. At least not until that concept was introduced and championed. 

“An atheist believes that deed must be done instead of prayer said.” The Bible does emphasize the importance of prayer-seeking refuge in God. But this is so no man can go around saying he is better than others because he has done more in life. God appreciates both the meek and the strong. A child who prays to God is therefore as loved as a fireman who saves lives. A person who is handicapped or in a coma is just as loved as a man who goes around giving the homeless shoes. The world may not respect or appreciate them equally because the world is often self-serving and often only cares about people who can give it something tangible. Anne Frank may not have done much, but what she SAID means a lot to people even today. Deeds can be as fleeting and temporary as our lives –but visions and grace and faith are things anyone can carry within themselves. 

“An atheist strives for involvement in life and not escape into death.This is clearly a person who has no concept of what Christianity entails. They are ignorant of a religion they seek to mock. Christianity argues to live life to its fullest you should follow God who will lead you to your highest purpose. “Do not be afraid” is a phrase written throughout the Bible more than any other because what God often asks of man, he doesn’t usually have enough faith in himself to believe he can do. Without God’s encouragement many men wouldn’t DO anything beyond what they assumed themselves capable of. This is why Faith often leads men to do greater things in life and engage in life more than they would have otherwise. The goal is also not to “escape death”. In fact many view it to be the opposite.  Death = Heaven and Peace. Death is therefore not something to be feared or avoided when you have faith in God and your own soul. Life is to be fulfilled and death is to be the reward. 

“He wants disease conquered, poverty vanished, war eliminated.” Martin Luther King Jr., Abraham Lincoln, Christ, Mother Teresa… how many atheists have done as much as those who openly proclaimed themselves to be led by God? God doesn’t want man to suffer –why would anyone who believes in or follows God? And those who do suffer and those who don’t can equally find peace within themselves and their own God-given soul if they seek it. Everyone can find peace regardless of their circumstances. What atheist can guarantee everyone peace if they are only considerate towards the destitute and not also the wealthy-who are often more lost and alone than those who have to rely on their own soul and faith in God for strength to overcome struggles?

Tuesday, November 27, 2012


I want to invent a magazine or create a magazine called “Meek Magazine”. It will be the Post Secrets of magazines. Instead of glorifying people who are already successful it will focus on people who are struggling but still find a space to let love and peace reign. It will include effective tips for making it spiritually in this world from ordinary people struggling with great challenges in day to day life.

Hang on I need to check and make sure this magazine doesn’t already exist…

Ok… so there’s a “Spirituality and Health” Magazine which has a bunch of happy people on its various covers…

There’s also a very Buddhist-looking “Spiritual Awakening” Magazine…

And then there’s  couple magazines that look wayyyy too space cadet crazy to be taken seriously.

There is also no “Hardship Magazine” featuring the struggling unknowns of this world.

Alrighty then J Looks like everything is free and clear for take off.

My magazine will also feature a look at various religions and the way people interpret and integrate them into their own lives. What do you get out of your beliefs?

I don’t read much in general, but this magazine I might actually pick up and read through.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Reasons and Revelations

I was a weird kid. I remember walking around the playground, looking up at the sky, and wondering what the purpose of life was. Some days when the sky was overcast and white I wondered if it was god’s blank sheet of paper –His canvas- that He often chose to paint on. I would often stair outside the window at school and day dream about different things. I was never really hip to the times or present to the moments around me.

I remember wondering about reincarnation and feeling a strong sense of familiarity with the concept. I believed I chose my mother and these circumstances up in some place of light from a list of people I could literally see before me. But I never talked to anyone about anything. At least not until the 6th grade when by accident I had written a paper on how I’d wished there was a pill that made people live forever because I feared the uncertainty of death so much. My teacher took me aside and asked me questions about it. It was embarrassing. I made the mistake of trying to talk to my family therapist about the paper, but she told me she wasn’t that kind of therapist.
All I understood at the time was that nobody understood. 

Then I met Katie. We really didn’t talk until high school though. It was sophomore year when she came as a freshman. I was a lonely loner who had acquainted myself with her in the 8th grade. I was in the locker rooms at lunch reading books and avoiding the world. She kept trying to include me in her group –which grew quickly into a bright and elated woven quilt of friends. I felt I belonged more in the shadows than with them –an odd fitting puzzle piece. But she always built me up and looked at me like I could do anything. 

Katie had the white light. The first person I ever knew who had it. Michelle, another girl in our group, had it as well and I felt closest to them, though I often hung out with other girls who’s company was equally appreciated. 

I was tall and quiet. Not a good combination. Like a giant Sasquatch who follows the group around but never quips in –lumbering over in silence. I was just listening. I often felt that since they carried on conversations just fine without me I had nothing of any real value to contribute anyway. 

I grew more and more tightly bound to the group and soon I joined them on Tuesdays for FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes). I was a non-athlete non-baptized non-officially-Christian who had never read the Bible.  But I liked the sandwiches they served at the meetings, and my friends were there, so I went and pretended to know what the hell was going on. They mostly preached to us about not having sex, doing drugs, cursing, lusting, hating God, drinking… things I wasn’t doing anyway. And I wondered, “Why preach to the choir? If there were any teens doing that why would they go out of their way to hear someone preach that they shouldn’t do what they were going to do anyway? Unless they really liked the sandwiches too…” 

I never really felt/ heard God in any of it. But Katie seemed to have something to do with Him. She had the white light. She led the group. She was the one everyone turned to. She would go out and talk to complete strangers and try to make them feel better. She was the one building everyone else up. I later found out she was an Aries –my builder sign. She represented God far more than any preacher I saw at the FCA meetings. 

It was from Katie I first desired to read the Bible and find out more about God. I still felt close to Him in my own way, but I felt He didn’t think about me much. But I wanted to reach Him. I tried to read the Bible once, but like a burger that’s too thick for you to take a bite into, I didn’t quite know where to begin. But when I stepped onto the Santa Clara University campus, the path was laid out for me. Let the professionals handle it and lead me through the Bible. 

SCU requires you to take 3 religious courses throughout your 4 years in college. The first is called “Religions of the Book” –aka studying directly from religious scripture. Everyone always takes the same class “Western Religions” which studies Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. 

My teacher was a Sagittarian priest/ douche bag. He was very anal and particular about the readings. Unfortunately for me most of the kids in that class had directly transferred from Catholic schools who had already covered the Bible in depth. I then found myself out of my depth in the class because the teacher assumed everyone was already familiar with the Bible. I hated him for it. He f*cked up Christianity for me. It hurts. 

The Bible was never intended to be quickly skimmed through and Cliff Noted. I was a random semblance of names being born from names wandering from one ancient foreign land to another. I missed the stories and the point. Christianity and Judaism blurred into one and I was getting marked down on my interpretations of what exactly was being expressed and spoken of in the Bible –which was a lot more metaphorical than I realized. I felt like an idiot. 

But with Islam it was different. We walked slowly through those waters and chartered our course with care and patience. I understood Islam and lost Christianity. 

The 2nd class your required to take on religion is more from of a historical perspective. I took “The Religious History of America” which opened my eyes to the evolution of various religions in America and how they changed over time. Often Christianity was used in abusive ways towards citizens –justifying things like slavery and unjust laws. Needless to say my views on Christianity became tainted –not for the religion itself but for the people who took advantage and bastardized it. 

The 3rd class you take on religion is a free-for-all. It can be on any religion –and in fact is required to be one you are unfamiliar with. I took “Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism and the way they relate to Nature”. My eyes were opened through Buddha’s. It was then I realized I had the choice to change my perspective and see things in a different way. It opened my mind and it opened my soul in a lot of ways. It freed me. But I still felt deeply attached to God –who at this point I felt I could not reach or come to be accepted by thanks to all those nice sins listed out in the Bible that still excluded me even in my uneventful life. 

It was then that I handed my life over to Him. I was lying in bed one night silently crying. I couldn’t take the fact that I was “trapped” in a body and a world that never gave a sh*t about the things I held incontrovertibly relevant. I just wanted it to end. So I figured if I’m not going to do anything with my life I’ll hand it over to God and maybe He can make something out of it. Even if I become a nun and only help one person in this life it would be more significant than anything I could have otherwise achieved on my own. So I did it. I silently told God whole heartedly to take it. Take my life as your own and do what you will with it. It’s yours. 

Shortly after that the dominoes began to fall. 

I was diagnosed with Social Anxiety Disorder and put on medication to combat it.
I joined Toastmasters to practice public speaking.
I joined Twitter and started a blog.
I started working at a temp agency.
I was led to Usana and found out about my health and how to better take care of my body.
I moved out and got my first apartment.
Found out about the Zodiac signs and started studying them to understand myself and others.
Started writing heavily.
Met Alex who walked me through the beginning of the Bible and helped me realize God’s vision.
I also learned that I had my own level of inherent spirituality I could trust in.
I was then led to WFG from my friend Ayu and learned about Financial Planning –which is really important in a recession.
Started working more at Amulet.
Started creating art of one form or another on a regular basis.
Started attending church regularly.
Felt happier and more secure in my life.
Grew exponentially as a person. 

My life came together after I gave it to God. It’s like the gathered all the broken pieces up and sewed them together. By 2011 I knew I wanted to get baptized. But I didn’t think I was “worthy” or that I could until I read the Bible all the way. 

I don’t remember the exact moment I committed to the concept of baptism. I had seen earlier classes for it in the church programs earlier in the year but never really pursued it. I think it just began to sink in on me closer to the event that there was nothing to wait for. If in fact the world did end on 12/12/12 –what excuse could I use to explain to God why I hadn’t committed fully? I was kidding anybody. And my thoughts kept returning to the welbeing of my soul and the desire to commit fully to this path. 

I’m not delusional. I know my path doesn’t include fame or stardom or money or power or anything glamorous and maybe not even romantic love and kids. I’ve always been on a spiritual path –much to the confusion of some family and friends. It is what it is. No use pretending. So why not just deliver myself over to it fully? 

I decided Thanksgiving –a week off of work- would be the most convenient time to do it. I didn’t even know if they were offering baptism at that time but I committed to it. My mind locked into place and I decided to do it with no hesitation or looking back. Thanksgiving week before 12/12/12 it will be done. 

My sister had wanted to join at one point and my step mom said she wanted to get baptized as well. I didn’t care who did or didn’t come along –I knew what I was going to do. I wasn’t looking back or waiting for anything or anyone. 

Then I checked the program that week in early November and saw there was officially going to be a baptism class. I took it. There were only 3 Sundays you could sign up for to get baptized. I signed up. I felt at ease and looked forward to it. It felt right. A long time coming. 

Then I watched the Mayan Crop Circle documentary and thought, Crap. Life isn’t ending. The world will go on. Crapsicles. Oh well. I’m still getting baptized either way. I don’t care. I’ve committed and either way going forward I’m walking God’s path. 

When the day of came I was nervous. Every Sunday besides that one had been full of sunshine and warm colors. This day was gray and the sky looked like an epic storm of clouds. It was also very foggy and more foreboding than usual. I looked up at the sky and thought, Alright there better be a good reason for this. Like a rainbow or something you’re going to show me. What are you doing God?

Then we took off for the church at 10:30am. I was wondering if my dad would come –he dressed up and drove my step mom and me. I found out on the way that a few family friends would actually be there as well. I was excited. Then I went back to being eager/nervous when I was putting on my polo shirt in the changing room. Should I wear glasses? Why did I wear light blue jeans, I was supposed to wear dark blue jeans. What should I say when I’m asked why I’m getting baptized? Will the water be cold? 

I was so happy waiting in line to get in the dunk tank. I was so happy. I kept smiling and feeling excited and blissful. The dunking itself didn’t feel very magical –kind of awkward. But afterward I felt like I’d just gotten out of a shower after hiking in the woods and the dirt for 3 hours. I felt refreshed and renewed. And afterwards when I watched the service I felt like I really belonged.
It’s a special thing when you find your place. I feel good. But I’m also starting to experience the inconvenience of trying to live a “good” life. I really wanted to make fun of this woman today. It was an Aol.com news post. “Woman Let Ex-Husband See Strange Thing”. The woman has big poofy red hair, drawn-on eye brows, and wayyyyy too much make up on. I wanted to post a link to the article on Twitter with the tagline “Woman Let Ex-Husband See Strange Thing –was it her reflection?” It would have been hilarious. 

But then my good old conscious kicked in and said, That’s not nice and it won’t help anyone out. Who knows what she may be going through. Don’t take the cheap shots. You’ll be better for it in the long run.

I have to think more about what I do. It counts more than ever since I aligned myself with God’s ideals. It’s something you have to build yourself up to. I’m also having issues deciding which necklace to wear. I’ve got pre-baptism necklace which is a shape that has a hint of the cross in it but is clearly geared to a more spiritual person –which I think represents my “old self”. Then there’s new cross #1 which is more “modern” and abstract. Then there’s cross #2 which is simple but, sober, but beautiful. I’m wearing all 3. I can’t decide. Maybe I’ll switch off between them each day. I don’t know. I’m kind of attached to each of them. Craps. 

It’s also been interesting to see people’s reaction before and after the baptism.

My sister: “So your blog says you’re getting baptized, what’s up with that?”
Me: “I’m getting baptized in Thanksgiving”.
My sister: “Oh that sounds cool. I think I should too. How do you get registered or whatever?”

My dad: “So I told Kari about you getting baptized and don’t tell her I told you but she now wants to get baptized along with you.”
Me: “Ok”.

Kari: “So I heard you were getting baptized at the church.”
Me: “Yup”.
Kari: “What made you decide to get baptized.”
Me: “It just feels right and I’m ready for it.”
Kari: “That’s awesome! I don’t want to step-in on your baptism but if you don’t mind do you think I can go to the baptism class with you and get baptized as well?”
Me: “Yah sure.”
Kari: “Cool. I was baptized when I was 8. The Mormons won’t let you baptize babies because they can’t consent so they wait until you’re 8 and you’ve been convinced it’s a good idea for you to officially consent to it. I always felt pressured to get baptized and never felt comfortable in that religion but I went along with it and just told myself I was getting baptized for God and no one else. I think I’m ready to get baptized again, only this time it will really be my full decision and in a religion I genuinely believe in.”

My mom: “So what’s happening on Sunday that you can’t stay the whole weekend?”
Me: “I’m going to get baptized on Sunday.”
My mom (smiling excitedly): “What?! When did you decide to get baptized?”
Me: “A couple weeks ago. I took a class and now I’m going to get baptized.”
My mom: “That’s great! I want pictures.”

My coworker: “You got baptized and you didn’t mention it?! Awww I wish I’d known earlier…”

It’s still weird for me to see people surprised and happy about it. I honestly assumed no one would care.

Sunday, November 25, 2012


Last Thursday I had some time to kill and some boredom to slay so I went into the "movie department" of Hulu.com to find something to watch. I somehow ended up sifting through documentaries and decided to watch 2.

The first documentary was  from 2009 and was called Cropsey. I thought it was about ghosts and haunted houses. What it ended up being about was a man suspected of kidnapping and killing several children in the 1980s on Staten Island.

They found out that the man suspected had a mother who was in an insane asylum and when he grew up he worked at a Mentally Challenged Facility for children which was later condemned for their abusive and neglectful treatment of kids. A film was made exposing the horrendous conditions displayed at the facility and showed many children curled in a fetal position on the floor naked. It was disturbing and upsetting to watch.

When the building was shut down many of the former workers moved back in underground and created camps in the woods where the facility was built. One of these men was seen with the children on the day they were kidnapped. 4 of the children were mentally challenged. 3 were girls under the age of 15. One girl's body was found buried not far from where the man had camped.

The documentary goes into the town's attempt to find the other children, prove the man had killed the others, and explain or try to understand why he did it. The best explanation that was given was the one a man who had housed the killer says the killer himself gave to him when asked. He said that he saw the kids and since they were mentally ill assumed that like the kids in the facility had been, nobody wanted them. They were a burden on their families and should be exterminated.

Many of the children in the facility had been abandoned by their families and "given up on" and dumped by society in a lot of ways. It was a dumping ground for imperfect, unwanted children and the killer felt he was doing was continuing to keep these kids swept under the rug where no one had to bother with them.

The next documentary I saw was a 2010 film called Mayan Prophecies And Crop Circles - An Extraordinary Connection. This film examined crop circles and how many of the symbols shown matched symbols used by the Mayans to represent various things and denote certain astrological events that were predicted to occur. One crop circle forecast an eclipse which did then happen on the date indicated.

These signs seemed to be more of a response to humanity and warnings of upcoming events. It also explained the Mayan calendar and washed away rumors and stereotyped theories of what it was said to predict.

Basically the Mayan calendar suggests that the Sun is entering a new phase as a star. This phase will bring greater eat -hence the global warming. This heat will then cause our environment to grow harsher and the physical conditions on our planet will worsen. At the same time the magnetic poles on the earth will switch which is going to throw everything out of whack for a couple years. The planets are also aligning which is frightening to anyone who has ever seen any sort of movie in which that kind of event occurs.

But rather than saying it's the end of the world, the calendar suggests that it is in fact the end of an era and the beginning of a new one. They said that every era up until this one has been one cycle of hell after another. We are now enter a phase of "heaven" that will be cycled numerous times. This will be a time of greater spirituality and closer connection to "heavenly beings" and God.

If we look back on Cropsey and the events that occurred less than 40 years ago to today we can already see the shift in altruism in humanity. Facilities like that would never be allowed to exist now. Technology has brought with it Transparency. Transparency allows for the greatest level of accountability we have ever known. You can't hide anything these days. All truth comes to light. No wrong goes unseen -at least not for long.

Accountability is what makes people strive to act good. Fear of being condemned and outcast and rejected by society propels people to do well in society's eyes. Thanks to cameras, videos, the internet, newspapers... you can't keep bad actions hidden. We are therefore moving towards a more open, honest, and transparent future in which bad is punished and good is rewarded. Everyone seeks the reward of leading a more virtuous life.

I was kind of disappointed to find out the world wasn't ending. It's still going round. Oh well. At least people getting more spiritual will at least make the future more tolerable. As for the aliens -I think the documentary proved well enough what they want. I'm frightened and yet cool with the whole alien thing now. Not entirely thrilled at the possibility of communicating with them if that ever occurs though.

I saw a bumper sticker the other day that said, "Evil sins". At first I interpreted it to mean evil (malicious) sins (wrong doings). Then I thought about it and changed perspectives to evil (a bad person) sins (does wrong). Bad people do bad things. Sins aren't evil -they're mistakes people make that lead them off track and have the potential to lead to evil. But when someone is evil or does evil to the extent that it becomes inherent to their nature they sin without trying. Wrong doers do wrong. I don't know -it was just kind of interesting that the way we interpret things can be related and yet shift the meaning of what we see.