While We Are Here, Lets Have Some Food


I remember when I was in middle school and took home economics class. I was taught the ins and outs of buying and consuming foods, how they are advertised, and a bunch of other things. They eventually did away with that class in my school, and I can’t figure out why. After all, I baked my first cake in that class. It was a double chocolate chili cake. It was really good and it showed me that baking wasn’t that scary. I wanted nothing more than to cook after that. It was during this time that I decided that I wanted to be vegetarian. I remember coming home and being told by both of my parents that it wasn’t do-able. I couldn’t for a few reasons, but mainly because how would I get all of the nutrients I needed, and it wasn’t cheap. How would they afford it? At this point, my home life was pretty rough as it was. My dad didn’t have a job, my mom was the only one working, and none of that helped my already difficult transition into young adult hood. My first reason for being vegetarian was for the animals. I had found a few articles online about what the animals in factories go through, and I couldn’t handle it. Secondly, I knew it was healthier, and here’s the funny thing. Nobody had ever told me it was healthier. If anything, I had been told that vegetarians are lacking in nutrients because they don’t eat meat and don’t drink milk. My efforts to become vegetarian were squashed, quickly. Before they even began.

So I sit here now, an adult, thinking back to all of this. I’ve seen video after video of the abuse that happens to animals, and I have always wanted it to end, and I’ve wished I could do my part to help it end, but before I moved to where I live now, I didn’t even have a way to help. I was throwing all of my money into bills, and the only places I could food shop in town were the pharmacy, dollar store and gas station. I didn’t have regular access to grocery stores. I had to do what I had to do, but I began noticing that I craved more and more natural food. I tried growing my own, but that didn’t go very well and I came out with a handful of sweet peppers, a lot of cilantro and mint, and three very small green tomatoes. I didn’t stop, I tried again this year, but I’m here with again, more mint, and one very tiny green tomato that I’m hoping will at least get big enough and red enough to give me seeds. I will try again in a year.

But the tension between my brain and my body is growing. I’ve been buying and eating almost nothing but veggies and fruit. When we have hamburgers, I find myself craving the crisp crunch of kale on top, with onion, pickles and dijon mustard. Take the patty off actually and throw on some olives, basil, spinach, cabbage, peppers and tomatoes. I’ll give you my patty if you promise I can have the rest. Each and every time, this is my wish. But I eat the damn patty, and I pay for it. My body doesn’t like the patty as much as my mouth seems to. My mind doesn’t like it either, my taste buds are lying to the rest of my body, and the rest of my body has become wise to these lies! So this morning I skipped breakfast. I have bacon here, and the plan was to have that bacon. I know that if I were vegetarian I would still have eggs, and probably yogurt/cheese too, and fish, but that’s the extent of my animal eating. Not because of anything except for how my body feels. I realize that those items are from animals, but I have to start somewhere and as of right now the only meat I’m eating (happily) is fish, eggs, and cheese/yogurt. I think I could leave it at that for now, and still be fine. I wouldn’t be alone either, there are a lot of vegetarians that eat those, but no red or white meat. I’m cool with that life.

So I’ve been adding things to my pinterest board that I have lovingly called Food 0.0. I know the whole board isn’t vegetarian, but I’m going to add those on. I know that part of my problem is not knowing what to eat. I’ve literally been surviving on grapes, fish and kale this week because I’m not sure what else to eat. Time to spice up life.

So here’s to beginning a new journey, and perfect timing too as we just welcomed a full moon into our skies. I’d call that synchronicity? Perhaps I’m reading too much into it, but we will see. I’ll give myself a month to say goodbye to the meat that I already don’t want to eat, meaning if I have to eat a meal with meat because I’m stuck or out of food I can, but I really want to try this, all the way. I’m doing the searching now for recipes and ideas. So here goes, one full lunar cycle. I’ll check back and let you all know what I’ve found. I might even upload recipes that I find!

Wish me luck!

(P.S. You all should know that my cat is chasing her tail.)

Advertisements

The Road to Self Love

My apologies. I’ve not been writing for a while. I’ve started this new job of mine and been busy trying to balance the work life, my health and my time off. That is the main thing. Balance. 

 

What comes first in your life? Is it your health? Your job? Happiness? Family or friends? To some, the answer is obvious. Their image means most to them and they will do all that they can to make sure that their image is not damaged. This is usually very bad for their health, and for the relationships that they have in their life. Then there are those who put their health first. These are the people who tend to be happiest, even if they don’t have everything worked out yet, their mental and physical health is taken care of and they are fully capable of handling what life throws at them. And then there are those who put everyone else first. Neither their image or their health matters most, and these kind souls are usually the ones that burn out. They take care of others as long as possible and then burn right out, like a candle that ran out of wick. I used to be, and sometimes still can be, this type of person. I would sacrifice my happiness to make someone else happy and it wasn’t until my last friendship failure that I realized what I really needed to do. I needed to focus less on others, and more on myself because you simply cannot pour from a pot that is empty. And trust me, I’d love to share all that I have.

These days, I come first. At first, I felt selfish. Very selfish. I don’t like turning people down because of my ‘health issues’. I don’t like making them feel like they don’t matter to me but even if I were to try and help another while I’m in a bad state of mind, I wouldn’t be giving them my all. In the back of my mind, I would be thinking of myself. I would be  halfheartedly listening to their problems or questions. How would that help them? It wouldn’t help either of us, and a real friend would want to help, to really help. Sometimes help comes in the form of just an ear, open and willing to hear. Other times, that help comes out in what you can do for them. You have to be working at full capacity to be there for another.

Luckily, self care isn’t hard to do. It’s not tedious, it’s not terribly time consuming. At first, though, it can feel overwhelming. And lots of people might not understand the sudden changes you are making. You might not even fully understand them. I will give you a few tips, things that I’ve learned, but of course you must know that I’m no expert. I’m just journeying on this path, wandering more like. I too have been lost, and at times I still am lost. All that I can do is give you tidbits of knowledge that I have found through my own experiences. I can’t make you see the truth or feel any kind of way. I can pour you the cup of tea but I cannot make you drink it and I cannot make it heal you. That is what you can do for yourself.

So I ask you this, with this post and all posts you will come across in my blog, I ask you to be open. You won’t agree with everything that I say and that’s okay. I ask that you also do not judge. Take what you need and leave the rest. I won’t be offended or hurt. You’re you, not me. Everything that works for me won’t work for you. But most of all, I ask that you take a moment, now or later, to be honest with yourself. To give yourself a moment to just feel. To just love yourself. You can do so in many ways, and I’ll tell you a few now.

The first thing I learned about self love was that I have to love myself. This has always been hard for me. I grew up being told I was a bad child because I threw fits, I was defiant, and I stole from my mom and stores. I did so because I was battling for control of my own life and I was losing simply because I was the ‘child’. My mom has the mental capacity of a child, and once I surpassed her, the problems really began. Things got worse when I needed more, new clothes or personal hygiene items. I began craving real food, rather than the fake cheap stuff she would buy for me. There were many battles, and because I started defying her and stealing money from her to buy the things I needed (or just stealing them from the store), I was known as the bad child. And because I wasn’t getting the healthy food that I was craving, I began to gain weight. Thank you puberty. My hormones made me become insulin resistant (a side effect of PCOS) and I gained weight but have never lost it, regardless of how much I’ve tried. So here I sit, 240 pounds. I’m technically overweight. Everything makes me look bad, I think. So the first step to self love was hard. Still is hard. I’ve got it in my head that all I do is fuck up, and that I’m gross. But I sit here telling you, no matter your size, color, hair style, income or mental status, you are god damn beautiful. You are a masterpiece. You own you, and you own it well. Lift up your head, walk with your chin up, and make eye contact with those around you. Smile. Even if it feels weird at first, I promise it begins to feel good. When you walk into a room with your head held high, there will be a sense of confidence about you that others wish they had. This isn’t to make anyone jealous, it’s to create that confidence in yourself. Holding your head high is the first thing you can do to promote self love.

Secondly, get enough sleep. Please. Calculate when you should go to bed, get at least 6 hours of sleep, but if it’s possible get 8. Fall asleep in your comfiest clothes (or lack of). Hug your pillow. Make friends with the bed. You need sleep to survive. You have to dream to be healthy. There have been many studies done on the topic, I even did a paper in school about the effect of dreams on health. Did you know that people who don’t get enough REM sleep have lowered immune systems and are more susceptible to stress, depression and mental illness? So go to sleep. Take a nap! If you’re yawning and you have time, take a nap instead of make another cup of coffee.

Third, eat something good. I don’t mean brownies with peanut butter frosting. I mean go to the store, buy a pomegranate and some kale. Snack on the pomegranate seeds, put the kale on your hamburgers or ham sandwiches. Make salads. Drink tea. Use almond milk, or cage free eggs. Real cheese instead of processed cheese. Real meat instead of processed meat. Drink water. Eat something that is good for your body. Start small, make it a habit. Have an apple a day. Use almond milk creamer in your coffee. Snack on nuts instead of chips. Start small and add to it. Don’t just overwhelm yourself with foods that you have no idea how to even use. And yes, they can be more expensive. That’s where my next tip will come in handy.

Guess what, kale is super cheap. So is spinach. And peppers. But do you want to know what’s cheaper? Seeds. Grow something. Even if you start with easy herbs. Cilantro, chives, mint, parsley, dill, basil, oregano, ect. Use those super fresh herbs in your food. You’ll come back later and thank me. Once you’ve mastered growing those, go grab some pepper or tomato seeds. Those tend to be easy to grow. Spinach, kale and cabbage, onions, garlic, cucumbers, squash and carrots are also easy. All of these can be grown in pots too, so you can grow them on a balcony. And you’ll have fresh food to eat, that costed you less than a dollar. The dirt and pots can cost a little more money that one would want. Get the dirt on sale, or in bulk, and pots are sold at dollar trees, and can be made out of many things as well. Herbs and small plants can be grown in anything. Cups, bowls, bottles, coffee cans ect. Be inventive. 🙂

The next two can fall into the same category. They are also the two that I would stand on a box and yell out to everyone. Meditate or do yoga. (Or both.) I know, a lot of people feel that yoga is a fad, and I can’t blame them. It seems that there are many going around, like the gluten free diet that possibly has no positive effect on people who aren’t gluten intolerant and is expensive just because it’s a fad. Yoga is not that kind of fad. Yoga has many many benefits, proven benefits. And it doesn’t have to be expensive. You don’t need a yoga mat to do it, just something you won’t slip on. However, if you can afford it, do get one. It makes yoga life easier. And there are thousands of yoga videos on youtube. The one I started out with was Yoga with Adriene. Branch out and find what works for you. Adriene has many many other videos, but I like her because she encourages you to not be perfect. Take breaks when you need to. If you can’t do a pose, don’t freak out because before you know it you’ll be doing it like a pro. As for meditation, I’ve been told many excuses as to why someone can’t do it. “My mind won’t quiet down enough.” “I tried it and it didn’t have an effect.” Well, meditation’s effects aren’t seen as quickly as something like yoga. Meditation can take a month or so for you to actually see an effect. Stick with it. It will help, but it takes time to form the habit and to change your brain (and yes, meditation can alter your brain.) When you meditate, and your mind won’t stay quiet, just keep sitting there. You are a mountain. Imagine yourself as such. Your thoughts are clouds, and they are passing by. Meditation is not about clearing your mind, it is about living in that moment. Know that the thought is there, and just let it be. Don’t think on it, don’t try to force it out, and don’t give up. It will pass. Focus on your breathing. In, out. In, out. Deeply, using your stomach, not your chest. Slowly, deeply. In, out. If it helps to light a candle and focus on the flame, or an incense and focus on the smoke, do that. Your mind might never be completely quiet, but that’s okay because you’re human.

The last tip I’m going to give you today is to be honest with yourself. Don’t lie to yourself or try to convince yourself of anything. You feel what you feel, you think what you think and that won’t change if you give yourself the illusion that it has. If you want something to change, work on it, but don’t convince yourself that it has already changed. The same goes for weather or not it should change. As long as you harm no-one, then you are okay. Believe what you want, feel what you feel. Be solid in what you feel and believe, and explore everything else. Be open minded, and if your mind is changed about something, accept it. Don’t fight it, you are progressing. When we refuse to change, we refuse to grow. And when we force ourselves to feel or think another way, we do more self harm. Things have to happen naturally, and when you’re ready, so live in there here and now and let things happen.

Self love takes a while to get used to. Self love isn’t something you can learn, it’s not something you can teach. All that you can do is be open to receive the message that those around you send out, and that your body sends you. Above all else, listen to yourself. Do what feels right to you, step out of your comfort zone at your own pace. Don’t let anyone force you.

Mercury Retrograde

It’s at this point that many of you might turn and run. Mercury is in Retrograde, as of yesterday (31st). I’ve been seeing it’s effect since the 26th though.  I remember the first time I was aware of it too, I had just become really good friends with (a still good friend) who enlightened me to the idea that the planets could mess with us. Yeah, I didn’t believe it 100% at the time, I chalked it all up to superstition. But then, I believe that the moon has an effect on us, on a small level. I had believed that was all the placebo effect though, something I chose to believe so that each month I would have a day to renew and rejuvenate. That month however, I learned the ugly truth. Mercury fucks us when it goes retrograde. That month both my boyfriend and best friend went crazy. My boyfriend, who is highly emotional as it is, had a sort of break down, at the same time that we were discovering that my best friend was back into heroin. Not a good night. At all. I’m pretty sure that my work life was shit at that time too.

Anyway, I’ve tried to tread carefully during these times and since that one month last year, I’ve managed to handle the retrogrades well. Until now. Having just moved to a new state, I’m still learning the ropes and I have a job interview (today actually) and I’m helping my dad around the house and what not. As you might know, the Mercury retrograde tends to mess with communication, decisions, deals and travel. Travel is what’s being messed with here. My dad’s jeep died on the 26th of this month. Dead. Gone. Transmission locked up, missed two days of work. So he spends all day trying to get a loan to fix the stupid thing, and nobody is willing to help due to his bad credit (that his soon to be ex wife had the pleasure of ruining for him). So, he does the only thing he can. Trades in the broken jeep for less than a fourth of it’s value, puts that towards paying off the little that he owed, and signs his name in blood for a new car at the same dealership. So all is well we think. He’s gotta save up some money and it’ll be tight for a few weeks, probably for a month, but we will get through this. He won’t lose his job, he won’t miss any work and yay! Things are great now!

Don’t fool yourself. This morning he finds that there is a coolant leak in the car. OF COURSE! Now we are kind of back to square one, still waiting on some phone calls. He can borrow his dad’s truck for work, but now he’s got this laying neatly right back on his shoulders, and I feel just as stuck as him because I’m in no position to help. Hopefully (knock on wood) I get this job. I’ll let you guys know.

So, what can you do during a Retrograde?

Suggestion. Pray. Pull your tarot cards out. Cleanse your crystals. Meditate. Do yoga. Give up sugar. Drink massive amounts of tea. Smoke wacky-tobaccy. Put your coffee in a leak proof mug. Take precaution, and don’t make any big decisions. Don’t lock yourself into any big deals, like buying a car or a house unless you have to. Even then, double check everything.

I for one have started my day off with ultra creamy pumpkin spice coffee, took the black cat out on the leash (he loves the leash, and I gotta keep the black cat happy just in case). I sat in the fall-ish type weather and soaked up a bit of sun being thankful that the humidity has finally let up some for the rest of the week. I helped my dad get insurance on his new car, and (*update*) got the job. I feel like my luck is charged with positive energy right now and I’m going to cling to that energy without fear that it will leave. That’s it right there, try to bounce back quickly. When Mercury is in retrograde, it is not the time to worry. If you do, you run the high risk of attracting all that you are worried about. Attract that which you want and need, and know that this is only a hiccup in life and like anything else, it will pass in time.

What are some of the things that you can do during a retrograde to get life on the right track? Well, now is a good time to save money, just in case. Put some extra money into savings, and wait until after the retrograde is over to spend it, or use it for the things that go wrong during the retrograde. Go ahead and get some work done, make sure your car is working in proper order (wish I had known this before hand) or fix the leak under the sink. Don’t begin a serious relationship, but revitalize any current relationships you have, even if it’s not a romantic relationship. It’s important to keep clear and open communication during these times, as the Mercury retrograde effects communication and relationships. Most importantly, begin self work, or amp it up. Now is a good time to do so because believe it or not, the positive energy is stronger during this time, if you can focus on that instead of the negative.

Above all else, keep your head in the game, breath deep, and know that this too shall pass. 

The lit candle

I’ve been struggling all day. It was my first (and last) day at a fast food restaurant that I was originally optimistic about. It didn’t take long for the red flags to pile up however. The morning crew wasn’t even ready for me, I had no uniform and they didn’t have one for me, so I ended up in a shed trying to help find one of “the old ones”. And within the first hour, I was ringing by myself with no help when I needed it because the person training me was running between me and the drive thru. There were a few health safety flags that went up (like the cashier touching hash browns with no gloves and the lack of hand washing regulations). I was already stressed, not because it was busy (my previous jobs were far busier) but because I was here for training but was being treated as a regular employee. The big red flags were regarding the breaks, which I was told they don’t offer. Yet there I stood, watching two shift leaders rotate their breaks.

There’s plenty more but I think maybe my point is out there, plain and simple. I’m not cut out for low level food service, at least not poorly  managed food service. My moral compass is a bit too strong and the real thing that tipped me over the edge was the warning that I can’t loiter before or after my shift. Well, apparently ordering a meal and sitting down to eat is loitering because the assistant manager watched me and my boyfriend eat after my shift, and he kept checking the time. This place doesn’t treat you like a valued employee, but more of like someone they own. Nobody had bothered telling me that I can’t have my hair in a pony tail, or braid, but it must be in a bun (which my hair is too fine and thin to keep itself in). Just like I can’t wear light blue nail polish, it must be one of their approved colors. I didn’t get the job to be controlled, but at the very least they should have told me during orientation so that I knew before I walked in and got yelled at.

So I spend the rest of the day dealing with the anxiety of what do I do now? Do I quit or do I push through, ignore the safety and health violations that are so clear, and all of the other red flags? I just cant do that, I’m not the type who can handle seeing an ungloved hand in a strangers food or a floor drain overflowing and nobody doing anything about it. So by the time my dad got home, I was having a bit of an issue deciding, and my boyfriend and I had a heart to heart, and I was pretty emotional. The first thing my dad did was light a candle. He sits down, let’s me vent, then says “Hey, if it doesn’t work then it doesn’t work. That’s okay.” Up to this point I hadn’t realized, but my anxiety was coming from not wanting to disappoint him. I cried. We talked, he shared his experiences with me and I realized that its okay to not be cut out for food service. I want a customer service job. One where my job matters, not one where I have to basically be the slave, doing all of the lobby work while everyone else stands behind the counter just talking.

I felt better, and had pretty much made up my mind that I would quit after my next shift the next day. I got ready for bed knowing I would have to get as much sleep as possible because I had to wake up and eat a big meal. I went to blow out the candle my dad had lit and realized that he might have actually lit it to help calm me. He did, after all, send me a relaxation care package for Christmas one year. I love my dad.

And I love candles. And at the moment that I blew it out I was able to calm down. I use a candle flame (or incense smoke) to meditate, so this isn’t surprising that it would calm me. But its the appreciation for such a small thing that hit me. I’m over here all focused on the heavy things that cause my anxiety to flair, when I’ve got it so good right now. I’m trying to get out of this cycle of anxiety and depression, but I’m eager to change the world now. I know, even if I don’t always remember, that I cannot pour from a cup which is already empty. In order for me (and you) to change this world, we must first fill our cups. Preferably with earl grey, but you can chose a different beverage, or even soup! I have to heal myself first, and allowing my job to cause me so much stress just won’t do. I spent all of yesterday in a panic, putting in applications to places that I either already had or that are now hiring. I searched online for jobs, looked for at home jobs (I was unaware that you could do some of them without a degree) and rode my bike around putting in paper applications to mom and pop shops.

I’m okay. I can calm down now, and I know that I can be happy, despite my current situation.

For anyone who feel hopeless, I recommend taking a second to heal yourself. For me, I am able to look for other work, and I am lucky for that. But for those who don’t have that opportunity, I suggest finding your lit candle. It might be in a warm bath with Epsom salts, or cuddled up on the sofa with your dog. I struggled for so long before I found out hose too heal, and I’m clearly not the best at it. But this is why I encourage you to try. To know your own self worth, because you are beautiful and intelligent and strong. Every person on this Earth is worth it, and every person deserves their shred of peace. I encourage you to search within for that peace because sometimes the outside world is too dark, too cold and too heartless for those who seek happiness. Only then can we all begin to heal this world, and only then can we bring peace to those around us.

In a money hungry world…

I always have trouble understanding why money is what rules the world. I was in the car with my dad the other day when he went to the ATM and pulled out money he owed his mom. Nice crisp clean bills. Brand new. I could almost smell them in the passenger seat. Just as he folded the rectangle pieces of paper it hit me that they were really just that. Pieces of paper.  This is what the world is currently obsessed with. Once it was water-the substance that we literally need to live. We die after just three days without water so it’s easy to understand why our ancestors chose the rich valleys of rivers to settle. It’s easy to see why they fought over that land. Now we are obsessed with something that we can literally make as much of as we want. It’s not needed to live and it’s not rare. Yet we are totally willing to ruin another person’s life to get it, we are willing even to kill for it.

I know someone who’s currently facing a lawsuit because she couldn’t pay her credit card bills. I know another person who had an ex wife take out a credit card in his name, not even caring how it would effect his credit. I myself have had a member of my boyfriend’s family steal my social security number and attempt to use my credit. Why are we so willing to cause harm to another just for these little pieces of paper, or worse. Now it’s also small rectangle pieces of decorated plastic.  It saddens me to know that humanity can be turned against it’s-self for something so small and seemingly worthless. It makes me sad to know that the people that are my age are unable to get a proper education because of a lack of money and that they must put themselves into debt if they want to attain a higher level of education. Once, education was valued. Now it’s only the money that gets you the education that is valued. We have more than enough resources to educate each human being on this planet, as well as feed them. The only thing stopping us is money. How will humanity ever progress?

I’ve found that I can be happy without money. I’ve never really had much of it to begin with, but I know that I will have a smile on my face regardless. I know that the fresh air outside and the feeling of the cool green grass between my toes is worth more than the number of paper bills in my wallet and the number that adds up in the bank. I know that the soothing sounds of the rain storm and the smell of a fresh brewed cup of Earl Grey are all that I need to feel at peace. I have found that I feel richest when I am in a room with those people that love me and we are talking about the world, laughing and ranting together. Breathing together, learning together. In that moment, we are the richest people on this planet. I wouldn’t trade that for any dollar amount. You couldn’t walk up to me and tell me I could have fifty billion dollars if I gave up my family and friends. I would become the poorest person alive, and even a warehouse full of tea couldn’t fix that.

Remember, the next time you look into your wallet, that it does not define how rich or poor you are, and it never will. Remember that there are far more valuable things in this world, things that are worth dying for, things that you would miss long before you missed your last dollar.

 

On Religion and Spirituality

I’ll try not to offend anyone with this post. If it’s not your cuppa then feel free to pass on by. And I’m leading with this because of a recent encounter with two beloved family members. So please, if you’re the type that gets easily offended by this type of talk, feel free to pass on. It’s okay. I’ll still be here and I won’t be offended by it. 

 

So the story. I’m at my grandparents with dad and things are going smooth. I have two of the best grandparents in the world (aren’t they all the best though? Most of the time, yes.) and we are discussing whatever comes to mind. That’s normal. That’s how my family does things. We follow a topic and when someone takes us off of that topic we all jump on that train and follow that topic until it’s a pattern and we are three hours down the hole and on a topic so different from the original topic that we’ve lost ourselves. I enjoy this type of talk.

I knew that this was going to come up. I had braced myself and told myself that it would only be a small hump. Just a small teeny tiny hump, and I knew it would happen because my last birthday card from the grandparents was loaded with God talk. My entire family knows I’ve never believed. I just never found truth in what the Sunday school teachers told me. I found some of the stories empowering, but it wasn’t because of God. For instance, there was a story of an old man (or was it a child?) who needed to cross a river but it was storming and the river was flooded. The guard (or saint? I was like 5 [6 or 7?], so details are a bit hazy) picked the old man (or child) up and carried him across the river. The idea being that God had protected this guard (or saint) from drowning as he carried the old man (or child) across the river. Most people would look at this and see that God was the hero here. I, however, did not. I saw that this guard (or saint) found the strength to carry this person through a deadly storm so that he could get to wherever he was going and that this old man (or saint) was the hero. When I was that little, I do remember not knowing exactly what God was supposed to be. He could have been the President of the United States and I wouldn’t have known the difference. I only learned of these things in Sunday school, which I quickly grew to hate. I would sneak off and cause mayhem, usually finding the oyster crackers and grape juice and pigging out. My point here is that it’s never been about God to me, it’s been about the human spirit.

So today, at the age of 24, I’m finally no longer battling my own belief system inside of my own head. I’ve grown up hearing that the Bible is the correct word of God and yet I have questioned that my entire life. Something just never added up to me, and besides that, the other belief systems were far more interesting. So I began reading. To this day I still read books about other religions and spiritual paths. It is a topic that fascinates me, but it’s not because I’m searching for what I believe. I already know what I believe, but it’s not a religion, at least not that I can say. Lets see. The definition of religion is as such:

Simple Definition of religion : the belief in a god or in a group of gods : an organized system of beliefs, ceremonies, and rules used to worship a god or a group of gods : an interest, a belief, or an activity that is very important to a person or group

And the definition of spirituality is as such:

Simple Definition of spirituality : the quality or state of being concerned with religion or religious matters : the quality or state of being spiritual

The main difference here is that religion is an organised system, where spirituality is being in a state of being spiritual. This can mean that you are spiritual regarding a specific religion, but it also means that you are not tied to one specific religion.

So I define myself as spiritual. The main reason for this is that I cannot pick any one religion that suits me. To add to this, I also find too many things in each religion that I can agree with. This means that Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity, Paganism, Pantheism, Taoism, Shintoism and so on so forth all offer me truth. None of these offer me complete truth however, and so I am spiritual. I feel the spirit within myself and I cater to what feels right. Containing this to one religion does not feel right to me.

So when I am asked what I believe in, and I am being asked by my beloved grandparents, what am I to say that will not upset them, but also will not go against what I feel is right by my belief system? I can’t just say that I am pagan (this is the closest word I have found to define what it is that I am) because to most Christians pagan means I walk through the woods naked worshiping demons and trees. (Each Christians viewpoint will be different, I admit this. To a majority however, pagan=witch) Do I want to scar them? Do I even want to enter the debate in the first place? And I surely can’t say I believe in their God, because I don’t and my moral self cannot lie just to make someone else happy with me.

Well, I was blindsided. I knew this day would come but I hadn’t prepared for it, though I thought I was ready. See, the problem is, I’ve never questioned myself as to why I don’t believe in their God. The truth is, I don’t feel that God. To me, that God is non-existent and that has never been a question in my mind, just like Thor (don’t be mad at me all of you Norse-pagans. Take me with a grain of salt if you must) and Zeus never did. And Thoth (though my tarot deck is called the Thoth deck) and Ganesha did not exist. He falls into the category of deities that were invented by the human mind to explain that which they could not explain. And when you take away these deities, the basic foundation of each religion seems to be quite similar. Do good by each other, don’t rape and steal yada yada yada. So in my mind, each religion is the same, they are one. What has happened here is that us lovely humans needed something to explain what was happening to us and we found that fables were the best way to carry these ideas at the time. We could easily capture our children’s attention with them and thus carry the beliefs down generation to generation. And there is not a thing wrong with this.

But how do you tell a devout Christian that you basically think their God is a myth? While you’re sitting in their living room having just eaten the food the kindly offered to you? Especially if you weren’t actually prepared…

Things got heated, my dad got nervous before I even began talking and while I thought at the time that things would be fine, he knows me better than I know myself sometimes. I was heated, but these were my grandparents and I knew I wouldn’t try to hurt their feelings. In fact, that’s what got me so heated. I was trying so hard to figure a way to tell them what I believe in without trampling all over their belief system, and without making a fool of myself and I got frustrated. Especially when everything I said just seemed so wrong to them. That is my one major issue with religion. It closes the mind. You have your set of rules and a lot of people find it hard to get past those rules and keep an open mind to expand their own belief system. Once they are in, they might never question that system. You can’t grow if you can’t question yourself and what you believe.

So what is it that I believe? Well, I’ll tell you, the first thing is that I don’t believe God made the Universe. Scientifically, we have no proof of him having done so. And yes I realize people will ask “Well who created the big bang? It just came from nothing?” Fair point. But the theory that makes the most sense to me is that the big bang exploded, creating all of the matter and energy we have today, and it is expanding as we speak. It will continue to expand but as things start to collide and orbit each other and create a lower center of gravity, things will start to be pulled back to a singular point until the event happens again. Now, let me tell you that I’m not a scientist, but of all of the theories I’ve heard, this one makes most sense to me. I want that to be known. I do not claim to be the one who knows for sure but that’s also the point that I am trying to make here. I believe that the Universe happens again and again while others believe God himself made it and still others believe the sky and the Earth mated and we were created (Ancient Egypt, and others). Us silly humans have the amazing ability to formulate ideas all on our own, and since we all see the Universe in different ways, we all chose different paths. How can any one of them be wrong or right?

Secondly, what happens when we die? This is where the hippie in me is about to come out. Buddhists (and others) believe that we are reincarnated and we experience life in different ways. Others believe that we are actually the Universe experiencing its self in different ways (all at once)  while others believe we go to Heaven or Hell, and even more beliefs crop up about how we don’t do anything at all, just die. My personal belief is that whatever our spirit is (in my case I believe it to be energy its-self) is released. My life force is what some might call it. My vibes others would call it. This is passed on to fuel a new life weather it’s another human or a plant, and my body becomes food and fuel for already existing life forms like fungus, bugs and scavengers. I do not believe my consciousness goes with it. Once this beautiful life is over, it’s over, and it goes on to become a new life completely separate from this one.

Of all things, that is the one belief that I feel strongest of all; that we are all connected. Not just humans either, I mean every life on this planet is connected (not quite Avatar style though) and since energy cannot be created or destroyed, it transitions between these life forms.

The question that got me the most though was this: “So you believe that you are on this Earth for what reason then?”  This is what stung the most. My very own grandparents believe that without God, I have no purpose on this Earth. They can’t seem to see that without God, someone might find their own purpose on their own. I’ll admit this, I have read up on LeVeyan Satanism. What intrigued me was the fact that they believe that they themselves mold their own destiny. That they are their own Gods. I’m not Satanist, and I also don’t claim to know everything about that specific religion, but what I do know is that they were playing on what I already knew about myself. I am a God. And since the word god  has a few definitions, that’s not untrue. I am greatly loved and admired by myself. But Satanism is not for me, I don’t agree with the eye for an eye justice system. (Although, if you punch me, I will punch you. That’s fair, but I won’t take your eye if you take mine. I’ll still punch you though.) Since I view myself as a god though, that means that each human is a god. Each spirit is a god. (The shinto belief system actually should be mentioned here. Many many gods and spirits in that one.) But if I am the Universe experiencing its-self, and if the Universe is everything, then maybe the Universe is God? (Pantheism).

This is why I follow no religion. I just can’t, I’m not a part of that world where I need to be defined by something. My purpose on this Earth has been found already, and weather or not it was God’s work, it has happened. I know that I am here to help, to make a change, to cause waves. I am here to be a part of the new world and that is why no religion works for me. That is why when I am told that someday I will find God I laugh. I have found God. I am God. That tree is God. You are God!

Peace is my religion. Education is my religion. Love is my religion. Is that what I should say from now on?

I could go on and on but the word count at the bottom right just keeps climbing and before I know it I will have a novel and you might have fallen asleep. I had to get this out there though because even though I told my dad that I was fine, I wasn’t. (I didn’t know that at the time, that’s the bull in me bottling it all up). I was hurt and I was made to feel as if I didn’t know myself anymore. I do, though. The issue that came up was that I knew myself but for the first time in my life I didn’t want to lay it out in a way that might hurt the person in front of me. I love my grandparents and I respect their beliefs and I know that if I were to lay this out to them, even if it’s the smallest part of them, a part of them will feel sorrow because my soul is not saved. I will not be going to heaven in their eyes. And I can’t say for sure, but they might also feel like Satan has grasped my soul because I don’t identify with a religion, and yet I identify as all religions (Yes, even LaVeyan Satanism). That might break their hearts, and it would for sure create more resistance with them. They would try harder to push me into their God’s arms, but that is not where I belong.