The true religion......just kidding - really, I'm kidding

Been doing some thinking lately, about life in general but also about my place in this world and what exactly I'm doing to make this world a better place.  I started thinking about what I believed in and this is what I came up with.  Please excuse my grammar mistakes, I know there are many.

1.  Everything is connected
"When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world." -John Muir

Evidently, this isn't exactly what John Muir said but he said it several different ways and it gets the point across, http://www.sierraclub.org/john_muir_exhibit/writings/misquotes.aspx .  When you destroy one thing, you are affecting something else, maybe a million something elses (don't know if that's a word.)  I can't think about it too long because I get overwhelmed.  But, when you think about it in a positive way, it's better.  Take a smile, it's contagious.  If you smile at one person walking down the street and that person smiles at another, and so on and so forth, the smile realistically could travel around the world.  If one person each picked up a piece of trash every day, think of the good that could come of it.  For me, this breaks it down into doable terms and I don't get overwhelmed.  :)

2.  Humans are not the pinnacle of creation but one of many creations on planet Earth and among planet Earth that have the right to exist and who need each other.

Just because we evolved beyond other species in terms of speech, technology, etc. does not mean that we do not need the other species.  It does not mean we can just destroy them at will.  Doing so will lead to our own undoing.  It may not be immediate, but it will happen.  For one very small example, look at the blight that took out the American Chestnut trees in the Appalachians.  Not only did it devastate those living in that area but it changed their history.  That was just one species of tree in one minute area of the world.  For more on the blight and the American Chestnut tree go to http://www.acf.org/ .

3.  Higher being

I think arguing about whether or not there is a god, or how many gods, if it's a he or she, or which god is right is useless.  I think the concept of a higher being is much bigger than what any of us can really comprehend.  Putting it into comprehensible terms is fine because I think some people need that tangible form but that form is going to be different for different people.  There's not going to be a right or wrong.  To me, the universe itself is the higher power; that's where the know all/be all comes in.

4.  Everything happens for a reason.

I know this is very cliche and people say it all the time but it resonates in me.  It goes back to everything being connected and using a form of karma (cause and effect, not necessarily reincarnation.)  There's a fabric within the universe, when a corner is pulled, the rest of the fabric moves.  When a fold is smoothed, another is formed.  There are a ton of stories where someone had some minor, unfortunate thing befall them only to find out later that they were saved from a major disaster of some kind.  I know the cynics will say that you can always look back an find some coincidence or whatever but I've had it happen to me too many times.

5.  Karma

I do believe that what you put into this world comes back to you.  I am extremely judgmental and have often found myself in situations where I had judged someone else's actions harshly and I turned around and had to do the same thing.  So, while I unfortunately still have a judgmental side, I also know how to be humble.  I remind myself never to wish bad things on people because 1, they may be having a bad day and 2, they may be doing the same to me.  We've all been there in one way or another; no matter how much someone tries to hide it.

6.  Afterlife

I don't know if there's an afterlife.  Honestly, whatever higher being is out there, I am sure that he/she/it/them would not want us living our lives worrying about what is going to happen to us when we die.  We should be living our lives.  We should be striving to make each day count.  Now, I'll be the first to admit that I haven't been walking the talk, but that's one of the reasons I started thinking about all of this and writing it down.  We were made with an innate moral center.  Of course, people debate where that comes from; whatever, I don't care.  I just know it's there.  Using that moral center, which may differ slightly person to person, we should be striving to make this world a better place.  I don't mean by pushing our philosophies, politics, or religions on other people.  I mean by blowing bubbles at the park, taking groceries in for an elderly person, doing a flash mob at a town square, smiling at someone who looks down, saving a snake in the middle of the road, teaching the Mexican janitor an English word a day, laughing with a baby.....you get the point.  If there's an afterlife, it won't matter because you've lived your life to the best of your ability with what you were given.  If you use religion along the way to guide you, that's awesome!  If there are pearly gates in the end and I'm questioned as to why I should be allowed in, I would much rather say it was because I was loving, accepting, and I tried to make myself and others happy than that I adhered to one religion and tried to get everyone else around me to believe the same.

7.  Peace is possible.

I really think it is.  Do I think it will happen?  No, because we will never be able to get everyone to believe #2.  (heehee, I said number 2)

8.  There is always a balance.

OK, so the universe does this balancing act.  You can't have one thing without the other.  This kind of pulls from some of my other points.  You can't have good without evil.  With that said, there's not this huge battle between good and evil because again, you have to have one for the other to exist; you can't have light without dark, there's no up without down, etc.  So, for me, this knocks out the idea of heaven and hell. There may be other planes, other existences, but not this splitting of good people and bad people.

This balance also refers to the energy in the universe.  This energy is what sustains everything.  Energy can be transferred from one thing to another but it cannot be generated from nothing, or at last not in the terms that I'm talking about here.  So, if something dies out, its energy goes somewhere, something else gains energy ----> tug at one thing, something else is affected.  One thing is certain, nature will always set things straight in the end.

In our lives, isn't it balance that we typically are trying to achieve?  In terms of World Peace, what would that involve - a balance of power; no one could have the upper hand or that would not be true peace.  All of this mimics the bigger picture.

9.  Prayer

It has been proven scientifically that when a group of people gather and think together upon a single thought, there is a measurable rise in energy.  If there is a rise in energy, that means something is taking place and that something is probably something beyond what we can fathom.  We may not be able to fathom the outcome of prayer but there is plenty of anecdotal evidence of the power of mass thought/prayer.  Not everyone believes in the word "prayer" but you don't have to.  Prayer can be meditation, moment of silence, drumming, anything that allows people to bring their thoughts together to the same purpose.

10.  Seven Spiritual Laws of Success - http://www.chopra.com/dailyinspiration

While these laws are for success (one of Chopra's books), I've been using them for meditation and to generally live by.  Some of them are actually fairly difficult for me but not because they are complex, because they require me to actually be aware not only of my surroundings, but of myself.  If I use the laws as guidance, I can't just flow through life unwittingly, I have to actually pay attention.  Aha!

11.  What do I actually believe?

None of what I have written is new.  It is a mixture of things I have picked up along the way that have made sense, spoken to me and guided me to be a better person.  I don't have the final solution and I don't think anyone does.  You have to go with what your mind, heart, body and soul tell you to do; and it has to be a balance (there's that word again) of those entities.  The right way to live and the way to happiness is not going to be the same for each person.

Even after writing all of this, I know that I can change my mind; it's a never ending quest.  That's the beauty of it all.
        -That which stops growing and changing..........dies.

  • I can and do laugh at myself.
  • I am capable of having intelligent and rational conversations regarding politics and religion without any agenda but rarely do because most people are not capable of this.
  • I've learned more from my pets than than anyone else.
  • I laugh when people fall.  I laugh when I fall, which I do often.  :)
  • I'm very sarcastic and I like to play pranks on people.
  • I was in the Navy for 10 years.  Yes, I want peace but I'm also realistic.  I would not give up my time in the service for anything.
  • I get angry, especially when I see things like bigotry, hate, malice, and all those other bad words.  But, I try to turn my anger to action when I can, even if it's in a small way and I'm getting better at it (watch Ellen, http://www.ellentv.com/ , it helps.)
  • I never try to stop someone from learning more about a religion, philosophy, way of life, whatever.  I may throw in a cautionary word to always look at all options but I don't stop anyone.  My life is where it is because of different doctrines and belief systems.
  • I talk to a higher being.  I'm not sure who I think I'm talking to - the universe, maybe.  I don't think it matters though.  I just know that I try to make sure it's not always a request or to shout in anger.  I try to throw some thanks in there too.  And I'll be honest, I get angry.  I got angry when my brother died. I got angry when my sister died.  I got angry when my brother lost his legs.  I said a LOT of fuck you's.  Did those things happen for a reason?  Absolutely.  Am I angry about it?  You better fucking believe it.
  • I say all this to say that I am human which makes me a hypocrite, it means I make mistakes, it means I will not always follow my own rules.  However, with my belief system and inner monologues, I'm going to wake up each day and try to do my best.  Am I going to achieve this every day?  Nope.  But that's ok.  It'll make for some damn good stories, right?  :)

I'll end with this:

Blow bubbles
Sleep in
Play in the leaves
Get angry
Lay in the sun
Put your feet in the sand
Make your voice echo
Show some passion
Play with your pets
         -they've got all the answers


We're not in Kansas anymore, well, Utah, nor Vegas.....nor California

A little update for those that don't know, I'm in Kentucky.  Short synopsis - was fired from my job in Utah, got stuck in Vegas, moved to San Diego, Shadonna died in May 2011, Noah went into the hospital July 6, 2011, I decided to move to Kentucky in August 2011.  There you go.  I'm on a leave of absence from Home Depot awaiting an answer from Social Security on a disability status and on the VA to up me from 70% to 100%, both of which are promising.  I'll explain some of the disability stuff on the way.  I have some apologies to make and some confessions to make.  This is going to be hard but I've gone through some inspiring stuff lately and it has given me strength.  Also, I've realized that I've told my family nothing and so they don't realize what's going on and it seems to be causing some problems.  I have to warn you, the next few posts are not going to be real happy.  I guess they will be informative for the people who care about what has happened to me and what's going on with me.  But, some of the posts might be helpful for those people who have felt alone in their head or in their sadness or in their panic; for those who have felt let down by the very people they love and thought would never make them feel that way;  for those people who have had to explain mental illness to a loved one and received silence in return.....you are not alone.

I think I need to go ahead and address Shadonna's death.  Let me back up and remind everyone that we lost Nathan (our middle brother) in 2002, in a tragic car accident.  He was 17 years old; weed and alcohol were involved.  The last time I talked to Nathan was on my birthday, I was on my cell phone as I drove back from Louisville and I didn't have my charger.  My phone died and it cut us off.  It was late when I got home so I didn't call him back.  He died the next day.

Shadonna died on May 26, 2011.  The last time I had talked to her was Mother's Day 2010.  She called me to remind me to call Mama.  She was extremely drunk.  I had been working up the courage to tell her I was not going to continue to enable her; she was an alcoholic and smoked weed every day.  She had done every other drug before then but by that time, she was only smoking weed.  I remember her saying, "Pam, you're not happy.  I want you to be happy."  I wouldn't listen because she was drunk and she had become one of those drunks that would try to get all "deep" with you but usually wound not making any sense at all.  She had made it difficult for any of us to be around her or talk to her.  So, I told her that I would not talk to her if she was drunk or high anymore because I didn't like who she was when she was intoxicated.  I told her not to call me if she was intoxicated in any way, if she was, I would hang up on her.  I told her I loved her very much and I hung up on her.  Shadonna was 31 years old.  She died of an undiagnosed heart problem.  It was made worse by a pancreatic infection and we believe this was caused by the alcohol and drug use.  Shadonna was my only sister, there is a very special bond between sisters.  I've lost a piece of me.

It's kind of weird because after Nathan died, I saw him a few times.  I don't know what everyone else believes, hell, I don't even know what I believe on this but I just saw flashes.  It's kind of hard to explain.  I would just see a flash and it was kind of like a reminder that he was still with me in a way.  I didn't get that with Shadonna until this last week.  On her birthday, I went through the pictures of her.  I had pulled one of me and her and put it on the windowsill in my bedroom.  Well, it sat there for two weeks or so and then, all of a sudden, it kept falling off; and every time it fell, it was face side up.  Now, I believe in signs but I wasn't looking at this as a sign until it happened like the sixth time and there was no reason for it to keep falling, especially for it to land like that each time.  So, now the picture is in the kitchen, where I spend a lot of time, and it's where I can "talk" to her sometimes.  Again, I don't know what I think of all this; I'm just kind of doing what my gut is telling me.  Does that make sense?

I want to add something.  When Shadonna died, I was in San Diego.  I didn't have the money to go to Kentucky for the funeral, no one did.  My Daddy came through and paid for the plane ticket.  Now, those of you that know my Daddy, pick yourselves up off the floor.  I'm trying to analyze it.  I don't know if Surelle talked him into it or if it had something to do with his fascination with death as of late.  I definitely am not looking a gift horse in the mouth.  I am EXTREMELY grateful.  I wouldn't have been able to go without the help and it's the first time I've gotten help from him like that.  I'm just wondering about all the little psychological goodies floating around it.

Speaking of the funeral, it was odd; even odder than Nathan's.  I just kept expecting her to get up and join us in socializing.  She didn't look right.  There was only 2 or 3 people there that I wanted to beat down so that was about average.  Someone didn't show so I was one of the pallbearers.  When I said I would do it, the country-ass men surrounding me ignored me and started to go find someone else and I said rather loudly, "I was in the fucking color guard in the Navy, I can do it!"  Everyone looked at me and then nothing else was said or done.  :)  Don't fuck with me when I'm grieving.  The music had Frank Sinatra's - My Way, Dave Matthews' - Where Are You Going, Bob Marley's - Three Birds, and Bruno Mars' - Just the You Are to name a few.  The music was very fitting.  Of course, we had some people there that didn't get it.  They should have been at Nathan's funeral, they would have flipped out when they heard Master P.  I was ok until the end.  I had to tuck my baby sister into her coffin before they shut it.  Take that in........

I had to tuck my baby sister into her coffin.....

I hope none of you ever have to experience that.  If you have, I'm with you.  I'm going to quit for now.  I won't leave you on a such a sad note though.  Here's a happy pic of Shadonna: