Saturday, November 30

What we *Believe*

I have a thing for sunsets, as my closest friends know, and I have some favorite places to photograph them. One of these places is in the town south of here at the Krishna temple.

This temple is up on a hill, and you can walk around the top balcony, looking at the view in every direction. This is where I’ve captured some of my most favorite sunset pictures.

Last week I went with my dear friend to this Krishna temple. As we entered, we took our shoes off (as customary) and we headed upstairs. Looking at one another and smiling as we realized the music we were hearing was live singing.

”hare krishna, hare krishna, krishna krishna, hare hare, hare rama, hare rama, rama rama, hare hare”.

I immediately thought there was a room full of people, and the floor accordion we saw on our last visit was being played. Ascending the stairs, I was shocked to see only 3 men. They sat on the floor in the corner on pillows atop a rug. We sat down on a short bench a way from them, and enjoyed their lovely voices.

My friend then told me that when he was part of an organized religion, he would feel an element of guilt at attending any event organized by another religion. He said that he felt as though his being there meant he was worshiping “their god” not “his god”.

This shocked me a bit. I had never considered one could feel that worship of “god” could be done to more than one god, simply based on where one was. Especially since I had always assumed (when I was tucked up into religion) there must only really be one god. We are all just fighting over who we believe “he” is.

Then, I wondered… (complicated thought here) Is it possible to convince people to worship a god that is not a real god? A god that is not worthy of being worshiped? An entity that is not a god? If that entity is not a god, does the belief of the worshiper override who the god actually being worshiped is? And I am trying to distinguish between what is being worshiped and the entity the worshiper believes they are worshiping. Again, does the belief override the situation?

So, if my friend had decided who his god was, and that was the god he worshipped, did it matter he was in a place worshiping a different god? OR, did the worship change with the collective? You’re in a Krishna temple, you will now be worshiping Krishna/Rama?

IF… if… the worshiping is not within the control of the believer (you and me), we don’t actually get to decide who we “worship”. None of us. Yes if…. But IF this were true, an organized religion could create what they want, decide who the followers are going to be worshiping, and as long as the believers are sold on what they are toldwhoever that “god” is, will be the one being worshiped. Which is also to say, receiving the energy of all those believers.

I’m willing to bet that everyone reading this is already insisting that we worship -who we believe we worship. Not who the collective is gathered together to believe in.

Which is to say belief dictates your worship, and who your energy is going to.

I am saying I don’t know… I’ve posed two ideas here. One is uncomfortable, the other is comfortable.

This is where I say, what we believe is decided! You will believe what feels most comfortable to you, and you will be cemented in it because of comfort. And where your comfort lies in your organized religion (if you have one) has everything to do with what you have been told to believe. Essentially who your god is, has been dictated by someone else. You didn’t create your religion, your religion is older than you. So, really, you ARE worshiping whatever entity you have been told to worship, and you believe in “your god”, -who could be anything/anyone when all is said and done.


Wednesday, November 27

My Piece of Peace

What I’m thinking about on this eve of the day of giving thanks isn’t “gratitude” and “grateful for”. I’ve reached a space where those words are so trite they have lost their meaning for me. 

This holiday is based on fairy-tale dinners with Native Americans, when what really happened as “white men” came to these lands was slaughter and steal. No I’m not going to harp on about the lies we are told, or the awfulness of the truth… I’m going to be ever the optimist and say on this holiday in particular I am going to hope for and dream of more peace. For everyone.

Most people in the US will be with family members tomorrow. For some that means arguments, but for many that means laughs. I speak to the laughers when I say I wish this day of getting together is one that you can not only cherish as a memory, but cherish as it happens. I hope you are able to look around the room and say… “Ya, this… it isn’t perfect, but this is life, and this is my piece of peace.”

I hope you are able to set down the busy-ness of life, taste the food, appreciate the time everyone has put into not only the food, but the gathering together for it. I wish you joy, I wish you clarity, I wish you presence, and most of all I wish you peace.

Wednesday, November 20

If you want something Different…

…you have to do something different.

You’d think people would finally stop saying “Why did god let this happen?” “Why didn’t god stop that?” “If there were a god, he would ____” and it’s as though people have been told constantly that god intervenes. So when he doesn’t, people seem so hurt and shocked, and god even takes the blame when people choose to be assholes and idiots, creating awfulness, death, and destruction. People are doing that; not god!

I think I was a child the first time I was shocked that someone expected god to intervene, and turned blame onto god instead of the humans causing the “awful thing”. Is the god excuse a way to not have to get upset at the humans?

I believe in a god (as I’ve said before) even if I don’t know how to define that god, or what name best to call “it”. (I’ve been saying “he” for tradition and understanding sake, but I want to be open minded to god not having gender.)What I don’t believe in; is a god that takes away the ability of every person to choose how kind or how big an asshole they want to be in life.

So when anyone goes to the “god excuse” for where their life is, and the direction it’s going, I’m compelled to ask, "What are YOU doing that should bring you some change?" Because no matter how hard you are praying for change, if you do nothing to change a situation yourself, and all you do is ask for god to change it, don’t be surprised when he doesn’t intervene…. because he never intervenes! That seems evident in all the years of complaints people have been whining about it.

At what point will people remember he didn’t jump in and save the day last time or the day before, or the week before. Nor did he stop anyone from making choices.

If you want something different, you have to DO something different.

Tuesday, November 19

Coffee Baby

I'm not a good poet, but sometimes a thought strikes me, and it comes out in poem form. I hope you enjoy this one.

Coffee Baby    

You’re like a perfect cup of coffee
Not too bitter, not too sweet
I crave your beauty in my mouth
You’re like a savory treat

I hold you in my hands
You warm me completely up
It’s like you’re a magic potion
Just sitting in my cup

I’m crazy about your taste
I want you in my nose
Smelling all delicious
Your scent sticking to my clothes

I want to share the morning sunshine
While enjoying you at dawn
As the first part of my day
Drinking you all gone

I’ll always top you up
Enjoying you forever
And making sure you know
I’ll never leave, never.

Monday, November 11

I don't know, I just try

I think it’s possible the only thing I know is that I don’t know.
I have to admit, since I am a spiritual person and not a religious person, I am open to anything being possible, and I’m just sticking with being full of goodness, kindness, and love. I feel inside me this is important, so I’m running with it.

I also decided my reality is only mine. This life I’m living is only lived by me. I’m single, without responsibility of another, and so I have to answer to myself, and be the best me I can be.

I’ve figured out that making choices in life that keep me liking me, keep me happy, and keep me feeling I’m doing what I should be doing according to the universe. The knowledge I have is only the knowledge of my heart. I know I need to care about others. I know loving everyone (or trying) is important. This is not what I’m being told, what I’m being preached, or what I am sitting behind a desk learning from a book.

I have come to many “I don’t know” conclusions that do lean towards certain possibilities, and I am happy to share them with those who ask, or just need some new perspective.

This life isn’t easy, but it’s what I’ve got, and I will do my best according to ME.

I’m convinced when I die I’m not going to hear these words: “Natalie I wish you had not done so much thinking for yourself. You should have just followed everyone else.”

I have a feeling I’m doing exactly what I’m supposed to be doing. And maybe that is my reality; not to be lived the same by another. We need to find our own truths, our own rights and wrongs, and we need to be genuine to who we are. Which is to say maybe it is for another to be mean and evil… I don’t know, I just know it’s not the life I’m meant to live.

Maybe some are meant to struggle through life with a specific religion, instead of personal spirituality. That might be possible too.

I’m just glad I finally figured out who I am, and what I need to be doing, and that is not concentrating on a collective belief, but believing in the goodness of me.

Sunday, November 3

The Travelers and The Untraveled

This really strange thing happens to you when you step outside the familiar world that you walk in daily, and step into the unfamiliar. You suddenly allow changes and differences into your reality that you don’t normally have need for, or experience of.

Going to another country is like opening super-stellar portals in your brain and linking to humanity through gravitational pull and magnetic illumination. Which is to say it’s really hard to describe how amazing it is, and how much you learn through doing it. -It’s life changing.

Where I live there are many people who have not traveled around this world, have not met different people on different turf, they don’t know what it feels and smells like to be in France, Turkey, Mexico, Wales, or anywhere.

These people are missing out on levels of life that they can’t even imagine. We can watch movies, we can hear music, but without actually traveling around and experiencing people and culture, you will remain untravelled, and therefore partially empty with parts of your mind staying closed.

Thing is, this giant land mass of country I live in doesn’t change from state to state the way the smaller area of Europe changes from country to country, so traveling around the US, really is NOT the same.

I had a unique experience recently. I stumbled upon a couple of lovely women on the internet doing a little tour of the US. Stephanie and Jillian (“Bonobonobonobo”) are in the process of visiting 8 cities in 7 weeks, as they move from home to home doing concert/conversations with a theme of “our love is what we make of it”. Their idea is they want to expand their perspective by directly listening to people speak on the subjects they are writing songs about. The concept is super clever, and sounds a thoroughly fun and an enlightening way to grow, learn, & live. I invited them to come to my house this last week since they were in the area, so I got to “take part” in a concert/conversation. (Which by the way was TOTALLY COOL.)

One of the things that struck me was that these two lovely souls are some of the “Travelers” not part of the “Untraveled”. An open-mindedness comes with those wanting to experience others, which is the path I took. This open-mindedness is something I’m so keen to experience, I now recognize it very easily in people, and so I am drawn to the fellow Travelers of the world.

Another thing I’ve noticed about the Travelers is the lack of preaching “truth” or “right-ness”, they tend not to be so insistent on having a religion, or walking a set path, holding fast to any “rods”. They don’t worry about doing as they are told, but more concerned with learning as they live loving. A mouthful, but very accurate: I also want to learn as I live loving… I’m not going to care about holding onto any rod either, there are many lessons to be learned in the fields either side of the path where the rod is located. And many beautiful people also exploring these fields. These are the Travelers, and I am among them.