I am more afraid of my own heart than of the pope and all his cardinals. I have within me the great pope, Self.
One Man’s Revelation
Spring Has Sprung!
The birds are singing and wildflowers magically paint the landscape with a lush array of vibrant colors, well at least here in central Texas. It’s pretty much my favorite time of year in this state, a time when a fair skinned fellow such as myself can comfortably soak up the sun without having to slather on toxic chemicals in order to interact with normal sun tolerant people. Honestly most springs fly by unnoticed other than the vast seas of color that envelope the hillsides, commonly caught up in childlike exuberance of “doing cool shit”, I never took the time to reflect on the significance of this time of year. Growing up a preachers kid I was exposed to the religious importance of this holiday from a very young age, due to the physical and emotional abuse of my childhood my ability to clearly see the beauty of this time of year was blinded by anger and resentment. Gratefully I have had the opportunity to reflect on a lot of things lately one them including Easter.
The Winter of my Soul
The last couple of years in my life have been crazy to say the least, I found myself trapped in an emotional blizzard of depression, one that left my soul with cabin fever clawing at my heart. The details can be spared for the sake of my sanity and your time but lets just say being an idealistic romantic can cause someone like me to invest way too much time and energy into people who don’t share the same definition of love. After it was all said and done, I found myself alone again in what is currently one of the most challenging experiences of my adulthood, with nothing but bittersweet memories and broken hopes. In the last month of 2015 I decided to quit a “comfortable” job in order to complete my education in massage therapy, mainly because I knew the psychological importance of showing myself I can complete something. When I started that journey it was with the illusion of support and love from someone very dear to me, someone I thought I could share my imperfection with and someone I hoped would see that this as an integral part of getting myself prepared for our future together. Needless to say that person did not share the same feelings nor desires. I soon found myself in the midst of an emotional whirlwind, buried under a schedule of trying to balance two part time jobs, full time school and the occasional band practice frantically running from the feelings of rejection and failure that all too often accompany the loss of a romantic attachment.
Spring Break! Spring Cleaning?
For most musicians in Austin spring break really just means SXSW is going to make your life crazy for the next week or so, though this one was very unique for me as I had not been in school to appreciate this time of year for over a decade. With my week nights freed up in for the first time in months I finally had the chance to let my feelings catch up with me, something I was literally terrified of, fearing those feeling might halt my momentum. I knew I was in need of a serious emotional catharsis, one that might help me better navigate the turbulent waters of my mind. A trip perhaps? Not necessarily focusing on the destination but more on the chance to get a new perspective, a journey that would help me remember a part of myself I forgot. My internal house was in need of some serious spring cleaning, a chance to knock down the cobwebs of old thought patterns and wipe the dust away from my long neglected inner child. The radiant sun illuminating the state of my life, I was starting to see the emotional importance of this commonly dreaded responsibility.
Resurrection… Metaphorically Speaking
Of course the religious cornerstone of Easter revolves around the death and resurrection of one the most incredible physical manifestations this realm of existence has ever seen, the act itself shrouded in wonder and awe as it appeals to a part of our soul we know to be absolutely true yet we have no way to comprehend. Mysticism aside most people can see that this story is a great metaphor for the end of something, bringing along with it a new hopeful beginning. The truth is we must sometimes go through intense emotional or physical pain in order to be motivated enough to make certain changes that our lives need. Occasionally we need to kill our current self so we can become the person we were meant to be, so I did, I made my peace and began to lay my ego based thought process to rest with gratitude and respect. That being said the ego does not go down quietly, investigating the root cause of your “suffering” is a messy business one that can leave you exhausted and quite emotional. It may sound strange, but I can say I feel a new version of myself slowly breaking through, like blades of grass growing through the cracks of a sidewalk. Even more strange than that is the fact that this new version of myself comes with a feeling of familiarity like when you reconnect with an old friend.
A time of year that marks when the nights of winter are slowly giving way to the days of summer, leaving us in a brief window of solar and lunar balance. Then it clicked, our ancestors recognized this time of year as having incredible trans formative potential which is why so many different cultures have a spring celebration. With nature providing the perfect backdrop, its completely organic to feel that this time of year is a great opportunity for us to shed our less desirable aspects in order to allow new growth. This concept is illustrated through the story of the crucifixion and resurrection, the first part symbolizing the blood exchange meant to pay for our mistakes and the second part showing that we are born anew unbound by the limitations of our past. Relinquishing our attachment to the sins of our past enables us to continue growing in order to reach our highest possible potential. Various ancient cultures honored this with sacred rituals in order to acknowledge the lessons learned while encouraging the desire to continue learning. The equinox is a time of high energy that can be useful in purging our emotional trauma and propelling our spirits into the next chapter of our karmic journey.
So regardless of your spiritual beliefs this time of year is a unique culmination of spiritual sanctity, celestial alignment and seasonal transition that can be an incredible catalyst for change in your life. Whether it be physical, emotional, spiritual or all of them combined I hope you take this chance to achieve the evolution you desire.
Thanks for joining me on my journey and as always you are worth More Than Gold.
The way is not in the sky. The way is in the heart.
Tithes and offerings, these words hold a strange definition in the mind of a religious individual. To those of a more secular mindset it probably has a bit more of a negative stigma.
This entry is not meant as an attack upon the process of tithing which to me means understanding that what you have in this life is a gift and wanting to share a portion of it with those that you love. It is more intended to be the thoughts of a young man on a tradition that could use to be questioned and possibly altered.
When you hear of religious organizations expecting tithes and offerings from their constituents to keep funding their gatherings it has a sense of logical merit. When you look at how much those organizations spend on keeping that location then you start to question. Then you might even be able to notice that a good portion of the people who do tithe are not in the best financial situation and the building that houses this gathering appears to be less important.
Gratefully we have some amazing demonstrations of this concept in society today for the million dollar campuses of these religious bodies seem to provide a clear representation of our warped values. Now this does not just mean religious values but also our social misconceptions. Is it really a surprise that the hardest thing for any church to do is raise money? Shit let’s get real people some of us are having a hard time paying our bills much less those of the building we meet at maybe twice a week.
Within the realms of modern society there is even an anecdotal reference to the panhandling preacher and his brand new car. Of course there is hesitancy to contribute to these “Non profit corporations”. Not even for the simple reason of inadequate understanding of how the money is spent or the pestering necessity of raising more funds. Most likely it is due to people questioning the rationality of this process considering how cumbersome their organization has become.
Now is a tax of guilt or condemnation any different from one forced upon you by means of imperial might? Some might say yes for the simple method or approach but hopefully most can the see point I am trying to illustrate by using the comparison. What is more disturbing about this process is the sense of validation some people get from making their financial contributions. The idea of paying your way to grace or forgiveness is completely asinine.
Let me take you along for a hypothetical tour of my inner thought process, I know it sounds scary but you have me as your guide and i kind of know my way around.
What if we decided to meet at the houses of the members of the organization? Are there not parks and other free places to gather at and share in communion? Have you ever thought maybe you could split the rent of office space with that of a small business owner?
Of course there will always be objections to these kinds of thoughts because it’s natural for our minds to create problems out of nothing in order for it to have something to work on. But if the people involved in the community are truly passionate about what they want then they wont just listen to their head but their hearts as well.
Moving on let’s look at what those members could do with their saved or at least reduced tithes. You could start a group fund that would be used as a way of helping your members through tough times and instantly your church has gone from financial burden to blessing. How nice would it be for you to be able to help your friend out who just lost their job by providing them and their family with groceries while they get back on their feet? Personally I would feel like my money is no longer going to the pockets of individuals but to the benefit of everyone.
I am willing to admit that there are other things I would rather spend my money on in today’s world other than rent, utilities and insurance for some building that is only meant help you connect with your spiritual family. This idea or concept was brought up out of sheer simplicity but where simplicity loses its value is when it becomes a distraction from what the original objective was, connecting with your higher power.
Now after reading all of this I hope you can see that I am not saying you shouldn’t tithe, but more appropriately tithe towards something that really moves your heart. If you are willing to contribute 10% of your income towards a cause or charity should that not be considered the same? If you are willing to contribute towards the health of the people in your life by helping them out when they are in need should you consider that less important?
I guess what I am really saying is that the world is your church and so don’t limit your tithing. Like I said in the beginning, tithing means understanding that what you have in this life is a gift and showing gratitude by sharing with those that you love.
As always you are worth MORE THAN GOLD.
THANK YOU and I LOVE YOU.
“This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is KINDNESS.”
Good Morning Loves! Thanks for tuning in!
I want to start this entry off with something that I try to use daily please read this aloud if you are able to you will enjoy it I promise.
Thank you for waking me up today, my good health, a clear mind, a heart full of love, an opportunity to make this world a little brighter, the people you have brought into my life, the lessons I am going to learn, and the divine abundance known as life. You are an amazing provider, which is reflected in this beautiful existence that I am grateful to enjoy. THANK YOU and I LOVE YOU!
Feel better? I do thanks for going along with that. Feel free to steal that it really makes my days start off great.
KINDNESS. Ah what a beautiful thing indeed, something can be perceived beyond any sensory limitations, cultural differences, or language barriers.
“KINDNESS is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.”
I’ll tell you this practice of KINDNESS is so much fun and enjoyable it makes you realize the world is not such a scary place. It’s a simple state of mind that allows you to make something that seems mundane or ordinary into an uplifting and heat warming experience.
“Love and KINDNESS are never wasted. They always make a difference. They bless the one who receives them, and they bless you, the giver.’
Barbara de Angelis
Lets look at the simple act of taking out your trash. If you live in a suburban area than you probably have to walk your bins out to the curb. Nothing too special and rarely does it ever warrant you wanting to congratulate yourself for completing it. Next time you do that if you have the chance try walking your neighbors bins out to the curb as well, go on try it. When you are done you will walk back into your house with a smile on your face and a simple sense of satisfaction that you normally wont find from just taking your own out.
“No act of KINDNESS, no matter how small, is ever wasted.’
Have you ever found yourself a little bummed out or downtrodden, then suddenly a friend comes over and does something as simple as take you out for a meal or help you clean your dirty house? It feels great right? That person has instantly won a much more sincere sense of appreciation from you than any amount of gifts can garner. We known why it’s because of KINDNESS.
“One who knows how to show and to accept KINDNESS will be a friend better than any possession.”
I can honestly admit sometimes the simple act of KINDNESS can set the tone for the whole day for me so much that I don’t really talk about anything else.
“That best portion of a man’s life, his little, nameless, unremembered acts of KINDNESS and love.”
I recall when I first moved to Austin I had been invited to go hang out with some new friends for an after party. So as I stop to get gas on my way there I was approached by a young man maybe a couple years older than me,clean shaven and definitely dressed for a good time. Funny thing was that the gas station where we met happened to be about twenty minutes north of downtown. He walked up to me and asked to use my phone while I was pumping gas, at first I was very skeptical, I mean “logic” would say you don’t know this guy don’t trust him.
Then my heart said listen, as his story unfolded he was on military leave visiting to have fun with his friends but had gotten separated from them when he left the club with a girl he was trying to get with. To get to the point she was crazy and too drunk to drive so he demanded she drop him off immediately which left him at the gas station where I had stopped. I decided to let him borrow my phone, I mean really it was not a nice phone by any means, he called a few numbers but never got a hold of any one. I had finished pumping gas and it was getting pretty late, then I proceeded to do something that was very unconventional.
I offered him a ride to his hotel, the look of appreciation and surprise on his face was so genuine that I would never exchange that moment for any sense of “security” that would have been provided from me not offering it. As we ride towards where his hotel was supposed to be located, I got to know him and he was amazing soul that had spent his last few months in Iraq providing medical care to children that were hurt during the war over there. He shared with me about how that made him feel and how he looked at those children to only see they were no different than his own son at home that he really missed. As we get closer to downtown he gets a little embarrassed because he can’t remember where his hotel is. Then I get a really crazy idea!
I then proceeded to invite him to the after party where a bunch of musicians are going to hanging out and having fun. His eyes lit up with joy and he smiled then said he would like that. As we start heading to the party he tells how much he loves music, which is why he had come to Austin and that he was trying to teach his son how to play guitar. Of course being in the military made it hard but he was determined to get back to civilian life once his contract was up so he could spend more time with him. We arrive at the party and I ask a favor of him,”Hey man I am fairly new to this group of friends and they might not like me for bringing a complete stranger into their apartment at this hour, so if they ask just tell them we are childhood friends.”
He nodded and agreed it wouldn’t be a good idea to scare everyone with this unconventional meeting. We go into the party and have a great time all the way until the sun starts to rise on the horizon. It’s about seven in the morning he let’s me know he just hailed a cab, gives me a hug ans says something that changed my attitude towards “strangers” forever. He said, “I just want to thank you man, I came to Austin to hear some good music and meet some great people. I spent most of the night with my friends, in lame clubs chasing girls only to be abandoned by the people I came here with. Then a complete stranger brought me to exactly what I had been searching for.”
He waived good-bye got into the cab and left.
“You cannot do a KINDNESS too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
I’m not advising you to take the risks that I had here but I am asking you to look at this beautiful example of how you can’t even understand the value of how much your acts KINDNESS impact others, so don’t rob yourself or them of that opportunity.
Let me wrap this up with providing y’all some links to come really cool places about KINDNESS and let you know I will be sharing more KINDNESS quotes throughout the day.
As always you are worth MORE THAN GOLD.
THANK YOU and I LOVE YOU,
If my life is a tree,
my knowledge the fruit
then my pain is the sun
and my heart is the root
The love I receive
my nourishing rain
my branches and leaves
the stomach and brain
When I plant my seed
Wherever I may choose
I’ll put the fruit of my life
to it’s intended use
One day I’ll fall
I see not the end
But a beautiful chance
For the next to begin
THANK YOU and I LOVE YOU
As a child of God, I am greater than anything that can happen to me.
These two words have been so unjustly related that one of them seems to have suffered a true identity crisis within our social understanding. Realistically speaking though the two are so far apart that through synonymous association we only serve to damage our own perceptions of which actually serves us while the other demands our servitude.
Through most of my early twenties I hung out with various groups of people, all of them uniquely beautiful in their own right. As I was interested in becoming a musician, I had made a conscious effort to place myself among an associated crowd just based off of the advice of old teachings.
What I later came to realize is that I had been a musician all along, I was just tone-deaf to groove of life, that will be saved for another article though. Most of my nights were a blind pursuit of debauchery and hedonism, but would occasionally lead to intense discussion about religion.
As I would willing acknowledge being raised a preacher’s kid, mistake number one, quite a few of my new “friends” would LOVE to try to pick holes in my FAITH in a higher power. Through some ludicrous sense of ability to sway the drunken opinions of others, mistake number two, I would then proceed to indulge them in these conversations like I needed to defend my beliefs or I could possibly illuminate these poor lost souls, pure arrogance.
Not until after a few years of doing this did my father’s advice really sink in, he would say, “Sam you don’t have to go to every fight your invited to.” What I see now is that to some degree I was still trying to convince myself of what I believed in since most of my earlier understandings of similar subjects had been shaken so thoroughly throughout my late teens.
These conversations would lead to so many childish questions, like, “If god LOVEs us why does he let bad things happen to good people? Why would an all-powerful god need to hide from its own creations?” and the most painful of all, “Where was god when I needed him?” Of course there are a ton of cliché answers that could come out at these times but gratefully I was still blessed with a enough humility to answer those questions from my own personal perspective for any other attempt would have only been the demise of my own FAITH.
No I am not going to share those answers here for speaking upon the intent or reason of god only sews the seeds of arrogance among the fragile crop of humility and acceptance that I have been so lovingly cultivating in the last few years of my life.
Eventually these conversations would lead us to the actual reason for the debate, if only I had known they were upset with religion then I wouldn’t have been wasting time trying to defend god, as if I had that ability to do so anyways, mistake number three. Luckily I was not so foolish as to defend religion because I had my own experiences of how destructive religion could be and I was also a big fan of history which means I clearly understood that most blood shed in the world was normally in the name of religion.
At this point in the conversation I would normally have two separate realizations, first, a drunken fool never listens with intent of having a meaningful conversation they are only interested in flexing some sort of emotional justification for their own jaded perceptions. Second, I was no longer engaged in a conversation of any worth, I might as well have been talking about politics and thinking we were discussing morality. Normally I would defuse these conversations with what I considered a simple placation at the time, then came to realize I had accidentally stumbled upon a destructive misconception.
I would say something along the lines of, ” Religion is not the true practice of FAITH but the blind following of people who refuse to think and feel for themselves, SPIRITUALITY is the acceptance of the unknown so that you can be at peace with your decisions in a world you can’t control.” Admittedly, probably not worded so eloquently a few sloppy consonants and a little bit of profanity, the lazy mans articulation, nonetheless that was gist of how these conversations would end.
As much I would LOVE to say that I caught onto this quickly, that would be a lie, I engaged in these fruitless “discussions” over a couple of years a few times with the same people but more often with completely different individuals. Now I don’t engage this topic with a stance of aggression but naturally it does come up because of the type of life I lead, these people ask me in a more sober mindset out of what I can only presume is curiosity or fascination.
Now all those years of reckless exposure of my HEART are finally paying off, tempered with humility and patience I find myself engaged in moments where people are truly interested in helping all parties expand their perspective of such a complex subject that requires cooperation. For this I am eternally blessed.
I do feel this entry does warrant a slight apology but clearly only for those who were willing to stick it out to the end. Religion itself is benign just as money is not the root of all evil but the LOVE of money is.
Religion is not the root cause of evil either, it is only the blind following of religion(or science for that matter), inaccurately called FAITH, that arises when people decide to surrender their most precious gift, freedom of choice, in order to justify stifling the voice inside their HEART that says, “this is wrong” , because listening to it might require they actually feel their way through a situation and take responsibility for their own actions, that breeds evil.
THANK YOU and I LOVE YOU!
COURAGE, a word that is synonymous with men clad in armor riding horses towards a valiant cause.
Most would assume it is easy to be COURAGEOUS when you are basically a moving bastion of might. Which may bear some validity, nonetheless this is not the type of COURAGE I am wanting to highlight today.
Later this evening I will be posting a more personal insight into this topic but I wanted to get you warmed up with some work of other amazing beings that have written or spoken on this before me.
As I did some research into this subject I started thinking about what courage means to me, then I happened across this video that really spoke to me So when you are ready, sit down in a quiet place and let your thoughts wander into the realm of having COURAGE to be yourself.
Below I have provided some alternative perspectives on this subject so if you decide to research this more yourself, and I hope you do, you will find a wealth of resources.
Today I want to write about something that really defines me as a person, LOVE. Most likely because I have recently been intoxicated by the hormones my body seems to be in full production of.
As this subject is one of great value to me I will be writing this subject in installments over the next few weeks that way I can keep a little variety to my content. Hopefully by the end of these entries you will understand why I think that the word LOVE does not do justice to the wide gambit of emotions that we are trying to express through its use.
When I was a younger man than I am today my father and I discussed the topic of LOVE.
He said to me, ” Samuel there are three kinds of LOVE in this world, Philia, Eros and Agape. The first being Philia which is a LOVE between friends which is why Philadelphia is called the City of Brotherly LOVE. The second is Eros which is most commonly described as erotic LOVE between a man and woman. The last being the most the powerful of all is Agape, this is an unconditional infinite LOVE that can be closely related to the LOVE of a parent for their child or between a husband and wife.”
I was maybe all of 17 at the time we had this discussion so honestly I had opinions about this but no true understanding.
At the time I was romantically involved with a LOVEly young soul (Eros) but of course at that age all LOVE can be mistaken for something more than we can even comprehend. (Agape) We proceeded to move in to a small two bedroom apartment that we shared with someone who I LOVEd as a brother (Philia). Our house was filled with so many good times and memories that I would never change a thing about it, despite the how disgustingly dirty it was most of the time or the fact that we really didn’t have much as far as material wealth.
A year passed and our hard living caught up with us, my relationship was falling apart and my brother had decided to move on to a new chapter in his life. I tell you at first my heart broke this was just too much at once. But that expression of having to live in the dark to appreciate the light was never more true to me than in this time of my life. I was alone in an abandoned party house that was started with LOVE and ended with empty confusion not to mention a terrible mess.
My heart was so heavy and I felt like I was watching the world crumble around me, I had to clean my current apartment, needed to move to a new one and let’s be honest my hard living lifestyle really left my budgeting skills wanting. The few nights I spent alone there were filled with tears and screams like a child throwing a temper tantrum.
My father, who I had rejected and avoided, paid me a visit. By this point I was coming to terms with how miserably I was handling my own life but even then I was still too proud to ask him for any help. We went out to eat and if I could see myself through his eyes then I bet his heart hurt so much just from the pain I was wearing all over my face. As he goes to drop me off at my shanty of shame, he reaches into his glove box and hands me a card. Then says, “Your brother and sister wanted to see you and said they LOVE you very much,” Proceeds to give me hug and kiss then leaves as he could tell I was having a hard time not crying in front of him.
I go into my dingy little dwelling then proceeded to sit on my uncomfortable patio furniture we kept in the living room. I sat down and opened the card, out fell a check for a couple hundred dollars I’m not really sure how much any more but it was exactly enough to cover my current financial concerns, with a little to spare for some food. At this moment my eyes were so filled with tears that I could not even read the short message they had written me. After a few minutes of sloppy sobbing I read the card which was a message along the lines of ,”We know you probably need this because of the things that are going on in your life, we just wanted to let you know you are not alone and we LOVE you dearly”
This gesture had a profoundly deep impact on me, my family who I had attempted to disown, reached out to me and supplied my first lesson into the strongest form of LOVE.(Agape) Eventually I gathered myself after a half hour of intense emotion, return to cleaning my disgusting apartment and make a solemn vow to never put my family second to anyone else in my life again.
At the end of this chapter I want to leave you with a thought for your day or night wherever you might be. When you go to say to someone, that you LOVE them make sure you have clearly defined for yourself what kind of LOVE you are trying to portray and do not be afraid to question yourself because in the process you will make it easier to remove any expectations from the relationship so you can truly reflect that LOVE.
THANK YOU and I LOVE YOU,
Below I have provided some great links to this subject from a few different perspectives of history, science and philosophy. I hope you LOVE reading these as much as I did.
http://www.jumpbackhoney.com/?page_id=318 ( The last two paragraphs relate to this subject)