Sunday, October 2, 2016

The Root Of All EVIL

First Epistle to Timothy in the New Testament of the Christian Bible, English version, King James translation (1 Timothy 6:10, Vulgate including Greek, English (King James version), and Latin): "10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows."



If you have a desire to understand the differences and inter-relations and development of the Christian faith (or even it's connection to other religions), I suggest you go to the top of http://sacred-texts.com/ and begin your studies there.

I say this as a wonderful example of where this post is headed. Revelation in the New Testament of the Christian Bible, English version, King James translation (Revelation 22:19): "And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.".

Whomever first wrote (or possibly spoke) those words was the original vessel of God as far as humans go for that statement. Though a description of the the first time it was written is lost, we still have to realize that it was probably NOT written in English nor during King James' rule SO SOMEONE HAS ALREADY "...take(n) away from the words..." through translation into other languages and the inability to thoroughly describe everything a witness of the first writing of those words would experience.

This is the crux of the issue. If heard second hand or read second hand, in the original language even, something of that moment is already lost and so we each must listen with our soul to trust we are part of the Creator and always strive to understand everything from the center of LOVE and LIFE, our heart. Why do you think the paintings paint pictures with Jesus' heart exposed and surrounded by thorns? Having suffered, how can we not understand what LOVE is and follow more accurately in his footsteps?

That is why I call myself a Spiritualist since I believe God is ALL and can be magically growing from nothingness through my own interpretation of religious faiths wherever they may come from. For even now, science fails to understand or describe the Alpha and Omega that is the unknowable infinite. Perhaps that will someday change but it is the basis of my faith no matter how unsteady it may be and I'm okay with that. I think my Creator is okay with it too.



With that preamble, let's begin talking about an interesting change in America. A country founded on the desire of the individual to be free and independent. That included freedom of religion but is often corrupted just as religious beliefs are (as I hope I have already shown).

In 1864, Americans officially began to worship a new god of MONEY. We even stamped our intention ON our money in the hopes, that like the word "bible", ALL or MOST Americans would assume this to be the same God of GOOD and blindly begin accepting the god of MONEY as the God of GOOD. And it seems for the most part, we have.

America is no longer a democracy of the people. It is republic of the corporations built on the power of MONEY.



A great example is the most precious gift our creator gave us that we currently use and abuse, this EARTH. It is becoming one huge landfill and sewer and the root cause is the god of MONEY. Many people need jobs and recycling is an industry whose day is long past being a part of how we live. We could recycle and reclaim all of what we throw away if we were simply willing to follow our HEART to respect the gift of LIFE which is the earth that sustains us instead of following the god of MONEY and claiming it simply costs too much.

I say this since my own community had to "cost justify" recycling instead of simply itemizing it's cost on our bill. As oil became cheap under Barack Obama (yeah, I know that FACT really annoys some folks!), my community began REDUCING what it RECYCLED because IT WAS NOT PROFITABLE. I won't suffer much and since I have no kids, I should not worry. My Spiritual belief tells me different and so I weep for the future of our world.

What more can I say to convince you to stop blindly following what others say is okay but you know to be WRONG? Do you even bother using reusable bags instead of plastic bags? It's a simple step but I see few people in the store bringing their own bags. Just one little step to begin.

THERE IS NO COST TOO HIGH TO PRESERVE THIS GIFT OF LIFE, THE EARTH, THAT THE GOD OF LOVE GAVE US. PERIOD. NAMASTE?

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Still I learn! - More ramblings about Sister Sheena II

A misattributed quote.

In the late 80's, I was working for the phone company. Scott, a co-op and good friend of mine was also working in our group. We each had our little open-air cubicles and Scott liked to think out loud as if each step in his work needed to be shared with everyone. Having ADD, such distractions were fatal to my own work.

One day, I had had enough and stood up and hung a sign over into his cubicle. "Scott." I said.

"What?" he asked.

I said "Look.".

He turned towards my cubicle and saw the sign. "S. T. F. U. What does that mean?" he asked loudly.

"Shut The Fuck Up!" I shouted back and the whole group (who couldn't help but overhear our conversation) burst into laughter. They had obviously been suffering in silence but thinking along similar veins and shared in my expression of their feelings.

To my recollection, I had never heard the acronym used before and from the group's response, neither had they. Was I the creator? Who knows? Like the quote "Still I learn!", it is sometimes hard to attribute the creation or documentation of use of some quote.

It is the title of my blog for it's Spiritual context and my own personal struggles with the topic.

For instance, "Hence where there is a multitude, a crowd, or where decisive significance is attached to the fact that there is a multitude, there it is sure that no one is working, living, striving for the highest aim, but only for one or another earthly aim; since to work for the eternal decisive aim is possible only where there is one, and to be this one which all can be is to let God be the helper----the "crowd" is the untruth." from "Existentialism from Dostoevsky to Sartre".

Imagine a book composed of such sentences with the reader having the attention span of a squirrel, especially when the topic is boring or filled with such verbose sentences (notice, that is just ONE sentence!). Having Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) as an adult and never having been diagnosed as a child, I am having to struggle through such texts until my doctors decide what the safest course of treatment is for me.

The quote seems to me to reflect a belief my dad introduced me to, agnosticism even though it resides in a book on existentialism. I recall my dad sitting in the kitchen and making me go look up the word during a discussion about religion in which he said he was an agnostic. Like many of my current Spiritual partners/friends who claim to be "recovering Baptists" and proudly wear the badge of an agnostic, it resonated with me also.

My own brief fire and brimstone brush with the Southern Baptist religion left me mostly with the memory of a pounding headache (from the preacher shouting damnation using 6 foot speakers) and the standard "Do as I say, not as I do" attitude. So it was surprising and refreshing to discover my own path was much like my dad's. I was quite happy about it. I wasn't alone in my path, no matter how winding it might be.

Having recently lost my cat, Sheena, after 14 years, I still find myself struggling with what has happened to her and me being left behind. I reflect on her life and the living of most of it blind, having lost her sight when she was hit by a car. It seems that event and those that followed had much meaning in my own growth.

Once past the pain and healing, she didn't let her handicap slow her down much. She didn't seem to reflect on her loss. Instead, she pushed her boundaries as far as she could. This included jumping off of the second story deck a few times when she had climbed up on top of the fence surrounding the deck and then jumped back down on the wrong side. It took her a few times before she decided to no longer do that.

She began to understand her new limits, and we both began to understand our new relationship and her increasing dependence on me. She couldn't get back up on the deck until I came to check on her. In turn, I had to find a balance between giving her as much freedom as she desired without too much danger and without too much restriction. It was a constant struggle that caused me much stress as I was fighting so hard to not love her much but her growing affection and need for me wore us both down.



Having been given to me around a month or two after birth (2002-04-23), she seemed to exhibit some typical baby habits, such as an oral fixation. In her case, she had a desire to lick my tongue and over the years, became quite obsessed about licking my spit. If she heard me swallow, she'd push at my nose to get me to open my mouth for a "drink". If you've had kids, you'll know you've done similar things (ever chewed your kids food?) and those without babies of their own simply don't understand how unoffensive it is to a parent. Don't say my cat is different, for you really are narrowed minded if you do! Someday, I will share how convenient this habit became for me!


The above picture was taken around November 17th, 2003 at Rickwood Caverns Park, Alabama before Sheena's accident. She didn't like that heavy chain but loved going out to new places so took to the chain with few complaints (a dramatic leaning to the side as if it weight a ton to be one of them)!

After the accident, she still enjoyed walks in the woods, now having the need for me to take her and her following the sound of my steps or walking on a leash. She still demanded access to the entire house, wandering throughout, exploring the boundaries. Though being blind, her bodily needs soon turned my entire house into a litter box and I was forced to begin limiting her access to being in diapers on beds and carpets or fenced into the kitchen linoleum floor that was more easily cleaned.

Again, with her world having become so small with the loss of eyesight, I struggled with giving her more personal attention, and my care and love grew even more. Due to physical problems, my ability to keep things to my OCD level of cleanliness soon grew beyond my ability and I soon became very reclusive, reluctant to expose guests to the less than pristine environment I preferred.

Sheena still loved the outdoors and no matter how many times she got rained on, she still was up for sunning herself on the deck. Even in the middle of winter, a few minutes were often required outdoors until she got older and the warm comfort of a seat next to daddy became more precious to us both.

So, no matter how quiet I was, she would seek out my company and always managed to find where I was. I had been using baby gates for many years to keep her in the kitchen on the vinyl floor which was a lot easier to clean and sanitize.

As many with children will note, even a momentary distraction can lead to accidents when diapers are removed or not snugly fit so even sleeping with me at night was no longer possible. This probably was the worst permanent change and I think signaled more drastic decisions to come.

But there were also still moments of great leaps of learning on both our parts. Sheena had a seat next to mine so that she could be as near to me as I could tolerate while I worked on the computer. Anyone whose owned a cat knows that the preferred place is on your person or on the keyboard but I managed to often convince Sheena it was better to sit next to me (reaching out a blind paw to make sure I was still there), rather than be confined to the kitchen behind baby gates.

So, many years had passed with me carrying her from the kitchen, stepping over the baby gates, and settling down at the pc, the couch, or the bed. I had become pretty good at it but began to suffer from problems in my hip and so one day it happened.



When Sheena was 13 and 1/2 years, old, my hip failed, I clipped my toe on the top of the baby gate, and went tumbling down with Sheena. Of course, her safety was my prime concern so I stretched out my arms and dropped her in my metal lawn chair (the only sort of computer chair that could support my enormous weight!) instead of trying to catch my fall. As you can see from the above picture, my chest caught the fall instead and though I was in severe pain, my baby was safe.

Why do I tell you this? To brag about how smart my precious baby had become! Due to the traumatic nature of the event, Sheena was very focused and aware of what had a occurred. She realized the gates that had been blocking her had a top. Within hours, she began searching for this top and discovered it was not high at all. Even having bought gates with diamond shaped meshing so it would pinch her paws, she now began attempting to climb over the gates and within hours, a whole new level of prisoner and warden began (as those with bassinets and babies know all too well!). I was quite proud of the intelligence and reasoning and determination she was showing at that age and quite encouraged she was still so young at heart!

I knew things were changing somehow and I could share much more but that's enough for now. I learned a lot about attitude and I am constantly reminding myself of her example. It isn't surprising that as we grew closer, our feelings also grew but I soon found myself alone and wondering. Is she still around? What happens to our consciousness when we die? Strange little things occur in my life that seem to be an attempt to reassure me that existence does continue after death of our corporeal form. I am not sure but I continue to search and Still I learn!

Miss you Sheena!

Monday, July 18, 2016

Why cry?



As I prepared to take Sister Sheena (my cat) to the vet to have her put down, I took the above picture. Sheena couldn't stay still and could no longer walk without falling over and had stopped eating and drinking. It was time to move on for both of us.



I had known it was coming and was blessed with time to prepare and slowly let go though I didn't share that with anyone. Not everyone is kind and compassionate. Some revel in other's suffering. So I prefer to keep such struggles private. Even those that outwardly act compassionate, inwardly enjoy the suffering of others. Humans are competitive and we sometimes feel better when we know others do not have it as good as we do. It's often on a very subconscious level.





Even while she was healthy, I seemed to know something was coming and took Sheena on her first hike to Ruffner Mountain to Hawk's View to see the city for her birthday on April 23rd, 2016. Since she was blind, she couldn't see the view but it is a very good memory in my mind and heart.



I have a few pics of her before she was hit by a car and lost her sight. You can see a very independent spirit in her. She was friendly and loving but it was distant. After the accident, we both started to realize how much we loved and needed each other.



So now when I pass Dr. Kendall Harris' office, I think of Sheena Easton (my previous cat) as well as Sister Sheena since they both passed on in his office. Thankfully, I was there to hold Sister Sheena in my arms as we put her to sleep and stopped her heart. It was a hard thing to do but she's no longer suffering and that's a good thing.



Bless you Dr. Kendall Harris and your staff for giving me Sister Sheena as well as caring for her so lovingly all her life. My life is better for the knowing of all of you.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Spiritual Evolution

Central Alabama Pride, Inc.

It's Pride week here in Birmingham, Alabama and I find my thoughts turning to a subject dear to my heart. Spirituality.

Often, as youngsters (and some oldsters) struggle with their sexuality, they turn to religion for answers. This door is sometimes slammed so hard in their face that the person simply gives up on their Spiritual Quest and sometimes, even themselves.

Other times, the passive aggressive approach is taken and the person speaking with a forked-tongue is much more subtle and no less vicious in their remarks. "That sure is a nice shirt. It would like GREAT on someone else!". Ah yes, there's a highly evolved spiritual person if even I saw one!

I had the honor of hearing the Dalai Lama speak in person. Even when talking about something bad, he attempted to find solutions and put a positive spin on the issue. He led by example and it was kind. He wasn't afraid to tackle the tough issues and he laughed a lot!

I was reminded of that by a dear friend today. Don't take life so seriously. If they aren't sleeping with you or paying your bills, they don't really matter!

So don't give up folks! There are many paths through life and many people waiting with open arms.

Here's mine: Unitarian Universalist Church of Birmingham

Namaste!

Monday, May 30, 2016

Memorial Day and MY DADDY



This post is a long time in coming. That's my daddy in the picture above. I think he was quite a handsome man! Loyal, BRAVE, Loving. If you knew me, you'd wonder how I turned out so different. I'd suggest you just read my book when it comes out!



In the above picture, my dad, Almon Fuller Adams, is front row, far right. He was a Navigator in World War II. I used to play with his metals and finally lost them. I still have his bombing flight records somewhere but haven't scanned them in YET. They say I favor him and it has remained a mystery to this day if it's accurate (though I soon plan to reveal the truth!).

My dad's mom also served (I'm pretty sure) in war as the Head of Nursing up North somewhere. I don't recall at the moment. Everyone including my sister (who lived with her for a while when my mom went to Florida for a job) said she was a wonderful person. She was also a member of the Eastern Star, the women's branch of the Masons (which I have always wanted to join!). Here's a picture of her:





The picture above is my mom, Margaret aka Marjorie aka Marge Julia Frey (maiden name) Adams and her brother Arthur.



The picture above is my dad and my Great Uncle Ivan Culp whom I am named after. I believe he served in the Coast Guard since that's the branch of service he always wanted me to go into. I wanted to fly like my daddy.



Above is the grave stone of my dad's dad, Almon P. Adams. I never had the privilege of meeting him since he died before I was born.

The following are here for posterity until I take the time to add them to our family tree on Ancestry.com





The following is what little I know of my mom's dad, Arthur Frey. I have yet to determine if he served in the military:



Here's a picture of him:



I don't know my mom's mother's name though I suspect it was Julia since that's my mom's middle name. For completeness, here's a picture of her. I think she is holding my mom and that is her brother, Arthur, standing next to them:



So there's a bit of my family history with an emphasis on military service and support. For what is a Soldier without family and community?

I miss my dad and wish I had had the maturity to have a better relationship with him before he left too soon (I was 19). All four grandparents were also gone before I was even born. I was a "mistake", being born 16 years after my sister.

So I honor all people in saying thank you for your service and I hope however long it takes, that we become a world of LOVE and PEACE and PROSPERITY that becomes a shining example that reaches throughout the Multiverse.

Blessed Be.
Namaste.
Amen.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Slave labor OR Why I regret not having kids...


Recently, I have had family members that have children begin to struggle with the "empty nest" syndrome. Having just put in a load of 43 pairs of underwear, I can sympathize!

You see, being a guy with OCD and naturally quite lazy to boot, I wash underwear separately. Twice or not at all. They're the dirtiest so I don't want them in a load with anything else. In fact, so dirty, even a double washing really isn't good enough. So not having a trained child to do my bidding, I am faced with a half-day task of laundry or going to the store to buy another pack of underwear. Now you know why I have 43 pairs of underwear!!!

Of course, it goes beyond cleaning or cooking or mowing. Eventually you expect your love to return to you somehow. That your kids will keep YOU as the focus of their lives knowing good and well they'll be just as self-centered as you were when you spread your wings to fly.

Now I know, some don't fly too well, for whatever reason so if that's you, you have your own blog to write! For this topic, will talk about the ones raised right and able to go out and leave the nest. The ones we're proud of and resent at the same time.

Because now we have the hardest task. Letting go and hoping they do fly high and well, not looking back but forward into the vast future of a long and wonderful life. And we, the elders, are left behind, forgotten and we think, unloved.

We have to find a new path in life, without the responsibility of kids nor much of their attention, their needs, their help, and their love. It's all still there, but mostly focused on their NEW family, not their old.

So kids, take every chance you have to tell your forgotten family you love them. Let them know you still need them and always will. And you "empty nesters", don't worry too much. They do still love and need you even if they forget to reassure you as often as you'd like. They're just busy with the new life you helped prepare them for!

Friday, April 15, 2016

A Coat of Many Colors

One step forward, one step in the mud...

How not to use your words.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QqrQQfsCEgE

Although the video above is a short clip so we don't know how this got started, it seems people are much more likely to frown and spout hateful things for even the simple misunderstanding of who is next in line at an ATM.

Do these same folks, at all other times, smile and say polite "Hello"'s to strangers or is this hate their normal attitude to certain individuals or most everyone they meet? It seems to outwardly display the exact opposite of the principles that people in the South supposedly hold in so high esteem. Or is it okay to act this way 99% of the time as long as you put your hour or two of repentance into the week somehow?



In the above picture (left to right) are Almon Adams (my dad), Marge Adams (my mom), Peter Dinett (Mr. Peter to me), and Emily Dinett (Tete to me).

Mr. Peter and Tete were a couple that were from Grand Isle, LA. and lived in the French Quarter of New Orleans, LA. whom my father had befriended when the ship he worked on had docked in New Orleans. We became very close friends when my parents moved to New Orleans where I was born.

I suppose the terms Cajun could be applied to both Tete and Mr. Peter although it never came up. My father took great pleasure in claiming that Mr. Peter was black and Mr. Peter insisted he wasn't a "nigger". It was very confusing to me to hear them all talk about black people (only in private) in such derogatory ways and then tell me (and show me) that I was to treat everyone equally with kindness and respect.

One day, after one of these arguments, I asked Mr. Peter a question. He turned and gave me his full attention like I was an adult instead of an eight year old kid. Knowing that Mr. Peter was a Christian (often walking to Jackson square to go to church), I asked him "When you get to heaven, will there be a fence separating the blacks from the whites?". He sat back in his chair as if stunned and said, "I never thought about it.". After some thought he finally he said "No, I guess there wouldn't be." so I said "Well then we should treat them the same way while we're down here.".

After that, my dad still tried to tease Mr. Peter but it didn't seem to bother him. He had looked at the world through the eyes of a child and was changed. He seemed to be more at peace with himself and the world. He went back to being the kind man that taught me much about the ways of gardening well and probably a good appreciation for the rich soil found in the many reclaimed areas including his enclosed garden that was once pasture for the old vehicles of the French Quarter (yes, I mean horses).

The point is, I grew up influenced by prejudice and love tempered with the ability to think and choose which path to follow. The dark side is SO easy to slide into but I have also been privileged to experience the immense power of love. I may fall, but when I get back up, I try my best to step back onto the path of LOVE.