Monday, April 22, 2013

Earth Day

Happy Earth Day!!! For more info, try

I do try to be mindful of this wonderful planet we live on every day. As usual, there are the ideals I strive for and the things I actually accomplish.

I see petroleum products as harmful in so many ways and yet I am very dependent on their use. When I learned of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch (, I decided this was one of the things I could do something about. I switched to using reusable grocery bags and no longer bought anymore butane lighters since these items made up a large portion of this mass.

I even switched from a gas-guzzling sports car to a more economical car (from 17/24 MPG to 24/32) and began driving less aggressively. I do miss my Mustang but for now, I feel it was a good move.

I am still participating in a garbage recycling trial in my town though no one in office really seems interested with moving forward with the project. Their main concern is if it will save money and we all know that shouldn't be the focus of such a project.

I have lots of plants outside and even some inside to help with air quality. I haven't yet gotten to growing much to eat but I am working to expand that effort this year. First to a few more herbs and then maybe next year with more staple plants.

According to the site, Climate Change is the focus this year. With such a short amount of climate data, I feel the causes and trends are still vague. Still, I do see the changes. From immense glacial sheering, the effects of sea temperature on marine life including the beautiful coral reefs, unusual storms (frequency, strength, time and place), droughts, sea levels rising, and the effects on the various ecosystems, something is definitely happening whatever factors are contributing to it.

Perhaps I've watched too many disaster movies but I worry that things will swing severely out of control in such a way that it devastates life on earth. According to evidence, the human race may have reached a low of only 15,000 individuals due to the Toba volcanic eruption at one time. We don't know what something like that might due to our modern world.

That's why I feel that being conservative in our population growth is also a good "earth friendly" practice until the other issues mentioned are managed much better. We can then slow the need to destroy forests to maintain our growing population and start becoming more aware of the things we do and the reason for doing them before we take a step in the wrong direction.

As we destroy natural habitats, much of it will be lost forever. So the first step is to just think about the simple wasteful things we do. Wasting food. Hoarding. Leaving electrical devices on (lights and other devices we aren't even using). Researching and even trying new forms of energy. And gently encouraging others with things we see they could easily incorporate into their routines. When someone comments on you using reusable shopping bags, buy one for them to try out.

Give living plants as gifts and suggest doing things with friends and family that expose them to the outdoors. A plant sale or a walk in the park. The benefits can be more than you realize. And we just may wind up leaving a little something worth having when we are done borrowing the Earth from those that will need it after us.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

A foot in both worlds

Have you ever noticed how readily some people accept unusual events and others seem quite adamant to explain them in scientific terms?

As I grew up, I was very much the type of person that liked to have an explanation for everything, firmly rooted in science. Neither one of my parents had a very good education and I believe that is why they often messed with me instead of giving me straight answers. They often didn't know the answer so they made up funny ones to hide their limitations. That way, when I found out the real answer, they could just laugh off the one they had given me.

They did encouraged me to seek out the answer for myself and provided me with resources to do so. This began with encouraging me to read and providing me with lots of reading material. They bought me a set of Compton's Encyclopedias some time around starting school and as college neared, a set of Encyclopedia Britannica's was added. They might not know the answer but they wanted to help me find it.

But all along the way, I encountered things that science could not answer to my satisfaction. As I got older, though my education continued, I seemed to have more mysteries instead of less. For a while, I dismissed those things I could not explain with explanations like coincidence or simply the limits of my own intelligence. I was determined to remaine firmly rooted in the analytical no matter how many whispers I heard to the contrary.

In my teen years, these unexplainable events seemed to happen more. I think sharing these with my parents is what lead them to discuss mental illness. The things I observed at times obviously seemed crazy and this disturbed my parents. I recall getting lectures about keeping certain observations and such to myself that were unusual.

They emphasized that these experiences were not normal and might be considered crazy, which was a bad thing. Even going to a therapist or psychiatrist was a bad thing that could create a very undesirable stigma around a person.

Oddly enough though, my father decided to take me to a psychiatrist at the University when I was in the eight grade for a variety of psychological and I.Q. tests. He never did say why he did this. It may have been just to get an idea of my intelligence but I know a lot of other tests were also included. I wonder now if they were noticing I was different somehow and were trying to at least keep me from exhibiting unusual behaviors in public. What those were, if any, I still have not entirely figured out.

During my first years in college, I suppressed my spiritual side but after a while, I found this to be a very boring existence. I liked the belief that the world had mysteries and possibly even things science could not explain ever. As I began to pursue my spiritual studies, I finally began to open up to the possibility of the unusual occurring to myself and more importantly, to others.

My first metaphysical teacher had explained how we arrive open to everything that happens to us on so many levels. As we grow, through our own observations and interactions with the world and what others tell us, that world usually begins to become smaller and more defined as we dismiss those things we can't explain. His teachings helped me to stop that contraction and even reverse it.

Now, I don't spend so much time trying to define everything in my world. I especially try not to deny those things I don't understand. I usually try to avoid spending too much time and energy explaining my view to those that are still rooted in science or their own beliefs. I find they drain me and cause me to doubt and I really to have the time and energy to waste on such debates and negativity.

It may mean I'm labeled "crazy" but I am use to that by now. I am annoyed when folks that claim to have their own unusual experiences think they're okay but I'm not but I do understand. They just haven't made that next step back into a larger world. I know how hard it was for me to take that leap so I have to try to give others a bit of slack n their journey.

I often imagined myself walking on the edge of a cliff, with a vast dark nothingness I seemed to be always about to fall into to on my left and a flat barren landscape on my right. It was as if I had to choose, sane or not. There was no grey area, no room for both.

I still remember this image in my mind but what I actually imagine now is a world where both exist in a cacophony of interwoven multi-layers. I try hard not walk too far into either world but remain open to both. It makes my world just a bit more magical than it used to be.

Hopefully, more folks will have the courage to walk their own path, making the world a bit more magical, one by one. Someday, it will be safer to share that view openly and we can all lighten up and enjoy ourselves and this wonderful, magical world we all live in...together.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

One Tribe - Theory versus practice. Love is the Law.

When I am asked what my religion is, I simply tell people I am Spiritual. When asked to clarify what this means, I explain I have developed my beliefs from my observations and interactions with the world and the many belief systems that are out there. This includes a large dose of the belief systems I grew up around but removing those concepts my heart tells me aren't divine. Love is the Law.

That was probably the hardest step to take. To move beyond the fear of many systems of belief and think for myself. To dare to question anything that I knew in my heart wasn't true. Especially with texts that were very old, passed down orally, written and rewritten many times and in many languages. I realized that the divine nature of any text could easily have been changed, lost, or never have existed at all.

Interestingly, it was a great Aunt of mine who was very proud of her Christian standing that made me realize these religions weren't so perfect and gave me the courage to begin questioning things and finally find my own Spiritual path. Early on in a visit from her, she began preaching to me. I remember how important it was that I didn't say I considered myself "religious" but instead declared I was a "Christian".

To me, this seemed a very prideful thing to say and went against what I thought should be some of the qualities of a Christian, such as being humble and focusing on just being a good person. Of course, being part of the LGBT community, I was already beginning to see the incongruities just in the texts so these real-world examples of how each person put theory into practice were just strengthening my beliefs that I wasn't "Christian" material.

The problem was that after a while, seeing so many different interpretations of just this one faith, the knee-jerk response to so much confusion, negativity, and condemnation was to just give up and disconnect from having any beliefs whatsoever. For me though, this just couldn't work. The world spoke to me on a mystical level and I found myself most content with a belief in this Spiritual world.

So I began to study many types of beliefs. I especially enjoyed as a good reference to many different texts. Eventually, I created my own course of study and came to view the world as "One Tribe", focusing on the similarities and the belief that we are all truly connected.

The thing I have had to fight the most is remaining open to the experiences of others. Respectful of their beliefs and practices as well as their experiences. Still being buffeted by a vast majority of Christians in the area I live in, these are often the ones I want to judge unworthy and immediately dismiss instead of finding that "common ground" I spout about and remaining open.

This is of course, my blind spot. I am not practicing my beliefs and closing down because someone else has not practiced their beliefs as well I think they should have and I've become the prideful one. So I have to remain on guard, picking myself up when I stumble, relying on others to help me keep an open mind and heart in order to grow as a Spiritual being. And in doing so, respecting all faiths and hopefully learning from the best of each.

Namaste - The Divine within me recognizes the Divine within you, We are One.