Tag Archives: be respectful

Non-institutional Faith

Préface :

What I’m about to write about is a generalization. As all such cases, it applies to many but not all of the people that fall under said umbrellas. There are always exceptions. This is merely an explanation of some of the reasons that I follow the path that I do.

I found I was drawn to writing about this topic because of working through yet more energetic junk. I’m not trying to convince anyone of anything, merely putting words to explain my choices. I’m validating my own decisions for myself because I know that these observations and decisions have helped me grow and be a better person. Whether you agree with me entirely, or not, I feel there is always something that someone might find benefit in, and utilize for their own growth and development, even if my words only stir a desire within you to examine your own choices a little more closely.

So, since I’m busy blasting holes in concepts to pave the way for solutions, I thought that this is a perfect time to include one more. And that brings me to the main event!


Faith for me became an internal dialogue at an early age because of environmental concerns and awareness, and my own direct experiences.

I have written before about traumas I suffered by other kids, older than I, and how at least one of them was connected to a family that attended my father’s church. They straight up denied that their child would do such a thing because they were such a devout family. I remember distinctly the mom telling another parent that I was a liar because her child would never do something like that. It hurt immensely because he did. I was horribly embarrassed by what he did to me on the playground, and very hurt by hearing his mother call me a liar. It was a double trauma, and made me hate the two-faced people I frequently ran into at church, be it my father’s, mother’s or friend’s churches. Sadly the Mormon churches seemed to be the most wrought with hypocrisy.

As a result, by the time I was in highschool, I was already exploring religions and beliefs. I found a brutal awareness of atrocities levied upon people in the name of God and that began to shape my choices.

See, my father is Mormon and my mother is Catholic. By the time I was starting highschool I was very aware of how both religions and several others had covered up horrible mis-deeds in an effort to save face and ultimately caused even more atrocities and traumas worldwide.

Both the Mormon faith and the Catholic faith see women as childbearers and home makers. A woman’s place is to do her duty and stay quiet. Neither faith makes any significant effort to protect it’s women or children, and frequently levied doctrine intended to keep women and children down in their place.

The Mormon faith was  saturated with arranged polygamist marriages, where fathers would sell their daughters to the highest bidder. Often the highest bidder would say they were going to protect said girl, but all too frequently the bidder was 45+ years old and the daughters were 16 to 20 (sometimes as young as 9) and consent was never sought from the girl, only the father. Once a sale was complete the owning “husband” did whatever he wanted regardless of age. Frequently the age discrepancy and polygamy eventually caught up the the old creeps and landed them in jail, but their atrocities we’re usually fairly extreme by the time law was involved.

Beyond the sale of girls and rape of child ‘spouses’, the elders of both variants of the Mormon church have regularly been scrutinized for tax evasion and other questionable business dealings. That was knowledge of my father’s faith I gleaned by the time I was in highschool.

Shortly thereafter the Catholic priests were being taken to court for their abuses of alter boys and the resulting cover-ups. In the process of learning about those atrocities I also learned of financial and political dealings of the Catholic church and how they had hoarded artwork and other precious gems/jewelry items for centuries. During World War II it did manage to protect many items that would otherwise have been lost, but now they sit in deep storage, kept from the rest of society. I was not surprised by any of that knowledge.

Women are not allowed to be leaders of either faith. The newer sect of Mormonism has allowed women to be in lower leadership roles, but never in the uppermost echelon. The Catholic faith will only allow women to become nuns, and none of the nuns make major decisions for the faith, create doctrine, or interface with the outside world beyond charitable works.

I continued my learning.

Judaism and Islam having their “Holy War” of over 2000 years, and the multiplicity of atrocities in connection with that. Islam enforcing women to stay covered blaming them for men being unable to control their dicks. The middle east being wrought with acid attacks and rape, all being levied against women. Even worse it is then blamed on them because they “asked for it by showing too much skin”.

Chinese practices prevented women from being anything other than laypersons for any of their faiths. They encouraged foot binding as a ‘sign’ of social status, and sold poor women and children into a variety of slavery including the sex-trade.

Japanese also forced women into the sex trade, and even idealized it for many women creating a vetting process for a woman to become a Gaisha. If you weren’t beautiful enough or from an esteemed family then you were sold for any number of unmentionable abuses.

Africans of a variety, forced teen girls to endure unsanitary, unsterile and hazardous female circumcision for hundreds of years. Even to this day, with modern medicine, female circumcision is still frequently carried out in homes. It leaves women unable to be a woman without significant pain and great hazards throughout their lives, often disfiguring them for life. In Africa acid torture is used on anyone they suspected of whatever they deemed deserving of such torture. When AIDS broke out they would rape babies because of a superstitious belief that it would heal them. Yet it only traumatized and infected the infant, should the infant survive.

All across the globe for centuries men have levied great atrocities on other men, women, and children. All too frequently their actions are justified by faith, their God’s word, or some doctrine intended to keep elder males in their position of power.

Because of all of this I simply could not belong to any church. All of them had blemishes on their records and none were making any great strides to rectify damages done or right wrongs. I simply could not live with myself if I chose one of them. I knew I could not contribute in any way to any of the faiths that I had learned about.

My solution was to follow the path of paganism. It is the one faith without centralized institutions and doctrine. It is the one faith that places responsibility fully on the practitioner’s shoulders. It is the one faith that to this day turns in it’s own people for misdeeds and wrong-doings. My own local awareness of camp and groups in the metro here in KC has verified that a dozen times over, everything from theft to rape and molestation. If a pagan catches another pagan doing wrong, you better bet they’re going to jail. If only we had that fortitude with charitable works.

But beyond the lack of centralized institutions and doctrine, and the efforts to hold each other accountable, paganism offers flexibility in practice.

I don’t sit in a stuffy church listening to a boring sermon every week to go home and do my best to apply what was said. No, I learned my ethics from the get-go. I learned my beliefs early.

I took what resonated from all the others, the overlapping positives of all faiths, and applied them to my life in as consistent a pattern as I can manage.

My biggest challenge is  overriding the temper I learned from my father. My second biggest challenge is time management and making sure I apply everything I know as often as possible.

I meditate as often as I can aiming for daily (and we’ve been teaching the two youngest how to do so). I do yoga as often as possible as well, but really push myself to manage at least 2 to 3 times a week. I do full &/or new moon rituals when my schedule aligns and everything works out.

The rest of my beliefs are interactive. I do my best to treat everyone with respect consistently. I utilize Reiki in my sessions whether directly requested or not. I pray for those in need and those the reach my awareness of being in some sort of struggle. I give money in a variety of ways, as I am able, from CharityWater to Harvesters to local homeless shelters and even people begging on the street.

No I am not perfect, I fail quite often. Much more often than I would like to admit, but I still try. I do my best always, aiming to accomplish good as often as I can.

I simply do what I can, when I can, and as often as possible because my overarching belief is that we are here to make the world a better place in as many ways as we are able. That isn’t something you can accomplish by going to church once a week and just paying a tithing to some institution.

Besides that, CharityWater was the first institution to make certain that individual contributions actually went directly to charitable works. They were the first, and to my knowledge are still the only organization, to cover operating expenses via generous benefactors. A handful of generous people make sure the chairty runs and their expenses are covered, and everyone else that donates are paying for the supplies and services they fund.

If every church functioned that way, you’d bet they would be less flashy and more functional on charitable works. Mega churches would become mega givers. But that’s just my opinion I suppose.

Regardless of your faith, I hope that you understand the world in a greatest, most consistent, positive impact sort of way.

Regardless of the avenue you choose, may you find your connection to God and find a way to right previous wrongs. May you know you are having a maximum positive impact on this world. May you see every deed, every interaction, every thought, every word, as an opportunity to improve our world. May you know that you are doing your best to make the world a better place. May you find ways to help the world heal our long history of atrocities. May you always reach for better. Above all may you know that the divine loves and supports you in all that you do.

Om Shanti

Back Home.

I’m home and mostly caught up on sleep.

Heading out I quietly hid tears. The anti-LGBTQ brother was driving me to the airport. I couldn’t let him see my tears because I couldn’t talk about it. They were partly because I didn’t really want to go home yet, I wanted another week to myself. But too I was still sore for the revelation that I’m still not good enough for my family, that me being me is not within the range of acceptable. I really deserve to be accepted for who I am, even when some stupid institution says otherwise. God sees value in every single thing in this world, or it would not exist. God sees value in everything or it would not have been created to begin with. I am of God and I deserve to be acknowledged as such, even with being bisexual. I deserve to be loved as I am wholly and completely, because every cell, every molecule, every atom in my being is there because of God. I didn’t say any of it to my brother, I just thanked him for the visit and the ride to the airport, wished him a wonderful retirement, gave him a last hug and left.

Anyway, the return flight was as beautiful as the first, and I again took way too many pictures, even trying to catch the night ground. It’s moments like that I know I’m not really a photographer. Nathan would have known how to compensate for the speed and darkness to get great night pictures.

Also, there was a moment of note with person that sat next to me for half of the return flight. He was a quiet man, but I could feel him more than most passengers. It wasn’t uncomfortable like when I pick up on clients’ aches, but it was a bit distracting. I noted he was working on a crossword and there were words which caused me to begin to wonder. They were a little too coincidental, but I didn’t want to get caught staring trying to figure out if they were correct answers to the cues. So, I distracted myself with music and mantras. I was somewhat relived that he wasn’t right next to me for the 2nd half as I figured either I’d say something stupid or embarrass myself loosing to the distraction.

Instead, the second half, I sat by the Grandma and toddler of a family traveling together. The little girl reminded me of Katherine and made me glad I was almost home. I shared “The Forest of Piano” with the little girl hoping it might help her fall asleep, like it does my kids. She was less than impressed and stayed fidgety, ultimately cuddling in grandma’s lap to fall asleep.

So I started watching “The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind” I ended up finishing it yesterday afternoon while playing catch-up on rest. It’s a really good film, and even though it has some intense drama, it is ultimately a very inspiring film about a real life situation. It’s not the only movie I’ve seen this year, but it is the only live action, based on real events, type movie, I’ve seen in a long time. I really enjoyed it.

Anyway, now that I’m home, I’m mentally processing things I said while visiting family. I always wish I could say things better or do just the right thing, but I always feel like I fall short. I often second guess everything I say, and simply feel like I’m not good enough. Bonus add that whole ‘believing that sexuality differences are wrong’ and knowing I simply don’t fit, didn’t help.

I’ve done my best to push that one out of my mind and then I circle back to my other brother telling me he has thyroid cancer and they’re going to take his thyroid out.

I’m pissed at the system for failling me and my family, all of us. I’m pissed at the fact that I was the only one trying to help him; doctors/hospitals do bare minimum to treat symptoms, but every step along my journey I would tell him what I was doing. That is until he got mad at me and quit talking to me.  I’ve done my forgiving for the not taking phase, but now I’m frustrated that he’s taken a hit as a result. I have always been the little sis, and so he rarely actually acts on anything I say, but at least I was trying. I genuinely wanted my brother to know there was another option, another way, and help him the way I’ve helped myself. Nathan says it’s all okay, it’s his journey, but it makes me sad. Then I worry that I’m far too close to that diagnosis myself, uncomfortably so. I am beginning to believe that some of my shoulder pain may be my body trying to tell me my thyroid is doing worse. I so very hope not. I have some more things to try before I give up and let a doctor do their idea of diagnosis, I just don’t have any faith that they’ll do anything other than the most common possibilities, and throw in the towel if/when it doesn’t show what was expected. I’ve had far too many of those moments. But even if they really figure out the root cause, then what? Slice and dice with a life sentence of high dose medication, or kiss your butt goodbye. Those aren’t exactly appealing options, especially when I’ve done my damnedest to reach for better, health and healing.

Anyway, what was supposed to be three days of relaxation has turned into a renewed focus to find that, at least now that I’m back home. I deserve to be able to relax and heal. My giant priority list has been put on hold until I can heal enough to feel like I’m safely out of the scare zone. I need me. My family needs me. I need to find and maintain my inner light and help myself enough be able to keep being there for others.

Today I spent a long time reaching for that while I simmered a pot of Saag for 3 hours. I meditated on healing myself feeling the positive flow of electrons in my body. I felt the energy and moved it all around from head to toe. It felt really good and very helpful. I hope it can help me permanently reach for better. I deserve to heal fully. I am determined to heal myself.

May you have mostly good moments. May you trust your role and any words you use to accurately convey your thoughts. May you know you are fully and completely accepted as you are and that your efforts matter. May you feel better about yourself and your health and know that you are healing. May you look back and see how far you’ve come and see the positive results of all your efforts. May you know that God loves and supports you in all that you do.

Om Shanti

Ding-Dong KO

Ok, so sometimes my addictions, turn into a Multi-player Mortal Kombat round. I’m just as proud of myself, if the worst one of the ‘enemies’ is the one knocked out, as I would be winning a duel.

Sometimes it really is about picking your battle, and knowing that if only one was knocked out, then at least I didn’t die, and I’ll make it another round.

I am doing a lot better than I used to, but my addictions win more often than I would like. It’s a battle I’ve been practicing at for over 7 years and I still loose occasionally, but the little voice of inspiration said that I make it look too easy, and I need everyone to know it’s not.

The text conversation at the beginning of this post, was from the middle of a 5 hour shift yesterday. I was working front desk and it was a little slower for a change. Usually not a bad thing, so I never complain when it’s slow. The one exception caused my message to Nathan, I didn’t say a word to other staff because of embarrassment.

I was feeling weak, and probably could have used help, but it might as well have been the conversation I had to have over a shotgun which I couldn’t get out of my mind. I simply couldn’t have that conversation, over goodies, and with people that don’t really care about me to begin with. They care that I show up, do my job, and when shit hits the fan that I can handle it. They simply don’t want to have a conversation about, “hey, can you hide the goodies from me, my brain is torturing me already, …please?”

So I didn’t say anything.

An hour in, I had already looked at the box of Ding-Dongs over a dozen times. The brand new unopened box of Godiva chocolates had almost had as many views, but because it was unopened I wasn’t certain it was for staff, and kept telling myself someone would come pick it up any minute.

At one point I got so flustered that I got up abruptly, and quickly walked to the mail room, forgetting there’s a camera in there. As soon as the black globe caught my periphery, I froze in blush. Quick thinking, I gestured like I was looking for something and left. Only problem was, I noticed the box of brittle, I’d forgotten about, on the mailroom counter as I turned to leave.

I stood in the empty hall trying to figure out what I was doing, why, and what I needed to do. On my way back to the desk seat, I grabbed my seaweed pack and consumed it crunchily instead.

I drank a full bottle of water.

I amused myself on my phone for a little bit.

Then I noticed one too many glances in the directions of goodies again. At that point, I was lone staff, because the other person was delivering day-sheets throughout the building.

I got up and paced the floor. I refilled my water bottle and glanced at the brittle again on my way past. I grabbed my celery and sat to eat it, not quite even having gotten to hour two yet. I thought ‘better not eat it all, just in case’.

It was a little limp for not having eaten my sticks for 3 days. I’m burnt out on celery and it’s lost any appeal it ever did have, even the peanut-butter is losing any appeal to my taste buds. I ate about 6 celery sticks, each dipped once in peanut-butter. That was more than enough. I closed lids and left it sitting right in front of me.

Approximately 30 minutes later, my text to Nathan (above) went out as I was losing my resolve. Almost 3 hours into my shift, the Ding-Dongs were looking far too tempting. How was I going to make it another two?

I decided if I couldn’t managed a TKO, then at least the worst option should go down in flames. Instead of: gluten, and red-40, and chocolate, and sugar, and chemicals (all things found in Ding-Dongs that are bad for my system); I chose to go for the least impact, especially since the Godiva box was unopened and questionable. So Brittle won, and Ding-Dongs and chocolate were knocked-out!

Me and brittle. Mmmmm.

When I went to retrieve a piece, I got a big chunk with two smaller ones stuck to it. I decided I’d eat the two small bits and save the big one for later.

As my last two hours ticked by it was: celery stick with pb, pause, brittle, pause, celery stick, pause, brittle, pause, celery stick, pause, brittle and so on. Every few minutes a nibble of something. I also worked on a non-vital computer task to distract myself.

It worked. I ended up eating only brittle beyond my regular celery and seaweed I take everyday.

In the ring we have Valentine Ding-Dongs, Godiva Assortiment, Apple Pie Peanut Brittle, and Treasa with her green shit. And let the fight begin! …. Oh Treasa is taking some hard hits there, but she stays standing every time. Oh, she’s fighting back, 1-2, oh, the right hook…. Now APPB has sided with her, oh my folks, who’s going to win this battle royale! … And the winning team is Treasa with greens and Apple Pie Brittle! …Crowd goes wild!…. Aaaaa!

Sorry for the corney ring-side joke, I grew up on things like that.

Anyway, my point is, I didn’t say anything to anyone except Nathan, and he even only got a couple of texts. But for me it was 5 hours of torture, mostly mental – granted, and a very strategic battle to overcome the worst damages of losing altogether. It’s hard to know what’s going on inside another person’s head, and it’s even harder when they have 20 years of experience hiding it. I’m not perfect at anything, but I highly doubt the other two people that worked via the front office yesterday, had any clue I was even having a mental battle, let alone that the two culprits to trigger it were within reach all day.

They were oblivious to my mental torture, because I’ve spent 20 years either fighting it silently, or withdrawing from the world. When I withdraw, I’ve either lost the battle and given in fully, or I sleep it off and hope I wake to less triggering things. I’m glad to report that these days, my withdrawal periods are few, fairly well distanced from one another, and short lived.

So if you’re struggling with an addiction, even if it is “just food”, know it’s hard. It sucks, and takes everything you’ve got to function as normal as possible, but it’s worth it. On one hand my addiction won’t kill me with one oopse (overdose), but it’s so many places in life that it’s super easy to get and often people readily supply the worst versions for me. I don’t even have to pay anything for mine to be triggered. And those people that say it’s just food… They have no clue the chemical storm that an addiction stirrs in your brain, regardless of what the trigger is. I would also add that known reactions to chemicals used in some foods, are indicative of some of the same known reactions to some recreational drugs. Sugar has been compared to hard drugs like cocaine in numerous studies on brain function. So, it may be just food, but it’s still very much an addiction.

It’s time that everyone get some slack for how hard we’re all working to overcome challenges, especially when many of us are very much addicted to “just food”. An addiction is hard no matter what “it” is. If you’re fighting at all then you deserve a damned medal.

Be kind to yourself and give yourself some love for it.

Also, find people you can confide in. I have my Nathan, but he gets tired of hearing of some the same things repeatedly, we all do. You need enough people to confide in that they don’t get sick of it, but don’t utilize having more options as a reason for complaining more. Keep in mind everything you talk about and focus on brings more of it, so if you focus on the battle too much you’ll just get more battle. So, regardless of my embarrassment, I still do my best to talk about my battles as little as possible, in an attempt to reduce their frequency. It is working, just very slowly.

Those of us fighting the good fight, we rock. Anyone that wants to put you down or belittle your efforts can take a hike or KMA. We are fighting addictions of a wide variety that didn’t exist 100 years ago. We have a bigger challenge than most in older generations would even consider. Appreciate your own efforts and thank your body every single day, that you have a chance to try again. Give your own self some love for all the things you survived, and apologize to every organ sincerely explaining your doing your level best with all the challenges that come your way.

Know it could be worse, there always something that’s worse. But also know that you are winning a tough battle and that makes you amazing.

May you triggers always be conveniently out of reach, literally or metaphorically. May you know you have loving support if you need it, and the ability to discern if it’s better to distract yourself and attempt to attract fewer battles. May you have confidence in your ability to overcome and succeed in all endeavors. May you love yourself for all that you have managed to accomplish. May you know you’re on the right track. May you know you are loved and supported by God in all that you do, and everything you need.

Om Shanti