Archive for December 2010

Thoughts   Leave a comment

I’ve been very edgy this week.  In a sense, because I’ve spent the week apart from my husband, who has been in Ohio helping my oldest son move.   This is the first time we have been separated for this long since we married.  So, I’ve been listlessly poking around on Facebook—with which I have a “like-dislike” relationship—in between baking and cleaning sprees.   Facebook, of course, is the ultimate narcissistic tool.  Some of my “friends” are conservative evangelical Christians, or just conservatives, or just evangelicals, or just Christians. Or any combination of the three. So are most of my family members, some of whom I have on “hide” because their posts are the ultimate in self-righteous narcissism, some of them so phony and sugary that they literally trigger a gag reflex. If you are reading this, I seriously doubt you are one of them.   I think that is what I dislike the most about Facebook.  What is posted by so many just comes across as phony.  Religiousy, self-righteously, arrogantly  phony.  But, I have enough friends and family on there –and they are in the majority–with whom I want to stay in contact and share photos and updates with, as well as some friends and family members who post some really great stuff, that I keep my account open.  And the vast majority of those on my friend list, even among the right-wing evangelical Christians, are just fine.   I don’t know how long my relationship with Facebook will last, but it is as it is at this time.  In response to some of the more galling posts, or just to get under the skin of some people, I will normally post an article, a status, or a quotation that is decidedly left-wing, anti-religion.  Of course, I rarely get a response.  I have a feeling I am on “hide posts” by some of my “friends”.  Anyway.  So many of these people are just so damn sure they are RIGHT all of the time, so convinced that they are the center of the universe, or that they have the ear of God in their pockets as they rattle off scripture and the “praise God” tripe that makes them sound like bloomin’ idjits,  that I started thinking—would they keep me on their “friend” list if they really knew who I was and what I believe?  Have they just ignored the hints?  Or am I just one of the collectables? Whatever the case, I’m going to use this blog as a disclaimer for any more people who I want to “friend” or who might want to “friend” me.   I totally get it if they decide I’m not the person they want me to be.

First off, I’m a liberal.  A card-carrying member of the left wing. Some would call me a socialist, and they would be correct.   Non-partisan, I will support the candidate who is the most left-wing and upholds left-wing ideals.  I support a woman’s right to choose;  the right of all religions or non-religions  to exist in this country as long as what they do harms no one physically (because there are sure a hell of a lot of religions out there that are permitted legally to harm people mentally, and, IMO,  they are usually peopled by right-wingers);  the rights of immigrants to full access to citizenship without being hounded or deported—as long as they are law-abiding—which I believe is the vast majority;  social programs; universal health care;  environmental protection policies;  animal rights;  civil rights;  and most every other liberal cause one can throw out there on the boards for my consideration.  I fall somewhat to the left of center on a liberal scale, mostly because I do believe in the death penalty in some cases.  I can’t tolerate braggarts.  Or showboaters.  Or arrogance.  Or social climbing.  I don’t care how much money a person has, or how big their house is, or where they live, or what their sexual preference or gender identification is.  I am, however, a bit of a snob when it comes to intelligence, because I cannot tolerate empty headed plastic people whose lives center around what they want others to think about them.

On religion:  I do not believe the Bible is the inspired word of a god.  I do not believe that the historical Jesus was the only divine being to ever come to earth.    I do believe in a Divine Power, but not that described in the Christian Bible.  Or the Qur’an.  Or the Jewish texts.  I tend more towards the belief that God is everywhere, in everything, and has many avatars—male, female, etc., as well as more than one being within “God”.  For me, God is most often in female form, or a female member of “God”.  I believe that God may very well be a family of Divine Beings, with perhaps a hierarchy.  So, I am “pyramid” pan-theistic.   But, I believe that God as a whole cannot be anthropomorphized.  Sort of like a family.  There is a family.  There are members of the family.  And, I believe that these divine beings send messages down here to earth through various channels.  But, I do not believe those channels are those that encase the human soul within the bounds of a man-made, or woman-made, religion.  Because, to me, religion is hogwash.  At least the Abrahamic, patriarchal religions that dominate most of the Western World.

I don’t believe in heaven as it is portrayed in either Christianity or Islam.  As far as Judaism goes, I don’t know enough about the various beliefs in the afterlife within the forms of Judaism to say whether I believe or do not believe those versions. Yet, I do believe there is an afterlife.  I also believe in reincarnation of the soul—sort of like being sent back by the Divine until I learn lessons that will finally lead to me joining the Divine in another State of Being.  And, I think that takes many lifetimes.  I also am not arrogant enough to believe that humans are the only worthy life-forms in the entire universe.  I believe in past life regression.  I believe in spirit guides and angels.  I believe we, as the human race, do NOT know a hell of a lot more than we think we DO know in matters dealing with the unknown.

I do believe in the “light”, as well as the existence of destructive dark forces, although I do not believe in a literal devil.  I do not believe the name for God is all that important.  I do not believe that bible study is important in and of itself as a way to find God.  At least not for me.   Although the bible is full of wisdom, it is a historical text written by men.  The same with all holy books.  They were written by men.  The same with religion:  rules set down by men to control the masses.  Not my thing.  Not my cup of tea.

I tend to have conversations with the Divine rather than formal on-my-knees-eyes-closed prayer. Public prayer from self-righteous people really gets on my nerves, as do people who want to pray for my unsaved soul.  Or talk about how they are saved.  Or talk about “the lord”. Or quote scripture at the drop of a hat.  Or…well, I digress again.  There are a few exceptions to this, however.   When I hear someone talk about scripture in a logical, sensible, scholastic sense, I appreciate it.  Because there is wisdom in the ages, in the collection of holy books that contain the stories of how humans came to grips and dealt with the unknown.  Anyway, when I meditate and “pray”, I just talk or think to the Divine in my mind, and listen for answers.  No, I do not hear voices.  To me, it is more a message that I just feel.  But, nothing formal.  I pay close attention to my dreams.  I believe in ley lines and energy fields and auras.  I believe that there is something to astrology—although not the simplistic astrology of which most people are aware.  I believe in soul mates, although I feel they can be multiple and not always those whom we marry or with whom we have romantic relationships, as is expressed in pop culture.  However, I am thankful I am married to one of my soul mates.  Who accepts me for who I am, not for who he expects or wants me to be.  Because, most of all, he wants me to be me and loves me for that.  As I love him. Our fourteen year age difference makes not one whit of a difference.  Oh, and I believe in science.  And evolution.  And reason.

I have been called names.  I have been derided.  I have been hurt terribly.  Emotionally hurt.  I’ve been told that I’m not really a liberal, but I just think I am.  People have tried to convert me to their way of thinking.  People have thought this was just a “phase” I was going through, or am going through.  The right to believe as I have come, after many years, to believe has been trampled upon, dismissed, laughed at, scorned, or received with shock by some of my right wing Christian acquaintances.   I’ve been accused of pretty much everything one can be accused of when one believes as I believe, both politically and religiously. I’ve had people consider me to be “flighty”, or “over-emotional” or “dramatic” or just plain “out there”.

And, that’s ok.  Because the more I am derided, the more I am scorned, the more I am the target of people attempting to “save” me, the more I believe what I believe, the more I separate myself from these people and their narrow minded beliefs and actions. And, in their refusal to accept that not everyone believes as they believe.  Surprise, Surprise.

I’ve spent years of frustration, anxiety, and fear coming to terms with the way I now believe.  With my new-found spirituality.   For years, I was—as my last post presented—a sinner in the hands of an angry god.  I developed my way of belief through the friendship of those I consider my soul-sisters and soul-brothers.  They know who they are.  I carry them in my heart at all times.

I can count the number of close friends I have, soulmates, fellow seekers, or otherwise, on one hand.  I am very, very choosy about whom I call “friend”.  I’ve been torn apart by those I thought I loved, and put back together by those who I love and who love me in return.  I do not throw the word or concept of “love” around helter- skelter.  Those whom I say I love, I love. But, the word “love” loses its meaning –loses all its meanings–when used indiscriminately.  I do not trust easily, but when I trust, it is wholeheartedly.  That has brought a lot of pain, and a lot of lessons.   Perhaps that is THE lesson I am here to learn, among others.

So, in keeping with the whole narcissistic Facebook theme, this is me.  This is my status.  I would like, however, for the reader to take more away than just a rundown on what I believe, because what I believe is just that:  what I believe.  How I feel.  What makes me unique.  I would like the reader to take away a re-affirmation that the individual mind is what makes each of us unique.  Each of us comes to different conclusions, different stages, at different times.  One stage is no more valid than another stage.  I don’t need a “spiritual leader” to tell me where I am or where I need to go.   I am where I am NOW.   My personal journey is just that:  my personal journey.  Spiritually.  Physically.  Mentally.  I don’t have to believe something because the majority of my friends, family, and acquaintances believe it, or because I am supposed to fear NOT believing it, or because others have conditioned or programmed me to believe it.  Or someone else thinks it is the “right” way to believe because others do so.  Or because I want to be accepted.   Or to not make waves.  I don’t have to fit in a box.  I don’t have be anything other than what and who I am.  I shouldn’t have to pretend.  I shouldn’t have to make excuses.  And neither should anyone else.  Because life isn’t a popularity contest.  It’s a journey.  And sometimes, it is a lonely one.

Advertisements

A Sinner in the Hands of an Angry God: Revised   Leave a comment

When I was a very little girl, before my parents were introduced and inducted into an apocalyptic millennialist cult, I had a child’s assumptions about God.   I didn’t consider God to be scary.  He was more like a large, grandfatherly “person” who would watch over me, but who also saw when I did anything bad and was mildly upset about it.  Santa Claus was scarier than God—especially since if one was naughty, one was excluded from the Christmas bounty; which, to a kid, is THE thing about Christmas that stands out.  God was, well, GOD.  When I was told that “God loves” me, I didn’t see the avenging God of Jonathan Edwards.  “God is watching” didn’t cause me to feel fearful.  I felt protected.  It was, as much as I remember, a sort of cozy feeling.  But, then, I was only six, and children look at most things through a trusting lens.  I regarded angels the same way.  Demons and Satan I only stereotyped in my child mind.  I didn’t really fear the dark forces.  I was a child.  I thought as a child.  I had not yet been introduced to the God of Specific Doctrine.  The God of Fear.

When we started going to this church, switching to it from a weak version of Methodism, I began to hear about a God of punishing anger.  A God who would allow—no, MAKE SURE–those who hadn’t heard of the “truth” (i.e. their version of the truth) to suffer through the coming “great tribulation”.   To the ministers of that church—who loved to expostulate on the subject in sermons that would last for two or more hours—that punishment from God for non-conformance meant famine, pestilence, torture, and death.  Most of this was to occur at the hands of Germans, who allegedly were the Aryans of the Bible, and who, in the views of the elite of this organization, would rise again and attack the United States.  I remember having horrible nightmares. Nightmares in which Germans would invade my house and tear up my “stuff” (I was only six, remember).  And then would take us away to a horrible fate.  Nightmares in which my grandparents, aunts, uncles, and beloved cousins would die horribly because they were non-believers.  I had nightmares of demon possession, another favorite subject of those who “ministered” to the congregations of this cult. These nightmares I remember 49 years later. Nightmares largely due to my introduction to a God of Fear.

Of course, fear of this God kept me pretty much on the straight and narrow through my pre-teen years.  When I would slip, I would feel terribly guilty and fearful; after all, this slip of mine could very well cause the horrifying deaths of all of my immediate family.  If I was bad, God would no longer afford me or those I loved his protection.  But, being on the straight and narrow meant more than just following what the Bible teaches.  It meant conforming to a certain interpretation of those scriptures. Which I felt guilty about, as well.  Because I just could not get my mind to wrap around and embrace what I was taught to believe.  It just did not make sense.  But, after the normal period of teen-age and early adulthood rebellion (about which I also felt extreme guilt), I settled into a life which centered on these beliefs.  I gave in.  I conformed.  Outwardly.  Inwardly, all I felt was guilt, confusion, and anxiety.  As well as resentment and fear.

Eventually, my parents began to seriously consider leaving this organization.  I was also ready to leave—what my parents did and said had great influence over me, even after my first marriage, because I felt that to displease them was to displease the God I feared.  Although I was an adult, and had been baptized into this religious organization (albeit with multiple misgivings), I still feared that, due to my inward rebellion, bad things would be heaped upon my head, and the heads of my parents, of my then- husband, of my children, by God.   So, I lived with the guilt of not believing.  And the fear that terrible things would happen because God knew everything I doubted, everything I resented. 

My then-husband took great pleasure—especially after the consumption of quite a bit of alcohol– in describing to me, with great detail, what was going to happen to my parents because they were questioning the higher authorities of  “the church”.   I was torn now in three ways:   go with my husband, go with my parents, or follow my own way.  To follow my own way was unthinkable.  I was too weak, both in mind and body (I had one small child at the time and a complicated pregnancy was followed by the birth of premature twins) and too beat down emotionally.   I now had three small children to think about, and out and out rebellion during these transition years would have been disastrous to my marriage.  Although I was very good at putting up a strong false front, I was torn apart inside.  And, I really didn’t have a spiritual “plan”.  All I had was what I had been taught.  And that included letting others who were more spiritually “mature” guide me.   Within a few months, however–and during my pregnancy with the twins–  my then-husband and I mutually decided for us to leave the mother organization, and we–or, mostly, he–started going to the services of the main offshoot of this organization.  This turned into attending church with multiple splinter groups of several connected organizations as—I realize now– he was looking for a religious “home”.   Each with their own version of God.

Basically, I followed where I was led.  In spurts of rebellion, I would balk or even outright refute what was still considered to be the “truth”.  But, due to religious imprinting, fear, insecurity, guilt, or whatever, my rebellion stopped when fear took over.   I was spiritually trapped—and, because leaving the organization did not, in most ways, affect the doctrinal beliefs, it was the same trap as that which had imprisoned me since I was a child.  It was merely the matter of changing the face of the organization.  While a few “doctrines” shifted, the main reason for the split and splinters was, and IS, due to power struggles within the top echelon.  So, nothing much changed, in terms of the “big” doctrines (i.e. holydays, a coming tribulation, the seventh-day Sabbath, et cetera).   Nor did God seem to be any more loving to me in these groups, even though most of the participants talked about a loving God.  But, this loving God had certain people he had chosen to know the “truth”.  And that “truth” certainly did not set me free.  Because I kept thinking something was wrong with me that I could not accept this God.  Yet, I feared this God.

I struggled on for years, alternating between spurts of rebellion against the God of Fear and earnestly seeking a God of Love.  I tried several different paths.  Ultimately, I realized I would never be free unless I left, not only the religious belief system in which I was brought up, but those who tied me to it.  I had a circle of close friends, as well as my mother, for support.  But, leaving was the only choice.  And, I was not just leaving behind home and family, but I was leaving behind a God that I feared.  I hoped.  While there were other reasons for dissolving my 25+ year marriage, one of the main reasons was that I quite simply just could no longer tolerate being torn, feeling guilty, feeling stupid, or fearing that maybe…just MAYBE…I was wrong.  That I would, inevitably, be punished.   I, quite literally, ran away from, not only a religion, but from the God of that religion.

But, running away doesn’t solve anything.  I still felt that everything that went wrong in my life was punishment from God.   I thought finding another spiritual “home” would solve things.  Maybe another expression of God, another religion, another perspective, was what I needed.  I converted to Roman Catholicism during this time, largely because the first homily I heard was about God’s love and forgiveness.  My new husband was, at the time, basically a non-practicing Catholic and we both felt this was a spiritual path with which we would both be happy–even though we both disagreed with many Catholic doctrines.  The formal conversion process took a little over a year.  The RCIA program solidified my resolve to give this a chance.   I really thought my journey was complete.  For a long while I was quite happy—even though I did not agree with many of the doctrines, with many of the “rules” one had to follow to be a good Catholic.   I thought that as long as I kept my mouth shut, I could feel comfortable and safe in my new spiritual “home”.  Until I started feeling the same way I had as a child.  That, as long as I kept my mouth shut about not believing in the “rules”, I was left alone.   That, even here, where the concept of a God of Love was taught, that same God was going to punish me for not believing.  I’m not talking about moral rules, ethical rules, or just the rules for being a good person.  Rules that tell me that I am wrong because I support a woman’s right to choose.  Because I do not believe in the virgin birth of a savior only one time in the history of the universe.  Because I do not believe that the historical figure of Jesus was the only begotten son of God. Rules that both my husband and I questioned.  I could not swallow the myth, even in this form.  A completely different religion—in fact, the religion which the old church considered to be the epitome of the false church of the book of Revelation—a completely different set of doctrines, and the God of Fear was still there, just expressed with a different message.  Coated with love this time, but watch for his wrath if you don’t conform to the rules.  And, if not wrath, then a nice vacation in Purgatory. 

Of course, the story of my religious journey is much more complicated than I could ever put  in a post.  And, much more private.  But, over the years, I have come to realize that, while some people are happy with the Christian version of God, I am not.   Some people do not see a God of Fear underneath their version of a God of Love.  For some, the God promoted by various organizations, denominational or non-denominational, and by various spiritual gurus, is a God of Love.  That’s fine for them.  I don’t see it.  I see, underneath, a vengeful God, the God of Jonathan Edwards. A God created by Man.  A God made in the image of those who profess to serve him. A God so concerned about specific doctrines that he would condemn all who don’t conform to those doctrines to a horrible fate.   A God I grew up and spent most of my adult life fearing.  Maybe it was early imprinting.  Maybe it is because I tend to dissect everything to death.  Maybe I think too much.  But, I no longer believe that if I don’t follow a set of man-made or man-written doctrines that God is going to punish me.  Because that God just does not exist.  I don’t believe there is a Christian God.  Or a Muslim God.  Or a Jewish God.  There is JUST GOD.  A God with no specific book.  No specific religion.  No specific name.  A God that cannot be anthropomorphized.   A God that has many forms, many faces.  A God who just IS. A God in whom I CAN believe.  With no qualms.  With no guilt.  With no fear.

  Leave a comment

I have deleted this post pending further thoughts on the subject.  I’ll post it again soon.

Winter Solstice   Leave a comment

6:38 tonight, at least in our time zone, is officially the Winter Solstice.  It is said that the beginning of Winter is the time when the veil between the spirit world and the human is at its thinnest.  It is the time of the shortest day and the longest night.   For those of us who honor the Solstice, it is a time of reflection, a time to look back at what we did not accomplish during our year’s journey, and a time of looking forward to the New Year, to the return of longer days.   This year is especially powerful, as the Solstice occurs during a full moon, as well as on the same day as a full moon lunar eclipse.  The moon is a red moon, and the Winter Solstice also occurs this year during the Geminid meteor shower.  That’s a LOT of energy.

It is no secret—indeed, it is a well known fact– that Christmas is not the time of the birth of the Jesus of the Christian Bible.  Cultures around the world for millennia have celebrated the return of the “sun”.  The Romans celebrated Saturnalia, the Persians the birth of the Sun God, Mithra.  In 274 AD, the Roman emperor Valerian declared December 25th to be the birthday of Sol Invictus, the Unconquerable Sun.  Greeks celebrated Dionysus, who was born in the winter, and sacrificed in the summer during Lenaea.   The Egyptians celebrated the death of Osiris during mid-winter (around January 6th on today’s calendar), as well as his resurrection in the Spring. Ancient customs to celebrate the return of the sun were practiced by cultures as diverse as those in China and East Asia (Dong Zhi), by the Incans (Inti Raymi), and by North American indigenous cultures. A brief discussion of the various ways in which the return of the sun was, and is, celebrated can be found here:  http://www.religioustolerance.org/winter_solstice.htm

I don’t go all out in celebrating the time of the Winter Solstice, although I know that many people have some wonderful customs and some beautiful ceremonies.  I’m pretty much alone up here, especially in how I do things within a spiritual context.  So, instead, I use this time to quietly review the past year, and ask myself, “What behaviors do I need to rid myself of in order to grow?”;  “What do I need to do in order to grow?”   I use this time to symbolically plant the seeds of my dreams and goals, as a time to look within myself to find the crone-wisdom that will see me through the coming year, into the springtime, into the light, where those seeds can grow and flourish.  It is a time of quiet, a period of darkness and reflection with the promise of the sun to come.

 

Feeding the Beast   Leave a comment

The malls are full.  Internet deals are flying out the window (or so it seems).  WalMart is such a mess; I’m not even going to attempt to shop for anything, including toilet paper, there.  People, it seems, are spending.  Maybe not as much as in years past, but spending nonetheless.  Economists are hoping the spending trend will continue.  While this is great news for struggling business owners and employees, and certainly good news for the economy, I have some mixed feelings.

I know how capitalism works, and—as far as a system goes—it is probably the best way to encourage new inventions, entrepreneurism, and individualism.   Although it is the perfect embodiment of self-interest, it is, justifiably, generally considered to be the only economic system compatible with freedom–especially if one considers the meaning of freedom, where objective laws rule, not men.  The basic purpose of our Constitution is not to protect the government, but to protect the individual, and capitalism fits in nicely with that purpose.  All in all, most Americans are happy with the system.  And, many other countries envy (and hate) us FOR that system.  Of course, just like with other defined economic systems, or political systems, “pure” capitalism, like “pure” socialism, just does not exist today.  There is government intervention in our “capitalist” system, right alongside private enterprise—however, as was  frighteningly illustrated with this last recession, our form of capitalism–as does “pure” capitalism– tends to concentrate power in the hands of the wealthy, whose aim, basically, is to maximize profits.  But, by and large, although capitalism has its critics and does contribute to the gap between the haves and the have-nots,  the majority of people in this country both expect and desire the benefits of the capitalist system as it exists today, and would not trade it for any other.  Benefits such as being able to shop in a multitude of businesses for a multitude of items at competitive prices.  The benefits of choice, both of buying and selling.  The promise of wealth.  The dream of owning one’s own business.  The benefits and pleasures of the overindulgence of the senses.  Freedom to earn and to spend those earnings in any way desired.

In a sense, this “I want it, I want it now, I’m entitled to it” philosophy keeps our economy going.  It is unfortunate that banks have taken advantage of this idea by making lines of credit so that no one, unless they have so abused the line of credit that they are now a liability, has to wait for much of anything.  Want a new car?  Credit. Want a new house? Credit.  New clothes?  Credit.  Christmas?  Credit.  Don’t have the money?  Credit.  With the recent recession, many people got a taste of what our parents, or our grandparents,  experienced in the Great Depression.  Just a brief taste of fear that “it” might not always be there.  That one’s only true physical needs are BASIC  food, clothing, and shelter.  But, I think the idea of “gimme, gimme, gimme” is so ingrained in our society, at least since the Baby Boomer generation, that it is part of the system itself, which feeds upon the idea.  So, as soon as there is money to spend, it is spent.  And, if it is not spent, the system starts to fail.

Now, I’m not a sociologist, an economist, or an expert on political systems.  That much, I am sure, is obvious.  And, I know it is not cut and dried, black and white, simple.  Yet, as with most people, I understand the basic equation:  business=produce=consumer=jobs=business ad infinitum.    And, I WANT the economy to improve.  Really I do.  But, it kind of bothers me to see those who, just a few short months ago, were beginning to realize that a new television, a new pair of shoes, a new home, a new $500.00 purse, new appliances, that wonderful pair of Uggs on sale for $149.99, et cetera could wait until the money was really there to purchase whatever the item is–or, better, that the money should be saved instead of spent or the credit cards paid off– become the masses at the malls that were desired this holiday season to boost a floundering economy.  Those same masses who will keep the economy going.  Who are “doing their part” for economic recovery.   Basically being “overwhelmed by the tribe” (Kipling) telling them it is OK now to spend, desired that they spend, patriotic to spend.   As an aside, of course, this doesn’t affect the already rich:  they have always have the money to spend (as long as they are wealthy), and many times, they have that money because they are not indiscriminate consumers.  What troubles me are the “middle-classes”: lower, middle and upper, who—when things were tough, learned, or at least practiced, wise spending—and are now packing the malls, both on and off-line,  and doing exactly as they were before all this latest recession mess came crumbling down upon our collective heads.  Cases where those who, just a few short months ago, were wondering how they were going to handle the next mortgage payment, or fix the car, or go to the doctor, who–now that things are improving, that their job is “secured”– have decided that a NEW car is absolutely needed RIGHT NOW.  Or, new jewelry.  Or an expensive vacation.  Or spending an entire paycheck on gifts, both for themselves and others.  These things are needed NOW.  Not just desired, not just wanted.  NEEDED.   Those who were struggling to even KEEP a house a year ago, are now looking forward, with hope, to shooting for a newer one that will impress the neighbors, the social group, or even strangers.  Or any of the multitude of products, large and small, that are available and will say to the world, “Look at me!  Look how successful I am, look at what I have, look what I can buy”.  Back to the same old habits that helped to get the country into this mess, a mess which will only be rectified IF the PEOPLE resume those habits.

Of course, there are still thousands of people who are out of work and are NOT doing these things.  They are concerned about where their children are going to get their next meal, or how they are going to retire with their savings wiped out. They are concerned about basic survival.  Even among the employed, there are thousands who have learned their lesson about indiscriminate spending.  Thousands who are paying off the credit cards, keeping the old car, keeping the old house, scaling down and cutting back,  doing without because the recession taught them that expendable income is not necessarily always going to be there.  But, there are millions who are now, once again, listening to the glitzy ads, to the society that says, “I want it, I want it now, I’m entitled to it” and going out to shop with a sigh of relief that spending is coming back in style.  And with the hope—in most cases,  foolish optimism—that it is just going to get better and things will get back to normal, that the incredible abundance is always going to be there for which to attain; their “piece of the pie” promised under a capitalistic system.  While I don’t feel sorry for them in their stupidity and greed, I pity those they affect—largely because the spending masses continue to contribute to the problem whereby the rich get richer and the poor, poorer.  And all of the mistakes of the past will again come to pass because the masses did not learn from these mistakes.  The system has become cannibalistic.

So, while I’m happy the economy is improving, I’m also wondering just what kinds of lessons were learned by the masses.   While I am satisfied with capitalism, even in its impure form, and how it works with the idea of individual freedom, I also see it as a greedy beast that must constantly feed upon itself in order to survive.

Change   Leave a comment

Since I am in the midst of preparing for a VERY new New Year, my posts will be sporadic, at best.  I love change.  I really don’t mind moving, impromptu travel, or anything that involves changing places and/or environments.  Yes, it’s hectic, and stressful.  But, every time I do it, I feel renewed.  Unopened boxes are old things becoming new again, being “surprises” (even though I mark every box carefully).  Sometimes, things disappear during one move, only to magically show up again in the next one.  Changes in living circumstances also provide new challenges.  Since I married almost 10 years ago, we have moved 6 times, so my attitude towards change is a good one.  And, I’m looking forward to moving again in the near future.  But, while this year won’t be the “moving” year, it will bring different circumstances into our household, a new energy.

For me, this will be a personal year 8.  Year 7 has been a rough one, physically, financially, and emotionally.  7 years tend to be very introspective, and this one certainly was that.   Illness kept me housebound much of the time, depression was problematic.  I had to re-define myself in terms of who I was and what I wanted from my life.  And, as the year comes to a close, I look back and see that I followed the 7 pattern.  I’m glad it is over.  But, I’m looking forward to this 8 year, as it is a year of personal expansion.

In 2011, we will have my oldest son with us for awhile as he researches his dissertation.  Where we live is close to several of his alma maters, with the research centers associated with them.  We have quite a bit of unused space, so part of that space will become a temporary apartment for him.  Both my husband and myself are looking forward to having him with us.

This upcoming year will be the year my husband finishes his graduate degree.  His comprehensive exams will be about half-way through the year.  For him, the upcoming year is a 2 year, a time for taking care of details, a year requiring patience, which coincides with what he will be experiencing this coming year, since the most difficult classes are during the final non-comp semester.

These two changes, plus the many more that are on our plates this upcoming year, will make it interesting and challenging.

There is a lot more to numerology than just the personal year number.  I think it is interesting, sometimes true—but only so much as one puts energy into change and development.  I think some years, I am stronger than other years.  Just like some days, I am stronger than other days, which seem to have little to do with what is going on around me.   A lot of people consider it to be a bunch of baloney, but, to me, there is some merit in mystical systems, such as numerology and astrology—not the simplistic and generic everyday sort one reads in books, online, or the newspaper,  but the personalized sort.  Do I think my life is determined solely by numbers and the stars?  No…but, neither do I discount vibrational tendencies in the universe.

So, I’m looking forward to this coming year, not only for the challenges involved, but the hope.  Every day is like a gift ready to be opened.  Sometimes, the gift doesn’t fit.  Sometimes, the gift is ugly.  Sometimes, I think “what in the heck is this for”.  But, most of the time, it is a perfect fit, and I welcome it with anticipation and open arms.

Elizabeth Edwards 1949-2010   Leave a comment

Elizabeth Edwards has passed away from cancer at the age of 61.  She was a courageous woman in the face of adversity.  Here is the NY Times obituary:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/08/us/08edwards.html?partner=rss&emc=rss