Friday, December 28, 2007

Acquisition 2: Usher in the New Age atheism was on shaky ground. My neighbor and I became friends and she introduced me to some new age views of spirituality. She and I were discussing the realm of morality. I was expressing my belief in the sanctity of life (one should not kill) and she asked me how I knew what was moral and what was not if there was no god. I didn’t know how to answer her then, but I will answer in a later post. She wasn’t saying the Abrahamic God was the one true god, but that our spirit has a higher purpose for us in life. It sounded pretty good to me. I tried on some of those beliefs and values. had Gary Zukav on her show several times and he made sense to me. I read Seat of the Soul, and developed my spirituality. I tried to find out as much as I could about Buddhism. I even had a couple of e-mail pals who were Buddhists. One was Chinese and could barely speak English, the other in Australia and didn’t know what to write about Buddhism except that it wasn’t really a religion, just a philosophy of life. Buddhism is practiced differently around the world. In some places, it really is a religion with gods and all, and in some places, it is a philosophy. I suppose I should read something written by the Dali Lama. was working with profoundly disabled children at that time. These are children who never give up and have a strength of spirit that you don’t see anywhere else. If there was/is a god, surely they are the closest people to it. It is the only place in my life where I have been unconditionally accepted. It is from these children that I learned what unconditional acceptance really means. If you don’t know, the only way to learn is to get to know someone who is severely mentally disabled. internet has been my greatest source of information for the past three or four years. It is a fast and unrivaled medium in which to share belief systems with people all over the world. I chased down leads on spirituality through the Near Death Experience web site. It sounded beautiful and perfect to me. The teachers of new age spirituality, however, left much to be desired. They seem to suffer from the same self righteous mentality that I saw in the Christians I was so angry with.

I started this blog to document my travels toward knowing. Spiritual Journey documents what I learned about the new age teachers I found on the internet. I toyed with what it might be like to be god in Lonely Dreamer. I read a few books, and finally realized that the path of new age spirituality was a dead end. I wrote about what I learned reading about Richard Rose in Misguided Pupil, and my disappointment in what I was learning about new age spiritual leaders in Enlightenment.

They seem to have an existential view of being. Thy talk about how people aren’t living and that everything they think they know is an illusion. In order to be, one must stop living the lie of their existence. I can agree with this to the extent that people rely on cognitive heuristics so much in life that they never doubt that they are not cognizant enough to know why thy believe what they do.

One of my most unpleasant experiences was an online altercation I had with a man named Eddie Traversa who insisted that all parents who take their children to see Santa were abusive parents. I disagreed with him and he ended up telling me, in so many words, that I was too stupid to know what I was talking about, and if I took my kids to see Santa, I was a long way from being “enlightened”. It was this altercation that ended my search for new age spirituality. I wrote about my state of mind at the time in Synchronicity.

My duality was still strong, however, and I didn’t give up on my own spirit. I didn’t believe there was a god that created everything; I just believed that God was the energy that flows through the universe. God was an all accepting all loving energy. In fact, by any religious definition, God wasn’t really a God. answer to the question changed to: “I am an Agnostic.” It’s a fairly safe place to be. Flip flopping back and forth, waxing and waning atheism, and refusing to make up my mind couldn’t last, however. I needed to understand more. I needed to know why I felt the duality that kept me from making a choice.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Acquisition 1: Left Behind

There was no tragic fall from grace; no crisis tore me from faith. I didn’t turn away from God. As a matter of fact, I chased after God, begging for acceptance and love. But I never found the peace that everyone else sang about. I was left behind.

My mother was an atheist. She didn’t speak against God. She didn’t speak of God at all. She just didn’t believe. She never told me why she didn’t believe. I don’t know if she was brought up without religion and just stayed that way, much as I have, or whether she had some kind of crisis that tore grace from her. I wasn’t brought up to hate God, God just was never there. I was in the 6th grade, I was doing a group project with some of the “it” kids. They were talking about going to church. The question was: “what are you?” There was a catholic, there was a mormon, etc. I dreaded my turn. I didn’t know what I was. “Christian.” I said as quietly as I could. One boy said, “of course you’re a Christian, everyone is a Christian!” This sparked some debate between the other kids, and I was off the hook. I still didn’t know what I was; I just knew I was no longer the focus of the discussion.

Just before my mother and step father divorced, he started attending a church in town. It was one of those born again Christian churches, and he was really into it. I wanted to go, and my mother didn’t have a problem in the world with it. I went for a while, but I never felt like I fit in. It was hard to fit into a church where the people so openly hated an entire group of people (Mormons) because they were different. of the things they used to tell me to do when I told them about the questions I had about my faith, and doubt, was to close my eyes while holding a bible in my hands, pray for guidance and let the book open on its own. With my eyes still closed, point to a place on the open page and read the passage (with open eyes – and heart), and my prayer would be answered and doubts would be eased. There must be something about the way my bible was constructed. Every time I did that little exercise, the book opened to Deuteronomy (it still does even today!). It is impossible to convince a girl who grew up in an abusive home to believe in the God responsible for Deuteronomy. My doubts multiplied, and my faith waned. So, I quit going, and no one missed me.

When I was 19, I went to a seventh day Adventist church with a co-worker. They spoke a lot about revelations and how only a very small percentage of people would be saved. These people also were quick to point out how all of the heathens who went to other churches (especially mormons) would not be saved. The rules of conduct to be included in the saved group were far beyond my capabilities. Once again, I didn’t feel as if I really fit in, and I quit going. No one missed me.

When Megan and Zach were in elementary school, a big bus would drive around town and pick up kids to take to church. It seemed harmless enough, and Megan and Zach seemed to really enjoy it. Then, on Easter, the kids brought home a flyer that said if a parent came to church with the kids on Easter Sunday, they would be given a free ham. The cupboard was bare, and Easter services always seemed hopeful when I had gone to church in the past. The people who came to talk to me were so nice and so friendly, like a family welcoming me into the fold. I decided it would be fun to go. the church, the kids were separated from the parents to go to their special Sunday school classes and the parents were treated to a sermon telling us how reprobate we all were and that we’d best change our ways, or we would be damned to hell. Then, the women hauled me up to the front of the church to pray for me, and they began “speaking in tongues”, chanting and crying and wailing. I have never been more frightened in my whole life. I begged God to let me leave the service alive and with my children in exchange for my promise to never go back myself, and to not let my children go back either. It worked. I kept my promise. I wasn’t missed, but my kids were.

My doubt continued to grow. I started looking at religion and those who follow it in a more inquisitive light. My biggest question was if God isn’t real, then why do so many people believe? I searched for answers in archeological articles, and found reason to believe that God didn’t create man, man created god. But how could that be the definitive answer? How hopeless is that answer? are an interesting lot. Just as in all walks of life and areas of beliefs, some are very good, very kind people. But I have known many who were extremely hypocritical and judgmental. I wondered how someone could believe so completely they were right about something so unprovable. Of course, their belief was strongest when pointing a finger at others than when looking in a mirror at themselves. It made me so angry to see people who preached loving and giving behave with such contempt, especially when they could justify their contempt with a passage in the bible. My anger eventually generalized to religion.

I began to hate religion. I blamed the three Abrahamic religions for all of the problems in this world. Three factions fighting each other, killing, maiming, and torturing innocent people for a subjective belief about an idea that cannot be proven. Three Factions of people who expect the world to fall in line with “their” god – Abraham’s God – a God who told a man to kill his own son. a God in the mind of a schizophrenic man would do such a thing. I decided that if God was really like that, I would prefer to burn in hell for an eternity than spend one day in heaven with Him.

For a while, then, the answer to the question was: “I am an atheist.” I, however, like most humans, could not shake the feeling that I have a soul separate from my body. That dualism led me down another path of spirituality.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

I survived! though, I don't much smell like I did!

Leather Jacket - charcoal on newsprint 2008I accidentally started my word processor. I was going to play yet another game of slide tiles, but I missed the games icon and hit the word icon. A horrible sense of anxiety ripped through my overstuffed gut. I haven’t even looked at the word processor without disdain since the mad dash to finals week. I don’t like this feeling. I love to write, and I don’t want to associate aversive conditions to a medium that has typically brought me great joy and comfort.

balancing boxes - charcoal on newsprint 2008I survived the semester. There really isn’t much of a difference between a B+ and an A- so I am going to be happy with it. The other three grades were As, so I did good. It was a bitch of a semester, though. I think I may have had too many extra curricular subjects pulling at me. But the strangest thing to happen was some crazy mental block when taking multiple choice tests. I don’t have problems taking multiple choice tests. It better be temporary.

Research posits that thinking too much about something can cause you to do poorly. That is probably it. I remember how I handled it in high school. I got drunk before the geometry quiz, and that was when I finally *got* proofs. I wonder what my advisor would think if I showed up for the first test with an altered mood? Hmmmm.
Gestural pose - charcoal on newsprint 2008
My art teacher thinks I have potential. Wow, he hasn’t even seen the best of my art yet!

Liberty Lost - charcoal on newsprint 2008Zach is counting down the final days of the Bush administration. Huckabee scares the wits out of me. Well, the wits I have left anyway.

Megan’s best (girl) friend is engaged and Megan is the Maid of Honor! I have a very strong feeling that Megan will be needing one soon herself!

Floating Mouse - charcoal on newsprint 2008Christmas came again, sort of. No tree, no presents (except the lottery tickets my dad got us – we all won! Me=$10, Megan=$15, Zach=$20). I made game hens for dinner, my present to everyone. They sucked. Maybe I should just stick with turkey.
Mountainscape - Ink on paper 2008
I feel much better about writing now. It is fun when it isn’t for a grade. I shall begin work on my series about what I have learned this year. Ooooh, betcha can’t wait for that!

All I really want is a couple days here!By they way, I closed my eyes and thought hard about what it is I really want. The results didn’t have anything to do with school. I still don’t know what I really aught to do, but I have signed up for psych classes this spring, so that’s what I’ll be doing. Special Education will always be there. I personally think that what I am in school for now is more relevant to teaching profoundly disabled students than learning about Idaho history, but that’s just me. I still don’t feel really good about it all right now, but things always have a way of turning out. It’s strange really, just like me.Self Portrait - charcoal on newsprint 2008

Saturday, December 22, 2007

I'm a geek

Wow. I did as well on a sci fi quiz as I do on tests I actually had to study for! What's up with that?

Take the Sci fi sounds quiz I received 77 credits on
The Sci Fi Sounds Quiz

How much of a Sci-Fi geek are you?
Take the Sci-Fi Movie Quizdigital camera ratings

2000 Visits

I got my 2000th hit (since getting statcounter on Feb. 5, 2007) today. I got my 1000th hit in July. It truly surprises me that I would be getting as many visits as I have, especially considering how little I have written lately. Yes, 2000 hits since February seems sparse compared to more popular bloggers. Some get that many in just one day! I don't ever plan for this blog to be that popular, but I like to track which pages people are looking at.

Which pages are people looking at? Well, I'm glad you asked.

10. Why a degree is important to me has been viewed a lot. I never sent the application because I couldn't get CSI to get me the transcripts I had to have in time. I wonder if it has helped some of the people who have looked at it.

9. Synchronicity was a post I wrote when I realized that some of the new-age spiritual "teachers" didn't have any more answers than any other spiritual "teacher".

8. Go Packers was a post I wrote because my favorite football team is having a remarkable season this year. I wonder what kind of traffic I could get if I were more of a sports writer. I don't think I care to find out.

7. Have you seen this alien is one of my favorite posts. I'm glad people look at it! I never get comments, but I wonder what they think. They are usually looking for someone who has seen a real alien, not just some reflection.

6. Can you see auras was one of those silly quizzes I like so much. I have a feeling people are looking for people who can really see auras, just like people were looking for people who really see aliens. I guess if I wanted a lot of traffic on my web site, writing a lot about new age spirituality and conspiracy theories would be a great way to go. But how boring would that be?

5. How big can my problems be was a post I wrote when I was still reeling from the ordeal Zach was going through. Most of the visits happened on one day by one person. They googled images and liked these pictures, I guess.

4. I'm not going to kid you. I knew when I wrote the post title, that premature e-jaculation would be getting some visits. I don't know if people know that I used the term to indicate I posted too soon about whether Terry Devereaux would be paying for his crime. I had found out on this day that there actually was a law he could be charged with. And now, he is spending time in a treatment facility. If he can't complete it successfully, he will spend the next eight years in prison for hurting Zach.

3. I took several of on line personality tests last summer for my theories of personality class. The advanced global personality test is the most popular of the tests.

2. I am still getting a lot of traffic on this post. This past spring, a woman was murdered and thrown off the Perrine bridge. Our local media didn't seem to care who she was, but I couldn't just let it go. I needed to know if anyone out there knew Kimberly Ann Payton. I am still getting a lot of traffic from California. A little while ago, someone commented that she had fought with her boyfriend that night and went out to let off steam. It is one of the most tragic events I have ever heard of. I know she had a lot of family and friends out there who really loved her and miss her terribly. I'm sure they are all missing her this holiday season.

And the post that got the most hits?
1. Happy one month anniversary sweety. That's right, no one will let me forget. Well, I guess I can't say I'm sorry it all happened. It really was fun at first, and I did learn something about myself. Hopefully, it is something I won't be repeating.

So, there it is. I do like my blog, and I do plan to write more now that the semester is over. I didn't get all As this time around. That's right, I got a B+. I shouldn't be upset, there are a lot of people out there that would love to have my gpa. They can't have it though. And I do have to write about what I learned. It is difficult to write it, I seem to be having a really hard time explaining it in a way people can understand. I will give it a shot, though, soon.

Until then......Happy Holidays.

Thursday, December 06, 2007


It has really been a while, hasn't it? I have been struggling quite a bit lately. I have been discouraged by one of my psych classes. I don't know, I guess it is me because other students seem to be doing well, but I am really struggling on the tests.

I have been wondering a lot lately if psychology is what I should be here for. I am thinking that special education is what I should be doing. It is what I loved for the past 13 years. It is something I know I am good at, and I know I can make a difference. Let's face it, I can get the sped degree and have enough time left to do something with it.

I don't think I have enough years left in me to make any real difference in psychology. The kind of research I would want to be a part of would take some serious longitudinal studies, and lets face it, 20 years may not cover it. I will be hitting my 50s by the time I could get a PhD.

Unless someone figures out how to fix the aging gene in time!

Thanksgiving was Thanksgiving this year. Turkey, the best stuffing in the world, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie. And three term papers. Yeah, it was loads of fun. And Zach turned 20 a couple of days before turkey day.

Now, winter solstice is upon us. Nothing would make me happier than to hibernate for a few months. My mind is as slow as molasses. (not my mouth, just my mind!) A Christmas tree awaits assembly. I still have three more term papers to write. They are due next week. Then finals. Where will I find the energy?

One of my term papers is a behavior mod program to get me running again. Apparently, I have gained enough weight to make running physically harmful. So I have had to make it a walk, which will eventually turn into a run. I tried a small amount of running last night, ankle wanted to act up again. Well, I did it before, I can do it again.

You know, usually when I feel like this I try to write something profound, some kind of prose. I'm just not up to it yet.

So that's where I am. No wonder I haven't written. I have nothing good to say.