Courtesy: Jshstwrt – A little ink. Very cool !!!
Attention fair readers of the Blog …
I have spent the better part of an hour tweaking the blog. I’ve rearranged some things up and down the sidebar, I’ve updated the Blog List of reads that I read on a daily basis, (Go show them some love) You will find various reads that are compelling, cute, naughty, and just downright cool !!!
I have also Juggled the PAGES and dropped some from the header, but there are new PAGES up there to read. All of them pertinent to life and LGBTQ concerns.
This blog is a product of many of the folks that I read. I have adopted many of the topic styles and formats that many of my reads employ. They have their own method and I see (in the recent past) that you all enjoy what I am putting on the blog.
If there is something that YOU would like to see or read, please do let me know.
Welcome to my new followers. It is good to hear from you.
“Imagination, Imagination a dream can be a dream come true with just that spark in me and you …”
I have found the most amazing website just clicking through links for the old E.P.C.O.T. Center audio/visual clips. Click THIS EPCOT LINK for some fun.
There is a collection of audio clips from the rides of E.P.C.O.T. old that many no longer exist and along with that videos of several of the rides themselves. This post was going in one direction and quickly morphed into what I am writing now. I don’t have the space upgrade with enough space to put the links here myself. I started with the thought of “one little spark” and that led me to Imagination and then I kept clicking links and came by this website where I have been stuck for the last almost two hours watching video and downloading audio clips.
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It was a regular Tuesday today. It was much cooler than it has been in a long time, it actually felt like a cool fall day in September. Last night I was reading through my blogs and I came across ROD’S BLOG HERE and he had a clip from D.J. Tiesto and Tom Hang’s Blessed featuring Shermanology.Which I liked a lot.
That took me on a second journey to find more music to put on my phone and a few hours later I had downloaded 3 D.J. Tiesto Cd’s Kaliedoscope, Magikal Journey and Club Life Volume 1 Las Vegas. Hours of music which is always good fun.
I have a very eclectic assortment of music on my phone now, and it is hours and hours of music that I will never run out of good music to listen to.
*** *** *** ***
So I plugged into the tunes on my way out and stopped by the grocery store to get milk and cookies and I walked down the cookie aisle and stopped dead the store was having a run on cookies. A whole bunch of selected tasty goodness was on sale. As I stood there looking at the choice another man walked up behind me and stopped dead as well. We were both looking at the Ultimate Crunch cookies and he sighed and said to me … “Wow, these could be dangerous.”
And you know, one does not normally converse with other shoppers in the store, and it was almost furtive the way he came across, it almost felt like a pick up line moved from the vegetable section to cookies. So I said “yeah, they do…”
And then as quick as I could I walked away from the cookies, with two packages in my cart I set off for the checkout.
You never know what is going to happen in the grocery store.
I got to the church and began my prep. Have tunes, will travel. It took me less than an hour to get finished and my set up usually takes me right up to the 6 o’clock hour and the ringing of the bells.
I came out of the bathroom and people were already arriving. Since we picked up several new members over the last 2 months, their sponsees followed. And now, once again, the lifeblood of the meeting has returned. I love that people are coming in early to chat and to read. Our space lends itself to entertaining.
The room was packed. Numbers were good. We had 30 people and a great kitty haul for the night. With numbers like this we will be sitting pretty for a while. Hopefully they will stay that way. There is a big New York contingent in the room now and everybody knows each other from NYC. And over the past few weeks we have had out of towners from NYC and so our New Yorkers know of the meetings in the city there and who is on the speaker circuit, lots of good conversation.
We read from the Big Big Book Dictionary. And since it is the ninth month our chair brought up the word Amend, which led us to the Big Book and the Ninth Step. It’s a long step in written form, we stopped just short of the Promises in the book, because we read them at the end of the meeting.
The discussion was lively. It was also very emotional for some. “Made direct amends to such people where ever possible except when to do so would injure them or others.”
For me, Facebook was a great vehicle of connection and many of the people I grew up with are in my facebook friends list. Many of them are sober and over the past few years I imagine that we are all making living amends to one another where ever possible. Many of those friends are sober too. Some much longer than I have been sober.
Family – the dirty subject nobody talks about. This is the one area that I have failed at miserably. And it isn’t just my problem. I have been trying to make amends to family for years to no avail. I can’t sit here and beg someone to hear me out or even listen to what I have to say. You’d think that at this stage of the game, we are all adults and we all grow up, shouldn’t those adults see the err in the way they live and think and allow for a little two way communication?
When my brother popped up on Face Book I tried to contact him and he ignored me and so I tried to go through common friends to make contact and that failed. And it came to pass that my mom’s sister and I are still on the family black list. I can’t be bothered with this issue any more. It is a big waste of time and emotional effort.
We’ve played this tit for tat game for years. And this story goes back over a decade. I am guilty for my share of the issues but it isn’t all my fault for the silent treatment I get today. What can you do with being told by your mother that if they died, no one would call me or better yet tell me where they are buried!!!
My move above the northern border pissed my parent off so much that it was tantamount to family desecration. How dare I leave the U.S. and spit on the life my parents gave me! I made some serious decision earlier in my life, those decisions which I made for my own health, well being and safety are the very same decisions that I am paying for today in silence.
So Fuck me for living … And I wonder if they really care one way or another?
I don’t care one way or another. Nobody has gone out of their way to contact me or send a holiday card or gift or acknowledgement in any form or fashion. oh well, you win some – and you loose some.
So that is my mini rant on step nine…
A little drama, a little fun, and a lotta memories …
I hope you enjoy the links. I did …
More to come, stay tuned …
Courtesy: Walking on Scorpions
Monday was the 4th of July. And back in 1994, July 4th fell on that Monday as well. That was the night that I called my family and told them I was sick and that I was going to a clinic the following day for an AIDS test.
An excerpt from Crazy SOTB:
Cue the music – start the fog machine – blue light GOBO slow pans across the floor through dimly lit space, and the first beat comes…
I am alone, it is early, the bar is not yet open, but I am there alone. Just me, the music and the spirit of God. Well, what little spirit of God there was at that time of my life. It is mid-summer in Ft. Lauderdale. I have just told Todd that I was going to die…
Over the next few weeks, the teaching would begin. The team rose to the call, one of the boys was sick and was left on the side of the road with nothing but what little dignity was left in his soul. All I needed would be provided come hell or high water. Wild Horses would never stop the charge for life. We were all sick, we were all dying. Save for two people in the entire organization. My champions would save me, if I wanted it or not. Death was not an option and I would either get it or I would die…
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Friday July 8th 2011 … 17 years
I have been ruminating over this post for the past few days. Not so much waxing nostalgia, but a long since memory that reaches across to me every time I stand in front of my medicine cabinet to either shave or do my pill count.
I’ve crossed the threshold of another anniversary. 17 years.
I sure have written my fair share on the topic of AIDS and living with AIDS over the many years that this blog has been up and running. All those men and boys who went before me still exist in my minds eye. All we have today is a photo album of quilt sections and the memories we remember to write down before they are all forgotten.
I think a change is coming. I can feel it. I am not quite sure what that change will be but, nonetheless, the summer will come to a close as it always does and it will come down to, I think, a decision.
What am I doing with my life ? Where am I going?
I am thinking that I need to make sure I go to pride this year and bear witness to my friends and myself that I am still here so many years after I should have died.
*** *** *** ***
So let’s continue with the memory of Crazy SOTB:
So it began…
At that time, the temple of sin was alive and things happened so quickly that if you blinked you would miss it. The temple was filled with every earthly delight, Dante would have been pleased with our Garden of Earthly desires, carnal, profane and truly sinful. I loved every minute of it.
The rule was set…
You have a life, outside the temple. When you come to work, you leave your baggage at the door, do not bring it in here. No exceptions. Come to work, and you will serve me your Master and do whatever you are told without question without complaint, is that clear!
I took that time of my life as sacred and profane, but that is another story. You can read about the Sacred and the Profane over there in Pages… This is another thread to a long running story of how this boy was made a man, a saved man, a profane man, and in the same vein Sacred. You never know where your lessons are going to come from, and you are grateful for the wisdom and time people took out of their lives to care for you and teach you lessons that nobody else was going to teach you. So pay attention Little One.
This is your life we are talking about…
The gobos are tracking across the floor slowly through smoke and mirrors as the music plays just for you. I learned very early on, in that space that music would identify particular moods, paint particular pictures. Farkle and I had a ritual. He IS the only one left from the fray of men who lived and died from the temple of sin. We began each shift in our own way, begging god another night, another day, another minute. I was surrounded with warriors fighting their own significant battles with AIDS. I was not hit by the KS demon. I was not plagued by things I saw and witnessed, thank the creator. It was ugly. It was brutal and it was most importantly the fight of the century for all of us. Many men went to their deaths in our arms. We bathed them, clothed them and in the end we buried them.
When I got sober there was a man with AIDS named Larry, he was a drunk like me. But he was unique. He sat with a bottle on the table and a loaded revolver to shoot himself. He carried that gun with him and showed it to every one of us, and he told us relentlessly that he was going to kill himself. He got sober with the rest of us. Over the years following his spiritual awakening, he did something that no one else thought to do.
People with AIDS were being left in the streets. Mortuaries would not process sick people, they would not touch a body that had been infected with AIDS. Families would not bury their children. We did that. Larry opened his services to the community and he became another champion of the cause. I knew him. He eventually got rid of the gun, so I heard.
For a few minutes during transition, I would warm up the smoker, fire up the turntable and start the computer so that I could worship my God to the music of my soul. I did that every night. I worshiped whatever was going to save me.
I was servant to the men. I was servant to my Master. I was a slave for God, be he dressed or undressed. You never saw God until you witnessed true beauty of the soul in all its carnality. There is something sacredly profane about this part of my life. What went on inside the temple stayed in the temple. Many months would pass and I battled my demons of alcoholism before I finally fell into the pit of death, and there happen to be somebody watching from the sidelines.
Danny saved me that night. He was the man who cradled me in his arms, oxygen mask on my face and had called the paramedics to try and revive me. Danny took me home that night, and did not leave my apartment for a week. He fed me, bathed me and cared for me, under that watchful eye of my Master Todd. When the word was spoke, action was taken, and hell hath no fury if you did not jump when told to. Todd was very protective over his boys and men.
We were reminded that Todd had lost love to AIDS. Bob was buried across the street in the cemetery that faced our building. It was hard – it was painful, and it was sacred. Kevin and Larry did things for me that no man ever did for me in the real world. We were the three musketeers. We were the team to beat in bar management and service. We ran a tight ship and we were accountable, respectable and reliable. We proved a mighty force against the odds we all faced.
Let’s get it on…
Shift was begun at eight. The wells were filled the beer was stocked and the ice bins were full. Put your money in the drawer and let’s get the music thumping. Like clockwork at the strike of eight bells the first note hit the turntables. They were lined up around the building. Cars were parked all over the place. The temple worship had begun. Heaven was found amid the souls of suffering men who knew they were all marked for death, but for tonight, whatever you desired was fulfilled. You could drown away your sorrow and dip into the well of living water if you wished as well. You have never lived until you party like your dying with crowds of undulating flesh as far as they eye can see. The ghosts of those men now inhabit the fantasies and dreams I have still to this day.
One by one, two by two, they died in our arms. We held them until they took their last breaths. Memorialized in the careful and blood soaked threads of quilts, as the years went by, they started collecting by the dozen, then by the hundreds. If you’ve ever seen the entire quilt unfurled, all the men who were part of my life in those first years of my epidemic life, they are all together in death, as they were in life. Memorialized until the end of time. And we remember each of their names.
So many young boys torn from life before they knew what hit them. Men who infected them had died as well. Many of my friends were taken on trips that were detrimental to them, and just robbed them of life that was still left to live.
Todd saw to it that I would never go there…
You come to work, dress as you will, you obey me and do not waver from my eye, for I know your carnal desires and you are too young to tempt the devil with his dance. Because I surely did not know what could befall me if the right charmer enticed me into his web of desire, and they all knew I was fair bait. But in order to dine from my buffet, you needed explicit permission of my Master, who never allowed any man to defile me like many had been. I was off limits. I never crossed the line provided because that meant disrespect and I could never bear to break my Master’s heart with disobedience.
I loved Him, and He loved me – I had many problems. I was depressed and angry and resentful. I had the scars of traumatic visions of my dead lovers corpse in my head, and the words of his mother still ring in my ear today “I hope that every night until you die, that you see the corpse of my dead son in your field of vision.” That curse still lives with me and will go with me to the grave. Five day old corpses are not pretty. I had to identify the remains when all was said and done. Save that he was wearing jewelry that I could identify and part of him was still recognizable – God forgive me…
I remember that day, it was early afternoon the morgue called me from work to come and do the deed. I drove in and looked upon him in that room, I wept tears that burned into my soul forever. I just could not imagine – the pain was so hard to bear. I drove over to the bar. Bill was working behind the bar. I drank until I could not stand up on my own. I drank for a week, straight…
Todd and Bill needed to find me a solution and quick, because I was on the outs.
I started suicide therapy in a group setting that lasted 32 weeks. Nothing like rehashing death week after week, until the pain was purged from your soul, but is it ever? Months went by until I got my news.
But they cared for me in all my brokenness. A young angel would earn his wings back. Come hell or high water. In the end, when all was said and done, at the end of the day I survived, but so many did not. And each night I offer them prayers in hope that when I meet my death that all of them will be waiting for me in the Temple Of Earthly Desire in the promised land of the Kingdom of God, where the sacred and profane are mingled with the blood of the Almighty and the blood of my friends who have gone before me, on that day we will be cleansed of our sins.
And forgiven by God…
Goodnight angels of men
In a church,by the face,
He talks about the people going under.
Only child know…
A man decides after seventy years,
That what he goes there for, is to unlock the door.
While those around him criticize and sleep…
And through a fractal on a breaking wall,
I see you my friend, and touch your face again.
Miracles will happen as we trip.
But we’re never gonna survive, unless…
We get a little crazy
No we’re never gonna survive, unless…
We are a little…
…Crazy yellow people walking through my head.
One of them’s got a gun, to shoot the other one.
And yet together they were friends at school
Ohh, get it, get it, get it, get it no no!
If all were there when we first took the pill,
Then maybe, then maybe, then maybe, then maybe…
Miracles will happen as we speak.
But we’re never gonna survive unless…
We get a little crazy.
No we’re never gonna survive unless…
We are a little…
No no, never survive, unless we get a little… bit…
Oh, a little bit…
Oh, a little bit…
Amanda decides to go along after seventeen years…
In a sky full of people, only some want to fly,
Isn’t that crazy?
In a world full of people, only some want to fly,
Isn’t that crazy?
In a heaven of people there’s only some want to fly,
Ain’t that crazy?
Oh babe… Oh darlin…
In a world full of people there’s only some want to fly,
Isn’t that crazy?
Isn’t that crazy… Isn’t that crazy… Isn’t that crazy…
But we’re never gonna survive unless, we get a little crazy.. crazy..
No we’re never gonna to survive unless we are a little… crazy..
But we’re never gonna survive unless, we get a little crazy.. crazy..
No we’re never gonna to survive unless, we are a little.. crazy..
No no, never survive unless, we get a little bit…
And then you see things
Of which you’ve never known before
They’ll break it
Only child know….
Of which you’ve never known before
Courtesy: Danny Alexander
One of the helpful hints we talk about at our home group is this phrase. H.A.L.T. It stands for Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired. These four things, are trigger points for someone in recovery. We are warned to avoid these things, and if we sense them looming in front of us, then we need to take action immediately. Watching out for these things helps in maintaining sobriety.
Tuesday has come and gone. It was a good day. As usual the day always progresses the same way, week in and week out. I went by the store on the way out to get milk and jumbo coffee cups, because our guests like the jumbo cups so we try our best to accommodate all the requests we get.
The meetings held their own tonight. We had a large group of mainly women at the early meeting, which is unique. Men usually outnumber women when it comes to the early meeting. Most of the faces were new to us this week. Most of those new faces were sober less than a year. I mused aloud to Rick after wards that I wondered where these gals came from, as we have never seen most of them before. Freshies are good, they keep the old timers young and sober.
We packed the house for the 8 o’clock meeting, and Rick hooked a rock star speaker whom I knew from early sobriety. He used to come to our meeting religiously when I was first getting sober, then life happened, he got married and had a couple of kids, and tonight we got to hear his experience, strength and hope. All I could say (I was in the chair tonight) was WOW… I was speechless …
My personal assessment after the meeting was this … I am missing something. I want what he has, less the wife and children. H.A.L.T is looming ahead of me. I have, as of late, been feeling a little lonely and it is starting to grade on my nerves.
As of the last few months, my number of friends have all but disappeared. People that I was friends with for a number of years, decided that they no longer wanted to be friends with me, because of my honest assessment of the way our relationships were progressing. It’s hard being sober sometimes, because sometimes you have to share things that might upset the fine balance of relationships to the point where they end up on the line. One of those friends, has lost his father in the last two weeks, and by second hand notice, I learned of his passing from another blogger who happens to be friends with him.
I broke my silence and sent him my condolences, knowing fairly well that whatever I said to him did not guarantee a response because of what has already transpired. So be it … I am powerless over people, places and things.
With the end of school for me, my association to people ended as well, not that I called any of my peers “friends” by any stretch of the imagination. The only contact I have now with people on a regular basis is at my home group.
I don’t know who to trust any more. I don’t have anyone to talk to about what’s going on in my head. I am spinning on auto pilot. Louise is on her own reconstructive journey with cancer, so she is out of my loop. With enough of her own shit on her plate, that takes her off the list of people I used to talk to on a regular basis.
I hit more meetings in the last week, and in talking to Rick tonight, I realized why I did not go to other meetings, because people never change and even Rick has noticed the same things that I have problems with some people in Montreal sobriety.
I need something more than what I am getting right now. And I feel like if I don’t do something about this now, it is going to come around and bite me in the ass sooner or later.
July is always a bad month for me. It is remembrance month for me, it is anniversary month for my issues with AIDS, and it is my birthday at the end of the month. I am not getting any younger.
I don’t think any of my friends on Face Book pay one bit of attention to anything I write here – it cross posts there as well. But it keeps people connected and this week I hit the 4,000,000 coins in Farmville. I am at level 41 and halfway to 42.
It was a good night. I am ok right now. I just see a change coming, and I don’t know what that change is, but I think it is going to be necessary, I think sobriety is about to take a right turn somewhere up around the bend. I know it’s coming and I am going to work on avoiding the ill effects of an upheaval in sobriety.
Usually signs like these foretell the need to ramp up on meetings and stay in contact with other people in sobriety. That’s what I need to do right now.
“Constant Vigilance is what is necessary …”
More to come, stay tuned …
I bought a puppy in Farmville and his feeding time is 3:35 a.m. every morning. I have read through the Farmville forums and found that you can’t change a feeding time. So I am stuck having to sit and wait for 3:35 to come every morning to feed him (Bonkers).
I got a good portion of reading done tonight. I went to the library earlier on Wednesday to photocopy some chapters from a couple of books. I mean, really, what else can you say about Sophia from the Apocryphon of John. Everyone says the same thing. She was, she wanted to create like God, she didn’t get approval, so she did it anyway, it was an abortion, and was pushed out of the pleroma, she repented and was reinstated. that’s about it.
I am working on my 10 page paper for Hermeneutics, that should be coming along nicely in the next couple of days. I need to go back over some of the reading. She taught us the fine art of academic reading, so that will help.
That old song, “Should I stay or should I go” is playing in my head. I’ve been pondering a lot of thought these past few weeks. I haven’t made a decision yet on this front yet. People read this blog, so I can’t give it away just yet.
I’m getting comments from old friends lately and I am grateful to them for stopping by. I updated my links on the blog so they are all active links.
I think I am going to go to bed now.
More to come, stay tuned …
I’ve been very tired over the weekend. I slept a lot Friday and Saturday night which is nice because I am on break until the beginning of January. Yesterday I got most of my Christmas dinner together from the store. Turkeys were on sale so I now all I need are some odds and ends.
Last night was Amy Poehler’s last SNL appearance. Sad to see her go, she was so talented. Now I wonder who is going to be doing Hillary in her absence. And who will replace her on the Update Desk???
Today we set off for the core to do some shopping for the family. I think we are finished now. Hubby needed to get a few things, and also get the gift cards for the kids.
I went by Indigo, like I always do. And as usual I cannot walk into that store without buying something. I picked up a copy of “The Only Necessary Thing” Living a prayerful life by Henri J.M. Nouwen. Henri is one of the most influential Christian writers of the 20th century. If you’ve never read him, I suggest you find some of his works, they are beautiful…
We had a nice lunch at the Eaton Centre and set off for the Apple Store. What a huge shop with these massive computers and bits and bobs for the Mac user. Hubby commented that with buying two gift cards for the girls that this was the first time ever we had given money to the Apple Organization, since we are avowed PC users.
With the introduction of the New WordPress 2.7, I went ahead and purged the blog list of all the dead links. If your blog doesn’t appear on the list let me know, I may have missed one or two. But I did add my entire read list to the blog list. So you can see at a glance, what I am reading on a daily basis.
That’s about it from here.
The plows came through last night and cleaned up all the snow piled here and there from the last snow event. Now all there is – is dirty slush and ice on the sidewalks. We walked from the Eaton Centre home today and it was messy going, I love the snow but I hate the dirty slush…
WE are Powerless over People, Places and Things…
It seems that many of us are very raw at the moment over the reality that Cooper’s Corridor was a fake. The misuse of trust and the duplicity of those involved. I left a comment over on Curtis’s blog on this issue and he wrote me and told me that he has issues with me because it seems to him that I have been avoiding him and that I may not be as Holy as I was once perceived. I have never had the need to lie to any of my readers, nor make myself out to be someone that I was not.
Let us be truthful here. I do have a life. I have kids that count on me every day. I have a husband that requires me to be present every day as well, not to mention my academic studies that take up a great deal of my free time. I have 90 blogs on my daily read list and I read them religiously every day. I may make a comment here or there, but for the most part I am a silent reader.
I opened a dialogue with Curtis and it went the route it was going to take. I don’t sit here day in and day out writing emails to my peers or to my reads, be they who they may. I’ve never SNUBBED anyone on my read list. I would tell you that if your name appears on my blog list and the name of your blog, then that means that I read your blog and I recommend that read to my readers.
If I have upset any of my readers by my silence then let me take this opportunity to openly apologize. Yes I may be Holy, but I am also a human being. It was never my intention ever, to offend anyone that I have written to or corresponded with. But I am not Cooper, and every word that is written on this blog is the God’s honest truth. I even set a picture of myself on the blog which is from my wedding day. There is no need to think or believe that I have gone to any length to MIS-REPRESENT myself to anyone. I have no desire to plagiarize any ones writing, because, let’s be honest, Plagiarism is not very scholarly is it???
I know, right now, that several blogs are shutting down over this whole Cooper scandal. And that saddens me that some sick fuck has emotionally devastated so many blog writers. I was one of those people. I got involved with this scandal because I was emotionally invested in this story. And I offered my tidbits of information that I had to the greater good. And I emailed certain writers that I knew had correspondences with Cooper to try and validate what it was that I knew. I am not a psychopath like those who perpetrated this huge farce.
I am not prone to lying. In fact I abhor lying. I don’t put up with it in my life, and I sure as shit don’t lie here on my blog. I am just a man who is studying Pastoral Ministry and I am who I am. If you believe that I have slighted you in any way, then that is YOUR problem, NOT MINE. I have no open issues with anyone I read, and I don’t know that I have offended anyone recently. So if you are offended then that lies directly in your own lap. Because I live my life every day and I try my best to communicate. It seems that I failed Curtis in that respect. That I was a Holy Man who let him down… I had no idea that I let you down, and if you don’t tell me that you are in distress I cannot sit here and divine from God that you are in distress.
I don’t sit here and daily take the emotional temperature of my readers like a parent to their sick child. I don’t have the time to do that. And once again, if you have a problem with me, it is Your problem with me not my problem with you. They say in recovery that if you have a PROBLEM with someone else that really you should look within and find the problem within yourself. I can’t be responsible for creating in you a state of dis-ease. Because I don’t make it my business to sit here and create dis-ease for my readers. You may not agree with something that I write or I might make you get angry and think about something that I have written, but I do not make it a point to compulsively start shit with my readers.
I am not a mind reader and If you have an issue and I am in the dark about that issue, is it really about me? or is it about you? You may not trust me as a writer after this breach of sacred trust. But I’ve never given anyone a false idea about who I am or what I write as my message. If you want to invest in me then fine. I invest in all of my reads by spending time EVERY DAY reading your blogs. I may not comment but I do read.
I wish all those people who will be shutting down their blogs peace and I hope they heal from this situation. We are powerless over people, places and things. And we also know from recovery that we are only as sick as our secrets. I have not kept secrets from anyone on this blog, in my life or in my ministry. What good would that do me?
It is your choice to Forgive, Invest and Trust. I don’t force myself upon anyone. I just write.
For all that is is worth, Cooper was my friend. At least I thought we were. He even wrote for this blog for my 40th birthday celebration. I am saddened that on that day I posted fake writing, from a fake writer. Someone who lied to me like they lied to you as well. May God have Mercy on them for what they did.
In the end only God can judge them.
If you have judged me for one reason or another, then that is on your conscience not mine. I’m not responsible for your state of emotional feeling. That is all I have to say tonight.
I hope that Curtis comes to read this, because I never meant to harm anyone. I did not know that I had harmed anyone, and maybe we are all just a bit frayed over Cooper’s lies. So I forgive you … I cannot live up to everyone’s expectations, if I don’t know for myself what those expectations are. you cannot fault me if your expectations were not met in some way, shape or form. I cannot be all people to everyone.
Let us return to the way it was. Or it now is. What happened wasn’t my fault. I was duped just like you were.
I have a great announcement:
MR. CHAD FOX at Stop Touching My Food is back. Go show him some love.
The weather is starting to warm up, albeit, very slowly, and my dreams as of late have involved some type of personal changes. As soon as the snow melts a bit more and the sidewalks clear up further, I will begin a new ritual of exercise and walking.
I thought about this over the last few nights, because this winter has not been kind to any of us, being shut up inside has had its drawbacks. This was the image that always has been on my mind as to what I want my body to look like. I need to loose some weight and start working out again.
If you read from my list, Yani, is one of my Aussie reads and he has quite a system for his daily walks, he frequently blogs about the walk and his photography of said walks, which is a big part of his blog. So stay tuned. We shall see what the Spring brings to this blog in the coming months.
I must add that – upon completion of a new core body I will be getting another set of piercings, for my 8th sober anniversary…
This is a reply post to one that I read the other day over on No Milk Please…
After the hellacious week we have had, it is finally Friday and the weekend is upon us. It is snowing outside once again. UGH!! I have fired up my little player with some music from ‘Deborah Cox Remixed’ Cd.
I guess you can safely say that I am truly gay…
Ive been listening to a lot of radio out of Seattle Washington, on SEA 89.5, which is a really great radio station, that I pipe in on my virtual DJ player. You can go into the radio station selector and pick stations from an assortment of musical genres. They are listed under dance as [SEA 89.5 Worldwide ] Online, it streams very well. They play some really great tunes.
I have also found, on the dance dial, a station called Sanctuary Radio that plays some awesome music from all over the time line. You can find the [Virtual DJ] radio link over on my sidebar. It is a quick and painless, FREE download of the tool bar, that makes it very easy to stream whatever kind of music you like on your desktop.
There is nothing much else going on here tonight, it is quiet, hubby is asleep on the sofa and I am going to get back to my IMVU community. If you haven’t joined, it is quite addictive – build your avatar, buy some clothes and come join us.
Other than that, I don’t know what else to say at the moment. Oh, we are closing in on the 90,000 hit mark and very soon, I am hopeful of that BIG 100,000 hit mark in the coming months…
Today is the 1st anniversary of The Evolution of Jeremiah.
I wrote about the blog last week, so let’s look at the stats once again.
Today we have had 61,963 page hits
Our best day was 475 hits
We have 917 Posts
And 380 Comments
Akismet has blocked 86,418 spam
We have been on quite a journey over the last year. Many changes in life have come to pass, the biggest change was my graduation from University with my Bachelors of Arts in Religious Studies in June. I have to say that my graduation was the biggest let down of all time. What a waste of a day’s time…
This should be a time of reflection to look over the past year and see where we have been and where we see ourselves going in the next year. I am working on my Pastoral Ministry Certificate now and that will continue over the next years time. I am in no rush.
We have welcomed a bunch of new blogs to our blog list –> over there on the sidebar. Lots of stuff to read from a myriad of writers from all over the world. I’d like to think that The Evolution is like the United Nations of Blogging, because we have writers from Iraq, the UK, Australia, Oceania, Canada and the United States, and several European countries.
We have added many new pages to my autobiographical history also –> over there on the sidebar, which as of late has generated a huge amount of traffic. I am amazed at just how many of you are interested in life stories, aside from my daily ramblings on here. I just hope that you are making good use of my life history to help YOU or people that you know in your life. I mean that’s why I have spent hours upon hours writing for this blog. To make sure that a record of me exists and to help another human being on their life path.
We have celebrated our third wedding anniversary this month. What has changed in our marriage? Well, not much. We both have our lives in school and our particular friends and events that go on, on a weekly basis. The longer I am married the more I learn about living with Bi-polar depression [my husband] and my life with HIV [now going on 15 years]. Life is just a collection of days and hours compounded daily. I think we have seen the worst of life as it was lived, and now we are doing all right, I guess.
The only issue that we cannot seem to get a handle on is financial security. Although we are paying off our debts, the bills have just snowed us under. Keeping money in the bank has become a real struggle as of late, that is the biggest hurdle in our relationship is to manage money better, this has been a struggle since we got together, with all the bills, taking care of medical and putting food on the table. UGH!!!
The clinic has bombarded me with a bag full of pills that I am supposed to take for this scientific study, and I am SO NOT going to take any more pills than I have to seeing that the last two lab draws came up so great with numbers like we have never seen and I have been on 1/2 the dose for the last five months. I don’t think I need to pound my body with mouthfuls of medication just to please some lab technician. I am just not going to do it, when I can achieve the same results with half the prescribed medication, although I have six bottles full of pills in my medicine cabinet that I am clearly not going to clear though before February, which is my next check in point.
So let’s talk of the end of year review…
My sons are doing well, they both have good jobs and are making enough money to see themselves through. They both have great apartments that they live in and are able to put food on the table. Several of our blogger boys have made the move out of their respective nests at home, and several more are in the process as we speak. There are MANY reads over there of men who are or have been in relationships for a long time, so if you are wondering how we do it, please by all means go check them out.
- East Meets West – Truvy’s West [Shane]
- Jason in the Nati [Jason TT]
- Joey Destino
- The Adventures of Ed
- Meanwhile back at the Ranch [Timbo]
- Queer Deviations
- Real Euphoria
- Single in the City
- Yani Blog
- Scott O Rama
- Sweetie let me tell you [Curtis]
- Cooper’s Corridor [Cooper]
- The Mrs. Astor
- The Malcontent
- Wild Money Dance
- Show Your Gay Pride
- My Life [Rob]
This is just a raw list off the top of my head of people you should be reading from my life, these are the people I think can offer you, my readers, insight into relationships, the single professional life, adoptions and to add to this list, there are several [sober] marked blogs on the list for those of you who are in recovery, not to mention my own blog…
They say that we shall have a wet, white and wild Winter, well, we shall see about that. We are off to a good start with snow already on the ground here, and things are only going to get worse as time goes by. I will hold off on my predictions until the end of December, as I know that Word Press will be asking us all to add our predictions to the data base then.
So that is what I have to say on my 1 year anniversary here at the Evolution. I welcome you all to continue reading and please by all means participate in the journey by your comments and suggestions. Thank you for reading and being a part of my life.
Good evening from Montreal…
1. Tell me about yourself. Something I can’t read from your standard
Well, you know, I’ve been in a religious community somewhere all my life, The Christ Church Cathedral has been my home parish for some time as the Reverend Canon Joyce Sanchez has been my spiritual director for over two years now. I work with the HIV community in post diagnosis situation and aftercare and life skills management and education about “how to live” once you’ve been diagnosed.
I mentor young people and I am a foster parent as well. I have spent years in religious formation through the Catholic church and I still attend masses at parishes that welcome me, but on principle (due to my gay lifestyle) the church as an institution does not want me. So the Cathedral does, and the Bishop Barry B. Clark is one of my greatest supporters as is the entire church body including our Reverend Canon, Joyce Sanchez
2. How long have you been studying in religion?
It seems, my entire life…Seminary (1 year) Concordia University I have a 4 year degree (B.A.) in Religion, and now my first year in Theological Studies…
I spent a year in Catholic seminary and left because of politics and secrets many years ago and now I have since graduated from Concordia with a B.A. in Religious Education majoring in Christianity and “Women and Judaism” as my minor concentrations. I am currently working on my certificate in Pastoral Ministries in the department of Theology. And I do a lot of volunteer work in the gay community through the Cathedral. I am also a presence in the Montreal sober community of AA.
3. Why did you start your blog last November? What is its purpose?
My Blog – It is my lifeblood. It is who I am. I have spent years working on my manuscript for a book I am going to publish in the coming months – so much of my writing in “Pages” is my experience. My blog is running really well, I have a modest readership. And I write for my constituents and my readers. I talk about real life issues to the gay community but I am also now a days writing to a wider audience since involving myself in the LGBT Issues of the Anglican Church worldwide. Many of my readers from the communion come by way of other sites (Fr Jake stops the world) on my blog roll, If I help change one life or I help a gay person come out and live to tell the tale, or I help an HIV positive person live another year after diagnosis, then I say I have done my job.
Amongst all the gay reads I have on my blogroll, I am the only one who writes about life and religion. So that makes my blog unique [on my read list] people are awash in critical politics, complaining about life and what we don’t have as a gay community. Here in Canada LGBT issues are on the forefront of change and I write about that change since I read the worldwide gay community through other blogs that I write for. Someone has to write about what is changing and informing the rest of the world [at large] that LGBTQ rights and issues are important and that Canada as a nation is on the forefront of LGBTQ change. I think it is crucial that I write about our successes as ‘church’ and as a ‘nation.’
I have seen so many NEW changes come to the LGBTQ community since coming to Canada, and that I have lived now 15 years being HIV positive, and now being 40, I see the world differently so I write about life, the church, being gay and POZ. Things like these are so far off in the U.S. I think it is important now that I can get involved and write about what I feel so passionately about. Since my marriage to my husband in 2004, through the United Church of Canada, I have lobbied and wrote about marriage issues. The Anglican church has made strides, seeing the negative shit that is being said by the African church, which only forces me to write about every step that the Canadian Church makes in the area of LGBTQ issues.
4. What do you write about?
You will find writing about sobriety, since I am in recovery, I reach a sober audience as well, I write about being HIV Positive and my medical progress as I am a test patient for the Montreal General HIV clinic. I test medications for Canada and the world at large, so what I am doing will become available to others in the coming months and years.
I write a lot about myself, and sometimes I am a little profane and sometimes I am a little bit sacred. I belong to a circle of writing pastors from around the world so we talk about prayer and spirituality a bit. I also belong to the [Avanoo] community so I pen little stories, tales and I write for that community and cross post those reflections on my blog too.
5. Do your friends and family know about your blog? What do they think?
My friends know about my blog. My family does not speak to me. When I moved to Canada they disowned me – add to that I am queer and HIV positive, they don’t want to know from anything. So no sweat or love lost on them. My friends come to read because I write about current issues and my life.
6. What do you not blog about? What do you have absolutely no interest
I refuse to write about my husband because we had issues with insurance companies trying to use my writing against us in the past, so I don’t fuck with assholes like that. I won’t post some personal info for that very reason. There are assholes out there trying to screw the common man. When my husband left his job because of a nervous breakdown, and was diagnosed as Bi-Polar I wrote about the abuse heaped upon him by his employer and they sent the cops to my door with a cease and desist order they tried to silence me for writing about them. And I backed off…
Just to say, Some companies go to great lengths to silence people who talk about bad treatment. And they tell us we are slandering them…
You won’t find on my blog celebrity gossip. I try to stay away from subjects or photography that might be construed as pornographic. As a gay religion writer I do write along a line of social conduct and ethics. Since my readership has skyrocketed in the last year I keep to a fine line about what I present – Word Press as a platform is huge and at any time I can loose that standing if someone clicks my blog as adult content and I loose my standing on the main frame of blog share.
I have no desire to get into the drama of gay life, although I write about my experiences growing up, [ I refuse to get into the piss and moan of LGBTQ writing]. I offer a way out, a hand up and a way of life to others who want to know what it is like to be a 40 year old gay hiv positive Married sober man who is studying for possible ministerial work in the coming years. [ I often fancy myself a minister] in the future and if I play my cards right I might get there one way or another.
I don’t write about hate, unless it directly affects my community, hence my desire to write about church and its progress. I stay away from the drama of life, because in sobriety that does not serve me or the people I work with in the community. Studying religion has taught me a lot about myself and others.
7. How has the blog changed since you first started it?
Wow, my blog has changed so much since I started school in 2003. I have become more confident in my writing, since my graduation I have become more scholarly and I try to uphold “responsible writing” I don’t want to write something that will negatively impact any of my readers or push them to do something stupid in their lives.
8. Who reads your blog?
Ministers and priests read my blog. Laity read my blog. I reach the LGBTQ community and I have a good number of straight readers as well, who are Christian whom I’ve come to know personally. My friends read, and really, right now, the world is reading my blog since I write so much about the Anglican Church. I have readers from as far away as Asia, Africa, and Europe and of course the U.S. I got the Vote out first on Friday night after the Synod closed I got worldwide release of my news reports across the world wide Anglican press online (through Fr. Jake stops the world).
9. What else should people know to understand your blog?
I practice “responsible writing” in that I believe this: That what I write can be used by anyone gay or straight. I write about life and I don’t bullshit or lie about the reality of living with addiction, hiv or any other issue I write about. I don’t ever want to be put to the fire for writing something that negatively impacted someone or hurt them.
When we write we are giving of ourselves. God forbid I write something that pushes someone to do harm to another or to themselves. Take for instance unsafe sexual practice that leads to someone getting Aids or writing something that might spur someone into making a decision that would hurt them. I am responsible for every word I write and I take that very seriously. Nobody can say I gave bad advice or the wrong advice, because I don’t write about anything that I have not experienced myself.
The gay community is at odds with my responsible writing – I don’t cross this line in either life or fantasy. They have said, why should “I” [ read them] be held responsible for what they write? If someone chooses to do what they do, its on them, But my response to that is this: If you wrote on a subject and you [inadvertently or forwardly] led someone to make a decision that you might have contributed to – then you are responsible within that community. And as a writer I take that ethic very seriously.
Because I write about addiction and HIV let’s say, you want to give the proper advice when called upon to do so because my readers [ the addicted or hiv positive] readers come here to learn about life and how to survive, in essence I put my life out there for all to read, God forbid someone get or read bad advice from someone who is irresponsible to the greater conscience. I want to sleep at night after writing, and I do. I don’t post anything that would harm anyone. I am very Christian in my approach in “taking care of my neighbor” and I am very Buddhist in my way “as in stay away from suffering and to Do No Harm!”
I have evolved so much in my religious studies and I hope I present myself more responsibly and respectfully. And you see when I write today, from posts early in my writing career. I have been blogging for many years. I had several blogs when my husband was diagnosed with Bi-Polar depression – and we found that insurance companies were reading my blog and they attempted to use my writings against us, and we sued them and we won!
10.Any Future Plans?
Yeah, I want a job!! I want to publish a book, I want to work in my community for money. This free gig is nice and I get great exposure worldwide and in Montreal as well, since some of my readers are local. I would love all this work as a body to help me professionally with a degree now under my belt and my continuing Theological work, will one day pay off with big dividends. I will continue to write because life goes on. Every year that I survive AIDS I can share with the world how I did that, and that will help someone live as well. You give courage and you share courage and you get courage.
The world is not kind, but The Evolution of Jeremiah is an oasis of courage, faith and living. Soberly, Clean and Positively.
A Gay man can be Married, Sober, Positive, and Sacred.
That is my goal, to change the perception of gay men from dirty profane sexual promiscuous irresponsible “unchristian” people. I show the world that gay men can be married to one man, make wise choices, and to live respectful loving lives in Christ. We cannot have the sacred without the profane and I push that adage when I can. A little profanity never hurt anyone.
But at 40, I am a different gay man then I was when I was diagnosed at age 26. Much has happened since then and I have written at great length to tell the world that I was here and that unlike all of my friends who have died from AIDS I survived. My Blog is my living testament to the world at large.
New Reads on the List:
- Shekinah Glory – Ministry
- Tribal Church.Org
- De-Conversion -
- Meditations on Meaning
- Et Cetera Public and Private Curiosities- Disembedded
Some are religious, some are not. But they are new reads for all of us to visit.
Found on: Meditations on Meaning
I really liked this entry today…
Earlier today, he visited an art fair just down the street from his motel. Some of the art was good. Perhaps he would have thought about buying it. But none of the artists talked to him. Not one! Instead, they sat on lawn chairs, made dour faces, and watched to make sure he didn’t break or steal anything.
After the art fair, he watched a local band play at a nearby bar. Though the patrons seemed to enjoy the music and whatever friends they came with, they stood in circles. Or looked at the floor or the ceiling. And didn’t notice him standing at the back of the room, alone, with a beer.
After the bar, he walked down a busy street. He’d learned to look at the ground while walking down busy streets. But tonight, he looked straight ahead. And he watched the pedestrians avert his eyes. It was a common courtesy in New England, he knew, but it still felt so “alien”.
He walked by a coffee shop. It was funky and charming and still open. So he walked inside. And ordered a chamomile tea. And sat down in the chair next to me. And looked at me.
I put down my book and looked at him. “I want a friend,” he said. Boldly. Firmly. Without hesitation.
And as if in answer, his phone rang. He looked at the number and smiled. “A friend,” he said. And he looked upwards, wondering, perhaps, if the heavens were listening in.
The friend’s name was Julia. She talked loudly. About how crazy things had been in her life. Something about school. Something about work. Something about boys. Something about…
In the middle of her monologue, he turned the phone off. “Remind me to tell her, tomorrow, that the cell phone coverage is flaky here. Or perhaps my battery just died.”
Then he told me about the art fair and the bar and the busy street and the friend who – he now realized – wasn’t really a friend. And I listened. As if I’d met him before. As if we were friends.
“I’m sure there are good people out there. People whose friendship isn’t borne out of innate self-interest, but rather, simply, love. But how will I find them? I must have passed a thousand people on the street today and not one of them actually saw me. You’re the first person I felt I could talk to.”
I smiled. But didn’t know what to say. This was more his conversation than mine. We were silent for awhile. Then he noticed the silence. And it was painful for him.
“I’m so sorry,” he said. “I can’t believe that I didn’t notice. You haven’t said a word to me. Not a word!”
And I told him that he shouldn’t be sorry. That I empathized with everything he’d said. And that I’d felt as if I myself was saying it.
Where does one begin? This question seems to be dogging me lately, so I use the graphic once again, as it is useful in this writing. It was a good and quiet day. I had two good classes, well, one that I deal with and the other that I enjoy. I haven’t been sleeping well, so I napped between classes today.
This evening I went to class and had a great time. I decided to forgo the meeting tonight, because I wanted to be home for Monday Night Must See TV as we are back on “real tv” now as it is Premier Week! We made dinner and lit the candle as usual.
I was greeted with news that hubby wants to pursue his MA in communications at McGill and he wants to put together his portfolio and apply in the Winter for next year. What should I do? He asked, you see before we make any big decisions we always talk them through. If that’s what you want then by all means, go for it. It seems that both of us will be working on graduate work come his graduation next Spring.
Tomorrow is Tuesday and I have the day off aside from a meeting with my Spiritual Adviser in the morning and mass to follow. I’ve basically made up my mind about certain topics and I just want to pass them by my adviser to make sure that I can explain what God’s voice says to me and feel confident that I won’t have to explain it again.
It is the last Tuesday of the month, I am chairing the meeting tomorrow and then our monthly business meeting to follow. Nothing poses a threat to sobriety like a business meeting!! UGH!!
The weather is getting cooler at nights although the trees have yet to start turning, although I have seen some photos from Vermont on another blog the other day and the trees are brightly colored.
Found over on: Scott-O-Rama and their recent vacation in Vermont. Isn’t that a wonderful sight? Just beautiful.
Well, that’s all for now. More tomorrow …
New Blogs to Read:
The blog world gets smaller over the Summer as friends and fellows depart on their sabbaticals, and people go on vacation for extended periods of time. I have paired down my read and blog list as bloggers go off line. With the decision to remove myself from the anchor position at my home group, I am pairing down my volunteer work as well. I’ve given all the free advice and religious education that I can take for now.
I’ve spent the last two years working closely with people who have no desire to change and I can’t protect people forever, nor can I expect to affect change where people are constantly working against me. That has disappointed me the most. That people who know the rules about taboo are so readily motivated to break those taboos.
Some people are sicker than others.
I think it is important to refocus my attentions on projects that demand more of my time, so that I can do my work completely and confidently. This Summer I will be working with my kids very closely as the building of my ministry starts to grow. I have work that has been asked of me, and I must respond to that call.
As we transition from classes to the living of life and as well, my transition into the work field in advisement and counseling takes center stage. I realize that sitting where I have been for so long in the rooms has not moved anyone forward, but I have. I have been told that the only way to allow people to grow for themselves is to allow them to do so without my enabling them to remain where they are. I have said all that I can say to help those who are listening. And I can’t be part of a community that has worked so hard to disrupt the calm, safe and sacred space that my home group had become – but is now gone.
We will continue to write over the Summer as I work on my new manuscript and get that finished by Summers end. I want to write something really great, that will present the work that I have done over the last decade of my life and the lessons I have learned.
Today I received an invitation to become part of the Alumni Society at Concordia. As graduation looms ever closer, the nerves are starting to ignite. I have to get my gown next week and take photos for my Alumni Card and get ready for graduation.
I still have a paper to write for my Theology class, which I have to seriously work on over the next week for a Friday completion deadline, I will be concentrating on that over the weekend.
We are all evolving in our own special ways and some of us are taking time to reassess our blogs and the future of writing. I am doing the same here. I am pulling away from the drama and those people who seem to be stuck in ruts that all the words in the world will not remove them from, until they decide they’ve had enough.
Stay tuned and please come and read – there are a multitude of posts to read over in the pages section of the blog as well as the archives. We will be walking a spiritual journey as we continue our training for Spain in 2009.
I start the new HIV meds next week so look forward to that info for those of you who are HIV positive and are thinking about a medication change. I will also be dropping some serious labs to start the new regimen they told me last week.
This is the last week of school for Summer Session 1 – I will have more time to dedicate to writing and ministry work, as graduation quickly approaches. Thank you for your readership and I hope that you will all stick with us over the Summer.
**** Summer Events ****
- We will begin Christian Meditation on Wednesday Nights at the Christian Meditation Center located within the Padua Center at the Georges Vanier Metro below the tunnel, not far from here. That meditation session begins at 8:00 p.m. and a $5.00 donation is requested for attendance.
- If you want to join us on walks up the mountain as part of the Camino Santiago de Compostela training group, do let us know. As weather permits we will be walking the mountain and also, we will be adding different walking tours of Montreal including the Old Port and on up the Orange line from Berri through St Denis and St. Laurent.
- The Harry Potter Party will take place on the 21st of July. A huge party is planned at Indigo Book shop in Downtown Montreal. Also the release of the 5th Harry Potter film, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix has its opening on July 11th, 2007.
- The L’international des Feux Loto-Quebec opens on the 20th of June with the first performance by Spain at La Ronde here in Montreal. We usually walk the Jacque Cartier Bridge to the end of the Superstructure to watch them from above the park. The fireworks begin promptly at 10:00 p.m. rain or shine.
- The Festival International de Jazz de Montreal takes place this Summer from June 28th through July 5th, around the Place des Arts Center in Downtown Montreal.
- The Montreal Divers/Cite Gay Pride Festival takes place in the village on the East End of the city from August 1 to August 5th, 2007. Not as big as last years event due to the lack of government funds this year.
The ladder of the Monks calls for Reading, Praying, Meditating and finally Contemplation. I have been working on my spiritual journey over the last few months. The added component to this ladder is ‘action.’
I wrote to a few sober members about last nights awakening, none of them responded. So I am either crazy or they don’t have to time to participate in this forum. Their loss… I did not go into this decision without prayer and meditation.
I went to bed with Paulo and some more reading on The Pilgrimage. He writes of his spiritual journey and the meditation practices his guide employs for him. I have started working with these meditations. I love reading books with substance and power.
Today we had our mid term exam in Theology and we had two essays to write on. I chose to write on The nature of prayer and ritual communally and personally. This experience I draw from my seminary time and the years afterwards in coming to know God on a more personal level. Going to mass, being part of community in seminary and in life. I also talked about my desire to be alone with my God. That was the one real dig that the rector of the seminary had for me. Because I was not “one of the boys!” No, I wasn’t hurting anyone or had I sexually identified at that time as a gay man who was out to party and be drunk and irresponsible.
I was a young man in seminary. Who wanted to serve the church and God as I felt called to do, so I stayed away from community because they made me feel like an outsider. So I didn’t fit in. So be it.
Anyways, I digress…
So over the lat 15 years I have searched for seed for my garden and I have planted them and now they are beginning to come to full flower. Some seeds sat in the ground for a long time, until the right time to bloom. I like my personal spirituality. And I can get into communal practice as well. There is a great Wednesday Christian meditation right near here that I will be attending when school gets out.
The second question was on the contemplative practice. I spoke about the Jesuit teaching that I have followed since I got out of Seminary. I have entertained the path of Ignatius. This process of discernment was the path I walked into seminary. And it is the practice that many young men follow at the Ignatian Center here in Montreal.
At the major Seminary just up the street from home is the reflection pool behind the building with a walking path around it which I have walked countless times over the past few years. There is also the Labyrinth that is always a wonderful experience. Contemplative prayer asks us to get quiet but also to listen for the voice of discernment.
I rocked on the essay questions, and with those writings today, I feel much better about the decision and the spiritual awakening that has taken place. I am not resentful or angry, I am over the fed up today because it is not about me. But I feel misled, used and disrespected, because I have worked so hard to create a safe space for newbies and that safe space has been defiled and I can’t be a supporter of a group that works against the grain. So that’s that…
The journey calls us to commit to our beliefs and convictions. The journey takes from us that which is useless to us and asks us to step on a path with what we have and to trust that God will provide. Sometimes we must walk alone. Sometimes we must be pruned in order to grow. I am through with doing all the work for everybody for free…
For that was what I was called to do. And I did it gratefully and thankfully. But for the last month I have been feeling a knot in my stomach every time I went to that church, now I know why. My gut was trying to show me something. Finally the message came through loud and clear. The bees are disappearing. So are my friends I wanted to know why, I asked the universe and in a matter of hours, I had my answers.
Something is happening, and I must follow the spirit and the voice.
So the Pilgrimage continues.
Today I spent the afternoon with Jacob. We went out for lunch and did a little shopping in the Underground City. We stopped in at Indigo where I picked up a couple of books by Paulo Coelho – The Pilgrimage and The Alchemist. I once read The Alchemist many many years ago, just after my diagnosis. Well, a LONG time ago actually!!
I wanted to read The Pilgrimage since I have decided to set my sights on the Santiago de Compostela.
“The Pilgrimage” holds an important place in Paulo Coelho’s literary canon. His first book, it not only paved the way for his phenomenal novel The Alchemist, but it also fully expresses his humanist philosophy and the depth of his unique search for meaning.”
“Here Paulo Coelho details his journey across Spain along the legendary road of San Tiago, which pilgrims have traveled since the Middle Ages. On this contemporary quest, he encounters a Chaucerian variety of mysterious guides and devilish opponents and learns yo understand the nature of truth through the simplicity of life.”
As you can see above, I’ve listed another Hayao Miyazaki film that I added to my collection today. I’ve been searching for a copy for some time now, so Metro Video had a few on the shelf, So I had to buy it. If you are a movie buff like me, you will appreciate and love the art that is Hayao Miyazaki. Spirited Away is one of his finest films he has created.
If you watch these two films in any order, you will see aspects of both films in each of the films in and of themselves. Little signs and decor find themselves from one film to another. The stories are timeless and the characters are wonderful. Hayao is one of the finest film makers on the planet.
It was a beautiful day had by all.
Tantum ergo Sacramentum
Et antiquum documentum
Novo cedat ritui:
Praestet fides supplementum
Laus et iubilatio,
Salus, honor, virtus quoque
Sit et benedictio:
Procedenti ab utroque
Compar sit laudatio.
V. Panem de coelo praestitisti eis.
R. Omne delectamentum in se habentem.
Oremus: Deus, qui nobis sub sacramento mirabili, passionis tuae memoriamreliquisti: tribue, quaesumus, ita nos corporis et sanguinis tui sacramysteria venerari, ut redemptionis tuae fructum in nobis iugiter sentiamus.Qui vivis et regnas in saecula saeculorum.
Down in adoration falling,
Lo! the sacred Host we hail,
Lo! oe’r ancient forms departing
Newer rites of grace prevail;
Faith for all defects supplying,
Where the feeble senses fail.
To the everlasting Father,
And the Son Who reigns on high
With the Holy Spirit proceeding
Forth from each eternally,
Be salvation, honor blessing,
Might and endless majesty.
R. Thou hast given them bread from heaven.
V. Having within it all sweetness.
Let us pray: O God, who in this wonderful Sacrament left us a memorial of Thy Passion: grant, we implore Thee, that we may so venerate the sacred mysteries of Thy Body and Blood, as always to be conscious of the fruit of Thy Redemption. Thou who livest and reignest forever and ever.
I’ve been in a strange mood the past few days. I can’t sleep at night. I’ve got so much on my mind as of late. The full moon is approaching, I can tell that this is going to be a low cycle instead of a high cycle. Issues at hand have depressed my desires and my emotions.
But I am praying and meditating. I’ve been praying about pilgrimage, and I’ve decided that yes I am going to make this trip. That I am worthy of this and that this sabbatical will be useful to me spiritually. The other note to mention is that I have also been praying about a pilgrimage partner. Who would I most want to take with me? That answer came over the past few days. So I called Beverly today and asked her to tell Sam to come and read. I also sent him a written invitation to pilgrimage.
I think that with this much time until Spring 2009, that we can raise the funds for pilgrimage through the spiritual communities we both belong to. I am sure that people in our respective church communities would love to sponsor someone on a pilgrimage of this great an adventure.
I am taking this opportunity to say Yes to pilgrimage, and Yes to my feelings that I think this might be the most important journey I will make in the coming years, not to say that life has not been an incredible journey, but I think Sam and I will make a great team. It would take him into new heights and give him an incredible experience, and it will give he and I some great one on one time. I think he’d enjoy the trip immensely…
I’ve made some decisions regarding my ministry. I have always been very hard on myself. And I am not used to recognizing that I have abilities. Yet I know I have abilities. I have known this for many years beginning with my tarot teaching and my visionary empathic abilities. Having a gift is a curse and a blessing. I don’t usually operate on the assumption that I am using all of my gifts properly and when necessary. My bad…
I do have a spirituality that is specifically my own. I have cultivated my garden very carefully over the last 15 years. My beliefs may not be the same of your beliefs, but my life experience and my Religious Experience, has definitely impacted my desire to try and find my place in the grand scheme of things.
Now that I have achieved the greatest achievement in my life, that of completing a four year degree in Religious Studies, I know more now, than I did years ago. My understanding of Religion has helped me redefine my own beliefs and practices. Now it is time to put that well earned knowledge into practice professionally. This has been a long hard fight to admit that I have earned this and that I am worthy of great things and that I truly have something to offer the men, women and young people I work with.
I have continued to work with young people in any capacity that I can. I believe that having a mentor to help one along the path is better than traveling it alone. I have decided that I can take what I have learned and what I have lived and try to help some new young people today. I have been working with my gifts and adding to my education over the years in the ways of academia and as well, in studies on my own. I have a wealth of spiritual knowledge that came by way of the hundreds of books I have read over the years, studying the spiritual journeys of many men who desired to find answers to their questions. I know all of this stuff. I have knowledge of the spiritual path, I also have knowledge of the Religious path.
This knowledge is a very important component when working with others. Because I can appreciate different religious beliefs and I can also appreciate the Christian journey and how important a component that is for so many people. I can give support, I can share love and I can teach what I know – because what I know is tangible.
I think about sabbatical – and pilgrimage and I ponder what it would be like to be on that journey and the first logical thought that came to mind today was that Sam and I need to do this. What an incredible experience it would be for both of us to walk the journey and how bringing someone along with me is going to be so kewl!!
So I am working on Acceptance.
Acceptance that I am worth it
Acceptance that I am worthy
Acceptance that I can do whatever I set my mind to
Acceptance that I can work for a living
That what I know is useful and that I can help people
Acceptance that there are people who want to help me
Acceptance that I can be helped because I help them
Ok, I need to work on my Acceptance totally !!
This evening I went to a lecture about El Camino – Santiago De Compostela by a member of the United Theological College here in Montreal. I have to say that I have been interested in this topic for some time. I have had friends walk part of the journey and bring me back mementos from their journeys.
Our guide began his journey in St. Jean Pied De Port – A little farther East of Pamplona on the French side of the mountains…
On the French side of the Pyrenees Mountains climbing Westwards into Spain. This is a six week journey, about 40 to 45 days.
St. Jean Pied De Port. This quite an exhaustive journey and many make the pilgrimage for many reasons. I have often thought in the past to make this journey. I spoke to our host this evening about making the journey being HIV positive. He said if my doctor would clear me to make the journey, that he didn’t see why I could not do it. He also told us that there might be a group returning to Compostela in 2009, and I would have to be not only physically prepared, but mentally and spiritually prepared as well.
He had a preparatory plan in his mind which he shared with us, the few that were there and were honestly interested in finding out more about this pilgrimage. He spoke about this pilgrimage as a journey. Every ounce you carry – may keep you from making it to the end. Leaving every comfort of home behind and not carrying what you don’t have to is crucial. Every day you walk, as the sun rises. I cannot recall everything he said verbatim, but the thoughts come to me as this: If you can live with very little, carrying only that which you need, and if you can make the journey with no expectations, and if you can make the journey “not knowing everything” you could complete the pilgrimage.
He told us about people he met on his journey and some of the issues that they were dealing with, to give us insight to how it went for him. Ms. New Jersey who carried a suitcase on her back, and had to jettison items as she walked because they were holding her back. Those who were not prepared for the sacrifice of the journey and those who had serious medical issues along the way.
I know that there is a journey still left in me, I just don’t know which one it will be. But this is now, several times I have crossed paths with Compostela. This is where I begin to pray for discernment. I know that I want to make a pilgrimage because I feel for me, religiously and spiritually, that I am meant to make one pilgrimage that I will pray to find my way into.
I guess this is an invitation to you my readers who might be inclined to take a journey of this magnitude. We are setting our sights towards a Spring 2009, (May – June) departure.
I know that hubby would never make this journey with me. He told me on the way out that he was (Patsy) of Edina and Patsy. That he would ride along side in a car eating bon bons and cheering me on. He is not inclined to make a spiritual pilgrimage because he is not as “spiritual” in that sense as I am. But he’d support me going. So this is where I put it out there and ask you to pray for me and maybe someone out there would decide to walk with me as well…
Where there’s a will – there’s a way…
A snapshot of what was added to my Mission Statement above…
All I need is some serious investors that want to help me build it. If you know anyone with a cool few million dollars to spare, let me know.
**Updated May 9, 2007**
We Now Have a floor plan drawn out for designers and real estate companies. It is quite incredible. I sat down and sketched out what my vision of the location will look like. I know what colors will be incorporated and I am thinking of getting some of our “urban artists” to paint murals on some of the interior walls. Oh, this is going to get exciting.
Imagine the following: We call this the Camille Levesque Centre.
I find myself drawing out floor plans, decorating the space in wondrous colors and comforts of home. On one floor a dedicated space to a “Club Room.” A club room for recovering people that opens at 7 a.m. and stays open until midnight. Manned and staffed with a kitchen, coffee bar, facilities and comfy sofas, tables and chairs.
Where we would host meetings all day into the night (Imagine a dedicated meeting space in the same location every day, throughout the day). This DOES NOT exist in Montreal, but it does in Miami and is a very big draw to recovering people.
Imagine that there are offices to be housed by facilitators and recovery advisers. My office, open to anyone for spiritual direction or counseling. We would have outreach for kids in distress, for Pop’s kids to come and rest. We’d have an open kitchen to feed people who needed it. We’d have dedicated space for child care for parents who need to come to a meeting and need to keep their children and young people occupied for an hour or so.
We would offer HIV counseling. LGBTQ support for young people and adults. We would have a gathering place to have meetings and support for these very important groups. having personal experience in these areas gives me insight to what I know is important, and to build a space that I would want to visit. There are so many areas we could hit all at once in one comprehensive location.
Does this exist in Montreal? No it does not. But we can build it…
With all the recovery experience I have had since 1994, I have seen countless “recovery rooms, spaces, rehabs and such and so forth.” We would combine the best concepts in our location that I have visited and been part of over the last 14 years. In one area of the building we would have a dedicated chapel for prayers.
This is such an amazing concept and brings with it such promise.
I have floated these ideas to my home group participants and they all think that this is a wonderful idea that should be realized. This is more than ‘church’ this is Home. A place that I could build and coordinate and build into a community home that would rival any spiritual/recovery center in the city. I have people already lined up, who would work for me where ever I set up shop. I have people who would utilize the space immediately, upon opening. The desire exists in our community, all it would take is someone to build it and I want to be that someone.
We would have a youth center where we would offer bible study and religious education and counseling services to the community. Young people could come and be fed spiritually in safety and serenity. Just imagine the possibilities…
Those are my ideas today…
I’m tired, it’s been a long day…
Come on, folks, let’s build this dream center. It will change the face of Montreal in ways we could never imagine. I know how to do it, I have the inspiration to create this and the desire to see it to fruition.