Loving the Sacred through Word and Image. Parliament Hill Ottawa. A Wordpress Production

Religion

November 20, 2015 … 11 years

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11 years ago tonight, with family and friends present, we exchanged vows and spoke sacred words. Today, we continue to live into those words. Tonight, we had dinner at the fabulous FIRE GRILL, once again.

I have shared before that there are three restos, that are at the top of the budget when it comes to dining out …

  • Fire Grill
  • Rueben’s Smoked Meats
  • Baton Rouge

This short list is a foodies paradise of good eats.

I am grateful that I live in Canada. Due to recent events, in the world, people are at odds, and words are being spoken, that are totally, out of left field. I’m not sure most folks, politicians and leaders alike, know what they are saying.

My tight group of friends are at odds with each other, because of differing views of current events, and what each of them thinks, as to what we should do and how we should do it.

The ties of friendship are being tested. And if a second conversation that needs to take place, because the first one began and ended badly, doesn’t heal the rift, I am afraid that my circle will be broken over non-negotiable statements.

We are Canadian. And we, for the most part, share Canadian values, and for some, that is not good enough. Everybody has a right to their opinions, because of their origins, how they were educated, and how they each decide to live their lives.

No One Person has the definitive answer, because, let’s face it, we don’t. I don’t think a real, tangible, solid, workable answer is possible amid the heat of argument and prejudice.

Let us keep each other in our thoughts …

Notice I did not say “prayers…”

Religion has become a dirty word. People are choosing to incriminate all, due to the actions of “a few.” And that does not bode well, for an entire community of people, world wide.

One day we will see this for what it really is, and we will shake our heads and say to each other …”Was I really that stupid?”

Yes, we really are that stupid.

At least I can unfollow people. And I can turn the channel, and better yet, I can totally turn off my computer when it all gets to be too much of hateful overload.

More to come, stay tuned …

 


Sanctuary – There are so many facets

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If Jesus walked among us today, what would he say about the state of the world, as we are seeing it right now? Would he be angry, Would he agree with the way the world is reacting to the “least of these” Would he say that we need to buck up and do what is right in the eyes of God ?

Hundreds of Thousands of human beings, (in Europe they call them just “Migrants”) this word does not do justice to those who are, for all intents and purposes, “the least of these.”

In the Middle East, there are problems that are way beyond the abilities of nation states to change, stop, or even make a dent in. I don’t talk about the Middle East, because it is not my area of study. Religion and Theology are my areas of study.

Radical Islam, is entrenched in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and other nations. This is not new news. And the battle between Islam and the rest of the world has been going on for centuries. The Caliphate would like you to believe that it is their goal to convert the infidels to Islam, so that we would pledge to the powers that be, our allegiance. And they would occupy the world unchallenged.

The rise of Isis, is a blight on humanity. We have had many chances to stop them. We have wasted every chance we have had to stop them now. We can’t just bomb them out of existence, because of the human shield factor, protecting them from further destruction.

As they moved in, the people began moving out. What do you do with all the people who had been settled in one area of the world, when they leave that area in search of sanctuary somewhere else? What do you do when an entire portion of the world’s population decides to get up and go somewhere else, because of terrorists and Islamic murderers are killing them and others with impunity?

So we have hundreds of thousands of Muslim human beings, seeking sanctuary in Europe. A place, light years from where they have come. We have nations of religious men, women and children on the move.

Islam, as a whole is moving from where they were, to where they want to go.

How do we accommodate these people?

Religious sensibilities say that, well some say that, we should not allow them sanctuary in Europe, that they must go home, or at least go somewhere else, any place else but here.

Because that would upset the fine balance of religion, sectarianism, and ethnic diversity.

You just can’t allow a population to be invaded by another religious faction into a world that may not and probably certainly will not accommodate them.

There is a definite religious divide here.

We must remember that beneath the label of Muslim, these people are Human Beings first.

We cannot allow the world to minimize them into the category of Migrants.

If Europe thinks they are under fire, and they are, we need a new game plan. These human beings need safety, they need sanctuary and they need peace. They need homes.

And that costs money, money they don’t have to spend, nor do Europeans have themselves to give to the poorest of the poor. It just does not work that way.

In the end someone is going to have to pay for this massive human migration. And on whose doorstep do you lay this burden?

It is an impossible question to ask.

But we have been seeing for months, men, women and children are dying by the thousands on rickety boats trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea. This is a tragedy of immense scale.

These people have nothing to go back to, nor return to the homes they once had, because of the radical ideology of terrorists, and their cut throat way of life. Where there once was the cradle of creation, there is now a wasteland of destruction.

When do we say that we have had enough of this and we set a new goal in mind to rid the world of this scourge on humanity, and we take them out, once and for all and we eradicate them off the face of the earth by any means necessary.

But to do this would incur certain collateral damage on a grand scale.

What do we do with all this land that is now populated by insurgents? They are killing indiscriminately, Westerners and their own. They have gone as far as eradicating historical sites off the face of the earth, because they are in congruent with radical Islam.

Migrants are human beings, no matter what religion they profess. Thousands upon thousands of those human beings are children. Are we going to deny them a future because they are in the wrong place at the wrong time? What are we supposed to do with these families, searching for sanctuary?

Can we afford to slam doors in their faces and build fences to keep them out ?

We can’t surely repatriate them back into Syria or Iraq or other Islamic countries that have forced them out with no real place to go.

They say that this “migration” is the largest migration of people we have seen since World War II.

This human migration is just that, A HUMAN MIGRATION. These are people. People who should be afforded the right to find a home somewhere where they will be safe, and be able to prosper and live without the fear of radical murderers coming to kill them.

But there is just so much space in other parts of the world. What do you do when you add tens of thousands of humans to already existing populations of people all over Europe ? Where do you put them, where do you make space for them ?

The next question is … “Who’s going to pay for all of this ?”

They say that You can’t get something for nothing in this world. Security comes with a cost. And we know, world-wide that millions of people live in “Insecurity and Poverty.” Now we have these humans migrating someplace else, who have nothing and carrying what they can on their backs.

Can we say they are the poorest of the poor? Having been forced from home only to go on the road to hopefully find someplace that will take them in ?

How far does hospitality reach? And are we obligated to extend the hand of hospitality to anyone who shows up on our door step? North America is safe in that we don’t have to worry about the European migration. We do have to worry about the migration on our southern border of the United States. That is an entirely different thread…

So many people with nowhere to go, trying to find sanctuary.

If we want to stop this migration, we need to step up and STOP the war and conflict.

But in order to stop this scourge on the earth would need a decisive attack plan, that seems to me, there is only one way to eradicate them off the earth. But this plan would certainly incur massive collateral damage. It is the only way to really know for sure they are gone is to wipe them off the earth with the only tool we have that would certainly do the job, because we have used it before.

But we swore we would never use it again. And right now the world is in consultation in making sure that certain countries enter non-proliferation treaties.

Then we get the shit end of the deal, that if we use this tool, that land would be unlivable so who ever is left, we would need to find a home, along with the millions of people who are now displaced.

This is a No Win Scenario …

There is no winning any route we take to stop the violence and repatriate human migrants from Europe, back to where they came from.

The worlds nations do not have the balls, nor inclination to do anything substantial that would stop the cycle of violence. We’ve allowed violence to disrupt an entire section of the world.

We’ve not done anything to make it stop. And this is a no win scenario.

These issues are fraught with complications. This is just scraping the surface of what needs to be done for the least of these at the moment.

More to come, just not tonight.

Stay tuned …


Sunday Sundries, Episode #2 … Honor thy Father and Mother

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Exodus 20:11

יא  כַּבֵּד אֶת-אָבִיךָ, וְאֶת-אִמֶּךָ–לְמַעַן, יַאֲרִכוּן יָמֶיךָ

עַל הָאֲדָמָה, אֲשֶׁר-יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ נֹתֵן לָךְ.  {ס}

Honour thy father and thy mother, that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.

The day passed without feeling or anger. And it would have gone untouched, had not a good friend of mine called me tonight, inquiring if I was “ok.” I knew what he meant, and I answered that I was. But after ruminating over this, I owe this letter to posterity.

In a months time I will be 48 years old. I have lived well past my expiration date, as doctors told me several times that I was going to die. God, it seemed, has other plans for me, because I am still breathing.

God spoke to Moses, and these words are inscribed on the stone tablets Moses brought down from the mountain. This is one commandment that I cannot abide with. And it doesn’t abide with me either.

How could one honor thy father and mother, when they could not honor their first born son. How could they create progeny, abuse them throughout their lives and turn on them with hatred and condemnation, and ask a child to “just die already” and expect to be honored themselves?

My father’s two phrases he used to toss around like the scripture he quoted from a bible that he never opened were:

  • Blood is thicker than water
  • Be careful the words you speak, because once you speak them, you can never take them back.

When I was a young boy, I listened well to everything that was spoken by both my parents. I knew I was Gay, before I knew what Gay was. But by the time I had learned what it was, and that I was Gay myself, remaining under my father’s roof was not something I could do and survive, because he tried several times as a child to kill me, chasing me around the house with a bat, only to be thwarted by vigilant grandmothers who protected me from him.

I moved away, but alcoholism followed me where ever I went.

I was a problematic alcoholic, what I did not know created rifts with my parents.
To this day, I don’t think they ever forgot nor forgave me.

I always lived apart from my family, mainly because I knew they would not approve of my lifestyle, and they did not. They made that perfectly clear well before I left the nest. When I was diagnosed with AIDS in 1994, I turned to my family. I called them together to tell them and to ask for help and support.

How do you think that turned out? It didn’t …

Along with my then boyfriend, all of my friends, and my fucking family, everybody walked away. My mother worked in home health care, and knew AIDS patients in her line of work. She knew fairly well, what was going to happen to me, in the end.

Do you think that gave her compassion or love? It did no such thing.
No she just wanted the faggots to “just die already !!!”

That Christmas, 1994, I went home for the holiday, against my better judgment. I knew what was coming. I was locked in at night. I could not use the phone, nor could I visit anyone while I was there. On Christmas day my father set a card table in the living room with a plastic chair. He set me a plastic plate, and plastic cutlery and a plastic cup.

The rest of the guests sat at the dining room table and ate in front of me, while I was separate from the group itself. My father humiliated me in front of friends and guests. The son of one of the guests left the main table and came and sat with me so I would not be eating alone. The next day they invited me out on their boat and they asked me for forgiveness for what was done to me, and how horrified they were to see my parents do that to me in front of others.

I NEVER went home again.

I got sober the first time. And a few years in, my father granted me visits with him when he would travel to Miami from Sarasota. But every time he visited he would belittle me and ponder my death right in my face.

One night, on the way home from dinner, (while on the highway) he started in on me. I asked him to stop the car (on the highway) where I got out of the car (on the highway) and walked miles home by myself. I told him never to come back and see me.

The first time I got sober, I was not of right mind in many ways. I was not very sober. As I am sober today. And I made several decisions based on self that were less than charitable.

My sponsor agrees that certain decisions were not self centered but were made out of self preservation.

I pissed my brother and his then fiance off, which afterwards, they would never communicate with me ever again. And that has been their story for more than twenty years.

I could not live up to the man they named me after upon my birth. How could a gay, HIV+ faggot live up to the honor of a man who died fighting a war in Viet Nam? I legally changed my name to be done with them. That was a direct strike across the bow of their battleship.

Years would pass. I would be sober, I would drink, and I would return to the program in due time.

On New Years Day, January 1st 2001, I was sober. I had not drunk. I had just returned from a job at a nightclub, where I had worked an all nighter. Just coming home and getting into bed, my phone rang. My mother was on the line saying that they were in Miami, and would be coming to see me on their way back.

A little while later, they rolled up and my father parked in a fire zone (read: No Parking in a fire zone) with the car idling. I said to them that we could go out for breakfast and that I would pay for parking and food. They said no.

I had twenty minutes to visit with my mother. We walked around the block where I lived. I walked her back to the car, she got in the car and they drove away. I had twenty minutes with my mother after years of no communication or visits.

I later found out that my parents has been in Miami for a week prior to them showing up on my doorstep. A week !!!

I never saw either of them again, to this day …

I got sober on December 9th 2001. I was sober a few months, when the lies my mother told us as children came up. My mother, being a Canadian citizen when I was born, lied to us, saying she was an American.

I got a letter from the Canadian Government soon after offering me a birthright certificate into the country if I met the criteria, which I did. I sent the check and the paperwork.

The way I was living in Miami was not viable. I was barely surviving, even when I got sober.

I turned my sights on Canada. I came up on Easter Ash Wednesday 2002. I stayed a week, I loved it, so I stayed another week. I found a doctor and a home. I flew back to Miami, for a few days, to pack and sent everything North.

Three day later, I left the United States for good. I never looked back.

Moving to Canada was akin to High Treason on my American Father’s honor.

For the following two years, I worked very hard at relationships with my parents. At the two year mark, my mother called and said:

“If me or your father get sick and die, nobody will call you. Nobody will tell you where we are buried.”

That was the last time we spoke.

It is now 2015. I am closing in on Fifty. I am sober. I am alive. I have a life, a home, a husband and all the things I ever wanted and more. I could not be any happier. The life I have today, would never have happened had I stayed in Miami, I would have probably died sooner.

I am an idealistic man who has dreams of grandeur.

I am a lot more sober than I was fourteen years ago, and much more sober than I was the first time, close to twenty years ago. I work very hard at living and being sober.

With the dawn of Facebook, several family member are on the site. And to this day, they refuse to communicate with me. Every year that goes by, and I am still alive, I get angrier and angrier.

All I want, before I die, is for certain human beings to acknowledge me and the life I live.

If I am to honor thy father and mother, they need to step up and honor me, if only for the fact that when they asked me to die, I lived … How can you turn your backs on your children in their hour of need? How can you live with hatred and scorn for so long?

Happy Fucking Fathers Day you hateful old man …

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Shepherds and Sheep

the_steeple_of_emanuel_african_methodist_church_charleston_scPhoto Credit: Spencer Means, Wikimedia Commons

Lifted from: Steve Wiggins – Sects and Violence in the Ancient World

The murders in Charleston this week are part of an epidemic. The members of Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church join, unfortunately, a growing list of victims of hate. Not only hate, but that subspecies of hatred that calls the unstable to attack in a church, or synagogue, or mosque, as if to defy the very gods with their misanthropy.

Growing up we used to be taught that any place of worship is sacred. Then we believed it was because God had made it so, but now it is clear that sacred space is made so by the intent of those who worship. We find places where we believe we’re safe from the trials of the everyday world.

A place where God will look over us. A place, dare we call it, of sanctuary. Sanctuary is a concept that has gone extinct. As children we all knew of the concept of “home” in chasing games—the place where you were free and need not worry about someone coming after you. Amnesty was granted at the cry of “olly olly oxen free.”

In the biblical world, we’re told, those in danger could flee to the temple and grasp the horns of the altar and be safe. It wasn’t that someone couldn’t be pulled off, but it was that an inherent respect attended sacred places.

No place is sacred any more. Hatred has a way of overriding what we all recognize as civilization. Well-armed youth and a culture of hatred have never led to peace. Xenophobia may be natural, but it can be disarmed through education.

Unfortunately, in this country at least, education is not valued. In fact, in the culture wars, those who have the most sympathy for those who commit hate crimes will be among the first to cut education spending. It’s a luxury we can’t live without. We need to teach the meaning of sanctuary again. We need to teach the meaning of love.

Human beings shouldn’t have to rely on sanctuary to be safe. No matter what our racial heritage or gender or orientation, we are all simply people trying to make our way in the world. As a child I knew “olly olly oxen free” meant that nobody would try to tag me if I came out from hiding. I was also taught that the word “hate” was as bad as any swear and that it should not be said.

While my mother was teaching me the virtue of love, we were sending young men to kill foreigners in Vietnam. I grew up with no doubts as to which was the superior way. One way leads to life and peace, the other to constant fear and death. The people of Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church have told Dylann Roof that they have forgiven him. They are offering sanctuary to one who has done nothing to earn or claim it. They, like children, lead us.


Friday … The BIG Reno and Three Letter Words for $1000 Alex !

tumblr_lxerkgWVPI1r556eno1_500 followeedCourtesy: Followeed – Another vertigo inducing photo to end the week.

It was chilly tonight, but not as frigid as it was last night. Temps are on the way up and will peak, “hopefully” Wednesday with a Plus (6c) day. They keep changing that number.

They say, when you get sober, that the only thing you have to change is everything.

There is a rhyme and reason to the Big Book. Things are presented and come in a certain order.

Coming in, as I did then, with expectations on my lips was a bad idea, that had to be quashed.

Some think they can pick and choose which steps they are going to work, based on how they read the words on the page, which brings us to the Three Letter Word Category. But we soon learn that the steps are written in a specific order, for maximum effect.

If you don’t start with the foundation, how can you build a solid building?

We start with One and work our way through. And around Step five, the reading mentions “The Arch” we are supposed to walk through as free men and women, if we have properly completed the first five proposals.

Today’s reading mentions a gateway, through which everyone can walk through. We just need to find our way around, through, over and under, backwards and forwards, the biggest troublesome three letter word in the world …

That word is (drum roll please !!!) GOD.

I am getting a bit ahead of myself, so let’s back up.

You might be familiar with the reading of The Promises. Which are taken from the Book concerning the Ninth Step. I’ve / We’ve been listening to them for more than thirteen years now. They say that when we get sober, that eventually, the promises will begin to manifest and come true.

Hurry up and wait …

They don’t all come at once. And I have a little wisdom on the topic now. Many of the promises are long term proposals. All those things we get rid of, and all those things we get in return, if we are diligent and patient, are tantalizing.

Time gives one perspective. At least, that’s my take on them, as I speak to the old timers.

The one promise that has been outstanding and yet to manifest, after thirteen years is:

“Fear of People and of Economic Insecurity will leave us.”

This promise is the Ninth Promise of the Ninth Step Promises passage.

I don’t really have a problem of fearing people. The rest of this promise needs a back story.

I was eleven months sober, and I met my now husband. It was the holiday season, and he was going home to visit his family, he offered me to stay in our now HOME while he was away.

Actually, I never left … I am still here thirteen years later !

We had very little. The apartment was a mess. We had not begun to clean up the wreckage of hubby’s past, but that would begin in earnest very soon. We had ratty furniture, (which is the main subject of this actual post) we had a small black and white tv, with rabbit ears and foil. The walls were stark, medicinal white. And that was it.

We learned how to shop for two. We learned how to cook for two. And we began to clean up that wreckage, (read: Return all the empty beer bottles that were stacked 20 deep on the balcony).

We did not have very much money. And in the beginning, we dreaded the last week of the month, because we would have to choose what to do with regards to food and paying bills and buying much needed medicinals. We could not do all of them, at the same time, and that lasted for many years.

Money makes the world go round … It also is man’s greatest evil.

Not having enough of it, Needing more of it, relying on financial aide to get it, and having enough of it at the end of the month to buy food, pay bills and pay for an education all at the same time. Not to mention all those other things we “needed to buy” to survive. (read:Medication).

This journey of learning how to respect the almighty dollar is long and arduous.

We learned how to do it, starting with nothing and working our way up the economic ladder, one year at a time. We judged our upwards success, by our ability to get rid of all the shitty appliances we had, for new ones. That took many years.

This past Fall 2014, we jumped an entire economic bracket, for the first time since the day we met. We have risen from poor student status, to mid-range manageable status, to today’s, there is money in the bank, we can buy food all month, pay bills, buy necessities, AND have surplus money that for the first time since we met …

BE ABLE TO BUY BRAND NEW FURNITURE AND GET RID OF THE RATTY 40 YEAR OLD FURNITURE THAT IS HELD TOGETHER WITH DUCT TAPE, FURNITURE !!!

We have completed or finally achieved, the list of promises.

We have four items of old furniture. The living room, the dining table, our bed, and my desk.

Over the past thirteen years we have recycled all of our electronics. We painted the apartment, the kitchen and bathroom have been remodeled by our management.

Tomorrow we get to hit IKEA for the first time. Hubby picked out the new furniture, and I get executive veto so tomorrow we will finalize the deal and be able to afford the grand prize.

Sunday night, the ratty furniture goes on the trash heap. Monday the new duds come.

Hubby has cashed in all of our bargaining chips and saved up educational credits that come from the government, which gives us bankable cash. (read:Taxes)

We have rebuilt our home from the ground up. One item at a time.

So that is a thing … a really BIG thing !!!

Now we return to regularly scheduled programming …

“I’ll take Three Letter Words for $1000 Alex.”

We came full circle tonight, with the reading about Spiritual Kindergarten. We talked about God.

You cannot avoid it, The words is in the book.

Remember the other day when we spoke about Ebby and Bill. On that fateful day when the two friends met over drinks in the kitchen. Ebby with sober drink, Bill with his bottle. Here Bill thought that it would be frivolous and exciting, drinking with his old friend. That did not happen.

Ebby tells his story and concludes with “I’ve found religion!” (Read:The Oxford’s Religion)

Bill wasn’t having any of that religion shit. He read the first three proposals. But it did not connect with him at all, UNTIL, Ebby told him that maybe “He should find a power greater than himself of his own choosing.” (read: Squiggly writing in the book).

This is the blessed sentence in the book.

God, “As we Understood Him.”

But we come around to the contradiction in As Bill Sees It that says,

“You can find your own concept of a higher power and if that works for you fine, BUT in the end it always comes back around to God.”

When the book was written, Bill had counsel from a Jesuit priest, who spoke to him at great length, but to make God more palatable, we get the spiritual angle.

This is a tough subject for many.

When I got sick, and was waiting to die, I read every book I could get my hands on that spoke about the afterlife, God, spirits, angels, and i even consulted a medium to have a chat with my newly departed Grandmother, because I could not go to her funeral, and I needed to speak to her.

I was sober the first time – during this quest.

I got to my medium and his reply was curt and short: “She is happy where she is” and he left.

The second time I got sober, it was meant to be.

I had the God of my father, the traditions of my family, I added the intellectual university education about God and Religion, with degrees in Religion and Theology. Meanwhile I was getting sober.

i watched people get sober, because my mainstay was meetings.

If you STAY in the same meeting for YEARS at a time, you will witness people getting sober and eventually having their own spiritual experiences, IN a meeting.

That is where I saw God.

I believed in God my whole life, and I was still alive, I did not die as was told to me several times over.

There was something that was keeping me alive, I knew that.

I met God once, in human form. He made manifest to me when I most needed Him.

This time around i witnessed God move among my friends. In ways I had never imagined.

I’ve learned how to read the book. I learned how to read the book, when I read it with my guys.

We’ve all learned how to unpack the word GOD. It may take some time, and a little effort and elbow grease. Add water, and stir …

Every voice plays its appointed part.

The only thing we need to learn how to do is Learn, Serve and Love.

The book gives us direction, as one of my friends said tonight. It does not give us an end point.

That is up to us.

What ever you call that Power Greater than Yourself, is up to you.

All the voices and all the souls we encounter in the rooms, widens that arch we all walk through.

i want to live happy, joyous and free.

We might be there now.

More to come, stay tuned …


Wednesday … The Past, The Present, SnowMageddon, Ants and Life

yellow_star_of_davidIn my studies of Religion, I spent a great deal of time, studying the Holocaust. I took specific classes taught by men who were there, and men who’s family were lost in the camps. I took a Master Class on the Holocaust as well.

We also have a Holocaust Museum here in Montreal, that I have visited on several occasions. And on this 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, I post these words written by Primo Levy, in honor of all those who were lost, those left behind and words to future generations to never forget.

People who forget the past, are destined to repeat it …

  • If This Is a Man
  • You who live safe
  • In your warm houses,
  • You who find, returning in the evening,
  • Hot food and friendly faces:
  • Consider if this is a man
  • Who works in the mud,
  • Who does not know peace,
  • Who fights for a scrap of bread,
  • Who dies because of a yes or a no.
  • Consider if this is a woman
  • Without hair and without name,
  • With no more strength to remember,
  • Her eyes empty and her womb cold
  • Like a frog in winter.
  • Meditate that this came about:
  • I commend these words to you.
  • Carve them in your hearts
  • At home, in the street,
  • Going to bed, rising;
  • Repeat them to your children.
  • Or may your house fall apart,
  • May illness impede you,
  • May your children turn their faces from you.

**** **** ****

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Canadians, for the most part, are hearty, strong people, who take what ever Mother Nature throws at us. Snow, for many parts of the country is a norm for at least six months out of the year. Love it or hate it, it is part of our daily lives. The snow storm is one thing, a blizzard is a whole other kettle of fish.

I haven’t seen a blizzard here in Montreal is some time. And since Winter began, our weather forecasters have not really hit the nail on the head when it comes to knowing what the weather is going to do. Several times, we have been warned over the air to expect significant snow fall, that never materialized. So this past week when weathermen in the U.S. were warning people to run to the hills, take cover and hunker down for a historic blizzard ever, I kind of rolled my eyes.

Let’s incite fear and insanity into the lives of millions of people. Let’s shut down the city from top to bottom and turn people’s lives upside down. “because of some snow …” UGH !!!

… Momentary pause to fold laundry …

It was “Do things Wednesday” today. The confluence of many things coming together meant busy busy from early on this morning. Our management takes very seriously, the threat of bugs or any kind of creepy crawly infestation.

Our latest threat is ants … Several apartments have seen more bugs lately, than we have seen in years. I’m not sure where they are coming from, but they made their way all the way into the tower into apartments high up. With a list of affected apartments, they came this morning and tore the apartment apart, taking all the electrical sockets apart and putting poison in the walls.

I had cleaned in anticipation of this coming, and we were told that no prep would be necessary, they lied … So that was this morning.

I needed food, so I went to Provigo and packed a cart full of stuff. I also needed to do laundry, and it seems they have changed the rules in the store, and are no longer giving change at the cashes. I did, in fact get change, but that might change the next time I need it. Which means a trip all the way up the road to the bank, which is a real pain in the ass, when Provigo is right there on the corner.

Just another pain in the ass decision.

I usually do laundry early in the day, to avoid the dinner crush for machines. Most folks are at work or school during the day so I get my machines without waiting. I was the only one up there today, and just finished laundry a short while ago.

Last night, we sat a small group for the meeting. We are listening to the Joe and Charlie Tapes that cover the Big Book. It is a 35 week adventure. The talks run from ten to twenty five minutes with a discussion that follows. It has been hit and miss. People (read: some people) find it annoying. And some stopped coming all together. But after last night’s meeting, and after hearing what our old timers said about … Sometimes you just have to sit down, shut up, and listen, we decided to stick to our guns and not cave because of criticism.

I went ahead and sent notices to our Area Web administrators, and the literature counter as well, notifying them of the format change. That will definitely drum up some more business. We barely hit our monthly cash expenses, with less people, the seventh is less as well, and we have to pump money in to pay our rent and buy coffee.

We are expecting snow for tomorrow and Friday …

More to come, stay tuned …


This is what Religion has done to Us.

5057 Take a look at these horrific images that depict two men thrown from the roof of a building as a crowd watches them fall to their deaths, and they purport to show the bloody Islamic State (ISIS) carrying out public executions before an audience in Iraq’s Nineveh province. And the two victims’ alleged crimes?

They are believed to be GAY.

5058This is extremism at its WORST. Ideology that dictates this kind of atrocity is not religion. Once again, we see that (1) If your religion tells you to go into a public place with a gun and kill people, you need to find a new religion. And (2) If your God tells you to toss a human being off the roof in front of spectators, that is NOT God speaking to you.

These are unequivocal. There are no two ways about it.

I repeat myself when I say that killing an innocent for any reason is a crime against humanity when it is grossly dictated by someones ideology. This is utterly disgusting and repugnant.

These people, need to be stopped.

What do we capture them and send them through War Crimes tribunals, or do we administer vigilante justice and just kill them outright. Crimes such as these warrant the biblical punishment of an Eye for an Eye and a Tooth for a Tooth.

This is just how this kind of atrocity makes me feel.

God – NO GOD – demands human lives for glory or Jihad. NO GOD !

Where is God while all these kinds of atrocities are taking place? If God did exist, He should act definitively and without mercy. Let the punishment fit the crime.

Smite these men into eternity. No virgins, No redemption, and NO mercy !!!


Freedom, Expression, Discretion

tumblr_m187ytnKBN1r3fvxmo1_500 thedarkblueCourtesy: The Dark Blue

Freedom is a notion that was put forwards when nations began. People moving from one locale to another to find Freedom. Because where they were, was not what people wanted. So they moved to new worlds, new continents, they sometimes took over places that were already full of people, and we all know how that story turned out.

Here in Canada, as in most Democratic countries, freedom is a privilege. I was born in a nation that prided itself on freedom. I was raised and taught about how my father fought for the freedom that we, his family, were privileged to live. But that freedom came with conditions.

Living under my father’s roof, I had to follow prescribed notions, beliefs and family gospel. This freedom, in the end, turned me inside out and I struck out to find my own kind of freedom.

I really did not find it. Because I was sunk in the bottom of a bottle.

Moving on in life, I was saddled by sickness and impending death. And I decided to make some changes that would, in the end, bring about “freedom” as I understood it, at the time.

Those changes brought me here to Canada. Montreal became my oyster. I had an opportunity to learn about a new country, a new city, new values, new codes and mores, I was, for all intents and purposes, free of the past, which I chose to shut the book on.

We come here, as tourists, as immigrants. To get in, you have to follow the rules. I followed the rules. And I earned my place at the Canadian table. I was struck by just how passionate people were to certain ideas and beliefs. I cultivated my life in living here, going to meetings, attending University, and living along side other people, who seemed to want the same freedoms I wanted.

The two topics you never talk about over Thanksgiving dinner are Religion and Politics.

You learn, through books, lectures and world events, where we all came from. The media, daily, pummels us with all kinds of information, we must choose what we take in and what we leave behind.

What’s good for one people may not be good for other people.

What’s good for one religion, may not be good for another religion.

What’s good for one country may not be good for another country.

We all have our rules, dogmas, taboos, mores, cultures and beliefs, practices so forth and so on.

Freedom to one to do, say, write or express ones self, may not be agreeable to another.

Like in Canada, we have a law that states, Hate Speech is not something, we as Canadians, entertain. There are world events that are non-negotiable. They happened, we can prove it, and to speak against such world events is taboo.

I’ve learned over the years, that there are topics that I won’t touch, with a ten foot pole. They are usually topics, that I know little about, educational wise, but I know about them, a bit. And I know just enough to know that I won’t write about them or discuss them in my community.

I paid a pretty penny for my University Education. My education has caused me grief over the years with certain religious groups, who assailed me daily with ridicule and apocalyptic threats to my person and my way of life. But I was steadfast, because I learned more about my field, and had enough education under my belt to stand my ground.

I found that certain people think they know things about a certain topic, and they believe they have the definitive last word, even though they never read anything farther than their bibles. And then they came here to condemn me and preach gospel, that I was well versed on and studied for over a decade. They eventually stopped bothering me, and went away.

THANK GOD !

I am versed on major world religions, to a point. I’ve studied them. And my area of concentration is Western Religions, Christianity, Judaism, Eastern Traditions to a point, and a bit on Islam. The only unit of study I failed in University was Islam. I did not get past the final paper. I had to attend remediation for weeks after that fiasco.

But during each unit of study I participated in each religious practice.

I went to Shul during my Judaism section. I attended Friday Prayers during my Islam studies. I was going to church regularly on Sunday’s,  so forth and so on. I did not just read a book or two and listen to lectures. I actually participated in religious practice.

The world sees religion through various lenses. For every human being on the earth, there is a version of their respective religious tradition.

We have our Holy Books. We have our traditions, our beliefs and our ways.

Living where I live, the leaders of our city, and for that matter our country, respect all religions and traditions.

TO A POINT.

If your religion tells you to go to a public place with an automatic weapon and kill people,
You need to find a new religion.

I cannot talk about the Middle East, but to a point. I don’t live there, I know basic history. Certain sections of the world have been embroiled in turmoil for centuries. And It would not be very wise for me to even think about entertaining discussion about those topics.

We have seen how certain countries in the world view certain religious topics. And how they take the notion of freedom, maybe, well maybe more, a bit too far.

We celebrate the freedom to speak, and the freedom of the press, and the freedom to think whatever we want to think, believe and to a point act on.

The world knows, and has known for centuries how certain religious people read, believe in and respect their Holy Books. The world is well versed in taboo, respect of tradition, and how that all boils down.

Then there are those who’s only goal is to push their holy books down our throats and kill us because of them. Not everybody around the world respects the other very well, or not at all. Somebody please show me the hadith that says that killing is a Godly action?

In the Hebrew Bible it is written that you shall make no graven images of G-d.

Christians across the world know what God looks like, what Jesus looks like, and the Cross of Christ Crucified is a tangible sign of our belief. Some wear the cross on their sleeves like martyrs.

Every Religion has their laws, proscriptions and taboos.

  • I am 100% against the killing of innocents, ANY innocents
  • I do not subscribe to the thought that I am an infidel
  • There is no religion that states that killing is a Godly action
  • To believe that the Prophet, peace be upon His Holy name, asks Muslims to kill, is a crime against humanity
  • If your religion asks you to go to a public place with automatic weapons and kill people, you need to find a new religion

I don’t understand why countries allow freedoms to cross that invisible line of decorum and discretion. I don’t understand why people write words or paint pictures or speak words, that they well know, will incite anger. Incite REAL ANGER.

Freedom is not really true, because we believe certain things, and we do or do not do certain things, because they are either wrong or incendiary. In media there are censors, on tv there are censors, and even in print media there are censors. But as we have seen, people continue to break social norms and crank out incendiary media which goes out even faster today thanks to social media.

I agree that we must be free to be able to express ourselves as we please, within the confines of proper speech and discretion.

Discretion is the better part of Valor, they say …

The world is sunk in a war that will not end if we all agree and we stop fighting and we all get along.

We all don’t agree. We all won’t stop fighting. And We all won’t get along.

Militant fighters are hell bent on creating havoc, to kill the infidel and to eradicate populations of people off the face of the earth all in the name of The Prophet, peace be upon his holy name.

Religious factions are split down irrevocable lines.

What does one do, when there are entire warring factions of fighters out there, who’s only goal in life is to Kill Us, and attain martyrdom and inherit seventy two virgins when they die? The battle over who lives and who dies is a terrible problem. And we are no nearer a solution today than we were decades ago.

Innocent people have died around the world because of this taint on religion. Hundreds of thousands of people over generations have been wiped off the face of the earth because of hatred and jihad.

There is no salvation in the killing of innocents.

But what do you say about those people who knowingly cross those invisible lines of freedom, expression and discretion? They knew what they were doing was incendiary, and they pushed the buttons anyway. Were they just expressing their freedom or were they knowingly fanning the fires of hatred and jihad, and today twelve people are dead because of such actions?

I 100% do not agree with crossing incendiary lines. If you want peace with those who want to kill you, for God’s sake, stop the presses, and curb your speech. Stop pushing religious buttons, just because you think you can, and get away with it, without repercussions.

God does not condone killing in any fashion for any reason.

Only God should be able to take a life.

But I will state again, if you kill an innocent. a child, a human being, for the sake of your God, we will hunt you down, and we will kill you. I have said this once before, the day militants killed innocent children in Pakistan, and I will say it again.

This Holy War will not end with the eradication of the infidel from the earth. You will never achieve nirvana or salvation in this war of Gods and beliefs. There is no salvation in killing innocents.

As long as the world has to live with the constant fear of someone walking into an office, or a school, or a sky scraper, or a Parliament building with the intent to kill us, we will defend ourselves.

If you kill a child or an innocent, then I state my belief that the bible says an Eye for an Eye and and Tooth for a Tooth. Killing innocents is a crime against humanity.

We know what the extermination of human beings looks like. And we are seeing it again in modern times.

This must stop.

But how ???


God, Where art Thou, While We Weep for our Children ?

_79779611_460551980Courtesy: BBC.Co.Uk News

I try and do stay away from stories of tragedy and killing. What can I say that the world hasn’t already said about these things over the years and most recently, the past few months ?

The killing of any child, in ANY case is reprehensible.

The line between personal safety and a kid who supposedly threatened a cop has blurred.

The line between prudence and good judgment is gone.

What becomes of killing a kid, by an adult who has a sticky trigger finger?

Cops are not above the law. ANY law. They should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law, because they are supposed to serve and protect, not become judge, jury and executioner …

Pity the white cops who killed all those young men, reason or no reason. It just isn’t fair.

And today – Allah, Praise Be His Holy Name, wept …

And Today – God wept for the little children…

And Today – the first day of Hanukkah – Yahweh weeps for the children…

A man proclaims that he kills for Allah, praise be his holy name. To avenge the war on terrorism so he goes for the soft, easy target, CHILDREN. A man who proclaims that all who threaten the Holy Warrior of Islam, He will kill the infidel. It seems Innocent Children are infidels as well.

I think their judgment has seriously evaporated. They kill with impunity because the people of Pakistan and Peshawar don’t usually fight back.

IT IS TIME THEY FIGHT BACK, WITH ALL THE GUNS, AMMO AND POWER THEY CAN MUSTER THEMSELVES WITH HELP OF THE ALLIES WHO WILL PARTICIPATE IN EXTERMINATING THE TALIBAN.

Those thoughtless, honor-less, terribly deluded men who claim Islam and revenge as the reason to kill innocent CHILDREN.

Today those men chose to MURDER innocent children. Generations of Children.

All in the name of Allah, praise be his holy name.

I have no pity for those men. And all my religious belief of forgiveness and redemption go out the window tonight.

The Merciless killing of generations of Children is reprehensible, This IS and SHOULD BE treated as An EYE for and EYE and a TOOTH for a TOOTH.

Cowardly men who live by the SWORD and kill INNOCENT Children, should DIE by their SWORDS, with NO MERCY, NO FORGIVENESS and NO HONOR and no 72 virgins in paradise.

You will not change the world or the way it sees you by continually killing our CHILDREN because you have no honor or scruples. But what would backwoods, tribal militants know about honor or scruples?

For every drop of innocent child’s blood you spill, the people will grow weary of doing nothing, and sooner than later, I am truly hopeful of this, that they will rise up and annihilate you and all who follow you and all of you who proclaim to kill in the name of Allah, praise be his holy name.

Tonight the world weeps for more than a hundred children killed in Peshawar. And in the United States our millions have been weeping for our dead young men, killed by the guns of white police officers, one as young as TWELVE !! What the FUCK is that ? Why isn’t that man’s balls not hanging from a tree somewhere where we can all see them ?

For all those cops who think they have brass balls to kill kids with guns, should have those balls removed and they need to be prosecuted to the full extent of the law, bar none.

How do we comfort a people half a world away on the other side of the globe?

There might be a lull in violence while they bury and mourn their dead, but rest assured, the Taliban is waiting in the wings to make their next hit, the question is, whose children will they kill next ?

Malala was right, this day was atrocious.

Rout them out and kill them all. Sooner than later.

The killing of innocent CHILDREN must stop, yesterday…


The Universe; Alive, Sentient, Conscious? How did we get here?

2006-01-a-1024_wallpaperI was reading a friend last night, and his latest entry “Exobiology.” Steve writes:

“Are we alone in the universe? The answer is every day growing more and more certain that we are not. Humanity may experience shortages of many things, however, pride is not among them. For millennia we’ve been convinced of our own superiority and, of late, we’ve become convinced that we must be as good as it gets.”

This was my reply to that post:

I watch all these “The Universe,” and “Cosmic Front,” so forth and so on. And I have quite a few years on this planet. Spiritually speaking, in my life, I believe the Universe is conscious. I say that because of what I’ve experienced getting from the universe spiritually, and personally.

I grew up with “(G)od. and I studied (G)od, and I am sober, so my God, the universe, always provides. I’m fairly certain that we as humans are connected to this grand universe unconsciously, there is a connection that exists, it is there working behind the scenes, directing the show, contrary to our arrogant beliefs, and when we realize it, it works to our advantage.

I know that there has got to be more than what we can see, and experience.

If we are reincarnations of people from the past, and we are spiritual beings having a human experience, then the question is, where did we come from and how did we get here? They say we are star stuff, which means, we came from “out there!”

So there must be something greater than ourselves out there. Something non-corporeal.

It knew how to make us, and we were made.

Isn’t it arrogant to say that, No there is nothing out there, and we are the best it gets? The universe is clearly alive, to me, and I don’t have all the answers. But 47 years later, the universe is good to me, and it sustains me.

The universe is quite a big place, for us to be the only living beings in it. just saying …

The Universe, it is a BIG universe. And it is the height of arrogance to say that we are the only living beings in this universe. We all know about the Big Bang.

Pow, Wow, and everything came into existence.

Reading Genesis, you might imagine that God was hiding behind this black shroud, waiting for the opportune moment to “create.”

The word came, and it was spoken, and creation came to be.

If God created all things, and if we come from “out there,” And we know that we are “Star Stuff,” then clearly we came from somewhere other than where we ended up.

Above I state that I believe the universe is conscious. It knows us. It is there for us. And we are connected to that “All Knowing.” The fabric of space is filled with stuff we cannot identify fully, and the universe is full of energy.

We are connected to that cosmic energy, and it is connected to us.

I’ve been alive a long time. I know about God. I know what a power greater than myself is, for myself, not necessarily for you. I’ve studied a few theories that I came up with in sobriety. And I’ve seen them proven over long periods of time, that tell me that,

Yes, the universe is alive.

We are arrogant to think that we are all that there is, and that, for some, there is only God, and He created all living beings on earth, but to expand that thought and say that maybe God created other beings in other places in the universe, would be heresy.

What would stop a creative being, who knew what we needed, to be, and brought all those things together to form us, and in his breath, we were made? There is something greater out there, it created us, and it is still creating. The sciences tell us many things about the universe, but it still cannot answer the eternal questions of

  • “Where did we come from,
  • How did we get here,
  • And are we alone?”

Where did we come from? Put simply, the universe knew what to do with all of its parts, and we came into being, for we are star stuff. Can you imagine that there is something dynamic in the universe that brought together, all that was necessary to make the planets and stars and galaxies, and bring us into being over millions upon millions of years.

For many that would be God. Or a Creator …

How did we get here? I believe that the universe is alive. It knows. It is constantly running like a program behind the scenes. A collective conscious. A knowing collective.

I believe that we are all connected to this universe. And it is connected to us. We don’t necessarily know about this connection, but with all my studies, reading hundreds of books, covering a multitude of topics, spiritual, religious, and so on, there is something out there, that brought us into this incarnation.

If you believe in past life regression, near death experiences, reincarnation, so forth and so on, many traditions tell us that we have been here before, and the reason that we are here in this incarnation, is because we did not get it all right, in the last incarnation. So the universe sends us back again and again to rework our life issues, to make things right, to get to nirvana in the end, and finally shed this wheel of rebirth.

It is also known that groups of people, families, friends, can be reincarnated together to come together in another incarnation, because we need to return. We may return as men or women or children, at the most, the universe knows what to do with us while we exist in the cosmos.

Where does all that conscious and unconscious energy of lifetimes, of knowledge, go when we die? We have souls. And at the end of our lives, everything that we know and everything that we have experienced on this earth, returns to the collective, to the universe.

Ready and waiting for its next vessel.

It is fact that children, when they are born, are the closest to the collective, to God, to the Creator, than adults are, with all that we know. Children are clean vessels, they are unaware of all the things adults are aware of, they are pure, and in the beginning of their lives, they have just come from somewhere that formed who they were to become, and sent them into this life.

The collective conscious, arranges, forms and re-sends us into consciousness, into being …

I believe that God, in all His wisdom, is out there, somewhere.

  • Is He the universe?
  • Does he lie just beyond what we can see, and stars are windows into the next realm of possibility?
  • The energy of life flows back and forth between the universe out there, and the corporeal existence here.

I believe that the universe is a conscious non-corporeal entity. It is filled with cosmic stuff, and now add all the energy from every human being that ever lived, then add all the living beings now alive on earth, and what lies beyond in space and other places, that is a lot of energy to be managed.

  • God is in His heaven.
  • The dead have gone to a better place.
  • And we are spiritual beings having a human existence. It all works.
  • The universe collects all this energy.

It knew what to do with it. And it knows what to do with it.

If we are reincarnations, then, what ever was? Will be again.

If we are made of Star Stuff, then, we come from out there, where ever “there” is?

If we return again and again to work out our karma, and learn the lessons correctly, that we did not learn correctly before, something greater than ourselves, knew what it was we needed, and it gave it to us, it filled our corporeal vessels, and sent us back into existence.

We are connected to the universe. And it to us.

It knows what we need, before we know we need it ourselves. The Bible says, God created us, and in the end we have free will, in the end the final choice comes down to us.

On a daily basis, some of us, connect to that power greater than ourselves. We make that conscious connection to all that exists, it is there already. We send it our prayers, our thoughts, our problems.

Then we get to work it out. The universe, if it is all knowing, is going to facilitate us working it out. And we know that when we speak to God, He is going to speak to us through a common vessel.

And then God speaks, only when we reply.

With that said, we speak to the universe, it sends us an answer, then we get to decide what to do with that answer. We, the human collective, commune with the conscious collective, and the universe sends us what we need. We don’t always catch it. Sometimes we miss it.

Which is all the reason why I believe the universe is alive.

I see in in simple thoughts and prayers.

Example … I think of someone in particular. I send that thought out, and within hours, and for this example, it came within a couple of days, that that person I was thinking about, came to me.

Now, did the universe hear me, and how did that particular person know to come to where I was at the opportune time, on that given day? I cannot explain it.

But the universe acted. And it continues to act on our part.

Synchronicity, Serendipity, Wishful thinking, Prayers, Thoughts … Where do they go when we think, or pray them? They go out to the universe, to God. To something Greater than Ourselves.

And then it responds.

It might not be what we like, or what we are expecting, but something always comes back to us.

It is arrogant to think that there is nothing “out there,” and that “We are all that there is.”

The Creator, God, The universe did what it did and it will do what it does for all eternity.

If what is out there is conscious, and knows, why would it be a stretch to think or believe that there may be other conscious beings somewhere else?

The universe is a Big Place, and it would be pretty lonely, to think that we are all that there is…


Religion Fiction … A Continuation …

robin_shoots_with_sir_guy_by_louis_rhead_1912Lifted From: Sects and Violence in the Ancient World

Children brought up in a religious environment, according to a recent BBC story, are more prone to believe in fictional characters. The story, based on research from my alma mater, Boston University, suggests that if children are taught to believe miraculous stories at a young age, they will more likely believe that fictional figures are based in reality too.

Undoubtedly this will be seen as yet another brick in Montresor’s wall by those who can find no good in religion. The reasoning will go something like this: believing in no religion is the “neutral” position. If we raise children in a religious context, we are inclining them toward a fictional belief system and making them less likely to reason their way out of it. Therefore, we should raise children secular.

Even in the BBC story there are dissenting voices. Perhaps children who learn about Jesus find Thor a more compelling character. Perhaps they are open to possibilities that logic shuts out. Our brains have two hemispheres for a reason. I often wonder whether it is possible to be fully human while ignoring about half of what evolution gave us to work with.

Logic tells me that religious belief serves a survival function. And my creative side still appreciates the possibilities that my Manhattan brain is forced to shut down every day when I punch the clock. If there’s nothing more than work, perhaps believing in fiction serves a valuable function after all. But I suspect this is playing right into the rationalists’ hand. Pass me another brick, will you, Fortunato?

The jury, however, is still out on the nature of reality. Even for materialists. Gods of the gaps tend not to survive very well. The question is actually much larger than that. We don’t know the nature of ultimate reality. We’re not even sure what reality is yet.

Can a parent who believes in God, after the experience of growing to maturity in a heartless universe, be blamed for teaching their children the same? No humane parent raises their child purposefully teaching them falsehoods. Yes, some children are damaged by religious upbringings. Some are damaged by materialist upbringings as well.

What seems to have shifted, in my humble opinion, is the popular perceptions of religion. What used to be understood as the foundation of a civil society is now challenged as a harmful fantasy that encourages children to grow up into terrorists or non-functioning adults.

The belief that we can raise children with no biases, however, is clearly fiction. Until we have the full truth, there should be room for both Gilligan and the Professor on this island. But then again, I was raised to believe in the divine world, so what do I know?

*** *** *** ***

I am a child of the 1970’s,80’s and beyond. Now in my late 40’s I can reflect on what I have learned so far, and be able to look back on what I learned early on. If you grew up in this period of time, then you will get all these references that I am about to write about.

I come from a Catholic background. And back in the day there was much family and prayer, saints and church. But aside from all of that there were many outings and adventures.

The first movies I remember were Old Yeller, Bambi, and the much anticipated Star Wars. We went to see the very first installment at Twin City Theatres in New Britain Ct. I’d never seen anything like it. Nobody had.

And as I look back on 47 years of life. we can safely say that George Lucas gave the world something to believe in. Once upon a time, in a galaxy far far away …

Star-Wars

CUE Music ….

I never thought about religion or God when viewing these movies. Fictional characters were larger than life. Luke, Leia, Obi Wan and of course Yoda. Then you had the dark side represented by Darth Vader. Those movies were stories for the ages.

Faith – Power – Good – Evil – The Light – and The Darkness – Family Etc …

I would not realize what that meant for a very long time. And cannot be seen unless in retrospect. From this side of the story and not the earlier. As the next two motion pictures came out, the story filled out and we got a few steps closer to the depth and gravity of the story.

I remember sitting in the Falls Theatre, I was a teen ager by now, watching Return of the Jedi and I had a spiritual experience watching Luke being tortured by the Sith Lord. And Darth coming to his rescue. I felt emotions that I could not name, however they were occurring at that time.

That whole series of movies were existential and spiritual for me. There are no two ways about it. They certainly made an impact in my life and the way I chose to live it after all these years.

The whole cosmic universe of Star Wars was a teaching in religion and faith from a distant galaxy. I know that now, having studied the worlds greatest religions in university and spent 47 years getting to know God myself.

Over the decades we played with toys, you know we all had them. We built legos and star fighters. We had the figurines. And we believed that those people were indeed real because George Lucas brought them to our collective consciousnesses. Amid all that was going on in the world, we could escape into the universe of Star Wars when ever we wanted to.

I know we have all seen the Star Wars Trilogy and the subsequent prequels several times over, I know I have. What was more important was that in the 70’s and 80’s we got to live on Tatooine, and live the life of Luke and his family, like they were our family.

We learned all the teachings of Yoda. And I am sure we can all quote word for word every sentence he spoke from every movie he was in. I know for myself that I still cling to those words and I have applied them to my life and I use them in the work that I do today with others.

Do or Do Not … There is No Try !!!

Yoda, you seek Yoda, Take you to him …

Yoda was a teacher, and I am positive that the world is a better place because of him and the other teachers of the stories. Escapism, either good or bad, can lead to spiritual awakening or another. And I believe that my horizons were broadened in the experience of these stories.

God or the universe, what ever you called it then, existed. I believe that those movies fueled the hearts and minds of millions over the decades. I think it was a bit special to be of the generation to have experienced Star Wars in Theatre as they were released.

Today’s generation, only get them on dvd. They did not get to see the movies on Big Screens. When they did the digital reload of the films, I got to see them on DVD, I own the collection today.

I don’t know if the impact of these films were or are as great as when they were first released. Times were different. We did not have the internet or social media, and today’s kids are too engrossed with technology to sit for a long period of time and concentrate on anything that isn’t connected to Twitter, Facebook or a Cell Phone.

I know that my love of music, from the 70’s onwards was part of my lexicon. The movies were as well. And when finally cable tv came to Florida when I was a teen ager, we got to see much more film and programming.

Things were much simpler in those days. We had each other. We had family, we had friends, whom we shared our greatest treasures with. Music, Film and TV.

In the last fifteen years, Peter Jackson gave us the Hobbit and all those stories. I read them in school, and I have the books in my library, but I did not take to them like I took to Star Wars and other stories.

We had the Tween movies of late.

dhonesheet

And then there is Harry Potter.

Harry Potter. Do you dig him like I do?

I fell into Harry Potter because of my therapist who’s office was decorated in Harry Potter Sheik. When we were talking I gravitated towards him, because I felt like an orphan and I was alone in my life and I really needed certain direction.

When I learned that Harry and I shared a birthday in common, I was hooked. It is also J.K. Rowling’s Birthday as well. I have every book and related story that was published. All the monster books, The Tales of Beedle the Bard, and of course all of the books, and every dvd that was produced.

I remember the day the first Harry Potter movie came out, I was living on South Beach and I bought two tickets and I had to watch the first one by myself, however hard a good friend tried to go with me, I insisted we take in the second showing together.

I think I had the first three books by the time I moved here to Montreal in 2002. And Montreal does books very well. Each subsequent release was an event to partake. The book stores were decorated, the employees dressed up and there were hundreds of people who would come to partake and be sorted into houses and then wait for hours until the midnight release time to get your next book.

Harry Potter is another Story for the Ages. No matter where you live, or who you are, unless of course you derided magic and everything to do with Harry, you got hooked, at least I did.

I got to grow up all over again.

I even have my own wand that my therapist gave me when I moved here. Harry Potter fandom is not isolated. The world was taken by him and the story.

I loved reading. And if you search Harry on my blog here you will find hundreds of entries about him. When each book came out I would sit a read through the entire book in one fell swoop. I did that for all of the books.

And to this day, I have several Harry Potter books along side my bed at arms reach so that I can read certain chapters over and over again. I loved Harry, but silently I always rooted for Ron Weasley. The stalwart sidekick who always got second billing.

Hogwarts was a place we could all believe in.

The battle for Good over Evil.

The importance of Family and of Memory.

The value of Friendship and Honor.

The incalculable potency of certain magic.

If you’ve read the Deathly Hallows, then you understand these things.

Like Star Wars, for the older set of folks who are reading, Harry Potter was of this age, something to cling to, to honor, to love and to cherish. We all know what house we belong to.

I am a Gryffindor… I was sorted a long time ago.

And I think we all strive to be a little like our counterparts from the stories. And I think we carry a little of each character/person into our daily lives.

So what does God have to do with any of this?

Do you believe in God? Did you believe in the Star Wars Universe? Were you a Trekkie? Are you a Potter Head? Do you have a favorite story or set of books you would carry with you to your grave and believe strongly in the story, its characters and the words on the page?

Does your faith in God battle with the Gods and Characters of Fiction?

I say that if you have a solid faith in God, or in the faith you practice, then none of this should shake that foundation. That has been the battle for the last ten years for some, people get all in arms over religion and faith, that any little chink in the chain rattles them to high heaven. God forbid …

Can you find or did you find room in your religious/spiritual lexicon to include all those favorite characters you have read in your lifetime as a belief system?

And does the fictional world augment or detract from your religious/spiritual life?

Can both exist in the same space/mind? And if it can how has it impacted the life you live and the way you work with and or relate to others?

I just thought that this was an interesting post, originally found on his blog. I said as much, in fewer words there the other night.

I hope you enjoyed this post. If you like it, give it a thumbs up.

More to come, stay tuned …


Thursday … The week that was … And More

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Courtesy: SummerDiaryProject – Jase

It has been a busy week. The rains came this evening. Kind of raining in between coming and going. Hit and Miss rain that ended before the meeting ended.

The past few days, we’ve been on information assimilation concerning “the work.” We have all picked apart the best and the worst from the roundup now. Me thinks that they should bring in a new source, let’s say Akron, or Cleveland, or The Pacific Group in California. we may have had our fill of New York City, and the fact that the weekend was mediocre at best, seems to be the common buzz word.

I hit a bunch of meetings, hoping to hook up with a possible pigeon, but he was a no show on Monday night, and I won’t get another chance to see him until Saturday.

My guys are amid their step work. I am mid way through my 4th, waiting on my sponsor to finish with HIS sponsor, so we can move ahead. Lots of good stuff.

Which leads nicely into tonight’s topic and discussion.

We read from the Appendix 2 – and Spiritual Experience.

In A.A. it is enforced that a psychic change or spiritual experience must take place where in a change in attitude and outlook happens, this change guarantees that sobriety is possible.

In the M.A. book, it says that a spiritual experience is not necessary to get clean. it goes on, when working steps that you are allowed to “create” and find a power greater than yourself. For some, that is not always God, in the Deity spectrum.

Something my guys struggle with. My sponsor is of the mind that there are many ways to work a program and that “one way” is not always the “right way.” And sometimes you need to do something else, and We have done that.

I was thinking about Spiritual Experience. And turning my will and my life over to the God of my understanding.

A long time ago, in a church that was familiar to me and my grandmother, one afternoon she took me to church and set me on the altar and prayed, and in my memory it was as if she was turning my life over to the care of God as she understood him. This is one of my first memories that I tracked working my 4th step.

God was always present. For the whole of my life.

The second time I got a pass at turning it over was in High School on a retreat, the first of many over three years time. The One on One retreat where we were introduced to Jesus and at the end we were committing our lives to him, many of us came home on a high, and we learned how to live that commitment in our daily lives. Being a Christian in high school was quite the chore. Because the odds were against us. Carry a bible in ones bag was suspect.

I had several more passes by God in Seminary and in the Vatican itself.

When I came to my last drink the second time, I knew it was coming. The signs were there, and I had began to communicate with God. So that decision to quit was a conscious decision. Bolstered by prayer and a commitment to getting back, but I needed an escort to take me back, and I have written before that that did happen.

The most important spiritual experience this time around always involves other people. Committing to one room, committing to “the Stay” and spending time with others getting sober, watching others have spiritual experiences, is where I have mine, because it is in those moments that I see God.

I know who God is, and I know who God is not.

A university education gave me that, and spending time in the rooms has opened my eyes to the God of many’s understandings. For every human being there is a concept, some are the same, some are different.

My faith is solid so embracing other concepts do not threaten my faith or my spiritual journey.

You see this in real life issues in the world. New takes on religion, spirituality, homosexuality, equal rights and equality, these things shake up the pot of belief and you watch people who think they have a handle on their faith and practice, but if you speak these words to them, their entire lives are turned upside down.

People who do not have a solid handle on their faith and belief are easily rocked when they are asked to consider something more than they know. Hence this new movement of God and the gay Christian. This has totally upturned the apple cart of the belief systems of evangelical Christianity.

It is quite something to watch.

But, Um, Sputtering, total confusion, duh !!!!

Somewhere up there, God is taking the piss …

God is or He isn’t.

I live for spiritual experience, especially when I get to share them with my friends.

That is God in action.

It was a good night, and it has been a good week.

More to come, stay tuned…


Friday Out of Defeat – Strength

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Courtesy:FashionDiplomacy

Another week ends. And in certain circles, today is Good Friday.

And in the immortal words of Anthony Campolo …

“… it’s Friday, but Sunday’s a coming !”

I heard this message spoken many many years ago on a retreat in high school.

It is a rousing sermon centered around Jesus being in the tomb, and it is dark, and people do not know what to do. They are scattering all over the place, not knowing where to go or what to believe, and so the message is “It’s Friday but Sunday’s a coming.”

It is a call to be expectant. To await the coming of Jesus on Easter Morning. When the church rejoices in the risen Christ. The choirs sing, the bells ring, and the crowd sings Hallelujah.

It was a quiet day today. Things are coming together for my guys. And as on any holiday we wait expectantly for people to show up.

When I used to work in the bars, holidays were the busiest nights for business. Gay boys after spending time with their families, needed to drown their minds in alcohol, so they would come in droves.

It is almost the same when you quit drinking. Holidays are always difficult. Parties, family gatherings, and so forth. It is for that reason that rooms need to be open on holidays, to welcome folks in after spending time in situations where there is alcohol and sometimes copious amounts of it.

I was out early this evening. The transit was swift. I arrived at the church even before the key holder got there. We set up and made coffee, and for the first time we saw an urn filled with water and a hopper of coffee, not perk.

The urn heated the water, but it did not perk the coffee. That’s never happened before in my memory. The coffee grinds were dry. So we refilled the urn with cold water and plugged it back in and it perked the second time. WEIRD !!!

The regular gang gathered for our Friday meeting. It is the meeting of the week, where we can connect and spend time together. Both my guys were in attendance.

We read from A.B.S.I. – Out of defeat, strength …

“If we are planning to quit drinking, there must be no reservation of any kind, nor any lurking notion that some day we will be immune to alcohol.

Such is the paradox of A.A. regeneration: strength arising out of complete defeat and weakness, the loss of one’s old life as a condition for finding a new one.”

Short and sweet.

The first time I quit drinking I was drinking to kill myself. I was defeated.

The second time I quit drinking, I was under the delusion that the alcohol would remake me, into someone I wanted to be because I wasn’t happy with who I was.

I knew I had come to the end. I knew God was the only one who could help me, I admitted to myself that I was powerless, and that I needed help. I came back defeated once again, but much more in a sad state.

I had made the move here because I wanted to reinvent myself, and start a new life. And that is just what happened. I got much more than I had expected, and life is much more than I had ever imagined.

This is a common thought of people who come from somewhere else, and end up here, either for school, work or life circumstances.

I have always said to my readers that if it is possible, leave your lazy boy chairs and your beer and chips, pack your bags and move somewhere else for one year, and see life from someone else’s perspective. Your life will never be the same.

A good night was had by all.

More to come, stay tuned…


Page 3 of 365 … Our Father

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Courtesy:TylerBear

It is day Three of Three Hundred and Sixty Five.

It was another bitter day in the neighborhood. We are sitting at (-23c / -34c) tonight. But even the cold did not dissuade folks from traveling to the meeting tonight.

It was a quiet day today. The end of the week doesn’t really mean anything except that it is Friday and another week has passed. It seems that I don’t have all the information I need to write fully, meaning, I wrote something the other night and within minutes of me posting that set of words, hubby gave me some information that I was not privy to just a few hours prior.

Hopefully this new information won’t harm our upwards battle to become financially free and that money won’t be “that much” of a worry like it had been in 2013.

Tonight, it looks like, according to Environment Canada, our last night of bone chilling cold. Things warm up, if they can warm up in Winter, warmer than it has been as of late. Everyone around from West to East, and all points North and South are in the grip of winter blizzards and snow, and here in the valley, we seem to be coasting through without any real accumulations.

I was prepared to leave early and so I did. Both transits were quick and easy. And I arrived to find two of my favorite people setting up the meeting. It seems that changes have been voted on that I did not participate in at the last business meeting.

We moved the space in the hall again.

There are three dedicated spaces to meet. In the back of the hall are tables and chairs we used to use when the meeting was smaller, the meeting grew, and we outgrew that room, and we moved to the next larger space, moving tables and chairs into it to populate. And since, the meeting has tripled in size over the last ten months.

The thinking is, that if more than forty people show up, the meeting will split in two and we will run two meetings instead of one, to give everybody a chance to share at the space.

Because when you seat more than forty people, an hour isn’t enough time to get everybody in. So if you split up the group, there is more opportunity to get in under the wire.

That was a lot of words …

The A.B.S.I. reading dealt with the “sect” issue as in the preamble, which we read at the beginning of every meeting.

… A.A. is not allied with any sect, denomination, politics. organization or institution, does not wish to engage in any controversy neither endorses or opposes any causes. Our primary purpose is to stay sober and help other alcoholics achieve sobriety.

I neither cared for the reading tonight, as did others in the room. I took it in another direction by relating a sober story. The reading speaks of religion, as in A.A. had reunited people with their respective religions…

At our meeting, God is a term that is tossed from one side to another and elicits a number of reactions, from revulsion, anger, to respect and adoration. Some of our folks cannot stomach the word but they are sober despite that. The knee jerk reaction that some sober people, long term or short term have to an institutional God of maybe their family or upbringing is really an issue.

Everybody has their gripe with God. And everybody has baggage that they bring to the table, and for most part, that baggage has to do with God, but in the book Bill conquers that problem with …

“God of our understanding.”

So God got tossed all over the place tonight. And a friend spoke very resolutely, “I am so sick of all this God shit …” Because it seems that inevitably, God comes up more than we like to admit. because A.B.S.I. deals with assorted writings of ALL the literature on any given day.

And it becomes tiresome after while.

With all that said, I wanted to share this story with you from someone I heard speak tonight. He is a friend, he’s got some time, and he had a “moment” over the past few days.

Where religion rises in discussion, prayer usually follows. And our guy mentioned the Our Father. A prayer that has been added to the litany of prayers alcoholics recite at meetings. In the beginning, that prayer was not part of the movement. However Christian the slant of the program was. One of Bill’s counselors was a Catholic priest.

Our guy used to balk every time he heard the Our Father, because of the old baggage that was associated with that prayer, coming from his family of origin and the Catholic faith he was raised in and then became estranged for a number of reasons. Life happened. And sometimes church does not concur with certain life situations, thereby alienating people by the droves.

The other night our guy was in company of others in the program and he overheard someone reciting the prayer with a sponsee on the phone, and instead of recoiling as he once did, he “sank into the words.”

Our Father, Who art in HeavenHallowed be thy name
thy kingdom come, thy will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread
and forgive us our trespasses as
we forgive those who trespass against us

And lead us not into temptation
but deliver us from evil,
For thine is the Kingdom
and the Power and the Glory
forever and ever Amen…

Something that every alcoholic needs when he/she enters a room and a community of people is HOPE. And for a long time, our guy could not see hope, better yet, find it as it stood in front of him. And for some reason, as he sat there listening to this recitation, he heard the word HOPE rise and enter his consciousness and his heart.

The prayer is a simple prayer that has been recited for eons. And that was the take away from tonight’s discussion. In the rooms, the one thing we need to recover from a disease that is mental, physical and spiritual, the answer is HOPE. We should endeavor every day to share hope with every person who crosses our doorways.

Listening to this story being related was a gift.

It was a tough New Years again. I worried for our newbies, one in particular, who seemed so together, but when push came to shove he drank again, but he was present and sober tonight. He came back. And he was courageous. We are all so proud of him.

It is the New Year, no better time than the present to try, tray again …

Alcoholism knows no barrier. No class, No creed, No religion, No orientation – it is an equal opportunity disease. And the way we do it is one day at a time, together, unified by a primary purpose, to stay sober and help other alcoholics achieve sobriety.

A good night was had by all.

More to come, stay tuned …


Papal Plea for Peace …

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VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – Pope Francis made an impassioned New Year’s peace address on Wednesday, saying the heart of humanity seemed to have gone astray and too many people were still indifferent to war, violence and injustice.

The pontiff, who took his papal name from St Francis of Assisi, the saint most associated with peace, urged the world to listen to the “cry for peace” from suffering peoples.

“What on earth is happening in the hearts of men? What on earth is happening in the heart of humanity?” he said to tens of thousands of people in St Peter’s Square on the day the Roman Catholic Church celebrates its World Day of Peace.

“It’s time to stop!” he said, departing from his prepared text.

“Everyone must be committed to building a society that is truly just and caring,” he told the crowd on Wednesday, acknowledging the many peace banners and blue balloons held aloft.

In a message for the World Day of Peace sent to world leaders last month, Francis said that huge salaries and bonuses were symptoms of an economy based on greed and inequality

In that letter, the former Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina again urged nations to narrow the gap between rich and poor, more and more of whom were getting only “crumbs”.