What would you do if you could do anything? I remember playing that game as a kid.. when you’re really little it’s things like fly or shoot laser beams out of your eyes or what ever. As we hit our teens it’s date a famous person or travel the world or get a Lamborghini. By the time we’re adults it’s things like, sleep.. or eat chocolate without getting fat.. or maybe something practical like buy a house.
We live a lot of life and as that life goes on we lose the magic that makes life worth living. I have a 5 year old and I asked him what he wanted to be when he grew up.. he’s torn, either an alligator tooth brusher or a jungle swinger… but thinks maybe he can do both. He doesn’t just think outside the box.. he doesn’t understand that there even should be a box, and much like a cat.. if there is a box anywhere around it will soon become one of his favorite toys.
There is something fundamentally sad about “growing up”. It’s not the fact that we have to pay bills or that we suddenly have responsibilities. It’s because we lose the piece of ourselves that we used to let dream. How many people are told that they can’t do something because there’s no money in it or the chances of being successful are so low, or because it’s not “practical” and how much is the whole world missing out because of that?
When I went to college I had no idea what I was going to be when I grow up. I’m not 42 and just starting to figure it out, and it has nothing to do with the degree that I am still paying for. How many of us believe, especially in the US, that our jobs are our identity? Yet most of us got into a particular job because it was the one that was hiring or most convenient for our schedule or our location or our limited skills based on classes that we took predominately in our teens.
When I think about what I could do or have if I could do or have anything.. I may not want to fly like Superman, but I do want to see the world. I may not want laser beams that shoot out of my eyes but I do want to use my eyes to discover and see every beautiful thing that this world has to offer. I want to make a difference in this world. I want to raise my son to know that he can do and see and be anything that he wants, even if he has to go to the jungles and wrestle alligators with Aquafresh.
It’s been about a decade since that movie “The Bucket List” came out and people started to contemplate what they want to do before they die. The problem that I have always had with that is that people think they have forever. They think that they’ll be 90+ and have decades to make up for the time that they’re wasting now. But we don’t.. this is our life.. every day.. every minute. We don’t get it back. What do you want to do.. not before you die.. what do you want to do with your life?
I was watching an interesting video on YouTube today about whether or not we live in a simulated universe. These were real scientists, like Neil Degrass Tyson who was moderating it, and they had plausible arguments supporting the idea. I have seen the video a few times and always found it both fascinating and ridiculous at the same time.
Do we live in the Matrix and if so what does that mean to us? Today though, I noticed something that I had not before. One of them commented that if we were made as a game to entertain others that “You’d better go out and do something interesting as to not get deleted” and NDT joked that was what death was, it’s just someone getting bored with the character. I didn’t really think much of that analogy, as most of the world is full of very boring people… but what sparked in my mind is the idea of religion and the “creator” who has somehow spread the word that he/she is the best and that it is the people’s job to get other’s to follow that word.
Now for those who know about religions around the world, most aren’t that different in their content. It’s about worshiping a specific deity and loving each other and the best way to love one another is to get your neighbors to worship the same God. This message supposedly comes down from the creator of this world.
Now, anyone that knows anything about good TV and ratings knows that the more the drama the better the ratings. I, personally, am a big fan of the soap opera General Hospital. Recently one of the social media posts asked if a couple was basically deemed irrelevant once they were happily married.. if the drama ended? Everyone, even those who don’t watch traditional Soaps know that love triangles and evil twins are common place in that world. Anything that can create conflict, and there has been nothing on this planet that has created more conflict than religion.
So, if this is somehow a simulated reality in which a creator, in which ever form you choose decided to design a universe for their own entertainment purposes the first thing this creator would do is give the “people” something to fight about. Make them look different. Make them speak differently, so it’s more complicated to communicate. Make them all believe that they were chosen by the ultimate creator to be the chosen group.
Now, I don’t know if there’s a God, or a 15 year old computer geek who created an entire universe just to watch porn, but I know that in either case, hate and violence has a much higher rating than peace and tranquility. Just ask Dick Wolf (the creator of Law and Order). That one show lasted 20 years and had multiple spin offs, with very little main character development… it was all about the murder and mayhem.
The United States is a classic example of hate for the sake of hate. The whole country was created on the basis that ALL MEN ARE CREATED EQUAL. We pride ourselves on being a melting pot and being of Christian values of loving and helping thy neighbor. We are the land of opportunity. We have a plaque that says, “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.”. We have proud American’s talking about how we need to respect what other’s have given their lives for.. all while saying that we should keep out anyone that doesn’t look like, talk like, and think like us.
The United States of America was supposed to be a beacon of what it meant to be free. Freedom of speech, Freedom of Religion, free to love, free to live, free to be all that we can be, and yet.. somehow, some way, a large group of people have been programmed that unless you use that freedom to be a white, male, English speaking, Christian.. you have chosen wrong.
I’m not sure what can be done to undo the programming of hate, whether by an all powerful creator or just generations of all powerful fools.. but I think we need to look at what we all hold dear in those religious and philosophical texts. Love, peace, and kindness only wins out when we start acting that way towards everyone and respect the differences. Not when we keep expecting everyone to choose us as right.
It amazes me the lengths people will go just to be right. A “friend” on Facebook just published a video about how the Left is so hypocritical that they are up in arms about illegal children but don’t try to do anything to stop children being killed here by guns and drugs… when I pointed out that the left has tried to put through policies for gun control and mental health he stated that no one was upset when Obama took the kids from their illegal parents.. when I cited articles that stated that Obama, though he held families and unaccompanied minors in detention centers, he didn’t actually separate babies from their moms. He then spent the next hour defending the policy to anyone willing to comment.
He said that the illegals shouldn’t be breaking the law, that, “How bad can their countries really be that they’d have to risk getting their kids taken away?”. When it was pointed out that some of the countries they are fleeing are violent, and that little girls are being raped and boys are being forced to join armies or drug cartels.. he said that we, as Americans, should just invade their “shithole” countries and take them over.
When it was pointed out that we could easily save the money that would be spent on wars and just aid those who wanted to leave he argued back that it’s not our job to save other people and that they just needed to stop breaking the law.. that just because he wants a new Escalade doesn’t mean he can just take one. He apparently didn’t understand the difference between protecting the lives of their children from rape and murder and getting a new expensive toy.
He went on and on about how if he breaks the law that he would have his children taken away.. even though it was explained that this is just a misdemeanor and no one would have their kids taken away for that.. and even if the kids were taken away in the case of a felony.. they wouldn’t be placed in a detention center. He argued in favor of this policy over and over and spoke of it’s praises and why it should be supported and how it’s all the illegals’ faults for being criminals… then he threw a curve ball and said that Trump had tried to change the policy but that Congress wouldn’t let him.
Obviously this confused me, so is the policy fabulous and right and deserves to be in place.. or is it horrible and bad and Trump is trying to change it? He told me that I was just trying to start an argument. I explained that while I enjoy a fact filled discussion this “argument” just took a turn.. he was no longer supporting his point. He was just going against “the Left” for the sake of it.
The original post was about the Left didn’t care about American children.. when it was pointed out that they did and were blocked in making changes.. he spent his time trying to prove why the Left was wrong for being disgusted by this policy.. then, in a sudden switch, said that this BAD policy wasn’t even Trump’s fault…. uuummm what?
I have noticed this is a growing trend. People don’t want to talk about facts or come up with a resolution.. they just want to be right. They will flop subjects or sides mid conversation just to save face. They make the most inflammatory comments just to confuse and befuddle their “opponent”. No one wants to help, no one wants to resolve.. people only want to win… even if by winning everyone loses.
Love… I mean real unconditional love. It was the topic of last week’s Mass at my church. Now, before you roll your eyes and click off, I am not here to spread my religion… nor do I believe there is only one spiritual path, and everyone is allowed to choose their own. The one thing that I do know is that any, and all spiritual awakenings begin and end with love. This does not mean romantic love, though it seems lately that’s the only kind people are actually interested. I mean true unconditional love.
Five years ago I became a mother. I thought I knew what love was before that. I had no idea. I had been in many relationships, some good some bad. I had one divorce behind me and another relationship that was headed for disaster. I had no idea how to love any of those men, but my son. That was easy. Loving my son was like breathing. I did it before I even met him. I loved him the second I saw that second line on the little stick telling me he existed. Though I didn’t even know that he was a he.
Two years and one month after my son was born my father died. That was my second lesson in love. True, unconditional love. The kind of love that… well, never dies. I was lucky. Growing up I knew that my father loved me. There was never any doubt. He said it and showed it everyday. Now, that didn’t mean he didn’t punish me when I acted up, or that he didn’t put me in my place when I needed, but he never made me doubt myself or him. My father was the one person I truly knew would always be there for me. He may have laughed at me when I did stupid things, and he may have wished me to make better choices at times, but he never once gave up on me, or made me feel like I was anything but capable and my life was full of possibilities.
I remember thinking a lot about family after that. I remember thinking about my past relationships and how or why they failed. I remember feeling like family was everything, and that the reason it is so is because we never give up on each other, and we never judge each other.
I have a brother. He and I couldn’t be more different if we were hatched from eggs on different sides of the planet. We like different music. We are on opposite sides of everything political. He thinks any kind of self help or therapy is a waste of time and feelings are for suckers. To him money and power are first and foremost… yet… When I needed his help; he was there. When I told him my plans for my business, he said, “I think you’ll be good at that”. He doesn’t have to agree with me or my beliefs to love me. Nor I his.
Last week in Mass, Father…. which ever one… talked about unconditional love in terms of Jesus.. and I get that, it’s kind of his thing, but he brought it around to the rest of us. He talked about how it’s the thing that is missing in the world today. We don’t like people who don’t look like us. Why should we help people who don’t live by us? If someone somewhere on the internet does something differently than we do… especially in parenting.. we basically commit a public stoning in the comments section.
We have forgotten to love. We have forgotten to love thy neighbor, where ever they may live. We have forgotten to love and respect our parents, and instead throw them in home when they become a burden. Most importantly, we have forgotten to show unconditional love to the person who matters the most. Ourselves. We bash ourselves. We poke fun at ourselves. We hate ourselves on a regular basis.
The words and phrases I mentioned above come from a particular text that you may or may not believe in, but that doesn’t lessen what they say. If I said that Jesus was not the son of God, but was the Tony Robbins of his day, just trying to help people be the best versions of them-self would that make a difference in your interpretations of those phrases? Does it matter who gives the advice if it’s the right advice? Does it matter how the words got corrupted if the source was genuine?
Nike’s tagline is “Just do it”. It’s simple yet elegant. It’s about getting out and being.. being active, being you.. just do it… They don’t even pretend to tell you what “it” is. They leave it to you to figure out for yourself. It is amazing advice. Yet, if some executive came out and said the “it” in “just do it” was “buy the shoes”. Just buy the shoes! Does that lessen the expression or the original intent? Nike originally paid a graphic designer just $35 for their trademark swoosh. They have since made billions of dollars and it’s one of the most recognizable logos of our time, does that change it’s worth. Does it change your opinion on the phrase, “just do it”? What if your knew that that slogan came from one of the founders of an ad agencies last words (I just Googled it.. maybe it’s true, maybe it’s not) does it matter?
If you believe that love, specifically unconditional love, is important. If you believe that you deserve that love; that everyone deserves that love… why does it matter who said it? Why does it matter where the message came from? And… what’s stopping you?
How often do we find ourselves holding on to some past slight with both hands as if letting go would prove to be a sign of weakness? How often do we feel as though we need to validate every action that we take as proof that we are better than some bugger from our past treated us?
I look around at this world, at social media, at the news and I find it very difficult to see the good that I know is out there. It seems that everyone has their chip on their shoulder or their person or group or reason to blame for something not going right in their life, or their happiness not being met.
I started following a single parent group on social media and every post that they put up was some sort of male bashing, I am woman hear me roar, cliche… Now don’t get me wrong, I am all for girl power, but not at the sake of half the population, and not all single parents are women. I, personally, was raised by a single dad who belonged to that same organization.
When I commented as such and that we shouldn’t be placing blame on any specific side, the moderator responded, “well, it can be used for men too”. That wasn’t the point. Firstly, none of the posts were about men, and secondly, most of the time when a marriage falls apart there is not one side to blame. Most of the time there is plenty of blame to go around so to have a support group who posts things that fan the flames of anger seems the opposite of support.
Part of growing is understanding what we have done wrong in our past. It’s understanding our faults and our mistakes and missteps so we can learn to avoid them in the future. If we spend all of our time ranting in our “support” groups about how we were wronged, or how every bad thing that happened fell upon the shoulders of another, then we are no more prepared for our next journey than we were for our last.
When I think of empowerment I do not think of all the ways that we are better than someone else. I do not think of all the things that we can and should be doing to bring down another person or group. I think of ways that we should raise ourselves and each other up. We do not need to steps on the heads of our perceived enemies in order to rise, we just need to give each other a hand or a leg up.
There is plenty of anger and resentment in this world, and it doesn’t actually help anyone. This isn’t just a male/female issue either, it’s time we let go of all of it. That bully from 3rd grade probably either doesn’t remember you so it’s not worth letting them have power over you now, or had more issues in his life than you could have in a lifetime and didn’t know how to express is. That teacher that made learning impossible was one year… how many years ago? Your parents… oh God.. your parents were a mess.. yup.. they were human. They made mistakes. They made poor choices… maybe they were straight up a**holes, but who cares? I mean really… they messed up enough of your years as a child, now you are the adult and you have the ability to make your own choices. Are you going to be one of those adults, like your parents, who constantly makes the wrong ones, or are you going to step up and learn from those mistakes.
I see so many people who make excuses about why they can’t hold jobs, or have good relationships, or be good parents, and usually it’s because of how someone treated them in the past. How does that make any sense? You are telling me that you have the right to be a loser.. because your parents were losers and you hated them for it? Umm… not to sound to harsh, but grow up.. live YOUR life. Tomorrow your parents will be gone, that bully will be a memory, and those feelings… they can either percolate and control your future, or they can be released.. and you can understand that no one, not even parents or teachers, are perfect. That we all have our demons. We all make our own choices based on our own limited experiences… which experiences do you want to shape your life? Which life do you want to grow?
We have all heard of Dante’s Infernal and the 7 deadly sins, it’s been used in countless movies and TV shows including “Seven”, “Charmed”, and “Supernatural”, just to name a few, but I always used to wonder why they were so horrible in the eyes of the after world (whichever after world you choose is fine). The more that I thought about it the more that I realized they had nothing to do with what happens next. They are all about this world… hence, deadly. These are the things that kill us and our spirit, our drive in this world.
We are all aware of addiction as a horrible disease. People who suffer from it destroy not only their own lives but cause serious damage to those around them. When a person is so consumed with something outside of them-self they can’t manage to do or think about anything else.. they put other things on the back burner.. they lose them-self to that addiction that is a deadly sin.
Now think about what those 7 deadly sins are:
Gluttony: which could be seen as food, or drink, or drug. The way it was used in Charmed was even shopping.. it’s obsessing over something. Some people use the expression “A glutton for punishment” because they always seem to go back to those that hurt them.
Sloth: The act of giving up on life.. seriously. You have no motivation to do anything. We all have those days, mine are usually on Sunday, when we just want to stay in our pjs and pretend the world away, and occasionally that is fine. But if you become the person who doesn’t want to get the new job, doesn’t want to go out with their friends, doesn’t want the new relationship.. out of fear, or anger, or just laziness, then you can watch years go by without actually doing anything. That’s just a slow death.
Lust: This one is a bit tricky. There of course is the sex addict, but I feel with a glutton definition that kind of falls under that category, but what about those people that will do anything to be in a relationship. It doesn’t matter what. They will change themselves, give up their own rights, their own principles. There are people who just don’t feel complete without the status of relationship on their facebook profile.
Then there’s the flip side. Those who are in perfectly great relationships, but need can’t be satisfied. They need to chase the high of “catching” a new romantic prospect. I have met a few people like this. They are the ones that have the affairs, not because they have fallen out of love with their spouse, but because they have an innate need to be wanted. This is very similar to the person who always needs the relationship. These people always need to prove that they are good enough to get the next one, and more often than not they lose the good thing that they already have.
Envy: This one is just a relationship killer. Any relationship, not just the romantic one. This is the one that makes you fight with your spouse over a smile at the wrong person, we get that, but it’s also the one that makes you shy away from interacting with those that you deem better for some reason. Whether you feel the other is better looking, smarter, or more successful, you either put them in a category of stuck up and therefore not someone that you would want to associate with, or you put them into a category of someone out of your league in which case you couldn’t possibly be someone they would want to know.
On top of personal relationships it’s what stops you from going for the job, the promotion, the bigger and the better, because you feel that there is no way that “I could possibly be the best candidate when there are so many more out there that are… smarter, more educated, have more experience” or whichever “truth” you decide fits your explanation. The only thing this does for us is keep us scared and incapable of moving forward.
Greed: Now this seems like it should go the opposite of envy and sloth and should be a great motivator to help someone be successful, but I guess that depends on your definition of success. Greed is not to be confused with ambition. It is great to have goals and be ready and willing to work and fight for those goals. It is a deadly sin when you start crossing lines and stealing, manipulating, and using others just to get what you want. When you start to realize that you have elevated the money or the prestige to be more important than the people around you you start to realize how much you have really lost.
Pride: This is another one that seems like it should be good, until you see it blown out of proportion. How many times have you heard of a family falling apart over pride. It could be a marriage or parents and children who don’t speak for years or even decades over something.. that half the time they can’t remember, or can’t admit wasn’t a big deal. Pride is a dangerous animal. It keeps you from giving up your principles and makes us all stronger for it, but it can be a huge stumbling block once it’s been damaged. There are many out there that hold so tightly to their pride they can’t even give the next person a chance for fear they may be made a fool again.
Wrath: This one is huge. This one is one that we see crippling nations and destroying civilizations. This is the one that needs an enemy. This is the one that needs to place blame on anyone else. This is the one that creates wars. Usually this one is a combination of the rest. This is the one that comes about when someone who is being greedy, and prideful feels envious and they obsess over who they can blame for their apathy. This is when we look for problems to to criticize others over instead of solutions to bring about peace and resolution. We are too angry to see anyone else’s perspective. We are too angry to see our part. The only thing we can do is accuse, and hurt back… and that’s never solved anything.
So as important as the afterlife is to most of us, the only life we actually have control over right now is the one that we are currently living. How do you want to spend your days? Do you want to do, see, and accomplish as much as you can? Do you want to love, learn, and experience all of the wonders that this life has? Or do you want to blame, ridicule, and waste the little time that you do have to be the person you always dreamed you could be?