What If All This Time We’ve Been Doing It Wrong?

Late at night, lying in bed, with the sounds of cars and trucks whizzing by, my mind will wander. Sometimes I imagine what it would be like to be a superhero. Sometimes I wonder about being the president. Every so often the idea of God comes into my head and I drift off to sleep wondering about the complexities of an invisible creator. I can’t say that I’m religious. I have nothing against those who look to a church, synagogue, mosque, or fairy circle for their higher power, just as I have nothing against those who look to science. My musings lead me to wonder if all of those different aspects are exactly the point. What if the question isn’t who is right, but rather, how does it all fit together?

Imagine this if you will, there is a God of some sort. If you believe it should be easy, if you don’t just play pretend. This God created the entire universe. A vast space, infinite, and unending filled with impeccably running cogs. Every planet orbiting a star, which exists in a galaxy, each create the knots of every branch of Yggdrasil, the tree of life. While the Tree of Life concept comes from the all over that particular name comes from the Vikings. If you’ve ever seen the end credits of Marvel’s Thor, you’ll get the idea. So what if it’s true? What if the pagans that worshiped the moon held the piece of the puzzle about gravity and the relationship of cosmic bodies to Earth? The majority of believers were converted into something else. What if science and spirituality are two sides of the same coin? The truth that God could be found in a church or an atom. What if that bridge was lost in a colonized culture? What if every single thing that every person believed is all a part of a larger picture and we’re just too small to see the whole thing? Like the solar systems in the galaxies in the knots on the branches of the tree of life, what if we can’t see the whole picture until we’re so far away, that we’re standing next to God him(her)self.

If, for the sake of argument, this is true than with each divide we travel further and further from enlightenment. With every us versus them argument we lose a little truth for the sake of being right.

DeCarte had the notion of it, I think there for I am gradually morphed into, to paraphrase, the only way the notion of a higher power could enter our minds is to be placed there by one itself. While this isn’t singular scientific proof I understand where the philosopher was coming from. Human beings are by nature arrogant. After rising to the top of the food chain we began systematically to destroy the natural world in favor of our own comforts and desires, shiny metals and sky scrapers mainly. We are not the sort to willingly think of anything or anyone above us. In fact, we make it a point to create our own superiority. A tiger can kill us, easily, but guns can kill them. An earthquake can demolish our cities, but stronger metals and an understanding of physics and geometry can limit the catastrophic loss. No we are not the sorts of creatures to submit to a higher authority. Now I urge you to bear with me. Lets follow this train of thought to fruition. What if our potential was set by this higher power? Every thought, every advancement the product of a divine inspiration if you will, a waypoint in human evolution. What we are incapable of now we were not meant to achieve, yet. Take for example space travel. Were we meant to discover the wonders of other galaxies first hand, the knowledge to achieve such means would present itself in one mind or another. The fact that it has not is the guiding hand in our achievements. Yes I do believe in a power greater than myself. I don’t pretend to know the particulars, but the notion that we are not alone in this vast space and that what ever it is out there or up there that tends our tree of life is enough for me. It is with this in mind that I find myself able to accept many things in this world.

One of my greatest pleasures in this world is reading, to the tune of over one hundred books a year. From Pride and Prejudice, to Harry Potter, to the Koran, to Time Magazine’s Top 100 List, to Ready Player One, my tastes are eclectic. It is with this hobby that I’ve come upon a wonderful passage in the Big Book of Alcoholics, which is actually a wonderful guide for everyone regarding human behavior. On page 417 there is a segment about acceptance.

“And acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, thing, situation, some fact of my life is unacceptable to me. And I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing, or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment. Nothing, absolutely nothing happens in God’s world by mistake. Until I could accept my alcoholism, I could not stay sober; unless I accept life completely on life’s terms, I cannot be happy. I need to concentrate not so much on what needs to be changed in the world as on what needs to be changed in me and in my attitudes.”

Take the pro life versus pro choice arguments. These could be simply avoided by adopting the passage above. What I find unacceptable is actually a deficiency in myself. It’s very simple, should I not agree with abortion, don’t have one. If you don’t believe in Yahweh or Allah, don’t; stick with Jesus. If the opposite is true, rock on. With such acceptance comes peace in the place of war, a preservation of cultures in the place of modern day colonization. Informative and constructive debate on opinions with out the hatred we see in Facebook comments and finally a responsibility to act better and improve our own circumstances. Put down the protest signs and get out to the voting booths more than every four years. We are accountable for our own world. In fact this is a sentiment in all religious texts. We are to be less concerned with the do’s and don’ts of our neighbors and more in the world that [insert deity’s name here] created.

Human beings live to name, to categorize, and to organize. We need a title for everyone and everything. Ideally those categories would bring simply knowledge. Unfortunately, human beings are flawed. We turn organization in to sides. Then we pick sides and fight each other, over words. God created skin to protect our insides, human beings decided which pigmentation was better or worse. God created love, human beings decided which love was acceptable and which was an abomination. The sad truth is that if something could create a perfectly running universe, than a little gay loving isn’t exactly an unexpected surprise. Nor is someone’s skin color. Or, pause for dramatic effect, their religious beliefs.

Wiccans can teach us about balance. The same can be said for science. For every action there is an equal yet opposite reaction. Think about Disney’s The Sword and The Stone for a moment. “For every up there is a down, for every square there is a round, for every high there is a low, for every to there is a fro. To and fro, stop and go, that’s what makes the world go round.” Dark versus light, wrong versus right, no matter what you believe the same themes are found in every holy book or ancestral story.

Together we make up a beautiful chance to reach a level of knowledge that will allow for humans to experience the vast universe in such different yet beautiful ways. Whether it is the knowledge that we are utterly alone and only have each other to rely on or the knowledge that there is other life looking for us as well to connect. We have a chance to be so much more than we are, if we could only stop hating the differences long enough to appreciate the beautiful uniqueness it is to be a life in this world.

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A Woman’s Choice

Let me tell you a story that starts with choice. We will all do what it takes to pay the bills and put food on the table, include having a kid because the Xbox just couldn’t fetch enough money to pay for an abortion. What we won’t always do is unconditionally stand with the rest of our gender because of their choices. This story isn’t about the right or the wrong arguments. This story isn’t even about abortion really. This story is about friendship. When I chose this title and this subject to write about, I had a completely different idea of the article’s direction. I had pre written a lot of the background information in a tone that would work with how I expected things to turn out. Now I find myself in the rewrite with a completely different view.

I made a friend, at an abortion clinic. A dear friend of mine, we’ll call her Abby after my favorite NCIS character, had an appointment to get an abortion. I use the term appointment loosely as it took about five hours from start to finish. Four and a half of those hours were spent waiting. The people were nice; the chairs uncomfortable, and there were only two outlets in the whole waiting room. Phone charging was a passive aggressive shuffle of seats every hour or so. The whole experience wasn’t too terrible. By the end even the protesters outside were more of a nuisance than a trauma.

In a waiting room filled with pregnant women and supportive friends, significant others, and even a couple parents, it’s easy to see how the atmosphere could be oppressive. True there were a few tears, but more than that I think it was a fear of feeling normal. Like for some reason, everyone felt they should be in mourning rather than okay with their decision. Until, as I said, I made a friend.

Abby noticed the girl and her friend chatting and implied she’d like to get to know them. I took my hint and started a conversation with the two. My new friend and I share a name, and she was also there supporting a dear friend of hers, we’ll call her Sophia, because I like that name. It didn’t take long for the four of us to hit it off and strike up a slightly loud and enthusiastic conversation. With in ten minutes the whole mood of the waiting room lifted. Gone was the solemn silence and in it’s place chatter and friendship, camaraderie amongst women instead of uncomfortable silence. Suddenly it became okay to be in that room to make this choice. Suddenly the four and a half old men outside creepily whispering and calling everyone with a vagina, “mom,” was humorous instead of distressing.

I originally wrote this article about the importance of choice, the importance of a woman’s right to have an abortion. I was focused on the protestors and how their presence was unnecessary and almost cruel. The truth is there were five old men with crappy signs and zero effect. Not one woman was present with the protestors. That spoke volumes about the demographic of pro-lifers in our area.

Instead of the resounding negative I had anticipated, I found unity amongst women. I saw first hand why such solidarity was so important. My namesake and I discussed abortion and choice and the protesters, loudly and with lots of gesturing. We made our opinions known. What a woman does with her uterus is her business and no one else’s. God is smart enough to know what he’s doing, if he didn’t want abortion there wouldn’t be any. Abby and Sophia agreed with us, obviously. To quote a good friend, “We mess up a lot. We’re humans. But to prey on other people for their mistakes is inhumane.” Everyone makes choices. Sometimes those choices have serious consequences. Sometimes those choices leave our friends teary eyed in Planned Parenthood hallways. Sometimes those choices make a waiting room filled with people a little less uncomfortable. More important than the pro-choice and pro-life arguments is the third option pro-compassion.

Whatever your belief, something out there gave us the equipment and the emotions to make a decision. To bring life or not to bring life, that is the question. Whatever you choose for yourself is your business, but as women we need to stand together and support each other regardless of our beliefs. We make the difference between a tear filled wait in uncomfortable chairs with sweaty palms and a growing sense of anxiety, and friendship.

For some reason, the only ones who are capable of bringing life into this world are sometimes torn down, persecuted, and broken. We are raped and beaten. We are abused. We don’t always have rights to protect us. We are told to cover up because we are asking for it. We are vilified in religious texts and taught that we are helpless. However, in that moment, chatting in a waiting room, we were strong. We were the powerless, the powerful, the meek, and the resilient. We were the devastated, the okay, and the still happy. We were there for each other. We were women.

Roe vs. Wade wasn’t the beginning of abortions, it was the end of women dying from abortions. The alternative to sterile clinics with counseling and people who know what their doing is back alley procedures filled with unsanitary conditions, broken equipment, and untrained individuals. That or short trips down long stairwells. I don’t know, honestly, what I would do in Sophia and Abby’s situation. I do know this, I hope that if I ever find myself in that situation, someone befriends me and makes the wait a little more bearable. I hope that a lot of women read this and take to heart this message. Whatever you choose to do with your body, I will always be your friend. I will always support you. I will always comfort you. I will always stand between you and those who wish you harm. I will always do my best to make you smile. Most importantly, whether or not I agree with you, I will always and with out fail support your choices. As women we are never alone. We need only reach out to the nearest woman to find a safe harbor from any storm.

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If you or anyone you know is struggling with an unplanned pregnancy, please visit Bethany.org

For more information about pro-choice please visit ReproductiveRights.org

For more information about pro-life please visit All.org

For more information Pope Francis’s Abortion Absolution please visit this article from The New York Times

For more information about women’s rights in the United States please visit ACLU.org

For a friend in this situation, e-mail me on the contact page.

Thoughts & Opinions

welcome

Oh wow! My first post! It’s so exciting! Not really. In actuality I’m watching The Blacklist and trying not to sound like a tool. I guess I really wanted to discuss the purpose of this blog. The title should make it pretty self-explanatory. This blog is to share my thoughts and opinions. Let’s be clear, there will be little to no ranting. My posts will be one or a combination of three things, a thought, an opinion, or an experience. Experiences are pretty self-explanatory. They happen, I write about them. Thoughts are not facts; they are not opinions, simply the gentle musings of supremely bored Millennial. Consider the thoughts simple shower philosophies. Why do you leave a door ajar and a jar open? Like that, only not jokes from middle school. Opinions are up for grabs. From books to hot button issues, I reserve the right to politely speak my inclinations and more importantly change my opinion at any time in the face of new evidence or appealing perspective. Comments and subject requests are welcome. Nothing may come of them, as I can barely return a text message in a timely matter, but they’re welcome. And hey, you never know if you don’t try.

I can promise you this, I may not like everyone, but I don’t hate anyone. I will never put down a person or group of people. There is always the chance that I won’t agree with something, but agreeing and accepting are two different things.

Doesn’t that sound so serious yet awesome? It’s almost like I’ll be discussing really important things like politics and religion! Perhaps, but not the way you’re imagining. I can guarantee that I will not discuss politicians, celebrities, or religious leaders in a negative way. I literally do not care about figureheads. Laws, yes! Hot button issues, maybe! People, no! Book reviews, definitely! I know what you’re thinking, this whole spiel was to forewarn a bad review of Twilight, but you would be mistaken. I mostly want an outlet to share those abstract thoughts, and fluid opinions. I want a place to write about my experiences other than a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles diary. Also I want a yacht. I mean while we’re wishing for things…

So to make a long story short this is my place to share. It’s cheaper than therapy and more fun than protesting. I guess, in my opinion, there is enough hate in the world. Hate is malignant and infectious it can only by cured by acceptance. The only way to gain acceptance is to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes; or since we live in the digital age and I am a card-carrying member of Gen Y, read someone’s blog. Hint hint – read my blog. So welcome, enjoy, question, and agree or disagree at your pleasure. If you take nothing else from this, please keep the message of acceptance.