Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Religion in Schools

For school I was asked to write a journal entry on whether or not religion belongs in school. It was a good opportunity to explore my opinion.

Does Religion Belong in Schools?

My opinion is that school provides an opportunity to expand a student’s knowledge and experience. To that end, schools should never hide information from a child. If a student is ready to ask about something, they are ready to know. With the internet so readily supplying information and opinions on any subject, it is an educator’s duty to supply young minds with different perspectives.

Since religion is an enormous cultural constant in every society, children need to be aware of its vastness. An important lesson in humanity is when you realize that people can unite in their differences. The world’s religions all have important philosophy in them, and it is valuable for children to be exposed to different ideas.

Preaching Christianity to a small child will get the job done if your goal is to make him or her a Christian. However, if your goal is to help a child make positive decisions in their life, you have to present them with their options and let them decide.

Religions can provide a student with different ways to deal with conflicts. A teacher could even reference different religions during times of conflict and discord. Integrating different perspectives can break the tension in a room, making a classroom run more smoothly.

Religion should be taught as a tool to understanding humanity and recognizing consistencies in humankind. The goal in teaching children about religion should not be to coerce them into one philosophy, but to give them a means to create their own.

Also, here's a link:

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Lighthouses and Buoys

Something I have learned is that it is easy for me to give good advice. It is something that comes naturally to me. Of course "good advice" is subjective, but that's not applicable to the point I want to make. The best advice given is the advice that is dually followed. A lot of times I hear myself give advice, and I'm like, Damn, that's exactly what I needed to hear.

That's why I enjoy when people ask for advice. Human connection helps me see myself more clearly. Sometimes the only way I can be convinced to follow my gut feeling is if it comes out of my own mouth in words of advice to a loved friend. People are reflections of my reality. Relationships provide depth perception in the sea that is life. The big relationships are like lighthouses, small ones are like buoys. I won't elaborate on that metaphor for brevity's sake, but think about it.

Often times in my life, people function as mirrors. There is a beautiful chain of perception that occurs. First, I perceive you. Then, I perceive you perceiving me. In the relationships I invest the most in, I am the most concerned with that person's perception of me. I want to look good in their mirror. I want to look good for them and me.

A few times in my life, I have found myself investing too much in a single relationship. It is often when it is a new relationship that I am excited to establish. The side affect is that I neglect established relationships and backwardly prioritize my schedule of commitments. It's painful for the people that I have neglected. Leaving a codependent relationship is one of the hardest changes I have made.

Imagine only ever looking at a mirror from one angle. There are infinite angles to see yourself from, why in the world would you only use one? What about being the only way a person determines their perception of themselves? A heavy weight. I think after a little while you'd start to look the same as one another. The kicker is that neither would notice, because your world is too small.

I said earlier that I wouldn't elaborate, but I must: If you are in the ocean and need to remember where a location is, you must look to the land for two points of orientation. Seeing only one lighthouse, you would be lost. With only buoys to give well-intended directions on to other buoys, it would only allow fleeting perspective.

There is nothing like a quick indulgence in metaphor before bed. It also helps me say things without saying them. I love language.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

I'm the Boss.

After my realization that I have the capacity to do whatever I want, I decided that I'm going to do exactly whatever I want. I don't need anyone to tell me what to do.

In fact, a life that is spent doing what people tell you to do, is a life misrepresenting who you are.

There are always things to consider- like the legal system, other people's feelings, etc. I think I'm going to put on my cowgirl boots and show my life who's boss.

I'm going to marinate on this one for a while.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Community and Family

Recently, I've been hypothesizing about Intentional Communities and their benefits. I made some lists and did some research. I got together with one of my friends to talk about it and I have become further intrigued. This is a long-term goal of mine, but I think I might like to have my family be a part of such a community.

Since this is such a long term idea, I was thinking about how I can apply the beliefs of my hypothetical commune to my current family situation. I'm living with my dad full time for the first time since my parents got divorced when I was four. It's totally new. I'm testing those limits again. How is their noise tolerance at night? How do I know what I should eat? Where does this go? It's bizarre to feel that way in a familiar house. I'm learning everything slowly, but surely and it feels so good. I can sculpt my relationships and choose how I spend my time. I'm kind of starting over.

I'm learning how to take joy in things like doing the dishes. The best way to find joy is to watch for the benefits of your actions. When I do dishes, I clear my mind, remove a small burden from my folks, and I feel acomplished afterwards. That's enough for me. In addition to those things, I am also creating a place in their family community. And, it's not just doing dishes. It's having an honest conversation(and present human connection) or having dinner at the dinner table, running for groceries or getting the mail. I get to give myself the rules that I would give my nineteen year old, within the guidlines my parents provide. I'm making up my life's rules, establishing values. I have a feeling that this is really important, developmentally. My advice to myself: find joy in everything even if it takes you a while. Joy is more of a practice than an event, anyway.


Thursday, March 18, 2010

Life is Made Up of Days.

Recently, I've been having a lot of Good Days. I know it was a Good Day because at the end I don't feel tense or worried. I have no guilt feelings or anxious thoughts. Nothing unusual has to happen, it just has to be peaceful.

Today I was thinking, What is different about me on these Good Days? What do I do differently? After all, that might be a great secret of life. How can we have a Good Day everyday?

TANGENT: Before I continue, I must veer off my train of thought. Good Days are not always easy days. Some of my best days are the hardest. At the end of a hard day, emotionally or otherwise, I know that I worked hard and did my very best. Something I have learned is that when pain comes, it carries gifts. Spiritual progress depends on it.

Now, back to the question at hand: How do we have more Good Days? My day is usually determined by how I cope with emotions and people. The following is what I have found that I do consistantly on my Good Days.

I treat positive emotions like sweet lemonade. When a good thought enters my mind, I recognize it and drink it in. I don't hold onto it too tightly because I don't want to spoil it. If it re-enters my mind later, though, that's great. All this being said, positive emotions are not usually the difficult part.

Negative emotions are these things that everyone likes to reject. I used to live in fear of feeling bad things. The truth is that negative thoughts are important. They maintain balance. You actually cannot live your life completely free from negativity. The way I like to deal with negative emotions is very similar to the way I deal with positive emotions. I recognize them, feel them, and let them go. I have to be careful not to be afraid of them and reject them. They won't go away that way, they just build up. Dealing with emotions as they happen is way easier than having all sorts of baggage to sort through down the road. Who needs more baggage? Not I. Emotions are best when they are ripe from the vine.

For example today: At work I answered the telephone, "Primo Hoagies?" The woman that was on the line was condescending and rude towards me. She acted like I was the scum of the town. I responded to her rudeness with kindness and politeness. I hung up after I took her order and just thought, What a bitch. Then I thought, Oh well. I don't have to be. That was that. When she came in to pick up her food she was just as rude, and I was just as polite. It didn't effect me at all after that point. I suppose thinking, What a bitch wasn't the very best reaction, but it worked. And, I'm human.

We can treat people like emotions. When I meet a person, the first thing I try to think is, I wonder what lesson this person is here to teach me? I don't think, How's this guy going to mess up my day? Or, Who's this jerk? Recieving people with no expectations is what my last blog was about, and I think it's important. If people are disrespectful, let them go. If you must say something, you can say, "I don't have room in my life for people who don't treat me well." Or, if your into brevity, "Please leave." You can always just say nothing and leave. It is not your obligation to put up with non-sense.

I attended a workshop last Sunday called, "Experiencing and Expressing Joy in Parenting." It was hosted by Mary Kegelman (AHSC member). One thing that she discussed is that if you resent your child it is because you have not protected your own rights. In my own words, allowing people to do what they want with me and never speaking my truth with them, makes me cranky. It also inhibits my Good-Day-having skills.

Another time I'll talk about Bad Days, but first I have to have one or a series of them.

To conclude, the recurring theme seemed to be: Relax. Relate. Release. With people and emotions I just have to give them permission to enter and also exit. Remember: Drink lemonade, eat fruit ripe off the vine, and remember to be nice to mean people. Just don't let them continue to be mean.

Life is made up of days. I want mine to be good.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Communication: Sharing Self

There are many levels and types of communication. There are silent forms like body language or sign language. There are also direct and indirect forms like writing letters and passing along messages. The type I have been focusing on recently is face to face, using words and non-verbal cues.

Have you ever spoken to a person so clearly and articulately that they received you with unconditional grace? They seemed to be in tune with you, even.

Usually when this happens to me, I receive the other person just as well, and they speak with the same level of confidence and respect. Our eyes are connected and I don't feel like any more or less than them.

I think this is the key. Or course, this is just speculation. I'm sure that there are a ton of reasons behind this pure human connection that I can't see yet. However, I think that when you enter into a conversation with no expectations you can receive them uncolored by the labels that your mind automatically gives them. It comes when you embrace the feeling of not talking up, nor down at people, but talking with them. This seems to invite them to be open with you.

When a feeling is as indescribable as this feeling of connection, it often leads me to think about it on more spiritual terms. So, there's this groovy feeling when I talk to people that are open and honest with me. When I reciprocate that openness, conversational floodgates open on both ends, and I've got a new friend. I feel like I am sharing myself with another person, like for those moments we are containing the same energy- or maybe ceasing to contain it.

I also know what a lack of connection looks like. I'm sure that everyone has seen it. When two typical business men in suits meet, they shake hands, talk in their "big voice," and speak like the whole world is listening. I suppose that they feel like they have a lot to lose and are afraid to share themselves with one another. I think what they are missing is that they have more to gain by allowing this connection to happen, than never sharing their abundance at all. (When I say abundance, I'm talking about all kinds: money, energy, time, chocolate bars, anything.)

So, why did I choose to write about this? Aren't these things obvious? My answer is that I don't think they are obvious to most people. I am going to go ahead and make a generalization: A lot of people have their priorities confused. I think that people forget that when their cell phone rings, moments spent gabbing about abstract figures are moments lost in real time, in the here and now. This is a simple and mild example, but it is significant. I have to make my priority the present to live a fulfilled life.

Monday, March 15, 2010

It Starts with Self.

The :function: of this blog is to publically state my philosophies of life and education, and to display my daily evidence coherently.

My vague title: It Starts with Self. What is Self the begining of? And, exactly what is "Self?"

My belief and experience has been that once you establish a consistant perception of yourself, you can determine the rest of your life. My self-perception is always developing if I am living truly to myself. To that end, my life is never determined and always evolving. If you want to change your life, change your self.

Self is the way you understand the world. Self is the life that you have created and the connections with people that you have. Self is also your understanding of these connections.


I recently heard Reverend Margaret Palagye speak at a Science of Mind church service. Her message was "Living a Life of Success." She described the individual person as micro-divinity and the universe as macro-divinity.

This tells us that we have access to an unlimited source of energy. We are as powerful as we allow ourselves to be. Everyday I have to wake up and remind myself that I am an equal to everyone I meet with no exceptions. There is nothing like the experience of an equal human connection.


My Understanding of Connections with People:

My understanding is that if you allow these connections to be strong enough, you can become one with the people and energies that surround you. There is a strong awareness that comes with this, and it can be an incredibley peaceful experience. Becoming omniperceptive is an achievable goal. I understand now that I am just as capable as any other human being, depending only on my belief in myself.


My desire is that this blog will help me articulate my thoughts, so that I can more effectively share them with the people I encounter. I am hoping that I use this as an intellectual outlet, as well as a means to connect with people that have similar beliefs.

I hope to discuss relationships, spirituality, will-power v. higher power, communication, education, and philosophy. Where these topics will lead me, I have no idea.