On New Years Eve I cant help but to be reminded of what the past year has held for me. This past year has been rough in many ways, there were a lot of those moments when I threw up my hands and cried. (then picked myself up and went on) Every year or in reality every day I am evolving into a better me. Every new year I set forth to be a better person to be kind, compassionate, forgiving, loving, understanding, and above all not to judge others. I also have the goal of taking better care of myself, loosing weight, and the ever elusive being more organized. Every year I do a little better on some of these long term goals.
When I sit down and look at my spiritual growth over the past 10 years I am amazed. I changed from a negative type A person to a positive relaxed person. Am I where I want to be? No, not yet there are still days when life hits me to fast and I fall into past behaviors but the difference is I am aware of it. I am a firm believer we are put on this Earth to learn, to grow, to change into better people.
One of the more unexpected changes to my life over the past year has been my faith. For the better part of ten years I have been pagan. I am not wiccan nor am I even a traditional pagan. I have never truly fit in with any one religion though I have tried many and studied even more. Sometimes it turns out that answers come slowly and unexpectedly. When you look at just about every religion on Earth past or present they seem different and some seem to contradict others so finding the right one seems nearly impossible. The thing is at their core religions they are the same. It is human beings who have twisted the meanings into the radical differences we see. My problem is not with God it turns out, in fact he has been with me a lot this year and I feel his love every day, my issue is religion. In every religion I have studied the real meaning without the human input is simple:
1. LOVE & Respect each other. (& Yourself!!) This means UNCONDITIONAL LOVE. There should never be a day in your life where you say I love you but, nor should there ever be a day where your love hinges on someone doing something for you nor changing who they are to please you. REAL LOVE has no buts, no conditions it is simple and forgiving. If you do not understand this I know its seems weird but think of how you feel about your child (If you do not have one imagine it) No matter what happens, nor no matter what they do even if it is something horrible you will still love them. This is the kind of love God means for us to have in our lives it is our society/culture that tells us we need conditions on it.
2. Do not LIE (also seems simple right and no it doesn't mean you have to tell someone their jeans make them look fat it just means live an honest life. What is an honest life you ask? Simple take responsibility for your own actions. In the 10 Commandments it says not to bear false witness. I think what is meant by this at heart goes far deeper then just do not lie about others. I think at heart this means do not lie to yourself either. We live in a world where everyone wants to blame someone else for their problems but the reality of this is we are all responsible for our own lives after we hit adulthood. Are there life events that are far beyond our control yes, are there people that hurt us yes, BUT the way we react, the way we go on from that point onwards is in our control.) Another example is our current economy. We all had a hand in this we all wanted those cheap prices forgetting that they are cheap because the factory is in another country where decent labor laws do not exist. We all wanted to save that .50 but what it really cost was high greater then what we saved. It cost people in our country their jobs which in turn meant less money going into our economy because if you do not have money how can you spend it. We chose to let that mom and pop shop go out of business for the .50 price break because man those quarters add up but we missed the loss of jobs and income into our economy. We all have sat and allowed our government to spend tax dollars on whatever they wanted without consequences. We believed them when they said it was our welfare, social security, and med caid insurance (the poor's) fault. We allowed them to continue to cut benefits to those in need while they raised their already gigantic salary. (A congressman earns $174,000 a year in salary not including benefits with benefits it is closer to $500,000. There are 435 members and they work roughly 78 days a year. The average person on SSI receives $14,000 with medicare benefits which not only do you pay monthly on but also have a 20% share of cost we can say at the very top of the ladder it could be equal to $18,000 annually. People on welfare or ssi (for diability) receive even less then this. Also medicare does NOT include vision, dental, hearing, nor prescriptions you can however add those kind of plans for even more money. So basically one congressman's salary could support 9 and half senior citizens. Just one of many examples I could list but my disgust at our nations waste is a post for another day.
3. Treat your neighbor with love and kindness (this actually means everyone but when written obviously the world did not seem so big and our neighbors were a lot closer)
4. Do not JUDGE others (remember the whole dont judge or ye shall be judged? This is what it meant, only GOD is perfect enough to judge another human being and no he doesn't care if you are interpreting the bible to justify your judgement it is still wrong)
5. Do NOT kill people (seems simple huh? No not even if they deserve it)
6. Do NOT covet thy neighbors stuff nor be envious (I know what your thinking, what is the harm right? Well here it is: When you start looking at what someone else has it plants the seed of dis-satisfaction. Soon you will be working more to get the money to get the thing that you wanted yet no matter how many hours you work, how much you neglect those you love, you will never be satisfied. The simple truth is all of our wants come down to greed. Are their things we need in our lives yes, but do we need the brand new iphone that just came out even though ours is only a year old no. The entire culture of the United States is founded on this simple weakness in human character. Instead of looking at what we do not have (I am only talking items, cash ect,) and ever wanting more we need to love and appreciate what we have. I promise as soon as you love and appreciate what you have for a while you will be a thousand times happier. As that is what God intended. )
7. Do not worship false idols. (Also simple right? No not exactly. I truly believe in the ten commandments where he says not to worship false idols it means this; Do not worship human beings. I think at the root of the entire universe there is one God whom may have a appeared in many different forms. I believe during the time period he appeared man misinterpreted his words. God does not want you to worship another human being why? Because human beings are imperfect their is no prophet nor saint who can ever be perfect enough to claim he has the rights of God.)
8. Honor your mother and father(elders). This one has two meanings.
a. On a deeper level it goes back to loving god our creator even he needed both male and female to be born into human form.
b. It also means our parents as in those who raised us. This one is hard for some of us. It has been very hard for me in the past and in the present because my parents have done some horrible stuff to me. In fact today my Dad called me a deadbeat and I spent the day crying. I still love him and respect him as my father just as I do with my mother. Does this mean I should allow them to use me as an emotional punching bag? NO but it does mean they gave me life. It also means to listen to your elders because all mothers and fathers have some wisdom to give us if we are willing to sit down and listen.
Are any of these easy? No not really. They are very simple but incredibly hard. That is the way it is mean to be. There is temptation everywhere; our tvs, magazines, internet, radio, friends and family all bring temptation into our lives. For example I am prone to judgement. When I look at the magazines in the check out line I can easily be caught up in their gossip. I mean OMG Jessica Simpson got fat! But, you see instead of falling into the judgement that the magazine is making I need to say so what. I do not live her life (I happen to be fat myself) I do not know her place and she is a beautiful person no matter her weight. (Judging others is the one I fall into so easily so it is the one that came to mind the fastest.) God wants us to be happy, to live our lives and learn to be better people. In order to do this though we have to work at it. We have to be tempted to do the wrong thing in order to do the right thing. I still love and accept all my friends and family and their beliefs, even when I do not always agree with some of them. (Like the several who are seriously anti gay marriage) I hope some day they find a way to love all Gods children because God loves all of us he does not put conditions on his love, friendship, support, and forgiveness only man does that.
Did I fall short of some of my goals this past year? Yes, I did but that is ok. I made progress. I will never be perfect and I am thankful for that. I am not sure I even made progress on my goal to be more organized but there is always next year. This coming year I look forward to writing more, listening better, helping where I can, and sharing what I have learned. This blog is for me to express who I am and to remind me of who I want to be. (No worries I will at times be sharing my jewelry, giveaways, and supplier reviews)