Weakness and Strength

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There’s the kind of wisdom existing among the ages that our weaknesses are our greatest strengths. This is even indicated in the book A Wrinkle in Time, and there’s a Sufi story about a pail of water that has holes in it that I’ll share now.

The bucket has holes and loses half the water each day as the man carries it back and forth- it feels incompetent around the other buckets. Then one day, as they’re walking along the path, the bucket notices flowers growing. The man carrying the bucket tells him that he knew of the bucket’s weakness, and used it to his advantage.

The ultimate idea is that God will use our weaknesses to His advantage; our weaknesses are actually hidden strengths.

Bringing this to practical reality:

How in the hell are social anxiety, reclusiveness, and shyness supposed to be my strengths?

Anxiety, specifically, social anxiety, has set my entire life on the weirdest course I’ve ever seen. I’ve avoided so many things that normal people give no thought to, and I’ve been uncomfortable and quiet in situations where normal people flourish. To make the point, it just doesn’t make any sense to say that it’s somehow a strength- at this point in my life, it seems like the anxiety has taken more from me, more from my happiness, more from other people’s happiness, than it has given.

So the tactic I’ve developed in life has largely been one of avoidance, has largely been one of making myself scarce and staying out of other people’s way. I feel like if I can do my thing and not obstruct other people, if I can just stay out of their way, I won’t succumb to their wrath, I won’t anger them, I won’t get in trouble.

So I try not to make waves.

When I do become louder and more open, I feel like people largely just think I’m annoying, and so I prefer the quiet aura. There’s no reason not to- it’s historically been effective and kept me safe, whereas being more extraverted has historically caused me pain.

Maybe I just go to extremes and should seek a balance, but then I’m always one for questioning the dogma of balance that pervades modern thinking. Maybe life isn’t meant to be balanced- maybe the chaos is the natural way of things.

Who knows?

Someday, I think I’ll know and understand all this. Maybe the whole point is to keep me away from people so I’ll turn to the contemplative life. Maybe the whole point is to make sure I’m in a place where I can have meditation and quiet. Maybe the whole point is that I have social anxiety because I’m so open to other people that I get all their superficial levels AND their bullshit hitting my energy core and it sends me reeling.

I pray that one day, it will fall away, and that people won’t make me want to break down into tears, or that suffering will be so minimal that I can bear more than seems humanly possible.

The Sacred Heart of Jesus will guide me, I know. God’s Love will guide me. The better and more I understand God’s Love, the more I’ll know what to do in life.


Dear 2010

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2010 has been one horrible year.

I lost a friend to suicide. He was once a potential boyfriend. But now he’s gone.

I had a failed relationship.

I made the Biggest Mistake I’ve Ever Made in My Life.

I lost at least two more friends because of drama and bullshit, and probably more than that without realizing it.

I managed to screw around and not finish writing my second book.

I had to realize that the people I care about can change, and that I was holding on to the image of some people as to who they were to me in the past, and that the past image of that person was long dead and gone. I had to face that people change, and I had to face my own darkness, my own evil, along with the evil inherent in other people.

There have been good aspects to the year, too- like finding Tyler, like having a Wii, that fact that I’ve been a vegetarian for over a year, the fact that I meditated almost every day for a year, and the fact that I managed to keep at least one of my New Year’s Resolutions- the only one (I think) being that I’ve kept a daily short diary of small events that happened throughout each day for the entire year. I also went to Mass at the Episcopal Church for the first time. These are all good things.

Tonight, I will be able to go back, read my diary, and see what exactly transpired during the course of 2010. Also, I feel I’ll be able to chop up the entire year into a few different sections.

Either way, this entire year has been mostly one continuous shitfest, until things started drastically slowing down in October- and they seemed to slow down for everyone at that point in time, including my friends like Caleb. Things became a little better, a little brighter.

So 2010, this is what I have to say to you, after the hell you put me through: suck my balls. Seriously. 2011 has got to be better than you by virtue of just how awful you were. In fact, you may actually have been worse than 2008, and 2008 is the worst year of my life on record so far. You’re neck-in-neck at the moment, but I have a feeling that you’re pretty close to that year.

Also, this year I quit going to therapy, because my therapist increasingly seemed to be focused on the notion that all my problems came down to my not putting Jesus at the center of my life as opposed to anything else.

That’s what I get for having a therapist who’s not as intelligent as I am. We did get along well, we did relate, but he helped me as much as he could, and after that threshold, there was no point in going to him and dropping $40 an hour for him to tell me some watered down Christian counselor bullshit that wasn’t going to actually change me in any substantial way.

I know this blog may not seem entirely focused, but I’m in a pretty dark place within myself, having not had a good rest last night, and one thing about me is that I seriously require a lot of sleep in order for my moods to be in balance and in order for me to be able to think clearly and properly. That just apparently isn’t going to happen today. Also, I took benadryl, which didn’t help me very much.

The weather outside is dark and dreary looking. Maybe this is a good reflection of how I’m feeling.

Most of all, in 2010, I also had to learn to be honest with myself, and being honest with one’s self is extremely difficult, especially when you really really really believe something or want to believe something.

But then I also learned what it feels like to embrace how I truly feel about something.

Anyway, I welcome 2011. I welcome 2011, my own personal heaven, with open arms to be a bigger, better, and brighter future.


Spiritual But Not Religious and More Goodies for Tackling

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How many times have we all heard people make such a statement as, “I’m spiritual but not religious?”

If only I had a dime for every time I heard someone say it.

What someone means when they say this is a little more complicated: they mean to convey something more like,

“I do admit that there is a deeper reality than the everyday reality most of us encounter, but I’m so disenfranchised from the religionists who make little to no sense or have no substantive value to their practices that I do not commit myself in a formal or enduring way to an organized religion.”

Naturally, it’s much easier to say one is spiritual but not religious.

The real problem is that yes, there is a lot of corruption in organized religion, and at times, the orthodoxy in many religions is not encoded or poetic, it’s outright incorrect and doesn’t line up with reality, and maybe even more to the point, most people are idiots.

Okay, forgive the over-bearing, superiority-complex-laden statement above, but it’s the truth. The reality is that the number of people who actually understand what a religion is trying to convey through its mystical currents and decide to ride the waves to the so-called “other shore” on those currents is depressingly small, and they are and always have been in the minority.

Now, it’s true, not every person wants to make the mystical journey, and that’s okay- it’s their right to not do so, but it is also our birthright to be able to do so if we choose.

There is certainly a time for religious and spiritual exploration. Absolutely. Do not mistake me- this period can last a long time, especially now in the age of the internet with so much information immediately accessible to us, so many different paths presented and explained, so many Gurus, Teachers, Holy Men and Women who claim that their way is the best way (sometimes going so far as to say the only way), the contradictory paths and ideas and summaries of the people who have made the journey, and it can all become rather mind-boggling.

But we must take heart and sort through the mess, and for the vast majority of us, it will be easier to choose a path and walk down that path, come-what-may.

There is likely a time when we need things such as dogma and doctrine to guide us, and that is fine- but the time for dogma and doctrine to guide us will end as well, and we’ll have to keep walking with no such signposts or rules.

Religion often exists without the mystical core, and mysticism can exist without a definitive religious framework, but it’s much easier if they work together. Psychology, especially Jungian psychology, works as a translator between religions and mystical systems.

Another thing that irks me is when people try to say a religion is not a religion. This is not exclusive to any one religious group, but it does happen among various ones: I was taught in Christian school that Christianity is not “a religion” but a personal relationship with Jesus Christ- that Christianity is God teaching Man, while religion is merely Man seeking God.

I’ve also heard the same about Buddhism. Buddhism is not a religion; it’s a way of life! Again, wrong. Buddhism pretty much falls in line with the definition of “religion,” and it’s difficult to dice it otherwise.

So, the point is, religion, even formalized religion, provides us something, something important. It’s okay to be religious. It’s okay to be devout. And it’s also okay to question the orthodoxy of a religion. There is such a thing as being too rigid.

These are just some thoughts.