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If you’ve read my blog you already know I’ve had to deal with chronic sleep paralysis for a large portion of my life. For those who haven’t I’ll give you a brief history.

 

It started when I was under the age of nine. I don’t actually know how young I was but I was old enough to remember it. Of course it was traumatic so it’s no wonder I remember. That first episode took place while we still lived in the house in Orange County. I don’t recall having any more episodes there but it’s possible I forgot. I do remember them being what I call chronic sometime after moving on the boat.

My dad said he had them as a child as well along with vivid nightmares that he sometimes would end up sleepwalking with. So, I’m not sure it was actually sleep paralysis for him or not. But I do know sleep paralysis can lead to very vivid nightmares. I was also a sleep walker but that was not attached to the sleep paralysis episodes for me.

Through out my teens I had the most episodes of sleep paralysis. My mother discovered that it often happened after she and my sister had a fight, which was often. So she suggested the two of them make up before going to sleep so I wouldn’t have the “attack”. And when I say attack, I mean “demonic attack” because that is what she believed it was. She thought that because I was being targeted because I was the youngest and most vulnerable.

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So, most my life I dealt with sleep paralysis as though it were demonic attacks. And as you’ve likely figured out already, that idea makes them so much worse.

 

For those who don’t know what sleep paralysis is, I’ll explain real quick. It’s when the chemical in you body that causes you to not act out your dreams doesn’t recede in time so you wake while it’s still present which means you are temporarily paralyzed until it finished receding. The best way I know of to handle it is to relax and let it finish receding. It’s a time you can use to just chill or even play with it. While in that state you can also lucid dream. Since you are still in a dream like state you can fly, jump high, and do whatever amazing thing you like cause there are no laws of gravity and so on to stop you. Fighting it wears you out, it’s better to relax.

When you’ve had years and years of dealing with it as demonic oppression it takes more than a notion to just relax and enjoy the ride. I’ve had to have talks with myself and help myself get out of the nightmare and not fight and take it easy and maybe have some fun.

By the way, I didn’t know the science behind it till a few years ago. Although I stopped believing it was demonic attacks, I really had no idea what was happening so it was still pretty scary.

 

As a Christian who believed in demons and believed it was demonic attacks , naturally I dealt with it from a “spiritual” aspect. I used my beliefs in Jesus to “overcome” it. Although I was harmfully misinformed I did learn a great deal from these terrifying episodes. Some of the lessons were actually very helpful in real life. But, like I mentioned before, I’ve written about this before and this blog is about my latest experience.

In my twenties and thirties I rarely had sleep paralysis but I did experience it from time to time. After leaving Christianity I still automatically reverted to my religious way of dealing with it. It was a life time habit. Those things don’t just go away. When I have several not far apart from each other I stop dealing with them religiously and do what I know is better and  more effective. I don’t really enjoy it most of the time though. There’s been some exceptions. When I don’t have it for long periods of time I revert to my default settings of fighting it with religious ideas. However, my brain always has a conversation with me about it in the dream state and reminds me that I no longer believe in such myths. It’s actually always quite an interesting conversation I have with myself. Lol! Once I do fully wake up I find it very interesting and entertaining, and I usually learn something new.

Okay! So, here’s my latest sleep paralysis experience.

It happened about three nights ago. I was dreaming about something and in the dream I laid down to rest. While laying there I felt a presence start to lay on top of me, a freaky scary presence. This is a common start to sleep paralysis for many people, btw. Even folks who are not spiritual.

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My automated system came online so I called out to Jesus to help me. Then I heard a voice challenge me by reminding me that I didn’t believe in Jesus. I playfully challenged back, “Yeah, but he was a nice guy!” Not that I believe in him, I was having fun challenging the voice back. Of course the voice was my own, and I do challenge myself awake, so it’s no surprise that I would do it in my sleep state as well. Than Satan was brought up. I shrugged and said I didn’t believe in Satan. I than started singing a fun church song. I was challenged about that as well but I ignored the challenge. I decided that as long as it made me feel better it didn’t matter. Singing has always helped me deal with fear. It gives me courage and helps me think things through.

And thinking is exactly what I did. I thought about hypnotism and how people use the “one, two, three, wake up” method to bring people out of it. I wondered if that would work for me. I decided to give it a try and right away started the count. While counting my mind reminded me that one had to be told to do it first in order for it to work. Not that I’m an expert, I’m far from that… Or am I? Lol!  But I was already in the count so I finished it with the “wake up”. When I finished I felt a jolt on my right side by my eye area as if that area had dislodged from the paralysis. I’m not saying it did, just that that’s how it felt.  So, this time I told myself that when I counted to three and said “wake up”I was to wake up. I counted, I said “wake up,” and immediately my eyes opened and I was fully awake.

Yeah, I was actually shocked. But happy. It was just so strange yet cool. The science behind it? Well, I’m sure there is some but I don’t know what it is yet. The brain is so very interesting. It’s possible anything would have worked because maybe the paralysis chemical had already receded. Or, maybe not and there more to it. Even if it did receded already, waking one self from the dream state can still be difficult. Possibly the hypnosis thing worked for that.  I’d love to know! I’m sure there are folks that will still try to attach something spiritual to this. To them I will “smile and wave” and keep learning the real facts instead of the alternative “facts” .

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I don’t look forward to trying it again. I don’t look forward to having sleep paralysis period. Though I know one can have fun with it, I have too much baggage, lol. It’s more than just dealing with it, it’s also dealing with my past which makes it tasking. But, I do enjoy the stuff I learn and experience when they are over. It’s really quite interesting.

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I thought this pic was funny. And funny thing about it, after mentioning to my daughter that I had a sleep paralysis episode she said it was likely due to the cat sleeping on me. The cat didn’t actually do that, but it’s still funny.

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Blog started Sunday 3/12/17.
There’s a lot of abused folks out there. Even the ones that have healed and are doing fine often still have triggers. PTSD isn’t just a military thing.
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Religion is a common cause of stress disorders. While it provides hope for some it causes both mental and physical harm for others. Well meaning people often make the matter worse. They think they are reaching out to people offering them hope, and while this may help some, it actually does the opposite for others
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When you “share” how great your god is and all he’s doing for you and those around you with people who have been abused with religion, you are not helping them, you are hurting them. You are pushing the trigger button over and over. Then, you wonder why they are so angry. Anyone who’s “buttons” are pushed over and over and over again will most likely “blow up” or as folks like to use on atheists, become angry.
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Normally I’m all about coexisting. I understand there are a lot of folks out there who hold onto their religion for cultural reason and community reasons and many who feel they need it. I’m fine with all that as long as it’s not causing any harm to anyone. However, this evening if religion were a person I would have murdered it.
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Blog continued Thursday 3/16/17.
Although I’m over it and back to my version of normal, I haven’t forgotten. I can still feel the frustration. I’m just not angry right now. But the issue is still an issue.
Although I suspected the kids and I likely have PTSD, I never really faced the issue. That is until Levis psychiatrist let me know, with out me ever mentioning it to him, that the kids and I have it. I was surprised at my reaction, after all I should have been prepared for that. But I wasn’t. I think I was actually avoiding it and he made me face it. It didn’t feel good. I even cried. Later I laughed. Talk about a slew of emotions. Even after laughing I wasn’t happy about it, I was frustrated. It just felt so unfair. Not just for me but more so for my kids.
I do know from experience that as difficult as it can be to be diagnosed, it has the great potential of having more benefits than not. Once you understand why you or your family members or friends act and react a certain way you can move on and learn how to work with what you or they have and improve and use the talents that may come with it and help others and get the help you need from services and such. The big benefit is understanding why you do, feel, and think the way you do. Understanding yourself really makes a big difference in healing and improving.
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So, this Sunday the acknowledgement of the PTSD did help me understand my emotional reaction to the previous days. From Friday all the way through Sunday I was affected by other peoples religion. One was a friends Catholicism and the other was my moms United Pentecostal type way of being.  Neither of them meant me any harm and I love both people. One was just trying to please her parents by being where they wanted her to be cause they were out of town. Going to mass and or church can be more superstitious than going because you need encouragement, community and wisdom.
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As far as my mom, she attempted to leave me texts about what god was doing through her. I may be wrong, but I felt intent, not just sharing and conversing. Like maybe she read or saw something I posted and wanted to try to “fix” me. I had posted a few atheist meme’s on my Facebook wall, so that could be it.  When she learned that only one of her text went through she decided to just tell me all about it on a phone call. It was a very long dialog about how god was using her and speaking through her and answering her prayers. The result? Hallelujah! I’m now magically “saved.” Thank you Jesus! I now know, again, that everyone else in the world that believes and has the any “evidence” and hope and “proof” and all from their god(s) is wrong. Us European type people are the only right people on earth. Our religion is correct and every one else is wrong. Our god is superior and everyone else is a myth. Yep, it doesn’t matter that everything in the Bible was taken from different religions, nope, it’s all true cause a bunch of white men said they were empowered by the holy ghost and so it’s true even when it’s proven not to be. So, praise the Lort! I’m just gonna throw common sense and being awake and aware out the window and trade it in for the shackles and nonsensical rules and regulations of a god who can do anything and every thing and knows all but won’t feed the masses of starving people, not even the starving babies in their mothers arms who are so malnourished their bodies can’t produce any milk. Now there’s a good idea! I mean, after all, it’s clear in Genesis that we are not supposed to know  “the knowledge of good and evil”, cause if we did we would realize that man made gods, not the other way around.
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Let me set this straight, in case you are getting my drift incorrectly. I Was Not Mad At God. I can’t be made at him/her/them. Why? Because I don’t believe him/she/they exist. Who was I mad at? People and their superstitions! And the poisonous ideas they shove down your throat, nose, ears and even up your butt, thinking they are helping you.
Folks, it’s not helping, it’s hurting. You hurt people with your religion and then you wonder why they are angry when you are responsible for triggering them. But no, it can’t be your fault, you were just sharing the love of Jesus. It’s got to be them, if they only would listen and give their lives over to your god then they would be set free from the things oppressing them. Dude! Stop, you are the one oppressing them. You want to help them? Than stop with the religious vomit!
I want people to heal too. I want them to recover and lose their “buttons” over time.  I am aware that pushing their buttons over and over doesn’t make the buttons go away, it makes them worse and adds to them. Maybe there are some exceptions, but the majority of people will not get better this way. Become aware of the fact that a person may have been religiously abused and back off with trying to feed them your beliefs. You can be friends with people with PTSD. You can love them and you can help them. I am not writing this blog about how to help them at this time, I’m just writing to wake folks up to the possibility that their religious “help” may be doing more harm than good.  There are a lot of good online articles out there about how to help people without using religion.
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So, back to last weekend. By Sunday night I was angry. I get frustrated and depressed at times, but anger isn’t something I usually feel for prolonged periods of time. So I was curious about myself and why I felt so angry. I realized it was a PTSD reaction, that my buttons had been repeatedly pushed, the PTSD had been triggered. So I let myself let it out. Not on anyone, but alone, in my car. I had a good couple hollers while driving. No one could hear me so no police were called, lol! I just had to release some tension. I didn’t feel awesome after that, but I do think that’s when I started to recover from it all. The next day I was grateful that I didn’t have to work. I felt like crap till late afternoon. I think the stress of the previous days physically took a toll. But like I mentioned, I felt better as the day progressed. By the evening I felt fine so on Tuesday I was ready and good to go for work.
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I know my mom loves me. I also know she gets caught up in her head, we all do at one time or another. I don’t mind hearing an occasional tale of how “god” has done this or that. It brings her happiness and I’m glad for her. But to go on and on and think it’s gonna convert me is just plain annoying and when I’ve already had a tasking couple of days, it’s harmful. My mom isn’t alone in this way of thinking and acting, not by a long shot. Which is why I am writing this, maybe someone will care and understand and make the changes because it not only makes sense, but because it’s love.
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I would like to add that how I felt doesn’t describe how others with PTSD may feel. How it affects people can differ. Even our own reactions and feelings can be different for different circumstances. And some folks do find comfort in religion and religious ideas. It’s just good to not assume or think cause it helps you or you’re told it does that you should use it to “help” others.  Be careful and don’t assume. This blog barely touches on what PTSD is and what religious induced PTSD is. (Also known as Religious Trauma Syndrome (RTS).)It would be kind of you to research and learn more about it. Most likely you have and will have friends, family and associates that have it.
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If you or someone you know is suffering from religious trauma or maybe just needs someone nonjudgmental to talk to, here’s a web site to a hot line that has people ready to listen. Just click here-
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The Multifaceted Denseness of Dylann Roof.

Dylann Roof is a very ignorant young man. I’m sure many would agree but maybe not for the reason I am saying it.

(Dylann Roof, pic found on Google Images.)

(Dylann Roof, pic found on Google Images.)

As an obviously terrible raciest the last thing he should have done was shoot black people in church. After all, why do most black people in the US go to church? Because years ago their ancestors had white slave owners who forced them to convert.

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(Pic found on Google images.)

The only reason “Jesus” saved the black slaves in the US was because they were forced to bring up their children to believe in the white slave owner’s Jesus and when slavery was abolished Jesus, who had not necessarily saved their parents and certainly not all the black slaves who were beaten and worked into an early grave, had suddenly decided to save them. Hallelujah! Or… maybe it wasn’t Jesus after all.

However, even after slavery was abolished, blacks in the South were still in bondage. There were citations for everything a newly free person can think of to keep them from leaving the South and to keep them enslaved under the notion of being hired servants. If they left the plantation and stood on a street corner waiting for a bus to the West or the North they would get citations and or arrested for loitering. Pretty much everything a human needs to do to live and survive was against the law for black folks. So, in order to not get arrested or to pay off the fines they had to go back to work for their old slave owners for barely any pay and what ever they were payed usually went to pay off their fines and for their rent and clothes and food.

You see, if Dylann had actually read his Bible and knew a little about American history he would have known what many of the slave owners knew and used to keep the black slaves in mental chains.

(Pic found on Google Images.)

(Pic found on Google Images.)

Ephesians 6

Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ. Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart. Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people, because you know that the Lord will reward each one for whatever good they do, whether they are slave or free.

And masters, treat your slaves in the same way. Do not threaten them, since you know that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no favoritism with him.

The “masters” conveniently skipped verse 9. But like the Catholic church of the dark ages, the masters made sure their subjects couldn’t read so they wouldn’t learn anything that contradicted the scriptures they used. Sadly this mentality is still being used in some part of the US. When I lived in Camden Arkansas I heard stories about black kids not wanting to do well in school cause they saw other black folks who had gotten a good education and a successful occupation made fun of and put down by their own families.

1 Timothy 6:1-2  All who are under the yoke of slavery should consider their masters worthy of full respect, so that God’s name and our teaching may not be slandered.Those who have believing masters should not show them disrespect just because they are fellow believers. Instead, they should serve them even better because their masters are dear to them as fellow believers and are devoted to the welfare of their slaves.

While I would love to see people of all nationalities and color get along and work together as one it has come to my understanding that certain people groups need to get out from under their mental slavery before moving on to the next step of their psychological evolution.

What Dylann Roof didn’t have the intelligence to understand was that the people he killed were doing exactly what he wanted, they were keeping themselves enslaved to the white mans religion. They were not just enslaved to it themselves but they were also acting as vectors by keeping the mental enslavement going on to the next generation and so on. They were doing exactly what the white slave owners of the past had set up, they were keeping their old families slave owners wishes alive.

And then, they forgave him.

I’m not saying they shouldn’t find a way to heal and to move on. Forgiveness is what Christ would want, which is still eating out of the abusive slave owners palms. It’s like Stockholm syndrome passed down from generation to generation. What once helped the slave owners to keep the slaves in mental shackles now comforts the children of those slaves. They hold desperately to it, they defend it, and they spread it.

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(Pic found on Google Images.)

I will not pull a Dolezal and pretend to be black even though I spent many of my years in black churches and under the extreme authority of a black man. I can look in the mirror. I can tan but I’m still considered “white”. Unlike my kids I have no Native American or African American in me that I know of. But I do consider myself a person, a human, a homosapien. I bleed red like everyone else. My kids look as white if not whiter them me and they have mixed blood. But because of their white appearance they are not welcomed into the plight of the black people living in the US. Partly for good reason, my kids will likely fair much better then a black kid when it comes to the cops. This has to change! No matter how universal my kids feel, the black kids will be at a disadvantage as long as their minds and their families minds are still locked into the old white slave owners shackles and as long as the white people keep turning their heads whenever an atrocity in the black community happens at the hand of a white man.

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Freeing ones self from the old slave owners religion won’t solve the problem, but it will be a huge step toward doing so. I could go into more things that would help but I only have ideas and not personal experience in this area and I don’t think that would be appreciated. While I am a supporter, I don’t carry sway or power. If I did, believe me, I would do all I could to help the positive change happen. Maybe one day I will, who knows. But for now I can express what I am learning and what I see and hope it helps at least someone free themselves mentally and move on to the next step.

I believe this will happen, I believe we are on our way to a one race population of freedom and peace. But it isn’t here yet. There is a lot of work to be done.

(Pic found on Google Images.)

(Pic found on Google Images.)

An added note:

By the way, freeing oneself from one religion only to run into the arms of another isn’t freedom. While some folks need religion for emotional support, a sense of community and a place in government, it’s about time folks got over that and created those things without religion. Religion, wither it be the white peoples Christianity or the brown peoples Islam or the black peoples African tribal religions or what ever color and spiritual beliefs, religion in it’s essence is the same. It served us well when we had no idea or explanation for what we see and feel around us. It made up stories to help us understand and deal with life and it gave us a great way to control and manipulate each other. But life has moved on, we have discovered so many proven reasons for what we see and hear around us. We know where so many things came from and why they are what they are. Sure, the scientific field is always learning but it’s doing a great job. We can still come together over real time issues and ideas, we can still form communities and help each other over what is proven and what is reality. We can still find hope and comfort in each other… without religion. 

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Last night while driving with three of my kids to the video store I found myself talking about the mental abuse I went through most my life. I’ve never really labeled it that way before. It’s so easy to be misunderstood, but sometimes that’s life!

What sparked it was my twelve year old son being concerned for my health. I have irritable bowel syndrome and am often in discomfort. I had a stressful week and stress is a big IBS trigger. It’s not always about food.

My son wanted to know what caused it. So far no one has pin pointed the cause of IBS, but many have speculated it stems from stress.

So I told him about how I was never allowed to express myself, I learned to hold everything in. I told him about as a child I was shy and quite and by the time I started coming out of my shell my mom would take personal offence if I ever expressed negative feelings. My dad was more subtle with it, he knew how to put a guilt trip on you before you ever knew what was happening.

I told my son about how at the age of about nineteen I finally barfed my feeling out in front of several people. I was on a church trip and I got extremely sick and ended up breaking down emotionally. The church leader saw tears in my eyes which normally would embarrass me terribly and insisted I talk. One of the church ladies coaxed me and before I knew it I was virtually vomiting mass amounts of mental pain I had unknowingly held in for many year.

This all happened in a van caravan along the side of the highway from Chicago to Mississippi. My mom was in the van behind us but got an earful from the church leader because much of what I spilled out was about my parents. I had never “exposed” them before. I didn’t know how to say anything bad or negative about my parents. So this was quite a shock to her. She got very upset with me and brought it up off and on for years as if I had abused her.

My son then talked about how it was good the church leader and church lady helped me get that stuff out.

I then told him that it was good but sadly that was the last time it would happen. From then on I was under their wing and I was not allowed to be myself and express myself any longer with out rebuke and retaliation. Even in regard to other church members. I was often reprimanded for not standing up for myself. But, if I did, the people I stood up to would complain to the church leader and then he would rebuke me harshly usually saying I had meanness in me and use what I did as an example for many sermons there after. If you look up brain washing this is a common technique, btw.

I then told my son that I have been out of all that for about five or six years now and that while I have healed myself mentally and emotionally, physically it can take a while. I really believe holding in stress all those years is a big contributing factor to my current IBS condition. I told him I have improved, but I have a ways to go.

After hearing the initial story he let me know this was the first he ever know of this part of my past. I explained, and was thankfully backed up by my daughters, that I had indeed talked about it in front of him many times but he likely was to young to understand. I was happy he understood that.

He told me that if he had a time machine he would go back in time and fix all that for me. I just love it when my children show empathy, it’s lovely and heart touching. I mentioned I appreciated his empathy and he asked what that was so the girls and I told him. Then I mentioned something about him being empathetic and he thought I insulted him. After all empathetic has the sound of pathetic in it. We had a good laugh over that.

He wanted to help me heal mentally so I assured him I had. He seemed to be trying to find a way to help me. I thought it was really awesome that he was taking such a mature view of it all.

I told him that when I first got out of all that stuff I desperately wished for a time machine. I wanted so badly to go back and change things. But over time I found I knew so much more then ever before and I could relate to and help people cause I understood them due to my own past experiences. I realized that if time machines were real, I could never change anything. I value what I have learned and who I have become.

After securing in his mind that I have changed and I do now express myself and am mentally doing well he moved on to my health.

I let him know I was working on it. That it would take time. He then moved on to the issue of exercise… Oh dear! lol I admitted I was doing pretty bad with that at this time. He wanted to set up a schedule for me to go to the YMCA every day while him and his siblings were at school. There was actually a time I did that. I loved it! I wanted to work with his ideas but lately I have had an appointment for one of the four kids and or myself almost every weekday. When I finally have no appointments I am plum wore out. I don’t really mind the busyness, it’s just really hard to fit exercise in to it. I told him I am looking for a free or low priced working tread mill. I really believe at this time in my life that would benefit me and the kids as well. It is a subject that has been on my mind lately.

Levi’s autism causes him to be behind sometimes. But like many autistic kids, once he gets it he’s got it better then most and he’s got it forever. Often autistic kids are misunderstood as not having feelings. They do indeed have feelings but usually express them differently and have reasons other then the norm that cause them to become emotional. Because they have a need to understand things logically when they do become emotional they often do so from a very deep place inside of themselves.  I really enjoyed watching his sweetness last night. He was sensitive but not sad, just compassionate and wanted to be a part of helping his mom.

He told me after the conversation was about over what he does. He said when he wants to cry, it doesn’t mater where he is or who is around, he cries! And when he wants to yell, he yells and so on. This sort of behavior is often what gets autistic kids bullied. It’s difficult because as their parents we don’t want to change their realness, but, we do want to protect them. It’s a constant balancing act and is never a pat answer. He then told me that if I want to cry and other people don’t want me to that I should cry extra hard and loud. I love it!

my son and I

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I may have written on this subject before. I’m doing it now because I was answering a question posted on a UU group site on FaceBook and my answer was turning into an essay. When my comments get that long I have decided it would be better just to turn them into a blog and post the link instead of having a book written on the comments area.

 

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I had heard of Unitarian Universalism churches in my early teens and I was told they were like Scientology, Christian Science and New Age and all that “demonically” influenced jazz. I was led to believe that though they thought they were “saved” they were actually deceived and needed “saving”.

 

 

I went to a funeral at the UU in La Jolla Ca. with my then non-denominational charismatic church. It was awkward feeling walking into a virtual devils lair but the congregation was very sweet and welcoming and we always thought of ourselves as living witnesses so that helped. Of course the church folks I went with said it was the UUers who were surprised at how kind and loving we were and we knew we had been a good testimony to them.  I see now the awkwardness was more likely on our part and they were the ones who were a good example to us. But the Christianity I was raised in didn’t allow for that sort of realistic thinking.

 

 

When I work up to reality at the age of 38 I spent some times being bitter for a while. I found comfort and encouragement in the online Wiccan community. It was one of my on line Wiccan friends who suggested I try out the local UU. I had become accustomed  to relearning every thing I though I knew so that idea was right up my alley. Also, I didn’t want my kids to grow up afraid of going to church.

 

 

I called the Kalamazoo, MI UU and asked if we could get a ride. They told us they didn’t usually do that but they would send someone with the church van to pick us up. The first time we walked into the lobby my oldest and I sighed a breath of relief as if we expected to have burned up. Even though it was a UU church it still looked like a church which we were very burned out about. We only attended that UU a few times. It was a lovely and welcoming place. We stopped because we moved to Springfield, MO.

 

In Springfield Mo we became members of the UU there. I have wonderful memories of that place and thanks to FaceBook I still keep up with some of the wonderful folks I met there. I really enjoyed the early morning Sunday School time where we met in the basement and sat in a circle discussing the weeks topic. In attendance was often one or a few Christians, Pagans, Humanest, eastern religions type people, etc. We didn’t always agree on everything but everyone remained respectful and willing to learn.

 

When I lived in Chili, Wisconsin I went to the UU home meetings in Marshfield. They used the CLF program (The online church). It’s a small group of very lovely people (only adults were there) and we always brought food to share and had dinner together. This is where I learned about the book by Eboo Patel called Acts of Faith which I wish everyone would read.

 

 

I had also visited the UU in Wausau but besides it being to far they had their closed teen program they had going which I didn’t know about till we got there and it was a big set back for my oldest daughter because she couldn’t attend the youth program during church. It may not seem like a big deal to some but when someone has aspergers you never know what will turn out to be a big deal.

 

When we lived in Grand Haven, Michigan I went to the UU in Muskegon. Again, a wonderful place. They had a fun kids program over summer that I took my little ones to along with my then fiance’s little one. Even though I visited his church (it was a Calvary Chapel) he wouldn’t visit my UU cause as it turned out he had no room for anything but his style of Christianity.

 

When we moved back to Wisconsin (Plover) I went to the UU in Stevens Point for a while. It’s on the small side and in a non-traditional building. Like the Springfield UU church I loved that they brought in speakers, some from the church and some from abroad.

 

Where we live now in Wisconsin the closest one is the Wausau one. I do like to go when I can, it depends on my gas money situation. The closed youth program is going again and will be for a long time. My oldest doesn’t go with me anyway but my other daughter has a friend who is interested so it still sucks they have to do that program on Sunday mornings. It’s in a very traditional looking church building that they built on to. There is always some friendly faces to chat with there. They just got a new minister so it will be interesting to see how things go.

 

I really love most my UU brick and mortar experiences. I love being able to tell people who say coexisting isn’t possible that it is and I’ve seen it in action. That’s just awesome!

coexist_by_chima

 

What I don’t care for, or I should say what I miss, is more lively modern music. The hymns and old songs are good but it would just be nice to have some modern time stuff as well. There are usually very musically talented people in UU churches so it shouldn’t be to hard to start up a church band.

 

 

Also, I have hardly seen any teens in the UU’s I’ve attended. Maybe if they would update their music it would help some. Many Christian churches have done that and though a lot of Christians see it as selling out I think it’s a great idea. Maybe even have an alternative modern type of service.

 

As far as the closed teen group, they have good reason for making it closed. They cover sensitive topics and want the teens attending to feel safe and comfortable with each other. So they take the time to get to know each other then they close the group for several months. I hear it’s a wonderful program. I just wish they would do it on a different day or night. It feels awkward and wrong to invite people and then tell them that their teen can’t join the other teens. When I asked about this the time before when we lived in Wisconsin they told me that they had tried to make it on a different day but the parents said they would only let their teens go on Sunday morning. So it doesn’t seem like it’s the church leaders fault necessarily. I’ve taught Sunday School and kids Bible class in my Christian years and I must admit that parents can be very difficult to work with. They often don’t consider the other kids, just their own and their own families agenda. It doesn’t matter what religion or belief, people will be people.

 

I would also love to see more UU’s willing to pick people up that can’t afford to drive or don’t have a vehicle. It shouldn’t be an odd incident but something perfectly normal. I’m sure there are some that do, I just haven’t seen it where I’ve been. I did meet a lady at the Wausau UU who told me she’d give me a ride anytime I need it. That’s more like how I grew up, helping people get to church.

 

Some folks don’t see the need for a church that supports the different religions and non-religion. These type of folks also see secular and atheist churches as silly. But it isn’t. There are groups for just about everything because people need people. It’s too easy to be isolated these days and places to go to like church, AA meeting and even coffee shops and pubs is helpful in order to meet up with like minded people. it gives people hope and positive energy and just what they need to make it another week. Also, churches like UU’s do a lot for social justice and the needs of their town.

 

If you are interested in visiting a UU I suggest going to the UU main site and type in your zip code to get a list of near by UU congregations. Don’t judge the church by your first visit though. Most UU’s have very different services from Sunday to Sunday. Also on their web site and the back of their church program is usually listed a variety of local activities and groups you may find fun and interesting. Click here – UU main site – to find your local UU.

 

If you can’t make it or there is no local UU you can find encouragement at the online UU church at http://www.clfuu.org/. Some folks do both! Some folks would rather stay home Sunday morning. What ever your cup of tea is as long as you stay encouraged.

 

 

 

 

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Last night I dreamed of several folks from my past. Two of which passed away a while ago.

One was Doug Young. I wish I could remember everything but all that comes back to my mind was something to do with him fixing stuff and he was very cheerful.

youngs(Doug and family)

I also dreamed of the Turners, my old church leaders from UFHOP who I consider cult leaders. I don’t remember the details of the dream but I do recall that in it they were “back” and they were starting up a service and ushering everyone inside the room where the service was being held, except me. They knew I wouldn’t be a part of it and they were right.

ufhop turners(Old photo of members and leader (Elder Howard Turner) of United Fellowship House of Praise)

The last part of the dream my mom and dad were in. My dad is the other person who passed away a while back. I don’t recall anymore then that they were in the end part of the dream and it left me with a positive feeling.

Bob and Joan - Copy(My mom and dad, Bob and Joan.)

When I dream of the Turners I label the dream a nightmare. I could handle night paralysis better then dreaming of them. To me they were the real nightmare. However, this time it didn’t bother me. I didn’t exactly enjoy it and in the dream I wasn’t too happy about all the people they still had fooled and were under their influence but I also didn’t let it get to me. Upon waking it didn’t haunt my mind like dreaming of them usually does.

The Turners 001(The Turners at the HDC where I used to work.)

Up until recently they were the only people I refused to forgive. In all scary honesty, I felt the only way I would feel relieved of them was to stab them in the heart and watch the life drain from their eyes. I would never actually do that but it was the only way my mind wanted to virtually deal with them. I’ve never felt that way about anyone else I know in my life, just them. I understand that not forgiving is like shackling ones self to the person you don’t forgive. But, I just couldn’t handle the idea of letting them get away with taking away the majority of my life.  I was under their command from the age of 19 to 38. That’s all of my twenties and most of my thirties and I could never get those years back.

79349-34-e1379909642611(Some folks will “get” this pic.)

I’ve been reading The Secret and about a week or so ago something in there clicked and made me face the fact that I need to let my resentment toward the Turners go. I mean, I already knew that at the front of my head but I hadn’t let the knowledge sink in and be acted on. I often psychoanalyze myself, it’s kind of a habit. So, looking inside I would have to say it’s likely I felt they need to be punished and as many bad things that have happened to them they haven’t changed, they keep going along the same psychopathic path and somehow fooling people as they go. But then again, that’s what psychopaths do. Oh, they’ve “repented” for stuff and pointed out their wrong doing as long as it was for their benefit in the long run. But, if you keep listening and become a fly on the wall you will eventually hear them explain why what they repented for wasn’t actually wrong but that they needed to repent out loud so certain people wouldn’t leave the church cause their souls were at stake. Oh my goodness! I’ve heard them say this type of things so very many times.

When looking through the first half of The Secret for what ever it was I read about forgiveness that found a way through my brain I couldn’t find it. But as I was skip reading I did find the chapter that focused on the extreme positive emotion called Love. I think that actually was what got through to me. I do remember thinking, “I’m not ready to love them, but it’s about time I forgive and let it go.” I wasn’t sure exactly how effective that thought was but it seems from my dream last night that it was indeed effective after all. In the dream I was a little disappointed that friends were still being fooled by them but not enough to ruin my emotions and qualify as a nightmare. I saw it for what it was and moved on. And really, I am very grateful it’s not me that’s included in the group of fools. I’m thankful I didn’t feel the need to fit in and join them and not feel left out, obligated, or afraid. I’ve come to far, suffered to much and gained too much wisdom to back peddle. And that’s a good thing!

Our sleeping dream world is a place without limits for us to work out ideas and issues as well as sort through things. It’s also a place where we can take our virtual temperature and find out how we really are doing. In all it’s strange surrealness it can show us reality. Last night, my temp was pretty good! 

winter_dreaming(Josephine Wall’s Winter Dreaming)  

I may have bothered some with my extreme honesty about how I used to feel about the Turners. In my opinion, how can I expect to help others if I am afraid of what people will think of me and hide dirty little details in order to make others think I’m this awesome perfect non-human person. No thank you! I prefer to remain real, honest and an open book.  Just like one must love and forgive others to be free and move on, one must also love and forgive ones self in order to be free and move on as well.

Today is the day before Halloween and soon it will be Samhain. For many pagans this is the time the veil between dimensions is thinnest and one can communicate with loved ones who have passed on. Some don’t feel the need to communicate but to just remember and appreciate loved ones who have died.  As I was writing this and looking through old pictures I found one with the old church group and in it was my dad, Doug and Diane, all friends who have passed on some time back. They’re loved ones i am happy to have known and happy to remember and appreciate.  I understand many of my atheist friends think it’s silly and annoying to think that loved ones who have passed away may be watching over us and helping us, but the odd thing is, the Christian faith i was raised in felt the same way. Except instead of believing they ceased to exist we were taught they went on to either heaven or hell and  that’s it. Any watching over us was done by Jesus or the angels or if something was wrong then demons.  It seems when people become radical they often end up in the same boat. I am happy to have room in my brain to believe it is possible that loved ones who have passed on may possibly be able to assist us who are considered living.  Wither it’s true or not, it’s not a sin, it’s a comforting thought and for some it’s gets them by day by day.

If you’re interested in learning more about the truth behind Samhian besides not reading about it from Christian sources cause they are often full of propaganda I suggest you check out this simple link – http://paganwiccan.about.com/od/samhainoctober31/p/Samhain_History.htm.

67056_570320059683613_589377180_n(I don’t know who wrote this Samhain prayer but i thought it was lovely. I found it on Facebook.)

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“Had a decent day doing the last day of my garage sale. I still didn’t get the garage sold  😉  but I did get some items sold. There were a lot of Mexican families that came by today. One man talked with me for a bit while his wife looked around. Turned out he’s from TJ and not only that but more specifically from San Quinton. I told him I had gone there with a church to bring food, clothes and stuff a long time ago. He said there was only one place like that there and when he was a boy he and his friends would all go there together for aid and a meal. It’s so fun when you meet someone who had taken some of or many of the same paths you have taken.”

That was my FaceBook post yesterday. Though I meant what I said about it being fun to meet people who have traveled the same path I also had  memories come to the surface that weren’t so fun.

The same man also told me how when he was young he would see the giant beautiful homes along the beach and wonder who lived in them. He thought living so close to the beach was scary. People would tell him it was Americans who lived there.

I remembered going to not just San Quinton, (I only did that once) but many many times to various places in TJ with Sister Stamps from Imperial Beach to bring the food and clothes she collected for the TJ poor and to join the services being held at the churches she started there. I remember passing out the food and wishing I could take a bite or the clothes and seeing things I really needed. I was ok with not having any of those items or food cause I knew these people really needed it, but then again so did I.  I had been brought up that no matter how poor or how much pain you are in there is always someone who is worse off. I was brought up to give, not receive. What annoyed me then was the attitude of many of the children and adults we were helping. They often made it clear they knew we were rich and we owed them. Not all of them, but many of them. That’s where it stung.

I am starting to understand now that they were in an environment that fed that mentality. People are more pron to group mentality then they usually know.  I wondered about the man I talked with at my garage sale. I wondered if he had that mentality and if he got out of it or still felt the same way. I didn’t have time to ask him, but I am curious.

I had my own warped mentality as well. What slightly changed me was this one day on the way up to Julian with my then Church (UFHOP), we stopped off at a buffet to eat. I had been well programed to believe my church leader who we called Elder Turner and his wife, Sister Turner, and kids were poor and the ones in need. It’s a common way for ministers to get money, I’m sure you know. But at that time I bought into it heart and soul. I had a job and did all I could to help them and others. So when they told me they were paying for my meal I just wouldn’t accept it, it just couldn’t be. Sister Turner took me aside and told me that when you give you receive blessings and by not allowing them to bless me by paying for my meal I was not allowing them to be blessed by giving. It made sense so I gave in and let them pay for my meal. It was still very uncomfortable but it didn’t kill me after all.

I can’t say that I was cured of being able to take not just receive but I was a step better. I think there was more to it then the way I was raised, I think I was also that way cause I saw too many people with the taker attitude, the “you owe me” one and it repelled me making me go the opposite way.

The “you owe me” thing was in play real heavy when I lived in Camden, Arkansas. Still with UFHOP and Elder Turner and his second wife, also called Sister Turner,  and not only with them but they were in charge of my life, I got a lot of that attitude aimed at me. The Turners didn’t use that attitude, well not in the same way anyways. Theirs was you owe God so you have to pay us tithes and offerings and what ever else our whim and fancy need wither it be your time, your money and your home for.  When someone visited or was new they usually were put in my home. Some of those people had that ugly attitude and even Elder Turner would notice it. He would point it out and preach about it after they left and after they took advantage of me and anyone else they could take from. But there were members who did the same thing. One  was a lady who I considered a friend who we called Sister Alice. Because I considered her a good freind I was ignored her attitude of me owing her cause I was a rich white lady. She was around enough to know I barley had enough for my own family but her cognative defanence kept her from really understanding that. Many of the African Americans living in the Camden area of Arkansas have the mentality that if you are white then you are rich and you owe them.  She was certainly a product of her environment.  It wasn’t about money as much as helping her. I was happy to watch her daughter around the clock on a regular basis but I found it odd that when she watched mine for over an hour (happened vary rarely) she would complain that I was taking advantage of her.  And other things like that. I didn’t want to believe back then how she really saw me. But it really was obvious and in my face.

Though I am still not good at asking for aid I am better at speaking out when there is an injustice not just to others but to myself as well.  And when I do ask and receive I usually have mentally lectured myself first. It helps!

I feel like I am missing something I wanted to say, but it’s summer vacation and I have a house full of children and noise so that will have to do for now.

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