Running and the Meaning to Life
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One of the deconversion problems I have been having is meaning to life. I have many things that are fulfilling. I have friends who I can rely on. I have an opportunity to play hostess. I have regular games which allow me to be creative and get my desire to make stories out in a social situation. I have physical exercise, and a rotational determination to eat better. I have a job which allows me to pay my bills and offers me great bosses and work that I enjoy (and sometimes boring work that I don't, but eh). I have a home, clothes, two beautiful awesome cats. I have a garden which continually needs me to figure out a way to do it better. I have knitting and other creative outlets. I can help make an impact on the world through helping John get his games out. And now, I have anti-depressants and CBT to get to where I am free of the black darkness that has followed me all my life.

I have all I need to have a good life. a life that is enjoyable.

However, religion did something to me. It made me want... a meaning. a purpose that was bigger than me. I'm not the sort of person to make for a good social worker, and it never called to me in a way that I need for something to be my "purpose."

It is funny, because my purpose as a Christian was doing whatever god wanted. Since he couldn't make that clear to me, I was living my life, trusting that he would guide me and use me, and make good on my life to his purpose. What I am doing now, is no different than what I did then, except that I don't think there is a puppet master to make my life worth something if I don't make it worth anything myself.

I acknowledged that the idea that we need to have our meaning "given" to us by some sort of designer is damaging and inaccurate. It causes problems much later in life and gives a sense of helplessness that is unnecessary and harmful. It can cause us to stumble in living life, because we have to constantly evaluate what we want to do with what we think our holy book/diety tells us.

That doesn't help. I still want this thing... Need this thing... Even if I know I'm better off now. I just need... something. Something to ease my brain, to let everything be OK to just... live.

I may have stumbled upon it. It started with an article talking about how humans evolved to be running animals. That our strength in running is endurance. It talks about how human hunters can run an antelope to the ground. While the antelope may have short bursts of speed, the human can keep it up, and eventually, the antelope lays down, exhausted and overcome with heat. The concept was boggling. From that article, someone suggested a book for more information, Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes and the Greatest Race the World has Never Seen, by Christopher McDougall.

My mind is expanding at the idea. Humans evolved to be really good  at a few things. Thinking about thinking is one of them. Our rampant sexuality is another. Running is a third.

There are studies that prove that humans can learn better and faster after aerobic exercise. Being active and athletic is vitally important. For me, cycling was to be my sport. However, what appealed to me the most: going fast and going long distances has slowly been eaten away. Going fast is responsible for all but one of my accidents with other wheeled vehicles. Yes, there were other factors, and it was their fault many times, but if I wasn't going fast, and pushing hard, I would have avoided the accident. So, my subconscious said... done.

Now, I have a hard time pushing myself to the place where riding is glorious and exalting... it is a chore. Not an unpleasant one, but it no longer is the glorious beauty it once was. I can't ride long distances, because I need speed to make that comfortable, to get speed, I need to be able to ride fast to work. Riding fast to work increases my chances of getting hit... and that all fumbles into the dust. Add to that, the need to replace expensive components (which my bikes are due for).... cycling just can't cut it anymore.

Not that I'm giving up the bike. I've stripped off my derailleurs and am running with a funny looking single-speed (still has the cogs for a 10 speed). At some point I'll put a flipflop hub on it and have the ability to go fixed, but for now, this suits.

I'm ready. Ready to find something. I've tried running a few times, but I couldn't get it to stick. Now, I'm learning that I've been doing it wrong, and for the wrong reasons. Shuck the shoes, get thin huaraches for the summer heat, put on a skirt (because it is more fun and I feel pretty in skirts) and run. It's slow going, because I have to build up my muscles, but every time I find something new about how I should be running, I switch it up. I'm thrilled, excited, and passionate.

Humans evolved to run. I can run, and if I do it right, I'll be a damn fine runner. I'll likely end up doing ultra running, of course. That's my style. I also have learned that female ultra runners can hold their own with men. Totally hot.  Another thing about these runners is that it is about love. loving running, loving people.... Also sexy.

I'm excited and thrilled and looking forward to this transformation of my life. My diet will change, but it was already shifting. This just gives me more motivation to keep pushing for that.

It may not be an intelligent higher power, and it may seem silly, but... it will do.  It will do.


Changeling: The Rising Tide
Changeling
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A recap of the last night's events for those who were not there.

Jill plays Caecilia. A falcon Beast tracker.
Desiree plays Elbereth. A flowering Fairest who does not remember being human. She also has.. well, you'll see.

Max - the unofficial leader of the changelings in Auckland, he is the head of the gossip chain. He summons all changelings with Hollows to the pub for an emergency meeting. This is highly dangerous, as it us understood that when changelings gather in larger than 6, they tend to start dying.

Caecilia must bring along Elbereth as the last time Elbereth was left alone, it almost turned out into a disaster for that poor door to door salesman.

Max reports that solitary changelings have been disappearing. At the rate of 1 per day. It has been happening at dusk. The hollow keepers agree to take in solitary changelings into their hollows. He also requests volunteers for finding what is behind this.

Elbereth volunteers eagerly. Caecilia is unable to talk her out of it, and reluctantly agrees.  They are teamed with Leeroy and Kivana. Leeroy is a ogre who is obnoxious and has gotten into a fight with Caecilia before. Leeroy promptly declares he is in charge of their investigation. Caecilia works out a deal that he can be in charge of the fighting. After a bit of bickering, he agrees.

After finding the locations of the missing changelings, Caecilia takes her group to the last disappearance. The last one was a darkling, and her path took her through a park. She leaves Leeroy with the order of watching Elbereth. He is thrilled that he gets to be in charge of watching the pretty lady. Much to Elbereth's annoyance, he never looks away.

Caecilia goes to a nearby tower that looks like a good perch.  She discovers that there is a trail of thick trees through the forest and returns to the group. They investigate, Kivana uses her earth elemental ability and the group discovers a darkling trail. They also find where the darkling took her last step. Around it is no indication of anything with a soul touching the ground since then.

Elbereth talks to the trees and discovers that a squirrel finally ran away, and that nothing has disturbed them.

(I should mention that up to now, the conversation is filled with much discussion about Elbereth's desire for human flesh. Caecilia begins to start working on a contract with her that will result in Elbereth limiting herself to gummi people. Elbereth resists the idea.)

Caecilia demonstrates how a flying creature could stoop on a person standing in the middle of the trees without touching a tree or the ground.

They go to another location that Caecilia knows about in the vicinity of the larger cluster of attacks. It is a place she has visited often as there is a good perch which overlooks both the college and a perfectly round circle of trees.

More discussion about the potential contract for not eating people. Caecilia is willing to dig up a dead person so Elbereth can try it and then Elbereth can stick to only gummi people. Elbereth still resists. dead people do not taste the same as fresh people. Vampires only eat live people, she points out. She also reveals that she knows what human flesh tastes like. Caecilia is only slightly relieved to hear that that experience happened while in Arcadia.

When they get there, they split up again. Caecilia goes to the perch and the other three follow the Wizened woodwalker's trail to the edge of the circle. Kivana refuses to enter, but Elbereth boldly walks into the direct center. Leeroy follows closely.

Elbereth talks to the trees who urge her to stay. They love her and they miss the meetings. it has been 5 summers since the last meeting.

Caecila shows up and drags Elbereth from the trees. Elbereth who was enjoying the attention protests that she wants to be with the trees. Caecilia  says they should be destroyed. Leeroy says he can do that. Elbereth protests and something is said that could be taken as Leeroy was unable to do that. He is happy to prove them wrong and he uproots a tree and offers it to Elbereth. She is horrified and insists he put it back. He does, but it unable to return it to the way it was, so it lays on its side where it once stood.

He sits so he can watch Elbereth closely in the car. Elbereth protests that it isn't necessary anymore. Leeroy declares he is in charge. He amends to just being in charge of fighting and watching Elbereth when Caecilia reminds him of their jobs. Caecilia offers that be the trade to get the contract focusing on only gummi people. Elbereth refuses the contract and topics quickly deteriorate to the need to lock Elbereth up in the basement that night.

When they get home, only three changelings wait at the door. It turns out that the brother of the Fairest didn't show up. He was coming from his job.

Caecilia gets the fire elemental to keep an eye on Elbereth and she determines to leave on her own. Elbereth fights with her about leaving on her own. She points out that Max had said no one should travel alone. Caecilia locks them in the house and leaves.

Elbereth, now locked in with three changelings b-lines for the darkling. The darkling, Alexander, is standing in a corner trying not to be noticed. Elbereth discovers he can see ghosts. She wants to talk to the ghosts. After the bribe of a tootsie roll, he finally admits there is one standing next to her jar of candy on the counter. She discovers the ghost wants candy and she offers it if there was a way for the ghost to get it. The ghost takes the spirit of the candy. All the time Alexander looks as though he wants to run away. But he also can't fathom that this beautiful creature wants to be around him.

She convinces him to come up to her greenhouse on the roof with her.

Meanwhile... Caecilia tracks the beast changeling who never showed up. She finds where his trail ended and it is close to one of her favorite perches. She goes to the top of the perch, and finds how the abduction happened. Just as she is about to leave, someone grabs her and pulls her down.

To be continued next Tuesday....


bats
totem
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I've been dreaming of bats lately. I think my subconscious is tagging Lynn as a bat, which confuses me since I've never been attracted to bats.

Still, because of the sort of dreams I've been having, I'm thinking of claiming a bat as one of my totems, or a spirit guide or something. If I could have kept the bat I dreamt of last night, I would be a very happy girl. She was awesome.


Googling for images I found this article.
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/08/070805194059.htm


oh, and either a fruit bat or insectivore. Either one works.
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songs of faith....
cthulhu
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These two songs are among my most listened to songs. They have remained through many cullings of songs I can't listen to at this point in my life.

The first one... this is my song of faith. It is the descriptor of what my faith was. It is... what I and God were. I listen to it sometimes. I feel at peace with it.




And this one, this one was the song of my heart during my struggles with faith. When I became more and more liberal.



These are the songs of what God was to me in the last year of my faith. I still love them. I can hear the other meanings, the one which the faithful hear and feel...

But these songs are mine. Mine and Josh's.
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Good Friday
faith
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coincidence and God's WillCollapse )

 

 


random thoughts
magic
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Many years ago, I noticed that I could never write like what is in my head. In the safety of my brain, wondrous worlds and fantastic adventures would unfold.

But, they always seemed so flat when I put them on paper. I used to think it was the words I used. I just had to become a better writer. While that is true, I’m not sure that even the best of writers really puts down what he has inside his skull.

After all, inside my head is more than words. More than images. It is emotions. A tangle of emotions that are invoked without an image, a word, a scent, or anything tangible or even something easily related to the tangible.

On paper or screen, all I have is words.

A skilled word smith can try to invoke the emotion or the image to their reader. Though I think most writers get caught on the image and physical senses.

The best ones get you to feel the feelings.

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spices
magic
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I discovered a spice combo which I really like.

lots and lots:
curry powder

lots:
salt

a decent amount:
Jamaican jerk
ginger powder
garlic powder

a tad:
onion granules
cumin powder


it makes a very comforting lentil soup...


Part 4: Appeal to Authority
faith
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But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect (I Peter 3:15)Collapse )

Part 3 Cognitive Understanding, Part 1
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Religion first gives you the disease it offers the cure for. Collapse )

Us vs. The Other…
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Growing up, my parents were hypercritical of people. The way they dressed, way they spoke/drove.. everything…

I always assumed that I was being judged with the same scrutiny as they turned on other people. Pairing that with the nature of my religion to tell me that I am a terrible, terrible person, I soon came to the conclusion that my family would be happier with me gone. I swung back and forth between permanent and less permanent ideas. Thankfully none of them stuck. Though, I still have the occasional urge to grab my cats, computer, and bike and move across country and just disappear.

Today, I realized something.

I think that typically, we use a different measure of criticism on “Us” than we do on “them.”

There is the measure we use against the Other. Pick your Other, maybe it is religious right or the liberal left or new atheists or fundamentalist Christians… there is an Other. We are harsh and see every flaw. Everything they do is pre-judged bad and out to destroy Me/Us. So attack first or die!

Then we have our In-Group. There is some judgment here(shifting based on proximity)… but nowhere near the same level. If our in-group member does something that is borderline, we’ll gloss over it. After all, we can rationalize away almost anything. You have to seriously cross a line to get direct assault. Though faults may be poked fun of, which is different…

And then there is Us. The closest of groups. I used to have this group with my parents. I’m certainly forming it with a core group of friends. In this group, there are two splits. There’s the issues that arise from closeness and proximity. But the judgment level seems to be the lowest of all the groups. You’re my friend/spouse/lover/sister/kid/etc… so I overlook all that because I love you. Sometimes I want to strangle you, but not for any generalized criticism that I might make about anyone else.

 It’s why my parents blame John and Ro.. not me. Because if they had heard about this about any other person.. She [I] would be viewed as a horrible, horrible person who was trying to destroy a marriage… Instead, because I am Us, I must be the victim…

 It’s a weird idea for me… I knew that my rants didn’t apply to friends.. but taking the logical step and reversing it…

 It’s a good thought for a perfectionist who fights depression…
 


(no subject)
arts
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for fun
arts
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found a fun icon
Dreaming
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the name on the download file:

hahahahaNO.jpg


i concur.

Part 2: Prayer/God's Voice
faith
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seeing they shall not see and hearing they shall not hear...Collapse )

ah.. istock...
misc 2
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Maybe the photographer uses a different definition of "basking"

Cause, that cat does not look like he's enjoying himself.



it's amusing when you find descriptions that don't fit the photos... like when one says the woman is making a sexy face at the camera and instead she looks constipated...

Part 1c: The Bible: Hell... and Heaven
faith
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hell.. heaven...Collapse )

Part 1b: The Bible: Evolution vs. Creationism
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Cut for more journey stuff...Collapse )

My Faith Diagram
faith
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I think this is a thorough model of my faith diagram. I may adjust as I go on.


Part 1a: The Bible: Inspired Literal Word of God
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Cut for journeys of a religious natureCollapse )

My Faith.
faith
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I became a Christian when I was 3 years old. My mom said she felt the seed was planted when I followed the sinner’s prayer. For the first two years of my life I had received intercessory prayers for 2 hours each night by my parents. When my brother arrived at age 2, the amount dropped to 1 hour per night. So, for all purposes I had been born one. When I was 7 I prayed again at school, since I hadn't remembered asking when I was three. My mom informed me that I already was one. Which turned out to be slightly distressing, since I was hoping she'd be happy about it.

As I grew up, I tried to be a good Christian. I went to private schools until high school and Sunday school and I read my in-depth comic book bible enough times to wear out the binding. If you grew up in the faith, you might know which one I mean. It had a red cover and was as thick as a normal bible.

 I memorized scripture, and while finding their addresses proved difficult as I grew up, I knew quite a bit about the book. Up until high school, I could win any bible trivia game for kids. I was convinced that pursuing jesus with all my heart was the greatest aspiration a person could live up to.

 While I had many difficulties with kids my own age, both secular and Christian, I found I had a friend in Jesus. He was my pillar, my strength. I prayed almost daily, and read my bible daily, though I didn’t read it in its entirety until I was 18 or so. Because, lets face it, Deuteronomy, Numbers and the prophets are much less interesting than Joshua through Chronicles and the gospels. There are some adventurous stories there! I mean, even Job mentions dragons and sea monsters… or maybe just hippos and crocodiles according to the notes at the bottom of the page. But regardless... it's no wonder where my love of fantasy came from. the bible is chock full of adventure stories not set in modern day.

 When I was 17, I thought that I needed to start forming relationships with my peers. And you know what? God provided! I was listening to a friendly girl in my photography class talk about her youth group. It sounded like they had a lot of fun, so I wanted to try that one. When I came home, my parents said we were visiting a new church. Which one? Yes, you guessed it.

 It was a match made in heaven. Sort-of. It wasn’t until I hit college that I really found a group of kids that I seemed to click with. But I was learning how to be social.

 Also, at this church, I was delivered from my depression and suicidal thoughts the first time. I remember the evening. We were told to come up if we thought God was calling us. I couldn’t tell if he was calling me as I had never been able to hear his voice. But the thought of staying put sent frogs leaping through my stomach, I figured I had to go up. I remember the look the pastor gave me, like he thought I hadn’t been called. But he prayed for me, and I felt different afterwards. Like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders. I could literally feel God hugging me after that.

 I recalled the bleeding woman who touched Jesus’ hem and thought that perhaps my healing had been like that. Since I had braved to ask for it, I had received.

 6 months after that, the college group fizzled out, since I went to another state for the summer, and there was no one to play admin/organizer for the group. A couple years later, my depression and suicide wishes came back full swing with the creation of the Cloak of Insanity.

 I wasn’t certain why that happened, but 4 years later, when things had gotten to the point where I had begun researching methods, I used the name of Jesus against the suicidal thoughts, they went away and still haven’t come back. So I figured it was a test, or maybe it had to do with breaking the strongholds. Another one of those things to ask God after I died.

 Trying to describe the depth and width of my faith is difficult. I was a spirit-filled, born again Christian. I believed in God’s power and that he answered prayer (yes, no, later), and that he could heal, that what I didn’t understand needed to be taken on faith. I believed the Bible was inspired by God, and that the only difficulties it posed were because of interpretation. You needed His Spirit to understand it. I prayed minimalistically, but daily. Most often, I asked for God to guide my life so that I pleased him. I also including people who upset me, since asking good things for them usually helped me let go, plus it made God happy. I also had difficulties with the “I’ll pray for you” promise which usually led to forgetting to pray for them, and thus lying. So, I prayed with people on the spot when they requested prayer for something.

 I read books, the bible, listened to sermons, Christian music, radio, Focus on the Family, Ravi Zacharius and more in an attempt to be all that God wanted me to be. I struggled with the idea of love your neighbor and that God hated the act of homosexual interaction. I struggled with the hierarchy of sins which weren’t in the bible (since when was homosexuality worse than adultery/premarital sex without marriage?) I struggled with how to make sins unacceptable, while still loving the people who sinned. After all, I was not without sin. I had gossiped, lied, and, when I was a kid, accidentally stolen.

 And still, I knew I had a relationship with God. After all, I experienced divine pleasure of being in God’s presence. Of the ecstasy that dancing for Him produced. So much so, that I was accepted into the Worship Team at my church. I was on-fire, a second honeymoon for a gal who didn’t have the first one, and everyone who looked at me seemed to see this godly woman. I was respected and loved, and all because my best friend was looking out for me.

 Though, inside, I struggled with trying to hear god’s voice. I couldn’t. Try as I might, I never was able to be clear on what he said. I had to go with my feelings, and the bible, and the reactions of believers around me. My list of do-nots was fairly impressive, and since I managed to accomplish it most of the time, I must be moving in His Spirit. After all, all the good that I did was of Him. I had to take on faith that since everyone pointed out my works were "good" and "godly" that I must be following God's will on a deeper level, some kind of instinct honed by the fact that I had been prayed over so much as a child, while I was forming mentally, and how soon I became a christian.  And sometimes, I would say things that amazed me in their profoundness and insight, so I figured he must have given me the gift of wisdom. So, I probably was on the right path and doing alright....

 I just wished he would talk to me. He was my best friend and all I had was an ancient letter from him (which I read faithfully each day). But I had Faith. I had faith in abundance. It was a point I was proud of (yes, I know, a sin), but I could believe. When others doubted God’s intentions, I had complete faith and trust he was working out for my best. That he cared for me on a personal level. And that he had grand plans for my life. And he would rescue me before things became irreversible...

 After all, he was my perfect Father, my best friend, and my divine spiritual guide. What more could a girl ask for?


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