love

Musings

God Exists, But He Isn’t a Man


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God is real, but he isn’t a man.

If you’re religious, or have any knowledge of the Abrahamic religions, then you’ve probably heard that “God made us in his image.” Because of this, many people depict God as an old man with a long white beard. God is also depicted as a single dad that loves us all. If we trace human nature back as far as we can go, this just can’t be true.

Men are not loving by nature, we’re tolerant. Read the old testament, God was vengeful, and full of wrath. But, what about women?

Women were supposedly created from the rib of men. I don’t buy this. If that were true, then why wouldn’t it be the way in which women are created today? That would be pretty cool though.

Imagine being a young boy, playing and hanging out with your friends, but once you hit a certain age, and “grow up,” you could decide to settle down, remove one of your ribs, creating the perfect wife for you, and have a family. It would make it clear that men are superior, and women are here to please us. Sadly, that is not how it works.

How do we make people? Sex! Men and women are both required to make a new person. That alone should tell you that we are fundamentally equal and that whatever story was written about women being inferior to men is BS. We are equal, but opposite, and that’s okay.

There are exceptions, but in general:

Men are external. We act OUT. We wage war on the world. We hunt, we kill, we provide. Our sex organ is on the outside of our body. We are strong physically, our outer shells made of steel. We are dominant and intimidating. We overtake by force.

Women are internal. They act IN. They wage war in their bodies, growing life from within. They sheath us. They receive. Their sex organ is inside. They are strong emotionally, their inner shells made of steel. They are submissive and cunning. They overtake by strategy and persistence.

Fire and Water.

Fire can boil water. Water can extinguish fire. Fire can warm a home, or fire can scorch the earth. Water can nourish life, or water can drown it. Neither better; both necessary; both deserve respect. It isn’t better to be a man, nor is it better to be a woman.

God is a singular word that represents the duality of life. Broken down, God would be two Gods; God, the mother, or Space, and God, the father, Time. Space and Time. Without one, the other can’t exist. If there was no space, just time, what would that even be? It is impossible to describe, because nothing could exist without a space to exist in. The only way we know that time exists is by measuring the changes in space. When you see a banana rot, it is indicative that it has been sitting out for some time.

On the other hand, space, no time. The universe would be like a photograph, or a model. It would just exist, but nothing would ever happen, nor change. No moving parts, no clouds, no rain. No wind, no us. Beautiful, but pointless.

No, we need space AND time. God, the father, made love with God, the mother, and he seeded her womb, space, where life grows and is nourished. Not every sperm makes it to the egg, not every planet sustains life, it takes a miracle. We live inside our mother’s womb, and when we die here, perhaps we are really being born there, wherever “there” is. Call it Heaven if you’d like.

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Musings

With All This Talk About The Wall


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wallcoming

Where The Wild Things Are
and where they came from
by R.J.Harrigan

When it comes to immigration, I say let them in. I believe the world shouldn’t have borders and we should all travel more. Sure, there are some bad apples in the bunch, but I don’t think that makes up a large enough percentage to damn the whole lot. While defending their stance on being anti-immigration, someone once said to me,

“If you had a bowl of M&M’s, and one was poison, would you keep eating them?”

I thought about it a moment, and said,

“No, I wouldn’t. However, I wouldn’t assume that all M&M’s are poisonous and ban them from being sold in America.”

I get the point they were trying to make, but it’s logic based on fear, and often easier to shut down the temptation then to deal with the issue.

For example, I used to drink. It didn’t have a negative consequence on my life, at least not in the way that I would consider it to be alcoholism, but I noticed that I had a high tolerance, and that I have a family full of heavy drinkers, so I decided to take a break. That break has been about 5 years now. In this case, I let my fear of turning into an alcoholic decide to remove the temptation altogether. However, if my decision was to remove all alcohol from the country because of my personal fear, then that would be a problem.

Keeping alcohol in the country means that we will have some bad apples who drink and drive and kill people; who drink and make bad decisions with their finances; who drink and abuse their children; who drink and sexually assault people. These are all things that would be greatly reduced, or eliminated, if we removed alcohol entirely. But we like alcohol too much, so we take the risk. If we could love people as much as we love alcohol, then we would be more willing to take the risk.

It is completely acceptable to distance yourself from the things you fear. If you don’t want immigrants here, then don’t make friends with immigrants. Don’t hire them. Don’t interact with them any more than you must, and even though I find that narrow minded, I also believe it to be your human right to do so. If an immigrant works at a store you shop at, and if that offends you, then go to another store. If they are driving you in a taxi, then please, get out and wait for another. If they are packaging your food, go support your local farmer’s market. There are options.

Now, I understand that many people aren’t opposed to immigration, but are opposed to ILLEGAL immigration. In which case, I understand, and even though I don’t believe in borders, I respect that they exist and should be treated as such.

Do I think our immigration process should be a little easier? Probably. I had a friend back when I was fresh out of high school that was going to take her citizenship test. She was nervous and asked me to quiz her. I knew 10% of the answers. She knew 100%. By the test’s standards, she is more American than I am, yet I am awarded citizenship for geographical circumstances that I had no control over. I think a background check, sitting down with a counselor to help map out your trajectory/intentions, and a time limit to get a job or enroll in school should suffice. Knowing our country’s entire presidential history seems unnecessary, but maybe that’s just my fear of being judged for not knowing it, so I want to cast out the entire system. You decide.

Motivation, News and Updates

The First Draft is Done


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Today is a very special day. I have finished my first draft of my memoir. It is just a skeletal outline of the whole story, but it give me a framework to work with. I have just over 50,000 words and 157 pages.

I have been taking notes along the way and already have at least another 30,000 words to add. So, I am a little ways away from being completely done, and like my professor told me in college, “When it comes to writing, nothing is ever done, just due.”

I can’t even begin to express how happy I feel about this. I never thought that I would actually do it. I have been talking about writing this memoir for a decade but didn’t sit down to do the important part…writing.

The only thing that kick started it was my final project for my master’s degree. I didn’t want to write a thesis paper, so I asked if I could do something more creative. They green lit the idea to write a sample of my memoir, then a 10 page paper “justifying” it. I had an adviser, Askold, that guided me through the process and read my work along the way, but most importantly, he gave me deadlines to adhere to.

After I finished the requirement for the project, I passed it in and received my passing grade, only to tuck away the memoir and not look at it again for almost a year.

I made a promise to myself that since I spent my twenties focusing on physical growth (I was skinny growing up so I hit the gym and kitchen hard), I would spend my thirties on intellectual growth. That meant more reading and writing. I wasn’t keeping that promise to myself until a few months ago when I read this quote that said, “The man who does not read has no advantage over the man who can not.” That hit me hard for some reason.

I made a new morning routine that I still stick to. I wake up early everyday, and the first thing I do is make coffee and sit down at my computer and work on my memoir. I don’t have a word count that I must hit, but I average about 1000 words daily. Then, I read 25 pages of a book. Then, I write a blog post. That’s the routine and it has changed my world!

50,000 words, four 300-500 page books read in a just a few months. I can’t wait to see where I am in a few more.

Musings

Don’t Tell me What to do


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Ever since I had my first job, I hated working. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind doing work, but I hate having to. It’s just my mentality that probably stems from my childhood. I have a severe problem with authority.

Having a job that you have to be on time to, day after day. That you have to request for time off, even when it is an emergency. Don’t even get me started on jobs that ask you to do more tasks than you were hired to do. If i’m a cashier, don’t ask me to unload a box or stock a shelf.

I don’t know what it is but it doesn’t just apply to work. Have you every said to someone, “Dude, you have to see this show!” or “You never read that book? It’s so good, you have to read it!” Guess what? No the fuck I don’t. And now, because I “have to” see it, or read it, or whatever it is you’re telling me I “have to” do, I promise you that I won’t.

You should see the looks I get when people find out that I’ve never seen nor read any of the Harry Potters.

I just watched Breaking Bad this year. I felt like the hype finally died down and nobody was telling me that I “had to” see it anymore, and I was bored, so I put it on Netflix. You know what? I liked it. But fuck you.

There’s no limit to my petty when it comes to authority. I dare you to tell me that I have to see your kid’s new talent.

I love chocolate ice cream, but if you bought some new brand and went to your freezer like, “OMG you have to try this ice cream, it’s the best!” There is a good chance I’ll tell you that I’m lactose intolerant. Then, I’ll harbor resentment because I wanted some but not because I have to. I eat ice cream on my terms. Fuck face.

It could be argued that I spent three years being homeless because my dad told me that I had to babysit. Obviously there was other stuff built into it, but that was the conversation that tipped the scales.

Just do me a favor. Don’t tell me what to do. I’ll never tell you either. Ask and you shall receive, but the moment you make demands is the moment you decided to be cut out of my life forever. Which is your loss. I’m pretty cool otherwise.

queenfingers

Motivation

How to Get Back on The Horse


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“If at first you don’t succeed, destroy all evidence that you tried.”

That was my motto for many years. If I was great at something, I showed off. If I sucked, I pretended it sucked and that I wasn’t to be bother with whatever it was. Loser mentality. However, I’ve grown into a person who admits failure, and that is something that I’m proud of.

We’ve all seen them, the people who are amazing and never fall. Well guess what? That’s BS. They fail, all the time, but they, like I used to, don’t admit it. When you see a photo on Instagram and you think, “Wow, why can’t I look that perfect?” What you don’t see is the 100 photos that got deleted, or the number of filters put on it, or even some Photo Shopping that happened.

When you see a video of someone doing some crazy stunt, a flip or trick, they’ve got hours and hours of footage of them falling, failing, and trying again. You just see the final product.

Even your favorite TV show or movie has an outtake reel.

The point is, no matter what you’re trying to be better at, the road to success is built on failed attempts. I’m not perfect at any of the things I preach. My diet slips now and then, and I’ve gone on a 3-day Chinese food bender. I’ve skipped workouts, and I’ve even missed some writing days. It happens, and that’s okay.

Don’t let your idea of perfection ruin your attempt. Be proud of your failures, because that’s what makes your story great! Nobody wants to read about someone who was born amazing and never lost. We all love a good comeback tale. I learned that lesson early. My brother was the “screw up” and I was mommy’s perfect little angel.

I couldn’t understand why, even though I was the “favorite” child, did my brother get all the attention. He got unbelievable praise for basic stuff. Like if he didn’t misbehave in public, he’d get candy or a compliment. I behaved all the time, but nobody rewarded it. It was expected of me. I got good grades, and my brother didn’t do his work. If he ever did, he was showered with love. It wasn’t until I fell off my pedestal that I got attention, but negative attention. When you do the right thing all the time, people notice when you don’t. When you do the wrong thing all the time, people notice when you do the right thing. It’s a strange dynamic that we all tend to do. We grow accustomed to people’s behaviors and expectations form.

After a while of doing bad things, it wasn’t shocking to my family any longer. I was expected to be rebellious. Then, whenever I did something right, I got that praise I longed for. I learned that people love to see you fall from grace and come back up. They will criticize you the whole way down, but, depending on how far you fall of course, they will build you back up too. There’s no hope for Cosby or Weinstein, but we’ve seen many celebrities fall down and come back. Robert Downey Jr. Brittany Speares, Mike Tyson, etc. Their failures give them character, and it makes them interesting. Yours do too! Embrace them. Yes, people will judge you, and that is why we hide, but I’m telling you, they will forget and/or move on and suddenly you will be revered for overcoming your failure.

So make mistakes, fall off that horse, but don’t destroy the evidence of trying, embrace the error, learn from it, get back on that horse and maybe fail a little less next time. Repeat and before you know it, you’ve succeeded at whatever you were trying to accomplish, and ready to fail at something new!

 

pandasuccess

Musings

Diligent Dilettante


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Remember that old Planet Fitness commercial with the big guy who repeats, “I pick things up and put them down?” Well that’s me, only not with weights, but with everything I do.

As a writer, I am told, “Find your niche and stick to it.” If I want to make any type of living off my writing, I am supposed to be an “expert” at something and write content in that area. Why does it have to be this way? Why can’t I be that way?

I love too many things to pick just one or two. I have always been that way. A jack of all trades, master of none type of guy. I have a gift/curse that allows me to be “naturally” good at most everything I try, which creates motivation enough to stick to something for a little while, while it is fun.

dilettante-1

Then I reach a point that it isn’t as fun anymore, because it takes real dedication and time to get to the next level. That’s when something else will pique my interest and surprise surprise, I’m good enough at it to want to do that instead.

Some activities that I’ve done include:
writing, rapping, painting, crafting, cooking, gaming, Tae Kwon Do, boxing, power lifting, calisthenics, poetry, running, gymnastics, etymology, English composition, teaching, dog training, food critic, movie critic, relationship advisor, motivational speaking, plumbing, electronic technician, chauffeur, customer service, waiting tables, light construction, hiking, camping, survivalist, archery, how to bulk on a budget, protein powder reviewer, dress nice on a budget, yoga, mediation, etc.
The list goes on.

I loved every moment I spent pursuing these momentary passions, and I learned so much doing them, but inevitably, they all came to an end. Some were picked up again, and some lasted longer than others, like rapping, which I did almost daily for 10-15 years. Poetry was sporadic, but something I still do, and writing motivation comes and goes, though I am currently on a hot streak of daily writing with this blog. I stay in relatively good shape, though I don’t hit the weights nearly as hard as I used to. I got my degree in English Composition, and I teach at Umass Boston, but that is coming to an end because there aren’t enough classes available next semester for me to teach any, being lower on the seniority totem pole.

Either way, I don’t know what I can write about to build an audience big enough to allow me to write as a profession. I have a vast amount of knowledge through life experiences, but I haven’t the slightest clue how to create a niche with it, nor do I really want to.

I never want to become something I’m not just to make money. I never want to be locked into something I no longer enjoy. Being a niche writer is putting me in a box, and that’s something that I cannot do. To quote Roy from Shanghai Noon,

“I am like a wild horse, you can’t tame me. You put the oats in the pen though and i’ll come in for a nibble every day, but if you ever shut that gate, i’ll jump the fence and you’ll never see me again.”

 

News and Updates

10,000 Words


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Today is a very special day for me. I have reached 10,000 words of my memoir. It was my first goal, and milestone when writing this book. I feel like I have accomplished a great task and even though I have tens of thousands of words left to write, I am proud.

Like a house is built one brick at a time, a book is written one word at a time. Just keep writing!

 

Musings

Vietnam Trip


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I’m currently writing the section of my memoir about my trip to Vietnam back in the summer of 2005. It’s a strange experience looking at the old pictures that I have locked away. I want to share some of them with you.

view

Check out this view!

tossoverboard

Wait guys, I come in peace!

nicerocks

Why am I looking satisfied like, “Hmm, this is a nice rock.”

money

That money exchange rate though…

prisonpose

Check them Jesus sandals! Also, our dumb prison poses

monknun

Had to take a picture with these two. No clue what’s the deal with that unfinished wooden structure behind us though.

kungfuguards

Ok, so this was actually in the Hong Kong airport on our way TO Vietnam, but I just thought it would be a good one to share because it is important to laugh at yourself!

 

Overall, I had the best time ever, I can’t even describe what it did for my perspective in life. I only knew my small chunk of the world in Massachusetts and our way of life there. It is amazing how different life is on the other side of the world, and also how similar we all are in other ways. If you ever get the chance to travel, do it. Those memories and lessons are irreplaceable. I recommend Vietnam to everyone because I had an absolute blast! Thanks for reading

Musings

Vow of Silence


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One of my oldest bucket list items is to take an extended vow of silence. Ideally, I’d like to do it for a month at first, but maybe even work my way up to a year. I’m not exactly sure of the details, but I strongly believe that there is something unbelievably valuable to be learned by not speaking.

I tried it once. For a day. I only made it a few hours. The problem arose when I was faced with an instance that talking was required of me. I hadn’t thought of how to actually get a message across without speaking, I was too focused on the not speaking part. In order to take a vow of silence, you have to give up more than just your voice. You must give up using the phone, teaching a class, ordering food, telling your dog to sit or stay (or you’d have to retrain him/her to learn hand commands before taking the vow). I had no idea how much bigger of a task it was to actually stop speaking.

Then there is the question of, “Is communicating through other means cheating?” What about writing? Can I use sign language? Do these defeat the purpose of a vow of silence? I haven’t sanded out the edges on this yet, hence why it is still on my bucket list, but I will take a vow of silence in my lifetime, then report back what I learned.

As a lover of words, a writer, a poet, a conversational wizard =] It might be hard to believe that I find language a hindrance. Communication is limited by the limitation of words. Could you describe, in words, the feeling you get when you’re in love? We’ve tried for hundreds, maybe even thousands of years to do that, but some would argue that words just can’t describe such a powerful emotion. We do our best to compare it to other things. What about a crazy dream? How many times have you tried to explain the emotional content of a dream, only to reiterate that your explanation isn’t doing it justice? Or an event that you end up saying, “You just had to be there.” Because sometimes time and space play a role in the feeling.

If you’re still not convinced, what about a psychedelic trip? Anyone who has ever tripped on a heavy does of mushrooms or LSD will tell you that words can’t describe that. Or what about the concept of ‘nothingness.’ If there was nothing, no space, no stars, no us, just nothing, what would that look like? You can’t say clear, because that’s something, you can’t say black, that’s something. The moment you try to describe it, you’re using a “something” to describe a “nothing,” which is something! Confused? Me too.

If language wasn’t limited than text messages would never be misinterpreted. There would be a clear way to right something that get’s a message across with a specific emotion. Emojis do their best to fill the gaps between language and feelings, but it isn’t perfect. What does this have to do with a vow of silence? Oh yeah, that’s what we were talking about.

Before language, people still communicated. Their ideas were probably more simplistic, or maybe not, I wouldn’t know, but we got our message across some how. I don’t think that it was just a system of grunts that we imagine the stereotypical caveman to use. I think that we had more intuition, like animals, and could pick up vibes better. There’s a reason we say things like “trust your gut,” or “go with your instincts.” It’s a real sense that we have. Have you ever walked into a room and just thought, “Nope.” and left, only to find out later that something bad happened there? What about meeting people. Sometimes you get a bad vibe from a stranger and can’t really pin point why. Has it ever happened to you that people like that person but you don’t, and eventually they turn out to be bad and others are like “Wow, I don’t believe it, I always thought they were so nice.” And you’re just sitting there like, “Nah, I never liked them, always got a bad vibe.”

Stuff like that, I feel, can be strengthened by not speaking. Just looking at someone, in the eyes, and trying to communicate through intentions, rather than words. I’m sure it will be confusing and fun all at the same time, but If there is just one moment that someone completely gets me, without me saying a word, then it would be a successful experiment. If nothing else, I just wonder what I’ll learn by observing others more since I wouldn’t be participating in the dialogue.

“Don’t speak unless you can improve the silence.” – No idea who originally wrote it, but I saw this quote way back in high school on my English teacher’s chalk board.

Motivation, News and Updates

Black Friday Update


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Let me begin by saying that it was stupid of me to attempt a new diet two days before Thanksgiving. Especially a Keto diet considering Thanksgiving is the carbiest holiday of the year! I’m not giving up, but I definitely chose to enjoy myself on Thursday.

With that being said, I want to remind those who are struggling with bringing new, good habits into their life that there will be days that are set backs. Don’t let that turn into giving up! I had two successful days of Keto, then I carbed up. Does that mean those two days are worthless? No. Even though I have to start over, I learned alot from those days. First, I learned that I can do go a whole day with minimal carbs. Second, I learned what meals to eat. So now, it will be much easier to attempt it again! Don’t let a set back ruin your motivation. You still learn with every attempt. I know people that attempted to quit smoking, 5-6 times before they actually succeeded! The goal was still reached, and they are living a much healthier life now. You just have to keep at it. What is the old saying? “If at first you don’t succeed. Destroy all evidence that you tried.” Just kidding. “Get your ass back in gear and try again!”

I think it is important to admit your failures. Especially when you’re like me and bragging all over the internet that you’re accomplishing your goals. You never now who is reading, or listening, and taking your words to heart. The problem begins when someone is influenced by you, but they reach a set back, and when they compare themselves to you, Mr. “Never fails” then they think they just aren’t capable of being better. I’m here to say, I’ve failed my way to success, every time. There are always set backs. I don’t feel bad about them anymore. I used to, but now I know that they are part of the process. Water beats stone every time in the long game.

erosion

After indulging in some delicious food, my wife and I decided to go to bed early to wake up and go out shopping. We didn’t have anything in mind that warranted being out at midnight, so we got up at 6 and headed to the stores after the mobs have left. It was slow at first, not really finding anything great, but after 8 hours of shopping, we made out pretty good. We got our daughter some stuff that she wanted for Christmas, and we got our puppy some bones and a few hoodies. He’s a little guy and it gets mighty cold in Massachusetts.

I took the day off from posting, but I’m back at it again today. Perhaps the break was necessary because this very morning, I finally figured out the plot of my book! I’ve been writing a fiction story for a few months now. I have written 50-60 pages, most of which is being thrown out, but it led me to where I am now. I have far fewer pages, but they’re good pages and I’ve got the plot now so it is going to zoom from here! I’m so excited. I used to write all the time in the past but when I reached a road block that would demand me starting over, or throwing out most of my work, I’d give up on the story entirely and start a new one. I thought that If I didn’t write it perfectly on the first go, then it wasn’t a good story. How dumb was I right? Now I know, writing is rewriting. A college professor changed my world when she said, “Nothing is ever done, only due.”

I just wanted to share what is going on with me, with you. I’m just so excited to announce that my book finally has direction and I can’t wait to get back to writing it! Have a wonderful day!