The other side of life

I can’t really write today. I’ve been busy dealing with the other side of life. Ya know… learning. But I want you to know that I also have a facebook page. I sometimes post things there that aren’t mine but have moved me. I did it today. Please check it out. Please click the like button the like button while you’re at it and most importantly, please have a wonderful day if at all possible.

I know some shit you don’t know

If I’m not writing, which has been more the case than not lately, I am living. That is not so say that writing is not living, for it most certainly is, only to say that there is much more going on when you don’t hear from me than when you do. If you have read all of this blog, you may have realized that it is not really a blog about what I do, but a blog about who I am, or really who we are. It is a blog about philosophy and spirituality. In essence, it can’t be about anything else.

So here is one day in my life. This day was in many ways special. This day was a culmination of everything which I have ever experienced. It is also a depiction of everything that I have never experienced. In that way it is completely ordinary.

I want to start by telling you about meeting a group of young Christians on the street. I was driving pedicab and I drove over to make contact with this group of people. That is my job. At least that is the way I see it. I seek to make connections with people downtown in hopes that I can help them. I want to help them have a good time, help them get where they are going, help them in any way possible. In return, I hope that they will help me, usually with money.

Their initial question for me was, “What is your favorite thing to do downtown?”

Okay, I’m an adult. These people were college students. What I would find interesting may not even be available to them. I like going to bars and meeting people. Still, I told them about what I liked to do.

This was actually a very poor response. Not only did it not help them, it was an inaccurate representation of what I had to offer. But that is because the question was not genuine. It was merely a ploy to engage me in conversation. It was, for lack of a better term, a “come on” line. You can’t expect an honest answer from me without first asking an honest question.

The next question was a request to participate in a questionnaire. I agreed because I rarely reject requests. Like “The Dude” from The Big Lebowski, I just abide. It didn’t take me long to realize that it wasn’t really a scientific questionnaire but an attempt to proselytize.

This is my problem with religion. It’s also my problem with advertisement, or sex for that matter. It’s not that there is anything wrong with religion or sex or the products people have to sell, but if you have to use means of deception to get your intentions met, I think that is fucked up. If joining your religion or having sex with you or buying your product is all that great, you wouldn’t need to lie.

Still, I was intrigued by their questions so I figured I would play along. The questions were interesting and did have me thinking all day. By that I mean that the answers that I gave in the moment may not be the answers I would give now.

One of the questions was, “What is the one thing that you hope to accomplish in this life?”

I said, “Not dying.”

I stand by that answer. It’s not that I am seeking immortality, only that while I am alive, staying alive is my ultimate goal. Everything else that happens along the way is incidental. It may be amazing, it may be horrible, but none of it happens without being alive. Being alive has got to be my first goal.

They also asked what I thought would happen when I die. I said, “I don’t know. I’ll deal with that when I’m dead. I’m not dead now and I’m pretty fucking busy being not dead.”

I’ll stand by that response too.

Then they asked, “If your best friend came to you and said that they wanted to become a Christian but they didn’t know how, what would you tell him?” (I love how they assume my best friend is male.)

I told them, “I would tell her to talk to a Christian.”

That was a complete bullshit answer. I should have told them to, “fuck off, you fucking fucks!”

Of course, I would never actually want to do that. That would be mean and I try really hard not to be mean. Still their question was totally disingenuous and deserved a more harsh and honest answer. I mean really, this is America, who the fuck does not know how to become a Christian? But what should I have expected. Their whole presentation began with decept. Did I really owe them an honest answer? Didn’t I give them enough of my time? I was working after all. What were they giving me?

Actually, they gave me plenty. Even through their deceit and manipulation they gave me insight into the workings of the human race. Every interaction with every person has something to teach me. I actually wish that I had given them more.

They also asked if I wanted to know God. I said that God and I were pretty tight. I wish that I had told them that God says s/he doesn’t appreciate people lying to get h/ir word out. Maybe I have a different god than they do but my god believes in honesty and integrity.

So I went to a party after work and it came out that I’m not actually Jewish. It’s not really a secret but the whole “coming out” process is not a, tell someone once and it’s done, sort of process. It’s an ongoing, never ending process. The truth is that I am as much Jewish as I am anything else, which is nothing, which I perceive as everything, which includes atheist .. so accept me or argue with me or try to convert me… none of it really matters because I am still me. The only way to fight me is to deny that I exist. So far in my life no one has ever successfully done that, but I welcome the challenge.

The real question emerged which was how I went from Judaism to Paganism. The fact is that the more I learn, the less dogmatic I become. The truth is that Paganism is still way too dogmatic for me. This led me to Hinduism and Buddhism which really brought me back to Christ – not Christianity as in the  Church but the dude himself. In essence, all these paths are the same. They all teach the same lessons. Where they differ is in dogma and ritual.

The key to my spiritual journey was never getting caught up in the dogma. The key was never believing that ritual held the answers. The key was continuing to ask questions and keeping doubt alive. This is the key which atheists possess although I doubt that they realize the spiritual power contained within that practice.

If there is a spiritual truth it can’t be dependant on faith. It must be found in doubt as well. If it is truly omnipresent, it must be that which can be found everywhere. If God exists, s/he exists regardless of whether anyone believes in h/ir or not. The gifts bestowed upon the faithful would be just as available to the faithless. If there is a God of everything then belief is irrelevant to God’s existence and intention.

I used to think that I knew everything. In a way, I did. I knew everything that I knew I knew and it all made sense and I was content with the world. Then I learned something new and my whole paradigm shifted. The world was no longer in balance. But I learned more. Eventually I got the world back in balance. Everything made sense again. Until I learned something new. This has happened countless times in my life.

Socrates is known for saying, “The only thing I know is that I don’t know anything.”

Rene Descartes is known for stating that the only thing he knows is, “I think therefore I am.”

While these two men accomplished far more to elevate their words than a mere paperboy or pedicab driver may ever achieve, perhaps even more than a rockstar may achieve, they both lived before the power of the internet so when I say what I am about to say, and I will say it over and over again, who knows what will happen with my words.

All that I know is that whatever I know, there is far more that I don’t know.

These are words I live by. They also come in handy with dealing with people that are way smarter that I am. For all that they know, there are things that I know that they don’t. This is true for everyone I meet. The dumbest person I meet knows something I don’t know. Everyone matters. Everyone holds a part of the key.

Nothing that has ever happened in your lifetime happened without you being here. YOU MATTER!

There was more that happened yesterday.

There is more that I want to write about but I think that I have made the main point I wish to accomplish. I will make one more post today if you need more philosophical thought. Otherwise, keep reading… it will all come out eventually… perhaps even if I die.

Unforgettable days

Six days ago I finally wrote about my day which occurred twelve days ago. I still have not written about the day which followed, the Sunday, the day that is now eleven days history. I have not been putting it off because I am reluctant to write about that day. I have put it off because as time goes by I am worried more about losing the memories of the recent past. That day will forever be etched in my memory. It doesn’t matter when I write about it, it will feel as fresh as yesterday.

You see, that was the day I saved a best friend’s life.

The day before had been spent helping her move into her boyfriends house. It was a big day, an emotional day, an exhausting day. At the end she went to bed but the rest of us stayed up partying. At six or so in the morning she woke up to find us all still awake and hanging out in the kitchen.

She was understandably pretty annoyed with this. I can’t speak to her exact state of mind but I have a feeling she was upset with her boyfriend for inviting people back to his parent’s house and for not going to bed with her.

I wasn’t paying much attention to her arrival at the party but then she collapsed  She has epilepsy and was having a seizure. Her boyfriend and I rushed in to help her safely to the ground where she lay motionless in his lap.  A couple minutes past and she was not showing any signs of coming out of it. I have probably seen her have more seizures than anyone and I could tell this one was different.

I asked someone to call 911, someone who knew where the home phone was, or at least someone with a local number. The ambulance arrived in fairly short order and I met them at the door. I explained the situation and they went to work. The standard protocol is to administer a heavy dose of diazepam. I assume that they did that but it wasn’t working. I heard them say, “We are loosing her”. They cleared everyone out of the kitchen and I broke into tears.

People die from seizures.  In fact, as many people die each year from seizure disorders as from breast cancer. We had already lost one friend with epilepsy in the past year, I could not bare losing another, especially not one of my very best friends.

They loaded her into the ambulance to get her to the hospital. My adrenaline was racing. One of the party guests was pregnant and wasn’t drinking. We made plans to drive her boyfriend and me to the hospital.

—-

They next thing I knew I was waking up on the couch in the living room. My energy had finally given out and I had collapsed.  I had no recollection of falling asleep and now I was alone in this huge house out in the woods. I was alone, trying to get a hold of anyone I could but to no avail. I was alone in a state of panic for two hours before the boyfriend and his mother returned.

The boyfriend had not slept at all and was wiped out. I helped him move my friend’s couch into the basement and then his mother drove me back to my van. I got in my van and headed to the hospital to see my friend, but realizing that this would take me past my friend Scott Harold’s house, I gave him a call.

Scott Harold is the founder and CEO of the non-profit I will forever be tied to called, Rock The Cause. For the longest time I was considered the “moral compass” of the organization. I saw my role as that of preventing the organization from “selling out” to corporate interests. As the organization grew, their need for corporate collaboration became inevitable. I saw my role as an anchor turn into just a drag. I still have my doubts about some of the partnerships that have been made but I have no doubts about the good work they are doing.

For the past many months, Rock The Cause have been working with Zach Sobiech, a 17 year old singer/songwriter who is dying of osteosarcoma, a rare form of cancer that is expected to take his life within months. His story and his music are so incredibly; it moved me to tears to hear Scott tell me about him. I’m in tears now as I am writing about this. If his life does not embody the meaning of “Life Sucks, So What?” then I don’t know what does.

And then on to the hospital to see my friend who nearly died from epilepsy. I was grateful to find her no longer nearly dying. In fact, she was bitching about the food and how this hospital sucked compared to her last one. This may not have been any comfort to her in the moment but it was of great comfort to me. She was actually a pretty difficult patient but I wanted her to know that I still loved her. After spending a good hour or so with her I offered to buy her a coffee and told her that I would check in with her the next day.

Then I needed to get a drink. I had potential plans with this guy but he was not available so I called the woman I had not bought a drink for earlier in the week. She met me at the 19 bar. I explained how not buying her a drink went against my core values. We talked about honesty. We talked about lying. We talked about sex. We talked about all sorts of things until my bff showed up.

After bar close we went back to my bff’s place. We all got comfortable and after some heated discussions about poverty my bff passed out in her bed. My other friend and I were left alone on her couch. We began exploring each other’s bodies. There is much excitement to be found in another person’s body. That is something I haven’t had enough of lately. I just can’t tell you how much I missed feeling a cock in my mouth.

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