I've been off this site a few days playing with my guitar - and I mean that in every fun way possible. Such wonderful play. For those who don't know yet, I am learning/re-learning to play bass; this time an acoustic one that also accepts an amplifier...for my future concerts, I suppose! : )
I call it a chass, though, (pronounced chase, to rhyme) because I had a cello foot added to it. The bass is BIG and it was tricky to hold in front of my buddha belly, and because my wrists are happier this way, too. And because it's quirky and different.
Here it is in all its glory:
I've just fallen in love with it. Years ago - almost 30! - I played an electric bass with a local (and very bad) bluegrass band who mostly played for fun at each others' parties. That was usually a two-note oompa kind of thing. Took very little skill and was much fun, too, though not the same fun I'm having now.
This time, I'm really learning, starting (and continuing) with scales and various exercises and working with a great teacher once a week. Most of his students are 6-string players, as is he, so I'm learning bass parts to things from their repertoires in preparation for a' recital' at a local tavern. I use the term recital very loosely here.
And I learned "When I'm 64" by the Beatles". I had to work quickly on that; I have only one more year before I'm too old to sing it - or have to change the number. How about 'When I'm 94'?! Just now, I'm polishing up Blackbird also by the Beatles.
But, back to the point of this post.
The oldest post in this particular stream is "...What-ifs". In that one I began to touch on some of the ideas I'm exploring and implementing in my life right now. Some of the comments on that post inspired the next one: "Continuing ..." and really dealt with semantics and perhaps a tiny bit of expansion of the ideas expressed before. More comments and some great support on that post then prompted "IF the fates...", and in a comment there Ruth asked about my background and a bit of the story of how I came to think like this.
First, let me say that conversation like this is the true beauty and glory of blogging and why I may never stop it. Yes, there is some ego stroking involved; but even more than that, the comments make me think and require that I be as clear as possible.
I gave Ruth some very brief answers in an email, but I will expand here a little more.
But I want to acknowledge my reticence about all of this, especially the discussing of it in this more or less public format. You'll understand that when I tell you that I grew up in a middle class family in Texas, the oldest child of a divorced woman in an era when that was rare. We were fundamental evangelical Christians before those terms were widely applied to us, and I was completely immersed in the Church; to the extent that I taught Sunday School and participated in one 'foreign' mission just after high school. That mission was to Liverpool, England and was the beginning of my questioning. A year after that, I went to a Christian college. Interestingly enough I began to explore freedom there. Another whole story, and not for right now.
To this day, most of my biological family still hold those beliefs and are very active in their participation. Some are quite likely to consider that I have fallen away from the church and are likely to consider that I am some major sinner. But then, by their lights, we are all sinners and only have a possibility of being anything else by virtue of Jesus's sacrifice. (I could riff off on that topic, too, but won't do so here and now.)
My family is wonderful. They are loving and generous. They just think I'm wrong. They hope I will 'come back' to the fold.
It threw a few of them for a loop when I realized I was gay, and married my wife over 16 years ago. But they are nothing, if not civil. They treat us well, love us as they can, and never turn a cold shoulder. I am very proud of my heritage. I just don't agree with them. In my family this kind of difference of opinion seems to close conversation rather than opening one.
Most of them, I think, do not know of this blog. I do know that in the past, my sister has read this. She never comments on it, and only once sent an email to me about some particular post, and that was to reach out and reassure me during a period of the glooms in my life.
I would not willingly hurt them, though I know that I have done so in the past, and that some may feel hurt by what they think about my current religious condition.
Wow, that was a much longer ramble than I intended, but I will leave it. Susan, if you're reading...well, I love you. Comment or email if you will.
Over the next forty years I explored several traditional religions, was an active Episcopalian for a number of years, was introduced to New Age thought, rejected it, came back, learned a lot about myself through various therapies including a 12-step program and several psychologists. I'm still learning. I knew, and know, a lot about what I 'should' be and do, and for decades I KNEW that I was not worthy of ...much of anything. I have always felt a very strong pull toward god, and would have joined a convent if I could have. These days I would still join one, if it weren't Christian. A contemplative life would suit me very well. (Though, I suppose that The Singing Nun has already been done.)
The thoughts and ideas that work for me now are the ones that I have found to be consistent across all of the religions/spiritual ideas that I have explored: those ideas that I am a piece of God; that I can co-create my life and its conditions by my thoughts, intentions, and energy; that I am not separate from - or different from - god, or you, or the air, or that rock over there. And most especially, right now, the idea that my thoughts, words, and actions do in fact manifest in my life constantly and consistently when I align my vibrational energy to that Stream of energy we often call God. (But could as easily and accurately call Source, Divine Mind, Cosmic Consciousness or ...whatever.)
Right now, the voice speaking to me most clearly is that of Abraham, a group of non-physical beings who speak through a woman named Esther Hicks.
There is a daily quote that appears in the top left sidebar that comes from their website and they are all over the place. Many people post their material; Esther is the one in the black pantsuit. The material is Law of Attraction. It is NOT 'The Secret'. The material from the book/DVD known as The Secret turned me off completely for several reasons. Though Esther and Jerry Hicks were part of the original film, they withdrew when circumstances of the agreements changed. If you are interested in that, you can hear Esther and Jerry comment here. I think that this may be some of the deleted scenes to which they refer. There are many postings to YouTube, including those who want to judge this material as being 'of the devil'...whatever that may mean.
Some people call what happens with Esther 'channeling'. She does not. Nor do I have an opinion about that. I don't care what it is. For me, what it is is Truth. It gives me goosebumps and makes me joyful in ways that my family church did not. It is eliminating my need to judge others, and beginning to relieve many stresses in my life. It's working for me. That is all that really matters to me. I feel closer to god - all the time. And I don't really care whether it resonates for you or not. I believe that each individual is quite capable of choosing their own spiritual path and that none of them are wrong. Most importantly to me, this current path is allowing me to deal with self-esteem issues that have endured for decades. I feel now that I am actually worthy of a complete and close relationship with that energy commonly called God. I don't know her/his/its name (though I'd still like to know). I don't use the God word usually because so many make assumptions about what I mean. And I no longer consider myself a Christian. I'm just me. One with all things.
You know...this has gone on much longer than I intended, and in looking for these links for you, I find I want to take a break and listen to Abraham some more. They are right here ....
see you later.
eeeekkk..... will I leave the Facebook button checked?...........what a coward I have remained...