Some old Weblog

Protected: Garden 5
July 25, 2011, 2:38 am
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September 28, 2010, 11:58 pm
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If you found the link to this site from my other blog… welcome 🙂

This is my old blog. I used to update it a few years ago. I might again sometimes.

Protected: This is funny
May 13, 2010, 4:48 am
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unlocking doors
May 7, 2010, 2:49 am
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by Andrew Grodner

Throughout this whole phenomenon we call life and the human condition, there are two concepts that seem to overshadow all that we know and do upon the earth: success and failure. Whether male, female, old, young, married, single, rich, poor, middle-class, or any other vicissitude of being, a dimension of our lives will always be governed under our notions of success and failure. These notions tie into every facet of our personal and cultural understanding into life, and they have the power to shape all our passing senses of worth, progress, security, dignity, and fulfillment. The measure of success, in effect, is a powerful funnel of perspective. Naturally, it has a very nice ring to it when applied to the myriad spectrum of our dreams and endeavors upon the earth, but on the flip side, it may also clang rather tortuously when the pieces of the puzzle don’t always fall into actuality as we would have them. Sometimes the success we seek the hardest – the things feel we need the most – seems to be ever slipping out of grasp like a piece of paper drifting in the breeze. It is a mystery how some things seem to come together so effortlessly and repeatedly throughout the course of our lives, yet other things seem to be forever occluded from us as if their doors had been locked up by the heavens. Is this so? Are some things simply sundered from our birthrights into ourselves? And are we left to vainly circle around such locked doors as distressed creatures until the world slips away? Or perhaps are we given the power to somehow unlock these doors and forge a way into a richer experience of life? Not sure if there will ever be an answer to such questions, and perhaps that’s part of the terrible beauty of existence.

Tossed into this worldly stage of survival and woven throughout with a complex array of physiological, psychological, cultural, and spiritual drives culminating within us, the mandate of creation must certainly be to reach out further into the pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness. And within the mix of our contemporary culture, these pursuits are very often directed towards our conceived ideals of youth, freedom, beauty, health, happiness, adulation, fame, power, prestige, wealth, dignity, sophistication, an attractive spouse, well-adjusted progeny, scrapbooks of adventure, legacies of philanthropy, portfolios of creative achievement, and so on. It’s quite stale and general to rattle off such ideals in print, but as they exist within the spheres of collective society and our individual minds, they naturally possess a form and a color by which many dreams revolve. And these ever-present, ever-flowing dreams within us could have a more spellbinding enchantment into our approach and understanding into life than we ever may suspect. When certain notions and expectations take precedence within an individual’s mind, it is a natural process for the world to take on a concurrent perceptual framework. In other words, we cut to the cognitive chase, and, as such, we create our own forests and arched doorways into the greater landscapes of our dreams.

Naturally, as a part of living, our conceived ideals of success will shift and turn, expand and contract, get mugged by reality, spark anew unexpectedly, manifest in mysterious corners, and perhaps over time boil down to a more fundamental accord. The schoolyard dreams of scoring the last-second three pointer in the championship game or becoming the first person on Mars soon give way to more modest projections of being a millionaire on the shores of California. And as the interplay with existence continues on through one’s individualization and maturation, with some things given and others taken, the steady hand of wisdom will undoubtedly uproot some of the more ridiculous pillars of ego, fluff, and flimflam from us and lay bare more appropriate, approachable, and universally-shared doorways into success. From there, the terrain may just be open enough for a grander vision to begin to peek out through the cracks. In those beautiful, fading moments, an altogether different dream begins to emerge – a dream to subsume all other dreams – not inward-driven and individualistic-bound but all-inclusive and coursing through all of creation. And it is a dream that has every bit to do with old Battery Bill of the homeless shelter as it does with Barack Obama or Billy Graham. In the grips of such a vision, success in all its conceived glory is utterly overturned: it no longer has anything to do with the self-waxing memoirs of a life well-lived, but it becomes rather a living invitation to invite others into something wondrous.

But then such visions fade into afterglow, words become preposterous, and one begins to wonder whether he/she has had too many sleepless nights. In any sense, beyond the habits, the symbols, and the senses of understanding into everything, there always exist passages within our domains that lead into richer experiences of life, liberty, and happiness. The way forward into it all, I believe, rests in continually perceiving and forging the right keys into these unseen and encircled doorways — and that is a process that bears much hopeful examining!  But perhaps eventually such channels may open up into some grander – and potentially world saving – visions of purpose that unite all of creation. It is our mandate and our birthright, and it is never a waste of time to begin opening up into it.

Protected: The curious case of cat stevens
May 6, 2010, 4:55 pm
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Let the sculpting begin
May 1, 2010, 7:36 am
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H was nice enough to buy me a membership at the ARC (Activities and Recreation Center) in Davis. So we’ve started working out there together. A few observations:

1) It’s much like the SRSC in Bloomington, but without a swimming pool (but they have a climbing wall instead)

2) I noticed that the pressure for the water fountains was very low compared to every other building on campus.   It kinda strikes me as strange since this is the place where people would most be in need a drink.  On the other hand, there were plenty of bottled water vending machines all around, so perhaps it wasn’t that strange.

3) The weather in Davis has been absolutely gorgeous: temperate, sunny, with beautiful fluffy clouds.  Yet it strikes me as strange that every treadmill and every stationary bike was taken up inside. Why people would insist on doing these exercises in a sweaty, stuffy, artificial  environment as opposed to the many wondrous bike paths that run for miles and miles around the city is beyond me. Is it out of habit, schema,  a sense of safety, proximity to other exercise machines, limited time of exercise, a chance to meet others?

4) Although I’ve gotten into great running and biking shape, my upper body strength still leaves a lot to be desired. When I was in the weight room I couldn’t help but feel a bit like the proverbial fish out of water. You know, I was the dude in the old, out-of-fashion exercise apparel of some bygone age amidst all the ripped, young bucks who were there with a plan. Anyway, there is always a start to things and I’ve been going at it so far. But I think I’m gonna start going there very early in the morning so as to have all the equipment to myself 😉

5) There were so many attractive women there… but none so attractive as my H.

Why I am anti-fundamentalist
April 27, 2010, 4:21 pm
Filed under: Spirit and Religion

Through all the mystery, reorientation, sacrifice, and wonder of pursuing one’s sense of divinity, one of the few constants that seem to emerge is the fact that fundamentalism is a cancer.  I’ve felt this way for a long, long time and here is the point where I am finally gonna state my unequivocal opinion: Fundamentalism is the prison of Satan.

After watching the treatment of Bishop Spong in the previous post and reflecting upon my own experiences in life, I can without hesitation say that fundamentalist beliefs shrink the soul: they shrink the humanity, they shrink the intelligence, the shrink the character, love, openness, honesty, empathy, maturity, pleasantness — everything. How does fundamentalism do this? Because it leaves absolutely no space for God and growth. Fundamentalist beliefs are the essence of idolatry. They breed dysfunction, arrogance, manipulation, repression, thievery, infantilism, and all other forms of pathology. They lead to people resenting everything around them and either passively wishing for the endtimes, going to public places and condemning everybody to hell, or actually taking up violence in God’s name. On this issue I am on the side of all the Hitchens and Dawkins of the world (but on other issues I disagree completely with them).

There are so many wolves who lead fundamentalist organizations round the world.  So many.  They corrupt the children. They are the demons who love hammering THEIR OWN  ‘Word of God’ idolatry/narrative over everything. Pure blasphemy. They are the bogeymen who conjure up fantasies of hell to scare the shit out of the defenseless (and give them life-long trauma). They are the vampires who suck the life out of the young ones. They are my enemy, and I will fight them with every thread of my God-given being.  I will not abide in fundamentalists framing themselves as ‘True Christians’ over all others. Fundamentalism is anti-Christ at its core, be it Christian fundamentalism, Islamic fundamentalism, Hindu fundamentalism, Buddhist fundamentalism, Wiccan fundamentalism, scientific fundamentalism, Spaghetti Monster fundamentalism, or anything. Anything that hardens the heart in such a way is evil and accursed.

I pray my side is on God’s side.