I am tired of people telling sad people to "count your blessings, think positive, snap out of it, think happy thoughts" and I am tired of people telling sad people "you are so negative, you are not thinking right, you don't know how to count your blessings, you don't know how to look on the bright side..." Until this social elitist disease called, "I-am-so-positive-I'm-so-much-better-than-you" comes to an end, we will all continue to alienate anyone who isn't happy enough, who isn't positive enough, who doesn't smile enough...

Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain were 2 of the most carefree, successful, experientially-satisfied, eloquently-lifestyled, "counting-my-blessings" types of people living in the public eye, who both inspired me at some point in my life. And these two people hanged themselves within a day of each other.

At the end of the day, their positivity was fake. Their happiness was fake. And they just got tired of faking it!

No matter how much good food, good travel, good sense of humour, excellent lifestyle, cheerfulness and positive, carefree attitude that you have in this life, these things are not going to cure the deep and heavy longing and loneliness in the middle of your soul.

People need to stop telling people that there is no place in this world for their sadness, for their loneliness, for their darkness, anxiety, PTSD, depression... because guess what? When you tell people that there is no place in this world for how they feel, they are going to take themselves out of this world, out of a world that only has room for everything that they just don't feel on the inside of them!

This whole social elitist mindset of positivity needs to just stop! You're not better than anyone just because you read "The Secret", just because you say positive things, and just because you deem yourself happier! Happy people need to stop pushing sad people away! If you can't embrace someone because you are afraid that their sadness will infect you, that their darkness will infect you, then that only means one thing: your light is WEAK and your happiness is WEAK! What is the use of the flame of a candle, if the candle is placed in the daylight? Useless! The flame of the candle is meant to shine in the night!

It's time to put an end to the alienation of the darkness in people. People have a home in this world. No matter how sad or how lonely or how lost they feel on the inside. They have a home in this world, and they deserve their time in this world, just as much as any happy person does!

I am C. JoyBell C. and I live and battle with anxiety. And there is a place for me in this world. 🕯

#thereisaplaceforme #thereisaplaceforyou
#katespade #anthonybourdain
#timeforchange #endthestigma

A Love That's Better Than That

       I want all people to know that God loves them. And it is a pity how I have been asked, "Do you believe in God?" only due to the fact that I am outspoken about the deceptions of religion. It is such a pity that a person would equate God to religion. If I were to speak out against religion and its deceptions and fabrications, how is that saying that I am speaking out against God? It is not at all so! Not in the least! Do you think that your religion is responsible for bringing you close to God? If so, then you are the one who is further from God, and not I! This saddens my heart, that billions of people in this world relate God to a socially acceptable image which has been constructed from the fabrics of their own community. Let me ask you, do you truly, really, in your heart believe that the creator of Heaven and Earth can be found canned up inside of a set of pages that a certain culture wrote about Him? And then everyone else on Earth must keep this can inside of their homes and open this can on Sundays and eat from the can from time to time? Is that really your experience of God? Everyone who doesn't have your can of sardines is eternally damned? Then that makes us ALL eternally damned! You know why? Because every culture and every tribe has its very own can of sardines, and they all believe that all the other cans in the world are damned ones! And so, you all believe the same about yourselves and everyone else! Who is correct, then? Of course, it is you. Because since you were an infant this is what you knew. Along with everyone else, of course, who have known what they know, since they were infants, too! You think they are damned and they think you are damned. You think their holy book is a fairy tale and they think your holy book is a fairy tale! Do you even know the dates that your holy books were written and who published them? Well isn't this a wonderful circus we are all parading in?
       God loves everyone, He did not create the religions that so deceive and divide us, today. Who wrote the many holy books that exist? People did. Who writes upon the tablet of your own Heart and your own Mind? God does! Do you really trust what other people say God is, over your own experience of God in your life and in your mind? So then what does that reduce God to, if not an experience in your own Heart and Mind? That reduces God to a set of community rules and a set of shared holidays. That is all. Why do we care more about where we are going after death, than about how we treat our fellow man here on Earth, while we are still alive?
       Many wars have been fought in the name of God, many religions have been established in the name of God, and many holy books teach of "The One True God." And yet... do you know your God? What is the nature of your God? What makes Him laugh? What does His voice feel like? Have you experienced God in the way that I do?
      I feel like, God expects me to be human. I feel like, God likes me just the way I am: broken and empty and bruised. I feel like, God doesn't look at me and wish that I were something else, because He likes me just this way. I feel like, God doesn't want me to close my eyes and pray for Him to make me holy or for Him to make me pure; because He made me human. I feel like, God already knows I'm human...it is I who needs to learn that. God loves you, and him and her and I... just as the way we all are.

I Give You A Key

       There exists two types of darkness: one is the kind that is likened unto the soil. And just like the seeds in the soil, we must thrust our roots deeply into it, because without it, we know that we will not be able to break out and into the light. We hold this type of darkness close, just as the roots of a plant grasp onto clustered grains of fertile soil. Then there is the other kind of darkness and that one is the type which would prevent us from seeing our gifts. The soil says to the plant: "Within you there is a stem and a leaf and branches and flowers and bark and fruit. One day you will see it, too." But the useless darkness is a true evil, and it says: "Stay down there, you have no gifts to bear." It is envy, it is contempt, it is smallness, it is wrath, it is lies. It is the darkness on top of the soil, on the other end, that whispers to the seed within the Earth: "Do not come out, the Sun is not here."
       Our ability to differentiate between the soil intercoiling with our roots and the nothingness that whispers, "Stay down below, there is nothing here", will determine everything in our lives. Who knew it never was actually about finding the light; rather, all along it was about knowing which darkness to trust!

Eliminating Pain

       I recently wrote an article wherein I asked the question "Why are you alive?" I also briefly mentioned "the anticipation moral accuracy" as a daily driving point for the human being in this day and age. In this article today, I would like to expound upon what exactly that means:
       The idea of moral accuracy is the cause of pain in the human life. It is not moral accuracy itself that is the root of all pain; rather, it is THE ANTICIPATION of it that is the root of pain in the human existence. The ideal marriage, the ideal relationship, the ideal friendships, the ideal mindset... all chains of moral anticipation which bind us in pain. If one exists within a certain state of moral accuracy, this is not the cause for pain. However, when one exists within the state of anticipating the moral accuracy of any situation or circumstance in his/her life-- this is the root of pain and mental turmoil in this world. To remove this idea altogether is to remove pain altogether. To uproot this root is to uproot pain. The truth is that the human race was not designed for moral accuracy, to begin with. These are merely invented concepts imposed upon the human mental faculty. Without these; we would not age, we would not disease, we would not feel turmoil. Remove this from your mind and heart and you will remove pain from your existence.
       Furthermore, the belief that we are all connected, or that we should all be connected and love one another, is an ideal propelling us towards the anticipation of moral accuracy. In reality, we really are not all connected. Very few of us are. So we should expect friendship and relationship from only very few others whom we are connected to. Some of us are born to parents we are not connected to. We never know, we cannot decipher the accuracy of the connection based upon moral accuracy. Moral accuracy states that so and so relationship equals connection. But reality shows us that connection may be nonexistent even between the supposedly closest of relations.      
       Human beings anticipate moral accuracy in all aspects and areas of life. From the marriage frame to the mundane text message received on facebook messenger. When these moral accuracies are not met with, these are causes for sorrows and mental anguish of the mind.
       Imagine a world wherein a divorced mother of three children who is too busy to prepare for Christmas and Thanksgiving and New Year, does not feel inadequate about herself and her place in life, because to her mind, her place in life is simply called "living". Her outcome is simply one of the many possibilities and NOT a broken version of an anticipated moral accuracy. She would not feel disappointment in herself, frustration in herself, she would not have anguish in her mind! She would be living her life and she would be happy while doing her best to live it.
       People of this world are in a race, every day, towards the attainment of their anticipated moral accuracies. They are not living; they are racing. And where to? All to their graves!
       Moral accuracies do not even exist in reality as a law. Gravity is a law of physics. Moral accuracies are not laws of nature; they are subjected to culture, opinion, society, and religion. They are not universal. They are therefore not attainable in reality. When they are attained, this is due to pure luck and not due to a formula. Formulas create laws. Not opinions.
       Moral accuracies exist only in the mind. It is a state of the mental faculty. But the state of our mental faculties, is what causes reality to appear in our lives: either disease and death or health and life! Either happiness or sorrow. Either joy or pain.
       The anticipation of moral accuracies is the cause of disease and death in this world, amongst the human race.

       Why do humans chase after these mental states, to begin with? Why do people expect these many things of themselves: to have these shoes, to wear these clothes, to have this marriage, this wedding, these children, that group of friends... why do humans chase such expectations, every day, when the human race was not even meant for such things? The human race is composed of carbon. A carbon species that races to achieve points of moral accuracies concocted in the mental faculties. The human race has never attained it in thousands of years, because it was not designed to attain it. It was designed to LIVE. And to live and to live.    
       People today are not living. People today are dying each day. And that is why they die, at all.
       To the human mind, moral accuracy is a holy grail. In all reality, moral accuracy is only a possibility amongst many possibilities. To turn a possibility into an absolute golden standard for a human being to follow, is a great error. Attaining a possibility is by both luck and idealism. And perhaps hard work. But many work just as hard as the next person, but without the luck involved, cannot attain what the next person has attained.
       So, the attainment of moral accuracy in a given circumstance is merely a possibility amongst many possibilities. And we are NOT all equally equipped to attain these, because we are not all equally set by life on the same directions. Of all our varied backgrounds and paths and experiences we have had in life... why would we even entertain for a moment, the notion that we are all equally set to attain a moral accuracy? And so, these moral accuracies, from the onslaught of them, already favour a select lot. That in itself shows the pretentiousness of it all; it cannot be a physically attainable law, because unlike gravity for example, it is not an equally distributed probability. It is merely a hypothesis. And a hypothesis jthat is subjective, I might add. It is not even a universally agreed-upon hypothesis.

       What's worse, is that we impose our own ideals upon others and we tell them, "This is how to be morally accurate, this is how to be correct, this is how to win, this is how to go to Heaven, this is how to be good." And so, we take an opinion that is influenced by one's culture, society, religion, background, neighborhood, childhood, school, workplace, and we demand the same of everybody else around us! We are very good at deciding the status of everyone else, aren't we? We are very good at knowing who exactly is going to Heaven and who is not, are we not?
       Pain, death and suffering ought to be removed from life. We must stop racing towards an illusion that we have imposed upon ourselves and others.

Why Are You Alive?

       Isn't it incredible, how us as human beings, chase after purpose? We crave for a sense of mission. But this is not only the root of human craving; it is also the root of human pride. When does a human feel the most proud? When he feels like he has accomplished his mission. When she feels like she has a purpose. Whatever "purpose" and "mission" means to that particular individual.
       Humans have forgotten to live. Humans are driven primarily by: 1. Conformity to an established social structure and the race towards their place of hierarchy in that structure; 2. The anticipation of moral accuracy (more of that in an upcoming post); 3. The race towards completion of whatever it is that is deemed to be one's mission or purpose in her/his life. And for the religious, the place of entry upon death seems to be their driving point in this life. To live this life in order to determine where one goes after death-- this seems to be the source of "purpose" for the religious individual.
       Why are we not living to breathe each day? Why are we not keeping on, because the colours of the Earth are beautiful to look at? Why are we not waking up in the morning because there are some people we want to show love to? Why are we not looking into our mirrors, feeling proud of ourselves, because we successfully arrived at today? Why do we live as if life is lived for one big moment of triumph? Some believe this "one big moment of triumph" happens in this life thanks to the attainment of purpose or the completion of mission; while others believe this "one big moment of triumph" happens when they die and find themselves in Heaven one day. Either way, why are you living your life for one big moment of triumph? Why are you not living it to breathe and to cherish?
       People say: "This is how to win" and "That is how you lose." But what if we're not here to win? What if we are here to live? One day, I will look back upon my life and I will say, "That's not the life I planned, but I lived it." I may not have lived the life I planned, but I will have lived the life that I have.

On How We Relate To Angels

The way that humans relate to angels and archangels, is in dire need of an update. Today, I would like to discuss archangel Raphael, the archangel of healing. We have a deity whose superpower is supernatural healing and rejuvenation, and we associate him with a picture in our minds of a very meek figure, rather frail, not fearsome at all.

Exhibit A: This oil-on- canvas painting by Bartolomé Esteban Murillo.

Raphael is certainly not depicted here as a fierce warrior being. But I believe that this is a mistake. A supernatural being who is able to slay disease, death, ageing, and mortality itself; must be a ferocious creature of warfare. To battle the core of man's mortality, and to overcome that core, requires one to be a fearsome warrior. I relate archangel Raphael to a very fearsome creature of power and dominance. A skilled warrior.

Exhibit B: This work of art by Carlos Quevedo

Now this is more like it. Although, I don't know about the blonde, flowing hair... but this is more like it.

Archangel Raphael is the warrior of healing in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Of course, many forms of himself can be found transliterated amongst other religious traditions, yet embodied by various names.

Now, with Michael we don't encounter the same problem, since being the archangel of war, he is naturally depicted as fearsome and powerful.

Exhibit C: This 16'th century painting by Guido Rhenus
il Guido

Michael, as we can plainly see, has always been depicted as the warring one. Rightly so, but, this is still not to say that the deity of war is the only one who deserves being depicted as such.

I believe that the way in which we perceive the supernatural beings whom we trust in, has an immense effect upon our ability to be receptive of their roles in our lives. And I think it's about time that we see Raphael as the fearsome and beautiful being that he really is. Afterall, he is the only archangel whose name directly corresponds to a Hebrew name of God (Jehovah Rapha, God my Healer).

Have you enjoyed this discussion about angels? Would you like to see more of this type of conversation from me? Just let me know, and have a wonderful day, wonderfuls!

My Issues With Hope

       I have been wondering about hope, the nature of hope, the effects of hope... even the usefulness of it (or lack thereof). I've been holding back from talking about my observations of hope, because I know how controversial these observations will be. But today, I think I'm ready to discuss this.
       I am convinced that hope is the most hazardous virtue in existence. Hope is the imaginary wind that lifts you up into the sky; the problem is that it's an imaginary wind. We are always told (and truly, we have all grown up hearing) "never give up hope." We have all come to grab ahold of this saying with a grip of death, and when we are able to hold onto hope, we take pride in the fact like it is a great accomplishment on our end. But in my life, I have come to relate hope to an imaginary sunrise; one that doesn't actually take place. You stand there and you wait for the Sun to rise in the horizon, but then it never actually does.
       Hope is the cause of pain, on a rudimentary level. If hope did not exist, I don't think that the deeper levels of pain would exist, either. And really, if something good is going to happen, then it's going to happen. It's not going to happen because you hoped it into existence. Just how many things DO happen, which you never hoped to happen? Did they happen because you hoped for them? Nope! Then what makes people think that the opposite would be true? Why should things happen as a result of hope?
       Nothing is actually affected by hope. Hope is a placebo tablet. It's not a medicine. It is a placebo. You think something is happening, but in reality, what's happening is just all placebo effect going on in your mind.
       If hope did not exist, then the non-materialisation of things hoped for could not ever cause anyone any pain. Life would not actually consist of disappointments; rather, life would consist of just that: life! Golden life in and of itself! Bad stuff just happens. And nobody can know when! But good stuff happens too; and nobody knows when, either!
       Life consists more of chance than of method. And more of unobservable quantum activity than of well-calculated patterns. Therefore, hope really does not have a place in the equation of reality. Because hope is treated as a constant: "have hope and all will be well." In reality, usually when you have hope in or for anything, what you're doing is drugging your mind into thinking that you're going to be okay, when in fact you're not going to be okay.
       Then what is supposed to make you feel good when everything hurts? , you're probably thinking. I think that the answer should not be "hope." Belief in better things-- yes. Sheer willpower-- yes. Trust-- yes. But sheer hope?? Sheer hope is for the dying. Sheer hope is the tablet given to the dying, by which the last blows of death become tainted with tolerability!
       Such strong thoughts and words on the nature of hope; startling and controversial. Nevertheless, these are the observations I have made while on this journey, on this planet. I hope (hahahaha) that my words will lead you to question and to think, on your own. And before dismissing this piece as utter blasphemy, please first consider the points I have raised.
       Does this all mean that I believe in living a joyless life? Of course not! I believe in Awe, in Faith, in Joyfulness, in Trust and in Charity. But hope? I have issues with hope.

What Inspires Me to Write

I recently shared the following post to my Instagram account; and I didn't know that it would evoke such positive response from many people! Seeing as it seems to be a very needed message in the world right now (judging from the comments I've received on it), I think it's best to share it here on my blog, as well:

You guys have asked me, so many times, "What inspires you to write?" And I have never been able to truly answer that question. But today I think I finally can (after 8 long years of being asked this). I am inspired to write, by the broken people in this world. And by the broken person in me. Countless readers of my work have come to me and have told me that my words have helped them come out of rehab, have prevented them from committing suicide... some even have my words tattooed on their skin so that they can see it every day! My words have shown up countless times in mental health magazines and have been discussed by respected mental health therapists from various parts of the world. But what you don't know, is that this hits very close to home. My father suffers from severe depression, something which I watched him overcome each time he would talk to me over video call, just so he could make me smile and not ruin my day talking to him! Throughout his adult life, he was in and out of rehab. Rehab for substance abuse and rehab for mental health therapy.
I witnessed my father become the butt of people's jokes and judgments, thanks to the tremendous social stigma surrounding mental health. Nobody wanted to meet him where he was at; they wanted him to wake up in the morning and feel thankful that there was sunshine outside his window!
I have just started Aerial Silk Acrobatics as an avenue for personal therapy. I feel like I am being taught how to fly again. It soothes my mind and it hurts my body like hell; but I also know that it is strengthening me!
People with depression, or other mental health problems, cannot just wake up in the morning and be thankful for the sunshine. Let's fight the stigma together, and let's strive towards our own mental health in what ways we can.
I am inspired by the broken ones. You are the lights that WILL shine the brightest!!!

I am so glad that I am finally able to pinpoint what it is (who it is) that inspires me to write! And I'm also happy to be sharing these photos from my first two aerial classes!

Aerial Dance is a very demanding form of acrobatics. It's painful and it requires strength of steal and true endurance! One day I hope to be good at it; but to get there I need to keep on training! If flying were easy, then we'd all be up in the sky! I wonder how much it hurts a butterfly as she earns her wings! 🦋🦋

My teacher says, "Make it look like it doesn't hurt!" And I think to myself, "Well that's something I'm good at..."

I Hope One Day You Will No Longer Be Afraid

       I have been spending a considerable amount of time in Japan lately. Before my first visit to Japan in October, I didn't even know I wanted to go there. I discovered my desire for Japan only upon my arrival. I was suddenly struck with an overwhelming feeling, like I had stepped into a country filled with perfect people who were all created by a Moon Goddess and lived in Moon Land of Perfection.
       Perfection is just everywhere, in Japan: in their geography, their culture, their society, their people, their infrastructure... and when I say "perfect" I don't mean the nonexistence of flaws. But when I say "perfect", I mean the harmony of everything. The absence of harmony and flow is imperfection. Japan doesn't have that. Japan is perfect.
       Of all the things about Japan that I could sit down and write about today, I am choosing to write about something that really strikes me hard. And that is on the matter of religion.

A little Shinto Shrine outside a small establishment in Kyoto.

       At first, you visit Japan and you feel like their temples and shrines are there for novelty, there as tourist attractions. But you stay longer and you begin to realize that their temples and shrines are not for you; rather, they are there for the worshipful people of Japan.
       Their ornate shrines and breathtaking temples of worship are very personal entities that exist because this is in fact the religion of the people. You go there with your camera and your selfie stick and you realize that little old ladies and little boys and girls and salary men and businesswomen and anime cosplay teenagers are all paying visits to these temples and shrines because they believe in the entities that are enshrined there. They want to go there to pray. That's where they pray every day, or every week, or every semester before exams...
       The local Japanese populace visits their temples and shrines in order to pray, to worship, to praise. I would watch them arrive at the temples and shrines while I was in Japan: their fervent hand gestures, their solemn faces, their respectful countenance, their eager hearts!

A man leaving his prayer/s at a Shinto shrine. 

       These beautiful people who are so respectful and desirous of beautifying their society, the lives of other people, and their country as a whole, bow down to pray to stone images of mice and cats and rabbits and bears! Small beings that we consider to be insignificant in nature. I am not used to this. I am used to bowing down before Gods who are "almighty, omnipotent, all-powerful, and 'the One True God." In fact, I used to always believe that being God was about "being the best at everything." And then I became used to growing up in a culture wherein "being the best at everything" was how you attained your own status as a "god". Just look at all those CEOs!
       Religion is an incredibly undeniable element of human society and the human psyche. Just think: The only real constant element of humanity, through the ages, is the concept of God: of having a God (or Gods), of worshiping, of praying... people have always prayed. People have always looked upwards and asked for help, for favor, for guidance. No matter the tribe, the nation, the color of skin.
       But I believe that we only become as good as the Gods that we believe in. Or nearly as good. Or perhaps we only become as good, or nearly as good, as the type of system of belief that we put our trust in.
       The three Abrahamic religions of today, which are the most widespread of religions on our planet, each proclaim utter ownership of the word "True God." These Gods are jealous, vengeful, wrathful, and they expect you to come up to par to the rules they have set. And then they don't stop there; because they further expect you to require the same of the people around you. In other words, they tell you, "This is what the One True God is like and other people should know this and believe this and you shouldn't be friends with anyone who doesn't do what I say they should do." And that is basically it.
       When we put our trust in Gods who are "the best", it goes to follow that we will pattern our own minds along this pathway and think that our own religion is the best, or the only one true way. We're not going to be considerate of what other people believe, or what they hope for, because we won't even want to be their friends.

Me, sitting at a Shinto shrine on Mt. Fuji.

       This world is vast. Just vast, really. On the one hand, we have human beings murdering one another in the name of "The One True God", and on the other hand, we have human beings wanting the best for each other and their society, because they pray to mice and foxes.
       Why do we judge people's goodness entirely dependent upon which God they are worshiping? Are we in a contest to compare who has the better God? If a person who worships a rabbit is good to you, truly good to you, would that be of less impact on you than the cruelty of a man who worships one of the main centerfold Gods of this world? Would you not care to weigh the goodness of the rabbit-worshiper, because his God is merely a rabbit? Would you be quick to forgive the cruelties of a Jewish man or a Christian man or a Muslim man, because his God is a major player in the arena of religion? How are we calculating the value of goodness, in our world today?
       I have a thought that runs through my mind: What if all of the Gods are friends, in reality? With our human minds, we have pitted the Gods against one another, as we pit ourselves against one another (we have made our own Gods in our own image). But what is the likelihood that all of the Gods that do exist, are against one another's systems and are in a contest to show who is more powerful? Really? Is it really all that childish and cumbersome? Really now?
       What if all the Gods that do exist, are actually existing in harmony and unity? What if Jesus and Allah and Jehovah and Rabbit and Mouse and the Tao and the Universe are all hanging out together right now, and the only thing that they want-- the only thing that they really, really want-- is to see whom amongst the human race has a good heart?

Makeshift Shinto shrine on Mt. Fuji.

       What if Jesus is saying, "Let's say I am the Only Way"; and then Allah says, "And I'll say I am the Only One"; and then Jehovah says, "And I'll say my people are the Chosen Ones"; and then Mouse says, "Then I'll just be a mouse on a hill with a stone figure"; and then they all say, "And we'll see who worships Mouse in all of his smallness and insignificance. Let's see who prays to Mouse for help, even if he's just a Mouse." And then what if they are all just there, hanging out together, waiting to see the quality of the hearts of man... waiting to see who is too proud and who is truly humble?
       Who wants to identify himself with the most powerful God? Of course everyone. Who wants to identify himself with a rabbit or a mouse? Hard to find that one. The latter is smaller, is humbler, is quieter, is simpler. Much, much simpler. Something a small child might pray to.
       What if Eternal Pradise is a lot more important and a lot more significant and a lot more complicated than just believing and putting all of your trust in the one God who says He's the Only Way or the Only One or that He has made you the Chosen One? What if arriving into the Heavenly Paradise one day is actually about being a simple-hearted person? A humble person. A person who is okay with praying to a little mouse? Because what if that's the kind of person who possesses the heart of gold? The person with a heart of a child!

Geisha praying at one of the shrines at Kiyomizu-dera, in Kyoto.

       No man or woman should be afraid to think, to explore, to ask. The moment that these three things cause fear in the heart of a person, that is the moment a person should realize that he/she is being kept away from all of the other forms of truth that are out there. There are many truths in the world, and you will never find any of them if you think that you already have the only one that exists!
       I am extremely humbled to have witnessed a culture of people who are innately altruistic, fervently respectful and considerate, who force no one else to follow in their own religions. Have you ever heard of a Shinto forcing you to go to Shinto Shrine? Nope. Have you ever heard of a Buddhist forcing you to go to rub Buddha's belly? I don't think so. Like I said, we are only as good as the Gods we believe in. Or, as the systems set in place by man for us to understand them. I mean, what if Jesus and Allah and Jehovah are actually really chill Gods who really just want the best for everyone and everything, but then some people who needed to make money wrote some laws and said, "This is what the Big God says!" and vóila! The rest is history!
       The most humbling act to witness, in a lifetime, is a person praying to the statue of a mouse. A little old lady or a little kid, drinking from a stream of water they believe was sent by Heaven to help them, or bathing in incense they believe was sent by Heaven to bring them mercy. It's not insignificant; it might be small, it might be little, but it's Earth-moving. It's beautiful.

Kyomizu-dera "Pure Water Temple"; the place of magical streams.

       I hope that one day you will be able to visit Japan, to watch and to think deeply about what you see there. I hope that one day you will be shaken to your core and that you will never be the same person again. I hope that one day you will ask questions, seek answers, and that you will no longer be afraid. Let's all hope this, together.

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Do You Have a Night Life?

       I remember watching one of the (close to ending) scenes of one of the movies in the movie series The Matrix, which was when the masses of human beings turned to dancing as a last resort against the computer simulations (the "Mr. Smiths"). The antagonists were closing in on the remaining humans that defied the matrix and the only thing left to do was the most primal human action they could do in that instant: DANCE. Do you remember this scene from the movie? If not, here's a refresher for you:

       That was a long time ago and I was a lot younger when I first watched it, but I had goosebumps all over my body and I still have goosebumps today when I watch it again. I sat there in front of the t.v., many years ago, and I thought about it hard. I pondered upon the nature of dance and what it means to be human and how that primal act of pleasure was a final stand against the matrix and the whole lie and the control of the computer simulation that had power over the greater bunch of humanity.
       I think that, aside from sexual intercourse, dancing is the most pleasurable action a human can indulge in. For me, at least, I know that is how I feel. I am pretty sure it releases a ton of dopamine in my brain, because dancing, to me, is close to orgasmic and I'm sure there are a handful of others (if not more than just a handful) who feel the same way.
       I recently began living a night life. I got married very young and raised my son all throughout my 20s. When other people were going to clubs, I was being a mother and a wife. Now though, that my son is taller than me and has a sturdy foundation for his own life, I feel that it is time for me to live in any which way that I choose to live. And so, I turn to dancing. Most preferably done in the company of a whole den of other people, at nighttime. But I have discovered so much more since I started living at night. I have discovered that the night club is the place where you will find the most open, transparent and accepting people. For some reason, dancing+alcohol consumption, seems to result in affectionate, accepting and uninhibited human beings. The club is the only place where people just walk right up to me and ask me if I am happy, tell me that I am beautiful, and touch my hair even if they don't know me. And I am not even talking about men specifically. Women do this to other women (something that never happens anywhere else, because, every woman gotta be a cold bitch at school, in the office, at the mall, walking down the street).
       I myself, have a lot to learn from the night clubs and the bars. I need to learn how to let down the many walls I have built around myself and to let the cracks shine through. I have to learn how to talk to people (in person) with a deep type of openness and neediness and acceptance (yes, both neediness and acceptance at the same time). I am getting there, slowly but surely!
       This is a side to the human nature that I really have not been able to witness any other time in my life, thus far. And I love it. People are people and in the club they leave their cares, worries, pretensions and hostilities at the door. Yes, plenty of broken and sad people can be found in the club, too. But that does not mean that in the morning or in the afternoons they are not broken and deformed on the inside; rather, it just means that at night, in the club, they stop hiding it!

       I don't look for happiness at the night club, but I do thrive on the freedom and the openness in there and it feels like Vitamin C, really it does! It also makes me see how entirely wrong it is to judge people who go out at night. I grew up in an extremely conservative community and I am pretty sure that, right now, the greater majority of my friends think that I am on my way to hell because I have developed a penchant for dancing and having a few cocktails. Bless their hearts. Many people live in bondage within their minds. Bondage propagated by ideals set by religious beliefs, familial expectations, so on and so forth. But some people, like me, break free!
       There is also the angle of people being of the persuasion that having a vibrant night life is not a spiritual activity to engage in. This is due to the fact that their forms of spirituality reside on the outside of them, rather than on the inside of them. If they go over there, they are no longer connected to their spirituality; if they come over here, they are no longer spiritual beings... their spirituality exists in an outward form rather than within their soul form. They must physically attach themselves to what they wish their souls to be shaped like (or to what they have been convinced will cause their soul to become the shape they so desire for it).
       If you must identify yourself with a certain time of day, or a certain type of activity, in order to consider yourself as spiritual (ascended, enlightened, awakened, higher being, transformed being), then it is, in actuality, the time of day that is spiritual and the type of activity that is spiritual but not you yourself who is spiritual! If you are a spiritual being, or of the supernatural persuasion, then whatever time of day it is or wherever you go and whatever you do-- you will always be the light and the salt, wherever you are placed. You will always be connected, ascended, awakened, enlightened. Because it is YOU; it is not the place or the time or the action! When you are spiritual, you make things around you spiritual; if you are supernatural, you look at a small flower and you see the eyes of God in it. If you are a flame, how could you ever be anything other than a flame?
       I don't think I will ever stop reveling in the openness and the brokenness and the affections that the night is impregnated with. Like stars in the sky, we see people's light at night, breaking through the cracks that they keep so sealed and closed in the daytime.
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