Wednesday, February 21, 2018

My Writing Group and Writing Prompts

One of my favorite things is a little writing group that I started a year or so ago. We meet weekly, as long as all conditions are right, at a local coffee shop across the street from a beloved friend that we all secretly hope joins us.  💓 Most of what we do is, using prompts from books, websites, or of our own creation, from all over the place, and write for three to ten minutes. Then, if we wish, we read our writing to each other, pause with love for one another, and move along.

Our writing often prompts wonderful conversations full of emotion, love, and connection. It's truly a beautiful thing, with a side order of iced tea and brownies.

With the love of this writing group, I've decided to add my suggestions for some excellent writing prompts. All around the internet you can find website with dozens of memoir writing prompts, most copy from one another. Each of these personal narrative prompts is from my own head. Enjoy:

  • Which of your parents are you the most like? How. Describe your similarities and differences.
  • Describe the relationship that you consider the one you call your "first love". Does it affect you in any way today? Are you still on contact with that person?
  • Write about a fashion trend that you can't get on board with.
  • Are you an introvert or an extrovert? Write pros and cons of being that type of person.
  • Write about the most inspiring teacher, mentor, authority figure you have had in your life. 
  • What are some of your pet peeves and what do they seem to say about you?
  • Write about a beautiful moment from the past week.
  • Make a list of small things that bring you joy.
  • Describe a time when you felt too far away from home.
  • Write about your hometown. Its positives, negatives, things that give it character. Write some of your essential memories from there. What would a visitor see?
  • Write about a time when you realized you had misunderstood the whole thing.
  • Describe your mother or grandmother's kitchen.
  • Write about a time you got in trouble as a child, especially when you didn't mean to.
  • Were you a bully as a child? Explain what made you behave that way.
  • Imagine you have a million dollars. What would you do with it. No taxes.
  • How do you like to spend an afternoon on your own.
  • Write about a road trip you took.
  • Write about a party you threw.
  • Write a letter to yourself at a certain age. The letter should say the exact things you needed to hear at that moment.
  • Write about a time in your life when you made a major change. How did it go?
  • Imagine it's 200 years in the future and your time capsule was just dug up and opened. What is inside and what does it mean?
  • Write about a childhood friend and some unresolved issues from that friendship.
  • Write a list of things that you are grateful for.
  • Write about the first person or relationship that broke your heart.
  • What recurring elements do you see in your dreams? If you gave them meaning, what might they be telling you?
  • Write about a song that holds meaning for you.
  • Write about a time a friend or family member came to the rescue.
  • Write about how the people in your life know that you love them.
  • Write about a time you became separated from the group.
  • Write about a time when someone made you feel empowered.
  • Write about a time when you had to end something, and were the better for it.
  • Write about a low point in your life and how you found your way out of it.
  • Write about a movie or book that you wish you could step into. What would you do there?
  • Write about a bedtime story you made up for a special child in your life.
  • Write about a person that you admire without using their name.
  • Do you, your parents, or someone you know have a wonderful love story to tell? About how they met? Tell the story.
  • Write about a time you were too drunk/stoned/high.
  • Describe a time that you look back on fondly.
  • Tell a story about being unwisely in love.
  • Make a list of things that you love about your life.
  • Where were you on 9/11?
  • Where were you when the Challenger exploded?
  • Think about a person you have lost touch with. What was your relationship like? Would you like to reconnect?
  • Write about a book or some books that made a huge impact on you and your life.
  • Write about a time you had an encounter with someone famous.
  • Write about a time you were the victim of a crime.
  • Write your own version of NPR's This I Believe.
  • What is your absolute earliest memory?
  • What does it seem are common impressions of you that people seem to have?
  • Write about the most painful thing you have ever experienced.
    Have you learned anything from it?
  • Write about a time you were on stage.

You might also enjoy:
My Daughter is  Fierce
My Writing Process Blog Tour
More Writing Prompts
A Fascinating Blog Post

Monday, February 19, 2018

Why are You so Angry at God???

This post was featured on Karen Garst's blog
I am delighted to see it so well-received there. The idea for this post started about five years ago when I read a book by atheist activist  Christina called Why are You Atheists So Angry?: 99 Things that Piss Off the Godless

I thought Greta's book was brilliant, but incomplete. And that's why I took this effort to add to the incredibly long list of things that I an angry about. Please add your own in the comments.

Am I raging and wounded? Have I seen too much pain and unfairness that 
I have entered a period of anger at God? Am I in despair and feeling hopeless? Am I afraid that God has abandoned me in my desperation? 
Am I feeling that Life Isn’t Fair? Am I unable to locate any gratitude towards God?

In my time I have been accused several times of being angry at God? 
The Christian god, presumably. People making this suggestion to me never ever take my reply as honest. They simply cannot accept the reality that, 
No, I am surely not angry at your god.

The truth is, I have no anger whatsoever at any so-called deity.
I do have anger at religion, tons of it. 

The organizational, structured shame and guilt and abuse and prejudice and hatred and misogyny.

I’m absolutely livid that the conservative right has placed an abhorrent human being in the White House because that man had the lack of integrity enough to play to their agenda. I’m further enraged, enraged, I say, that those people have given up their own abilities to think clearly and have looked to their religion to determine their political allies. It has divided this country in half.

I have anger at the YEARS of sexual abuse cover ups in the church, at the abuse of power and religious political power, at the tens of billions of dollars of financial abuses, overt lies and manipulation, all religious wars, massive sexual abuse scandals that are forgiven by church authorities, encouragement of faith over reason.

All pics Courtesy of Pinterest
I’m angry about every single effort to defeat true knowledge in the place of religion, about inculcating children into the fantasy of religious belief, about religious teachings taught in classrooms and offered as facts to the minds of children, about prayer over medical treatment, about every effort to hide truth under the cloth of bullshit, about the fact for each and every single person who has ever struggled to understand something in earnest while being taught to stick with faith, and about every vile adult male who ever married or injured a young girl or boy well within the bounds of their religious practices or traditions.

I'm angry that black atheists have to struggle doubly hard to be freethinker in this country. 

Black Nonbelievers, Inc.

I’m angry that all doubt in the religious mind is told that it is the resident demon putting those thoughts into their head. UGH.

I’m thoroughly disgusted that outrageously, overtly powerful and wealthy people are thought to be humble. It is abhorrent that wealthy church members are powerful church members, that people in poverty are encouraged to embrace and accept their position of powerlessness.

I’m disgusted for every single penny or other coinage with the words In God We Trust on them, for every misappropriation of false history passed along, for every single person on their knees in prayer with tears streaming down their faces with the belief that that action is their only option, for all of the church history that has been falsified, and for every single young person struggling with the guilt of absolutely normal maturity and sexuality.

I am fully disgusted at the ostentatious wealth of the Catholic church, 
much of it stolen from conquests, while the church de facto encourages and supports poverty.

I’m saddened tremendously by the people who believe in some nether-regioned bad guy that is after them and all of the anguish that accompanies this belief.

I find it a huge loss that few religious people ever seek to understand the incredible beauty and vastness of the universe. Just think of the millions of minds that have been handicapped by religious belief.

I’m angry that people spend so much of their sincere effort to figure out the Will of God, that the church demonizes nearly all sexual practices, that atheists and all people of logic and reason are considered the least trusted people in this country, that people of all ages anguish and fear the concept of hell, and that all ridiculous stories that make no sense in the holy books are treated as absolute fact or real history.

I’m disgusted with the entire vile concept of Biblical Parenting, that believers are encouraged to discount, cherry pick, or misrepresent the words of their holy books yet those same books are treated as sacrosanct, that perfectly well-meaning, truly good people are encouraged to stick with faith over their own decision-making reasoning abilities, and that this country would never elect an openly atheist into positions of power.

I’m ridiculously angry that a woman’s right to personal autonomy has become a favorite witching call of the religious right.
I am angry that, were I to die at this moment, some of my family members would believe that I was burning in hell for all eternity... and this is the religion that they choose!

I'm livid and the more fundamental the religion, the fewer rights women have.

I am angry that the powerful religions on this planet that still exist do so by having exterminated the other religions and acolytes of those religions that existed before them, by torturing people into fearful belief, and by every other violent and forced method of spreading a belief system.

I’m genuinely angry that truly GOOD people honestly have been convinced that it is their religion that prevents them from committing horrific acts of murder, rape, or other rapaciousness.
I’m angry that the best fricking thing we have to offer people attempting to recovery from addictions of all sorts is a treacly religious 12-Step program.

I’m disgusted that religious families are tragically encouraged to abandon family members who have differing beliefs or understandings of the world.

I’m angry that adults all over the planet are satisfied with not knowing things, and that the churches systematically install so many of the feelings inside of a believer that confuse them so very much.

I am livid that CHILDREN are taught to fear, reject, revile, hate people different from themselves. Every form of racism and white supremacy supported by the Christian religion shocks and outrages me.

I’m angry that my children and all children of reason often have felt like they wanted or needed to go into hiding due to the pressures or disdain from the believers around them and that those same children have been told that they are going to hell.

I’m angry that most third world countries are so mired in evangelized missionary doctrine that they are stripped of their own powers and of their own belief systems.

I am truly disgusted with the entire concept of sin and how the church teaches and controls and tortures the emotions of adherents with it.

I’m angry that the majority of people in this country are religious and that any effort to secularize the government or the culture is treated as UNFAIR or as a THREAT to religion.

I’m angry with the smarmy well he believes in you response to atheism.

I am angry with the teaching that we are all inherently evil people and that the only way to salvation is through the church.
I’m angry as heck that so many truly good people anguish over the possibility of losing a freaking afterlife rather than finding ways to make this life a truly good, just, loving, and meaningful one.

I’m angry that autonomy and personal power are not important tenets of the religions of the world.

Am I angry with a god?
Not at all.

It turns out that what I am angry at is the power-hungry narcissist human beings who control the hearts and minds of so many people on this planet using religion as their walking stick.

 Thank you Karen Garst for your atheist activism
and for your blog Faithless Feminist.

You might also enjoy:
My Atheist Memes and Late Night Angst
That Hideous Dance Between Faith and Critical Thinking
I'm a Lover not a Fighter

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

The Virtue of Doubt

The beginning of wisdom
 is found in doubting; 
by doubting we come to the question, 
and by seeking 
we may come upon the truth.

Pierre Abelard

Give yourself a real treat by reading up on Pierre Abelard. Besides gaining fame over the millennium for a lifelong love of a great 12th century mind like Heloise, Pierre Abelard gave up his familial wealth and status and chose to study philosophy and logic. Abelard lived at a time when religious study was the only education truly available and he obtained the majority of his studying in reputable schools across western Europe. Because he was an incredible 12th century intellectual genius and a bit disreputable, Pierre Abelard's life was one of public enmity with the church leaders because of his philosophical and theocratic arguments with major reputable church teachers while also maintaining popularity and office as a teacher of philosophy himself. 

Abelard and Eloise
Les Amours d'Héloïse et d'Abeilard
Abelard's life is a complicated one and I am, 
by no means, a learned scholar on his life; 
in fact, I'm not sure how much of it I am understanding, but I find his journeys and his disagreements incredibly interesting and brave. It seems he was a Christian, but only under his own conditions.

His book Sic et Non, or Yes and No (1120 ACE) has given me the quote that I began this blog post with: The beginning of wisdom is found in doubting; by doubting we come to the question, and by seeking we may come upon the truth.  
A beautiful and erudite piece of thought, if I do say so myself. In Abelard's teaching and writings (many of which were lost, burnt by the church for their incompatibility with church doctrinal teaching) he talked about the concept of Moral Relativism, though he did not, to my knowledge, use that term. I have to admire a person who, while embroiled in church politics, has the courage to dispute the rigidity of moral absolutism taught by the 12th century church. Of course, it's entirely possible that my understanding of this is way off. 🙂

The Virtue of Doubt

I want to give this idea some more thought, the idea that doubt is a virtue. Let's unpack it a little.
I would venture to say that every single person who ever claimed to have or claims to have a religious outlook on life has had periods of doubt in their life. It is a very human thing. In fact, the church holds faith, over doubt, as one of the highest virtues one can hold. Much of the church's teaching, in fact, tells that having faith even when doubt is sucking one's mind into the unending fire is the highest virtue and is, therefore, essential to being in good graces with the Christian god. 

Furthermore, doubt is considered a form of pride in the church. Another sinful thing, pride. It seems that the church wants nothing more than to save all believers from the sin of pride, the sin of doubt, by encouraging them to maintain faith in the face of doubt. What treacley goodness comes when one experiences doubt and yet chooses faith over that doubt.

Whereas I say that doubt is a human being's natural function common sense sticking its head above the water and wondering what in the world am I doing in this crazy place
A goodly amount of churchy effort goes in to the practice of encouraging adherents to maintain faith in the face of doubt. As Dieter F. Uchtorf said doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith. I've got to admit, that's cute and catchy. Another cute pat on the head, Little One, is that expression Don't dig up in doubt what you planted in faith
In other words, give us some time to beat your common sense back into submission.

I wonder how many bouts of doubt I weathered before finally finding a way out of the church? Quite a few, actually, because I can clearly recall several of them. Moments when my eyes began to open, to see the ridiculous, to see the obviously man made parts of religion before being subsumed back into the fable and the pageantry. Back to the place where Thomas is a cautionary tale rather than a human being looking for clear, true signs of the resurrection...signs that should have been easy to display in that dear Doubting Thomas. I mean, just show me your wound, Lord, since we're right here and all.

Yes, those moments when doubt begin creeping up, story inconsistencies, weird/rewritten church history, obvious power plays, moments when the church as an institution, a money-making institution vs. a creation of a deity, becomes so clear, moments when the very kernel of truth of a religion becomes undeniably shaken. Having the courage to explore the doubt, 
to explore the questions more fully, 
to entertain the idea that the mustard seed is a truly ridiculous metaphor.

The truth is, being able to change one's mind when presented with new information is the true sign of courage and maturity; doubt is a true virtue. So listen to your doubt; it's trying to tell you something. Allow me to end this little diatribe with one of my favorite quotes by Bertrand Russell:

 The whole problem with the world 
is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, 
and wiser people so full of doubts. 
Bertrand Russell

You might also enjoy:
How to Talk Religion with Children as an Atheist or Skeptic

Thanks, Hitch
It Takes More Faith to be an Atheist

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Feb 12: Darwin Day

In a day where the Christian religion is setting itself in competition with science, secularism, and critical thinking, it behooves all Humanists, science-minded people, freethinkers, atheists, and all secular peoples on the planet to celebrate those humans in history who have made it possible to be outwardly skeptical. 
Today, February 12th is now celebrated as 
Darwin Day, in honor of Charles Darwin.

This man, Charles Darwin, struggled for most of his adult life with that which his senses could detect again and again and with the belief system that so shackled his mind, and the mind of the western world of that time. 
Charles Darwin endeavored to satisfy his voracious curiosity and questioning within the bounds of the religion of his upbringing, but found no satisfaction there. Concluding that species change, evolve, over time was something he could not ignore, despite the strong, stranglehold that the Christian churches had built in his mind. We have his amazing bravery and his intellectual integrity to thank for his theory of species evolution.

Along with other transformational thinkers of his time, Charles Darwin brought undeniable empirical proof of species change, making it clear that the understood, unquestionable cosmology of the time was incorrect. 
A supreme being had not created life complete, perfect, immutable. Rather, life is 
a dynamic, changing thing subject to natural selection. This incredibly significant change in our understanding of life on this planet opened the door for other freethinkers and scientists to ultimately disconnect from the dogma of the time, to adhere to the scientific method, and to endure whatever battles would be necessary to continue to question and quest and become more informed. We celebrate Darwin’s strength of character, great courage, wisdom, integrity, and the honesty required to explore and publish findings supporting natural selection.

Charles Darwin, the father of evolutionary biology, is one of my true intellectual heroes. I can relate to his voracious appetite for books, with his incredible hunger and thirst for knowledge, and with his noble and eventual journey away from the religion of his childhood because of these loves.

From the website:

So much of what we know about our place in the universe rests on Charles Darwin’s questions and his courage in publishing answers. The importance of questioning cannot be understated. In fact, every new league travelled on the moral arc of justice rests on the contributions of questioners equally brave.

On Darwin’s birthday, let us find ourselves inspired to stretch our minds with questions that test our limits.

Let us champion the values of intellectual bravery, perpetual curiosity, and hunger for truth.

Let us honor scientific thinkers like Darwin not just in our laboratories, but in the practice of nurturing compassionate, egalitarian communities that value free inquiry.

Let us work to grow our understanding of the interconnectedness of all life, and expand our empathy and the reach of our compassion.

And, like Darwin himself, let us take daring risks for a freer, fairer, more joyful world.
By: Seráh Blain
In Memory of Harry Lonsdale

 Join me for just this moment as we celebrate 
on of the giants of critical thought!

You might also enjoy:
Books for Your Skeptical Children
The Eyes Have It
Anti-Intellectualism, Racism, and Complacency

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Dear Abby

One of my favorite things is to have lunch at Panera, here in St. Louis it is called St. Louis Bread Co because they are based here in town.I'll get my favorite delicious salad with extra wontons and an iced tea, sit down alone, and read the Everyday section of the paper. 
No, I don't read the news section of the newspaper because I get plenty of news everywhere else! But I love the comics, the word games, the crossword puzzles, and I really used to love Dear Abby. When it was Abby. But now I find myself snorting and shaking my head with disgust nearly every time I read it.

Why am I disgusted?
Because her advice is ridiculously shaming and personally disempowering to so many of the people who write to her. For example, here's one of the letters from this week:

DEAR ABBY: My husband is very outgoing. He loves chatting on the phone for hours, and talks with all the neighbors up and down the street. He's retired, so it's fine -- up to a point.
We have a set time for dinner, which is 6:30, and he knows it. Invariably he'll be on the phone or up the street when it's close to dinner. I always remind him 10 to 15 minutes ahead, which gives him time to be here to eat, but he'll keep chatting until he's anywhere from 15 minutes to half an hour late to dinner.
I put time and effort into preparing my meals. I grow my own vegetables and think of creative things to fix. He always comments how great the meals are, so it's not that he doesn't like my food.
If it's not eaten promptly, it's overcooked/mushy/wilted, etc., so I go ahead and eat if he's not here. I'd like him to be with me when I sit down at the table.

I feel it's incredibly rude for him to be late. When I tell him that, he laughs like it's a big joke. Short of treating him like a 2-year-old and throwing his food away if he doesn't show up on time, I'm not sure what to do. Can you help?

DEAR FED UP: I can't force your husband to the dinner table and neither can you. To toss his dinner into the garbage would be too overtly hostile and a waste of food. Try this: Tell him dinner time is 6:30, but prepare the food as if it's for 6:45 or 7.
It just seems disappointing to me to not address Fed Up's feelings and her frustration, her hurt feelings, her anger. No, instead Fed Up is advised to simply delay dinner. This woman is feeling disrespected by her husband! It's a big deal for her or else she wouldn't have written in for advice. How lame is that advice?

But the reason I'm even bothering to write about how much I dislike Dear Abby is this letter, also from this week:

DEAR ABBY: I'm a 72-year-old married woman. My husband has atypical Parkinson's and can no longer talk or walk.
I exercise six days a week, but I need someone to talk to, to share life with. I tell my husband what I do each day, but of course, there is no feedback. He's at home, and we have 24-hour care.
Can I date? If I explained to him how I need companionship, he might agree. But am I being selfish? This has been going on for six years. I figure I have only 10 productive years left -- maybe fewer.
I feel like my life is over. Please help me. I feel like I'm dying.

DEAR REQUIRES COMPANIONSHIP: I think it would be not only selfish but cruel to tell your husband you need companionship and want to seek another relationship. How would you feel if you were in his position, unable to walk or talk, and he said that to you?
If ever I heard of a person who needs to join a support group, it is you. The American Parkinson Disease Association ( can help you locate one. The toll-free phone number is (800) 223-2732.
As to my giving you permission to date, that's something that should be between you and your conscience or higher power, not Dear Abby.
P.S. Couples who face this kind of diagnosis should have this conversation in advance.

Dear Abby, actually Jeanne Phillips, daughter of the original Abigail Van Buren, has no right to tell this desperate woman that she is not just selfish, but cruel. This woman who has been the caregiver of her husband is looking for someone to say Yes, of course you can and should locate support and companionship anywhere and everywhere you can find it. Every word of this response suggests to Requires Companionship that she has not continually thought of the needs of her husband for however long she's been caring for him during this lengthy and difficult experience with Parkinson's Disease. 
Requires Companionship actually wrote  
Please help me. I feel like I'm dying. 

Does that not require some response from Dear Freaking Abby? I'm disgusted with her column and I think she is incredibly dangerous writing on a nationally syndicated column like that when she is giving such potentially hurtful advice like this.

Don't you want to give Requires Companionship a freaking hug?
I do.

* Panera can send my free gift cards anytime for this endorsement.  😊

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Something YOU Can REALLY Do

You know how you listen to the problems all over the place and think, UGH, what can I really do to help, to really make a difference? I feel that way often whenever listening to the news. Huge, real problems and little old me wondering what I can do that is real and that will make a difference.

Well, I've got a small thing that you and I can do to make a difference for the Humanists in Milwaukee. Proceeds from all activism on the website will go to help
victims of rape and sexual assault. Really, RIGHT NOW.

If you and I simply donate a buck or two or ten we will be making grassroots differences in the greater Milwaukee area...and won't that feel great?!

The Brew City Benefit happens in Milwaukee, WI April 7th, 2018, benefiting RAINN (the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network), and helping to create a new Milwaukee Humanists group. DETAILS & DONATIONS:

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

A Likely Dance Partner

A couple of weeks before Mom died she and I were in her kitchen talking about her favorite music. We were cracking up, making fun of the dudes we were attracted to in our teens. 
She mentioned a couple of 50s singers who were dreamy in her teenage imagination, guys that I had always thought of as has beens.  I think I mentioned Andy Gibb.  🙂
That night I went home and sent her a couple of CDs from and she was delighted. Surprised and delighted. I noticed the discs being used regularly over the next week or two. And those CDs came in handy later.

A couple of weeks later Mom and I were, again, hanging out in her kitchen, feeling kind of maudlin and sad and wanting to connect. Now we knew there was cancer. Now we had a glimpse of serious days ahead. I selected a song from one of her CDs, one of the popular tunes of her dreamy guy, and we danced together. When the tune was over Mom said, Wait, there's another one I want to dance to, number 24 on disc 3. This was a real fan's fan song, mostly unknown to the general sockhoppers. 

We hugged and twirled in her country crafty dining room, darkened room, Mom's head laying on my shoulder.

Move forward a couple of weeks. The other day I was in the kitchen playing some of Mom's CDs that I'd brought home after she died. When track 24 from disc 3 came on I found myself staring out the window, thinking of that golden moment.

Elizabeth walked into the kitchen just then, noticed my silence, and asked me what was up. 

I explained to her how the song was affecting me and why. She stepped up, restarted the song, and opened her arms for a dance...a beatific smile on her face...changed the whole song for me. 
My head fit just right on her shoulder.

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Monday, February 5, 2018

Being an Atheist isn't Enough

Sometimes it takes me awhile to figure out what is bugging me. I'm a bit slow on the uptake and I'm generally a happy person so putting my finger on a thing that is ruminating in the back of my mind can take me a bit longer than most...but I've finally put my finger on it. 
And not in a gross way.

It's this: being an atheist person does not guarantee that one is a skeptic. *

Maybe it is the pervasively anti-intellectual climate that we live in that is to blame. Or it is that popular and warm-fuzzy idea of being spiritual that is to blame; that one always annoys me more than it should. The entirety of that school of thought called New Age just screams ridiculous to me. I'm trying to hold my temper here, but my anger and frustration with the whole idea of spiritual rather than religious just annoys me. There is no skepticism present in this ...what...realm?

I have had more than my share of uncomfortable conversations where the other person insists that the constellations and stars, somehow, tell them important things about their life here on Earth. I'm sorry, but too many people I care about have relationships with their chakras. Lovely, LOVELY people that I know throw their time and money and energy into healing massage and touch, with a belief that there is light and energy emanating from their hands.  I hope that I will never, ever again have to be in the position where a very beloved person looks at me with their puppy dog eyes and says Well, our family truly believes in astrology.

Breath work and Reiki. Chakra energies. Transformational breathing. Various retreats. Energy coming from rocks and crystals. 
The goddess. Astrology. Flat Earthers. Satanism. Aromatherapy. Climate change deniers. Wiccan. Himalayan salt lamps. Vibrations. Essential oils. Numerology. Shamanistic healing. Cleansing scents. Putting your needs out to the universe.  
Colon or liver detoxifying. Sigil symbol magic. Energy healing. Spiritual alchemy. Soul groups. Grounding rituals. Feather magic.
Reflexology. Sacred Geometry. Acupuncture. Homeopathy. Qi gong. Scalar Energy. Naturopathic medicine. Transformational breath work.
Superstition of many kinds.

I find it lonely sometimes being a true skeptic. So many people find these spirituality practices meaningful to them and I truly find them unpalatable to the extreme. Even people who claim to be atheists cling to some of these spiritual practices with no irony or cognitive dissonance. I'm certain that some of these people find me very abrasive or intolerant IRL.

Yeah, it can be lonely being a true skeptic, but I am at a place where I absolutely couldn't be anyone else.

* I'm sure I've offended at least one of my regular readers.

...Feeling a little grumpy and intolerant lately. 
What do you think?

You might also enjoy:
Death, Grief, Loss: Atheist Style

Sunday, February 4, 2018

23 and Me

OK, so I'm a curious person. For years I've been thinking about those DNA testers and thinking I'd get to it sometime. This is the time. 
I gathered up my spit and sent it in to  
23 and Me a couple of weeks ago and now 
I'm waiting for the results. Only four to six more weeks to go before I get my results.

On my dad's side of the family we can only go so far back, back to my dad's grandfather. That man, according to the only family story that I know about him, was raised in an orphanage someplace in Bern, Switzerland...the place burned down. That's it. And I don't even know if that story is true.

One elderly and incredibly beloved relative of mine once told me that someone in our family was Italian and had invented the Gamma Ray, because their name was Gamma.  LOL. I'm thinking that some parts of that story aren't true; in fact, much of what little I know is questionable. For a number of reasons, family history is pretty sketchy on both sides of my family.

On Mom's side I'm pretty sure it's all German all of the way down.

I don't expect to find anything except for German and Swiss back to the beginning of time, but I'm still looking forward to the results. I'm not really interested in the health information. I figure I already know most of that. And I figure I'm genetically-related to some fairly basic people. 

Know what? It's just about the knowing. We can know these things now. This kind of information is available to us, we here in 2017, for the first time ever.  In all of humanity, we can know what our own ancestors couldn't have known and wouldn't have understood. 
I want to know just because I can know.

Because I also know that my great great grandfather was the center of a hot, hot star. The cauldron of the center of him cooked up the heavy elements that allowed stuff to be born from the most basic elements. My ancestors swarmed in the warm, early seas and, with the force of their breath, created the atmosphere that we take for granted. The atmosphere that protects us from the coldness of space. My ancestors then crawled from that sea to explore the shores of the great landforms of Pangaea and before. And after, carrying with them the essential building blocks of my heart, my mind, my blood.

They learned to climb and fly and dig and live in every habitat they found their way into. Their DNA collecting all of the information around them to hand down to me. Some took to the skies on gossamer wings, others on wings of bone and sinew, seeing the terra below them from heights that land-walking cousins could only imagine. Some of these cousins preferred the height and built their homes in the tallest of trees or in the highest corner. Some burrowed into black dirt and were warm. These ancestors diverged further from their below kin, making the unseen currents their new oceans. Their blood still singing the songs of our connection.

Many ancestors hung in the trees and talked with their cousins who preferred being down below. These cousins loved one another for aeons. Some of my cousins, those ancestors who can still be found in my DNA, and yours, stood taller and understood more. They fought and learned and discovered more and more. Their journeys across the ever-changing continents still play in our brains, in each and every cell of our bodies, silently telling their continuous stories.

When they could not know, they used their developing brain and created stories to explain things beyond their comprehension. They celebrated all of nature around them, held nature in awe, and created pieces of art in their wonder. Art that depicted their questions, those things that nurtured them, those things that they desired. This art and these stories filled a part of them that they didn't even know existed before this.

Some hid in homes constructed of stone, some in spit and wattle, some under logs, others within the very earth itself, warm and safe. I am a part of that chain. And now we are here, today, learning where the DNA will take me. Because we can.


I wrote this post and then I found this beautiful piece!!!!!!!
More beautiful then I could ever create!