Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Starshine - In the Beginning

Some know the tale of The Starshine and many do not. I've regaled many an enraptured listener of how I came to be the human companion to The Starshine but never set the tale down in written form...until now.

I was called to The Starshine from afar. I was stationed in Arizona and had received orders to report to California. I was in the Air Force. It was 1997. My good friend Kim F. and her fiance were stationed in California as well. I had expressed the desire for a pet. They had retrievers and were familiar with the places in which to acquire a pet. I had been in Cali for about three months at this time. At that time I would have preferred a dog but I knew I would not have the space or time to devote to a dog. Not the kind of dog I'd be happy with. [A bit of background: My childhood years, there were dogs. I liked them and they liked me. Never really liked cats. The first cat I ever knew was my Nannie's cat, Biafra, a jet black cat. An EVIL fucking cat. Biafra like NO ONE. Except my Nannie. Never stopped me from trying to make friends though. I was a baby really and they're all stubborn as shit. Dummys. So, yeah, all my following cat experiences weren't all that good either, until I met my Spirit-Brother David. David had a cat at his house named Tiger. For a house cat, he was a tiger. I affectionately called him a house lion because he was solid muscle. Not many house cats are built like that. And Tiger liked me. Tiger is the reason I felt comfortable deciding on getting a cat instead of a dog. Now back to the tale of The Starshine.] SO, I decided since I couldn't get a real dog because I only had a one bedroom apartment, and didn't want to leave a dog in said apartment all day, day after day, I'd get a cat instead. Kim and her fiance, Tim, took me to a local animal shelter. I already knew if I was going to save a kitty from a shelter I was going to get a new one, not an older one that may have damage I wasn't ready or willing to deal with. All the kittens were kept in a small room all to themselves. No older big cats. So into the kitten room I went. I am instantly barraged with a cloud of mews and almost meows. I am assaulted by a multicolored moving carpet armed with needles. I kneel down and play with the separate components of this moving carpet to see who I see and who sees me. Well, as I kneel among these needle-armed furballs a race begins. A race of ultimate endurance and strength and perseverance. Quite possibly a race of life and death. A few of these needle clawed puffballs decided it was a good idea to climb this new obstacle, toy, scratch post that was me. In the lead was a white and gray not-so-puffy ball of fur and lagging behind in second place was a determined tiny, tiny, multicolored ball of fluff and then a few kids who just really wanted to play with no determination to win. Now I'm laughing and wincing at the same time: laughing 'cause a whole room full of kittens is just fun, wincing 'cause these little fuckers literally have needles for claws. And I am fascinatingly amused and enthralled at the herculean efforts made by these two kittens to climb the Everest that is me. The ghost puff is on my left side and the rainbow puff is on my right side. The ghost on my left reaches my shoulder but kind of slides off to the front. I grit my teeth 'cause in the effort to catch himself the needles come out fully and slip right through the flimsy fabric of my shirt and right into the flesh of my shoulder. That slight set back gives the tiny rainbow puff the advantage she needs to crest my right shoulder and carefully begin her climb to the top of my head. What is still to this day amazing to me is that in that final leg of the climb, though she did use her claws, she didn't scratch my head at all. Not a single nip to my face, ear, or head. And that little rainbow puff did make it to the very top of my head. So I brought her home.

How The Starshine came by her name is a much shorter tale. The aforementioned David was in college learning the mysteries of the Chinese language, Mandarin. He gifted me with a name, part of which the english translation was, you got it, Starshine. Though he told me the more literal translation would be more like Star Glow. So, anyway, I figured since this little calico kitty and I had formed a bond I might as well name her after myself, kinda sorta. And there you have the tale of how The Starshine and I came to be companions and she got her name.

I'll stop the tale here but more will be coming. Next will be The Starshine's early adventures in her new home.

This is the oldest pic I can find of The Starshine.


Monday, July 26, 2010

Belief is not religion.

This is not a touchy subject. Religion can be but belief is not. They are two different things, belief and religion. Belief is having faith or trust in something that you cannot prove exists. Religion is a system of rules created to control through exploitation of belief. With those explanations, I have know problem with belief but have serious problems with religion. ALL OF 'EM!

Belief is easy to understand. It comes from a need to understand. What Humanity couldn't understand it created a belief for until we evolved and grew enough to understand certain things. Our ancient ancestors' beliefs primarily dealt with the natural world. Some of those beliefs still exist today, which I think is still cool, given how much we know about the world now and how things work. But that was/is a very cool thing about beliefs which I like that religion takes away, the connection to the natural world. So called 'primitive' beliefs were directly connected to the world in which we lived, meaning we were A PART of nature and the world. And ultimately the universe. I like that. Another thing I really like about belief is even the things we have physical understanding of now in nature it doesn't supplant the old beliefs. The old beliefs just gives one a deeper meaning to these physical things we now know about. For instance, the mystery of lightning and thunder is not taken away because we understand how and why they happen.That is so cool.

The modern most popular religions separated Humanity from nature. Told us we were masters of the world and it is ours to do with as we see fit. Use it as we see fit. Already sounds like a power trip to me. Then you have 'leaders'. Those who interpret your beliefs for you to make you 'feel' safe about your place in this world and the next. Did you get that? "Interpret YOUR beliefs FOR you." Yeah. Didn't God, Yahweh, Jehovah, Allah give you a brain to think for yourself? Don't you read the same*book* as your so-called religious 'leader'? So WHY exactly do you need to have the information interpreted for you? Then these same 'leaders' demand money from you for listening to them interpret for you. This 'tithe' or 'donation' is for what exactly? Good blessings? A guaranteed path to 'Heaven'? A 'sacrifice' now for future blessings later? No. You are blessing them, those 'leaders', now for their future later and you are just out of your hard earned money. And that is the ultimate irony of religion. You have now transferred your belief from whatever Higher Power you followed to his/her/it's human intermediary, your religious 'leader'. Who appointed them to such a position? What makes them more special than you? They are in the same boat you are. Grow up on the same planet and read the same 'Word'. Also, the Big 3, Judaism-Christianity-Islam, all come from the same place. How are their modern followers SO different? Even within each faction there are a bunch of splinter factions, especially Chris (That's the one I'm most familiar with). Politics and power moves, that's why. Religions have nothing to do with belief and everything to do with control. Land grabs, wars, oppression-either by ethnicity and/or gender, politics, fund raising, or just plain rabble rousing: all products of religion.

I'm not some new-agey super spiritual energy weirdo or anything but I have my own beliefs. I have gathered together some things that I've experienced and learned throughout my life and made my own. I was raised to think for myself. Interpret information I receive no matter the medium through which I receive it. I don't need some other human filtering my beliefs for their financial gain. I am highly skeptical of anyone claiming they have special knowledge of ANY higher power and can help me gain that knowledge, too. Didn't you get it from a book? Well so can I. I don't understand how you can't see the level of arrogance it takes to tell someone you can help them with their belief in their god/higher power. And I, as a grown up and adult, had truly tried the Christian route, twice, and both times was severely disappointed at the 'leadership'. I keep my own counsel now. I need no intermediary between me an my Higher Power. I don't look down upon those that do, though. Being an individual and actually thinking for oneself isn't for everyone. Most people, it seems, need to be led. But we are in the 21st century, it's time for people to start waking up. What really baffles me about the power of religion is I know, either personally or by reputation, many who I consider to be intelligent people who do follow, very devoutly, some form of religion. That truly baffles me. My thing is, when you get to where you're supposed to get to when this part of your life is over (for many that place is 'Heaven'), you're supposed to be judged in some way before you get in, right? When you are there, you are there alone. If you are asked any questions about your life and/or your beliefs, you can't say, "Well, 'insert religious 'leaders' title and name here', said that..." Oh, no no no. YOU were asked, YOU must answer. But how are you gonna answer if all you were was a follower who had your beliefs interpreted FOR you? I'm just sayin'. Personally I think religion is childish and immature and cool for when you are young to keep you on some kind of decent path. The heart of religion is belief so there is good there but once you get yourself steady on your life path and, hopefully, start to think for yourself, you need to let religion go and be confident and strong in your own beliefs.

I was moved to write this post because I saw this evil ignorance and had to say something. What really gets me about this is the followers sitting there listening to this and basically agreeing with it. I'm sorry but that's how my and most of their ancestors were enslaved. (Using the same religion which is just one more problem I have with it, but I digress.) Not to mention it's just PURE EVIL. God judges not man. He needs to really read his bible. But see, that's the thing. I know he knows it and he uses it to get exactly what he needs. Control over his followers and their money. Suckers. I mean, really, C'MON SON!!!!! his name is DOLLAR! And that's what he wants and gets, dollars. And these dudes have arena sized churches full of people blindly following and giving. I'm keeping my earthly weapons close.

Look, I know some people just like the inclusiveness of religion: helps with the fear of the unknown, fear of dying and what's on the other side, fear of being alone, etc. And that's why it's so powerful and deceitful because it preys on your fear through belief. But I really have to question your intelligence if you follow ANY of these people with the mega supersize churches and are always on television spreading their word. Click on that link and watch that clip. I bet you plenty money THAT wasn't a televised 'sermon' Creflo DOLLAR was giving that day.

Wake up, people. Please.