Today is trash day in my neighborhood.

Yesterday I was hauling my three big trash bins out to the curb, when a man walked up my driveway.  I had seen this fellow and his buddy an hour earlier when I was driving home from the supermarket. I didn’t care for the look of them — big men, baggy shorts, white T-shirts and matching baseball caps.  It’s bully-casual, a look favored by tough guys in certain LA neighborhoods.  So anyway, one of those guys walked up my driveway and launched into a sales pitch for house repairs and upgrades.  I told him I didn’t need any work done. He kept talking. I told him I already have a handyman. He kept talking. I told him I can’t afford any home repairs. He said that he was offering a free estimate.  I was really annoyed & didn’t hide it, and told him no thanks and started moving my trash bins while he kept pitching his business. Finally, he handed me his business card, and headed off with a “Have a blessed day!”.  Before I was just pissed off. But his “blessing” enraged me.  I tore up his business card and told him to keep his values to himself. He called back “I will pray for you.”

I am woman and so is my partner. The nice evangelical Christian woman across the street has never spoken a word to us in the fourteen years we’ve lived here.  The first month in this house that woman’s husband made a point to walk over on trash day and tell me that in this neighborhood it is not allowed to have recycling bins so full that the lids are ajar. (Mine was chock full of smashed moving boxes). And then there was that night we were at a Japanese restaurant and so were these neighbors, and Christian lady’s husband looked up and said “hey, there are our neighbors” while Christian lady maintained her stoney silence and their children watched and learned. When the gay guys next door sold their house and the For Sale sign finally came down, I heard her husband calling out to another neighbor that he hope the new owner was “a family”. And there was that time when our neighbor in our old neighborhood had to ask her pastor if it was okay to invite us for Thanksgiving (afterwards for leftovers, not with the family). There are many stories I could tell, but to sum up: I am not a fan of some evangelical Christians. They secretly wish for the worst to befall me and mine even while saying they’ll pray for me. Their churches promote legislation to make the world a more hateful place. They walk onto my property and tell me they’ll pray for me when I don’t conform with their agenda.

It is just that easy to knock me off balance. A blow to one of the many places where hate has already wounded me, and I see again how far I have to yet to travel.

I’ve been reading a website where people share their near death experiences. It’s not that I want to hear about “over there” because “here and now” sometimes just sucks.  I think that these contemporaries of mine have something to teach me about here and now. If so many people say they suddenly understand EVERTHING once they leave their bodies, doesn’t this imply that we in bodies do too, but we’ve chosen to let it be veiled? If so many of them say that without doubt they know that we are all connected, doesn’t this imply that we here are all connected, but have chosen to let it be veiled? If every single one of these people who have passed over come back and tell us that we have only one job — to learn that everything is Love and we are here to learn how to love ourselves and each other — isn’t that a big hint to those of us currently in bodies?  To quote from one of those NDE stories:

“learning without a body is like learning to get over an addiction to drugs with no opportunity to do the drugs!  Or like learning to love one’s own enemy without having enemies to deal with.”

I have been blessed with plenty of people to help me learn.  In some cases, all they have to do is tell me to have a blessed day. It helps to try to live moment by moment. In fact, I think (for me) it’s the only way I’m going to learn. To quote another NDE:

THE MACROCOSM IS THE MICROCOSM.  As within, so without. Once you decide to recognize the mirror, you will see how to change its reflection. At this time of increased social, political and environmental change it is even more important to tend to the fires within. We can make the greatest changes in the world by starting with ourselves. Whenever I have an outward situation catch my attention, like a sprained ankle, or strained relationship, it means it is time to settle and look inward for the cause. There is always an energetic root, and it’s an effective place to leverage change.

Take a breath. Recognize the mirror. Forgive yourself. Try again.

I had intended to write something else today, but this morning I read Karen’s posted about “Peace Within”,  and yesterday I read Peter’s post about “This Life”, and my experience yesterday was still in front of my eyes. It all seemed to kind of fit together.

20 Replies to “Moment By Moment”

  1. It’s great how you told him to keep his values to himself; I like that. And as to the good Christian neighbor, consider the source. And that source is that all religions are warring authoritarian hoaxes feeding the feeble minded, or the temporarily misguided. Religion’s purpose is to supplant true spirituality, and of course division. Now having said that, I must ensure there be no misunderstanding when it comes to Buddhism, although I am not a Buddhist, I have studied Buddhism and it is not a religion, but rather a way of life, and something we can all gain from, even these rattled Christians.

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    1. I think that organized religion in America is yet another mirror, a reflection of the people who respond to it and reinforce it. I think that my neighbor’s hostility comes from inside herself, and she can feel justified because her church has the same views. Birds of a feather and all that. Likewise I think there are genuine and loving people who follow some organized religion. I think that a well traveled path, or a lonely trail, or anything in between, can lead home if we want to go there. But I have no tolerance for those who use power or privilege or popularity as a free pass for their own animus or greed. From what I know of Buddhism, I agree that it’s more of a way of life than a doctrine. It depends on the practitioner.

      I consider myself an ardent believer in the Goodness that sometimes produces great teachers among us, and that we ourselves are all part of that great Being. But I haven’t any specific church to go to. I often wish I had a group of people that I feel comfortable among.

      Thanks for your comment, Peter. And thanks for your heartfelt poem on your blog.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I agree with you completely. People are pretty much hateful to anyone who is not THEM! I always count myself fortunate because I’m not one of THEM. Gag! That’s how them make me feel. They are icky and pompous and self-righteous. Just be happy that you’re okay and not one of them. Their main reason to live seems to be to torment others and make the world a miserable place. We can’t let them do it. They don’t matter, in the scheme of things. I just look at them as if they have a degenerate brain disease because that’s what I truly believe they have. 🙂 Ugly people do ugly thing in the name of their god or whatever other stuff they believe in. Blah on all of them.

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    1. I am happy, and I really don’t care that I’m an outsider. I feel kinship with anyone who is “other”. I’m not ashamed that I pushed back on that guy, I am just disappointed in myself for losing my balance. Thanks for having my back, Gigi. I think I see the chicklets are waving their tiny flags too!

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  3. An honest and heartfelt post. I absolutely love the second NDE quote “There is always an energetic root, and it’s an effective place to leverage change.” We can all decide consciously everyday how to respond to each other and today I am more passionate about that change. You are a beautiful person MK.

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    1. Thank you Karen. It is honest, and I am not so proud of myself. I’m thankful that I will get a chance to try again to choose how I respond. That quote means more and more to me as I let it work. I feel more hopeful, like maybe I really can make my little part of the world better, if I can just remember who I really am and who we really are.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I understand the burn you feel; it is so hard to walk through life being misunderstood and hit by 2 by 4s of intolerant ignorance. It is tough to accept that we are a part of this fabric of contrasts. There are many good people in all walks of life and they are the ones who we must focus on, as for the rest, as Gigi says, “Blah on them.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Funny you should mention getting hit by 2 by 4s. I was thinking how much it feels like getting surprised by a toss of ice water in the face. I cannot dwell on the Blah people or I will just stew and stew. Been there, prefer not to stay there. It is good to have friends who remind me that the whole world’s not made of people with degenerate brain disease! Thank you Eliza.

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      1. actually i understand your situation, mk
        as it’s not so different than mine!
        if i’m feeling solid and have perhaps even rehearsed
        i can say thank you to most of what comes at me
        for the sake of harmony. to maintain and cultivate peace within and without.
        but as i often fail at my aspiration, i understand the ill being of feeling the separation from neighbors and others encountered. wishing you gentle success and smiles.

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  5. Stories like this are so sad, mk. The whole idea of Christianity is that God, the Goodness that you refer to, extends its grace to us and that we reflect it to each other. So the sadness is that the grace is rarely extended outside the clubby little churches and sometimes not so well inside either. The sadness also is that you and many others are left without a trusted, compassionate group to share life’s joys and disappointments with.

    Hope this didn’t come across as too preachy 🙂 It just shouldn’t be this way…

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    1. Thanks Mic for sharing your thoughts. Seems that way to me too, and it doesn’t sound preachy to me. If we can find another way to share our Light, all the better. I find many people of good will right here in the blogosphere. A real life community would be all the better. Thanks again.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Your experience is so familiar. I won’t go into my thoughts on certain organized religions, or members thereof, but I’m glad I was raised without it. My son is gay; he spends more hours donating his time working for equality (well beyond marriage) than on his paid job, and that’s a lot of hours. So much progress, and then… your experience, my experience, my son’s… I don’t understand how people can be so cruel. Worse, they think they’re being so righteous.

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    1. People enjoy being mean. My neighbors, in their hearts, intend to wound. That guy trying to bully me in my driveway — of course his heart wasn’t wishing a blessing for me, he just wanted the last word. And telling me that he would pray for me is proof of that. I am ashamed of the times I’ve been mean, but I knew in my heart what I was really doing. Cruelty is never about what it folks tell themselves, or what they tell others.

      Please tell your son thank you from me, for all his work on our behalf. Marriage equality is a very big deal, but a whole new fight is looming. The new battle is the “religious belief” exemptions that would permit businesses to refuse service to us. But you probably knew that already.

      Thanks Sue for sharing your thoughts & your experiences.

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      1. I’ve been going through a most unpleasant experience at work and I actually took it to my boss who then sent it on to HR. I work with “Mean Girls” (I never saw the movie, but the title is appropriate) who are 20+ years younger than me (I’m 61) and were harassing, saying mean insulting comments, treating me like I’m stupid… all of which was determined by HR to be unprofessional behavior. One woman is the bully, the other her side kick.

        There are some people (certain stereotypical females of south Orange County among them) who are just that, mean. I would have walked out the door of that company were it not for needing a paycheck. It’s a horrible thing to feel trapped, stressed out… I went to the doctor and was referred for my first-ever stress test, after my EKG results. At any rate, I’ve since moved to a new cubicle where I can still hear their snide rude comments, but I can’t see them… and so I just put on my earbuds and zone out.

        I’m not sure if you’re familiar with Equality California (EQCA), but it’s a fantastic organization. They’ve sponsored over 110 bills that have been passed in Sacramento. One that I’m particularly glad to see pass is the one that ends the gay panic defense. They do lots of good work. At any rate, my son is on the board of that org. I’m one proud mom! 🙂

        We’ll all continue the fight until it’s not longer a fight, until people are treated as people, regardless. Thanks for writing your article. It’s sad you had that experience.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I used to work in Orange County. I have an impression of O.C. that isn’t very positive. I am so glad to be retired. That job in O.C. was the absolute worst in my whole 47 years working. My partner said my body language was like a zombie, and I felt that way too. The stress was unbearable. (You don’t happen to work at C.G. do you?) I was actually relieved when I was layed off of the best paying job I ever had.

          I gave money to EQCA (and other groups) for quite a few years. Small world, huh? Give your son a big hug for me. And thanks to you for being a good mom.

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          1. Your experience and mine sound about the same as to O.C. I don’t work at C.G. and the acronym isn’t ringing a bell. I work for a healthcare-related managed service provider doing contracts, dull as dull can be.

            Small world is right! I will give Andreas a big hug for you. And, thank you. We gotta stick together… overcome the craziness.

            Liked by 1 person

  7. Very nice contrast stories. I have nothing against any of it, but stories like you shared is one of the reasons I have put behind me the concept of having a religion.

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    1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Rommel. My problem is not with religion. It is with people who wrap themselves in a veneer of holiness to get away with a personal agenda of meanness. Hate wrapped up in hypocrisy. People of good will can be found everywhere, thank goodness.

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