Inner Thoughts

ContemplationI was looking through an old writing tool this morning. One that I’ve used for years to jot down thoughts, ideas, and chapters for books I intend to publish at some point. And I found this snippet I wrote 7 years ago…so, sometime in 2009. My father had just passed away the year before after a lengthy (14 year) struggle with ill-health.

I thought it was interesting enough to share as a blog post. Because I wonder if these thoughts and feelings might resonate with others…

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INNER THOUGHTS

So here’s the thing…

I’m scared all the time. And I don’t know why. I don’t even know what I’m afraid of. Making wrong choices. Saying the wrong thing. Hurting someone. Losing my mind. Losing use of body parts or functions. Losing loved ones.

Losing, period.

Living a life without meaning. Simply existing.  And then not existing anymore at all.

Un-becoming. Un-learning. Forgetting.

I’m afraid of the unknown. And I’m afraid of the known.

I’m afraid of ignorance. And I’m afraid of knowledge. Was I happier…better off…before I knew that brilliant minds could become dim with time? That bodies break? That people give up on their dreams? Get worn down and worn out?

I’m afraid of being lied to and deceived. But I’m also afraid of the truth. Because the truth is that people lie and deceive.

I’m afraid of pain. And violence. Mental, emotional, and physical.

I’m frightened of religion and belief systems. Because they cause more division than unification. More judgment than mercy.

Was life better when I believed in Santa Clause and magic and Jesus?

I’m afraid of being alone. And I’m afraid of being lost in a crowd.

I’m afraid of being not enough. And of being too much.

I’m frightened of being soft because it makes me vulnerable. But also of being hard because that makes me stern and impenetrable.

I’m afraid of poverty and I’m afraid of the demands that come with success.

I’m afraid of disappointing others. Not meeting their expectations. And I’m afraid of being perceived as someone with all the answers because people become needy and demanding.

I’m afraid of anger because it can lead to all kinds of abuse. But I’m afraid of being meek and peaceful because it makes me easy to attack and take advantage of.

I’m afraid of starvation and I’m afraid of gluttony. Because in either instance my own body can turn against me. And so can society. And it generally will.

I’m afraid of judgment and condemnation. I’m afraid of self-righteous people who proclaim themselves wiser or smarter or chosen or more enlightened.  And make those proclamations based upon presumption and deception. Then justify their own abusive behaviors on those beliefs.

But here’s the thing about fear…

It doesn’t get you anywhere.

It makes your body speed up, accelerate, expect some kind of pay-off or culmination or orgasm.

But it never comes.

It only makes you feel like your brain is going to explode. Or your heart will pound so hard and so fast that it will break from over-use.

It just makes you tired. And cynical.

I know there was a need for fear in the beginning. I think it had something to do with running away from animals who wanted to eat us.

Instead of Original Sin, I want to know who created Original Fear?

 

Copyright ©2016 Tracy Partridge-Johnson. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.

New Year and New Focus

Tracy and Daughter, Rome, Italy, December 2015It’s been far too long since I last wrote a post on this site, so it’s time for me to update you and talk about my new year and new focus.

A lot has happened since mom passed away two months ago…

A short week and a half after mom left us my daughter and I departed for the adventure of a lifetime. She turned 30 years old in November and as a surprise gift for her I spent the better part of six months paying for an 11 day trip for the two of us to Greece (her life-long dream) and Italy. It was hard to leave such a short time after mom’s death…but like I said, I had been planning and paying and getting all of the arrangements made for this trip long before mom died.

So, we went.

And in truth, it was a very good experience. It helped me divorce myself, mentally and emotionally, from the energy surrounding mom’s passing and I think that was really beneficial in helping me cope with my own trauma.

We returned home to Portland late on the evening of December 14th, so Christmas was right upon us. But arriving back home…my mother’s death really hit me hard. She was my best, life-long friend. We talked nearly every day the last few months of her life, and frequently years prior to that. It’s been difficult realizing that I can’t call her to find out how she is doing any longer.

So, I kind of became a hermit for a little while there. Not wanting to talk to or interact with anyone. Just giving myself time to be sad…and angry. Angry that something so cruel and so brutal could happen to my little mother. This woman who had always given generously of her time, talents, and emotions to everyone she knew. It made me mad at the universe…and if there is a God…at that being, especially.

Anyhow…moving right along…

I finally put up and decorated our tree just three or four days before Christmas, not really feeling motivated or interested to bake goodies or sing carols or much else. I literally just took the tree down yesterday, lol! It had to stay up long enough to make it worth all the effort it took to put it up!

For Christmas Jeff purchased the two of us a surprise 2 night/3 day stay in a beach-front cottage over my birthday weekend. So, we just got back from there two days ago…and it was glorious to get away and have no distractions of work or any other obligations. Just peaceful, relaxing time alone to refresh and rejuvenate. We both really needed that.

The weeks following Christmas and up until my birthday weekend we spent several full days in the recording studio at The Hallowed Halls with various artists recording tracks for our upcoming Largest Band In The World album! I can hardly wait to share these songs with you! We’ve pretty much decided to release individual singles, one-at-a-time, instead of waiting to release the whole album all at once. So, I will be setting those loose into the world as each one is finished being mixed and mastered. Very awesome!

Today I am preparing a jewelry display to take to Saint Franks Music where, in addition to the beautiful guitars, bass guitars, ukuleles, tambourines, amps, and other items musicians will want, Deanna will be selling my handcrafted pieces of wearable art. I’m excited about seeing what people are attracted to!

So, you’re probably wondering about my “new year and new focus.” True, it’s January 27th…so you might be thinking that I’m a little late to the party when it comes to New Year’s resolutions. But hold on to your knickers a minute! MY BIRTHDAY was just three days ago! So, it truly IS a brand new year for me! And in this 54th year of my life I intend to see and experience a lot of great things! Focus this year will be first and foremost on helping Jeff build our software development company, Code Hat Labs. Second in line will be continuing to work with him on our Hot Chops Music projects (two of the bands we have been funding, Just People and Ian James Band, are releasing the cd’s they have been working on this past year in the next month or few!) and five of our own Largest Band In The World singles will be ready to release over the next several months! So, exciting times!

In addition to all of that, I am working on a book about the history of Mormonism, and in my “free time” I will continue to make handcrafted art, jewelry, and pyrography projects.

At the top of my list, above everything else, is my focus on health and fitness…my primary passion in life. Especially so after watching what happened to my father and mother. So, needless to say, I’m motivated to become as healthy as I possibly can be! Central to my plan will be “consistently” following a high-carb, low-fat, whole-foods, plant-based diet. After reading The China Study by T. Colin Campbell, The Starch Solution by Dr. John McDougall, and other similar books, combined with my own, personal experience with the way animal foods, fat, and particularly dairy products react in my body, I am ALL ABOUT cutting out all those kind of foods and focusing only on wholesome, plant-strong ingredients. I really do LOVE this lifestyle! It’s not difficult for me, AT ALL, to go without fat and animal products!

Thanks for listening in…I look forward to hearing about what is going on in your life!

Hugs and Blessings,

Tracy

 

Artistic Epiphany

Tracy Partridge-JohnsonI had a bit of an artistic epiphany the other night…

For years now I have been a “hobby artist” meaning that I have never really taken myself seriously when it comes to doing what I love…creating art…and making that my primary focus and source of income. In other words…making art my CAREER.

True, for a while I fancied myself as a professional jewelry designer. And I DO love creating jewelry…but I also have an interest in so many other forms of artistic expression. For instance, I started creating full-color photo reproductions burned onto wood several years ago. In fact, I remember exactly when I started playing at wood burning…it was 1999. I don’t remember _why_ I purchased a cheap wood burning tool…but I learned about the art somewhere (online, more than likely) and thought it sounded like a fun hobby. Over the next couple of years it became an obsession. I was burning wood like crazy! I even began promoting my new-found skill at wood burning to others who would like to see their portrait or photo burned into wood. It was an unusual art that most people haven’t seen or heard of. And even if they had, most pyrographers (the official title for artists whose art is burned onto wood) don’t apply color to their work. So, I figured my skill was new and different. And I did get some customers. But still…here is what I found…it took HOURS and HOURS to create a finished piece in wood (though I loved the smell of the burning wood and enjoyed the work) and there was no way I could figure out that I could ever charge what it cost me in time and effort for a finished piece to make it worth my while.

And there was something else I discovered…if my own passion was not a part of the creative process…then the custom piece became a c-h-o-r-e to create.

So, I pulled away from wood burning for a while. And instead I started pursuing jewelry crafting. And I had a LOT of fun with it! I found that there are loads of people who love handcrafted, artisan jewelry. So, I created that for a while. In fact, I have an office full of jewelry pieces I have completed but haven’t sold. I’m not really sure why. But I think it’s because I love the creation process but I’m not so hip on the selling and shipping part of the equation.

Besides, I was busy focusing on building other businesses…my husband’s software business…and I launched an online magazine about health and healing with diet (something I am also very passionate about…but which doesn’t pay the bills, lol!) that I worked on MORE than full-time for over a year and a half…and in the meantime I was earning my primary income as a psychic counselor and spiritual coach. Which pays me quite well…but can become a real emotional burden for sensitive people (ME<—) and drained me of my energy. And occasionally, I worked on website design…something I’ve been doing since 1998…and which also helps pay the bills.

Admittedly, I like the fact that I have trickle income derived from multiple sources…it means if one source goes away for some reason, I don’t need to stress because I have other money streams. But I do crave the ability to simplify and focus on mastering one primary skill and ability.

And because I was so focused on building income, I stopped being very creative for about two years.

And then, a couple of weeks ago, all of my art supplies started calling to me…again. So, I pulled them out and started to play. And I realized that creating art makes me HAPPY! I feel more content and satisfied with life when I am expressing myself, artistically. It makes me feel more ALIVE! And then the idea came to me…what if I _could_ be a professional artist? What if I just decided to fill each of my days creating art? Would it be possible for me to sustain my livelihood that way?

I’m not sure…but it absolutely has changed my attitude and outlook on life!

Now I get up each morning excited about what project I will work on today! And I have to tell you, it really FREES me up to think that I can totally embrace being the “Bohemian”, free-spirit artist that I believe I really am…deep down, in my soul!

So, back to the idea of burning on leather…

I tried burning on leather a few months ago and it is MUCH easier and faster than working on wood! I just haven’t known how to frame a leather piece…so I hadn’t really pursued it much. But, two years ago my sweet hubby bought me a professional grade burning tool that I haven’t done too much with…so I thought I’d play with it a bit more.

I was really into the tv series The Tudors awhile ago, so thought that perhaps the show might offer something to inspire me. I found several photos that I liked and decided to try my hand at shading only with the burning tool and not applying color, which is a new approach for me. Below is the piece I’m working on…and I have to say, I’m pretty happy with the way it is turning out, so far! It’s not finished yet, for sure! But it’s well on it’s way! And it’s given me a new enthusiasm and direction for my artistic abilities!

TudorPassion - work in progress

I’ve decided to follow my passion…and see where it leads me!

I hope you’re doing the same thing in your own life!

I’ll post the finished piece when it’s done.

Until then…I’d love to hear from you 😉

Blessings and Hugs,

Tracy

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Marriage, Equality, and Gay Rights

GayFamiliesLet me start by saying that I believe these are three, separate issues that should not be further complicated by intertwining them, because they are each so simple, yet seem to be made utterly complex in today’s society.

Personally, I don’t understand the confusion. Since I live in the United States of America, I will address the issues of marriage, equality and gay rights as they relate to the laws of our land. But bear in mind that I feel these rights apply to our very humanity, so in that sense, should not alter from one country to another, but should be instead be universal in their application.

Allow me to address each issue, individually:

1. Equality – The most famous sentence from The Declaration of Independence is found in it’s second paragraph and reads: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” (see http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/declaration_transcript.html) So, according to the law of the land, there really is no debate here. “All men (humans) are created equal”. Period.

2. Marriage – The loudest complaint I hear on this issue comes from the Religious Right/Conservative community, claiming that it is imperative that “the sanctity” of marriage be protected. Their defense normally goes something like this: “Marriage is a sacred covenant between one man and one woman.” And they base this assertion on passages of scripture, most specifically; Genesis 2: 22-24, which reads: “Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. The man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman, ‘ for she was taken out of man.” For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.” But I also hear people quoting a similar verse; Matthew 19: 4-6, which reads – “Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’ ? So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.”

So, I want to be completely clear on something that I haven’t heard anyone else really focusing on. My position is this – Ok. Fine. I agree with them. Let MARRIAGE remain a “sacred union” between one man and one woman. But before you get defensive, hear me out.

Marriage _SHOULD_ be ONLY a sacred union. Between God (thus the designation “sacred”, ie; related to God) and His (I specify gender here because we are discussing marriage, which is primarily a religious convention/tradition of the Abrahamic faiths…whose god is male) followers. I find it kind of interesting that we hear so much talk about division of church and state…but somehow marriage is not really addressed in those conversations. My point is this – IF there is going to be a “sacred ritual” involving covenants and agreements between a deity and it’s worshippers, then I’m ok with that. BUT, but, but…it absolutely SHOULD be confined to the realm of religion and we should NEVER assign LEGAL BENEFITS to those who choose to participate in a religious ritual. Why society ever decided people should have to receive a “license” from the state in order to participate in, and more importantly, validate, such a religious ritual is baffling to me. The only rational explanation in my mind is that the state saw it as a means of revenue generation.

If you do some research into the origins of marriage you will find some pretty interesting stuff. According to Barbara G. Walker’s comprehensive work, “The Women’s Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets”, ‘The word marriage came from Latin maritare, union under the auspices of the Goddess Aphrodite-Mari. Because the Goddess’s patronage was constantly invoked in every aspect of marriage, Christian fathers were opposed to the institution. Origen declared, “Matrimony is impure and unholy, a means of sexual passion.” St. Jerome said the primary purpose of a man was to “cut down with an ax of Virginity the wood of Marriage.” St. Ambrose said marriage was a crime against God, because it changed the state of virginity that God gave every man and woman at birth. Tertulian said marriage was a moral crime “more dreadful than any punishment or death.” It was spurcitiae, “obscenity”, or “filth.” St. Augustine flatly stated that marriage is a sin. Tatian said marriage is corruption, “a polluted and foul way of life.” Influenced by him, Syrian churches ruled that no person could become Christian except celibate men, and no man who had ever been married could be baptized. Saturninus said God made only two kinds of people, good men and evil women. Marriage perpetuated the deviltry of women, who dominated men through the magic of sex. Centuries later, St. Bernard still proclaimed that it was easier for a man to bring the dead back to life than to live with a woman without endangering his soul.” Ms. Walker goes on to explain, in well documented detail, the history and evolution of the institution of marriage, and it’s really very insightful reading! I won’t quote all of what she has to say here, but will share two other pertinent points; 1. According to William J. Fielding’s Strange Customs of Courtship and Marriage, New York: Garden City Publishing, Co. 1942, “There was no Christian sacrament of marriage until the 16th century.” And 2. According to W. Carew Hazlitt’s Faiths and Folklore of the British Isles (2 vols.) New York: Benjamin Blom, Inc., 1965, “The Anglican marriage service came from the Anglo-Saxon deeds used to transfer a woman’s land to the stewardship of her “houseman”(husband).

So, it all comes back to money, possessions, and control of them. And, of course, the government could not pass up the opportunity to get it’s share of the action.

But back to my opinion, which is this: Keep religion OUT of the legal system. And let’s not assign certain tax, medical insurance, or other legal benefits to those who have chosen to participate in this (what should be a purely) religious institution.

3. Gay Rights – I really think this one is easy and a no-brainer. I’ll just refer you back to my comments above in item #1 and the fact that humans are (all) endowed with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Nothing is mentioned about sexual preference, race, nationality, culture, etc. Everyone deserves equal treatment. And especially so when it comes to legal benefits.

So, IF marriage is going to go outside the confines of a purely religious ritual and instead, carries with it certain benefits and privileges bestowed by the government and our legal system, then ALL PEOPLE should be able to participate in these benefits…because THE LAW and THE GOVERNMENT should not be in the business of religion.