My Personal Ideology: My Way of Living (1)

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“The thing is to understand myself: the thing is to find a truth which is true for me, to find the idea for which I can live and die. That is what I now recognize as the most important thing.” – Søren Kierkegaard.

To know who you are is important as who you are shapes your life. Existence precedes essence, and that it’s up to us to make do with what we have and form our essence based on that. We exist, and then we create, but what we create is different because no two people are the same.

Everyone has their own unique perspective – we witness the same events but we remember and recall through our perspective which may differ from the perspective of others who were also witnesses. In writing, there are multiple points of view. On the basic level, there is: first, second, and third point of view. There’s also omniscient and limited point of views which you’ll use depending on which person point of view that you’re using. All of this goes back to that there’s a lot that everyone can offer because we view things differently from one another. There’s a truth that’s true for you, and that can be used to find the ideology that you feel strongly about.

My constantly shaping ideology that I live by is: taking personal responsibility for myself, continue towards self-improvement, there’s always something to be learned, and doing my best to not consciously harm another person for whatever reason besides to defend myself. Treat thy neighbor as thou would treat thyself. My religious values play a large part in my philosophy – I believe in a benevolent God who through Jesus Christ forgave us for our sins and through belief in our lord savior, we will be saved. Treating others well, or at least being cordial to them even if I don’t feel warmly towards them, is a goal of mine that I try to implement as best as possible. I seek to live a life that’s dedicated to keeping my promises and being a good servant to my Lord Father which includes spreading love and kindness to others. People have been using God to spread their evil and hatred when Jesus tells us to love all. “He said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.’” (Matthew 22:37-40, NRSV w/A). These two commandments were emphasized by Jesus and both speak of love.

In addition, Jean-Paul Sartre has it right when he states: “Man is condemned to be free; because once thrown into the world, he is responsible for everything he does. It is up to you to give [life] a meaning.” We must take personal responsibility for ourselves because we are free. We are free to choose who we get to be. Even with my mental illnesses, I chose to seek help and be medicated when I desperately needed to be who I wanted to be and not what my mental illnesses wanted me to be. It’s up to me to give my life meaning, and through my hobbies, passions, and surrounding myself with people who help me think critically about my ideas, I find myself developing my philosophy that’s ever changing but solid in its foundation of: personal choice and freedom. In a sense, I do identify with being a Christian Existentialist.

I still have a problem with not letting my illnesses shape everything in my life, but it’s hard when my life is significantly impacted with how limiting my physical capabilities are now. However, I am moving on with getting my tests done including MRIs of my brain and cervical spine to see if there’s any lesions in my brain as my neurologist also thinks multiple sclerosis is a possibility, so we’re going to be thorough to be sure. It’s relieving how fast things are moving now to figure out what’s going on with me. I’m tired of feeling ill all day while being in a good amount of pain without knowing what’s causing all of it. Hopefully once we figure out the diagnosis, it’ll be something that’s curable. I need to keep the faith otherwise I’ll be lost in this pain, and I refuse to let pain be everything about me. I still have my hobbies. I still have a great relationship. I have a lot to be grateful for, and gratitude is an important way of looking at life as it’s just that wonderful to be grateful for things.

On Relaxation: Some Ways to Help Calm Unwanted Thoughts

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After the stress of my last post, I’ve been experimenting with things to help me out when unwanted thoughts are invading my mind. By unwanted thoughts, I mean thoughts that have no benefits to me at all such as me thinking that I’m worthless and that I don’t deserve anything because I have mental and physical illnesses that aren’t easy to deal with. I’ve found that breathing meditation doesn’t help me unless it’s to help with my panic attacks. In fact, for some reason, if I do it with other things besides my panic attacks, I’d go into rage inducing moments the moment I would stop the breathing exercises. I had to give up on that one. However, there were a few that have worked out for me so far. It’s a combination of the three in the end that have helped me the most:

  1. Count numbers. I came across this idea on reddit. The idea, as far as I understand it, behind it is that you can’t pay attention to unwanted thoughts and something else that you can focus on. I’m not a big fan of math, and I’ve found that it helps to immediately stop the thoughts. Eventually the thoughts return, but in the heat of the moment when I’m starting to get lost in flashbacks or anxiety, counting numbers helped break me out of it once I realized what was going on a few times long enough for me to do something else to calm down.
  2. Listening to music and singing along. This goes along with the idea behind counting numbers. It gives me something to focus on. Sometimes the lyrics match my mood as I seek it out; other times, I look for music that would help to lift me out of the mood I’ve found myself falling into. I’ve been listening to Michael Bolton’s Go the Distance. It’s old, it’s great, and it’s Hercules. Listening to music and singing along gets me in a mood to just jam out sometimes, which can get really fun for a while after being lost because of my thoughts.
  3. Praying silently or aloud. My rosary helps ground me as I meditate and give prayer to God. It helps me not get too lost in my own mind even when I’m praying. Having the rosary and praying as both to help in connecting with God creates a focus.

I came across this prayer (the mystery of sorrowful Tuesday) while wanting to learn more on praying using a rosary: “My children, never seek your comfort in anyone but God. In your times of loneliness, in your times of depression, in your times of doubt, have recourse to prayer. When you go to the Father, offer this mystery for those who are in doubt: those who do not know where to turn to: those who are depressed: the mentally ill: the emotionally ill. Pray that as the Father sent an angel to comfort my Son, the Lord in His mercy will comfort them and enlighten them.” Meditating on it, I found some comfort. For someone I feel as unworthy as me, I pray that the Father’s mercy will comfort and enlighten me so that I may heal in mind and spirit, as I lay my allegiance to my Lord God.

Overall, it’s been hard. My teeth have been grinding again too. It’s easy to be exhausted when mentally and physically you’re not feeling well. In a way, I think I’ve quieted down these past few days. I’m so tired. I’ve honestly lost count on how many times I’ve said: “I’m tired” this past month. I’ve hardly been able to relax this past month. A short-term goal for the rest of the month is to relax and work on not letting the anxiety, depression, and stress take over. It’s a tough road, but I hope as I continue to fight off these mental illnesses that I’ll eventually overcome them.

Keeping the faith can be hard, but it’s something alongside hope that helps to keep me going at times.


Sources:

http://www.catholic.org/prayers/mystery.php?id=2#1

 

Praying Aloud + Bible Study

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Praying aloud helps to calm me. It helps to give focus back into my life rather than a chaotic whirl of frustration and stress. It’s important to remember that God is good. Every time I pray aloud, I feel a slow calm wash over me as if God is slowly embracing me as I pray to him for whatever it is that I’m praying for/about. I’m always so grateful to Our Father in Heaven. In Him I gain strength even when I don’t think I can go on. Hope and faith in Him who loves us helps carry me on when times are hard.

I’m trying my best to go about trying to figure out my way of studying the Bible. I recently finished Jen Wilkin’s Women of the Word: How to Study the Bible with Both Our Hearts and Our Minds. I’m also going to be starting William W. Klein’s Introduction to Biblical Interpretation (Revised and Updated).

In addition, one of the things that I’m having trouble deciding on is if I should read the Bible in chronological order as I start to get to know the text or if it would be fine to hop around and read the books of the Bible in random order. Also, who should I look into for scholastic work on the Bible? Who would you recommend to read about the history of Christianity or even further back to including the history of Judaism? I’d like to gain knowledge on a broad overview of the history of the Hebrews.

While I decide how I’ll go about with my personal Bible Study and more academic Bible Study by figuring out secondary sources to go along with those reading, I’ll been listening to audio version of the NRSV of the Bible in the meantime. YouTube is great for this. Sometimes I like to follow along with the texts, other times, I like to listen to the Bible while doing chores that take minimal amount of thought so I can focus more on the Bible. There’s no rush to learning God’s Word. In fact, I’d rather take my time so that I may immerse myself in His Word. I look forward to my Bible Study.

Bible Study: Romans 9 (NRSV)

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I spent time last night listening to a recording of the book of Romans in the New Testament and completed it. I followed the audio by silently reading the text at the same time. It’s been a long time since I’ve done anything remotely like that, but it felt kind of nice. This was the first time that I read entirety of the Book of Romans (I’ve read parts of it before), so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. Taking the time to soak it in what I read and reflect is something that I want to do more. At the end, I found myself mulling over Chapter Nine especially.

God, as creator of all, is the one to choose what to do with you as he wishes. Verses 14-18 go:

What then are we to say? Is there injustice on God’s part? By no means! For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” So it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God who shows mercy. For the scripture says to Pharaoh, “I have raised you up for the very purpose of showing my power in you, so that my name may be proclaimed in all the earth. So then he has mercy on whomever he chooses, and he hardens the heart of whomever he chooses.”

God will have mercy for whoever He wishes to have mercy for, and same with compassion. There is no injustice because it is His will, and He is acting upon a divine level that’s not depending on human will or exertion. Moreover, Paul recalls God’s hardening of the Pharaoh’s heart as Moses goes to the Pharaoh to gain the release of his people to show the greatness of God. God has a plan for His people and beloved, and if He has the will to make it so, it will happen.

Later, Paul follows this up in verses 20, 22, and 23:

But who indeed are you, a human being, to argue with God…? What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience the objects of wrath that are made for destruction; and what if he has done so in order to make known the riches of his glory for the objects of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory.

Echoing through my mind after I read this was: Who are we to thoughtlessly judge our creator?

Ultimately, these verses made me think of suffering and why God would allow it to happen. To know one extreme is to reveal the other. On a personal level, being constantly ill, and having been that way since I was young, I wondered why I was so sick, why I was in so much pain while I was so young, why I couldn’t be as healthy as my friends or even as healthy as my siblings. Even on a grander scale like how could God ever allow something like the World Wars and other terrorist attacks to happen. But Paul reminds me to look underneath the underneath. God has endured the flaws of humanity with occasional shows of enforcing His wrath to prepare us for His ultimate goal:” To make known the riches of his glory for the objects of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory.” With the life that I have now, I must make the best of it even with the obstacles placed before me.

The ending of the chapter speaks out to me the most of relying on faith. I am a Gentile. The inclusion of God accepting us as His people and of being His beloved speaks to me. Through my faith, I pray that God continues to guide my loved ones and I through life. The belief that God has a plan for us that surpasses the suffering is one I believe in.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

Praying During Emotionally Trying Times

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This past week has been awful emotionally. There’s been moments when I just want to give up on everything, but I know that’s not me. With that in mind,  I searched out ways to muster strength to continue on as I slowly lost hope little by little. Eventually, I took out the rosary my grandmother gave me a while back, and I prayed. I prayed with all the desperation that I felt. I prayed to God for strength. I prayed to God for stability. I prayed my Hail Mary’s and Our Fathers through my tears, and slowly as I concentrated by praying aloud and focusing on the prayers themselves, I felt a calm wash over me, slowly, each time, and found the will to get back up and face my mistakes with the notion to take responsibility and to become better. The power of prayer and the belief in Our Father’s love helped push me on. It’s a terrible battle of fighting off the dark thoughts that swirl in my mind due to depression and anxiety, but through Christianity, I am finding my solace for God is good.

Every day is a new day, and I would like to treat it as a new start. I would like to take my past in consideration but not have it consume me that it stops me from making today and the rest of my days a better life for my loved ones and I. It’s a battle every day, but I must carry on.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, As it was in the beginning, and now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen!

Turning to Faith in Sickness

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Lately life has been hectic; chaotic, really. I’ve been sick on and off, but this past weekend, I was sicker than I’ve been in a while. It was one hell of a severe cold that left me unable to stomach eating anything beyond a few bites here and there so I could take my medicine, mostly drinking water in attempts to stay hydrated, severe congestion and other sinus problems, cough, fatigue, and some body pains. Amazingly, it wasn’t the flu according to the test that I did at the doctor’s. These colds are nasty. But I am in a new environment this time of year, so maybe the environment isn’t agreeing with my immunity yet.

With all these illnesses, I’ve found myself turning to my faith more than ever. I asked my grandmother for a rosary, which she did have, great woman, and gifted it to me. I felt blessed and thankful. It’s a beautiful rosary, but more so, it’s my first rosary from when I can understand it more than when I was a young child going to Sunday school. It helped comfort me through the night as I prayed in bed, and I felt better mentally after praying, enough to finally help calm my thoughts into a more linear direction rather than being scrambled. I can’t really can’t find the right words to describe how I felt about the experience beyond that it was my personal choice to experience it. I felt that I could rest more peacefully and wake up feeling much better, which did happen. I still have my fever, but I’m not as bedridden as I have been these past few days which were nearly all day being sick out of my mind.

All of this served to remind me of my faith. Before I had gotten sick, I had read the first four chapters of the Gospel of Matthew, and it was through remembering my faith and turning to it that I felt some strength to power through the hard times and settle into the less sick days. I’m glad that I am better than I was these past few days. I’m hoping to keep up a commitment to read more of the Bible as I have read parts of both the Old and New Testaments but never completed the Bible as in read it from the first to the last line, with commentary. The Bible that I use is the New Oxford Annotated Bible: New Revised Standard Version With the Apocrypha and sometimes the HarperCollins Study Bible: New Revised Standard Version (NRSV).  I first decided to immerse myself into reading and learning more about Christianity as a whole a little over a year ago, and I’m glad I decided to do so. It helped me find my faith, along with other Christian writers such as my adventures into reading Søren Kierkegaard, and I’m hoping to read a little more into C.S. Lewis’s writings on Christianity.

Reflecting While Ill

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This past week has been a week from hell. My health took a plunge and seems determined to keep me ill, and it’s been over a week! There’s been allergies, muscle spasms, body pain, fatigue, and a whole slew of other physical and mental illnesses that all seemed to want to pop up at once. On a scale of how bad I felt from 1-10, I was constantly at a 10 last week. I’ve gotten at least down to an 8 now. One of the things that I’ve been trying to keep in mind this week is that God is good and has a plan for me or I have a plan for myself that I haven’t built a solid foundation for yet. Either way, the best thing about the moment is that I’m starting to feel better after last week’s hell – even if it’s a slow recovery.

Considering how unwell I felt, I mostly focused on recuperating and trying to have fun. One of the things that I did was play my favorite mobile game, Summoners War, more often and trying to learn more of the game rather than just playing it instinctively. I’ve been watching SW streams every now and then but I haven’t gotten into it as much as I like watching the League of Legend e-sports pro scene, especially NALCS. I’m a major TSM fan alongside being a fan of SKT. But going back to SW, I’m a free to play player so I’m often grinding throughout the day when I have the energy and despite playing for about a year pretty much daily, I’m only around mid-game, I’d say. My poor phone is showing signs of wear mainly because of this game. I like turn based games and summoning things, which SW and other games like Fire Emblem Heroes fits the bill. Hopefully my phone lasts longer or I can get a tablet somehow – either way, here’s to hoping for longer gaming.

I’ve also been reading into mythology. I just began Myth, Ritual, and Religion by Andrew Lang this morning, and I think I’d like consider the field of mythology further. Moreover, I’m about to begin Hag-Seed by Margaret Atwood for the May reading challenge at LetsReadABook. I haven’t read The Tempest by William Shakespeare, which Atwood uses as inspiration for her book, nor do I know what it’s about beyond what’s in the first few scenes of the play, so I’m going in a little blind. I’m excited to finish it and discuss it with others on the subreddit. Although the subreddit has been lacking a little on the activity, I hope with summer coming up more activity will return with it. I also highly recommend checking out your local library, signing up with them, and see what they participate in offline and online. My library offers hoopladigital and overdrive, which allows me to access a vast number of books that I can borrow from the comfort of my own home. It’s amazing.

My art stuff (along with my bujo, sadly) have been coming along slowly; I did take a break when I fell ill last week. For my art side of things, I think I’m getting to a point where practicing my cursive and other hand lettering styles that that’s what I want to focus on – particularly creating quote designs. Practice makes perfect. I’m going back and forth between working on my art and studying. I’m slowly getting a hang of how I want to study, which includes studying something for a week or two, put it off for a while, and come back when the interest shows again, which it does. For the most part, my interests tend to fall into the same categories: art, gaming, personal development/learning/productivity, reading and studying religion, politics, philosophy, history, and literature. There’s so many things to study, and I have the flexibility at the moment to take my time to learn and practice things while maneuvering being ill a lot that it helps to keep the interest alive for so many things!

Of course, I hope to continue writing consistently with at least one post a week. I’ve kept up writing, but I’d like to do it more. For example, I’d like to post my thoughts on quotes I’ve read considering the amount of reading I do daily always has something that I’m left pondering about. I haven’t been consistent in this so I haven’t posted anything, but I’m still currently focused on getting better physically so this one isn’t a priority. Hopefully, I will at least start.