Keeping Politics Out of Gaming Pt 3

I don’t entirely agree with Troll Lord Games just as I don’t totally disagree with my unnamed friend from Instagram. I can disagree with someone and still love them to pieces. I have plenty of family and (Internet) friends from all over the political and religious spectrums. I try to get along with all of them.

This isn’t going away any time soon, apparently.

Every time I’ve posted the blurb for these articles on Twitter, I get at least one troll dribbling hateful offal all over the place. I despise having to lock threads. Tbh, I don’t really enjoy blocking people on social media. We’re there for open discourse. Having to shut down trolls seems counterproductive.

I have 4 key points in regards to this whole Politics in Gaming issue:

  1. Loudly proclaiming neutrality or staunch apolitical stances aren’t helping anyone. Stand for something positive, please.
  2. All players are welcome so long as they can be respectful to their fellow players. (Realize that includes out of game in some extreme cases. aka No Nazis.)
  3. I’m not going to tell anyone to cancel a specific game company unless there is evidence that said company has done some really shady sh🦆t.
  4. “Cancel Culture” has the potential to do social justice. It also has the potential to ruin people’s lives just as much as any other form of extremism.

It sounds like I’m waffling, but please hear me out.

I find extreme behaviors very triggering. I suffer from depression, anxiety/social anxiety, and ADHD among other things. Sometimes interacting with people makes me want to go live off the grid in a cabin by the lake with lots of trees around. Trees don’t judge. Trees don’t cause PTSD.

I don’t entirely agree with Troll Lord Games just as I don’t totally disagree with my unnamed friend from Instagram. I can disagree with someone and still love them to pieces. I have plenty of family and (Internet) friends from all over the political and religious spectrums. I try to get along with all of them.

I don’t approve of hate speech. If people can be cool, respectfully state their side of the story from a place of truth and authenticity, I’ll listen. I’ve found most people that yell anti-BIPOC, anti-LGBTQIA, ableist, etc slurs tend to not have much of an authentic base for their opinions. Or their base is just really lacking in critical thinking.

I have a position on a lot of these things, it’s just not always an absolute or an extreme. I think that’s what my friend on Insta and the folx at Troll Lord Games are trying to maybe say even if it’s not crystal clear. I don’t believe in shunning others just because they don’t think the way I do. I don’t believe taking a solidly apolitical stance necessarily means catering to the lowest common denominator. What I think both issues require is clarity.

Maybe we’re not asking the right questions.

What if we could sit down with Stephen Chenault from Troll Lord Games and ask him about the Tweet in question? What if one could just hang out with Stephen in the breakroom at TLG and casually discuss social media? What would that be like? (*Yes, I tend to look up to most gaming celebs.) What was meant by “discussions in which society enjoys to engage?”

The same can be said about my friend from Insta/Twitter. Are they worried about being the victim of “Cancel Culture?” Did something happen to prompt the Twitter thread that started that controversy? (*It sucks I can’t post any of it without a lot of people knowing exactly who it is. I’m not here to name and shame.) Again, stating a neutral or personal opinion does not mean someone is siding with the lowest common denominator.

I won’t tell you what to buy in this case.

I don’t tell people how to vote. (*Because my political views are somewhat bizarre to most people.) I don’t tell people where to shop unless I have mostly positive things to say. If I stopped buying from every company that had one person who offended me, my gaming library would probably shrink considerably. If I like the book, I buy the book. Very rarely do I turn down a gaming book with a few extreme exceptions.

I tell everyone to use their discernment. If you don’t like Troll Lord, vote with your dollars. If you love Troll Lord, likewise vote with your dollars. Not sure? See what they’re offering. Maybe some of it is okay. Their designers have been in the TTRPG industry for a long time.

Troll Lord Games hasn’t committed any hate crimes. They don’t have designers who have declared themselves openly Nazis. As far as I know none of the staff have done something to get themselves banned from a convention. I still can’t figure out why someone shared what should have been a company wide email in public on a social media platform.

One last thought before I put this to bed for tonight.

For all the people who keep saying “It’s just a game. Who cares?” Please remember that BIPOC, LGBTQIA, neurodiverse, women and/or other marginalized people still get turned away from gaming tables. Cultures are still being misrepresented and appropriated for use in RPGs every day.

We can’t change other people. What we can do is represent ourselves and others with authenticity and integrity. Treat people the way we want to be treated. Roleplaying is a hobby for everyone. As long as we still have duality and separation within the human race, we’re just going to have to find a way to either get along or stay with those who resonate the most with us.

Yes, let’s get back to gaming. Let’s get back to writing #Dungeon23 rooms and creating magic items. But please, let’s be kind and respectful to one another?

Thanks for stopping by. I appreciate you. Have a good one. Stay safe.

Merry Christmas 2022.

Happy Holidays! I hope today is full of wonderment for you regardless of religion, politics, and other machinations. Be safe. Have a good one.

Just wanted to drop a quick note to say thank you for making this a special year for me. You guys are awesome. Regardless of what holidays you celebrate or maybe don’t, I hope today is filled with peace and joy wherever you are.

Gratitude.

I’m truly grateful for all of you, my readers. Thank you for being here. I couldn’t do it without all of you. I know I say it frequently, but I really do love and appreciate you, even if we don’t always agree. That’s family, right?

Yesterday was Thanksgiving in the USA.

I know this time of year is a time to relax for many, but for some it leads to the same stress many experience on a daily basis. I’m no psychologist, so please understand this is based purely on my observations and understanding. Many content creators whether streaming, social media, YouTube, even bloggers, feel a certain degree of pressure to keep going even when everyone else has a day off.

Some YouTubers who regularly broadcast on Thursday night may or may not have something in the proverbial can scheduled to run the next night. Social media creators are basically always on stage unless they have scheduled posts ready to go out. If it weren’t November, even my own humble blog has posts scheduled up to as many as 10 days ahead. (Right now I’m “pantsing” as they say in NaNoWriMo.)

This leads to, “Dinner’s off the table. Time to go to work.” for a lot of people. I mean, I used to work retail, which was way more stressful, and sometimes meant putting in Thursday night hours. Graveyard shift workers know what it’s like to have to go to bed while their partner cooks, get up early for dinner only to dash out the door the minute the table is clear. When I was in the grocery business, holidays were never a day off. Sometimes it was a week of straight overtime. (I don’t miss it.) Regular 9-5 day people and “regular” folk probably don’t have a good grasp on what it’s like to have to wave goodbye to the family and dash out the door.

This is why I’m grateful now.

I’m truly grateful for all of you, my readers. Thank you for being here. I couldn’t do it without all of you. I know I say it frequently, but I really do love and appreciate you, even if we don’t always agree. That’s family, right?

My appreciation also extends to all of the content creators, third shift workers, retail employees, and anyone else who works long hours on the holidays. It’s never easy. Thank you for doing what you do.

Back with more tomorrow. Thanks for stopping by.

Collection of Random Thoughts.

One thing about being around this hobby that should have stuck with all of the old heads out there is COMPASSION! Some people shit on us hard back in the day during the Satanic Panic. The persecution some members of the community felt then are still in play today. At least there was never a “Don’t say D&D” law passed or anything. We older gamers have a duty to uplift and preserve the hobby.

A lot of bits and bobs from inside my head tonight.

TableTop RolePlaying Games (TTRPGs) are my passion. I follow the industry, my fellow fans, and everyone else involved because gaming is my passion. It’s not necessarily the playing of adventures or running an event as a Game Master/Dungeon Master/Judge, etc. It’s about the camaraderie and the friends along the way.

So, I learned what might actually be “wrong” with me psychologically. It’s finally starting to make sense. I think I might have sociophobia or Social Anxiety Disorder. That makes thing interesting for a hobby where there is typically a gathering of 2-7 (or more) players. I have a family of six, so it’s not impossible.

But, yeah. Being around people kinda freaks me out. I try to limit my time and trips out in public. I don’t work and might never work again for all I really know. At this point I’m not sure I would feel comfortable in any job. I start to panic at the first signs of freelance work. (*Longer story, but still comes back to fear.)

The irony, of course, is that love writing for my blog. I love you, family online. Thank you for being here. Fear is not the same as hate. I love my audience. Y’all are awesome.

Along the TTRPG lines.

A couple of things have come up more recently in TTRPG news that I have been meaning to address. Please don’t come at me with your Satanic Panic trauma. I lived through that time, too. Yeah, it kinda sucked. But we survived.

One thing about being around this hobby that should have stuck with all of the old heads out there is COMPASSION! Some people shit on us hard back in the day during the Satanic Panic. The persecution some members of the community felt then are still in play today. At least there was never a “Don’t say D&D” law passed or anything. We older gamers have a duty to uplift and preserve the hobby.

Keeping new players away from Dungeons & Dragons or any game is counterproductive, counterintuitive, and downright sad. Embrace fresh talent in both the hobby and the industry. It’s the best way to keep going and really the only way for gaming to perpetuate itself.

Say “No,” to the bigots, the edgelords and the creeps. That’s not gatekeeping. That’s just the sane smart thing to do. It’s not gatekeeping so much as being safe.

The old gamer worry of the week.

Is Wizards of the Coast going to introduce an Open Game License for the new, upcoming One D&D? The answer to date is: doubtful. The new management in charge of D&D came straight from Microsoft. They know jack and shit about the RPG industry nor do they care. They want to make money, pure and simple.

I think with the obvious push for an electronic platform using the Unreal engine, they are trying to basically turn D&D into Fortnite. Physical retailers and physical D&D books could easily be on the way out as far as WotC is concerned. PDFs or whatever they sell from their app/platform are going to be the way of the future. The Player’s Handbook as we know it might come out as chunks along with other microtransactions on the platform.

Want to play a Barbarian? Buy the new shiny Barbarian skin in the item shop. Get your character a big freaky two handed sword bling for another $1.99. Use in-game currency to pick up the fur-topped leather boots. Get the 10th level Barbarian leap of doom feat in a package deal for $4.99. (Yeah, I play Fortnite. I don’t want D&D to look like this.)

WotC isn’t worried about older editions of the D&D game or compatibility because they won’t need to. They’re turning D&D into a video game because that’s what they understand. It’s about big money. Unfortunately, the DMsGuild proved to them that RPG gamers are suckers for smaller transactions. We’ll buy a $1.99 subclass before we’ll shell out $69.99 for Spelljammer’s failed box set. But I digress.

Personal notes:

I’m trying to keep my publishing streak here on the blog alive this week. It’s going to be harder than ever. Thanksgiving dinner got moved to Sunday because our youngest child is getting his tonsils out tomorrow. We figured it was better to do it while he could still eat solid food. Poor kid. Any holiday revolving around food is rough when you can barely talk and are restricted to a popsicle diet.

I’m hesitant to comment on this next part. I have kind of a conflict brewing internally and I just want to vent it a little. Sometimes seeing it on the screen helps sort it out.

I have a dear friend and mentor who I would gladly take a bullet-for who has kinda strayed from the spiritual path a bit. This person is openly promoting a Republican governor who has repeatedly made very anti-LGBTQIA++ statements. As a parent of a Trans child, it’s very hard to stomach. It’s like, I want to still love you but I will always love my child more. It’s not cool and it hurts.

Every person on the Earth plane has free will. Love it or not, it’s how humans work. But how do you reconcile love and kindness with a governor who says brilliant things such as, “Iowans still know boys from girls,” in a bloody political ad! I swear this state and this country have lost their damn minds. WTAF?!? Spiritually, how do I still love someone who supports that?

For God’s sakes, gay/lesbian and trans people were gunned down in a nightclub again. That popped up on my news feed alongside Trans Day of Remembrance. I’m sickened and saddened by this news. It’s not why we came to the Earth plane. I’m sending as much love and healing energy to the survivors, families and friends. When are we going to stop senselessly killing each other on this planet?

On a final note, everyone seems to be concerned about Twitter going belly-up. I think it’s still too soon to tell. Yeah, the Donald and some other dipshits have been allowed back. Hey, if that’s what the Lord Chief Twit-lon and his robotic minions want to do- okay. I don’t have to interact with them. I have other social media accounts where I actively avoid/block idiots all the time. No big deal.

I did start a Mastodon account. I’m going to be updating all of my social media links soon. I’m probably going to become a bit more active on Instagram and elsewhere again soon. Twitter is starting to smell like ozone, burning styrofoam, and marijuana smoke from its owner.

I’m trying to imagine what I would do with $44 Billion. Buying a social media platform is not the first thing to come to mind. I don’t begrudge anyone for having that kind of money. I’m all about prosperity. But let’s think.

That’s roughly $5 for every person on the planet. What happens if you send 8 billion people $5 each? That’s a small fortune in some countries, a cup of coffee in others. $44 Billion is more than the GDP in some countries.

What if that $44 Billion got thrown at agriculture? Or eradicating homelessness? Or clean energy technology? Social media falls way, way farther down on my list of potential expenditures. For that kind of money, I could probably reinvest in some businesses and ideas to truly help people get back on their feet in the US and every other country on Earth. Imagine the good one could do.

Imagine what would happen if someone spent $44 Billion helping trans people get the surgery and hormone therapy they desire? Imagine what would happen if someone spent $44 Billion to assist in migration away from Republican controlled states in the US. Imagine what putting that kind of money into the mental health care industry would do. Suddenly, this country could become way less of a toilet fire.

Thanks for stopping by. I love and appreciate every single one of you who read my blog. We might not always agree on everything, but you’re still here and I love you for it.

Freedom Day +1 Year, +1 Month, +1 Day.

…right up until I look around me or I look in my wallet. I’m cool right up until we have another discussion about bills or my kids want to stop at the Burger King drive-through. I’m one happy sonuvagun as long as I’m out in nature, away from the commercial world, with no distractions.

Everything works out in divine timing.

Despite all of the adversity, all of the struggle, and all of the nonsense that has gone down since- I’m still here. I don’t miss it. I get to spend my time doing what I want to do. To think I chose this. WE chose this.

Earth life can be tiring. As a luminous spiritual being having a physical experience beyond the Veil of Forgetfulness on a 3D/4D planet, we volunteered for this. I can’t definitively say “Earth is ascending.” Maybe it is? It’s no 2020, but after this past year in my life? There’s a lot of things I wonder about.

I try to imagine it other ways.

What if I was still working in that place? (That fired me.) I was about at the end of my rope with them anyway. The PTSD is real, folks. Maybe not war-in-Afghanistan real, but real enough. If it weren’t for all of the NDA crap I had to sign for my severance package, I’d have some four letter words for certain people even now. (But we wouldn’t want someone trawling my social media for lawsuit fuel. LOL!)

What if I had fled town with some meager possessions? What if I had a tuna salad sandwich for breakfast? Who knows what might have taken place in alternate timelines? We may never know. The way time works is a very freaky thing to us. Then again, reality might be a mystery compared to what we <think> it is.

Someone very wise keeps reminding me I’m not a victim.

I’ll admit I’m stubborn. I might be a bit thick headed when it comes to certain lessons. I have to be reminded regularly that life happens as a result of choices we make. Experiences happen for us, not to us. There’s no one else pulling all the strings. It starts and stops with us.

Choices lead to suffering. Suffering leads to depression. Depression leads to sitting on the couch for days not wanting to make any more choices that could potentially hurt again. Yup. Being honest. Do I choose to feel depressed? Hell no!

Maybe brain chemistry plays into depression cycles a bit. Sleep, stress, and other physiological concerns affect hormones and brain chemistry. Depression is an ugly cycle that feeds on itself in a downward spiral. The only way out is through. Getting out of an old pattern usually involves making a choice to start a new habit or rework an old one.

Previous generations hid their physical and emotional pain.

Not me. My generation grew up with way more psychological education. Good old Gen X with our Ritalin and Prozac growing up. The stigma of being labeled as “crazy” was just starting to come off. That nice President of the US during the 1980’s was even nice enough to deinstitutionalize a lot of people.

I don’t have all of the numbers in front of me, but I know mental healthcare is on another rapid decline in this country and in Iowa specifically. It might be the only thing going downhill faster than education, and that’s a sad state of affairs.

My dad’s generation never talked about their feelings. They drank, smoked, gambled, did dope, and had sex to distract from all of their problems. The men of that era were badasses. Unfortunately that meant we, their children, never learned to talk about our feelings in a meaningful way and inherited all those distractions.

It’s not that they didn’t feel pain. I’m sure the problems may people in older generations experienced were more harsh than the ones we face today. Sometimes the farther back one goes, the worse it seems in terms of physical labor, political strife, emotional trauma, and so on.

Depression is real.

Just ask my therapist, or really any therapist. I am not my feelings. I am a person who feels things. It’s tough to remember that sometimes. I choose how I feel. And yet, I still feel depressed? Can’t I just choose to be happy all the time?

Yeah, right up until I look around me or I look in my wallet. I’m cool right up until we have another discussion about bills or my kids want to stop at the Burger King drive-through. I’m one happy sonuvagun as long as I’m out in nature, away from the commercial world, with no distractions. Peaceful, quiet times are truly some of the happiest times for me.

I can’t just go live in a cave off the grid somewhere or I would have probably done it by now. Sometimes life is about choices we didn’t make. I could choose to be in physical and emotional pain every day at a job I don’t care about that leaves me incredibly unfulfilled. But I’m a heck of a lot happier this way than I was then.

Rome wasn’t built in a day.

I’ve been at this human business for 50+ years now. The more answers I find, the more questions I have. It’s a never-ending cycle of experiences and discovery. I’m not going to have it all figured out in one night.

Thanks for listening to me vent. I’m grateful you’re here. I appreciate you! Back to more gaming content after this. Deep discussion again soon, too.

It’s Awakened, Not “Woke.”

In other words, it’s not about the destination, but about the journey. ClichĂ© maybe? I can’t explain step by step how I got to where I am now mentally, emotionally, or spiritually. Sorry, it’s complicated. What I can say is, “I am exactly where I am supposed to be in this moment.”

I went through a process of Spiritual Awakening back in 2015 or so.

What does that mean exactly? It’s a complicated process and personal to everyone who has it happen. Every reverend and guru on the planet has a slightly different take on what it “should” look like. I think the truth is, the meaning of finding your own truth about God/Source/Universe is unique unto the beholder.

In other words, it’s not about the destination, but about the journey. ClichĂ© maybe? I can’t explain step by step how I got to where I am now mentally, emotionally, or spiritually. Sorry, it’s complicated. What I can say is, “I am exactly where I am supposed to be in this moment.”

Are we talking religion here?

Absolutely not! In fact I have to be very careful with what I say around a good number of my religious friends. I just know what I have to say about organized religion will get me pushed right out the door of most places of worship. I don’t do organized religion, and they don’t want me around. I’m not a follower in those regards.

There’s two things keeping me out of church. First, would you like to guess what one of the biggest money making institutions in the U.S, if not the world is? Yup. Religion. Second, philosophically, there are certain things we just don’t see eye-to-eye on. That, and even some religions don’t agree philosophically with one another and I happen to agree with the tenets of most of them.

Am I in a cult?

LOL! Absolutely not. I don’t follow any one leader. Sure I listen to Eckhart Tolle, Lori Ladd, Russell Brand, Anna Brown, and even Andey Fellowes. I don’t think any of the above necessarily have a cult. They all have an opinion about life, the Universe, and everything. Who doesn’t?

I grew up during the 1980’s. The mere mention of the word “cult” brought to mind images of Jim Jones disaster and the Heaven’s Gate debacle. A little while later came that mess in Waco, TX. Please trust me when I say, the cult life is certainly not for me.

What got me going?

There are a number of factors that led me where I am today. The first is the notion that I think for myself. We live in the information age. Research is easier than ever. (Don’t get me going about “false” information.) I look at as many facts and opinions as I can and then make up me own mind. Kinda like politics only deeper.

The other answer I have to that question is Dr Steven Greer. I used to meditate back in high school. I used to be big on Ufology and ETs back then, too. I may have had a few experiences of my own from back then. But when I watched Unacknowledged, it made me stop and think.

There are billions of stars, many with their own planets and moons. How arrogant is it to think we’re all the life there is out of all that occupied space? Mathematically, odds are in favor of us having intelligent life in our own solar system. But here’s where the bend in the road comes- It ALL had to start somewhere.

So, do I worship “little green men?”

No. In fact many higher dimensional beings would probably tell you never to do that. That is part of what brought me to believe there has to be so much more out there. There is overwhelming evidence humans are not alone in the Universe. So then, what do they believe in?

We’re well into what-if land now. If you ponder what it means to be connected not just to each other, but the greater whole consciousness of the Universe the outcome is staggering. What if there is more to life than just these squishy bodies we wear for a time?

Paranormal evidence piles onto these conclusions. I became interested in Jerry and Esther (Abraham) Hicks in my travels. Abraham is a being channeled by Esther Hicks. They talk a lot about the Law of Attraction. That made me think even more.

Then I ran across Daniel Scranton, who channels the Ninth Dimensional Arcturian Council. My wife likes to kid me about this one, but what harm does it do? The Arcturians, perched high above in the ninth dimension, tend to send highly positive messages and advice for the growth of humanity as a species. My question is, why not? There’s no harm in anyone spreading messages like, get along with other humans and stay hydrated.

Darryl Anka is another such individual. He channels a being known as Bashar. Most of Bashar’s messages are pretty positive or minimally honest. He’s an interesting being to say the least.

One of my personal favorites is Kryon, channeled by Lee Carroll. Kryon resonates very deeply with me. He talks about a lot of the same topics as the other beings. There are way too many overlapping statements for some of these things not to be true. Kryon also speaks to the marvels inherent to unlocking the vast human potential. Deep and meaningful stuff.

It doesn’t stop there.

Almost EVERY Near Death Experience (NDE) I’ve ever heard or read goes almost the exact same way. I’ve seen way too much of this type of thing to believe in coincidences. If you’ve ever listened to someone talk about their NDE, it will track consistently with many similar stories out there from all walks of life and levels of education.

If NDEs aren’t enough, try to explain a phenomenon known as Remote Viewing. This has been employed by governments and corporations alike. It’s a psychic phenomenon wherein a viewer focuses their consciousness on a specific place and records what they find there. It’s like flying a drone and astral projection all rolled into one.

Every major religion the world over has iconography and myths relating to beings from somewhere else. Angels, demons, djinn, and otherworldly visitors appear in almost every religion. The number of possible explanations starts to narrow the more you compare notes. We might not even be the first true civilization on this planet.

I could literally go for days on this subject, but…

The reason I wanted to discuss this subject was because someone said, “F*k wokeness and cancel culture.” in a post I read earlier on Twitter. Joke’s on him. I’m not “woke” nor do I consider myself to be.

“Woke” has become a cultural phenomenon meaning any number of things (sometimes negative.) If I were to take it as I imagine it was intended? That’s not an insult. In fact, I’ll stand with my “woke” friends all day before I’ll hang with a bigot.

I’m guilty of fitting the stereotype to a certain extent. I do use as much polite terminology and non-discriminatory language as I can. I have several friends and a family member in the LGBTQIA++ community. I think Black Lives Matter.

That’s just it. Lives matter.

I think a lot of lives matter. Jewish, Asian, Hispanic, Muslim, and Trans lives matter, too. If we’re going to meet beings from other worlds, we have to stop squabbling like children over issues such as race, gender, sex, and politics. If we’re all connected and we want to be friends with other planets, we have to show we can make this one work first.

The sad part is, I’m not loved in a lot of communities because I’m perceived as a middle aged, white, cishet male. Yeah, I appear that way. No, I don’t necessarily think that way. I’ve got so much love for anyone who wishes no harm on others. Why do we keep letting petty earthly differences define us if we’re all beings of love and light in an energetic Universe?

Am I crazy?

Depends on who you ask. No, I’m not hearing strange voices that aren’t my own. (Currently.) Do I think beings in the energetic onion layers around the Earth are trying to communicate? Yeah. Probably.

Everything is energy. You, me, the table, what we call atoms. Mostly empty space and filled with energy- different frequencies, different vibrations. Nikola Tesla figured it out. It’s ALL energy.

If I’m nuts, what is CERN doing? They’re experimenting with energy. They are digging into the fabric of the Universe to try to figure out how it works. They’re monitoring energy emissions. (Among other things.)

Some basic tenets of my beliefs.

Be kind to others. Take care of one another as best we can. Spread love, joy, peace, and prosperity for everyone. Try to stay calm and understanding in the face of strife. If we can’t have peace on Earth, how can we ever interact with beings from other worlds?

That’s why I’m here discussing this today. I know of some folx in the Twitterverse that are in need of a lot of kindness and understanding right now. At some point, we have to figure out how to get along regardless of race. There are 8 Billion people here on Earth right now. For anyone to think one particular race is superior to the rest is to deny the Creator. Someday I hope maybe these people will be even a tiny bit awakened to what’s really going on.

Thank you for being here. I appreciate you. More to come.

My One Year Freedom-versary!

All I can do is speak my truth when it comes to pain. I wake up every day feeling as if I have been beaten with a sack of hammers one at a time.

Yay! or is it yay?

It’s officially been one year since I was um, uh, “released” from my job. On one hand it was a blessing. Spiritually, I’m still grateful for this on so many levels. I still have to be careful with what I say because of all the NDA and Severance Agreements. (Grrr.) On the other hand, being broke is kinda not fun…

This is going to be another bittersweet rant on my part. I’ve still got plenty of emotional and psychological scars that may never actually heal entirely. I intend to put myself on a timeline for my greatest and highest good, but it’s been some serious work getting there so far. Therapy has definitely been super helpful.

Pain. Physical, mental and emotional friggin pain.

The physical pain is one thing, but…

All I can do is speak my truth when it comes to pain. I wake up every day feeling as if I have been beaten with a sack of hammers one at a time. As a result, sometimes I have to call in sick to work, or at least that used to be the case. It got to the point where I had to apply for FMLA. My body has been used and self abused enough over the years that it just doesn’t function as well as it used to.

Fibromyalgia sucks. Arthritis sucks. Exhaustion sucks. Pain pretty much sucks. There, I said it.

I fight depression a lot. It’s been a year long battle not to feel like a total failure. I know I’m not, but sometimes I need to remind myself of that. Not having a job has left a bruise on my ego- a pretty big one.

I think some things may have been said prior to my unfortunate separation from that company that are still gnawing on me even today. Without getting into specifics, I flunked a friggin PTSD survey for crying out loud. Or passed with flying colors depending on how you look at it. (Whichever result we didn’t want? Yeah. That one.) My therapist says I’m still hanging onto a lot of anger and resentment, too.

I still can’t deal with criticism. It’s not pretty. I don’t even like going out in public. I know it sounds terrible.

Healing following the end of any relationship, including a job, takes a long time.

I’m still coping emotionally.

I keep telling myself I’m past it. I’m over it. I’m good. I’m happier without it than with it. For the most part I am over it. Really. I’m good.

Then something comes up to remind me I have zero income. My pride kinda steps in to remind me I’m not a breadwinner in a family of six. My oldest son has started busing tables at a restaurant. My next oldest is mowing lawns all summer. I’m working on… I intend to be a writer.

I turned 50 less than a month ago. It’s been a rough year. Sometimes I feel like I’m getting better. I can almost go out in public sometimes, for a short while. I’m still not big on “people-ing.” as my wife and oldest say it. Criticism tends to start a spiral ending in my poor therapist. Yeah. My therapist is awesome, though.

Some days the bear takes you to therapy.

It’s not all doom and gloom.

My wife, Heather, has been incredibly supportive through this whole thing. I’m pretty happy and grateful every day because I’m living in a house with my family. We have enough to eat. The bills are getting paid. She’s a super mom when it comes to taking care of the kids. She’s also an A+ baker.

I appreciate her a whole lot. She’s very camera shy, so no pic. Thanks, Honey!

My friend Laura DiBenedetto once asked me to draw up a list of 50 things I’m thankful for. It’s a good exercise. When you’re down it’s not as easy as it sounds, though. I think I actually did a hundred once. It’s 25 daily if you’re following The Six Habits Workbook. Regardless, the idea is I have plenty to be grateful for. I really am grateful for each and every one.

This website, my blog especially, has benefitted from me not traipsing out the door to work every day. Once toxic corporate culture wasn’t sucking the creativity and will to live out of me, I became much more productive. This blog means so very much to me. It’s been a daily endeavor for me every day since I rebranded it at the start of the year. I love writing!

Heather, family, Laura, readers, Bimoji, anyone else who I forgot.

It was for the best all around, I suppose.

Large corporations…

Was I the best employee? No. I mean, they did gimme the ax, didn’t they? Sadly, it wasn’t an issue with my skills as much as my attitude and my willingness to call bullshit when I see it. I don’t imagine the FMLA helped, but of course we can’t prove anything or really speak of such matters. BUT, it’s nice not having to be out of the house for 48 hours per week and deal with all the Mcgarbage of corporate life. I guess they did what they thought was “best for the company.”

Personally, other than missing the paycheck, I don’t miss all the bull I had to put up with (no specifics.) One of my main objections to the job, besides having one, was that I was working in an industry known to be incredibly destructive to the Earth. It was tough to reconcile spiritually every day.

In a very general sense, I believe it best to put people before profits. I also think it’s better to promote creation over destruction, which some industries globally are pretty horrible about. Last, I prefer prosperity for all over greed. Despite any company’s lip service, win-win usually doesn’t happen.

Disclaimer: Some people mistake me for a Socialist or a Communist. Now, to be fair, I have studied about both quite a bit over the years. If we’re being honest, some tenets of a socialist democracy do appeal. Unfortunately it’s prone to abuse, corruption, misinterpretation, and ultimately suffering. So, love our government and economic system in the US or hate it? Still better than the alternatives as far as I’m concerned.

My happy place.

Flowers grow in shit, too- metaphorically and practically. I ought to know. I’ve seen enough of it.

I’m grateful I’m no longer working in that awful place, or any awful place for that matter. I love my family a lot more than I hate dealing with big businesses. More importantly, being on my own in the “workforce” has been a huge blessing!

Think about it. No job gets me more time with my family. Theoretically a cleaner house. (Still working on that. See also, kids.) I get to go to ball games and roleplaying games that I wouldn’t have gotten to otherwise. My wife loves all the attention she gets these days, I think.

Not to brag, but I get to rest on the pain flare days. No one freaks out when I say I have to stay home. On the days when everyone is in school (my wife is a teacher) I get the whole house to myself. Just me and the cats. Still… I get to meditate, nap, eat stuff out of the air fryer, write, play video games, and run errands. It’s freakin amazeballs!

If anyone thinks I’m ever going back to a corporate environment of any kind, they’re sadly, tragically mistaken.

Startups, small businesses, local endeavors, individuals are more than welcome to invite me in/ hire me. (<gulp!> I guess.) I’ve been known to bend over backwards to help doing volunteer work back in ye olde days. These days, I’d work for credit on the right project. I’m not sure about working pro-bono these days, but I might consider it for the right person.

The one thing I will never go back to, short of a corner office and a six digit salary (LOL!) is a large, unfeeling, uncaring, nameless, faceless, rotten corporation. (Which ones are rotten? Umm…)

About the time anyone started talking yearly performance reviews, big meetings, (forced) peer interactions, or any of that other corporate Mc-culture crap? I’d be out the door. The last thing I want is to put myself in a position where the review makes waterboarding seem like a summer olympic event. I will never do harsh criticism again without going off and I will happily die on that hill before I let anyone tear me down.

That is one nervous breakdown I do NOT need ever again. You could call me into a meeting with six or seven people to tell me I’m employee of the year and I’ll be f’kn absent as Hell or fightin mad. I don’t care. If I even sense it in the air, I’m gone!

Jeffco’s Employee of the Year.

Let’s be honest. Working for myself is where it’s at.

Yeah, my profits have been down since January. It’s easy to claim $0 on my taxes yet. However, we’re into July without any pesky profits. It’s like we’re selling money repellant around here. Oh, wait. Okay, we’re giving away too many free samples of money repellant. Check.

(I WAS JOKING!)

All joking aside, better times are on the horizon. I’m working on new ways of monetizing my endeavors. I intend to have some kind of income flowing within the next year. It’s going to get better. Seriously, that’s the next hill I’m willing to die on so to speak.

I truly love being my own boss. I haven’t applied to work at someone else’s business since February. Really, it’s the best way for me to go. I’m happy like this. I’m free to do just about anything I set my mind to. I wish I had come up with a plan to do this years ago.

I’m going to consider doing some freelance or contract work in the coming year. It’s similar to working completely for myself and it pays better. I’m also going to get something published one of these days, even if it’s small, electronic (pdf) publication to start getting myself out there. Part of the key to getting discovered is appearing somewhere, right?

THANK YOU FOR BEING HERE!

Seriously. I can’t think you enough. I appreciate you being here. I love having readers. I love having people visit the site. You’re awesome! Thank you!

I love you all!
You ARE valued.
Photo by Katie Rainbow ud83cudff3ufe0fu200dud83cudf08 on Pexels.com

Please practice kindness. Embrace joy!

I bet someone scrolled down this far to see if I posted a different picture of me in a unicorn costume. Mmm hmm.

Personal Share: Things I’m Avoiding

I’ve had more ups and downs that a yo-yo on a roller coaster this past year. Some days, I know my vibration is pretty stinkin low. Other days, I’m floating on the clouds happy. I think psychologists call that “bipolar” but it does fit…

Procrastination can be productive, but that’s not what I’m here to discuss right now.

Could be better.

We’ll talk about procrastination later. Right now, I want to discuss some things that have been on my mind as of late. My intent is that someone else may benefit from my time on the struggle bus or maybe the fail plane. Not sure yet.

Let’s drop some Law of Attraction knowledge into all of this. In the end, I still believe in the Laws of the Universe, difficult though it is some days. Skepticism is helpful, I suppose. I’ve been avoiding writing this article for a while now.

“Just get a job, deadbeat!”

That’s really the very painful nitty gritty of it all, I guess. I don’t identify as “deadbeat,” “loser,” or “failure.” It’s difficult sometimes. I still hear it, even if someone isn’t saying it out loud. Maybe I’m paranoid and slightly delusional. Who knows? Maybe I’m projecting my insecurities onto others? But identifying with the negatives puts us into a state of lack. Lack mentality is to be avoided if we want to live in the higher state of abundance.

Welcome to the grand struggle of the Law of Attraction. There’s always duality and separation. Light and dark, hot and cold, rich and poor, etc. I’m currently feeling that downward pull of some of that lack in my life.

We’re all reaching for the stars in some way, shape, or form. Right? Show me someone who doesn’t strive for stability (minimum) or prosperity (maximum.) Even billionaires have some sort of goal, right?

So, I’m avoiding the lack mentality by embracing the abundance mentality. It’s the whole concept of “Living in the dream fulfilled.” Okay, what does that look like?

Everything is Energy

Meditation: tapping in.

Atoms are energy. It’s a miracle anything is solid there’s so much energy. We’re swimming in a sea of it. The human eye can only perceive so much of it. Otherwise, we’d probably overwhelmed by all of the differing wavelengths and vibrations around us.

So, the vibrations we emit are of the wavelength we are on. I know. It’s complicated. We receive what we feel if LoA is to be believed.

I’ve had more ups and downs that a yo-yo on a roller coaster this past year. Some days, I know my vibration is pretty stinkin low. Other days, I’m floating on the clouds happy. I think psychologists call that “bipolar” but it does fit…

Am I avoiding prosperity and embracing lack? I think the idea here is to have more good days than bad. I mean, sh*t happens. Sometimes the Universe challenges us with a bad day. Literally God/Source/Universe knows why. Of course, there is no such thing as a coincidence.

Okay, then the hardest part.

I’d be pretty much hosed without my wife.

So, we can not have two shince to rub together and still have to live in the millionaire dream fulfilled. I’m avoiding admitting to myself that I’m as broke as a joke. I avoid identifying as a jobless bum who could literally be one marital disagreement away from living under a bridge somewhere. I’m avoiding the notion that I’m literally depending on my wife for everything. (Man card is on fire again…)

I’m super grateful my wife keeps me around. I’m no Martha Stewart, but I do some housework around here, especially anything to do with the kids. I’m trying not to identify myself as taking advantage of my loving wife. Sometimes I feel like I should do more, but the answer is not always clear as to what.

I get tired a lot. Some mornings the pain is, well, a lot too. I still keep going.

Makes it a little hard to just run right out and get a day job, though. Especially knowing at some point I’m going to have to call in sick to said new job, whatever it is. Most places really start looking at you sideways when you mention FMLA. Suddenly they don’t want to keep you around as bad.

Then there’s the thought that out of over 100 job applications I had one actual interview and one legit callback before rejection. I’m turning 50 this month. I’m sure that has something to do with it. Got fired from the last job after nearly seven years. I’m sure that has something to do with it, too.

So, yeah, I’ve been avoiding admitting that to myself, too. They just don’t want me. And I’m not really young enough to start all over at some damn 9-5, 40+ hours per week scrubbing floors and cleaning toilets again. I’m literally too old and too broken for that crap. Not to mention I damned well deserve more.

Not because of some perceived entitlement or privilege. Not because of my age, gender, skin color or sexuality. Because we ALL deserve better. Every last one of us. Life has kicked us all in the ass too much. Good times are overdue.

As a complete side note- Screw college. That’s right. I’ll freely admit it. Higher education has left me with a degree and a bigger stack of bills to pay. What good has it done? Not very damn much. Especially now that the Internet can make anyone just as smart in far less time without all of the bullsh*t.

Income is Outcome.

Snoopy and I really would.

Here’s where the rubber meets the road. It’s the same LoA question I’ve had from literally day one. How do I increase my wealth? I’m not a life coach, a shrink, a doctor or a lawyer. I don’t have any inventive new product or service to sell that is relatively unique to me. I’m not a craftsman, artisan, journeyman or service man, even. I’m not even a good scam artist (*not that I’ve tried.) So what good and/or service do I have to sell?

I’ve asked that question literally hundreds of times and dozens of people. You know what? They all avoid answering it. Not one guru, expert, or leader wants to touch that one. At least, not for free. (Plenty of life coaches and LoA experts will charge me out the butt for whatever magical secrets they have.)

What saddens me is that even this website, that I love dearly, is costing me way more than it’s bringing in. My wife was generous enough to fund another year of my blog back on May 25th. She keeps getting on my case about how broke I am whether she knows it or not. Or maybe I’m projecting again? (*my therapist would be having a field day with this article.)

What really eats me, though- what really gets to me more than probably anything, is I have all kinds of things I want to do with money. (Not just the usual consumer nonsense, although maybe a little indulgence.) But more than about anything, I want to make sure my family is taken care of. Then I want to start helping people out. Problem is, I can’t do it without money.

One example I’ll give, albeit a minor one, is Kickstarter. When I was employed, I started backing some roleplaying game projects that I believed in. Nowadays? I look at new projects by some of the same folks longing to be able to help out. In some cases, one project might be a major source of income for one year for all I know. Of course, no nothin moolah to help, so not much I can do. “Heh heh. go team. yay…)

Is most of the support I can afford these days.

What about joy?

I have this blog. Yeah, I drop a pretty wide range of stuff from roleplaying games all the way through things like LoA and UFOs. Now that I’m on a roll with it, I really don’t want to let it go. It’s been keeping me sane and then some. I actually enjoy writing. But, as someone likes to remind me, all of my “journalism-ing” isn’t paying the bills. (Her term, not mine.)

The operative theory here is that success is defined by happiness (joy.) If I’m truly happy, I don’t need income. But I feel pretty miserable being a burden on my wife and family. There’s lots of things I want to do for the community and people I care about. Some of them might not even know I exist yet.

So where does that leave me? No, really. Where does that leave me? Can anyone tell me? Anybody?

I hear the crickets chirping again. It’s just me barking in the dark. I’m going to leave it here for tonight. I feel a bit lighter already.

Thanks for being here. I appreciate you, especially if you made it clear to the end of my rantings. More to come. Have a good one.

Open to feedback if you have any.

Why I’m Still Blogging.

My point being, I get there’s no profits in simply giving people money. But building a community, planting trees, and creating jobs for people can be profitable. If people can throw $40+ BILLION at something, why not have it be locally owned farms? Why not have it be community centers and housing for the homeless? How about we encourage people to embrace joy and prosperity?

I spend a lot of time behind this computer screen.

Every day I come to this blog to pump out fresh content of some kind. Not gonna josh anyone, it keeps me sane. I’m super grateful for you if you’re reading this, whoever you are. Thank you!

I’ve been through a lot dealing with unemployment and health issues. It’s getting better, slowly but surely. I think the Universe likes to test us to see if we’re ready for more joy, love, freedom, prosperity, peace, and harmony every day. It’s not always easy.

We don’t learn as much from easy.

These billionaires, God love em, who have so much money to throw at buying major social media entities just blow my mind. I don’t envy their riches. Good for them for getting where they are today. (I would love to join them.) I mean, they literally have the power to do so much for so many and yet…

It’s true since the first epoch of mankind on this planet that life isn’t easy. We’re here in the physical to learn, remember, and grow. Overcoming challenges and trauma ultimately lead to joy and love. Where would we be without duality and contrast through it all?

I keep coming back to this notion that if I were a millionaire, things would look different.

What would I do with that kind of money? First, take care of my family. Get all the bills paid and make sure the kids are pretty much set for life. I’d teach them what I did to hit millionaire status so they could do the same.

Next, I’d make sure my wife could retire happily and maybe sell real estate or just hang out at home with the cats all day. As long as she’s happy, it’s okay. My wife, Heather, has truly earned a rest after everything she’s done for us.

After the personal stuff comes the investments. I’ve blogged about this before. I want to build my personal empire by helping people. I want to pay it forward as much as possible. Heck, I’d start my own commune if I thought it would help people. (*commune? Collective might be a better choice of words. Not trying to set myself up as any kind of cult leader.)

My point being, I get there’s no profits in simply giving people money. But building a community, planting trees, and creating jobs for people can be profitable. If people can throw $40+ BILLION at something, why not have it be locally owned farms? Why not have it be community centers and housing for the homeless? How about we encourage people to embrace joy and prosperity?

I’m not there yet. I dunno if I ever will be.

With the way things have been going this past year, I don’t know if it will ever happen. Right now I’m planting that seed. I’m doing the few things that bring me joy throughout this struggle, like my humble little blog here.

I’ll take the joy as it comes. I’ll look to expand my resources when the time and the opportunity come. The prosperity will come in many forms and I absolutely know it’s there. Right now, I’m just working on getting out of neutral in my life to get the prosperity flowing into it more. I believe love, prosperity and joy are out there waiting for us. ALL of us.

Thanks for stopping in today. I truly appreciate all of you. Happy Cinco de Mayo if that’s a holiday you celebrate. Take care.

Funeral

…we might suffer and toil here on the Earth plane. There are hard days for all of us, no matter where we are or what our circumstances are. But in the very end, it has all played out for a reason. No, we don’t understand why. But we know it happens for a reason…

My mother-in-law passed suddenly on December 22nd due to complications of Diabetes. Her funeral was December 30th. We will miss her as she was dear to all of our children and the holiday season will not be the same with her passing.

There’s a spiritual lesson here.

I think we sometimes take our existence on the 3D Earth plane for granted. We do some pretty silly stuff just to pass the time. Which is not to say that it’s bad to have some fun or that life has to be a 24/7 grind right up until the grave. Quite the opposite. We’re here to enjoy what life has to offer. But sometimes it’s easy to forget that it only lasts so long.

Then the veil of forgetfulness kicks in when we start all over again, assuming we choose to do so. Then it’s right back to taking things for granted. Maybe we work too many long hours at a dead end job. Maybe we get married to someone in a flight of passion only to get divorced a few weeks later. Maybe we drown our problems in drugs, alcohol, porn and/or gambling for years on end. Then time passes us by. Then, all the things we wish we had done are past.

Why?

According to some, we are God experiencing the Universe through mortal eyes. Or more succinctly, God experiencing God in of of His many forms. So, then the question always comes back around to “Why do bad things happen?” And the answer is inevitably, “We don’t truly know.”

I like to think everything, and I mean literally everything, happens for a reason. Getting hired at a job. Getting fired from a job. Having children or choosing not to do so. Writing an article or eating Cheetos and playing video games. Dying. It all happens for a reason. It’s not necessarily our place to know why or when we’re going to die. Some things are choices, indicating free will. But who’s to say there isn’t divine guidance behind those very choices that have a deeper reason behind them? God works in mysterious ways. Ours is not to always know what the motivations behind the scenes really are.

Yes, we choose in every now moment. That’s the free will component of the 3D Earth plane. And people die every day from choices that could maybe have been different, or were different in another timeline of the multiverse. But the kicker is, when God calls you home, that’s it. Your current body is done and away you go on another adventure.

I believe in a loving Universe, or caring God, if you will.

I’m not a religious person by any stretch of the imagination. My friend Tom, who was our minister for the service, has his own congregation of the Evangelical Free Church. I absolutely loved the service today. As funerals go, he did a fantastic job. The one message, and I sincerely hope my kids were paying attention, is that we have a loving God. (Sorry, non-Christian friends. I know it’s not your cup of tea necessarily. It’s what we’re working with today.) We do truly live in a loving, benevolent Universe, though.

Sure, we might suffer and toil here on the Earth plane. There are hard days for all of us, no matter where we are or what our circumstances are. But in the very end, it has all played out for a reason. No, we don’t understand why. But we know it happens for a reason, and I suspect that we are filled in on what happened on the other side of the veil, assuming we didn’t already know and just forgot.

Personally, I don’t think there is a Hell, at least not as organized religion would have us believe. I mean, why would a loving and caring Creator have to force us into behaving ourselves with threats of eternal damnation and everlasting torment? Why put us through all this stuff on the Earth plane, just to screw up and forever suffer for it?

Are there “bad” people?

Of course there are who do bad, unspeakable acts in life. There are also large numbers of good, kind, loving people. I could name hundreds of offenses against humanity and trespasses upon others’ sovereignty. Again, this goes back to the belief that we all have a part to play. One lifetime you inflict trauma, but in the next you might be on the receiving end of all kinds of horrible treatment. There’s always a reason, though. There’s always a lesson in everything. There is always the presence of the divine in everything.

Finally, peace.

Whatever lies on the other side of the mortal coil is waiting for us to find. No matter what you choose to believe, the day is going to finally come when we transition from our current body into whatever comes next. Far too many people have come back from Near Death Experiences with stories of the other side for there to be nothing there. (Sorry, atheist friends. I’m very convinced there is another side.) Whatever the reason things happen in the mortal coil, we’re all going to meet up to discuss it on that other side.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need my daily dose of cute, fuzzy bunnies and duckies. I’m going to go snuggle the cats and maybe get some sleep. It’s been kinda rough. I trust in the Universe. I believe in something greater than all of us, but I don’t always claim to understand why things happen the way they do. Hence, little, simple, fuzzy, loving little animals. No serious thought required, just love and snuggles.

Have a safe and happy holiday season. Much love. Please set your intentions for 2022 to be a year of prosperity, joy, love and forgiveness. See you again soon.

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