Personal Journey Series – Reflections on the Passing of a Father

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Sometimes life has a funny way of kicking you in the ass, and death has a way of helping you remember memories you once had forgotten. I don’t know where to begin or why this should even bother me the way it does. For this connection has been one that was long lost, drifted away on a sea of time and space only to be brought to my mind with the passing of a common acquaintance.

 

This week I received an email from an old friend. One that used to share life and happiness with me as we journeyed through love, loss, and friendship. His life was one no one would envy but his hard and honest work has always won out. This friend left for another state years ago, and we slowly started to lose touch. His favorite saying was, “We have said it all before. What more can we say?” This used to bother me, as I was feeling the distance of his path leaving mine and as the winding roads started to split apart until little to no contact was made. This friend had a hard life. I got to share some of his struggles and learn with him through many a trial as we gathered our belongings and hiked the road of life.
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The Afterlife

© The Unassuming Atheist

“Life is a short warm moment. Death is a long cold rest.” These are lyrics from a favorite Pink Floyd song of mine called “Free Four” from the album Obscured by Clouds. OBC was the album before Dark Side of The Moon and provided the fertile ground that would blossom into one of the best-selling recordings of all time. Many of Roger Water’s lyrics focused on death. “Free Four” is about what one thinks about on their deathbed. “You shuffle in gloom of the sick room…and talk to yourself as you die.”

 

Pretty profound stuff. However, I’m not writing an article about Pink Floyd. I just wanted to point out a portion of the first line that I quoted. …”Death is a long cold rest.” Is that what death really is? A dirt nap, so to speak?

 

Without attempting (poorly) to give a history lesson, I think we all know that mankind has always had a fascination with death. It is the Great Mystery, isn’t it? Look at the incredible detail found in the burial tombs of the ancient Egyptian pharaohs. One ancient Asian emperor had an entire terracotta army buried with him to command in the afterlife. Look it up, it’ll blow your mind.

 

There are many examples throughout history of man trying to explain the unexplainable. As we moved through the ages and learned some things along the way, the answers to these mysteries revealed themselves. The earth is flat, Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox created the Grand Canyon…you know, stuff like that. Those that believed the myths of their point in time went kicking and screaming when science, reason, or whatever, provided the explanation that solved the mystery. Look what is happening right now in our lifetime with the evolution versus creationism debate. Kicking and screaming.
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8 Tips to Choosing a New Year’s Resolution Right for You

“The difference between who you are and who you want to be…is what you do.”
~Unknown

 

Well another year has passed.  A new year offers time for reflection and the feeling of a fresh start.

We enjoy the idea of starting from scratch and improving ourselves.

Many of us have goals we’d like to get started on, but how do you choose a path that’s right for you?

I’ve given this some thought and have a few tips I’m hoping will get you off to a good start for a successful year.

So while I think you’re fine just the way you are…

8 Tips to Choosing a New Year’s Resolution Right for You

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World Of Water by Samantha Pelz and Dedicated to Leelah

For Leelah…

Hate is like an ocean

A person drowning

Who is this poor soul

Torn and ragged

Breathless

Hopeless

Who is this person fighting against the current?

Is this person a man? A Woman? Gay? Straight?

Does it matter?

Aren’t we all in an ocean?

Is there an all-powerful being controlling the tides?

Allowing souls like this one to sink

For the good to drown

For the evil to find land and safe harbor

Is this soul like so many others

Sinking in the sin of being different?

No!

They are drowning in the cold,

Disdainful contempt of society

Not to the life guards

Advocates battling the storm rescuing the submerged

But too the critical ignorant bigots

Too the passive onlookers

How many more will drown?

How many more will die till things change?

That answer is in your hearts

It can only be found in society’s

Endless Ocean of hate

 

Samantha is a guest writer whose heartfelt prose has warranted a special poetry edition of the Atheist Analysis Blog today. Please let us know if you would like to see more like this in the future and please take the time to comment for such a wonderful piece of art.
-Deafilosophy-

Personal Journey Series: My Atheist Testimony

I get a lot of messages, most of which are asking about my deconversion from christianity. People want to know why I left, what it meant to me when I was a christian, and why I don’t see any reason to return. For anyone who has asked, and anyone else who is curious, here is my testimony.

 

I started life as an atheist. My parents, who were both raised as catholics, never felt the need to force religion or god upon me. I have never seen my mother or father as being faithful. As an adult I have come to know my dad is an atheist and my mother is (basically) a pantheist. My mum and dad were both followers of a man called Prem Rawat (Maharaji), an Indian guru with millions of followers world-wide who preaches peace and love. Many consider him to be a new messiah (he does not claim this himself). My parents often encouraged me to embrace the messages / teachings of Maharaji throughout my childhood and teenage years, but I never connected.

 

What I did connect with, though, was christianity. At age 6 my mum enrolled me into two christian institutions; the nearby lutheran church Sunday school and the local Girls Brigade company (pic below). Her only motivation for doing this was free childcare. She and my dad had divorced when I was 5 and my mum was working full time – the church offered what was ultimately cheap babysitting. For me though, it would start me on a path that would consume my existence for the next 15 years.
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4 Crucial Steps to Stop Suppressing Your Emotions

“What you resist, persists.”

~C. G. Jung

 

When was the last time something happened that was too painful to deal with?  Do you remember how you tried to get it out of your head?  Were you afraid you’d feel overwhelmed if you thought about it? Did you distract yourself or avoid what was triggering it?

 

This is called emotional suppression.

 

Emotional suppression is the deliberate or conscious avoidance or pushing away of thoughts or feelings to cope with trauma.
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6 Powerful Steps to Leave Your Comfort Zone

We enjoy the security and predictability of our daily routines. We’re afraid of rejection, judgment, and failure.  We avoid risk and the unknown. We go from exploring and taking risks every day as children, to holding ourselves back, playing it safe, and ultimately limiting our personality, capability, and potential.

comfort zone relates to anxiety levels.  It is defined in psychology as an artificial mental boundary. A place or situation where one feels safe, comfortable, in control, or at ease and without stress.

In layman’s terms: a behavior pattern that fits a predictable routine to minimize stress; where we feel most at home.

It’s easy being comfortable and there’s nothing wrong with having somewhere familiar to return to. But too much comfort can make us lazy and kill productivity.
You can’t motivate yourself to make real improvement while feeling content.  You’ll find yourself doing only enough to get by.  Leading to missed opportunities and regret.
It takes a lot of courage to break yout of our comfort zone, but it can be a great for your self-esteem and provide lasting happiness and fulfillment.Learning to face the unknown not only becomes easier with practice, but can be very liberating and surprisingly habit forming.
 

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3 Big Things About Life That You Forget

Even with the increase in technologies that promise to give us more free time, we still find ways to pack our schedules and live increasingly frantic lives. With slowing down not being an option, it’s common to find ourselves in a perpetual state of autopilot.

 

Here are 3 things you need to remind yourself of sometimes.

1) You can do whatever you want in life.

You can’t forget that you’re in charge.  You get to choose the life you live.  Only you have the power to create the life you want. Take Action!  Life is not a spectator sport. Life is too short not to pursue your dreams.  Stop procrastinating. Take a risk and work towards what fulfills you. Anything is possible and it’s never too late to start.

2) All you have is now.

You can’t forget that life is a gift and tomorrow is not guaranteed.  Your loved ones will not always be there. The best gift you can give them is your attention.  Be Mindful; realize deeply that the present moment is all you have.  Choose wisely how you live and how you treat others.  Stop worrying about your schedule, email, and news feed.  Focus on the present moment; focus on now.

3) You’re not in control.

You can’t forget that control is an illusion. Life is uncertain and unexpected things are going to happen. There are unforeseen struggles on the horizon that will leave you feeling powerless. Ruminating and trying to think of all possible scenarios actually makes things worse. All we can do is enjoy the time that we have with each other and practice gratitude.

Agree?

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The Death of a Hero: Reflections on Changing the Future

As I sit here typing, feeling the words flow from me, I feel anguish, horror, anger, resentment, despair and an overwhelming need for a hug. Last Wednesday, we had Rebecca Hensler from Grief Beyond Belief on our show. The night was an emotional one as we learned about dealing with grief as a nonbeliever. I delved into the latter part of the show with a slightly emotional story about my father in law and his passing this year from a sudden heart attack. He was only 65 years old and there is still a hole in my heart that will not ever be filled. My father in law was a hero fighting in Vietnam, and raising a wonderful family while sacrificing his needs for the needs of the family. My father in law brought joy to us and I can proudly say he was a hero in his own way.

Tonight, I have learned that another hero of mine has passed away. The inter-webs have reported that Robin Williams has died at the age of 63 of an apparent suicide. Now many of you may scoff at the word hero, some may even lampoon me for saying so. But to me Robin Williams, even though his downfalls, is a hero in every right. A hero is defined as this, “a man of distinguished courage or ability, admired for his brave deeds and noble qualities.” I do not wish to get hung up on dictionary definitions that paint heroes only as men and I will openly state for the record that all genders have the ability to be heroes casting aside unnecessary and obsolete limitations. But this definition of a distinguished, courageous, and admired individual who has done noble things is what drives me to label Mr. Williams a hero.
Continue reading “The Death of a Hero: Reflections on Changing the Future”

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