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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Lots of little things

Oh, now regarding beads. This week I received my second batch of lampwork beads from Candice Mathewson whose work I think is phenomenal. Now, I don’t mean "phenomenal" in any specific kind of way; I mean it in the way that says: "Candice makes beads that appeal so deeply to my sense of design and art that her work really moves me, emotionally".

Here are some things I've done with "Candice beads":

And her sister, Catherine Steele, makes equally awesome beads:

And speaking of beads, don't forget to check out the July issue of SRA Jewelry because it's full of lampworkers only!

Alex has been doing an awesome job of processing the new applications and putting them into a spreadsheet so I can do the next step to them. She has also taken over (at least temporarily) the making and uploading of all the logos (OMG, how will I ever thank her!).

Patrice has agreed to email out the acceptance letters. Yay! I'm off now to get that info over to her.

After we're settled with the new members in place, I'll try to tackle the special requests.

So I'm thinking this morning… your beliefs should make you happy, right? Some of the religious systems/beliefs I've learned a bit about through the years seem like maybe they rely on instilling fear, suffering, and even confusion on the believer.

I hope that most people get happiness from their beliefs.

How I got to thinking about this is that I was through the following…

"What if you're wrong?"

So let's say you believe in a religion that shuns material possessions and believes poverty (or near poverty) is a preferred way of living.

Then… "what if you're wrong?"

Not that there's any real way (here and now) to know what religions are true and which are based on nothing (these are loose terms, I know, but bear with me), but let's pretend for a second that there is a way. That at the end of your life (our lives) you can discover if the religion you were following is a bunch of hooey or not.

So, you spend your whole life NOT surrounding yourself with material objects and NOT trying to gain wealth and then in the end someone informs you that your religion was a made-up farce. You were wrong. There was NO REASON to give up your material possessions, etc.

Or let's say you believe that hard work, maybe even to the point of martyrdom, is the real way "in to heaven". And in the end someone informs you that you were wrong.

See what I'm getting at?

I'd like my religious beliefs (my spiritual way of being on this earth) to be something that can withstand a "what if you were wrong" at the end of my life.

Therefore, I need my beliefs to be something that make me happy on a daily basis.

So, let's see… what tenets do I believe in and/or try to adhere to?:
1) No point in trying to define "god". God is beyond words or any conceptual understanding.
2) Regarding "good and evil" or "right and wrong", good and evil are just empty conceptual abstractions that have no permanent independent existence. Taoists believe that nature is a continual balance between yin and yang, and that any attempt to go toward one extreme or the other will be ineffective, self-defeating, and short-lived.
3) Heaven/Reward: Taoism is not a salvation-centered practice. There is nothing that one needs to be saved from, and belief in salvation would lead to belief in damnation in the same manner as belief in good leads to belief in evil.
4) Regarding how to live: living simply in harmony with nature, and not excessively pursuing material wealth, stature, or prestige.
5) Be true to your own nature and blend harmoniously with the Universe.
6) See the world without preconceived notions or false perceptions.
7) Non attachment, no expectations, and unconditional love.
8) There is no "try", only "do". (Can you say that to yourself without sounding like Yoda?!)
9) Keeping an open mind.
10) Being tolerant.
11) Being optimistic
12) Enjoy life (or be happy)
13) Achieving without undue effort (if it's meant to be, it won't be a huge struggle)

(thanks to beliefnet for some of the quotes)

What I Learned Today
If you feel like you're being strangled, check to see if your shirt's on backwards.

I need to cancel the Oakland Bears website. That's one thing off my agenda (doing the site, that is). And I've completely forgotten the things I was trying to remember to say in today's blog... other than the part about showing you Candice's beads.

more cat pictures

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