I’ll say it again

 I know this is cheating, particularly during NaBloPoMo, but I am spent today. I am leaning in to what needs to be done now. Part of that is being offline for most of the day and attending to family and household matters.  See you tomorrow for Week Two.

KEYBOARD CONFESSIONAL
(Originally published in November 2008)

I was raised in Religion X.

My whole family, both sides, belong to Religion X.

It is expected that you marry someone who is also a member of Religion X.

Religion X dictates everything: where to worship, where to send your kids to school, and how you are to conduct your life down to the most intimate details. These intimate details are dictated by old men in robes sequestered in ornate buildings far away from the unwashed masses.

Some in the family go so far as to screen caterers and other service people to make sure they are of the proper religious leaning. I mean, you couldn’t trust someone outside of X to prepare and present your food, right?

Call me a wild child. I don’t even ask my dry cleaner where he worships. I take those kinds of risks with my clothing.

As soon as I was old enough, I jumped the fence and left the flock.
Truthfully, I never really was in the fold. Call me a junior wolf in sheep’s clothing. I went along with the herd. Inside, I was asking questions and doubting what I was hearing. Twenty eight years later, there are those still waiting at the gate to let me back in.

They send out messages periodically, veiled attempts to lure me. There is an Armageddon theme in all these trinkets and baubles.

I say any group that thinks they are the most worthy, that those who aren’t with them are automatically against them and somehow destined for hell, damnation, or at least inferior catering services, is not a group to which I want to belong.

As a child, I wondered about all the people in Religion Y or Religion Z. They seemed fine to me. They didn’t look like doomed people. And what about all those people on the other side of the world who have no religion? Well, I was told, if it seems like life is rough for them, we know why don’t we?
But it just didn’t seem right somehow. How could all those people be wrong? Who decided that our thinking is the only correct interpretation? Maybe we are wrong and they are right. Where would that leave us?

The adults would tell me I should feel bad for the Ys and Zs and the no religions. They said that until they found the way, they would not be saved.

Being the bad girl I was, I rejected this. I went on a quest and visited houses of worship all over the alphabet, even a cultish kind of place. Mostly people were the same. I even learned a lot of people don’t like Religion X.

Lately, I’ve kind of invented (or maybe found) my religion. It suits me fine. I won’t be shoving it down your throat anytime soon. Make that ever.

 

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Family good; Godzilla bad

godz

 I had a nightmare last night.

In my dream, Godzilla is chasing Buddhist monks through the streets of Tokyo. Behind the city skyline is a mountain chain of books. Between the Godzilla-stomped city and book mountain is a vast expanse of paperwork and red tape. The valley is bustling with a throng of young Asian women collectively tearing through reams of paper and  tangles of ribbon in search of clues to their past. There may have been something about Thetans in there, too.

Did I mention I watched “Religulous” last night before going to bed? Did I mention I attended two author visits/book signings back-to-back? Did I mention that I’m not getting any sleep lately? The fact that I got enough sleep to have a nightmare should make me happy. But I’m thinking my brain is in revolt.

————————-

The first book event featured journalist and author Mei-Ling Hopgood, who is on tour promoting “Lucky Girl.”

lucky

Hopgood was adopted before the wave of  Chinese adoptions began in the  1990s.  Unlike today’s well-oiled machine that is the China Center for Adoption Affairs, in the early 1970s, China adoptions were handled quite differently. There remained a seed of hope that a birth family and child could trace each other one day. This is no longer the case.
Hopgood’s story is unusual: Her birth family found her. She reunited with them in her early adulthood. “Lucky Girl” tells the story of that reunion and how she balances two sets of parents and siblings, one a half a world away. 
As an adoptive mother of a China-born girl, I have on ongoing interest in adoption outcomes, particularly in cases where a child reunites with a birth parent. It’s nice to hear a happy outcome.

The second event was a Q & A with Brad Warner,  member of the ODFx (Zero Defects) punk rock band (heydey in the early ’80s, play twice a year now), Japanese monster movie marketer, and Zen Buddhist teacher. Warner visited Detroit to promote his new book: “Zen Wrapped in Karma Dipped in Chocolate.”
(If the name sounds vaguely familiar, it’s taken from a popular commercial for yogurt.)

zenchocolate

I never know what to expect at author visits/book signings. I find my expectations can be pretty high. I’m there because I’m enamored with the author’s work or deeply interested in the subject. Sometimes I end up regretting the questions I ask. Almost always I say something inane to the person when its my turn to get my book signed. During Warner’s talk, I think I learned more about Godzilla movies, the somewhat futile attempt to resurrect Ultraman in the United States, and other monster movie stuff than I did about improving my meditation practice. But that’s OK; I’m still a fan.

I walked away from both events with a head stuffed full of information. So many questions and ideas were pouring out of me onto the pavement I almost tripped. When I got home, I read a “Dora the Explorer” book about archeology to my 3-year-old girl. Then I watched a movie disparaging organized religion. 

Either way, it was a batch of brownies added to a stomach already full of cake and cookies. 

I think my brain threw up.

Keyboard confessional

I was raised in Religion X.

My whole family, both sides, belong to Religion X.

It is expected that you marry someone who is also a member of Religion X.

Religion X dictates everything: where to worhsip, where to send your kids to school, and how you are to conduct your life down to the most intimate details. These intimate details are dictated by old men in robes sequestered in ornate buildings far away from the unwashed masses. 

Some in the family go so far as to screen caterers and other service people to make sure they are of the proper religious leaning. I mean, you couldn’t trust someone outside of X to prepare and present your food, right?

Call me a wild child. I don’t even ask my dry cleaner where he worships. I take those kinds of risks with my clothing.

As soon as I was old enough, I jumped the fence and left the flock.
Truthfully, I never really was in the fold. Call me a junior wolf in sheep’s clothing. I went along with the herd. Inside, I was asking questions and doubting what I was hearing. Twenty five years later, there are those still waiting at the gate to let me back in.

They send out messages periodically, veiled attempts to lure me. There is an Armageddon theme in all these trinkets and baubles.

I say any group that thinks they are the most worthy, that those who aren’t with them are automatically against them and somehow destined for hell, damnation, or at least inferior catering services, is not a group to which I want to belong.

As a child, I wondered about all the people in Religion Y or Religion Z. They seemed fine to me. They didn’t look like doomed people. And what about all those people on the other side of the world who have no religion? Well, I was told, if it seems like life is rough for them, we know why don’t we?
But it just didn’t seem right somehow. How could all those people be wrong? Who decided that our thinking is the only correct interpretation? Maybe we are wrong and they are right. Where would that leave us?

The adults would tell me I should feel bad for the Ys and Zs and the no religions. They said that until they found the way, they would not be saved.

Being the bad girl I was, I rejected this. I went on a quest and visited houses of worship all over the alphabet, even a cultish kind of place. Mostly people were the same. I even learned a lot of people don’t like Religion X. 

Lately, I’ve kind of invented my own religion. It suits me fine. I won’t be shoving it down your throat anytime soon. Make that ever.

Careful what you say …

When my Girl from the West was a babe in arms, I cooed a promise into one of her little pink ears:
“Mommy wants you to grow up to be whoever you want to be. I won’t be one of those mean mommies who forces her daughter to vote Republican or chastises her for not choosing the convent as a career choice.”

If my baby grew up to be a bald, lesbian shot putter, that would be OK. If she aspired to be a minimalist performance artist who wore nothing but sticks and grass and chose to live in a refrigerator box in the town square, great.
It’s not that I want her to grow into someone whose lifestyle puts her at risk for ridicule and persecution. But I told myself I’d let the blossom unfold as nature intended. No making a righty out of a lefty or anything.

However, life doesn’t always play out that way, does it?

Say your babe in arms edges closer to adulthood and suddenly begins taking on all of the characteristics you abhor? Say you are an atheist and she decides to become a Born-Again Christian. Say you are vegetarian and she decides to take up bow hunting? Say you are artsy and edgy and she prefers to try out for the cheer squad?

Get the drift here?

I see my baby spinning out of my orbit so fast I’m not sure I got the flight plan before she launched.

I can’t help but recall my teen years. What hopes did my parents have for me? What was the sound of those dreams as they collided with the reality of who I was becoming? I know one of the biggest collisions had to do with my continued failure to subscribe to their religion. To this day, almost 30 years after leaving their church, I still get subliminal messages that they are not pleased, thank you very much.

Thankfully I have a number of friends who’ve traveled this bumpy road of parenthood. Their advice to me is to stop asking so many questions already! I’ll get more answers if I listen.

So this is my challenge of late: I must cross the razor’s edge. I must keep some distance, lead by example, have eyes in the back of my head and keep my flippin’ mouth shut — most of the time.